1.05.2009

so where....

...did it all start? or, better yet, how did it all if you don't believe in God or intelligent design?

47 comments:

Lee said...

Oh, that is easy... I don't know :-)

I could give you a few ideas though if you like.

However, it is no better for the theist - unless you can tell me where God came from?

Nope... didn't think so.

What we have then is the atheist being honest about their ignorance, and the theist taking on faith that it is God - any evidence that could stand up in court?

Again no.

So you have only the special pleading – not good enough for me.

But it is worse than that - we can both agree that we have questions to answer (life and the universe and stuff) yet you wish to add to this another question, God, why?

If you would like to discuss the first cause argument, happy to do so (as I think I mentioned on an earlier thread), but please take a read on what I have already posted on my blog so I do not have to repeat myself too much.

Cheers

Lee

ryan said...

Lee.

Never letting me down! =)

What sparked this question my watching the documentary, "Expelled" hosted by Ben Stein. In it Richard Dawkins is asked this question and his answer startled me. Keeping in mind that he does not prescribe to ID (Intelligent Design) he said the planet might have been seeded by another species. Aliens? But isn't this a form of ID?

You are right Lee. We both have extremely different "jumping points" to our belief system. However I can, as does Christianity, point to a definitive start. What is evolutions? All that I have come across thus far in my inquiry is theory and more theory.

I have also been hearing more and more often that evolution is moving from theory to fact. Is this correct?

Have a great day Bro.

suburban_dissident said...

i usually don't make comments on evolution questions because (a) they are not critical to the question of God or faith (he fits perfectly into either system and actually makes evolution more coherent) and (b) because, like with most apologetic questions, it is a defensive and not offensive conversation.

what the hell is he talking about? Lee, you put it perfectly, though not fully informed. you are right in saying that a creationist, ID, of Young Earth argument wouldn't hold up in a court of law. then again, it depends on the trail. if i need to prove reasonable doubt that evolution is true and must exclude a God figure, than that is certainly possible. the evolution argument, up and down the ladder, has massive holes. you yourself admit that much.

i always end up bringing God questions back around to tangibles. philosophical arguments are intangibles. i can deal, however, with what i have seen and experienced. and what i have experienced makes the existence of God hard to deny.

lastly, since this is about first cause, i think the question of what first cause means for how we understand the world is as critical (and more attainable) than the question of what the first cuase is. and ever contracting and expanding universe subject to a random, capricious, violent system of biological checks and balances is utterly without meaning. if that is our first cuase, than my typing this, my waking up tomorrow is utterly pointless and i would rather be dead. but, if that first cause is a God who has invest us with meaning and purpose, than at the very least i have the motivation to get up and learn what the heck that means for me.

that is a compelling debate for me. evolution asks and answers nothing. and it certianly doesn't prove that God doesn't exist.

Lee said...

Hi Ryan,

Have to be very short (again) time to catch a train to work

What sparked this question my watching the documentary, "Expelled" hosted by Ben Stein.

Have look at

http://www.expelledexposed.com

In it Richard Dawkins is asked this question and his answer startled me.

Editing can do that.

Keeping in mind that he does not prescribe to ID (Intelligent Design)

Indeed, his how career has been out spoken against it.

he said the planet might have been seeded by another species. Aliens? But isn't this a form of ID?

Yes it is ID - but what question was Richard REALLY addressing?

However I can, as does Christianity, point to a definitive start.

OK - who made God? What came before God?

Your definitive start is where?

Remember the special pleading bit I mentioned.


I have also been hearing more and more often that evolution is moving from theory to fact. Is this correct?

Evolution is fact... the theory to explain it is just that - a theory.

We have discussed this on another thread I thought.

Lee

Lee said...

you are right in saying that a creationist, ID, of Young Earth argument wouldn't hold up in a court of law. then again, it depends on the trail.

Dover trial?

And yes, there are many types of courts around the world, some good, some bad.

Let’s just say that I will like YOU choose the type of court system, but on one condition.
There will be another trial at this court, and it relates to the claim that YOU raped a girl (or boy)

Now you could chose a bad court, or a good court. It is up to you to decide.

I feel however the court you chose will know what good evidence IS. I will use this court to evaluate the evidence FOR God.

Must go

Lee

Lee said...

Hi suburban_dissident,

I was a little short of time this morning, so was brief and touch on just the one point.

I will take a little more time now in responding in full if you don’t mind?

i usually don't make comments on evolution questions because (a) they are not critical to the question of God or faith (he fits perfectly into either system and actually makes evolution more coherent)

Erm… firstly, I don’t recall mentioning evolution here and don’t actually see it in the original post BUT I am glad you raised your point because I don’t understand it :)

‘not critical’? ‘more coherent’?

Well, if we are just taking about any old god (or gods) I could agree with you perhaps – but I truly do not understand how anyone can say evolution is compatible with the main ‘message’ in the bible.

I know many Christians don’t see a problem (where I see many) but very few are willing to have an open and honest discussion about it.

Maybe you could help me understand how evolution is compatible with the idea of ‘Original Sin’?

My understanding is that the ‘Original Sin’ was when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, and Jesus died for this sin – SO, without ‘Original Sin’ Jesus died for nothing?

Next would be the problem of an ‘all-loving’, ‘all-powerful’, and ‘all-loving’ God using evolution as his chosen method… but let’s stick with ‘Original Sin’ for the moment.

I will try and write a new post on my blog outlining my point further.

and (b) because, like with most apologetic questions, it is a defensive and not offensive conversation.

You want to take the ‘offensive’?

I thought that is what Ryan’s post was all about – taking the offensive :-)

...but it fails rather quickly in my view. Sorry Ryan

what the hell is he talking about?

You or me?

I’ve no idea what I am talking about most of the time…

Lee, you put it perfectly, though not fully informed. you are right in saying that a creationist, ID, of Young Earth argument wouldn't hold up in a court of law.

I am glad we can agree :-)

then again, it depends on the trail. if i need to prove reasonable doubt that evolution is true and must exclude a God figure, than that is certainly possible.

What more do I need to do?

the evolution argument, up and down the ladder, has massive holes. you yourself admit that much.

‘gaps’ doesn’t make it wrong… there are enough pieces of the puzzle to suggest it is heading in the right direction. It explains so much about what we see in nature and has not been shown wrong.

‘massive holes’? I’ve never said that – I don’t know enough about the theory of evolution to make such a statement.

i always end up bringing God questions back around to tangibles.

I think I could agree to this… if we are talking about physical things we can touch and see.

philosophical arguments are intangibles.

Well, my education is more in the way of science, so tangible it is then :-)

i can deal, however, with what i have seen and experienced. and what i have experienced makes the existence of God hard to deny.

Ah… well now. Here we come to an issue in such discussions.

How can anyone hope to convince others based only on their personal experiences?

I will not (cannot) deny that you had your experiences and that you truly believe in your conclusions that it points to your god.

However, this doesn’t help me now does it

It raises the question, would you believe someone just because they said it?

I suppose here it depends on the claim.

If a friend comes into the room and tells me that they have just got off the tram and it is raining outside – I could chose to believe them. After all, in Melbourne I have experience personally both rain and trams.

However, if my friends comes in and tells me they have just seen an alien invasion fleet in the local park – I might just ask him to verify what medication he has been taking.

I have no experience in alien invasions fleets and plenty of reasons to doubt his claim.

It does NOT mean it is false – merely that I have reasons to doubt and a little more than his word is required.

Would you agree?

If you do, then you should be able to understand why I feel I have reasonable doubt to question your conclusions and require more than just your personal testimony

If you disagree with me, then I still have some magic beans to sell for only $10,000 – guaranteed to make you $1 million with your first crop.

lastly, since this is about first cause, i think the question of what first cause means for how we understand the world is as critical (and more attainable) than the question of what the first cuase is. and ever contracting and expanding universe subject to a random, capricious, violent system of biological checks and balances is utterly without meaning.

Let me make sure I am following you correctly here.

‘utterly without meaning’?

Are you claiming that their must be meaning to the universe?

Why do you think this, and what makes you know this to be true?

I will have to be clear; I am not talking about any meaning in our lives – I think we make these ourselves – but the universe itself.

if that is our first cuase, than my typing this, my waking up tomorrow is utterly pointless and i would rather be dead.

You would really rather be dead if there was no God? Honestly?

What about your parents, family and friends? Do they mean nothing to you?

I am saddened to have read many Christians writing that if there were no God they would rather be dead, or they should kill the world…

As a non-believer from birth I cannot comprehend such a conclusion.

Why do you feel this way? (If indeed you do)

Without a belief in any gods, I have provided myself reasons to live. Right or wrong.

It seems you have provided your reasons to live to be God – yet you cannot prove God existence is even likely to others can you?

Merely that you desire God for your reasons to live. It seems rather a weak argument.

I might say to you that my reason to live is the belief that I have a giant diamond the size of a car buried in my back garden.

Would this be a good reason to live, especially when I have zero evidence I could provide you for its existence? Would you believe me that I had such a diamond?

but, if that first cause is a God who has invest us with meaning and purpose, than at the very least i have the motivation to get up and learn what the heck that means for me.

I’m all for the learning, but the first cause argument is not a proof for the Christian God – no one little bit – I would challenge that any Christian whose last resort is this argument is on very poor and weak ground.

that is a compelling debate for me.

Happy to explore it with you as time permits…

Though I have written rather a lot recently on another Christian blog on this topic I think (on atheism and life). So please feel free to take a read of my responses there and question me either here or on the other blog where you think I am going wrong.

Would love to hear it.

The link is:-

http://checkmate101.blogspot.com/2008/11/
atheism-and-life.html

evolution asks and answers nothing

What?

Would you also like to say science asks and answers nothing at the same time?

I could not disagree with you more, but if the topic is uninteresting to you – pick a more fun topic. “reasons for living’ seem to be the one you are touching on.

and it certianly doesn't prove that God doesn't exist.

To the best of my knowledge, nothing will disprove God’s existence :-)

Then again, I don’t need to disprove God anymore than I need to disprove Zeus, Woden, the invisible blue unicorn or fairies at the bottom of my garden.

Do you believe in any of these? Nope? Have you got any evidence to disprove them?

Then you might see where I am coming from.

Thanks

Lee

Cara said...

So deep...and long. It would make me have more faith to believe that there wasn't a God. My brain just can't handle the depth of this conversation! I do however miss your deep thinking ways Ryan! :)

Lee said...

Hi Cara,

My brain just can't handle the depth of this conversation!

Erm... sorry. I try and answer all points and it can get a little long.

However, I didn't think anything I was saying was that hard - if it is, please ask me to explain myself further by asking questions. Tell me where you think I am wrong.

I feel the theist should have a good understanding of all arguments for and against their god. Otherwise, how can they be certain?

Thanks - have to

Lee

ryan said...

Cara,

Good to see you dropping in. We miss you guys like crazy.

Lee,

What your looking for is tangible proof, there is an issue here. God works and doesn't work in the tangible, the missing key additive is that which you don't have, faith. Please understand that I'm not scoffing at you or trying to belittle you here but that is something that you lack.
With faith I see God in all things. It is when I allow myself to get in the way that I become blinded. In all of the conversation and thought that has been tossed around this is the wall that we continuously hit, faith. Without it we cannot understand God. With it we can understand everything.

I could ramble on for hours about how God has shown Himself to me in my life. However I feel as though I would be wasting my time. You have already made this clear in early writings. If you change your mind I would be happy to oblige.

“reasons for living’ seem to be the one you are touching on.

On this topic I have a question for you Lee. If you do run into God when you die, what will you say?

You see if I die right now and there is no God my life has not been in vain. (Now please understand that I am saying your life would be in vain, that is not my point here.) I lived a life that served others and loved without condition, this is good life. Now if I die and God is real Heaven is my next trip.

So once again, If you die and run into God what will you say?

CF said...

I'd like to ask some questions:

What explains the fact that humans think, but think imperfectly, love but hate also, are creative but are destructive also, are wise but make foolish decisions?

What explains the our longing for truth or personal fulfillment?

Why is pleasure as we know it now rarely enough to satisfy completely? Why do we usually want more -- more money, more love, more ecstasy?

How do we explain the human refusal to operate in an amoral way?


The answers to these questions (while I would like you to answer them) are somewhat rhetorical, but reflect something deeper than science; the answers show the different worldviews that we adopt. Even if all the answers are scientific, for example, then the worldview possibly is a Naturalistic one. But they cannot be purely scientific as they require answers that cannot be answered with mathematical equations or empirical evidence. That does not negate their importance in our lives and the way we view the world, make decisions, interact with others...

My point is "faith", something unseen, is constantly sent to the wayside and discredited as "fairy tale" and "false hope" simply because there is nothing tangible to associate it with. Faith, in and of itself, cannot be touched; our constant search for truth is not related to that which can be touched. Why search for science? Once the answers are "proven" scientifically, it is simply faith that allows us to believe and trust the results. It was by faith the early humans believed the sun rose in the east and set in the west. Even after it has been proven that the sun does not revolve around the earth, we still describe the sun as "rising" and "setting" because of the "illusion" we have of it going up and down. It is how we "view" the sun. In that same respect, it is the way we view the world that we accept or reject certain answers; it is the way we view the world that shapes our acceptance of certain answers.

To prove or disprove God is not to prove or disprove what you or I think God is or should be. To prove or disprove God is to prove or disprove who GOD says He is. If God says He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent it is these claims we must disprove. However because a Naturalistic worldview limits our ability to comprehend transcending the natural, it is inevitable that the belief in a higher power that has the ability to transcend the natural will not happen.

Using the "court of law" scenario, "beyond reasonable doubt" is, in the end, faith. It is faith that the evidence that has been provided to us (the jury) is accurate because we have no way of measuring or testing the evidence ourselves. Never does a jury prove a case based on the evidence they collected, investigated or questioned. The case is proven based upon testimony of evidence provided by people they may never meet. And while no member of the jury is fully qualified to run said tests, nor are they ever asked to prove the evidence, it is their word alone that decides the fate of the accused.

While God reveals (proves?) Himself to Christians through the Bible, prayer and supernatural experience...He reveals Himself directly to those who seek Him. The scientific evidence provided in these blog threads is all "third person". You are trusting, by faith, the evidence given you is accurate. You are trusting, by faith, that the numbers and formulas used were applied in appropriate measure. You trust, by faith, that the documents and reports have not been tampered with. (Unless of course you are conducting the experiments yourself.) So in that light it hardly seems fair to demand Christians perform their own experiments and offer "proof" to prove the existence of God while non-Christians ingest and regurgitate second-, third-, or fourth-hand information or just plain hearsay.

All of the Christians that have posted to the validity of God have done so based upon personal experiences in which God has revealed Himself to them [us]. They have lined up their experiences with the word of God, with prayer and with subjective and objective evidence have concluded God exists.

What is your worldview?

Tim Smith said...

here is a thought. i have known this for years but never could put it to words.

evolution doesn't allow for a beginning-that is, absolute-only intermediates and endings.

all stages of evolution either act as an intermediate or an ending. and technically by definition evolution doesn't even support ending.

Lee said...

Hi Ryan,

What your looking for is tangible proof, there is an issue here.

You have jumped onto a side-remark of little importance to me – I was merely agreeing with the response made by suburban_dissident.

I will be happy with a logical proof (I take this to be ‘intangible’), or something I could get my teeth into, something I could kick… physical proof – ‘tangible’ as the example was given.

the missing key additive is that which you don't have, faith.

Are you taking ‘faith’ here to mean the belief in something without good evidence or reason?

Please understand that I'm not scoffing at you or trying to belittle you here but that is something that you lack.

You telling me that I ‘lack something’ so cannot ‘see’.

Now here I do not want to insult you in anyway either but what you are saying reminds me of a story - have you heard of the Emperor’s New Clothes?

Does rather sound familiar can you agree?

But let’s address your point head-in.

Why should I need it – faith - what advantage would ‘faith’ give me in resolving the difference between two claims? Oh I don’t know, maybe the claim from one person that their version of God is true, and a different claim from someone else telling me their God is true?

Faith doesn’t seem to give me anyway of resolving such issues, so I don’t use it.

Why am I wrong?

You have not said, merely stated that I don’t have it which isn’t very helpful for me.

If I cannot decide which claim is true based on evidence and reason, I doubt the claim.

Simple really, again, why is this wrong?

You use the same logic everyday yourself – since you still have not bought my magical beans. I doubt also you take medication based on your ‘faith’ alone, so why throw away this reasoning when you think about religion and your god?

With faith I see God in all things.

And that, in a nutshell, is the problem I have with your faith.

The next problem with faith is that when two people use faith alone, they cannot agree. It is a fundamental flaw in my view as I outlined above.

In all of the conversation and thought that has been tossed around this is the wall that we continuously hit, faith. Without it we cannot understand God. With it we can understand everything.

Then please, for my sake – explain this faith to me and how I can use it to tell the difference between two very different claims about God.

You have already made this clear in early writings. If you change your mind I would be happy to oblige.

I need help in order to change my mind (which is possible BTW).

If you are unable to justify your belief in this faith and its value, then why should I believe your ‘faith’ has any value at all?

If you do run into God when you die, what will you say?

I’ve been asked this many times before, so I hope I am consistent.

On the topic we are currently talking about, how about :-

“Why did you God give me the power to reason, to think, to observe, to experiment, to theorise, to be able to filter good evidence from bad, but provide no such evidence for your own existence?

You God should have known what it was I required, since I was able to outline it myself and explain it to others, but you God provided none of this. So the question is why did you choose to hide from me? Oh, and God… which holy book (and interpretation) was correct, and why? I’ve been dying to know”

You see if I die right now and there is no God my life has not been in vain.

Excellent – we can agree. We can live life as if there is no God, and our life is still not in vain.

If only more Christians could understand this fact.

Now if I die and God is real Heaven is my next trip.

And how do you know, for certain, that Heaven isn’t waiting for me also?

So I’m not really sure what it is you are arguing for here.

It seems what you are saying is that if we both live a ‘good life’, then this is all we can hope to do. Anything after is a bonus, but what happens next is really unknown to you as well. (You just have faith :-)

How do you know that you are not following the wrong God, and that God will not throw you to Hell for following, on faith, a false God – ignoring the reasoning and logic He provided you with?

Maybe faith is ‘evil’ and a ‘sin’?

Maybe the ultimate test is rise above ‘blind faith’ and to reason, IF there is a God, we cannot know anything about Him in this life (unless He chooses to reveal Himself of course). By being certain, as you are with your faith, you could be making a grave mistake…

Maybe, maybe not.

Lee

Lee said...

Hello again CF,

I'd like to ask some questions:

Excellent – I’ll answer yours, and you’ll answer mine – right?

What explains the fact that humans think, but think imperfectly, love but hate also, are creative but are destructive also, are wise but make foolish decisions?

The theory of evolution helps a lot with this first one. (Oh, and is it a fact we think imperfectly? How should we think perfectly and how would you know?)

We are imperfect talking monkeys – why would we expect anything else? :-)

And Christianity explains your question how? By the Fall? What can you offer to back this up apart from your own belief (which differs from many other people of faith BTW)?

What explains the our longing for truth or personal fulfillment?

See above.

Why is pleasure as we know it now rarely enough to satisfy completely? Why do we usually want more -- more money, more love, more ecstasy?

‘now rarely’? You first need to back up your assertion before I can address it.

How do we explain the human refusal to operate in an amoral way?

Firstly, what is ‘amoral’, and have you proven it is always the case that humans behave in such a way?

Until you do this, I don’t know what it is I am suppose to answer.

You seem to be asking me to explain why all circles are blue, without first showing that they are indeed all blue, or indeed what a circle is according to your definition.

The answers to these questions (while I would like you to answer them) are somewhat rhetorical, but reflect something deeper than science;

I hope you don’t assume I am all ‘science’ and nothing else?

Science is out there explaining what it observes, but it is known to have its limits.

Philosophy can then jump in to help fill the gaps (for there are gaps)… I don’t yet see the need to fill the unknown with an even greater unknown though i.e. God.

Tell me though, if science cannot hope to answer an observation, why do you believe your religion can? Has it any track record to give you reason to believe this?

But they cannot be purely scientific as they require answers that cannot be answered with mathematical equations or empirical evidence.

You still need to phrase most of your questions correctly before you can hope to find the answers.

My point is "faith", something unseen, is constantly sent to the wayside and discredited as "fairy tale" and "false hope" simply because there is nothing tangible to associate it with.

No, I just have not been shown any value in faith – see my earlier comments to Ryan on the subject.

Faith, in and of itself, cannot be touched; our constant search for truth is not related to that which can be touched.

That’s OK, I cannot touch an idea either, or a scientific model… however, I can show their value in the real world.

THAT is you challenge that with your faith – show its value.

Why search for science? Once the answers are "proven" scientifically, it is simply faith that allows us to believe and trust the results.

You could not be any more wrong – sorry.

NOTHING is proven in science 100% - theories merely model/answer/explain the observed, they can be falsified, they can be improved and amended.

And don’t confuse ‘faith’ with ‘trust’. Trust has to be earned.

I trust the sun will rise tomorrow and this is based on years of experience, observation and theory… (and I could be wrong – that’s the beauty of science).

You seem to wish to relate this ‘trust’ I have to ‘faith’ that the sun will rise tomorrow, but I say you are using a very different definition of the word to when you use it to describe your religious faith.

Though it is (I think) grammatically correct to say I have ‘faith’ the sun will rise tomorrow, it is certainly NOT the same ‘faith’ that you have that Jesus died, and rose from the dead after 3 days to then ascend to heaven.

I don’t think you are using the word honestly and confusing matters when you do.

You are comparing a cup of water to the ocean – true, both contain a certain amount of H2O, but there it stops... one has a bucket load more H2O than the other.

Or am I wrong?

Even after it has been proven that the sun does not revolve around the earth, we still describe the sun as "rising" and "setting" because of the "illusion" we have of it going up and down. It is how we "view" the sun.

Don’t you just love the English language… it can get so confusing. Just like if I ask you to describe, in words, what an electron is.

Would that be a particle or a wave, or both? Words just do not describe :-)

I’ve got a book called ‘the stuff of thought’ by Steven Pinker – I think it touches on this silly word play. When I read it, I will come back to your questions on words.

Oh, and isn’t it funny how the bible writers thought the Earth was flat and unmoveable :-)
(Another time… I just throw this for fun)

To prove or disprove God is to prove or disprove who GOD says He is.

And what has God ever said? If I hear a definition from God (any definition) I will believe Him. Until then all I have are human ideas and wishes… and these ideas are hotly debated – especial by those of faith (funny that)

If God says He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent it is these claims we must disprove.

And this has already been logically shown to be false… even without hearing the definition from God Himself.

However because a Naturalistic worldview limits our ability to comprehend transcending the natural, it is inevitable that the belief in a higher power that has the ability to transcend the natural will not happen.

I not sure I understand what it is you are saying, sorry.

You are free to invent any definition you like for your God (or gods)… please do, make your God as complex and ‘unknowable’ as you like, it does not help you one bit.

And is this why… you are a Christian; you believe that God interacts with the universe and for these interactions to be ‘known’ by mankind they have to be observable by our simple human senses…

Therefore, it is by these interactions that I will test your God with my human senses (or maybe physical machines build by man, such as metal detector).

If you claim my human senses (or detectors) are not up to the job, then how can you know that God has ever interacted in the world?

If I cannot detect these interactions, then neither can any theist.

It would therefore be more likely that if a theist makes such a claim of any sich interaction that they are mistaken and just ‘confused’ themselves into thinking they observed God’s interactions. (There is a lot of evidence of this happening in other fields such as alternative medicine, so why not with religion?)

Using the "court of law" scenario, "beyond reasonable doubt" is, in the end, faith.

So we only have ‘faith’ that a man committed a murder, and so based on this ‘faith’ (in some states in the US) could be executed for that crime.

Come on CF, please… can you not see the difference? – you are taking the extremes to try and defend the middle ground.

I’ve never said anything is 100%, hence the ‘beyond reasonable doubt’

Remember, I said you could chose any court system in the known world to evaluate the evidence for God, but this same court system would be placing you on trial for rape based on someone accusations.

Do you really believe the courts in US decide their outcomes based only on ‘faith’?

While God reveals (proves?) Himself to Christians through the Bible, prayer and supernatural experience...He reveals Himself directly to those who seek Him.

You have summed up the problem right there by saying “to Christians through the Bible…”

I have to believe first… then the evidence follows.

No – I will take the “Null hypothesis” – “Innocent until proven guilty” – “wrong until shown right”

Unless you think in the "court of law" we should always assume ‘guilty until proven innocent’… Would you like this system to be tried for rape?

There is a reason why I mentioned you would be on trial under the same rules. We should not change the rules when evaluating the evidence for God? If you think we should, please justify to me why?

The scientific evidence provided in these blog threads is all "third person". You are trusting, by faith, the evidence given you is accurate.

Sorry, that again could not be more wrong. If you don’t believe me… go to university, I did.

I have tested the ideas of physics and astrophysics to degree level - myself with my own eyes and mind … I did not see one little problem with the system. (I know much what is wrong with current theories, but that is different)

I did the maths, did the experiments… and no problems found with the system (and it was bloody hard work, and you know what, science is honest about what is knows and doesn’t know).

I also have friends who went on to do PhD’s in physics – I read their thesis at the time and had just about enough knowledge to understand what was being written. So in fact, I have tested the system beyond degree level.

Again no problems.

I once use to drink and go to BBQ’s with professors of physics. They are nice people, and if they were lying through their teeth – I trust my PhD friends to put them straight – they have the knowledge to bring them down. So, again, the system really does work – it is self correcting.

But you know what, if you don’t believe me… just go to university and try it yourself. Don’t cry foul based on your personal ignorance.

Pick a topic and learn it well. Then you will see for yourself the system works.

This is why I trust Billy who posts here, he has a PhD in biology – I don’t understand half what he says sometimes on his blog on the subject, but I can go away and check it. I will find out if Billy is talking nonsense, he will be called up for it in his job.

So again, what you mean by ‘faith’ and what I mean by ‘trust’ are rather different beasts.

You are trusting, by faith, that the numbers and formulas used were applied in appropriate measure.

Rubbish – I can check them myself, or ask someone who has earned my trust to check them for me. I can smell BS from a mile away on this subject and I’m not actually a very trusting person, and doubt a lot – this is why I like to call myself a sceptic.

You trust, by faith, that the documents and reports have not been tampered with.

(Unless of course you are conducting the experiments yourself.)

The penny has dropped.

I have done many experiments in physics, not all of them – but a lot.

Also done many college level science experiments in chemistry and biology as well (I was, a long time ago, training to be a science teacher)

This gives me trust in the system and future experiments because if a scientist gets it wrong, they will be shown to be wrong by the community.

So in that light it hardly seems fair to demand Christians perform their own experiments and offer "proof" to prove the existence of God while non-Christians ingest and regurgitate second-, third-, or fourth-hand information or just plain hearsay.

Actually I think it is fair to expect a Christian to have performed some simple tests for themselves. (As I have done for science). These should be able to share this knowledge clearly.

It is also fair to ask for experiments performed by others, you are allowed to show me evidence from experiments done by other Christians you know – I never said you could not.

For example, if you asked me “what is the evidence for the Big Bang” – I could provide plenty of evidence for you. It would not have been done by myself of course, you could however check the sources and measurements yourself to draw your own conclusions.

If the Christian is unable to do likewise when asked, is it hardly right they shout what is wrong with science without providing anything but personal testimony to back up their own claims.

All of the Christians that have posted to the validity of God have done so based upon personal experiences in which God has revealed Himself to them [us]. They have lined up their experiences with the word of God, with prayer and with subjective and objective evidence have concluded God exists.

I have already written here about personal testimony.

Do you believe all the eye witnesses of alien landings, abductions, and aliens space craft flying around Earth?

If not, why not?

It is after all personal testimony… (and there are several examples of such believers dying for their beliefs, so surely this is pretty strong evidence, right?)

What is your worldview?

You have to ask?

I’m about to write a new post on my blog that (tongue firmly in cheek) outlines my new religion for the day. It might interest you for a second or two.

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Tim

evolution doesn't allow for a beginning-that is, absolute-only intermediates and endings.

all stages of evolution either act as an intermediate or an ending. and technically by definition evolution doesn't even support ending.


Not sure what you are saying.

Are you trying to say that the theory of evolution does not explain how life came from non-life?

If so, you should know that it doesn’t have to, in the same way the ‘theory of gravity’ does not have to explain how to make a really good cup of tea.

If I have addressed the wrong question, could you please try me again with a different wording.

Thanks

Lee

Billy said...

However I can, as does Christianity, point to a definitive start.


A false answer is still a false answer though. Islam ond other religions still have a definitive starting point - that fact alone does not make them right.

It is the christian who is making the claim of the existence of an unknown entity - you have to provide positive evidence to back that up. How would you for example provide evidence that god does not need a creator?

Science deals with solving unknowns. To say the answer is currently not known is fine. The burden of proof still lies with you though.

God works and doesn't work in the tangible, the missing key additive is that which you don't have, faith.

This statement is essentially meaningless as it contains unargued for assertions. How does faith bring credibility to your claim?

Billy said...

I'd like to ask some questions:


CF, is your philosophical position one where you pre-suppose that god is the only answer to your questions? Or do you have a rationale behind such thinking?

CF said...

BILLY:
CF, is your philosophical position one where you pre-suppose that god is the only answer to your questions? Or do you have a rationale behind such thinking?

I didn't intend to ask that with the idea of presupposing God. The answers to the questions, I think, help define our differing worldviews. It's hard to communicate over the internet sometimes. In this case I was asking those "without God in mind" per se. I.e., I was not trying to set you up. I guess my rationale is: Since we obviously disagree, and have probably come to an impasse re: the existence of God, what is your stand on these topics?

Billy said...

Since we obviously disagree, and have probably come to an impasse re: the existence of God, what is your stand on these topics?



No problem, I wasn't sure if you were taking an argument from incredulity approach.

Lee gives some good answers, and the good thing is that we can test them.

I have a few additional comments though

Why is pleasure as we know it now rarely enough to satisfy completely? Why do we usually want more -- more money, more love, more ecstasy?


I'm not sure this is completely true, I remember being in Tanzania (it was the worlds 4th poorest country at the time) and getting the impression that people were "happy" with what they had. They were more grateful for what they had, rather than wanting more (with some noteable exception)


However, in cases where it is, well, money, power etc are strong aphrodisiacs - a lot of our behaviour revolves aroud sex - this is why we groom and generally wear trendy clothes etc. Sex means transmitting your genes.


How do we explain the human refusal to operate in an amoral way?

Again, you need to define amoral. If you mean immoral (by your standard, I would have to say thay there are mant examples of compliance. Some are easily explained - survival. I wonder how many people would choose to die if given the command to kill a total stranger or be killed themselves.

He reveals Himself directly to those who seek Him.


He doesn't. This is a reason why I reject christianity. If you claim that I was not seeking properly, you are commiting a version of the no true scotsman fallacy.


Tim

here is a thought. i have known this for years but never could put it to words.

evolution doesn't allow for a beginning-that is, absolute-only intermediates and endings.


In a way, it does account for beginnings. However, that is more specifically the theory of abiogenesis.

Depending on the nature of you god though, evolution can refute that hypothesis - eg the god of young earth creationism. Evolution is compatible with deism, but not theistic evolution. Evolution also causes problems for the christian concept of sin - being selfish is a necessity (note that cooperation can be a selfish act too).

I think anyone who is christian and accepts evolution has to show that it is compatible with the bible. They also have to show god has a hand in it. I personally find the arguments for the first to be poor, and the second is totally without any positive evidence.

I'll be back in a few days - take care guys

CF said...

Amoral - in this case, lacking moral sensibility. Not caring about right or wrong.

CF said...

CF: He reveals Himself directly to those who seek Him.

BILLY: He doesn't. This is a reason why I reject christianity. If you claim that I was not seeking properly, you are commiting a version of the no true scotsman fallacy.


Billy, I'm going to be honest with you. I read this comment just before I left work today. As I was driving home my heart broke thinking about it. The Bible says "hope deferred makes a heart sick." I'm not going to be so shallow as to tell you "you did it all wrong". It is what it is. I have no answer. As I thought more about it I wanted to DO something...but I didn't know what. Other than pray, which I know you probably don't want to hear... I have no response or reason other than to say I felt a lot of pain in your statement. I know you're not looking for sympathy, but I consider myself to be a "spiritual" person, and I don't normally get affected the way I did when I was thinking about what you said. So, whatever. There you go.

ryan said...

Billy,

How are you? I am enjoying what has developed here on this thread. I would like to be more active but the demads of life get me. Work! Who needs it!! =)

------

From CF: He reveals Himself directly to those who seek Him.

Billy's reply: He doesn't. This is a reason why I reject christianity. If you claim that I was not seeking properly, you are commiting a version of the no true scotsman fallacy.

I read this earlier and it struck me and I wanted to ask you about it. How did you seek God?
I am in no way trying to set you up here, I'm honestly curious.

Ryan.

Havok said...

CF: He reveals Himself directly to those who seek Him.

And from that seeking you end up with:

~2 billion Christians
~1+ billion Muslims
~800 million Hindu
~300 million Buddhists
~800 million non-religious/atheists

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups)

And even within those general groupings you have many contradictory beliefs concerning their beliefs about the "spiritual" or "supernatural"
The majority of people the world over do not share your experience of God, and saying that none of those have sought him correctly is a fallacy (as billy said).

What makes your experience of God "true" and the experience of God(s) of a Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist/atheist "false"?

Havok said...

...did it all start? or, better yet, how did it all if you don't believe in God or intelligent design?

What do you mean by it?
The universe? We don't know but there appear to be quite a few interesting hypothesis.
Life? We don't know (and probably can't), but there are many promising hypothesis. There is no reason why simple chemistry cannot give rise to self replicating molecules which would form the origins of "life" as we know it, and there seem to be many different ways in which this could have occured. If multiple of these are found to produce the requirements of self replication, then there is probably no way to differentiate which one (if any of them and not some other method we haven't thought of) actually occurred some billions of years ago.

That we don't have more definitive knowledge of these things at present doesn't mean that "God did it as presented in the bible" is also a valid hypothesis.

If the biblical hypothesis does not fit the observations parsimoniously (which it doesn't) then surely it can be discarded in the same way we discard the Norse accounts of the creation fo the universe and of man?

Lee said...

Hi Havok,

I was wondering why you have not joined in.

And even within those general groupings you have many contradictory beliefs concerning their beliefs about the "spiritual" or "supernatural"

Finding Christians that agree is 'fun', so I don't think it is right to say that there is one group

So, take your pick from a rather long list...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
List_of_Christian_denominations

"...the number of christian denominations is about 39,000.

They belong to six ecclesiastical megablocs. The membership by 6 ecclesiastical megablocs is as follows (mid-2008); Roman Catholics 1,130.401 million, Independents 422.659 million], Protestants 386.644 million, Orthodox 252.891 million, Anglican 82.708 million, marginal Christians 36.01 million."


Good old wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members


Seek and you will find?

Find what?

Faith doesn't help these groups one bit does it in finding which is 'right'. If God exists, he is hiding from most of us, and that is a FACT

Lee

Havok said...

Lee: I was wondering why you have not joined in.

I tend to find a thread I like, and follow up from emails. I forget to look at the actual blog for further posts :-)

Lee: If God exists, he is hiding from most of us, and that is a FACT

How can we know who he is hiding from and who he is showing himself to?

Personal experience and seeking god don't help, as shown by the proliferation of various religions and religious sects, cults and mystical movements throughout human history.

What should we do? :-)

CF said...

You're focusing too much on non-essentials. Yes, 33% of the world's pop. claim to be Christian, but that does not make it so. I know...I know...insert 'no true scotsman' comment here.

To put it in context, Christians are shown this, through the Bible:
The Bible is the Word of God. I was inspired and written over 1600 years by numerous authors. It offers insight into the scientific arena: animals reproduce after their own kind; it recognizes a round earth and that the earth is "suspended" in nothing; it recognizes entropy; it recognizes the stars are innumerable; it recognizes valleys in the ocean as well as ocean currents and the water cycle and addresses the issues of health, sanitation and sickness.

Outside of "God", the Bible is also taught to be an historic, factual document that is between 98.5 - 99% textually pure between all recorded translations. The discoveries of manuscripts (Dead Sea Scrolls,et. al.) verify that of the remaining 1.5%, they are not issues pertaining to major OR minor Christian doctrine. There are over 5,000 documents reflecting the New Testament writings, more than any other historical document in the world. Under this premise, the Bible is the most true and accurate description of Christianity. So...

Why do I say all that? To say this (in regard to my "scotsman" comment.) The basic doctrines (and/or definitions of a Christian) are:
1. Monotheism
2. God is a Trinity
3. Jesus is God in the flesh
4. Jesus rose from the dead physically
5. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith.

So along with my "scotsman fallacy", not everyone who calls themselves a Christian is one. Sorry to sound dogmatic, but it's true. In turn, not everyone who claims to be an atheist is one; not everyone who claims to be a pianist is one.

In addition, different denominations are not a bad thing and do not, in and of themselves, disqualify a person from being a Christian. There is an account in the Bible (Acts 15) in which Paul and Barnabas "go separate ways" because of a sharp disagreement. The Bible further notes that it was not due to a doctrinal issue. I think that, as different rivers lead to the same ocean, different denominations, based upon the Christian Bible, will lead to God. I think it was George Carlin who said, "The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

Now what I think is interesting are the statistics you pose. Yes there are 2bil Christians, 1bil Muslims, etc. etc., but in all there are over 4.2bil looking for "something". Over 66% of the worlds population are searching for "something". A higher power. A greater being. (I had to drive up to Maryland (2 hours) for the weekend today and I was thinking about this.) What is it that controls our thoughts, desires, hopes, etc. What are dreams? What are the images we see in our mind? What are the voices in our heads? What is imagination? Why, if there is no soul or spirit, do I desire to live? ...or die? Or care either way? Does science "care"? Can science measure right and wrong? Can science measure love, or just the result of love? Is love even real? If at some point in your life you DO actually find God...what are you going to do with Him?

CF said...

HAVOC: That we don't have more definitive knowledge of these things at present doesn't mean that "God did it as presented in the bible" is also a valid hypothesis.

I think the fact that we don't have 'more definitive knowledge' is itself a reason to consider 'God did it'. If we cannot prove one way, then all claims must be exhausted, however crazy they may sound. That is the scientific way, is it not? Even if Fred comes from next door and says "I created it all last Tuesday and you're all living inside my pocket", the scientific method would require us to examine his statement, yes?. If and when it were proven that Fred is just an idiot, then we can discredit his claim and call it null and void.

TIM SAID: All stages of evolution either act as an intermediate or an ending. and technically by definition evolution doesn't even support ending

Also, I don't really understand the self-replication thing either. Does evolution (or at least science in general) prove that everything created comes from something? I.e., something cannot come from nothing? If it does not, please explain. But if it does, then everything had to have had a starting point. But that's not possible because that leaves you with an infinite regression of causes which implies eternity. However evolution does not teach eternity does it? Does it not teach entropy? HELP!

Havok said...

CF: It was inspired and written over 1600 years by numerous authors.

You're asserting it was inspired, but I don't accept that premise, sorry :-)
I wont contest the numerous authors part, and I suppose the 1600 years could be accurate, but during that time it seems there was heavy redaction and addition, which is shown through textual analysis. That there were no significant changes from a particular point (off the top of my head, I think the oldest OT manuscript is from ~300BC), doesn't mean there weren't changes prior to that point.

CF: It offers insight into the scientific arena:

As far as I can tell, the "insights" are either pretty obvious, and known around the time of the composition, or they're wrong. Perhaps there is the odd "lucky guess" in there, I don't know :-)

CF: it recognizes a round earth and that the earth is "suspended" in nothing

Why does the context surrounding any mention of the earth imply flatness, the earth called a circle etc? The bible fails the reality test here, I'm afraid :-)

CF: There are over 5,000 documents reflecting the New Testament writings, more than any other historical document in the world.

You're making the same mistake Christians often accuse others of - treating the Bible as if it were a single work. If you take it on a book by book basis, as apposed to treating the whole as if it were a unified item, the number of manuscripts is far less impressive.

CF: The basic doctrines (and/or definitions of a Christian) are:
1. Monotheism
2. God is a Trinity
3. Jesus is God in the flesh
4. Jesus rose from the dead physically
5. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith.


You're talking about the basic doctrines of orthodox Christianity following ~350CE. It seems in the first few centuries of it's existence, there were many varied Christ cults (gnostic, docetic, etc). It took hundreds of years for current "orthodoxy" to become, well, orthodox.

CF: Yes there are 2bil Christians, 1bil Muslims, etc. etc., but in all there are over 4.2bil looking for "something". Over 66% of the worlds population are searching for "something". A higher power. A greater being.

Thats the "argument ad populum" fallacy. Just because a lot of people are "searching" doesn't mean there is anything to find :-)

CF: What is it that controls our thoughts, desires, hopes, etc.

Evidence strongly suggests thoughts desires, hopes etc are all in your brain, and, for want of a better of putting it, your brain controls them.

CF: What are dreams?

What your brain does while you sleep.


What are the images we see in our mind?
Some Japanese researchers recently reconstructed what a subject was seeing through scannig their brain. What you see in your mind is simply something which goes on in your brain, it appears.

CF: Why, if there is no soul or spirit, do I desire to live? ...or die? Or care either way?

Why is the default either apathy or nihilism? The question of whether there is a soul would seem to have no bearing on your desires. Whatever the answer is, you still have those desires.

CF: Does science "care"?

Not sure I follow you there?

CF: Can science measure right and wrong?

No idea. How do you define right and wrong?

CF:Can science measure love, or just the result of love? Is love even real?

Since, as I mentioned above briefly, the evidence points towards mental states being brain states and vice versa (ie. The mind IS the brain), love is a complex interaction of those states in your brain, so in that sense it is real. If we understood more about the brain, perhaps we could measure the "extent" of the feelings of love you feel?

CF: If at some point in your life you DO actually find God...what are you going to do with Him?

No idea. Put him on my shelf with my photos?
If one day you realise there probably is no god, and almost certainly not the god of Christianity, what will you do? :-)

Havok said...

CF: I think the fact that we don't have 'more definitive knowledge' is itself a reason to consider 'God did it'

You're right. What I meant was, simply because there is no scientific understanding, doesn't mean the theological answer is automatically valid. It would need to be considered in the same fashion as the other hypothesis, and you would need to be prepared to discard it if it prooved "false".

CF: If we cannot prove one way, then all claims must be exhausted, however crazy they may sound.

This is where the principle of parsimony, occam's razor come in. Given enough rope you can twist almost any hypothesis to fit the data - you can see this with Young Earth Creationists. Given two (or more) hypothesis which both explain the data, how are we to choose between them, as to which is more probable?

CF: That is the scientific way, is it not?

Somewhat, I think. You also need methods. What methods would you propose to investigate the "God Hypothesis"? Methodological Naturalism is used in scientific circles because it works. MN concerns the study of things which we can investigate - ie. Natural things. There is no competing method to study "other" things - ie. Supernatural.
This essay gives a good introduction to the topic.


CF: Even if Fred comes from next door and says "I created it all last Tuesday and you're all living inside my pocket", the scientific method would require us to examine his statement, yes?.

No, WE would not have to investigate his claims. We would require Fred to back up his claims. If his claims were a scrap of paper which backed his claim, this evidence would not be sufficient. Ask yourself what you would require Fred to show you before you accepted his claim. Then apply the same criteria to the equally fantastic claims of the Christian faith :-)

CF: If and when it were proven that Fred is just an idiot, then we can discredit his claim and call it null and void.

Even IF Fred did actually create it all last Tuesday, if he was unable to actually produce evidence for it, we would also be right to call his claim null and void. From our perspective, both scenario's look the same :-)

CF: Also, I don't really understand the self-replication thing either. Does evolution (or at least science in general) prove that everything created comes from something? I.e., something cannot come from nothing?

Not quite

CF: But that's not possible because that leaves you with an infinite regression of causes which implies eternity.

I don't understand how "God" gets you out of this problem. You still need to explain God. If God can be eternal, why not a "space-time manifold" or something similar?

CF: However evolution does not teach eternity does it?

Biological evolution is a model to explain the observed change in species over time. I think Billy is a biologist, to he can explain this better than I can.

"Stellar" evolution (or big bang cosmology, if you like), is a model to explain the observed behaviour of the cosmos. It postulates a beginning of our "space-time" some 14.7 billion years ago. Currently our models for this only explain (and explain very well) up to a point a tiny bit AFTER this beginning of our "space-time". There are hypothesis which seek to explain further, but as yet, they seem to be mostly speculative. Lee is, I think, a physicist by education who has an interest in this, so again, he can explain better than I can, I would think.

CF: Does it not teach entropy? HELP!

What do you mean? Entropy is a product of physics. As such it affected EVERYTHING. It is quite well understood, regarding what it "is", and what effects it has, as far as I can gather.

You seem to be treating Evolution as if it were an overriding "thing". It's a model for observations (in biology).
It explains these observations very well, and also provides predictions for future observations.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

This is getting fun isn't it... wish I have more time tonight to comment further on your points.

I have much to say, but no time to say it.

Havok Lee is, I think, a physicist by education who has an interest in this, so again, he can explain better than I can, I would think.

I've got myself a degree in Physics with Astrophysics and love talking about the subject, if CF is interested. (I don't like to lecture)

CF Does evolution (or at least science in general) prove that everything created comes from something? I.e., something cannot come from nothing? If it does not, please explain. But if it does, then everything had to have had a starting point. But that's not possible because that leaves you with an infinite regression of causes which implies eternity. However evolution does not teach eternity does it? Does it not teach entropy? HELP!

I've written much already about the first cause argument on my blog and covered these points... I will be happy to discuss further, just not now - sorry. Have to go

Lee

CF said...

HAVOC: This is from the Wiki article on virtual particles.

"Thus, in mathematical terms, they never appear as indices to the scattering matrix, which is to say, they never appear as the observable inputs and outputs of the physical process being modelled"

(By the way, your THIS ESSAY link was dead...maybe check your HTML and re-post please.)

I read the wiki article. Again, I'm not (obviously) much of a scientist and had a bit of trouble following everything that was said.

They way I understand virtual particles is that they are measures of the transfer of field or energy from existing particles (such as magnetic fields or static) but are "virtual" because they do not stay in "existence" for prolonged periods of time like real particles. They are measured on the subatomic level and decrease in strength the further they travel from their "source". They can be used in calculations to prove the properties of existing particles, but not their own existence. (I am guessing like the magnetic field; it is greater at the pole than it is 7 feet away from the pole)

If I have all that "basically" correct, they way I read the article was to also understand that the virtual particles have some characteristics that show even they are subject to physical laws, i.e. something had to exist in order for the virtual particles to appear.

If this is all true, then some questions/problems I have with that are:

1. Are the properties of virtual particles used to attempt to prove that life began from nothing?
2. Virtual particles don't seem to be able to stay around long enough to produce any significant presence, and do not seem to be presented as having any creative properties, or properties that support the existence of real particles.
3. It seems that they follow some of the laws that apply to physical particles, which is that they need to be created.

Again, please help me if I'm misunderstanding this. I suppose if virtual particles are true, then you do not believe in eternal existence, yes?

Does evolution support eternity? Doesn't evolution support preservation? If so, how does evolution propose life and the earth and stuff will end?

CF said...

HAVOC:I don't understand how "God" gets you out of this problem. You will one day! ;-)
You still need to explain God. If God can be eternal, why not a "space-time manifold" or something similar? For the sake of argument, it doesn't have to be God. However, if it is to be eternal, it cannot be a space-time manifold. A space-time manifold has no creative ability. It's a series of measurable points that we live within the "confines" of. The position of eternity is that the thing that created life had to have either (A) come out of nowhere, or (B) been eternal in and with its creative properties.

The scientists have told us that the beginning of the universe has been found. That means the universe is finite rather than infinite. Therefore the space-time manifold is also finite and has measure. However if that were true, then the laws of entropy apply and we should see a breakdown of energy rather than the constant expansion of the universe. So if stuff has, in fact, been here 14.7 billion years or whatever, where is the breakdown and exactly how much time do you need?

The only explanation I see is that there has to have been something that has a creative ability and that transcends the laws of nature in order to provide a logical answer.

CHRIS: Does evolution support eternity? Doesn't evolution support preservation? If so, how does evolution propose life and the earth and stuff will end?
Sorry...I just saw you answered this already. Disregard, but I am interested in others' views.

CF said...

LEE: This is getting fun isn't it...

Hi Lee. Yeah...loads. Let's eat lamb.

Havok said...

Here's the link to the essay, without an anchor tag:
http://infidels.org/library/modern/barbara_forrest/naturalism.html

CF: 1. Are the properties of virtual particles used to attempt to prove that life began from nothing?

No, they show that something can come from nothing - these particles appear and then disappear from the quantum vacuum.
Abiogenesis is what you're after re life from non-life.

CF: 2. Virtual particles don't seem to be able to stay around long enough to produce any significant presence, and do not seem to be presented as having any creative properties, or properties that support the existence of real particles.

That's irrelevant. Virtual particles show that our common sense idea that nothing can come from nothing is incorrect.

CF: 3. It seems that they follow some of the laws that apply to physical particles, which is that they need to be created.

No, they come from the vacuum. There is nothing "creating" or causing them, it just happens.

CF: Again, please help me if I'm misunderstanding this. I suppose if virtual particles are true, then you do not believe in eternal existence, yes?

Virtual particles, as I said above, show that our common sense idea that everything has a cause, and that nothing can come from nothing are incorrect.

CF: However, if it is to be eternal, it cannot be a space-time manifold. A space-time manifold has no creative ability.

You seem to be implying there has to be a personal cause which chose to create?

One hypothesis for the creation of the universe is as a quantum fluctuation in a larger/another space-time manifold - basically like the vacuum fluctuations above. The universe's energy content is thought to be very close to, if not actually, zero If it is zero, then this is consistent with a quantum fluctuation.

CF: It's a series of measurable points that we live within the "confines" of.

You're thinking of our space-time. There is no reason it cannot be embedded in a further, eternal space-time (or a series of space-times etc).

CF: The position of eternity is that the thing that created life had to have either (A) come out of nowhere, or (B) been eternal in and with its creative properties.

Quantum fluctuations shows that (A) may not be as impossible as it sounds. Having our space time embedded in an eternal space time shows (B) is possible. Neither requires a personal "God".

CF: That means the universe is finite rather than infinite.

That's speaking about out visible universe.
Also, things get rather murky an instant after the big bang, where the theory of general relativity breaks down. Time at the beginning of the universe may have been "smeared" such that there was time T=0.

CF: Therefore the space-time manifold is also finite and has measure.

As above, it might not matter if there was no beginning.

CF: However if that were true, then the laws of entropy apply and we should see a breakdown of energy rather than the constant expansion of the universe.

I think you're mixing things up here. Entropy hasn't anything to do with the expansion of the universe, as far as I can tell.

CF: So if stuff has, in fact, been here 14.7 billion years or whatever, where is the breakdown and exactly how much time do you need?

The universe is currently not in thermodynamic equilibrium, which is the state of maximum entropy, though we see entropy increasing.
The time frame for "the end" appears to be at least 10^100 years (from here)

CF: The only explanation I see is that there has to have been something that has a creative ability and that transcends the laws of nature in order to provide a logical answer.

Have I provided another explanation, or did I miss something?

Lee said...

Hi CF,

How did we get onto the first caues agrument?

Oh well...

The first cause argument fails for so many reasons.

Firstly, it is an inductive argument, and how many universe have you seen form?

Secondly, you rely on special pleading... i.e. the universe must have a cause, but God does not. It’s a logical fallacy and so fails as a proof. Can you justify your assumption without special pleading? Nope... of course not.

Thirdly, it is only an argument for deism – even IF I accept the argument it does not prove a theistic God, one that interacts with the universe and you follow.

The argument is of no use to what you are claiming (even if valid, which I have already said it is not)

How about THAT for being brief?

Oh, if you want to read more... try over at my blog – I’ve labelled a few posts with ‘first cause’

http://strawmen-cometh.blogspot.com/
search/label/first%20cause

I've gone into detail there about the physics, cause and effect and infinity.

Tell me if it makes any sense?

See ya

Lee

CF said...

I'm reading over this virtual particle stuff and I'm having a hard time following why it's used as a legitimate proof that "something can come from nothing."

Throughout the entire wiki article I see phrases like, "exists for a limited time and space, introducing uncertainty..." and "If a single particle is detected, then the consequences of its existence are prolonged to such a degree that it cannot be virtual. Virtual particles are viewed as the quanta that describe fields of the basic force interactions, which cannot be described in terms of real particles.", and "The probability amplitude for them to exist tends to be canceled out by destructive interference", and "There is not a definite line differentiating virtual particles from real particles — the equations of physics just describe particles (which includes both equally). The amplitude that a virtual particle exists interferes with the amplitude for its non-existence; whereas for a real particle the cases of existence and non-existence cease to be coherent with each other and do not interfere any more.", and "They are "temporary" in the sense that they appear in calculations, but are not detected as single particles. Thus, in mathematical terms, they never appear as indices to the scattering matrix, which is to say, they never appear as the observable inputs and outputs of the physical process being modelled.", and "As such, their objective existence as "particles" is questionable;[citation needed]."

Lee said...

Hi CF,

I'm reading over this virtual particle stuff and I'm having a hard time following why it's used as a legitimate proof that "something can come from nothing."

Good old wiki :-) Glad you are reading around the subject.

And good question – but I personally don't make such an argument
(if I 'seemed' to have done so and caused confusion, my apologises. If I actually made this argument at any time, I was wrong and I retract that statement based on 'new learning'… my ideas are fluid)

I don't see it is a 'legitimate proof', merely 'suggestive' which isn't the same thing in my book. (So we might actually agree on something)

I would use this observed behaviour (oh, let's call it a fact) at the Quantum level, with virtual particles popping into and out of existence, merely to show that the 'common sense' notion of 'cause and effect' fail and break down.
(We also have issues with what 'cause and effect' mean when there is no time, but that is a 'classical' question, not Quantum so I will ignore it for now)

Thus, the inductive argument that is made in the 'First Cause' argument is fundamentally flawed. (Having seen a black swan, I cannot make the inductive argument that "All swans are white" and hope to win any friends.)

Notice I do not make any claims in my argument about 'something coming from nothing", merely highlighting what is wrong with the First cause argument.

I do not, of course, prove B by falsifying A – but I never intended to :-)

However, I have seen (like you, and I really hope it wasn't on my blog) some in debates where the point you make is argued by the atheist… so let's look at that.

I personally think they are pushing their argument a little too far, they are now making a claim (and they don't need to as I hope I have just shown).

Not sure if they are wrong in their claim, but there is no reason to make it to show the First Cause argument is flawed (which is normally when this type of argument is thrown around.)

Having been down this path before though, what sometimes happens in a discussion is that the theist asks "Well, where did the universe come from… nothing?"

Firstly, it isn't a question I need to answer – I can stick with an unknown until further information comes in.

I don't want to have faith in something that has not been proven now do I :-)

If pushed though (as I normally am), I might say "Maybe something did come from nothing. Quantum mechanics does allow for virtual particles coming into and out of existence (over a period of time) – these virtual particles are actually observed within our universe. So maybe something like the universe can come from nothing via some weird quantum fluctuation. Who knows? The idea certainly has not been falsified and is seen to be a possibility within the framework of known physics. Also, there are some physicists who say the sum total of energy in the universe is actually 'nothing'… to these people then, 'nothing has come from nothing'. However, since I have no idea how to actually falsify either of these ideas, it isn't science but philosophy."

So basically, I would be arguing against any atheist who makes this strong claim that virtual particles is a 'legitimate proof that "something can come from nothing."'
(And maybe such an atheist was me once upon a time)

Hope that helps?

Lee

Havok said...

Lee: And good question – but I personally don't make such an argument

I think That was me :-)

I was trying to say something similar to what you just stated - that QVF suggest we might be wrong about something coming from nothing, cause and effect (radioactive decay suggests something similar for cause and effect, from what I understand).

I probably don't qualify my statements nearly well enough :-)

CF said...

LEE: but I personally don't make such an argument
(if I 'seemed' to have done so and caused confusion, my apologises.


HAVORKIAN: I think That was me :-)

Dang it HAVORKIAN! Now you're LEE also? GET HELP!!

CF said...

HAVORKIALEEN: I probably don't qualify my statements nearly well enough :-)

Actually, I do remember you saying this on a previous thread, that its just an example that our "common sense" notions may be blown.

Can the laws of physics be broken? If so, how would you know?

Lee said...

CF Can the laws of physics be broken?

The theist HAS to say yes….don't they?

That is after all what they profess to believe - That God can and does suspend the natural laws of the universe to intervene in some supernatural way.

Oh, but you asked me… silly me.

ALL the physical 'laws' could be broken (though I don't think people really talk of laws in physics anymore… just look at Newton's 'laws of gravity'… they have been shown wrong – broken if you like. Which actually answers your question.)

They are merely theories, models on how 'we' think the universe behaves.

ALL our theories could be broken/shown false – that is the point - if they cannot, they would not be scientific theories.

The important bit is that we have NEVER observed our modern physical theories broken in the realm in which they are 'known' to be valid.

Many times it has been observed that a current theory/idea in science is wrong, but in the 'modern day' (last 300 years or so) – never 'fundamentally' wrong.

What I mean by this is that the idea (however wrong) is still valid for certain conditions in which the theory was written.

The classic example will be Newton's laws of gravity I mentioned earlier – Einstein not only showed where the laws were wrong, but how the issue could be resolved.

Still, so long as you are not worried about the 10th decimal place in your calculations or dealing with speeds close to the speed of light or near a very massive object.

Newton's laws are good enough for our 'normal' everyday life.

Now, it is already known that even Einstein's solution for gravity gives wrong results under certain conditions (on scales smaller than the atom – the quantum scale) but no one has come along with a better solution so we are stuck with it. It is valid under certain conditions.

So if God wanted to show a break in the laws of gravity – he will have to do it on scales larger than the atom since smaller than this, we just don't have the understanding to confirm whether in fact the 'universal laws of nature' has been broken or not.

I think this is pretty fair to ask though don't you?

If so, how would you know?

Are you asking me how I would 'know' if I saw water flow up hill that the 'laws' of physics has been broken?

I think I have just addressed your question above.

The modern physical theories have stated the boundaries where they are thought to be valid – an observation in this 'valid area' that breaks the rules would be how we notice a 'miracle'. Not in areas we don't understand well.

Water flowing up hill will be a simple one we could all agree on… or the Moon increasing its speed of rotation

That is how I would 'know'… by observation.

However I must go back a step… are you using the term 'laws of physics' to mean the 'natural laws of the universe' (whatever they turn out to be) and not the theories mankind has reasoned about the universe?

I could be talking past you by not understanding the question.

If you are talking about the 'natural laws of the universe', then to say me time (I've written enough) I wish to quote to you Bertrand Russell from 'Why I Am Not A Christian'

"the whole idea that natural laws imply a lawgiver is due to a confusion between natural and human laws. Human laws are behests commanding you to behave a certain way, in which you may choose to behave, or you may choose not to behave; but natural laws are a description of how things do in fact behave, and being a mere description of what they in fact do, you cannot argue that there must be somebody who told them to do that, because even supposing that there were, you are then faced with the question "Why did God issue just those natural laws and no others?" If you say that he did it simply from his own good pleasure, and without any reason, you then find that there is something which is not subject to law, and so your train of natural law is interrupted. If you say, as more orthodox theologians do, that in all the laws which God issues he had a reason for giving those laws rather than others -- the reason, of course, being to create the best universe, although you would never think it to look at it -- if there were a reason for the laws which God gave, then God himself was subject to law, and therefore you do not get any advantage by introducing God as an intermediary."


Lee

CF said...

Thanks Lee. I was going more in the direction of the quote you gave me from Russell.

Lee said...

CF Thanks Lee. I was going more in the direction of the quote you gave me from Russell.

So I totally missed your point with my own writing… about right. I should have just quoted Russell in the first place.

Did Russell help?

CF said...

LEE: Did Russell help?
Does he ever? No. He just complicates things.

Lee said...

That’s philosophy for ya... nothing but questions.

Havok said...

Lee: That’s philosophy for ya... nothing but questions.
How can one ever find any answers? :-)

ryan said...

i guess you just have to ask the right question! =)