Divine Blindness: Day 2

Being blind seems to be remarkably similar to having sight. I’m beginning to think that perhaps nothing is happening at all.

Then I remember that Father’s Day was yesterday. I can’t expect so much out of God. I mean, like any good dad He was probably partying into the early hours with His son Jesus, going all Old Testament on a keg of prodigious size. The resulting hangover will surely take a day or two to overcome.

Meanwhile I sit and wait for the proof that he even exists. Surely blinding an 18-year-old girl shouldn’t be too hard for him? Once He can get up off the couch without puking up a universe or two, I’m sure he’ll get right to it. Cesar’s request is probably not far down the queue, right?

We’ll see.

100 thoughts on “Divine Blindness: Day 2

  1. I just wanted to note that it’s been 2 full weeks now with no sign of blindness at all. Cesar didn’t seem to be out last week, but if someone sees him tonight, please inform him that he and his god have now officially failed at this trivial task.

    Despite Jesus’ frequent promises of answered prayers in the Bible, this is not surprising to me, but it should be surprising to Christians. Few Christians seem to truly hold the Bible to its word though.

    Instead they try anything they can think of to explain away all of its failures and inconsistencies, only holding to it as the perfect Word of God when it agrees with their own ideas of what it’s supposed to teach, and when it is not demonstrably false as in the case of the power of prayer.

    Sorry Cesar, as with every other request made of your god since its invention, this prayer has gone unanswered. Your imaginary friend has once again proved itself to be impotent.

    I’m glad that you did not choose to be the hand of God and blind her yourself, but barring a freak accident, that was the only way it was ever going to happen. Fortunately it didn’t, but somehow I’m afraid that failures like this will not shake your faith.

    I hope that everyone who believes that things like this can work will at least feel that twinge of doubt, that stirring of rational skepticism that can open the door to the world for you.

  2. Jesus said he came to give sight to the blind-not sure who’s Cesar’s god is?

    Joe- I wasn’t saying that you were lying I was saying that I wasn’t referencing the Reason for God book. Joe I am not sure specifically where Keller uses faulty logic-I haven’t read the book-let’s take a look at the video and tell me where the faulty logic is?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxup3OS5ZhQ

    Kyle- I agree everything is subject to our own of interpretation -”what doe it mean”. The point is to try and figure out authorial intent. The author means to communicate something specific though there are many applications to his point.

    Generally evangelicals will agree with Keller that the gospel critiques “religion” and “irreligion” Keller equates “religion” with a philosophy of doing good things in order to please a deity which is is out of step with the Gospel in that sense the Gospel critiques “religion”.

    Eg.:
    On the one hand,“moralism/religion” stresses truth without grace, for it says that we must obey thetruth in order to be saved. On the other hand, “relativists/irreligion” stresses grace without truth, for they say that we are all accepted by God (if there is a God) and we have to decide what is true for us. But “truth” without grace is not really truth, and “grace” without truth is not really grace. Jesus was “full of grace and truth”. Any religion or philosophy of life that de-emphasizes or lose one or the other of these truths, falls into legalism or into license and either way, the joy and power and “release” of the gospel is stolen by one thief or the other. -Keller

  3. Ceaser’s god is the same as your own, though you may disagree I believe the bible it self will disagree with you:

    “Who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” — Exodus 4:11
    “The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart.” — Deuteronomy 28:28
    “Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake.” — Psalm 69:23
    “The hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind. … And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.” — Acts 13:11

    I’m not going to watch an hour long video of Keller speak, and I believe it’s in very poor taste and etiquette to ask Joe to do so as well. With a book it’s at lest possible to read parts of it. Now that being said I’ve had some experience with Keller’s arguments, most of which are just rehashing of older arguments.

    For instance his argument against Atheist morality, which he summarizes as being the selfish “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” This it self shows a gross misunderstanding of not only morality it self but also of Keller’s own religion which has such selfish tendencies. Most people, whether christens or ashiest are selfish, that’s the very nature of human existence, and far from villainizing it the bible actual endorses it, as in Matthew chapter 6:

    “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. ” – Matthew 6:1-4

    It states quite clearly in 6:4 that Christan do good things seeking heavenly rewards, as such Keller’s entire point is now moot. Any act of generosity which is done in the name of a reward is fundamentally selfish, though not necessarily bad. I could continue to attack this single argument but I’ve illustrated what needed to be.

    As for authorial intent, it’s completely open to interpretation, as history has shown. Hell even in the modern day you have thousands of Christan secs all of which have completely different views of the gospel. You claim that most evangelicals would agree with Keller, but I’m sorry from what I’ve seen that’s not the case. Most of the evangelicals I’ve meet believe that the only way to truly attain salvation is through complete elimination of sin. You have to hate sin to the point that you no longer seek to commit it. They do believe that they are saved from sin by grace, but in order to be saved you must completely turn away from it. There is no salvation for the false Christians who call to Christ but still sin. These points are backed up by allot of scripture.

    “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
    “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” – Ephesians 5:5
    “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” – Hebrews 12:14
    “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him…. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil…. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” – 1 John 3:6-9

    Now on the other end of the spectrum you have the whole saved by grace center mind set which has it’s own extremes such as universalism. Now these secs have there own bible verses to back them up, but they also have a more accurate logical frame work as well. Most don’t believe in a true hell, feeling that it’s at most a purgatory of sorts where the sins of the individual are burned away. Such beliefs have strong connections to the original Jewish views of hell. The idea of a god who is truly all loving can not endorse eternal punishment for trivial crimes against him self, as such it is more logical consistent whit a loving god. There are other logical connections I could show to support this but I’ve made my point.

    Then you have the middle of the road views towards Christianity and salvation which have some biblical backing (though it contradicts others) and little logical backing as it makes blatant contradictions of an all perfect god making mistakes, among others such as a loving god who hates his own creation.

    I think I’ve made my points, your view on Christianity is no more correct then any other (in fact I believe it might be less so). Which leads to the whole problem of what did god actually mean, and how can god’s supposedly truthful and obvious words be so easily confused.

    Finally you make mention to a release found in the gospel. Most religions have the exact same kind of release, perhaps more so in others. Out of all the individuals I’ve ever met Buddhist seem to be far more at peace with them selfs and the world then any other religion I’ve ever seen. That’s not an endorsement of Buddhism, but if your looking for a release it might be a better choice then Christianity.

  4. FUCK YOU! YOU FUCKING PRICK! YOU THINK YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME FUCK YOU!

    All of you fucking atheist are going to die one day and I’m going to laugh my ass off when god sends you to hell for eternity! You’ll burn in the lake of fire and I’ll be able to watch. You fucktards are the reason why this countries going to shit, and rather then fixing things you just make it worse. “Oh I dont like God on the dollar bill. It reminds me that I’ve sinned and need to repent to God. I don’t want to see.” Fucking assholes. I hope you each die in agony asking God for mercy.

  5. sorry I thought it was a cool video wasn’t trying to be rude-hadn’t read the book and don’t have access to it right now-thought we could agree on an objective source and parse it- btw he speaks for 40 min and then takes questions from antagonists in the crowd-interesting

    as far as my God being the God of Cesar-
    where in the New Covenant does some random dude strike someone else with blindness? Jesus to Paul thats your example? Cesar—>Gadfly & Jesus—>Paul Wow

    The mission of Jesus was-
    “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed…” Luke 4:18

    -as for summarizing Keller’s arguement

    could you cite the source and quote?

    Everyone seeks a reward for what they do-this is human nature

    the Christian’s reward is God-God is actually the point of Christianity-we are selfish…we want to be with God

    what is the atheists rationale for being good?

    evolutionary pragmatism? at 31 minutes Keller deals with this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxup3OS5ZhQ

    you said-”your view on Christianity is no more correct then any other (in fact I believe it might be less so)”

    how do you know?…isn’t it all subjective?

    you said-”I think I’ve made my points”
    i am trying to respond to the actual point you are making and not misinterpret them

    -recreating your arguement as accurately as possible is what hermeneutics is all about-hopefully I am responding to what you are actually intending to say

  6. @DoorMat – You’re the one swearing at us and overall being kind of a jerk, and we’re the ones being pricks? Really.

    One thing that confuses me a lot about many religious people (yourself included) is that you seem to think that we do realize the existence of a god, but deny it for our own purposes (i.e., violent drinking, thoughtless drug usage, sex with aborted gay fetuses, etc.). This simply isn’t true.

    You seem to think we can hate something which we don’t believe in. It’s like saying “I hate the Cookie Dough Dragon! I know he doesn’t exist, but I’m going to hate him anyway, because he’s trying to ruin my fun and I won’t have it!” While to you these cases may seem very different, to us there is no difference at all. Each assertion is equally absurd, one of them just has a few thousand years of mythology and a history of political power behind it. These are the only things that give your God any more “legitimacy” that the CDD.

    Our reasons for being annoyed with “In God We Trust” being on money are perfectly legitimate. Its use on coins began during the Civil War, which had brought on a wave of fervent Christianity. It was approved as the “national motto” by Eisenhower in the 1950s, also during a time of strong Christian sentiment. I can only guess that the original de facto motto of the US, E Pluribus Unum (“out of many, one”) was too secular and all-encompassing to be kept as a motto for a nation made up of so many different people. Better to exclude some, wouldn’t you say?

    The thing is, we don’t trust in God. We don’t believe any god(s) exist. So to have that on the money as a constant reminder that we are a largely-disliked minority is disheartening. Imagine having the Pledge of Allegiance (also a big violator of the separation of church and state) say “One nation under God, indivisible…except for them damn queers”. It excludes and demonizes a large minority who, if left alone without opposition, would likely carry on quietly with their lives.

    Remember that if we’d be left alone, we’d have little reason to be so flagrant with our beliefs. It’s like how some gay men wear assless chaps to pride parades because they know it will annoy the hell out of the anti-gay protesters on the sidelines. Perhaps the line I’m drawing between the discrimination against gays and that against atheists isn’t perfect, but it illustrates my point.

  7. Oh Gadfly, the Cookie Dough Dragon loves all who come to him and keeps his directions.

    However, onto the video. I thank you for the video, truly, I haven’t been this amused since I last twiddled my thumbs and played with a button. I did watch the entire video, but am unable to cover the entire video as that would take multiple posts, and more effort than I have currently to put into this. Therefore I shall begin with the opening and the Three reasons for believing in God.

    Now in this video the first thing I notice is the statement on the belittling of religion by atheists. He states that atheists need to respect the religious position and that the books by Dawkins, Hitchens and others are what is fueling the problem. However, he states that belittling ones religious position is incorrect. Then this raises a question. My religious position is that there is a lack of evidence for God. Religious people disrespect me by stating that I am lost or am missing something from life. He then talks about how since these beliefs give comfort and joy, they should be respected. This is a rubbish argument. My belief in no God gives me comfort and joy, yet this is totally not directed the other way. Believers are instructed to know why belief in God is needed. So everything here is directed to being nice to God, not tolerance to both sides. I respect an individuals right to believe whatever they want; however, that does not mean that I need to respect that point of view.

    For example, to take a bit of wit from Mr. Harris, you find comfort in the metaphysical claim that God exists, and you know he does by you seeing his presence in the world and even though you have doubts, you know he’s there. And working through your doubts and still finding that God exists, it leads you to God’s saving power.

    Let us replace this with Elvis. You find comfort in the metaphysical claim that Elvis is alive, and you know he does by you seeing his presence in the world and even though you have doubts, you know he’s there. And working through your doubts and still finding that God is alive, it leads you to Elvis’ saving power.

    Both claims are unsubstantiated by evidence, yet the claim that Elvis is alive is a laughable claim; whereas, the claim that God exists – with excessive other claims of creation power, saving from hell, dying for us, punish the immoral (according to God), etc. – is a claim that must be respected. All a naturalist would state – also known as a scientist, rationalist, atheist, agnostic, secularist, etc – in general that claims with the same amount of evidence should be treated similarly. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” -Mr. Sagan- Atheism requires no external being to do anything as we state we truly don’t know, but are looking for more evidence. Religion requires a specific being to do all the things they require, which is a claim of existence that requires immense amount of evidence to be substantiated. Therefore this goes to an absence of evidence, and thereby, may be disregarded as just as the Elvis claim, with bouts of uncontrolled laughter.

    Now, let us go onto the sections for believing in God, the bottom up. The first up is Social reasons. This should be disregarded. If you believe because everyone believes or to make life easier in dealing with others, that is the same as you agreeing with women covering up completely because everyone else is stating so as well. We, as humans, are social creatures; fortunately, we have a brain that is supposed to be utilized to get us beyond this kind of group think idiocy. Now I do associate with others who are also Atheists, yet I also associate with Christians, Buddhist, Taoists, etc and these are formed on the fact that it is enjoyable to be around them. However, the group think does not come into effect as there is no dogma. Religion has other views that come with belief. Homosexuality is bad, abortion is wrong, stoning people is proper punishment, and the rest are ingrained in the Christian and Muslim religions at the very least (not including all the others as well). This dogma affects the social climate and anyone who disagrees with your opinions, they are unable to convince the religious because it is dogma.

    Personal reasons are also fallacious. If good things happen or bad things happen causes people to believe in God or not, it is no real evidence because stating God did it or not does not change the fact that there is still no evidence for it. If every time you prayed, what you wanted happened, you might have an argument; however, stating that it helps is nothing if it doesn’t work repeatedly or comes by hard work on your or another’s efforts. Also, it can’t be transmitted to others as evidence.

    Intellectual arguments revolve around evidence. With social and personal reasons out, there is no intellectual reasons to do so, to hold to. Science has given us so much in understanding that does no require God. Intellectually, God is not a necessary, nor sufficient condition for our existence or anything else. All the arguments placed are from Mere Christianity or other books that argue biblically or under false assumptions. By taking only that the universe exists and is observable (science) you can not get to the any God except to some minor extent the Watchmaker.

    These three groups dealt with, I will conclude with stating, I respect your right to believe, however, I am also allowed to challenge it. If you have fallacious reasons that lead you to harm others and cause societal problems, I don’t have to respect that.

    Cordially sir,

    Isaac A Mills

  8. Wow Joe twiddling your thumbs eh

    -maybe you should write a book and speak at google-

    Btw the actual arguments he put forth are:

    The Problem of Evil
    The Hitchens Argument-Evil Done in the Name of Religion
    You cant know there is a God-the Elephant-Blind Man
    Empirical Evidence for God is necessary to prove God
    The Fine Tuning of the Universe
    Where do Human Rights Come From?

    The arguments he put forth were NOT- generic social reason, generic personal reason, or generic intellectual reason.

    these are not arguments just the way he organizes objections to God

    Also Keller says: “I cant prove God to you…”
    He is saying the possibility for God makes sense.

    “…All I am saying is if there is a God… the reason for genocide being wrong makes sense. It is a bigger leap in the dark to believe in human rights if there is no God.”

    P.S.
    You said:
    My belief in no God gives me comfort and joy, yet this is totally not directed the other way.

    The the whole talk assumes that disbelief or belief in any religion is legit in a pluralistic society. All he is saying is the disdain that Dawkins and Hitchens feel for religion is unhelpful in a pluralistic society-where all religions should be equally respected and allowed to practice.

    Keller:
    “the new books on atheism don’t just say religion is bad and they now say respect for religion is bad…if you counsel one group to show no respect for another group of peoples beliefs that is a recipe for social diaster…we need to sympathetically walk in one another shoes…”

    he assumes respect towards intellectual atheists

  9. I specifically avoided talking about the specifics he brought up. There is good reason for this. While I could put for arguments as to why the objections he has are improper, they would be like the latter article of the Summa Theologica – details, where the larger portions – what i addressed – the overall Questions that needed to be answered could be covered and make the detailed objections irrelevant. I did this to kill two or more birds with a shotgun shell, instead of trying to hit take each down with a bow and arrow.

    The Problem of Evil
    The Hitchens Argument-Evil Done in the Name of Religion
    You cant know there is a God-the Elephant-Blind Man
    Empirical Evidence for God is necessary to prove God
    The Fine Tuning of the Universe
    Where do Human Rights Come From?

    All of these arguments fall into these categories and the reasons and objections he puts for fall into the categories. If God is not proven to exist or to be unable to be proven, then discussion on the material is irrelevant to existence. It is like arguing who’s imaginary friend is the best.

    ~Also Keller says: “I cant prove God to you…”
    He is saying the possibility for God makes sense.

    “…All I am saying is if there is a God… the reason for genocide being wrong makes sense. It is a bigger leap in the dark to believe in human rights if there is no God.”~

    This is the problem, you can’t prove God is necessary or sufficient, therefore, we state that you are ridiculous for stating that he exists. The possibility doesn’t make sense if you think scientifically. God is a very complex being, requiring many assumptions – Christian God – that are not needed to make the universe work and make it overly complex. The simpler things are usually more accurate. The reason genocide is wrong and human rights are there is not because of our cosmic sky daddy, but because we ourselves are human and we see a bit of ourselves in each other. We want to protect our species and we value life and existence. That is why we view it as wrong.

    ~The the whole talk assumes that disbelief or belief in any religion is legit in a pluralistic society. All he is saying is the disdain that Dawkins and Hitchens feel for religion is unhelpful in a pluralistic society-where all religions should be equally respected and allowed to practice.

    Keller:
    “the new books on atheism don’t just say religion is bad and they now say respect for religion is bad…if you counsel one group to show no respect for another group of peoples beliefs that is a recipe for social diaster…we need to sympathetically walk in one another shoes…”

    he assumes respect towards intellectual atheists~

    Belief is irrelevant in society. You are missing the point. A majority could believe in the Gospel of the Cookie Dough Dragon and if it didn’t influence society negatively – abortion, gay marriage, repressive laws of women, races, etc., start wars and create violent martyrs, you might have point. However, this is quite on the contrary.

    Respect for someone believing that God made the world in 7 days and that evolution is hogwash because the book says so is bloody ridiculous and should be fervently mocked.

    Isaac Mills

  10. I apologize for the lack of flow in the post. I am quite tired and I did not quote as normal. I used “~” to do so.

  11. Joel I’m grateful for what your doing but, these are hethens who hearts are to hardened to hear the gospel and understand it. They will never learn from it. They try to bring dipare into the world and wish to silince us. The Lord God has given me a mission in life, and I will fufil it. I do forgive them for the wrongs they do me, but so long as they cures the name of The Lord they will fear me. They have sinned aganst God, they will burn for it. It even says in Leviticus 24, 16 – “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.”

    In the end Joel we are fighting a war for souls. I will win as many as I can for Gods kingdom, but you are a fool if you think it can be done with just words. The holy ghost doesn’t move through them, they are unreachable by us, and it is quite clear that they have forsaken God. Do not be a fool Joel, peace is wonderus, but we are at war with satin. If his disiples wish to attack us must do as God commands and deffend his kingdom. I do so humbly, and hope that one day you do as well. We must rise up aganst the heathens for the glory of Gods kingdom. There is a far greater war comming Joel (Revelation 19:11-21), I only hope you are on the right side.

  12. Matt just go away. No one here cares. Nether the Christians that visit here nor the Atheist that dwell here. Just go.

  13. Matt, two things:

    1) You aren’t going to win any “souls” by calling people cunts, pricks, etc. Might want to refine your technique.

    2) Prove your God exists. If you/your god could provide incontrovertible proof (i.e. an undeniable violation of the laws of physics/chemistry/biology, etc.), we’d believe.

    I would posit that skeptics are more open to being wrong than you yourself are. To you, you can’t possibly be wrong. God exists, and that’s that. To us, all we need is direct, unarguable evidence to believe otherwise than we do. Such proof has never been provided, thus we do not believe.

    It shouldn’t be that hard to understand, even for you.

  14. Matt you are a cussing people out now talking about saving souls? -

    Gadfly- Undeniable violations of the natural order have occured through history maybe one day God will show you one-

    Are there things you believe in that you don’t have scientific proof of?
    http://www.newchristian.org.uk/faqgodexists.html
    http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/gods-existence.htm

    Here’s some Copy Pasta that is helpful-I’m tired I don’t care from John Polkinghorne wiki article–3 reasons why God makes more sense than non-God

    Joe Gad Kazz Kyle Rocco etc.
    Here is some copy pasta(I don’t care I’m tired) from the John Polkinghorne wiki article-Polkinghorne is a theorectical physicist from the UK-3 Reasons why theism is reasonable

    The intelligibility of the universe: One would anticipate that evolutionary selection would produce hominid minds apt for coping with everyday experience, but that these minds should also be able to understand the subatomic world and general relativity goes far beyond anything of relevance to survival fitness. The mystery deepens when one recognises the proven fruitfulness of mathematical beauty as a guide to successful theory choice.[18]

    The anthropic fine tuning of the universe: He quotes with approval Freeman Dyson, who said “the more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming”[19] and suggests there is a wide consensus amongst physicists that either there are a very large number of other universes in the Multiverse or that “there is just one universe which is the way it is in its anthropic fruitfulness because it is the expression of the purposive design of a Creator, who has endowed it with the finely tuned potentialty for life. [20]

    A wider humane reality: He considers that theism offers a more persuasive account of ethical and aesthetic perceptions. He argues that it is difficult to accommodate the idea that “we have real moral knowledge” and that “statements such as ‘torturing children is wrong’ are more than “simply social conventions of the societies within which they are uttered” within an atheistic or naturalistic world view. He also believes such a world view finds it hard to explain how “Something of lasting significance is glimpsed in the beauty of the natural world and the beauty of the fruits of human creativity.”[21]

  15. one more thing Matt-who are you?

    btw nice duplicate paragraph above by me re my copy pasta sorry yall have a good night

  16. @George Clinton: My refutations of your arguments are below.

    Argument 1: We’ve evolved rather sizable brains for our body mass that allow us to use complex reasoning and to recognize complex patterns and data. Our abilities to use these things don’t stop at figuring out the best way to club a mammoth to death. A by-product of our relatively efficient brains is that we can apply them to things that we were never evolved to do (i.e. understanding subatomic particles and such). Obviously once we got past a certain point and defied extinction, we’d continue to improve and develop increasingly-complex things.

    In the modern day, it most certainly is a matter of survival. It’s an evolutionary benefit to understand complex things. In the short term, the more intelligent you are often means the more successful you are, and the more likely that if you get sick, you’ll be able to get yourself/your spouse/your offspring appropriate care. Highly-intelligent people also develop the modern conveniences that keep us from dying of minor infections and childbirth (evolutionary gold). So what if we were never “meant” to understand germ theory? It helps us stay alive, and obviously if our brains are complex enough to understand bacteria, they’ll likely be complex enough to understand other, more mysterious things.

    Argument 2: Obviously you’ve chosen the one option, and discarded the other. Ever heard of the Weak Anthropic Principle? Pretty much states that since we’re here to observe the conditions of our existence, those conditions must obviously be conducive for life or we wouldn’t be here to observe them. There’s no real need for a god in this situation, unless you just prefer to pick that option.

    I personally feel it’s pretty unreasonable that your god created this vast universe with its intricate laws just so this tiny planet would have life that somehow looked like him, even though it would be very improbable for him to have a physical form, if he’s doing all this weird stuff. It gets pretty fallacious after a while.

    Argument 3: Obviously there is lasting significance in what we do, and what is in the natural world! The significance is to us, and to future generations. If we were all to disappear, and no extraterrestrial civilizations were ever to find our world, they’d be essentially meaningless. Their meaning is to us.

    As for morality, I refer you to a very long comment I made some time ago on another post (I will avoid the copy pasta). It takes a bit to get to the part about morality, but it’s in there: http://www.betterthanfaith.com/events/mill-avenue-resistance-april-2009#comment-645

    As for your websites, the first has an obnoxiously smug Christian bias, uses unsound reasoning, and draws sweeping conclusions from that unsound reasoning. The second is more of the same (though with less apparent bias). Really, I could use philosophical reasoning to prove you’re a butterfly even though science can prove you aren’t. Does that make you a butterfly? And the conclusions to be had from the stated inquiries would never be that “God exists”, but that he might exist, if that were the only evidence we had to go on. Please find an unbiased, scientifically-sound source and try again.

  17. wow you just destroyed John Polkinghorne good on you ;) (sorry couldnt resist a little snark)

    a quick response:

    1 did evolution produce religion?

    2 what introvertible proof do you have of multiple universes?

    3 time plus chance plus death created ethics?

    sorry for the smugness on the website
    what are the unsound proofs?

    Even though the discples of Christ supposedly saw miracles they still doubted. I dont think a miracle would convince you due to your naturalistic bias.

    nothing in evolution says you should or shouldn’t do anything-our values are convention, pragmatic, and arbitrary- eg. murder doesn’t work in the USA-infact as the most christian nation we allow a lot of freedom to alternate worldviews-eg we are prochoice & gay marriage will be the law of the land

    the values and ethics of the USA and Torquemada and Pol Pot are arbitrary

    a wise man once said,”only God can judge me.”

    and we cant know for sure anything-science or God-we may be butterflies

    it takes a lot of faith to believe in a 200 yr old theory -cant wait to see the proof that all everything came from some quarks in the universe sounds like a lot of God talk

  18. @George Clinton

    it takes a lot of faith to believe in a 200 yr old theory

    This is why science doesn’t require faith; all theories are subject to constant doubt and considerable re-examination. In fact, the version of the Theory of Evolution posited 200 years ago is not the contemporary version considered a fair model by the scientific community today–and there are good chances that in another 200 years, the current model that describes the mechanism of the fact of evolution will have clairified further.

  19. @George Clinton

    RE your little snark: it doesn’t matter who the person is making the claims here. Hence the beauty of skepticism and scientific inquiry; it doesn’t matter who you are, but what you do. If a well-respected scientist is making ridiculous claims, then it’s perfectly acceptable to rip apart their ideas. It’s not like I’m violating some holy trust by challenging the ideas you (or anyone else) put forth.

    Now, for your arguments.

    1) There is great evidence that evolution did produce religion. Study a bit into evolutionary psychology. However, that doesn’t make any religion “true”. It merely makes it a tool we’ve used in the past that is now harming us (think the appendix).

    2) I have no incontrovertible proof. Neither do you have incontrovertible proof of a god. But evidence suggests that it is a distinct possibility that multiple universes do exist. However, there is no evidence at all for a god. What I am saying is that it is impossible to reason logically that “goddidit” definitely regarding this instance.

    3) The form you use is a bit ridiculous and is untrue. It is far more complex than that. Suffice to say, it is is a necessary condition for sentient beings to evolve some manner of ethics that greatens their ability to reproduce and survive, or they would cease to exist. Sort of a modified WAP, which I referred to in my last post. Obviously the conditions of our existence must exist, or we wouldn’t exist to observe them.

    As to my “naturalistic bias”, may I please be excused for my wish for proof? Did you not read my article above? Being struck blind would have been excellent proof. Spontaneous creation of matter would be proof. Someone’s arm regrowing before my eyes would be proof. However, it would seem none of these things have happened by divine intervention, and there are no reliable accounts that they ever have.

    And your “nothing in evolution says…” statement shows only that you have an incomplete grasp of what evolution is. It does not “say”, like the Bible “says”. Evolution is only the process by which things that work the best are propagated. Of course we don’t have the impulse to kill for short-term gain, because short-term gain often equals long-term detriment. That’s just one example.

    The ethics most certainly are not arbitrary. You’ll notice that dictatorial ethics often make for a short-lived dictatorship, because they are evolutionarily/reproductively unsustainable. That’s because they deviate from the path that will allow everyone their resources and rights to live. In places like the US and, to a greater extent, most of the civilized world, the ethics may not be perfect but allow for much more in the way of resource attainment and reproductive success. Hence their longer lifespan as entities.

    And finally, science may not be able to provide the fervent surety of religion (since there is always a probability and a shadow of doubt attached to scientific theories), but I can assure you that I am not a butterfly, and I very much doubt that you are. It’s rather hard to type without thumbs, you see.

  20. of course you know what i mean-a little less dogmatism might be in order-

    so religion is a a vestigial organ?

    explain to me natural selection -what else is included in time chance and death
    order? the order came from where?

    give me incontrovertible evidence that life occurs from non life-the amino acid experiment? or the eternality of the universe?

    a miracle is the only proof of God you will accept?

    your assumption is based on your observations- science is observing more and more-keep an open mind

    again respect for good arguments

  21. btw on the tool that is no longer useful-religion-has Theism/Deism ruined or helped the US? have you visited other countries?

  22. Sorry I’m going back so far in the list, but I wanted to respond to a couple of things from earlier comments.

    To George from comment 58

    Wow Joe twiddling your thumbs eh

    -maybe you should write a book and speak at google-

    There are multitudes of people who either or both of us would think were horribly wrong who have both written books and spoken many times at more prestigious places than that, including most or all of the popular atheist authors you would probably twiddle your thumbs while listening to.

    “…All I am saying is if there is a God… the reason for genocide being wrong makes sense. It is a bigger leap in the dark to believe in human rights if there is no God.”

    If there is not just a god, but your God, then the reason for genocide makes sense. According to your Bible, your god commands genocide repeatedly.

    It’s true that it is a large leap to believe in human rights which are based on something other than our own thoughts and feelings, but those are more than enough to establish those rights as reasonable in many (obviously not all) of our minds.

    We can see this more clearly in animal rights, which Christianity does not grant, but which many people have concluded are reasonable and right (to varying degrees).

    The the whole talk assumes that disbelief or belief in any religion is legit in a pluralistic society. All he is saying is the disdain that Dawkins and Hitchens feel for religion is unhelpful in a pluralistic society-where all religions should be equally respected and allowed to practice.

    Keller:
    “the new books on atheism don’t just say religion is bad and they now say respect for religion is bad…if you counsel one group to show no respect for another group of peoples beliefs that is a recipe for social diaster…we need to sympathetically walk in one another shoes…”

    he assumes respect towards intellectual atheists

    He should respect many of the arguments from intellectual atheists, not because they automatically deserve respect, but because they are good arguments!

    I can’t remember ever seeing even one really compelling argument for Christianity, or for any god though. If there’s one you can give that you think we should really respect, please give me your best shot (feel free to point to someone else’s stuff if you need to) and we’ll see if we have any reason to respect it.

    To Matt from comment 61

    Just a quick note, but once again you clearly seem to be threatening us with physical harm. That might actually be the clearest threat we’ve had yet.

    You should know that if you do physically harm us then you will make us martyrs, plus you will be caught and prosecuted for it. The internet does provide some anonymity, but it does not make you untraceable.

    If that’s not enough, according to many Christians your god would not appreciate your violent acts, and you may be endangering your soul.

  23. As far as Joe:

    Joe-”However, onto the video. I thank you for the video, truly, I haven’t been this amused since I last twiddled my thumbs and played with a button.”

    Me-”maybe you should write a book and speak at Google”

    I am teasing Joe because I feel this type of rhetoric is unnecessary-basically i am asking that as we tear apart each others arguements we do it with civility-if murder is not evolutionary beneficial maybe incivility is not as well

    On Animal Rights:

    In the garden christians believe that we were vegetarians and in the millenial kingdom believe that we will be again-death is a result of sin.

    The cow and the bear shall graze;
    their young shall lie down together;
    and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
    They shall not hurt or destroy
    in all my holy mountain;
    for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11

    Be fruitful and multiply and have dominon over the earth doesnt necessarily mean give animals no rights.

    Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
    but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
    Prv 12:10

    On the issue of ethics:

    Did we travel from the red claw teeth survival of the fittest to the human rights of do no harm? Is this right? Is that where we are now on the evolutuionary journey?

    Here Kazz you state in another thread speaking to Vocab:

    Vocab Malone wrote:
    And it is true that this person could not say that it was OBJECTIVELY wrong to tortue little babies for fun … and sadly, I don’t think ypu are willing to say it either on a universal level

    Actually, I’m not thrilled about the fact that I can’t think of a way to say objectively and with certainty that it’s wrong on a universal level either, but again, there are many things that I don’t think you can say are always wrong based on the supposed words and deeds of the god you base your morality on, including killing babies.

    At least for me there is a chance that I (or someone else) can find a solid basis for my beliefs. I think it’s more likely to be found in psychology and physiology (which can already explain a lot of it) than in some fundamental law of the universe, but I guess that understanding the reality of the situation and why I have these moral tendencies is enough for me. I just want the truth, whatever it is.”

    (Source: http://betterthanfaith.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=94#p370 )

    I suppose I am just asking by what authority do you have the value to do no harm. It seems pragmatic but arbitrary. This is why we say it makes more sense to believe in God. In fact you all can’t say anything about anything because the idea of the law of nocontradiction borrows from the christian worldview. Because the Christian Theism is based on absolutes not probabilties or what seems reasonable to the community.

    In the us it seems reasonable to me not to murder but in North Korea or Sudan or China or the middle east it isnt as reasonable.

    It’s almost like you are enjoying the benefits of the second story apartment without realizing that you have no foundation for why doing no harm is reasonable. Not killing something that is unique is a value contrary to many other atheistic/secular societies. See the topic of sterilization and eugenics(see Denmark Sweden Norway etc). Many atheists still function in survival of the fittest for the good of their communities.

    On the issue of genocide:
    http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5767&printer_friendly=1&printer_friendly=1

    On which is the greatest arguement:

    I feel this is a trap because I dont think that even if a man raised from the dead you would believe him. The arguments are all going to seem weak to you because ultimately with no matter how much evidence they myth of neutrality is still effect.

    Here are some resources that deal with different questions of people who are legitimately wrestling with belief in Christian Theism have.

    Frances Collins (former Director of the Human Genome project) wrote a book entitled The Language of God http://www.amazon.com/Language-God-Scientist-Presents-Evidence/dp/0743286391 . This book might be helpful.

    collins vs dawkins
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,4047,n,n
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,3582,Science-and-Faith-Discussion,Academy-of-Achievement-Richard-Dawkins-Daniel-Dennett-Francis-Collins-Benjamin-Carson

    wilson vs hitch is chrisitanity even good for the world?

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/reformedchicksblabbing/2008/11/the-doug-wilson-and-christophe.html

    ehrman vs nt wright on the problem of evil

    http://www.parablesofaprodigalworld.com/2008/10/audio-nt-wright-and-bart-ehrman-on.html

    habermas vs humphreys the resurrection
    http://apologetics315.blogspot.com/2008/06/gary-habermas-and-kenneth-humphreys.html

    ehrman vs dan wallace textual criticsm

    http://dunelm.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/bart-ehrman-v-dan-wallace/

    I personally favor the Transcendental for Arguement for the Existence of God
    here is debate that deals with this argument

    http://graspingthecross.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/dr-greg-bahnsen-versus-dr-gordon-stein-the-great-debate-does-god-exist/

    For more see Cornelius Van Till

    As far as all of you I do care. Some of you I know and consider friends even though we disagree. I appreciate the legitimate questions and I do believe you all are searching for true truth. Even though I know you think the question of God is meaningless I think it points to issue of origins, meaning, morality, and destiny. Maybe if a Flying Cookie Dough Monster did the sort of things and said the sort of things Jesus did maybe I would believe in it but unfortunately no such monster exists. I know you think God is a monster-He might not be-I think NT Wrights mentions something on this in his dialog with Ehrman see above.

    Anyway I don’t know if any of this helpful.

    We often spin things to make ourselves look good or smart. I confess that I do this. We don’t know as much as we act like we do and we are not as good as we think we are but we are forgiven beyond what we can imagine. The Uncaused Cause died for the Uncaused Cause so that we can live.

    Since this thread is dead I think I will end it there and let others take up this fight more ably than I if they desire.

    See you on the street.

  24. I’ve already given you ample evidence for the evolution/maintenance of morality. You act as if there has been none given. I told you that it is, for instance, evolutionarily unfavorable to torture babies (though you might want to tell your god this, since he’s so much in favor of circumcision). Our guilt and self-loathing for even contemplating the idea is a psychological construct that has evolved so that we rarely do things that aren’t good for us in the short and long run. People with the inclination to do such things are weeded out of the breeding pool. It’s a pretty simple idea, nothing like the concept that a wrathful god with a fondness for smiting created us to be, paradoxically, good and kind.

    And as for your vegetarianism comment, what could it possibly mean that so many Christians eat meat, and so many Buddhists don’t? Or, even more so, what could it mean that so many Christians eat meat and I don’t? You’ll find that quite a lot of people on this site are vegetarian. I wonder what that means. Aren’t us atheists immoral and insane for denying the creepy love of your vengeful god? Why wouldn’t we just eat babies?

    Are you saying that, being sinners, it is a requirement for Christians to eat meat? Why don’t the lot of you just make the choice to not do so? It’s a simple enough thing to do. Why not try to make Earth more like a heaven instead of waiting for your ostensibly nonexistent god to do it? Really.

    You say this: “Maybe if a Flying Cookie Dough Monster did the sort of things and said the sort of things Jesus did maybe I would believe in it but unfortunately no such monster exists.” But you have just as much admissible proof of Jesus as you do of the Cookie Dough Dragon. You want an old, easily-misinterpreted book to go along with it? Go read the Epic of Gilgamesh. It has nothing to do with the CDD, but then again, the Bible really has little to do with what modern Christians believe and how they live their lives.

    And we don’t think your god is a monster, because we don’t believe he exists. But we think the concept of him given in the Bible is frightening, to say the least, and we’re very glad that it’s never been proven true and likely will never be.

    I’ll likely be waiting until I die for proof of the existence of any gods, and I’m not going to hold my breath because I have a life to live. As with all other atheists, I don’t need imaginary friends in my life.

  25. Surprisingly, most vegetarians I’ve met don’t believe in god and atheists are more morally sound than most Christians.

    Gadfly, as for your comment, I’d like to just throw in the quote “I don’t know if god exists, but it’d be better for his reputation if he didn’t.”

    If the biblical god existed, he would be a monster. An evil, villainous monster who cursed all women at the beginning of time, required animal slaughter for means of repentance (which is the reason Jesus came down, which most people don’t know), ordered genocide countless times, etc. Jesus himself claimed to be the “morning star” or Lucifer, and said he “came not to bring peace on earth, but instead to tear apart families”. If the bible was 100% true, I would be a satanist and follow the deity that doesn’t discriminate or impose his will upon others. Plus, dragons are pretty sweet…

    Anyways, Christianity ruined Beowulf, and that alone made me an atheist. Just kidding, but seriously.

    101 Bible Contradictions:
    http://www.islamway.com/english/images/library/contradictions.htm

  26. “I can’t remember ever seeing even one really compelling argument for Christianity, or for any god though. If there’s one you can give that you think we should really respect, please give me your best shot (feel free to point to someone else’s stuff if you need to) and we’ll see if we have any reason to respect it.” – Kazz

    Kazz, I will accept your challenge.

    I start with two premises (I of course make some more elementary assumptions like the identity property of mathematics, or that language is meaningful and can transfer information, or else I would not be writing this, but I will refrain from listing those for the sake of brevity.)

    1. The universe exists. (The universe being that which is observable to humankind, such as stars, planets, used car salesmen, etc. Much as I find proposing “The Matrix” theory to be interesting idea and a fantastic basis for a movie, pragmatism would lead most of us to reject such a position.)

    2. Anything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence. (This one should be intuitively obvious. A Bengal Tiger, if it suddenly appears in your living room must have some reason for being there, even it appears seemingly miraculously before your eyes as if by magic. One should suppose that Scotty has invented the transporter, or that atoms converged in an extremely unlikely matter, but never that it came into existence uncaused out of nothing, especially since nothing, by definition, has no qualities, and thus could not have the quality of being that which causes things to come into existence out of nothing. Furthermore, if this is somehow not self evident, I would charge you to present an example of this occurring. Sometimes others have cited the emergence of particles out of the vacuum energy due to its fluctuations as something coming from nothing. This is a confusion regarding the definition of nothing. This is not an example of something coming from nothing, but rather matter coming from energy, which is not “nothing” in the strict philosophical sense.)

    I next make the observation that the universe has a beginning to its existence. I know this for several reasons:

    1.) The first is by way of science, which I would imagine you would appreciate more than the philosophical arguments that will follow, but who knows, maybe you will. In any case, I would cite the Big Bang as the scientific justification for the universe having a beginning. Due to the red shift, we know that the universe is expanding and therefore if we reverse the flow of time, we find the universe reduced to a infinitely dense point. Also, the fact that it is expanding contradicts a steady state universe because such a universe would have no mechanism for expansion. Another reason for the universe having a beginning is the fact that the universe is hot. If the universe were eternal, energy available to do work would have eventually been depleted an eternity in the past and we would be left with an ultra-thin gas that permeated the dead cosmos. However, this is not the case, and, far from it, the universe is alive and kicking. Stars are still burning, life is still at it, and consequently we are here to see it. Now, there is this business about the Big Crunch that I will have to address. Even if you cite the theory of the oscillating universe as an alternative to the Big Bang, entropy is still conserved from cycle to cycle, and as such you would still eventually end up with the same result of energy being used up, and even if this were true, the universe would still expand from cycle to cycle, and so if you rewound time, once again, you would find that the universe would collapse to a point. In addition, there is no known method of collapsing the universe, as the calculated amount of mass in the universe is far too little to cause a collapse like you might see with a black hole. In the 1940s George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang had occurred, the result would be that background temperature of the universe would be a few degrees above absolute zero. In 1965, measurements of the universe’s background radiation placed the temperature at 3.7 degrees. There is currently no other explanation for this phenomenon other than the Big Bang Theory. Also, the Big Bang theory accurately predicted the ratio of hydrogen to helium that would have been produced by the explosion. Also, while iron and carbon are produced by stars and supernova, materials such as deuterium, light helium, and lithium require an environment with temperatures so extreme that only the Big Bang offers an explanation. Also, lack of old galaxies near ours means that the universe is not extremely old, and lack of very young galaxies near ours means that continual creation is not occurring. Also, the lack of galaxies and quasars beyond a certain distance means that the universe could not be infinite in age. Also, there is not an infinite distance between various galaxies that would have resulted from an infinite period of expansion had there been a possible means for driving expansion in a steady state universe.

    2.) I also know the universe had a beginning because an actual infinite cannot exist. By actual infinite, I mean that I could have an actually infinite number of existing things, such as marbles. I do not mean a potential infinite, which is approached but never reached. Now, let’s say I give you my infinite amount of marbles. The equation that results from this operation is that infinity minus infinity is zero (I have none left). Now let us suppose I want my infinite amount of marbles returned to me, but you still want an infinite amount of marbles, so you strike up a brilliant plan. You decide to number them and give me all the odd marbles, while keeping all the even ones for yourself. The equation that results from this transaction is that infinity minus infinity is infinity. After awhile you get tired of carrying all those marbles around and you decide to give them all back to me save for the prettiest one (how you would have the time to make such a choice is beyond me). The result from this exchange is that infinity minus infinity is one. Thus, as you can see from this short story, applying the theory of the infinite to the real world results in contradictory nonsense. Since the eternal past would constitute an infinite number of actual existing past events, the universe cannot be infinite.

    3.) I also know that the universe cannot be eternal because an actual infinite cannot be formed by successive addition. This argument is independent of the one I just gave, as this argument does not deal with whether an actual infinite can exist, but rather whether it can be formed by successive addition. For instance, if you start at one and start counting, you will never be able to reach an infinite number, as you will always be able to count one more number. Now apply this backwards and try and form an infinite past. It cannot be done. Try and successfully count down from negative infinity to zero. You will never reach the present moment in time.

    After having determined that the universe had a beginning, given the premises, I therefore know that the universe had a cause for its existence. Causes can be arranged into two major categories. The first category is a cause that immediately results in its effect. An example of this interaction would be exposing gasoline to heat. There is a point where the temperature is such that the gasoline spontaneously combusts. This event is fully dependent on the existence of initial conditions for the instantiation of the state we call an explosion. The gasoline cannot decide to explode, and neither can the temperature decide to prevent the gasoline from doing so. The second category is a cause that, unlike the other type of cause, has a choice in allowing its effect to resolve. It may be the case that neither or both of these types of causes exist in reality, but regardless of their actual existence, this means of categorization allows for only these two options when discussing causes. There can be no third type of cause that both does and does not have choice in whether its effect comes into being. Now, as a naturalist, you may disagree with the existence of free will or true freedom of choice, as the whole history of the universe is written by the initial conditions that cause our ultimate thought processes. While I would disagree with this conclusion, I will grant you this, as it does not have any bearing on the argument, since, while we may say that this category does not actually exist in the universe, it still exists as a possible category. Now, let us consider the two categories and see what happens when we apply them to the universe’s cause. If we assume that the eternal cause of the universe is of the type we first considered, namely that where its effect is coexistent with its cause, the conclusion that arises from this is that the universe should be coexistent with its cause, and therefore coeternal. However, this conflicts with our establishment of a beginning to the universe as evident from the three arguments I gave. Thus, there is only one other viable option as to the nature of the universal cause, this being a cause that exhibits free will of choice. This leads us to the conclusion that the cause of the universe exhibits the ability to choose, and therefore, has that quality that we associate solely with the idea of a mind, at least in the classic philosophical sense. Now even if it is true that a free will chose for the universe to come into being, you might say that we as humans are deprived of free will and cannot truly choose. Perhaps we are strapped in for the ride as it were because our choices are determined by the initial conditions that this universal mind set up at the Big Bang and we are mindlessly following out its whim. Could be. I tend to think (though perhaps it is not I thinking such thoughts, but this universal mind) that this idea that we call free will not only applies to this super-mind, but also to the beings that have come about as a product of its choice to create the universe. I have no logical argument at the moment that requires us to be free to choose, but it seems to match up in a pragmatic sense given our preoccupation with ideas of responsibility and obligatory behavior. Call it faith I suppose. Now this argument does not carry me very far. All it says is that something caused the universe and that that something was what most of us would consider to be a mind, as it has the ability to choose (I tend to think there is one mind, since there is no need to multiply causes). This does not bring one to religion, nor the idea that this mind should be worshipped, and especially not any specific belief. It does however make me wonder about all those shamans, witch doctors, priests, and monks that claim they have had some sort of interaction with this being or beings in the midst of their solitude and contemplation of the world. While this does not legitimize their claims, it at least justifies them in a general theoretical sense and gives warrant for some investigation. It may be that all religions are actually attempts at mankind to understand an innate understanding of this presence of the super-mind, but all fall short of the mark to a greater or lesser degree.

    I have other reasons for why I have a belief in a mind that created the universe, but I’ll let you chew on this post for a while.

    Isaac, I would like to preemptively respond to the claim you made earlier in one our personal encounters on the street, namely, that investigations into the cause of the universe are not testable and therefore beyond the realm of science and a moot point. If we are to take the extreme view of empiricism, we must also by the same token, rule out any investigations into history, which would include any discussions about evolution. I might also add that such an extreme view would also rule out the results of last week’s Diamondbacks game, the date of my birth, and what I had for breakfast. Such an extreme view, while it may be taken if you so choose, leads me to question if that position is being taken because of the inherent truth in such a belief, or if it is a maneuver to escape the conclusions I have made.

    Furthermore, Isaac, in post 57, you said, “Science has given us so much in understanding that does no require God.”

    Science has no explanation for the cause of the universe. I would like to return to the argument that you and I had when we were sitting on the sidewalk that one night. You claimed that the universe’s origin could be explained by vacuum energy. I would like to point out that 1.) even if vacuum energy were the cause of the universe’s existence you would A.) have to explain where the vacuum energy came from (why is there anything rather than nothing?) and B.) explain why the Big Bang is not repeating itself in the vacuum of space if vacuum energy causes universes, and that 2.) vacuum energy involves the spontaneous generation of a particle and antiparticle that are annihilated soon after their creation and so you would have to account for A.) why there is more matter than antimatter that makes up the universe as this process inherently mean the creation of equal amounts of both (also known as the asymmetry of the universe), B.) why the creation of matter during the origination of the universe would be localized to a singularity, and C.) why the particles stuck around to form the universe given the fact that the phenomenon to which you were attributing the origin of the universe is one in which the particles briefly appear and then vanish just as quickly.

    You also said, in post 59, “God is a very complex being, requiring many assumptions – Christian God – that are not needed to make the universe work and make it overly complex. The simpler things are usually more accurate.”

    Isaac, you are using a misrepresented version of Occam’s Razor. Occam stated, “do not multiply causes”. While this at times means that accepting the “simpler” solution is correct, this does not imply that truth and simplicity are equivalent entities. For example, science once considered that the cell was “simply” a bag of gel. We now know it to be incredibly complex. However, the complexity of the cell cannot be invoked as reason to deny the reality of its functions. So also, if we were to discover that the cause of the universe was incredibly complex, this would not deny its existence.

    The answer is out there, Kazz, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.
    Joel

  27. Joel,

    Empiricism in the extreme does lead to this point; however you are missing the complete point. The diamondbacks game is videotaped, observed, and we have evidence of what happened. You have a birth certificate and pictures of your youth and you can photo your breakfast this morning. This gives evidence. We have no observable data prior to really the Plank epoch, where we can first observe data. This period is actually shows exactly what we observe with vacuum energy. For example, particles (matter/anti-matter pairs) are created destroyed, are at relativistic speeds, and the shift we see of an unbalance in particles of matter/anti-matter gives rise to matter due to the asymmetry in the baryogenesis (a property observed). We have evidence for evolution, evidence for history, and other things in the world.

    The second portion on science is ridiculous and not need if you actually understand the theories here. Again, God is not necessary, nor sufficient. We previously discussed this.

    Yes, I stated that I was using Occam’s Razor. However, if you do not need the extra things of the Christian God to begin the universe – stating that God is needed for that (deist position) – then why add them. It is not logical. Simple as that. Carl Sagan summarizes this easily below.

    “If the general picture of a Big Bang, followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before then? Was the universe devoid of all matter and then the matter suddenly, somehow, created? In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?”

    While it does not prove your God is not real, it places him with all the other Gods and mythological constructs, not needed, not necessary, not sufficient, and irrelevant to science and our understanding of the world.

    Your understanding is so lacking, please read some science papers before blindly swinging into an argument and topic you do not understand. It is painful for those of us who have much to do and really need someone who at least understands the basics. Fencing with an amateur who knows little or nothing when you are experienced and solid in the basics at least is not fun, enlightening, or helpful to either party if the amateur is still refusing to learn the basics at all.

    I’m off to sleep. Onwards to the Creation Museum on the 6th of August!

    Isaac Mills

  28. Joe- do you realize how over the top you sound? If there is no God I hope that my lack of belief in Godness doesn’t make me act like you.

    Well lets ask the next question as Carl Sagan-where DID God from because you certainly don’t have an answer for where matter came from.

    as for the answer a little copy pasta will do since I am tired as well:

    Also, physics has shown that time is a property that is the result of the existence of matter. Time exists when matter exists. Time has even been called the fourth dimension. But God is not matter. In fact, God created matter. He created the universe. So, time began when God created the universe. Before that, God was simply existing and time had no meaning (except conceptually), no relation to Him. Therefore, to ask where God came from is to ask a question that cannot really be applied to God in the first place. Because time has no meaning with God in relation to who He is, eternity is also not something that can be absolutely related to God. God is even beyond eternity. -CARM

    An eternal & infinite mind who died for you and loves you.

  29. Low wattage Brights always ask “Who done created God” ? or “who created the first creator”.

    The more interesting question is who created or designed the Atheists brain to weigh evidence for and against God ?
    ANSWER : No one Did.

    The Atheist Brain is completely self refuting.

    Some people are Blind others have color Blindness and others yet have “God blindness ” only this one is self induced and gets worse the more you resist the obvious.

    Even the Spaghetti monster looks rational compared to atheism.

  30. If I may, to respond to From the Mothership’s quote about how God is not matter (in the sense of immaterial, rather than matter vs. anti-matter), I’d like to use a quote from Thomas Jefferson in one of his letters to John Adams,
    “To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But heresy it certainly is.”

  31. Wally, I don’t understand your logic. I agree with the first statement in the sense that no one designed our brains to weigh evidence for/against god, the same way I believe no one designed the minds of the religious to believe in god. In fact, both of those examples are being studied by certain scientists, like Dr. Hamer who claimed to discover the “God gene.”

    You make a good example of atheism, but then you strike it down with no explanation as to why. Why is the so-called “atheist brain” (by the way, there’s no such thing as an atheist brain) self-refuting? How is it obvious? If it’s so obvious, I demand to see the proof! There must be some proof out there outside of how “beautiful the world is” or how kids get off drugs, if it is apparently just oh-so obvious.

  32. Saudrapsmann:
    Are there things you believe in that are immaterial?

  33. No, because logically believing in something that is “immaterial” makes no sense! Immaterial in the sense we’re using it is equal to zero, meaning there’s absolutely nothing of it in the material world, leaving no room for anything else. God couldn’t exist as matter or even anti-matter. There’s nothing that god could be bound to, and even if god was just everything at once then it’d be more useful to call it by its true name — the universe. Even the empty “nothing” before the first particle in our universe was not “nothing” in the generally used context of the word, or immaterial like god is. God = 0 = Non-existent.

  34. Are the laws of logic material or immaterial?

  35. So, Isaac, does this mean that your invitation for me to chat with you about topics on campus has been revoked? Am I too much of an “amateur” to waste your time? :) Honestly I am a bit surprised at your sudden change in demeanor. During our conversations on the street you displayed a much more cordial attitude.

    A review of your post leads me to believe that you have never participated in speech and debate, Isaac. To summarize your general response to my points that I brought up: “You’re arguments are ridiculous, but I won’t say why, because I am right and I won’t waste my time. I want to have fun…Bye!”

    As regards your first paragraph, a photograph cannot be tested scientifically to verify the contents. You can test the physical makeup of the material that composes the photograph itself, but the contents that it depicts are beyond your reach, so also when discussing questions of the origin of the universe. We cannot physically test such a period, but using information we derive form other sources, we can examine “the smoking gun” as it were. You go on about relativistic speeds of baryon generation, but you do not cite reasons for this imbalance of matter. According to the last paper I read on the subject put out by Stanford, since Andrei Sakharov proposed baryogenesis in 1967, we have yet to see an example of a process that can produce a violation of the baryon number. If you can cite such an example, please do so. I would also like to point out that you are being somewhat vague in your usage of the term baryogenesis. Specifically, it refers to the theory that there is an explanation for the imbalance of quarks and antiquarks that make up the protons, neutrons, and their antiparticles in the early universe. When you say that is “a property observed”, it can be somewhat deceptive to the individual unfamiliar with the idea. It is “a property observed” only so far as we can see that there is an excess of matter rather than antimatter in the universe. It is not “a property observed” in the sense that we see an imbalance of quark and antiquark generation as it occurs around us today, nor do we have evidence that such an imbalance occurred in the early stages of the universe. Far from it, we see that at present the baryon number is conserved. As far as we understand it, vacuum energy only produces particles in pairs, and unless you can give me some experiment explaining otherwise, then you cannot cite this phenomenon as the cause of the universe. Again, if you have some source of information that would unequivocally demonstrate a process that supports this idea, then please dos so. Much as you might not believe it, I would like to see conflicting data.

    Regarding your second paragraph, let us make a wild assumption and suppose that perhaps I am a rational sort of fellow open to criticism. That being the case, it might be to your advantage to provide me with reasons for why I am mistaken in my thinking, rather than simply dismissing the arguments and then moving on without explanation. Your attitude is confusing. If I were in your position and wished to set up a blog that I assume is for the purpose of exposing the absurdity of theism, then I would take the time to expose the irrationality of the theists. Unless you provide some sort of critique, your response does no good in convincing unbiased individuals of your position.

    Regarding Occam’s Razor, you are using it incorrectly. If there is no evidence for a more complex explanation, then it should not be given. I think we would agree on this point. However, the fact that an explanation is complex is not in and of itself justification for its dismissal. The idea of a Christian God cannot be decreed as illogical on the grounds that it is a complex idea. I may be able to dismiss the idea based on the fact that there is not enough evidence to support the theory, but the theory itself cannot be ruled out based on its complexity. It can only be dismissed if the theory does not correlate with known truths. As an example, I point again towards early cell theory. I will not argue the case for the Christian God further with you at this point, as we have yet to establish in your mind that a god exists at all. I would; however, point out that the argument I presented to Kazz does not require a Christian God. It only concludes a mind that created the universe.

    On a separate note, I would like to emphasize that you do not need a god to understand the universe, in the sense that to enter my physics class I would need the belief in the divine to interpret the equations. Science has an extensive range of explanatory power without invoking a deity. I would also like to make a distinction between Science and Naturalism. Science in its barest form does not carry the philosophical baggage of claiming the nonexistence of the supernatural. Science is simply the determination of truths via physical testing. If truths were to be concluded from such testing that led to the belief in a supernatural being, as I belief they do from my argument, then there would be no conflict. However, because of our cultural programming, we have learned to associate science and belief in a deity to be mutually exclusive realms of discussion. Philosophically, this is only the case when one assumes the beliefs of Naturalism as being inherent to the practice of Science, which is totally unnecessary. Now I suppose that you might argue that such a position has the effect of corrupting science because it results in explanations for physical phenomena being attributed to supernatural beings. In that case, I would point out that there are many individuals in the sciences, myself included, that do not engage in the practice of blaming gremlins, demons, spirits, or anything else when our spectrometers break down.

    Regarding your quote,

    “But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from? And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?”

    In my argument that I gave to Kazz, I think I have demonstrated clearly why the universe could not have eternally existed, and thus, because it had a beginning, it must have a cause, and in order for the universe to not be coeternal with its cause, the cause must have the ability to choose for its effect to come into existence. As for where this cause came from, if the cause is eternal, then it need not have a beginning, and thus there is no need to ask where it came from. I suppose you will say that I am evading the problem by saying the cause did not have a beginning. If you do, I would submit the fact that you have done the same by claiming an eternally existing universe. However, as I have demonstrated, such a claim is an impossibility because the universe has a beginning, as shown from the various supports I have given.

    Regarding your final paragraph, your use of sophistry is suspect. Rather than pointing out inconsistencies in my argument or evidence against what I am saying, you stand on a proverbial soapbox and rant about how inexperienced I am and how vastly more capable you are in contrast. If you are going to claim that my understanding is lacking, then I challenge you to justify it. If am mistaken about some point then I will retract my statement. Your efforts are better spent responding to my thoughts rather than patronizing, especially if you are seeking to convert others to your viewpoint.

    Joel

  36. Ugh, I’m not even going to get into Joel’s post. Isaac can deal with that.

    From The Mothership, the laws of logic are indeed immaterial, but brought about by material means. They are nonexistent in the world of matter except as ideas. I see the point you’re trying to make, but all you’ve really proved is that God is nothing more than an idea which has no real effect on the physical world aside from how his believers might choose to perceive that idea. The same with imaginary numbers. You might be able to use imaginary numbers in mathematical equations, but the fact remains that they are still nonexistent.

  37. Joel, I have not revoked the invitation to speak and discuss this or anything. All I’m asking is if you are going to be debating something that you at least know the basic tenants of the topic you are discussing. I am cordial.

    The previous portion of the statement before is meaning that a basic understanding of the tenants would mean that the second paragraph is not needed to be refuted at this time as we have yet to move from the previous point.

    First Paragraph: While this is not a completely credible source, this webpage does a fairly decent job of explaining the basics. And yes… it is a wikipedia page -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang
    The problem here is we do not fully understand why these things occur, however they are observed and the principle is calculated out. This is what occurs. The imbalance exists due to one particle not completely neutralizing the other. You are correct in that this is what is observed in the early universe. This is what the data gives us. Your belief that we should disregard this data of the early universe because we don’t see it today is ridiculous. Here’s why. Conditions were different in the early universe than the universe today. It is cooler and less dense today than the time period we are talking about after 10^-37 seconds where the laws of physics break down in the general understanding.

    The second set of statements is exactly that. Because of this lack of understanding what happens at the particular conditions of the theories and laws within physics themselves, you can never hope to comprehend what is going on.

    Again, you are stating that I am applying Occam’s Razor incorrectly. There is no evidence that require the more complex answer. Therefore, by your own statement, it should not be given and not be used. If God is not needed to understand the universe then he is not a necessary nor sufficient condition for its existence. Thereby becoming, unnecessary, unneeded, and should not be hypothesized. By your own paragraph, I don’t understand why we are discussing the need for God at all.

    Isaac Mills

  38. Here is perhaps the most telling part of that page you referred me to:

    “It is not yet understood why the universe has more matter than antimatter.[30] It is generally assumed that when the universe was young and very hot, it was in statistical equilibrium and contained equal numbers of baryons and anti-baryons. However, observations suggest that the universe, including its most distant parts, is made almost entirely of matter. An unknown process called “baryogenesis” created the asymmetry. For baryogenesis to occur, the Sakharov conditions must be satisfied. These require that baryon number is not conserved, that C-symmetry and CP-symmetry are violated and that the universe depart from thermodynamic equilibrium.[47] All these conditions occur in the Standard Model, but the effect is not strong enough to explain the present baryon asymmetry.”

    A cursory examination of textbooks dealing with particle astrophysics reveals again and again that the majority of scientists are in accord on this point. There is as yet no justification for the theory of baryogenesis in the sense needed to account for matter asymmetry. Most scientists in the field are hoping that the LHC will reveal some yet to be seen phenomena that will lend credence to the theory, but the theory is still a theory, and until it has been proven to be more than abstract hand-waving, any arguments based on what they might discover in support of the theory is just wishful thinking.

    You said, “Your belief that we should disregard this data of the early universe because we don’t see it today is ridiculous.”

    You misunderstand what I am arguing. I am not claiming that because something is not happening now that it could not happen before. That is absurd and you would be right for thinking it absurd, if that were what I was claiming. I’m not sure why you would think I was saying that, particularly when I seem to be comfortable arguing the case for the Big Bang, an event that was unique in the history of the universe and most definitely is not occurring at the present time. I assume that you are referring to when I said,

    “It is not ‘a property observed’ in the sense that we see an imbalance of quark and antiquark generation as it occurs around us today, nor do we have evidence that such an imbalance occurred in the early stages of the universe.”

    My claim is that the phenomenon of particle generation, as it occurs today, cannot be used to explain the origin of the universe, as it would produce symmetry amongst the particles. If it is true that this type of interaction did in fact occur at an early stage of the universe, but in a modified form, then there must be some force that drives the generation of matter rather than antimatter. Until the condition or set of conditions that results in that preference is determined, baryogenesis is an insufficient explanation of the asymmetry that is observed, and thus cannot be cited as the cause of the universe.

    In addition, apart from disregarding this theory because of an absence of scientific evidence, one finds that there are logical contradictions that arise. For instance, if the cause of the universe were a set of naturalistic initial conditions, without any ability to choose for their effect to take place or not take place, the result would be an eternal universe, as the effect must be coexistent with its eternal cause. This, however, is inconsistent with what we observe about the universe, namely, that it had a beginning.

    Regarding Occam’s Razor, given my argument to Kazz, the eternal cause necessary for the existence of the universe is also by necessity a mind, thus I will claim that I am in fact justified for citing a mind as the cause of the universe. Incidentally, I would like to see you respond to the argument I have presented to Kazz. It has yet to come up in this discussion and I am curious as to what your reaction is.

    Joel

  39. The first statement is correct. We do not observe a full understanding of what is going on. However we do observe the effects of this imbalance. By you existing, the imbalance has to be there or the universe itself would not have matter. The mechanism is difficult to understand as little data has been collected under these extreme types of condition. The LHC can provide insight into this issue. I am simply stating that this is understood. Biochemists utilize metal mechanisms that are fundamentally not fully understood, we know that they reach a certain point, do something, and form a product. You would not state that because we don’t understand the full complexity and this mechanism is incomplete that the series known is possibly incorrect, flawed, or not necessarily true. We know the starting conditions, what had to occur (an imbalance), and their possible explanations due to what we can observe today and what we understand currently at the sub-atomic level. This does not invalidate the claim, it simply states this is our best or perhaps one of the better explanations for what occurred. As you would not state that God intervened on the metal-radical reaction of Alcohol Addition using K+MnO4-/in an aprotic solvent to explain what happened in between, similarly, it is not intelligent, honest, or correct to state that God intervened or assisted in the early universe or at all.

    It is not abstract hand waving because we know portions. To know that a radical mechanism is what is used because of the reactivity, reaction that occurs, and the conditions present; similarly, vacuum energy/baryogenesis are part of the mechanism that assists in what we know happened and conforms already to known conditions and settings of the early universe. It is a theory, but a very good theory. It is not simple conjecture, it is scientific. To state God, is conjecture and is unscientific and unreasonable.

    Firstly, no one can know anything before the starting of the universe and no data can be obtained prior to this point of beginning, therefore it is irrelevant. Again, I return to a Carl Sagan quote as before. We must pursue our claims of the world courageously. To state a God of the gaps – where God fills in what we can’t understand, why not save the step of such a creator, and simple conclude we cannot know or that the prior condition already existed. To make a mythological claim is fallacious and ridiculous. It is not needed or necessary.

    Therefore, why don’t we all save a step.

    I shall leave with a video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd7iXASIOdA

    Enjoy,
    Isaac Mills

  40. Joel I’m only going to make one comment because I really don’t feel like discussing this in depth. The big bang isn’t necessarily the beginning of the universe. People regularly reference it as such but it’s not completely correct. The big bang was simply a point where all the observable (and I emphasis that) matter/energy was condensed into a very small space. It wasn’t necessarily the beginning of energy it self, just a point at which it was localized far more then it is now. Due to the properties of such energy densities we can’t know what happened before this time or even during it. I’m hopeful that the LHC data will help alleviate these problems, but even if it dose not it still would not imply the beginning of the universe at the big bang.

    Further more given that we’ve never observed matter and energy being created, it seems likely thought not definite that the energy/matter was there since before the big bang, and when it comes down to it we have no real reason to assume otherwise. As such there is no need for a creation as it seems likely that nothing was created. If you have some papers or research that claims other wise I’d like to see.

    As for your comments on infinity, something has had to always exist. I take the lack of observable data of god’s existence, coupled with what we know about energy and it’s conservation to imply an eternally exist physical universe as opposed to a spiritual one.

  41. a friend of mine writes in-

    In response to comment#77 Joe’s original rebuttal to Joel’s original argument for the existence of God:

    “The big bang hypothesis has been embraced for the past 100 years by leading scientists. Here is just a snippet:

    “Now, as a result of the singularity theorems, nearly everyone believes that the universe began with a singularity.”

    (Stephen Hawking, “Origin of the Universe,” Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays, Bantam Books, [1993])

    “Yes, it is true that not all Big Bang supporters like, or accept, the idea put forward by some that our universe was created from nothing. But, what does seem to be the popular belief, by a majority of cosmologists who make their ideas known to the public, are the notions that our universe is finite and is of a finite age.”

    (Vincent Sauve,”Is Big Bang Cosmology Good Science or ‘Creation Science’?”)

    “There are some skeptics who have written ‘the Big Bang never happened’, by which they mean that the universe is not expanding today and it never has been. They say this despite overwhelming evidence in favor of expansion and cooling today and for the last 15 billion years.”

    (Physicist Paul J. Steinhardt of Princeton University, http://wwwphy.princeton.edu/~steinh/npr/)

    Moreover, its implications in pointing to theism has been well-understood by scientists as well:

    “[The Big Bang] smacks of divine intervention.”

    (Stephen Hawking. 1988. A Brief History of Time, New York, Bantam Books, p. 46.)

    “Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact.”

    (P.C.W. Davies, The Mind of God (New York: Simon & Schuster: 1992), p. 16.)

    “Perhaps the best argument in favor of the thesis that the Big Bang supports theism is the obvious unease with which it is greeted by some atheist physicists. At times this has led to scientific ideas, such as continuous creation [steady state] or an oscillating universe, being advanced with a tenacity which so exceeds their intrinsic worth that one can only suspect the operation of psychological forces lying very much deeper than the usual academic desire of a theorist to support his/her theory.”

    (Christopher Isham, 1988. “Creation of the Universe as a Quantum Process,” in Physics, Philosophy, and Theology, A Common Quest for Understanding, eds. R. J. Russell, W. R. Stoeger, and G. V. Coyne, Vatican City State: Vatican Observatory, p. 378.)

    “[The Big Bang] involves a certain metaphysical aspect which may be either appealing or revolting”

    (Hubert Reeves., Andouze, J., Fowler, W. A., and Schramm, D. N. 1973. “On the Origin of the Light Elements”. Astrophysical Journal 179: p. 912)

    “The problem we have is that every particle in the universe originated in the singularity . . . That’s unacceptable because there are no laws of physics that tell you how they came out of it.”

    (Cambridge University Professor Neil Turok cited in Astronomy Magazine [September, 1999], p. 38)

    “What is the ultimate solution to the origin of the Universe? The answers provided by the astronomers are disconcerting and remarkable. Most remarkable of all is the fact that in science, as in the Bible, the world begins with an act of creation.”

    (Robert Jastrow, Until the Sun Dies, 1977)

    “Apart from being philosophically unacceptable, the Big-Bang is an over-simple view of how the Universe began, and it is unlikely to survive the decade ahead.”

    (John Maddox. 1989. “Down with the Big Bang.” Nature 340: p. 425)

    The sting of big bang cosmology has surely been felt. The other point, brought up through the Sagan quote, was, “If the general picture of a Big Bang, followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before then?…”

    Presumably, the universe is eternal then. But you spent quite a bit of space in point #3 explaining how this cannot be right, thus the “infinite regression” suggestion cannot be promoted uncritically.

    Finally, regarding Occam’s Razor, I have to say that when you weigh the hypotheses against each other, theism looks pretty simple: You have either (i) the atheist’s scenario – which is that the universe suddenly popped into existence, uncaused out of nothing (which is worse than magic since in magic at least you have the magician), or (ii) that a transcendent mind brought the universe into being. Apply this to the bengal tiger scenario. Is it simpler to prefer that the tiger just popped into being without a cause or that an animal specialist brought it into the room? And keep in mind how complicated it is to imagine an animal specialist – a person with parents, a history of schooling, someone who possesses a complicated brain neurophysiology, someone who possesses trillions of cells (where such cells are themselves complex machines), etc. I ask, which of the two hypotheses would you embrace?

    In any case, and from what I gather, your adversary here accepts your premises, but he doesn’t want to accept the conclusion that the universe was caused.”

  42. In response to 91:

    Your understand of the big bang and how it relates to the formation of the universe is surly lacking. I’ve said this once, but I guess it bares repeating, there is no reason to presuppose that all the energy of the universe came into existence at the big bang. The singularity was just a point when all the energy of the universe was condensed into a very small area, and as such our current theories describing the nature of matter are inadequate to explain what happened here. Hell we haven’t even unified gravity yet so we can’t say for sure what happened prior to this point or if there even was a prior point. Given what we know of energy it’s a leap to argue that it was created at all.

    Even if for the sake of argument it was created, it had to have been created from something that already existed. As such the possibility for a completely naturalistic explanation is still present. What you’re trying to do is say that since we don’t know it must be god. I’m sorry but such answers are bull shit, and have no evidentary backing. You can believe it all you like but you have no physical or logical reason to presuppose it. No matter how you look at it some form of infinite regress must exist, whether it be supernatural or natural, nether are impossible, but I’d argue that only one (the naturalistic one) is probable.

    I’m an atheist and I accept that the big bang happened. I have no real reason to doubt otherwise, however this is a detrimental blow to most forms of Christianity as it out right contradicts the genesis account of creation and pushes the age of the universe back 13.7 billion years. Once the big bang happened all other events took place naturally, which implies that evolution took place and that humans are no more special then any other animal (at lest intrinsically). At best you’ve put forward a deist god, and removed the god of the bible. Personally I’m ok whit that, as it’s not directly contradictory to the evidence, however it’s still a leap which is taken for no real reason.

  43. Endgame -do you know what infinite regression is?

  44. Yes, it’s the idea that an infinite number of events must have preceded this one. Consequently an infinite amount of time must have also preceded. Many people try and use these points to argue that we could never exist if this was true as an infinite amount of time would have to pass to be where we are. However this argument isn’t completely correct. Basically it argues that time has a fulcrum, a point at which it moves, in order for time to be moving at the point it is it must have passed through an infinite amount of time to get there and there in lies the paradox. Now I hope you can see one of the major flaws in this argument (in fact there are several, but I will only elaborate on the one). It’s completely unphysical, time dose not exist at one point, and exist at all possible points. Remember time and space are linked and have similar properties, one of those properties include continues existence. Just as the space mars occupies exist simultaneously with the space that earth exist, so to dose the present exist simultaneously with any point in the past, or the future for that matter. I hope you can see my point, but if not I can try to elaborate more if you’d like.

    P.S. To Joel, you seem some what well read in the areas of cosmology, but still you seem to be jumping to conclusions at points and making several assertions that aren’t completely correct (such as pair production being the only form of particle creation). I would be happy to discuss some of your point with you in ether the forum or in person (preferably in person I’d also rather not have to wright everything out as I’d have to wright several pages), this particular board is ill suited to such long arguments.

  45. From the Mothership, the age of the universe is considered to be the time from the Big Bang until now, roughly 13.7 billion years. This is not to say that a universe did not exist before this one, or rather, before the Big Bang, we just simply have no way of knowing at this time what happened prior to about 6 seconds before the Big Bang, in a universe identical to ours but with “backwards time.” Our universe specifically may have had a beginning, but that does not imply that matter could not have existed beforehand, and one main theory is that the universe(s) has been constantly in a state of expanding/contracting. We just have absolutely no way of studying the universe before this one. To say that this is proof of a creator is to say that you misconceive what the universe and time actually are.

  46. Isaac, first of all, what does that video have to do with our discussion? It fails to address any of the points we have been talking about.

    Here is a story of my own which is a bit more relevant:

    Two students, Jim and Bob, are working in the lab one day and Jim comes up to Bob and says, “Hey, I want you to look at this.” He brings Bob over to a piece of tape he has hanging off the edge of one of the lab benches. Jim takes an additional two pieces of tape, sticks them together, pulls them apart, and then brings one of the pieces near the tape stuck to the table. An unseen force pulls the two pieces towards one another. “Oh, that’s easily explained by gravity,” says Bob, “all the particles in the universe are attracted to one another.” Jim looks quizzically at Bob. “I agree with you that gravity may be at work here, but your theory is not sufficient to explain the situation. The phenomenon you are describing has certain limits on how it can interact with things.” “Oh, I agree with you there as well,” says Bob, “but since these pieces of tape are being pulled towards one another, gravity must be doing it. There must be some other factor here that allows gravity to do this.” “But we have never seen gravity act in this manner, and there is also no theory of how it could act in this manner, even if there were other factors present,” says Jim. Bob begins to get frustrated with Jim at this point. “Jim, we know that the pieces of tape are moving towards one another. We also know that gravity pulls things together. It therefore must be gravity acting in a way we do not understand.” “Bob, I am not saying that it cannot be gravity. I am just saying that if it is gravity, you will have to give some explanation of why it is doing this when this seems beyond the scope of the force you are describing. If you try and write a force diagram for this situation, the numbers do not work out according to the rules of gravity.”

    Bob tries to explain the function of charge attraction via gravity and fails. Dismissing his arguments for why gravity does not apply to the situation are “intelligent, honest, and correct”. By the same token, I argue that your theory for the existence of the universe falls short. I am not simply arguing that there is an absence of evidence for the theory, and therefore it is wrong. I am arguing from positive evidence that the phenomenon you are pointing to as an explanation does not have the scope required to explain the effect, a point that has been admitted by scientists. The phenomenon as an idea itself is the limiting factor here, not just the absence of evidence.

    To address your claim that, “no one can know anything before the starting of the universe and no data can be obtained prior to this point of beginning, therefore it is irrelevant”:

    You state that we cannot address questions that cannot be verified by experimentation, and yet you are willing to throw your faith upon a theory that, not only lacks evidence to back it up, but has evidence that would point towards its insufficiency as an explanation. If we want to talk about believing in things that cannot be observed, let’s start there.

    Additionally, I would argue that you are able know something about the cause of the universe through logical analysis, regardless of whether you can observe the cause or not. If we assume that the cause of the universe was a set of initial conditions that could not choose for the universe to come into existence, then the universe must be co-eternal with its causer, and therefore material existence should be eternal. However, we see that the universe is not a cold dead ultra-thin gas, and thus we know that a cause of that kind, namely the kind that does not have free will, is insufficient as an explanation. I come to this using scientific information we have gathered about the universe, but I am not required to actually observe the cause of the universe in order to come to this logical conclusion. Thus, the question of what caused the universe is not a moot one. This argument does not present a “God-of-the-gaps”. Such arguments depend on the lack of an explanation or evidence and posit God as an arbitrary answer. I am arguing from evidence based upon the logical impossibility of one of two possible types of causes. Thus, I am left with one and only one viable option.

    As for your parting comment, “To make a mythological claim is fallacious and ridiculous,” that is only true if such a claim is made without evidence. Gods, goddesses, spirits, nymphs, faeries, and the like are no different than aliens. Without evidence to back them up there is no reason to suppose that they exist, but that does not mean that they themselves are fallacious. There is nothing inherently contradictory about the existence of a deity. There may be reasons to outlaw specific deities based on their characteristics, but I would challenge you to explain why a god (that is not Christian, Jewish, Indian, or otherwise) as an idea is fallacious.

    EndGameOmega, you said,”… but even if it it dose not it still would not imply the beginning of the universe at the big bang.”

    All right, let us then assume that the material universe began at the Big Bang and there was some other thing (call it energy if you wish) that existed prior to the material universe. We can still apply my analysis that I explained to Isaac regarding the two types of causes for the Big Bang. The result is the same conclusion. You must have a cause with the ability to freely choose its effect to come into existence; otherwise the material universe is eternal, which is obviously not the case.

    You then said, “Further more given that we’ve never observed matter and energy being created, it seems likely thought not definite that the energy/matter was there since before the big bang, and when it comes down to it we have no real reason to assume otherwise.” All right, let’s assume that energy is not created or destroyed. You still have the problem that I explained above. If you have this eternal energy that created the universe, you still have to explain why the material universe is not co-eternal with its causer if you want to avoid the eternal cause as a mind.

    You said, “As for your comments on infinity, something has had to always exist.” I do not disagree with you on this point. Something must be eternal. The question is whether or not that something is a mind, a question I believe I have discovered an answer to.

    You said, “What you’re trying to do is say that since we don’t know it must be god. I’m sorry but such answers are bull shit, and have no evidentary backing.” I want to emphasize once again that my argument does not depend upon this “God-of-the-gaps” for reasons that I expressed to Isaac. My argument is far from being bullshit, as it depends upon the logical elimination of one of two types of causes.

    You said, “Once the big bang happened all other events took place naturally, which implies that evolution took place and that humans are no more special then any other animal (at lest intrinsically). At best you’ve put forward a deist god, and removed the god of the bible.” If we assume that a mind created the universe, we cannot conclude necessarily that it does not interfere with the workings of the universe. Such a claim simply does not follow logically. Far from it, if a mind was able to create the universe, small incidents such as communicating with human beings seems rather trivial in comparison.

    You said, “Just as the space mars occupies exist simultaneously with the space that earth exist, so to dose the present exist simultaneously with any point in the past, or the future for that matter. I hope you can see my point, but if not I can try to elaborate more if you’d like.”
    Please do so.

    Endgameomega, you mentioned that there are other means of particle creation. To what are you referring exactly?

    Joel

  47. Oh, Saudrapsmann, I just noticed your comment about the oscillating universe theory. That theory has actually been disproved. There are a couple reasons. One is that the mass of the universe is not sufficient for a Big Crunch. There simply is not enough stuff for it to be unstable. Second, the universe is expanding at an accelerate rate, so far from slowing down and reversing, we are actually speeding up. Third, entropy would be conserved from cycle to cycle according to the equations, and thus subsequent expansions would have less free energy available to do work. The result is that the universe gets more and more disordered with each collapse and also expands further and further with each Bang. Thus, if you rewind time you still have a singularity and if you fast forward time you still have an ultra-thin gas that results from an eternal past. This of course leads into the question of the nature of the cause of the material universe that allows for what we observe today, a question I address in my previous postings.

    Joel

  48. Long response incoming. You know Joel if you want to argue anything this in depth the forums really is a better place for it. It allows people to quote more easily and also insert links as well as pictures. Anyway on to the response (note I haven’t really spell checked this).

    “All right, let us then assume that the material universe began at the Big Bang and there was some other thing (call it energy if you wish) that existed prior to the material universe. We can still apply my analysis that I explained to Isaac regarding the two types of causes for the Big Bang. The result is the same conclusion. You must have a cause with the ability to freely choose its effect to come into existence; otherwise the material universe is eternal, which is obviously not the case.”

    Your analysis was false, that was kind of my point. If all the energy of the universe has always existed it didn’t need to be created at all. Like I said you seem to be some what well read but I don’t think you fully understand the arguments. I guess I have no choice I have to go over your previous arguments and point out the problems whit it.

    From your post#76:

    “Anything that begins to exist has a cause for its existence.”

    Yes, but don’t get hung up on the word usage. That something begins doesn’t mean what it’s actually made of ever began. Your analogy of a Bengal tiger suddenly appearing is bad primarily because it assumes ex nihlo innately.

    “Sometimes others have cited the emergence of particles out of the vacuum energy due to its fluctuations as something coming from nothing. This is a confusion regarding the definition of nothing. This is not an example of something coming from nothing, but rather matter coming from energy, which is not “nothing” in the strict philosophical sense.”

    Yes and no. Particles can just appear out of the vacuum with out having any energy there to make them real. They’re known as virtual particles, and they come into existence thanks to the inexact relation of energy and time I.e. [E,T] >= iħ. The effect is that particles can pop into and then out of existence with out energy inputed. There are of course exceptions, events which can cause these particles to stick around without added energy, such as hawking radiation. Though that dose alter the mass relation of the body emanating the radiation. Though it might be possible for the energy of the universe to have coalesced with something else, an antienergy of sorts that should have similar properties to the dark energy we see in the universe. Of coarse this is purely hypothetical guess work on my end (though I see no out right problems with this), but the point is to show how it’s possible for the energy of the universe to have come into existence from vacuum fluctuations.

    “Due to the red shift, we know that the universe is expanding and therefore if we reverse the flow of time, we find the universe reduced to a infinitely dense point.”

    Yes, however our mechanics break before it reaches this point. We don’t know for sure that the energy ever reached a true singularity, just that it was very hot and dense.

    “Also, the fact that it is expanding contradicts a steady state universe because such a universe would have no mechanism for expansion.”

    Uh, no. There are several different models of the steady state which would allow for pockets of the universe to expand (as well as come into existence), we could be in such a pocket. I don’t really agree with the steady state theory as it lacks any hard evidence but it hasn’t been completely discounted yet.

    “Another reason for the universe having a beginning is the fact that the universe is hot. If the universe were eternal, energy available to do work would have eventually been depleted an eternity in the past and we would be left with an ultra-thin gas that permeated the dead cosmos. However, this is not the case, and, far from it, the universe is alive and kicking. Stars are still burning, life is still at it, and consequently we are here to see it.”

    This sounds like your arguing about entropy rather then heat, and you might have a point if now for the fact that the universe had a very hot dense phase, i.e. the big bang era (I’ll elaborate on why in my next paragraph). Of course even if it didn’t have an initial superheated past it might still be possible to alleviate the problems of entropy. To start with the universe it self can be modeled primarily as a photon gas which it self has constant entropy. As such the universe as a whole has a mostly constant amount of entropy. The effects of entropy are limited to other forms of matter, and only over long periods of time can have a noticeable effect. The problem with this is that there are phenomenon in the universe which are not fully understood and could very well have a negative effect on entropy. Things which significantly alter space-time unusually are a good example (Dark energy as an example).

    “Even if you cite the theory of the oscillating universe as an alternative to the Big Bang, entropy is still conserved from cycle to cycle, and as such you would still eventually end up with the same result of energy being used up, and even if this were true, the universe would still expand from cycle to cycle, and so if you rewound time, once again, you would find that the universe would collapse to a point.”

    My first response is where did you hear this from, as it’s not completely true. If the universe had a very hot dense phase it would have the effect of reducing and ‘resetting’ the entropy of the universe. Remember entropy is not disorder but rather multiplicity. When you bring something near an infinite temperature all states become equally probable, and as such you are going to get migration of items into states that are entropic limited at lower temperatures. Once you let this mass expand and cool you will still have items in lower entropy states then before the crunch. The effect is a ‘reversing’ in entropy.

    “In addition, there is no known method of collapsing the universe, as the calculated amount of mass in the universe is far too little to cause a collapse like you might see with a black hole.”

    It’s not that simple. There are other secondary effects at work in the universe, hence things like accelerated expansion, and dark matter.

    “In the 1940s George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang had occurred, the result would be that background temperature of the universe would be a few degrees above absolute zero. In 1965, measurements of the universe’s background radiation placed the temperature at 3.7 degrees. There is currently no other explanation for this phenomenon other than the Big Bang Theory. Also, the Big Bang theory accurately predicted the ratio of hydrogen to helium that would have been produced by the explosion. Also, while iron and carbon are produced by stars and supernova, materials such as deuterium, light helium, and lithium require an environment with temperatures so extreme that only the Big Bang offers an explanation.”

    I concur whole heartedly, the big bang in some form had to have happened, and our patch of the universe (I.e. the visible part) had a hot dense past. Whether it was an out right singularity or not is still hotly debated, and currently unknowable as we lack both a unified theory of the forces and good data from this ultra hot period. For instance we don’t know how a quark gluon plasma would behave which would have been the fundamental substrate with in the universe at this time. The properties of this matter could quite possibly prohibit the formation of a singularity. Additionally we don’t know how big the whole of the universe was at this point, merely our own section.

    “Also, lack of old galaxies near ours means that the universe is not extremely old, and lack of very young galaxies near ours means that continual creation is not occurring.”

    Not necessarily, granted galaxies aren’t much older then 11-13 billion years or much younger then 7-9 billion, but that doesn’t intrinsically mean that universe had a begging per say, just that it had a hot dense phase. Such an even would have acted like a reset event for any previous events and any other galaxies would cease to exist at the compression phase. Or it’s also possible that the energy came from somewhere else (I.e vacuum fluctuations). Regardless of where it came from the fact is the universe could have just as easily have existed from trillions of years and because of the big bang we couldn’t know for sure (at lest with our current tools).

    As for continual creation, you wouldn’t expect to see young galaxies just pop out of no where. Rather you would expect to see any created matter fall into already existing galaxies.

    “Also, the lack of galaxies and quasars beyond a certain distance means that the universe could not be infinite in age. Also, there is not an infinite distance between various galaxies that would have resulted from an infinite period of expansion had there been a possible means for driving expansion in a steady state universe.”

    Not necessarily. Remember what I’ve been saying, all you need is an entropic reset, ether the creation of energy out of the vacuum (which would likely be in bulk rather then individual) or a mass collapse into a hot dense particle soup.

    “I also know the universe had a beginning because an actual infinite cannot exist. By actual infinite, I mean that I could have an actually infinite number of existing things, such as marbles. I do not mean a potential infinite, which is approached but never reached.”

    This statement conflicts with what you’ve recently said. I’ve already addressed this point, and you seemed to agree with me so I’m not sure what exactly you’ve meant by this statement. Regardless I’ll get back to this point later.

    “Now, let’s say I give you my infinite amount of marbles. The equation that results from this operation is that infinity minus infinity is zero (I have none left).”

    What you’ve highlighted hear is a failure of mathematics to quantify infinity. To put it bluntly infinity as it’s understood by mathematics doesn’t readily allow for the operations your trying to use on it. Effectively your trying to make a physical point by using a non physically applicable form of mathematics. This doesn’t preclude that an infinite number of items can’t exist merely that they can not be quantified as whole by the method your trying to use.

    “Now let us suppose I want my infinite amount of marbles returned to me, but you still want an infinite amount of marbles, so you strike up a brilliant plan. You decide to number them and give me all the odd marbles, while keeping all the even ones for yourself. The equation that results from this transaction is that infinity minus infinity is infinity. After awhile you get tired of carrying all those marbles around and you decide to give them all back to me save for the prettiest one (how you would have the time to make such a choice is beyond me). The result from this exchange is that infinity minus infinity is one. Thus, as you can see from this short story, applying the theory of the infinite to the real world results in contradictory nonsense. ”

    Yes, this is the whole even odd paradox that arise from the use of an infinite set of countable objects. Of course you end up finding out that the carnality of the three sets (even, odd and integer) is all the same, which of course makes sense as they are all countably infinite. This doesn’t prove that an infinite number of objects can’t exist, just that they can be quantified in the same way as we quantified a countably finite set of things.

    “Since the eternal past would constitute an infinite number of actual existing past events, the universe cannot be infinite.”

    Again your argument here contradicts what you’ve recently said. An infinite must exist somewhere hell I’d argue you agreed to the antithesis of this very statement, and yet according to the argument you’ve made here it can not.

    “I also know that the universe cannot be eternal because an actual infinite cannot be formed by successive addition. This argument is independent of the one I just gave, as this argument does not deal with whether an actual infinite can exist, but rather whether it can be formed by successive addition. For instance, if you start at one and start counting, you will never be able to reach an infinite number, as you will always be able to count one more number. Now apply this backwards and try and form an infinite past. It cannot be done. Try and successfully count down from negative infinity to zero. You will never reach the present moment in time.”

    Thought your premises is correct the conclusion dose not follow as I elaborated earlier and have again done so further on. In effect this is the idea of an infinite regression.

    “After having determined that the universe had a beginning, given the premises, I therefore know that the universe had a cause for its existence.”

    Agreed all events which are bound by causality have an initial cause. I believe the universe’s begging was natural and hence is bound by a form of cause and effect.

    “Causes can be arranged into two major categories.”

    I disagree. All cause and effect is fundamentally the same there is no real distinction. Of course I’ll elaborate as I go on.

    “The first category is a cause that immediately results in its effect. An example of this interaction would be exposing gasoline to heat. There is a point where the temperature is such that the gasoline spontaneously combusts. This event is fully dependent on the existence of initial conditions for the instantiation of the state we call an explosion. The gasoline cannot decide to explode, and neither can the temperature decide to prevent the gasoline from doing so.”

    Agreed all physical events are bound by this simple cause and effect (though there my be a bit of probability thrown in as opposed to classical determinism).

    “The second category is a cause that, unlike the other type of cause, has a choice in allowing its effect to resolve. It may be the case that neither or both of these types of causes exist in reality, but regardless of their actual existence, this means of categorization allows for only these two options when discussing causes.”

    This cause wouldn’t seem to exist at all. You may consider it but fundamentally there is no real bases for this premises or evidence of it’s existence. Also such a cause and effect system would undermine the nature of pure cause and effect as well as naturalism it self (including the idea of science).

    “There can be no third type of cause that both does and does not have choice in whether its effect comes into being. Now, as a naturalist, you may disagree with the existence of free will or true freedom of choice, as the whole history of the universe is written by the initial conditions that cause our ultimate thought processes. While I would disagree with this conclusion, I will grant you this, as it does not have any bearing on the argument, since, while we may say that this category does not actually exist in the universe, it still exists as a possible category.”

    Ok, I’ll agree to this.

    “Now, let us consider the two categories and see what happens when we apply them to the universe’s cause. If we assume that the eternal cause of the universe is of the type we first considered, namely that where its effect is coexistent with its cause, the conclusion that arises from this is that the universe should be coexistent with its cause, and therefore coeternal. However, this conflicts with our establishment of a beginning to the universe as evident from the three arguments I gave.”

    However your above argument where not only severely lacking in many areas but I’d argue out right wrong. Also even if they where true they would not inherently imply this conclusion, as the cause could still be completely natural. You’ve yet to rule this out.

    “Thus, there is only one other viable option as to the nature of the universal cause, this being a cause that exhibits free will of choice.”

    Because the premises of this conclusion is false the conclusion is not valid. You’ve yet to actually show this.

    “This leads us to the conclusion that the cause of the universe exhibits the ability to choose, and therefore, has that quality that we associate solely with the idea of a mind, at least in the classic philosophical sense. Now even if it is true that a free will chose for the universe to come into being, you might say that we as humans are deprived of free will and cannot truly choose. Perhaps we are strapped in for the ride as it were because our choices are determined by the initial conditions that this universal mind set up at the Big Bang and we are mindlessly following out its whim. Could be.”

    If you ‘believe’ in chemistry it would have to be, as our brains work through chemical interactions most of which have been identified and categorized. We know how the brain works on a cellular level, and we have a decent idea of how it works on a macroscopic level, the problem is understanding how it work on the medium scale, and we’ve made significant progress in this area over the past few decades. Hell, it’s possible to predict what someone is going to do or even think about before they do by looking at there brain activity in an MRI.

    “I tend to think (though perhaps it is not I thinking such thoughts, but this universal mind) that this idea that we call free will not only applies to this super-mind, but also to the beings that have come about as a product of its choice to create the universe. I have no logical argument at the moment that requires us to be free to choose, but it seems to match up in a pragmatic sense given our preoccupation with ideas of responsibility and obligatory behavior.”

    But like you said you have no real reason to believe so, and if fact the evidence would point away from this conclusion. As for responsibility and obligation, these can come about even with out true freewill. All we need is the appearance of it, a virtual freewill for these ideas to work. Even though we don’t actually have freewill we the appearance of it and can not with any accuracy know the future, as such there would be no way to live with out these ideas.

    “Call it faith I suppose.”

    Unfortunately (from my perspective) I think it is.

    “Now this argument does not carry me very far. All it says is that something caused the universe and that that something was what most of us would consider to be a mind, as it has the ability to choose (I tend to think there is one mind, since there is no need to multiply causes). This does not bring one to religion, nor the idea that this mind should be worshipped, and especially not any specific belief. It does however make me wonder about all those shamans, witch doctors, priests, and monks that claim they have had some sort of interaction with this being or beings in the midst of their solitude and contemplation of the world. While this does not legitimize their claims, it at least justifies them in a general theoretical sense and gives warrant for some investigation. It may be that all religions are actually attempts at mankind to understand an innate understanding of this presence of the super-mind, but all fall short of the mark to a greater or lesser degree.”

    This is a form of deism with some new age philosophy thrown in. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I’m just saying that’s what your conclusion is it self implying. Though as I pointed out above I don’t think your conclusion is correct.

    End of response to post #76.

    Ugh, this is why I didn’t respond to this post earlier, it’s to damn long Xp. Anyway continuing with the rest of your post:

    “All right, let’s assume that energy is not created or destroyed. You still have the problem that I explained above. If you have this eternal energy that created the universe, you still have to explain why the material universe is not co-eternal with its causer if you want to avoid the eternal cause as a mind.”

    The cause would be internal, as it is with all cause and effect reactions in the real world. It’s just like in a chemical reaction the energy for the reaction comes from the energy of the individual molecules moving around, and from the electron interactions of the atoms. At best your trying to make a metaphysical argument about the nature of existence it self, which is seems to be fundamentally unanswerable with significant certainty.

    Sigh, but if I had to argue an answer I’d argue that nothing take up no space, no energy and fundamentally doesn’t exist, while something dose, as such something must exist as it’s the only thing that can.

    “I do not disagree with you on this point. Something must be eternal. The question is whether or not that something is a mind, a question I believe I have discovered an answer to.”

    Great then you have contradicted your self. Something that is eternal is infinite in at lest some respect (time if nothing else). As such an actual infinite must exist.

    “I want to emphasize once again that my argument does not depend upon this “God-of-the-gaps” for reasons that I expressed to Isaac. My argument is far from being bullshit, as it depends upon the logical elimination of one of two types of causes.”

    You could have fooled me. Most of your reasoning is questionable at best and requires the presupposition that a creator exist in order to be correct. For instance your original statement: “ you still have to explain why the material universe is not co-eternal with its causer” is a perfect example of presupposing a causer out side of the physical. There is no reason to believe the cause was metaphysical yet by this statement you are requiring me to give one. I’m sorry but that looks very much like a “god-of-the-gaps” argument to me.

    “If we assume that a mind created the universe, we cannot conclude necessarily that it does not interfere with the workings of the universe. Such a claim simply does not follow logically. Far from it, if a mind was able to create the universe, small incidents such as communicating with human beings seems rather trivial in comparison.”

    While in principle it may be trivial to do so the point of the matter is you’ve already excluded such possibilities by using a natural explanation for things. If you want to claim that this entity has interfered with the natural world then you’ve destroyed the fundamental principle upon which science rest. Additionally while I can’t out right discount it the lack of any empirical evidence for it leads to the question of why it should even be considered. We don’t seriously consider anything if there is no physical reason to consider it otherwise you have to ask yourself why you believe in one thing without evidence and not another, for instance why god, but not fairies? If you want to believe in a god which physical effects the world and science at the same time then at best your beliefs are inconsistent.

    “You said, “Just as the space mars occupies exist simultaneously with the space that earth exist, so to dose the present exist simultaneously with any point in the past, or the future for that matter. I hope you can see my point, but if not I can try to elaborate more if you’d like.”
    Please do so.”

    Ok, space and time are related entities. In fact they share a similar relation between the rate of change. For instance the faster that something moves through space the slower it moves through time, and vise a versa. SR gives the relation t = t_0 (1-v^2/c^2)^(-1/2 ) a little manipulation can give you a similar relation for spacial distortion (length contraction), GR gives a form which is more complex, but has the same basic premises, namely that position and time are deeply related and have similar properties. One of these properties is that of coexistence at all points. If space exist at a point so must time, and again vise a versa. As such if space existed I the past so must have time, and like space can have static points time can as well. It’s not a formal argument, but I think it’s completing enough.

    “Endgameomega, you mentioned that there are other means of particle creation. To what are you referring exactly?”

    Any number of events can create particles, all you need is ether a surplus of energy, a short time frame (plank scale) or a variety of other physical events. Any number of particles can be created provided they satisfy the various conservation equations. Off the top of my head I’d point to free neutron decay which has the form N → [P+] + [e-] + [ῡe], or the production of a proton, electron and an electron antineutrino. Here you have one particle decaying into three, you can have similar reactions with photons or other energy carrying particles, all you need is to conserve the various quantities such as charge, spin, etc. Thought there are some exceptions, such as in perfection in mass conservation over short time spans allowing for more heavy particle interaction in some decay changes where it normally wouldn’t be possible.

    Post2:

    “Oh, Saudrapsmann, I just noticed your comment about the oscillating universe theory. That theory has actually been disproved.”

    No it hasn’t. There’s insufficient evidence to believe it happened yes, but it has not been out right disproven. You would have been correct to say that the most popular model for an oscillating universe has been disproven, but there are multiple models, and not all have been disproven.

    “There are a couple reasons. One is that the mass of the universe is not sufficient for a Big Crunch. There simply is not enough stuff for it to be unstable.”

    Uh, it’s not that simple, at all. According to calculations the mass of the universe isn’t negative ether yet it seems to be behaving as such. Hence expansion.

    “Second, the universe is expanding at an accelerate rate, so far from slowing down and reversing, we are actually speeding up.”

    Yes, and there are models which take this acceleration into account, and even predict it. For instance there are models which predict that the universe came about through a massive quantum fluctuation and it currently undergoing acceleration because of it. Eventually it will accelerate to the point at which matter, energy and spacetime are moving so fast from each other they will effective vanish. The decreasing size of the visible universe is actually a good argument for this.

    “Third, entropy would be conserved from cycle to cycle according to the equations, and thus subsequent expansions would have less free energy available to do work.”

    No it wouldn’t. Like I said there are many models out there and most do not conserver entropy from cycle to cycle. Hell like I argued in my above post I don’t even think conservation of entropy wold be possible.

    “The result is that the universe gets more and more disordered with each collapse and also expands further and further with each Bang.”

    No, No, No, a thousands times No. Entropy is NOT disorder, it’s multiplicity. Please don’t get the two confused. Sorry, but it’s become a major pet peeve of mine.

    “Thus, if you rewind time you still have a singularity and if you fast forward time you still have an ultra-thin gas that results from an eternal past. This of course leads into the question of the nature of the cause of the material universe that allows for what we observe today, a question I address in my previous postings.”

    And whit which I had serious questions about. I don’t think you fully understand the theories your trying to argue.

    Anyway I done for a while this took to long to write. If you have any small questions or request for clarification on a point or two I’d be happy to help, but I’m not writing this much again for a while.

  49. Wow, that’s a really long post EndGameOmega, but do you really know this stuff? I mean entropy shows that the universe is becoming more disorganized. Things don’t become more ordered as time goes on, so how could evolution make things more complex? It violates the laws of physics. To quote your self, you seem well read but you don’t fully understand your own arguments.

  50. To Geo:

    From My post #98

    ““The result is that the universe gets more and more disordered with each collapse and also expands further and further with each Bang.”

    No, No, No, a thousands times No. Entropy is NOT disorder, it’s multiplicity. Please don’t get the two confused. Sorry, but it’s become a major pet peeve of mine.”

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