Monday, February 10, 2014

The very best argument for the existence of God

The atheists and skeptics had a wonderful time last Friday night. That's because the debate over "Is There a God?" was a tremendous defeat for Roman Catholics who turned out in droves to hear Philip Cleevely make the case for god.

Cleevely's only argument goes like this:
  • The world began from nothing.
  • That's very mysterious.
  • Therefore, god(s) exist.
Justin Trottier did a very good job for the skeptic point of view. In particular, he made it very clear that he was NOT defending the proposition that gods do not exist. That's not what he means by atheism. He made it very clear that the burden of proof was on those making the extraordinary claim (god exists). He had to do this because rather than provide evidence for the existence of god(s), Cleevely kept trying to show that materialism.naturalism could not prove the nonexistence of gods.

I'm pretty sure that Cleevely didn't get it. I think he is committed to the idea that atheism means the denial of god(s) and he couldn't wrap his mind around the idea that he might be wrong.

The other point he (Cleevley) was trying to make was that science absolutely requires "something" in order to work. Since the universe began from "nothing" that means that it's beyond science. Again, this is an argument about the possible limitations of science but it says absolutely nothing at all about the case for the existence of god(s).

I think that most of the audience, even the Christians, realized that the priest was avoiding the question. As I said, Justin did an excellent job of steering the debate back to the main topic whenever possible. Near the end of the debate, Justin pointed out that Phillip Cleevely had not made much of a case and that the only evidence he had presented was not much more than philosophical babble. Justin didn't go on about this—just the right amount of harsh criticism—but it had to be said.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been so kind.

Two other issues came up. Cleevely demanded that Justin explain where morality came from and where rational thought came from. Justin did a pretty good job but added that we don't have all the answers. He then assumed that Cleevely did have the answers but it turns out that Cleevely was not making the case for god based on the origin of morality or rationality. He said that those topics were too complicated—maybe they could be covered in another debate. The point of his questions was to show that science doesn't have all the answers. The implication is that because science doesn't have all the answers then god exists but Cleevely was clever enough (or stupid enough?) to avoid saying this.

Finally, Cleevely is an ordained priest and the moderator kept referring to him as "Father" whereas Justin was addressed as "Justin." There was a big difference between the respect that the moderator showed for Father Cleevely and for atheist Justin Trottier.

I imagine that it's impossible to avoid "Father" in a debate sponsored by Roman Catholics. His opponent should have been addressed as "Mr. Trottier."


119 comments :

  1. Your comment about the moderator reminds me of an incident I saw at Waterloo a few years ago. Every year the Ahmadiya Muslim group holds a free event in which they ask representatives of many different religions, as well as atheism/humanism, to speak on some topic. The year I attended all the religious speakers were treated with respect by the moderator, with the exception of (you guessed it) the atheist representative. When he was introduced, the moderator made a snide comment that I cannot exactly recall, but I remember the sentiment it evoked.

    And you know who that moderator was? It was Dave MacDonald, who runs a religious radio station in K-W and is now running for the position of Mayor in Waterloo.

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  2. Thank you for this excellent critique of the debate. As I told a young woman who is fiercely loyal to the Catholic Church, we (the atheists) won. Why? Because science!

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  3. Increasingly, I think theists are like the Anglican bishops in the House of Lords - all they want to keep a seat at the table, and they understand - rightly - that it's at threat.

    The problem is that they manifest this by bleating about issues the vast majority of people just think are silly - Noah's Ark, not using condoms, Adam and Eve, and how it's terrible wedding cake vendors have to sell to gay couples. Plus of course, lobbying for tax breaks and immunity from prosecution for all the raping and fraud they get up to.

    'You should listen to us ... we talk hypocritical rubbish'. It's not very persuasive.

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  4. The other point he (Cleevley) was trying to make was that science absolutely requires "something" in order to work. Since the universe began from "nothing" that means that it's beyond science. Again, this is an argument about the possible limitations of science but it says absolutely nothing at all about the case for the existence of god(s).

    These people tend to forget, like Regnor, that there is nothing in physics that points to the universe beginning from "nothing". More Science and less Rhetoric would go a long way.

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  5. Re Pereira

    The problem is that IDiots like Schmucknor don't understand what physicists mean by "nothing". The "nothing" that the physicists refer to is the quantum vacuum, which is "nothing" in the sense that the virtual particles which make it up have only very transient existence.

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    1. There is no system of belief without axioms. There can't be. There are bedrock axioms that have to hold. One of the firmest bedrock axioms is 'at least one thing exists'.

      There is literally no school of philosophy and no thought experiment where 'at least one exists' can be debated. And why can debate why that might be and marvel at it and talk about the limit of human imagination and language and so on, but we can't argue with it. Something *has* to exist.

      It's just a sign of how utterly routed theology is at this point that they think this is the 'gotcha', that this is the cave their God has to be cowering in.

      You all remember the beginning of Genesis, right? 'Before the beginning, there wasn't nothing, well except there was a non contingent being who agreed with Vladimir Putin about gay sex being wrong'.

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    2. "beginning"?

      maybe our perception of time's arrow is an illusion

      http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jun/in-no-time

      Not saying I understand quantum physics, just suggestion we should not be lowering ourselves to our opponents' level.

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  6. The other point he (Cleevley) was trying to make was that science absolutely requires "something" in order to work. Since the universe began from "nothing" that means that it's beyond science.

    This seems to be based on a the Christian metaphysical assumption that in any universe without gods, there would be no rules.

    There are two problems

    1. Big assumption about probability distribution not supported by evidence. Even a flat probability distribution, which is what Christians are thinking of when they think of chaos or irrationality, needs to be demonstrated by evidence. Have you ever visited a universe that has no god? No? Then how do you know its properties?

    2. Self-contradictory. If universes without gods are required to have no rules or to have a flat probability distribution, then THAT is a rule. The rule "In universes without gods there would be no rules" is itself a rule, so there are some rules at least that apply to all universes, with our without gods. This contradicts your claim that all rules depend on a god. Some rules must exist independent of god. If some rules, perhaps many.

    And next, the old "You can't prove God doesn't exist" trick:

    He made it very clear that the burden of proof was on those making the extraordinary claim (god exists). He had to do this because rather than provide evidence for the existence of god(s), Cleevely kept trying to show that materialism.naturalism could not prove the nonexistence of gods.

    Simplest counter-argument: when someone claims a thing exists, should we assume by default (before evidence is presented for existence) that either 1. it exists, or 2. it doesn't exist?

    If 2, you CANNOT shift the burden of proof onto the atheist. We should assume by default God doesn't exist, which assumption can only be overturned when you present evidence for God's existence. Which you haven't done.

    If 1, we may hypothesis the existence of a "God-eater", an entity which makes gods impossible. You cannot prove that God-eater doesn't exist (it might be on Pluto), so you should assume by default the existence of the "God-eater" even if we present no evidence for it at all.

    Thus, either 1. you should assume by default that Gods are impossible, even if we present no evidence that they are, or 2. the burden of proof is never on the atheist.

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    1. The 'lawgiver' God is the very easiest to knock over. It makes God into a glorified road worker, slapping traffic signs down. Do we pray to whoever it was that put the Yield sign down? Does the Yield sign have to be monitored by the person that put the sign down? Does Yield always hold?

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    2. I don't talk about "laws of nature" anymore, using "properties of the Universe" instead. Laws imply a lawgiver. I think it was Jerry Coyne who put this thought in my head.

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  7. How does anyone know the universe came from nothing? I find that line of argument really odd, it's not like we can confirm that absolute nothing is a possible state of reality - let alone the initial state of reality (if there is even such thing as the initial state of reality). It feels like they're solving a problem of their own mind's making; akin to claiming that Jesus needed to resurrect to atone for original sin.

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    1. You have to ask them what "nothing" means. Does "nothing" mean 1. no matter (but maybe laws of logic and physics) or maybe 2. no matter and no rules?

      2. If "nothing" means no rules, then the rule "something cannot come from nothing" does not apply to nothing. So then nothing really can turn into something, maybe-- how could anybody know?

      1. If "nothing" means no matter plus some rules, they could be the rules of physics, which permit a fluctuation in the quantum vacuum to initiate an inflation field which kicks off the Big Bang.

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    2. They mean that there was a magic fairyland, the Empyrean, where God lived on a big throne with angels and Jesus and a big smile when he thought about all the lovely animals he was going to make.

      It's baby stories, it really is. They might as well say it was Oz.

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  8. I actually began to feel sorry for Cleevey at the end. It was apparent that in this debate titled "Does God Exist" he did not even try to prove that a deity existed, much less the one that Catholics worship. He didn't even try to prove deism or a non-material mind. The furthest he went was to say that the mystery of existence points to "that from which essence and existence cannot be separated".

    I'm not sure he even tried to suggest that a God is more likely than not. (Not that he laid out what he meant by "god" or "exists") What does "points to" mean. He also used words like "a horizon of possibility".

    If you can call it an argument it was an argument both to and from ignorance.

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  9. I may be extremely naïve but if you cannot prove that the state nothing is possible how can you ask how something came from nothing?

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    1. Seems such an obvious point, but I've never heard a theist address it.

      You don't even have to posit that "nothing" is impossible. You merely have to point out that the probability of the existence of "nothing" has not been demonstrated to be greater than that of the existence of "something", and the argument is dead in the water.

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  10. These debates always crack me up!

    Just put it in perspective. Assume 10,000 years of written history or, at least, evidence of settlements and civilization. (I won't quibble; pick your own number.) Vast numbers of really serious, deep thinkers pondering this problem (Is there a God?) and trying to figure it out. Entire religions around one part or another of the question come and go.

    And, still, out of all that - nothing. Nothing to show for all that effort. Well, nothing positive to show. You'd think that after all this time that people would figure out the question has been answered.

    So, I must chuckle when I see a debate on this topic, really no different than two drunks in a bar arguing which is better, Star Trek or Star Wars. It's all opinion and in the morning you wake up with a headache and your underwear missing.

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  11. No arguments about the origins of life...? It would be so devastating for the atheo/moron side...But that is not what catholic church is all about these days.... they are losing the ground... so in order to protect their power and capital, they pretend to be morons...which helps on this blog ... i Well, does that mean the Catholic Church accepted it as a par of its doctrine....? It... personally would not be surprise....They need all the help they can get...

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    1. Don't use so many ellipses, Quest. It makes you look like an idiot even more than usual.

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    2. Good point, Quest! I can just imagine it:

      Atheo side: "We don't know for sure how life arose on Earth. We do have some preliminary hypotheses, with some supportive empirical evidence, but it's still far from settled. We'll keep working on it, and hopefully one day we'll have a robust answer."

      Theo/ID side: "We absolutely know the answer! The only possible way for life to arise on Earth was through the direct intention of God. Our proof? Because it's obvious! And life is so complex! Plus our holy book says so! Also, God has personally revealed it to us. (But not to you.)"

      Yep. Devastating! I recommend you contact Cleevely immediately, before he loses any more debates.

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    3. [ No arguments about the origins of life...? It would be so devastating for the atheo/moron side... ]
      We don't know is "devastating" to atheism? You're apparently subnormally mentally endowed. Oh right I already knew.

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    4. Yes! Yes! and one more time yes! to all atheo-philosophers here...!!!!
      You have not disappointed me !!! lol

      Atheos: "....we have not been able to create life but we have good hypothesis, and empirical evidence (this is a joke obviously, because no such exists lol)...that life could have arisen by itself, even though we, intelligent life, could not recreate what lifeless and mindless matter has done on its own to itself...." lol

      I guess this ONLY CAN MEAN ONE THING:
      When " we" do recreate life, then atheos will be able to logically assume through inductive reasoning that life could have arisen on its own even though it would require an intelligent scientist to recreate it...."

      Well, who can argue with this kind of inductive reasoning...??? OML...

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    5. You appear to be engaged in conversation with yourself. Wouldn't that better be done privately?

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    6. "even though we, intelligent life, could not recreate what lifeless and mindless matter has done on its own to itself."

      What kind of standard is that? I'm quietly confident that (a) there is such as thing as the Sun, (b) we could not build an exact replica of the Sun.

      We don't know how to create life. We do know how life developed, and what living things are made of. Those elements are relatively common and require - as we'd expect - conditions readily found on Earth. We know the conditions in which living material can thrive. We know that immense timescales were involved. We know, via experiment, that the moment a self-replicating molecule appears, it can rapidly come to dominate. We know that whatever is needed to spark 'life' only needs to have happened once. We know there are some very sophisticated structures in nature - crystal formations and the like - that we don't think are alive, and things like viruses that may or may not be.

      'it would require an intelligent scientist to recreate it.'

      Step away from your idiocy a moment, and try to think about what you're saying.

      We can recreate lightning in a laboratory. Does that mean every bolt of lightning has to be created in some laboratory?

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    7. Jem,

      "We don't know how to create life. We do know how life developed, and what living things are made of."

      Well, all you should have said is that you are clueless but resistant to logic....It would have been really nicely put with the rest of you mindless frustration....

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    8. "It would have been really nicely put with the rest of you mindless frustration.... "

      Please don't mistake this for frustration. I'm laughing at you.

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  12. The something from nothing argument puzzles me. Yes, it doesn't seem to happen in our universe (quantum fluctuations are not nothing). But why don't antitheists just say, "well if there's truly nothing, then there's nothing to prevent anything from coming into existence". Haven't seen that answer in a debate yet.

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    1. Actually Richard Carrier has used that argument if I remember correctly.

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    2. Lawrence Krauss, a well known physicist, has written a book called A Universe from Nothing. Perhaps reading it would be a good idea if the argument puzzles you.

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    3. Laurence Krauss has also said that people in general do not understand "nothing" (not in the non-standard English usage meaning, but the cosmological concept). He's certainly right about that. The problem is when cosmologists like Stephen and Laurence bring it in to pop science and people take "nothing" to mean exactly (for lack of a better word) -nothing.
      It may seem petty to argue about, but it's an important philosophical question since origins theories always go back to "matter" or "mind" first. Both Laurence and Stephen, to make life a little easier, assume the existence of both matter (particles from quantum fluctuations) and mind (the fundamental forces) in their origin of the universe theories.

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    4. mind (the fundamental forces)

      I beg your pardon? Who and where calls the fundamental forces "mind"? If it;'s your own usage, don't put it in other people's mouths. They might... uh... mind it.

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    5. "mind (the fundamental forces)"

      And ... that's the card known as 'which we call God'. On this Valentine's Day, I should probably note that the usually play is 'God is Love, therefore Love is God. Love Exists, therefore God Exists'.

      What's interesting in this context, of course, is the role and nature of the current fundamental forces at the start of the universe. If there is a creationist or creationist-adjacent scientist out there who can demonstrate and quantify the state of the fundamental forces *before* the Big Bang, then that's yet another Nobel Prize just there for the bagging.

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    6. Piotr, if you have a better word for none physical law, please let me know. God maybe? Here's a quote from Jewish physicist Gerald Schroeder from his comment to The Grand Design: "(the claim that, AW)… to create a universe from absolute nothing God is not necessary. All that is needed are the laws of nature. … [That is,] there can have been a big bang creation without the help of God, provided the laws of nature pre-date the universe. Our concept of time begins with the creation of the universe. Therefore if the laws of nature created the universe, these laws must have existed prior to time; that is the laws of nature would be outside of time. What we have then is totally non-physical laws, outside of time, creating a universe. Now that description might sound somewhat familiar. Very much like the biblical concept of God: not physical, outside of time, able to create a universe (from nothing, AW)."

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    7. Both Laurence and Stephen, to make life a little easier, assume the existence of both matter (particles from quantum fluctuations) and mind (the fundamental forces) in their origin of the universe theories.

      I see you are on a first name basis. Thus it puzzles me that you got this so wrong. First of all, Krauss doesn't assume the existence of particles. Rather, he assumes an arrangement of relativistic quantum fields. He frankly admits he does not know whether these relativistic quantum fields themselves are fundamental, or arose from something deeper. Fluctuations in these fields can and do give rise to virtual and real particles. That's been observed and confirmed in experiments. Look up "Casimir effect," which is only one of the many types of confirming phenomena that have been observed.

      Hawking showed the universe began in a singularity, where the laws of physics break down, so there are neither particles nor forces.

      The extant theories of origin in physics posit a single unified force immediately after the singularity, which through "symmetry breaking" became the fundamental forces we are familiar with.

      So - singularity to start with; relativistic quantum fields at some point after that. No particles or today's fundamental forces at The Beginning.

      Like I said, maybe you want to read the book. And perhaps a couple of Hawking's as well.

      P.S. Just for anyone else, that malarkey about "mind" is certainly not Krauss's or Hawking's coinage. The existence of anything as sophisticated as a mind with no particles or forces around to construct it is far too illogical and silly for scientists like Krauss or Hawking to give any credence to. Think about it for a second - Does gravity have a "mind"? Electromagnetism? You're getting awfully close to reprising that Thermos joke.

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    8. You are changing the topic, as usual. You equated "the fundamental forces" with "mind", and suggested that that such an identification was something that physicists such as "Lawrence (Krauss?) and Stephen (Hawking?)" assumed. You must be out of your fundamental forces.

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    9. My reply above is addressed to Andy, of course.

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    10. Judmarc wrote: "Hawking showed the universe began in a singularity, where the laws of physics break down, so there are neither particles nor forces."

      Well, Hawking later revised his position in A Brief History of Time (1988) where he stated that "there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe...I guess you need to catch up a bit on his writing.

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    11. Well, Hawking later revised his position in A Brief History of Time (1988) where he stated that "there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe...I guess you need to catch up a bit on his writing.

      A far less than perfect understanding on your part leads to an assumption of far greater knowledge than you have. I'm well aware of what Hawking said in "A Brief History...." Here it is, refined, as presented at his own web site:

      If space and imaginary time are indeed like the surface of the Earth, there wouldn't be any singularities in the imaginary time direction, at which the laws of physics would break down. And there wouldn't be any boundaries, to the imaginary time space-time, just as there aren't any boundaries to the surface of the Earth. This absence of boundaries means that the laws of physics would determine the state of the universe uniquely, in imaginary time. But if one knows the state of the universe in imaginary time, one can calculate the state of the universe in real time. One would still expect some sort of Big Bang singularity in real time. So real time would still have a beginning.

      Got it? Time is unbounded in the imaginary direction (think imaginary numbers). Real time, which we're living in, begins with a singularity.

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    12. @judmarc

      Andy is all about imaginary.

      Not so keen on the real.

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    13. Judmarc: I'm familiar with Kraus and most of the arguments. Larry's wrong. The best theistic argument is the fine tuning argument.

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    14. Judmarc: I'm familiar with Kraus and most of the arguments. Larry's wrong. The best theistic argument is the fine tuning argument.

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    15. "The best theistic argument is the fine tuning argument."

      Then that just about wraps it up for theism.

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    16. Judmarc, a few sentences later Stephen says : "The no boundary proposal, predicts that the universe would start at a single point, like the North Pole of the Earth. But this point wouldn't be a singularity, like the Big Bang. Instead, it would be an ordinary point of space and time, like the North Pole is an ordinary point on the Earth, or so I'm told. I have not been there myself."

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    17. Then that just about wraps it up for theism.

      Indeed, the fine tuning argument is a load of dingo's kidneys.

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    18. Judmarc, a few sentences later Stephen says : "The no boundary proposal, predicts that the universe would start at a single point, like the North Pole of the Earth. But this point wouldn't be a singularity, like the Big Bang. Instead, it would be an ordinary point of space and time, like the North Pole is an ordinary point on the Earth, or so I'm told. I have not been there myself."

      Congratulations for proving you can avoid the actual meaning of a lengthy piece by quoting a few sentences out of context. What you have quoted is Hawking explaining how the math manages to work nicely. However, as shown by the most cited physics experiment in history (the COBE microwave data), and as confirmed by Hawking in the portion of his document you continue to studiously ignore, here in our real universe there was a singularity.

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    19. Judmarc, I don't mind that you argue for a singularity at the beginning of our universe, but you do it on the wrong premise. Hawking abandoned this hypotheses a long time ago. I'm not sure which would be more embarrassing for you: lying about having read his books or having read and not understood...the latter I guess. Here is another Hawking quote, that you can not possibly misunderstand from `Origin of the Universe' : "It has been interesting to watch the change in the climate of opinion on singularities. When I was a graduate student, almost no one took singularities seriously. Now, as a result of the singularity theorems, nearly everyone believes that the universe began with a singularity. In the meantime, however, I have changed my mind: I still believe that the universe had a beginning, but that it was not a singularity."

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    20. Judmarc, Hawking advocates inflation, according to that theory you should observe slight variations in the CMBR since the expansion wasn't completely uniform. This predicted variation was confirmed by the NASA COBE observations in 1992 and later measured by the WMAP satellite.

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    21. Andy, you still don't get it, and you probably never will, since your world view depends on it. But for those open to the joy of learning, here it is quite simply:

      - Hawking is talking about equations mathematically describing the origin of the universe that have no need of singularities in the imaginary direction. The "imaginary direction" refers to imaginary numbers, which involve square roots of negatives. This is a good thing, because it helps the math work out where scientists were previously at a loss.

      - However, in the real direction, i.e., here in the real universe where we all live, there was a singularity at the origin, the Big Bang.

      - You've just mentioned inflation. Hawking's (and many other scientists') advocacy of inflation does not contradict a singularity followed by the Big Bang. It is all part of the most commonly accepted picture of the origin - singularity followed by Big Bang followed by cosmic inflation. If you don't understand that inflation is consistent with a singularity followed by the Big Bang, you should read Alan Guth's book, "The Inflationary Universe." (Guth is the scientist primarily responsible for developing the theory of cosmic inflation.)

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    22. Judmarc, you are conflating singularity with the Big Bang. General Relativity predicts a singularity at the beginning of the universe as shown in the Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems. General Relativity does however not account for the uncertainty principle and is therefore ill suited to study situations approaching a singularity. Quantum mechanics is a better theory in these situations, but unfortunately we do not yet have a quantum theory for gravitation. Also when you approach a singularity the uncertainty principle which is an intrinsic part of quantum mechanics is violated, however quantum mechanics works just fine for imaginary time and with imaginary particles. This means that if there were a theory of Quantum Gravity, this could be used to described the initial state of the universe without the laws of physics breaking down when applying the no boundary proposal.
      Now we must not conflate this theory with the cause of the existence of the universe. This is how Hawking expresses it: "What is it that breathes fire into the equations, and makes a universe for them to govern. Is the ultimate unified theory so compelling, that it brings about its own existence? Although Science may solve the problem of ~how the universe began, it can not answer the question: why does the universe bother to exist? Maybe only God can answer that."

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    23. Piotr wrote: "I beg your pardon? Who and where calls the fundamental forces "mind"? If it;'s your own usage, don't put it in other people's mouths. They might... uh... mind it."
      Well it's not really my idea. This is a common idea among deists and also some theists. Freeman Dyson in his book Infinite in All Directions writes about three levels of mind: "The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is the level of elementary physical processes in quantum mechanics. Matter in quantum mechanics is [...] constantly making choices between alternative possibilities according to probabilistic laws. [...] The second level at which we detect the operations of mind is the level of direct human experience. [...] [I]t is reasonable to believe in the existence of a third level of mind, a mental component of the universe. If we believe in this mental component and call it God, then we can say that we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus" (p. 297)

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    25. Dyson's argument is a perfect example of the Humpty Dumpty principle:

      http://definitionsinsemantics.blogspot.ca/2012/03/humpty-dumpty-principle-in-definitions.html

      Here, he uses the term "mind" to refer to something completely different from the conventional meaning of the term, then uses his new definition to support a conclusion based on the conventional meaning.

      It's as if I wanted to prove that the earth is flat by defining the term "flat" as meaning "roughly spherical in shape" then showing that the earth is, in fact, roughly spherical in shape. The argument is valid as far as it goes, but I think it's pretty obvious where the sleight of hand occurs.

      Why anyone would give any credence to such a blatantly stupid argument is beyond me.

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  13. Many great minds have discussed these same things in the past and as much as people want to prove the existence of God or gods all religions come down to one thing, faith. I'm not arguing for or against Christianity or religion in general but I'm not sure you can prove something that is by definition outside the realm of our understanding. Science is based off observations and even with instruments we can only observe a fraction of what is going on not only in the Universe, but on Earth as well.

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    1. However science stops short of the point where they make shit up about things that have not been observed.

      A quality that religion is not encumbered with.


      http://www.jesusandmo.net/2008/12/17/edge/

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    2. ...but I'm not sure you can prove something that is by definition outside the realm of our understanding.

      Its worse than that, if something was truly outside the realm of our understanding, we could not even have perception of that something, let alone set about to prove or disprove it. This is the central problem of theology (aside from pretending it knows a great deal about god when it is convenient to do so): there is no subject there to discuss unless it be admitted that we can perceive god, in which case the topic is indeed amenable to scientific investigation.

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  14. Jonny Harsh wrote:

    You appear to be engaged in conversation with yourself. Wouldn't that better be done privately?

    What else can I do??? You are not an expert in this field so why do you even answer?

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    1. I was going to suggest that you were engaging in another action best engaged in privately, but I was trying to be polite. And you, of course, are not an expert in any field, so why should my expertise even matter?

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    2. I think Quest is trying to say he's a real expert in that private occupation he's engaged in.

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    3. You are not an expert in this field ....

      What field is that again? And how does one become an expert in it?

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    4. Is it an example of irony that Quest's supposed field is just mental masturbation and that this 'field" considers the much more useful genuine act a sin?

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    5. Well Johny by your own admission we know you are not an expert in this field of abiogenesis.... So far, I have not seen any scientific evidence to counter attack my evidence against i, .... When, or if, one day you become an expert in this field, or if anyone in the world becomes an expert in this field, I will pay my respects.... Bu, will I ever have to do that...? There is a conference coming up on the theme... I have not been invited.... that means only one thing....They have NOTHING, NADA, NIC... I have heard rumors that some scientists in this field have become believers because they have been praying for a miracle in this field ...

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    6. "They have NOTHING, NADA, NIC... "

      You seem to think 'we don't know, but we're thinking about it' is a position of weakness and 'Telling yourself that "God did it" is a position of strength. A thousand years ago people like you thought the only thing that would improve harvests was the gods, five hundred years ago people like you thought that the only explanation for disease was the gods. You are fat and healthy now, Mr Quest, because people like us worked out that people like you were full of bullshit. We don't know now, but looking at history we can be quietly confident that at some point relatively soon we'll have a good idea how life started, and that Jesus will be relegated to cheesy superhero movies, which is where every god ends up after they retire.

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    7. ALL I say is that you can't, and won't prove it that your natural processes did it. And if THEY DID DO IT WHO DESINGED THEM?
      Do you see my problem?

      But,. Did or will natural process create life from mindless matter? What do you have...? YOU HAVE NOTHING, NADA NIC AND SHIT TO PROVE MY POINT. If you, or other people in the business did have something, they would be in my face. Believe me. Since they don't I can sleep well....

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    8. ALL I say is that you can't, and won't prove it that your natural processes did it. And if THEY DID DO IT WHO DESINGED THEM?
      Do you see my problem?


      Do you have a similar problem when considering the origin of the designer or does the problem magically drop away at that point?

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    9. SRM wrote:

      "Do you have a similar problem when considering the origin of the designer or does the problem magically drop away at that point?"

      I have noticed that nobody corrected your stupidity, so I'm not going to do it either... I mean, why should I bother with a moron, who comes up with a stupid argument like that and makes fool of himself and everyone else who subscribes to his atheo-set of beliefs....

      Even Justin Trottier did not try that in the debated because he probably knew he would make a fool of himself, just like you did here... Good luck withe the rest of your stupidity....

      BTW: Ever heard of infinite regress...? I doubt that...

      Whatta moron...

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    10. I believe that Quest has just claimed that it's designers all the way down. Though one can never be sure with incoherent posters.

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    11. John Harshman wrote:

      "I believe that Quest has just claimed that it's designers all the way down. Though one can never be sure with incoherent posters."

      Have you lost your mind??? I'm giving you 2 hours to correct this, not because I respect you; I don't... I kind of like you because you are a moron with an open face... Don't embarrass yourself if you care...

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    12. I have noticed that nobody corrected your stupidity, so I'm not going to do it either... I mean, why should I bother with a moron, who comes up with a stupid argument like that and makes fool of himself and everyone else who subscribes to his atheo-set of beliefs....

      And Quest blows a gasket. I didn't present an argument, I asked you a question.

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  15. "Do you see my problem?"

    Yes. Your problem is that you're an illiterate cretin.

    But your *argument* is not really an argument, it's just stating a fact: no one knows precisely how life started. If you want to offer a model for how it might have done, please do. The Christian account: 'a special giant pixie who hates women and gay sex blew magic air onto a lump of clay' is ... well, we agree on the clay. Clay exists. The problem with that model isn't the clay.

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    1. I will lose the belief in a Creator if the following two things can be shown;


      1.) Something that begins to exist, caused its own existence.

      2.) Inanimate matter can become animate, show me how a bunch of left handed amino acids can join up to make the first protein all by itself.

      Until then I'm not worried about anyone's angry little anti-god rants..... Prove these above 2 points can be done and you win! Extraordinary claims that these events can happen need extraordinary evidence of its truth.... I'm waiting.....

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    2. The problem however, Andre, is that it is you that is making the extraordinary claim but you need to think about it for a bit before it becomes obvious. You are taking what are already extremely difficult to figure out events, and have tremendously complicated an already complicated enough situation, by positing an invisible designer and manipulator that must be sentient, have extraordinary powers, and thus be extraordinarily complex. You think you have hit upon a simple answer to complexity in the universe - god - but all you have done is introduced another layer of immense complexity to the problem. If the origin of life is a complex problem, what about the origin of god? This wouldn't be so bad if in the meantime you answered questions like: "What is this god thing?" and "How does it do what it does?" but of course most religious people think they can stop asking questions once they arrive at the god point.

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    3. SRM.....

      "EVERYTHING" that "BEGINS" to exist has a "CAUSE"
      The universe "BEGAN" to exist
      Therefore the universe has a "CAUSE"

      It does not follow that that cause is God of the Bible, but only 2 things can cause things to begin to exist. Abstracts or a mind.

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    4. Explain what 'begins to exist' means in this context. If it's a concept that only applies once, to the very beginning of the universe, then no, oddly enough, I can't show you another one. If it applies more generally, give us a clearer definition.

      As for inanimate matter becoming animate ... well, look in the mirror. What do you think you're made of, what do you think you'll return to one day? And what's the nature of the property you have in the meantime? If you think what makes you alive is a supernatural ghost thing, like a soul, then that's your claim, not mine, and up to you to prove. I think it's a series of chemical and electrical processes. I can demonstrate those very easily.


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    5. Jem

      I as a living being was caused by my parents who themselves where caused by their parents, the point is and Pasteur has proven it that life only comes from life, inanimate matter is incapable of becoming animate it that was true new life world spontaneously form all over the place. I don't recall a single observation of that ever happened. We've had 10 000 years of written time to record a rock, a stick, some atoms to become alive! Anything ever recorded or observed?

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    6. Abiogenesis is not proven as true, but something people think happened. Show me that it really can and did happen and I'll be just like you until then I'm skeptical of this "chance" creation story without concrete proof. I don't even mind if you call me names but I'm not accepting any supposed facts unless it can be demonstrated.

      Complex systems, purpose those things can be demonstrated as coming from a mind and not chance.

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    7. "I as a living being was caused by my parents who themselves where caused by their parents"

      And were they made of matter, or matter plus something else? And what's the something else, and where's your evidence?

      I can demonstrate the existence of chemicals. My argument is that life starts after a series of physical processes. I admit I can't replicate that and don't know the precise process. There are many things I can't replicate. I can't generate gravity or build a Sun. I'm confident gravity and the Sun exist.

      Abiogenesis does seem to be difficult. It may only have happened once, in the history of the universe. Lighting a fire in a storm with a match is difficult. But not impossible.

      Your argument, I think, is that all the physical processes I think were there are present *and* something else is. Whether that's 'life force' or 'souls' or 'angels' doesn't matter. Whatever it is, you've go no evidence that *category* of thing exists, let alone that it was involved in that specific process.

      And we hit the basic flaw with your argument: if we're talking pure probability, which is more likely? My thing *and* your thing happened, or just my thing happened?

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    8. Jem

      If there are two probabilities and they are;

      1.) Matter arranged itself by chance naturally to form purpose
      2.) An intelligence arranged matter purposefully

      Then the evidence points to number 2. There is absolutely no natural process we know of that is capable of creating purpose, to think there is brings you to the point where you have to be dishonest with yourself about the world.

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    9. "There is absolutely no natural process we know of that is capable of creating purpose"

      We weren't talking about 'purpose' we were talking about what makes something 'alive'.

      I believe 'life' is a purely material property. As an example, I think someone is 'alive' if certain physical processes - the heart beating, the lungs working, the brain firing - are present, and that death is when those processes stop. And that's it. Exactly the same body can be alive and dead, and the only differences are entirely materialistic ones.

      Do you believe that, or do you believe that there is some other component - a spirit, ghost, soul, divine breath, or something else - that has to be present?

      And here's the thing that kills your argument, I think: you have to concede that *all my stuff* has to be present, too. You can't be arguing against the importance of heartbeats to the issue of whether a human being is alive or not.

      If that's the case, and we're talking probability, then it becomes very simple. For you to be right, I have to be right *and* there has to be a complex, undetectable, invisible, guided process where some magic ghost is slotted in.

      That might be what's happening, but even if it is, the very, very best you can hope for is that your model is *as* improbable as mine.

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  16. Here is the 10 Arguments for the existence of God, not some flimsy wishy washy something is a miracle must be God argument.

    1. Cosmological Argument: Also called the argument from universal causation or the argument from contingency, the cosmological argument is probably the most well-known and well-loved among theistic apologists. The basic argument is that all effects have an efficient cause. The universe, and all that is in it, due to its contingent (dependent) nature, is an effect. Therefore, the universe has a cause…but that cause cannot be an effect, or one would have to explain its cause. Therefore, there must be an ultimate cause, an unmoved mover, an uncaused cause that began the process. This cause must transcend time and space in order to transcend the law of cause and effect. This transcendent entity must be personal in order to willfully cause the effect. This ultimate cause is God.

    2. Teleological Argument: (Gr. telos, “end” or “purpose”) This is also known as the argument from design. This argument moves from complexity to a necessary explanatory cause for such complexity. The universe has definite design, order, and arrangement which cannot be sufficiently explained outside a theistic worldview. From the complexities of the human eye to the order and arrangement of the cosmology, the voice of God is heard. Therefore, God’s existence is the best explanation for such design. God is the undesigned designer.

    3. Moral Argument: This argument argues from the reality of moral laws to the existence of a necessary moral law giver. The idea here is that if there are moral laws (murder is wrong, selfishness is wrong, self-sacrifice is noble, torturing innocent babies for fun is evil), then there must be a transcendent explanation and justification for such laws. Otherwise, they are merely conventions that are not morally binding on anyone. Since there are moral laws, then there must be a moral law giver who transcends space and time. This moral law giver is God.

    4. sensus divinitatus (“sense of the divine”): While this argument goes by many names, the sensus divinitatus argues for the existence of God from the innate sense of the divine that exists within humans. This sense of the divine, it can be argued, is the “God-shaped void” within all of us. This explains why people, societies, and cultures of all time have, by nature, sensed a need to worship something greater than themselves.

    5. The Argument from Aesthetic Experience: This is the argument from universal beauty and pleasure. Beauty and pleasure are universally recognized as such. Even subjective variations in one’s definition of what is beautiful are not distinct enough to relativize this principle. From the beauty of the sunset over the Rockies to the pleasure of eating certain foods, there is a common aesthetic experience that transcends the individual. This transcendence must have a ultimate source. This ultimate source is God.

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    1. continued


      6. Argument from the Existence of Arguments: The idea here is that there is no such thing as an argument without order and rationality. In the absence of God, all that exists is chaos. Chaos does not give birth to order. Arguments assume order. Order assumes purpose and design, which in turn require a transcendent being for their genesis. To even argue against the existence of God assumes his existence and is therefore self-referentially absurd. Therefore, there is no such thing as an “argument” against Transcendence (God).

      7. Argument from the Existence of Free-will Arguments: If there is no God, then all we have is a meaningless series of cause and effect stretching back into eternity. This series of causes and effects is necessary and determined, being the result of the previous cause and effect. As a billiard ball is hit by another and has no self-motivated movements of its own, so all of human existence operates under the same conditions. All things are determined, not self-motivated, including beliefs. Therefore, if someone does not believe in God, it is not the result of self-motivated free-will beliefs, but because of a determined and fatalistic series of causes and effects stretching back into eternity. To argue against the existence of God would not be the result of looking at the evidence and making a more reasoned decision to not believe in God, but because that is what people were fatalistically determined to do. Therefore, all arguments are absurd and unjustified without God.

      8. Argument from the Existence of Evil: Like the moral argument, this argument assumes the existence of a universal characteristic that is meaningless without God. Some argue that the existence of evil disproves God (or at least a good God), but to argue such is formally absurd since one would have to have an ultimate and transcendent standard of good in order to define evil. If evil exists, goodness exists. If both exist, there must be a transcendent norm from which they get their meaning. Since evil does exist, God exists.

      9. Argument from Miracles: There are events in human history which cannot be explained outside of the existence of God. Many people have their subjective stories that bend them in the direction of theism, but there are also historical events, such as the resurrection of Christ and predictive prophecy, which cannot be explained without an acknowledgment of God. In short, from the Christian’s standpoint, if Christ rose from the grave, then God exists. There is no alternative reasonable explanation that accounts for such an event outside a belief in God. History convincingly demonstrates that Christ did rise from the grave. Therefore, God exists.

      10. Pascal’s Wager: Popularized by French philosopher Blaise Pascal, Pascal’s Wager argues that belief in God is the most rational choice due to the consequences of being wrong. If one were to believe in God and be wrong, there are no consequences. However, if one were to deny God and be wrong, the consequences are eternally tragic. Therefore, the most rational choice, considering the absence of absolute certainty, is not agnosticism or atheism (which one could definitely not be certain about), but a belief in God.

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    2. Then I would like an answer from you guys.

      1.) So you call yourself rational what do you base your rationality on? Rationality is a is a theistic concept and you're using a theistic concept to make your claim that's self defeating by the way...

      I think it was Charles Darwin himself that said "But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?"

      So if there is no ultimate source of rationality what makes you think you're being rational at all?


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    3. Andre, if you can find the arguments to cut and paste, you can find their refutations, many of which were formulated before Jesus was a twinkle in the milkman's eye.

      Do you seriously think we're not religious here because we've not thought about biology enough?

      So why bother posting them? Do you, personally, find all ten of those utterly persuasive, and, if so, would you like to be talked through the weaknesses of the position?

      If we help knock these 'proofs' all down for you, will you renounce your god or gods and just get on with your life? I suspect not.

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    4. SRM

      If there is a God, then he can by necessity not be complex, here is why; complexity means parts, parts of a system can break or fail so God cannot be complex.

      As for the origin of God, I accept the idea that there is a first mover or the unmoved mover. It's difficult to get around it for sure because cause and effect is something we as humans take very seriously. Time itself started with the beginning of this universe. We have no experience that time exists outside the universe.

      So to ask what caused God means this, who was the God that created God? And who was the God that created God that created God. Infinite regress is illogical. I accept the that there is a unmoved mover. I do so because its logical and reasonable.

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    5. SRM

      I've outlaid my conditions on how I will renounce the possibility that God does not exist, prove them to me and you win.

      Evil is not an argument against God, the mere fact that evil exist is a sure sign that an ultimate good may also exist. I mean for Pete sake we can distinguish between the two why is that?

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    6. JEM

      If you believe that complex biological systems planned and built themselves you have more faith than even me!

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    7. Jem

      Lastly to argue that science is giving evidence that God does not exist is absurd, science is revealing the incredible complexity of living systems and quite frankly chance and time can not cause these things no matter how much you wish them to be true. Now had you said you reject God on philosophical grounds because you have a problem with pain and suffering I would agree with you. But evidence from science? Not in a zillion years can you claim that science makes God improbable because science is revealing his handiwork!

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    8. @Andre Gross,

      Even the Roman Catholic priest wasn't crazy enough to try any of your arguments for the existence of gods.

      That's probably because he was debating in front of a university audience where he risked being laughed at.

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    9. The difference is, Cleevely is a professional, he gets paid to tell lies while Gross is but an amateur, enthusiastic but incompetent.

      I'll bet that if Gross's next meal depended on the quality of his rhetoric he'd be stumping up more entertaining delusions.

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    10. "If you believe that complex biological systems planned and built themselves you have more faith than even me!"

      Again, you're phrasing things too sloppily. Did they 'plan'? No. Did they 'build themselves'? Well, I believe that when a tree grows, for example, it's taking nutrients from the soil and energy from sunlight, yes. Do you think God's assembling it out of God Lego? No.

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    11. 'Lastly to argue that science is giving evidence that God does not exist is absurd'

      Science - all branches of science - has little or nothing to say about God. It's completely irrelevant to science. It's like saying science is 'giving evidence' that Middle Earth isn't real.

      All branches of science have converged on a bottom-up model of small particles blindly performing very simple processes with incredibly complex, unplanned consequences. Your God is incompatible with that model, but that is, itself, an unplanned consequence. Lots of gods are incompatible with that model, you're not being singled out.

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    12. If there is an origin of the Universe it can by necessity not be complex, here is why; complexity means parts, parts of a system can break or fail so the origin cannot be complex.

      Infinite regress is illogical. I accept that there is an origin. I do so because its logical and reasonable.

      See, Andre - I removed the word "God" from your reasoning, and it works just fine without it. No necessity for God.

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    13. Evil is not an argument against God, the mere fact that evil exist is a sure sign that an ultimate good may also exist. I mean for Pete sake we can distinguish between the two why is that?

      Andre, you addressed this to me but I made no mention of evil anywhere. In fact, I dislike the very term evil, loaded as it is with supernatural connotations.

      There is no such thing as evil. There are only events which, given the nature of their timing and/or impact on the recipient, can be considered either unfortunate or fortunate.
      There are bad people out there that can bring immense harm onto others, but these people are not evil - crazed, psychopathic, uncaring, violent maybe - but not evil.
      Other events that harm people are just the natural consequences of chance events where the misfortune of the victim can be ascribed to being in the wrong place at the wrong time - again, no reason to invoke evil except as a trivial terminology.

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    14. Prof Moran

      If scoring Brownie points with people are more important than truth to you, then I have to say you hurt my feelings and high expectations of you. Until Darwin there was not a single scientist that assumed the world did not need God. I mean the whole idea of Darwin and natural selection was in any case based on artificial selection, you are well aware that he assumed that since intelligent breeders can do it so can nature. Now the question has to be asked how does non-intelligence that can make no choice select and mimic a designer? I'm listening....

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    15. I'm listening....

      I believe we have established that you are not. Clearly you have no understanding of natural selection. You appear not to believe there could be any such thing. And yet it's an inevitable and simple consequence of a few easily understood prior conditions.

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    16. John

      I acknowledge that species have the ability to adapt to certain conditions, Darwin's finches and moths are a great example of this; there is no denying that natural selection as a mechanism is front-loaded to assist species with coping with the extremes of their environments. I however unlike you think that it is a goal orientated process. You need to convince me that organism can adapt without the information have being pre-loaded.

      On the finches and the moths, after all the natural selection they were still moths and they were still finches, that is a very important observation, had they turned into butterflies or swallows you certainly would win the argument, but last time I checked that did in fact not happen.

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    17. I however unlike you think that it is a goal orientated process. You need to convince me that organism can adapt without the information have being pre-loaded.

      C'mon Andre, you have to do a little work yourself. You can keep your god on your shoulder but you must put in a little effort to understand how natural selection works...the inevitable aspect of evolution that is the most intuitively easy to grasp. If your god exists, I am sure he is pulling for you, he wants you to understand how this world he created works.

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    18. "You need to convince me that organism can adapt without the information have being pre-loaded."

      Explain what that would mean in practical terms. Were all the finches given all the instructions by God, or did God dole out specific instructions knowing which island they'd end up on?

      And what's frontloaded and when? Were the first amoeba frontloaded with all the instructions? Do we contain information about the future, and is it possible for us to access that? How specific is this information - is it about populations or individuals?

      Your 'simple solution' leads to a far more convoluted and apparently contradictory state of affairs than ours. It keeps all the old problems and adds a whole bunch of new ones.

      But it may be right. Explain the model, explain the mechanism. Let's start with a simple question: where was that 'frontloaded' information stored in Darwin's finches?

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    19. Yeah, what Jem said. How could natural selection as a process be front-loaded, when it's the unavoidable consequence of not-quite-perfect replication in which some variations are better adapted to the current environment, and some worse? What is your evidence for any sort of front-loading?

      And really, "they're still moths"? What a tired, creationist argument that is. After all of human evolution, we're still apes. Therefore nothing happened?

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  17. "Rationality is a is a theistic concept"

    I hear this line aped over and over. OK ... I'll bite. What's the history of rationality, and what makes it a theistic concept?

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    1. Jem

      If the genesis of existence has no reason or order (chance and chaos), then the effect will carry the same attributes (remember, the effect cannot be greater than the cause). Yet you are saying that rationality (the effect) came from chaos (the cause).

      In other words, you are borrowing from a theistic worldview where rational arguments are only possible because of order and design and not from chance and chaos.

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    2. 'the effect cannot be greater than the cause' <- there's your problem.

      You're still wedded to Aristotle and Aquinas. Bits of it, anyway. Sorry, the universe is not made of little invisible pulleys and levers.

      But, OK, let's shoot this one in the head. It's easy enough.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhVVHlcVj5k

      A video of salt crystals forming. Explain what you think is happening, with special reference to planning, cause and effect.

      My worldview is simple: evolution itself is impossible without order, evolution of life adapted to rationality doubly so. By definition, any universe in which rational life exists is an ordered one. It's like arguing that it's an amazing miracle that fish only happen to live where it's wet. Completely the wrong way around.

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    3. Yeah, it's the old Thermos joke all over again - if you don't understand the simple scientific principle of insulation, then you have to explain what happens in a Thermos by saying it must know when its contents are hot or cold.

      It's the same thing with the Universe, Andre - the more you understand the scientific explanations, the easier it is to see there's no need for a mind to enter into things.

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    4. Andre,

      Care to prove that if there's no gods then everything should be exactly and nothing more than chance and chaos? Prove it. Don't assume it. Prove it. Don't give me rhetorical bullshit. Prove it.

      If some stuff works one way and not another, I can assume that such is the way those things work. I don't need to "borrow" from a theistic worldview anything. Your idea about borrowing is equivalent to thinking that we must first look inward when we judge what's outward. It's the other way around Andre. By necessity we look outward and take it from there. Even you did that despite you imagine that you believed in that imaginary being before you could live. Not so. You needed outside input in order to develop. Just like you had to eat, you needed outside input before you could even start to imagine that you need a god before you could appreciate the way things work. You are putting the horse behind the cart as Jem so nicely explained. So we know that rationality is possible because it is possible, not because we borrow anything from your silly worldview.

      That you could commit such basic philosophical blunders comes only to show how damaging theism can be to a rational mind.

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    5. I'll adress all the comments in post.

      I see name calling, don't mind that actually.
      I see fluff again but no substance to your argument that can convince me in any way that you are right. I will say it again, if it can be shown that these 2 events can happen without any intelligence, and I'm not talking about it in a history but right here right now and repeatedly then there will be no need for any gods.....

      1.) Something that begins to exist, caused its own existence.

      2.) Inanimate matter can become animate, show me how a bunch of left handed amino acids can join up to make the first protein all by itself.


      Come guys the above two statements are your faith position prove it to me if it was a natural event with no deities or intelligence required, seriously how hard can it be? I mean it can't be a miracle now can it?

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    6. Andre,

      How many times do you need to hear that if we know nothing about volcanoes that does not mean that volcanoes are gods? Ignorance is ignorance, not proof that there's gods. Got it now?

      Your questions are attempts at finding points where we don't know something just to put your god-of-the-gaps right there. If we know or not whether such things happened, and then how they did, does not change the fact that you rely on imaginary beings. You act as if the mere imagining them made them real and a solution to those questions. Well, exactly like ignoring how volcanoes worked did not make those volcanoes into gods, ignoring whether those events did happen (you assume they did to make your position look strong, as if we would not notice that you are working with imaginary volcanoes), and how they happened, does not make gods any more real.

      To get my point across. You believe that your god has always been there. You believe that your god does not need to be explained. See? You accept your imaginary being using a standard way lower than any standard you would put science against. Isn't this contradictory on your part?

      Anyway:

      Nope. Neither of those things are my "faith positions." If I don't know, I don't know. Whether I know or not will not make gods real.

      1. I don't know if something that began to exist caused it's own existence. Care to elaborate what you mean here exactly?

      2. The first part, this happens all the time. Inanimate matter becomes alive. Otherwise there would be no babies, for example. You have seen this happen all the time since you were born. I don't know what your amino-acids joining together into proteins by themselves has to do with anything. Care to elaborate on that? I have never thought of such a thing. Basic chemistry suggests that this should be possible, but I don't see its relevance to gods or any other thing. Let alone as a "faith position."

      So. Are you going to think or are you going to present us with more volcanoes?

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    7. So, Andre, where's my answer? I specifically asked you not to try and give us some bullshit, but, rather, to prove that if there's no gods then everything would have to be exactly and nothing more nothing else but chance and chaos. Where's that proof?

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  18. Andre said, and appears to believe at the same time that...

    If there is a God, then he can by necessity not be complex, here is why; complexity means parts, parts of a system can break or fail so God cannot be complex.

    If you believe that complex biological systems planned and built themselves you have more faith than even me!

    If the genesis of existence has no reason or order (chance and chaos), then the effect will carry the same attributes (remember, the effect cannot be greater than the cause).


    Does anyone see a contradiction there? I do.

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    1. He's conceded the game if he's conceded that complex things can come from simple things, yes.

      I think the really interesting bit is the disconnect between 'created the universe' and 'holds an opinion about gay marriage currently held by about a third of the American population'.

      It's so ... demeaning. It's peculiar. The chief contradiction here is the invention of this boundless, extraordinary being, then the psychological need to get it to agree with them about current, local issues. It's like being given the chance to ask Jesus a question and saying 'boxers or briefs?'.

      What's the point of a God that you can only infer, one that can never imply? If there was a God I wouldn't want to *talk* to God and moan about my aches and pains, I'd want to *listen* to God. That's the only meaningful way information can flow in that relationship.

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    2. Just to put it with maximal simplicity, Andre, here's what God gets you with regard to the origin of the universe:

      Without God:
      - We don't know why quantum physics resulted in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

      With God:
      - We don't know why God created the Universe in the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

      See? Exactly the same question either way, and no further along in answering it. But with the second formulation, you then have the extra problem of explaining exactly how this God character came to be hanging around. If you say "But there *must* have been!", that really gains you nothing, because you could say (as I did above) exactly the same thing about natural conditions creating the Universe without bringing God into it at all.

      It's really no good saying "We must have an explanation, therefore God," and in the next breath, "God needs no explanation."

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    3. Judmarc, your explanation is in vain. Pascal's Wager (mentioned as one of Andre's "proofs") assumes that if God exists, he is a sadistic, vindictive psychopath. Even if you have no evidence that he exists, you'd better believe in him and assure him every day you love him, otherwise you will end up in a place of eternal punishment after you die. Andre is apparently afraid that God may indeed a bullying monster like that, so he prefers to be on the safe side, like all those folks who sacrificed goats, sheep and children, stoned blasphemers, witches and sabbath-breakers to death, and did other equally insane things to propitiate their imaginary gods.

      It should really be called Pascal's Blackmail.

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    4. There is no contradiction and if you're looking at it as simple become complex you've missed the point.

      This is not evolution, God do not evolve into humans, well maybe in your mind He did......

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    5. Well, since you have assured me personally that there is no contradiction, I must be convinced.

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    6. John I'm not trying to convince you but here is the problem with a complex God consisting of parts.....

      If God exist he can not be made of parts because they are prone to failure. There is not a single complex thing in existence today that is not prone to fail man or machine, so if there is a God He can not be like us or a machine.

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    7. Judmarc

      Even if you take away God out that and replace it with QM then there is still a question?

      Where did the laws for QM come from?

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    8. A. There is a question but we don't assume the existence of God.
      B. There is a question and we assume the existence of God.

      If B, the question remains (even if "God did it", we don't know how it was done), and lots of new questions arise concerning God himself (to begin with: where did he come from?). You may try to evade those extra questions using the usual theological quibbling, but they won't go away.

      Conclusion: A is more parsimonious. It's better to have one yet unanswered question than the same question plus a dozen more questions, plus a god.

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    9. Andre, let me state your contradiction more clearly.

      You say that an effect may not be greater than its cause, and you have said the evolution of greater complexity is therefore impossible. But the conclusion from that is that the cause must be more complex than the effect. Yet you say god caused life but god is not complex. And you get out of that problem merely by declaring that god is special and quickly changing the subject.

      Your proper escape from the paradox would be to abandon the unfounded claim that the effect can't be greater than the cause. By many (though perhaps not all) measures of "greater", it certainly can.

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    10. Judmarc

      Even if you take away God out that and replace it with QM then there is still a question?

      Where did the laws for QM come from?


      * * *

      Exactly!

      That's what it is to think like a scientist - coming up with unresolved questions. It's what caused Isaac Asimov to remark that the most exciting thing to hear in science was not "Eureka!" (when someone finds the answer), but "That's funny..." (when someone is coming up with a new question).

      We don't know the answer to why the laws of quantum physics are as they are. Isn't it a tremendously exciting puzzle to try to figure out? It's what thousands of scientists are doing right now. What a great thing, to follow our natural curiosity into such awe-inspiring places!

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  19. Andre, why do you use the words "he" and "his" when you refer to "God"? Why do you assert a gender for "God"? Why do you use the word "God"? And which so-called "God" are you referring to?

    You said: "If there is a God, then he can by necessity not be complex, here is why; complexity means parts, parts of a system can break or fail so God cannot be complex."

    For something to have a particular gender it must have parts, particular parts, and those parts are parts of a system, and any reasonable person would agree that there is somewhere between a fair amount and a great deal of complexity in anything that has the feature of gender, and that determining the gender of something is often very complex. For instance, how do you determine the gender of your alleged "God"? And since it's well known that the parts that pertain to gender can and do break or fail, your allegedly male gendered "God" likely has a break or failure now and then, especially since "he" is allegedly so old, right?

    You also said: "Lastly to argue that science is giving evidence that God does not exist is absurd, science is revealing the incredible complexity of living systems and quite frankly chance and time can not cause these things no matter how much you wish them to be true."

    And:

    "Not in a zillion years can you claim that science makes God improbable because science is revealing his handiwork!"

    If, as you claim, "God" can by necessity not be complex, how does "he" create "the incredible complexity of living systems"? How does "he" accomplish "his" complex handiwork? Have you personally and physically examined "God" to determine that "he" is not complex? Will you please provide the scientific data from your examination that supports your contention that "God" is a "he" but is not complex? Will you also state how you determine and describe the difference between something that is simple or complex? Exactly where do you draw the line? And what "necessity" are you referring to? Is the alleged "necessity" based on your belief that "God" is perfect and cannot break or fail in any way?

    You claim that science cannot make "God" "improbable" but then you claim that "science is revealing his handiwork". So, you're relying only on what you think are probabilities for the existence of "God" (i.e. maybe "God" exists), and of course that means your version of who or what "God" is, but then you turn around and rely on your claim that "science is revealing his handiwork", which is a claim of certainty, not maybe. You even said "If God exist...", which is another 'maybe' statement, not a certainty statement, yet you make many other certainty statements about "God". Why do you make certainty statements about "God" when you don't even know if "he" exists?




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