Suffering, prayer and god's will

fortitude
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Suffering, prayer and god's will

I ceased to believe in god when I finally let go of the idea that somehow suffering can be part of god's long term plan.  After quite a lot of other sh1t happening, my 30 year old husband of 10 years suffered permanent nerve damage to his lower spine due to cancer.  While he appeared to everyone else to be reasonably healthy, he was in fact unable to urinate.  He also lost sexual function and partially lost bowel function.  He had to self catheterize for the rest of his life.  Which turned out to only be another year due to proliferation of tumours in his brain. 

I am no philosopher.  I find that when people are talking about hypothetical occasions of suffering and god's will, they can always come up with hypothetical ways that God could be working in the situation.  So therefore, apparently, we have no right to judge it as unacceptable for an omnipotent god.  I could dismiss hypothetical suffering as not being in conflict with an omnipotent god.  I did for over a decade.  I could, however, not dismiss the private indignity and pain he suffered daily as being somehow beneficial to something.  No possible benefit could come of my husband being unable to urinate.  Noone will be inspired by a situation like that, and even if they were, it is abhorrent to think that it would in any way justify the suffering and indignity he went through.  It was a humiliation that brought him to depression.  I lost my belief in prayer then, and my belief in god followed along accordingly.

The christians in my life had many things to say about the situation.  At the time, the things were often hurtful, even as they were trying to be encouraging.  Things like 'it's all part of god's plan and god is always in control.  You just have to trust in him.'  It rang hollow.  More than hollow.  Horrifying really.  It was better for us to just admit that 'sh1t happens' to everyone, believer and unbeliever, worthy and unworthy.  He and I faced what came with courage.  And I was proud of the depths of courage he and I found in the horror that came.  He died almost two years ago.  And it was my strength that saw the situation through to it's conclusion.  Not god's grace.  I was there for our two children through all of it.  We came through it.  There was no'Footprints' poem moment where I realized that when my strength failed, that a magic daddy carried me.  I found depths to my humanity I didn't know I had.  I found wisdom in many situations that saw us through.  I was proud of myself for that.   And I was pround of my late husband for his dignity in facing death.  I became an atheist at peace with the choices I had made given a tragic situation.

"There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right." Martin Luther King


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Who do you think created those Natural Laws in the first place?

And some of y'all are as bad as pagan Theists who are constantly anthropomorphizing G-d.  Why would "juggling all these subatomic balls" be hard for G-d?

The natural Laws are just descriptions of the way stuff behaves, and as we dig deeper, the 'fundamental' laws become simpler and simpler in form. So the 'ultimate' laws are likely to follow from the same 'source' as the 'laws' of logic - the raw 'fact' that one thing can be distinguished from another, leading to the starting points of Logic, that A = A, and A ~= ~A.  A god itself would be just as contingent on such 'laws' existing.

Why?  That's only the case if G-d exists inside the Universe, rather than the Universe existing inside G-d.

BobSpence1 wrote:
As for 'recreating' the universe instant by instant' that is total bollocks, and totally unnecessary, whatever your concept of God. But of course 'God' itself is a totally unnecessary concept.

Uh, but somehow the Universe =is= recreated instant by instant.  Here, read -- Virtual Particles.

"Obviously I'm convinced of the existence of G-d. I'm equally convinced that Atheists who've led good lives will be in Olam HaBa going "How the heck did I wind up in this place?!?" while Christians who've treated people like dirt will be in some other place asking the exact same question."


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FurryCatHerder

FurryCatHerder wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Who do you think created those Natural Laws in the first place?

And some of y'all are as bad as pagan Theists who are constantly anthropomorphizing G-d.  Why would "juggling all these subatomic balls" be hard for G-d?

The natural Laws are just descriptions of the way stuff behaves, and as we dig deeper, the 'fundamental' laws become simpler and simpler in form. So the 'ultimate' laws are likely to follow from the same 'source' as the 'laws' of logic - the raw 'fact' that one thing can be distinguished from another, leading to the starting points of Logic, that A = A, and A ~= ~A.  A god itself would be just as contingent on such 'laws' existing.

Why?  That's only the case if G-d exists inside the Universe, rather than the Universe existing inside G-d.

BobSpence1 wrote:
As for 'recreating' the universe instant by instant' that is total bollocks, and totally unnecessary, whatever your concept of God. But of course 'God' itself is a totally unnecessary concept.

Uh, but somehow the Universe =is= recreated instant by instant.  Here, read -- Virtual Particles.

 

"interactions (essentially forces) between real particles are described in terms of exchanges of virtual particles."

 

I don't see how virtual particles relate to the universe being recreated instant by instant.  You would do better to use quantum fluctuations as your argument.

 

And also, the default atheist answer to not knowing how something happens is "we don't know," instead of "God did it."   There are plenty of things we don't understand, but those things are not sufficient proof that god exists to anyone.  I'm sure you've heard this hundreds of times by now.


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FurryCatHerder wrote: Who

FurryCatHerder wrote:
 Who do you think created those Natural Laws in the first place? 

Without looking it up, I'm never quite sure whether this sort of thing is more accurately referred to "begging the question" or "circular argument".  I know that some people use the two terms interchangeably but I'm told that Aristotle considered them to be two separate fallacies.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


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FurryCatHerder

FurryCatHerder wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

FurryCatHerder wrote:

Who do you think created those Natural Laws in the first place?

And some of y'all are as bad as pagan Theists who are constantly anthropomorphizing G-d.  Why would "juggling all these subatomic balls" be hard for G-d?

The natural Laws are just descriptions of the way stuff behaves, and as we dig deeper, the 'fundamental' laws become simpler and simpler in form. So the 'ultimate' laws are likely to follow from the same 'source' as the 'laws' of logic - the raw 'fact' that one thing can be distinguished from another, leading to the starting points of Logic, that A = A, and A ~= ~A.  A god itself would be just as contingent on such 'laws' existing.

Why?  That's only the case if G-d exists inside the Universe, rather than the Universe existing inside G-d.

You are making the giant presumption that God could exist in a an incoherent framework, which would be any framework or context that did not accord with the prerequisites for basic logic. 

Proposing the that God, or G-d, or D-g, or whatever exists outside our universe is the standard dumb dodge to give It a free pass to have whatever capabilities 'needed' to shoe-horn It into plausibility.

Quote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
As for 'recreating' the universe instant by instant' that is total bollocks, and totally unnecessary, whatever your concept of God. But of course 'God' itself is a totally unnecessary concept.

Uh, but somehow the Universe =is= recreated instant by instant.  Here, read -- Virtual Particles.

That is not "recreating the Universe" you silly old lady.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Just some minor points

Just some minor points Bob:

Quote:
The natural Laws are just descriptions of the way stuff behaves, and as we dig deeper, the 'fundamental' laws become simpler and simpler in form

Where did you get the idea that any quantum phenomenon is simple? We don't have a complete picture of the "fundamentals". Isn't any extrapolation from unknown an unknown also?

Ultimate laws move in the opposite direction of initial conditions. Ultimate - penultimate - antepenultimate ... fundamental - intial conditions.

You might want to research the paradox of simplicity before you reply to the above.

 

Quote:
You are making the giant presumption that God could exist in a an incoherent framework, which would be any framework or context that did not accord with the prerequisites for basic logic.

And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God? I could say that energy is eternal, immortal, fundamental, transitional, fluctuating etc. but the energy itself remains unspecified - what exactly is this "energy"? How does this differ from the God Hypothesis?

 

Quote:
Proposing the that God, or G-d, or D-g, or whatever exists outside our universe is the standard dumb dodge to give It a free pass to have whatever capabilities 'needed' to shoe-horn It into plausibility.

You don't know what exists inside this universe, so any extrapolation from this principal is unsound (both "God is" and "God is not&quotEye-wink. Unsound is simply having one false premise - "We know everything about the universe". Would you consider 11-D theory "outside of this universe"? Because they have spent an awful lot on this Hadron Collider to figure it out if it is.


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But

jumbo1410 wrote:

And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God? I could say that energy is eternal, immortal, fundamental, transitional, fluctuating etc. but the energy itself remains unspecified - what exactly is this "energy"? How does this differ from the God Hypothesis?

 

Jumbo, god's an impossible to imagine being capable of doing magic stuff who does not adhere to the natural rules. Do you really want to downgrade god to "energy"?

Can energy have a personal relationship with people or possess human-like qualities?

Surely you are extrapolating from the unknown in assuming we can consider anything that exists outside the universe yourself, including the thing that created it yet wants to be our friends?

Bob would be first to say that he's speculating - the theist position does not allow for such speculation. It demands acceptance on faith of things we cannot know.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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jumbo1410 wrote:Just some

jumbo1410 wrote:

Just some minor points Bob:

Quote:
The natural Laws are just descriptions of the way stuff behaves, and as we dig deeper, the 'fundamental' laws become simpler and simpler in form

Where did you get the idea that any quantum phenomenon is simple? We don't have a complete picture of the "fundamentals". Isn't any extrapolationfrom unknown an unknown also?

Ultimate laws move in the opposite direction of initial conditions. Ultimate - penultimate - antepenultimate ... fundamental - intial conditions.

You might want to research the paradox of simplicity before you reply to the above.

The "paradox of simplicity" does not really apply here.

Some basic Quantum phenomena are mathematically simple while their implications are all but impossible to comprehend.

You should do some research before you reply to my statements...

Try this link for a start:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html.

An extract from that article:

Quote:

We are gradually learning that several of the laws of physics, those that seem the most universal and profound, are in fact little more than statements about the simplicity of nature that can almost go unsaid. The "laws" of energy, momentum, and angular momentum conservation have been shown to be statements about the homogeneity of space and time. The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, results from there being no unique moment in time.Conservation of momentum follows from the Copernican principle that there is no preferred position in space. Other conservation laws, such as charge and nucleon number, also arise from analogous assumptions of simplicity.

For the mathematically inclined, the conserved quantities are generators of the symmetry transformations involved. A homogeneous universe, one with a high level of symmetry, is the simplest of all possible universes, just the kind we would expect to happen by accident. In such a universe, many conservation laws will automatically exist.

Next:

Quote:

Quote:
You are making the giant presumption that God could exist in a an incoherent framework, which would be any framework or context that did not accord with the prerequisites for basic logic.

And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God?I could say that energy is eternal, immortal,fundamental,transitional,fluctuatingetc. butthe energy itselfremains unspecified - what exactly is this "energy"? How does this differ from the God Hypothesis?

Energy is not an intelligent purpose-driven agent. That is the crucial distinction. Rather significant.

Also, energy actually does have specification - it is whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable output work.

'God' is just a pointless, unnecessary, speculation.

Quote:

Quote:
Proposing the that God, or G-d, or D-g, or whatever exists outside our universe is the standard dumb dodge to give It a free pass to have whatever capabilities 'needed' to shoe-horn It into plausibility.

You don't know what exists inside this universe, so any extrapolation from this principal is unsound (both "God is" and "God is not" ). Unsound is simply having one false premise - "We know everything about the universe". Would you consider 11-D theory "outside of this universe"? Because they have spent an awful lot on this Hadron Collider to figure it out if it is.

The fact that we don't know everything about what goes on inside our known Universe, and only speculation about what may exist 'outside' or 'before' the Big Bang, we have no basis to conclude anything with confidence about what 'must' exist outside it. God ideas don't contribute anything here.

We have no way to know anything about such an entity, since it could either completely hide its presence, or present itself in literally any way it chose, if it decided to manifest. Until there is some persistent irregularity or unpredictability which defies fitting into a framework of law, which would be the real sign of a God intervening, we have no justification for even considering that possibility, since if God was actually intervening, we might as well abandon all investigation of Laws of nature..

Hence the effort spent on the LHC is to get some hint of the behaviour of matter at conditions closer to the earliest state of the Big Bang, which may give us a hint of what may have triggered such a state.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Holy Crap

fortitude wrote:
I could, however, not dismiss the private indignity and pain he suffered daily as being somehow beneficial to something.  No possible benefit could come of my husband being unable to urinate.  Noone will be inspired by a situation like that, and even if they were, it is abhorrent to think that it would in any way justify the suffering and indignity he went through.

Fuck.

That's a disturbingly mature way to look at such an emotionally charged situation. I'm glad you found a way to make it through such and intense realization of our mortality. The inevitability of mortality is *the* hot button issue of our existence (whether or not we realize it). Being confronted with it and meeting it head on is really big stuff, I can only imagine.

Hang in there (and write a book, because I want to read it).


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Your link does not seem to

Your link does not seem to be very reliable:

 

"Astronomical observations continue to demonstrate that the earth is no more significant than a single grain of sand on a vast beach"

Intelligent life is no more significant than a bunch of sand? Are there really that many examples of other planets out there with life? Can you name one of these billions - if not infinite - planets?

"We are gradually learning that several of the laws of physics, those that seem the most universal and profound, are in fact little more than statements about the simplicity of nature that can almost go unsaid. The "laws" of energy, momentum, and angular momentum conservation have been shown to be statements about the homogeneity of space and time."

Apparently time, and therefore space, is without a coherent definition. What is time? Can it be said to be Homogenous? Oh look, it says that below:

"The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, results from there being no unique moment in time. Conservation of momentum follows from the Copernican principle that there is no preferred position in space."

"Other conservation laws, such as charge and nucleon number, also arise from analogous assumptions of simplicity."

Blah blah blah, bunch of other tripe.

Lets say, for example, that this energy produces itself out of nothing. Now, just say for arguments sake that I believed in a God who was not eternal, but caused itself. Now, God and energy are both ill-defined here, so forget that argument. In terms of how they came to be, is there any difference between the theories?

 

Quote:
Energy is not an intelligent purpose-driven agent. That is the crucial distinction. Rather significant.

Ok. Fair enough. Intelligence is quite a jump. But have you answered the question posed? ("And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God?&quotEye-wink

 

Quote:
Also, energy actually does have specification - it is whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable output work.

Then I could go plug this definition of energy into a few arguments, and it will all make sense? You can set me on the right path by posting whatever it is that you think started the universe. I'll substitute the word energy with your definition and see how we go, deal?Heres one to start you off:

Quantum "whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable work" fluctuated producing a great deal of "whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable output work", commonly known as the Big bang.

 

Mmmm. Satisfying.

 

Quote:

The fact that we don't know everything about what goes on inside our known Universe, and only speculation about what may exist 'outside' or 'before' the Big Bang, we have no basis to conclude anything with confidence about what 'must' exist outside it. God ideas don't contribute anything here.

We have no way to know anything about such an entity, since it could either completely hide its presence, or present itself in literally any way it chose, if it decided to manifest. Until there is some persistent irregularity or unpredictability which defies fitting into a framework of law, which would be the real sign of a God intervening, we have no justification for even considering that possibility, since if God was actually intervening, we might as well abandon all investigation of Laws of nature..

Hence the effort spent on the LHC is to get some hint of the behaviour of matter at conditions closer to the earliest state of the Big Bang, which may give us a hint of what may have triggered such a state.

So you are agnostic when it comes to origin?

Do you actually allow for the possibility of God in your scientific conjectures?

 

In other news:

fortitude wrote:
I could, however, not dismiss the private indignity and pain he suffered daily as being somehow beneficial to something.  No possible benefit could come of my husband being unable to urinate.  Noone will be inspired by a situation like that, and even if they were, it is abhorrent to think that it would in any way justify the suffering and indignity he went through.

 

Quote:
Fuck.

That's a disturbingly mature way to look at such an emotionally charged situation. I'm glad you found a way to make it through such and intense realization of our mortality. The inevitability of mortality is *the* hot button issue of our existence (whether or not we realize it). Being confronted with it and meeting it head on is really big stuff, I can only imagine.

 

The most ironic thing is that Fortitudes husband's death has inspired people thus far on this forum. It is by no means a justification, just an observation.

Quote:
Hang in there (and write a book, because I want to read it).

 


v4ultingbassist
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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:The

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:

The fact that we don't know everything about what goes on inside our known Universe, and only speculation about what may exist 'outside' or 'before' the Big Bang, we have no basis to conclude anything with confidence about what 'must' exist outside it. God ideas don't contribute anything here.

We have no way to know anything about such an entity, since it could either completely hide its presence, or present itself in literally any way it chose, if it decided to manifest. Until there is some persistent irregularity or unpredictability which defies fitting into a framework of law, which would be the real sign of a God intervening, we have no justification for even considering that possibility, since if God was actually intervening, we might as well abandon all investigation of Laws of nature..

Hence the effort spent on the LHC is to get some hint of the behaviour of matter at conditions closer to the earliest state of the Big Bang, which may give us a hint of what may have triggered such a state.

So you are agnostic when it comes to origin?

Do you actually allow for the possibility of God in your scientific conjectures?

 

Most atheists here are of the mindset that there is no reason to believe in god, not that god cannot exist.  The problem is is that theists like to play this "well you don't understand it, so it could be god," card.  If you found a pile of shit in the backyard, and someone asked you where it came from, you don't say, "I KNOW it was a deer,"  and then go and make that knowledge known to all other yard-owners that there is a shitting deer in your neighborhood.  You don't make the purpose of your entire week to inform everyone of said deer.  This metaphor is kind of how we see theists.  You take a possibility and turn it into what you claim to be knowledge, spreading it to whomever will listen.  We like to ask theists things like, well, couldn't it have been a dog?  Better yet, we trust the local animal feces specialist, who can come out and verify what kind of animal it was.  You use intuition and emotion, we use science and reasoning.


 


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jumbo1410 wrote:Your link

jumbo1410 wrote:

Your link does not seem to be very reliable:

Hmmm. Just tried it then, a couple of times. Appeared quite promptly each times. Might have been a temporary bottleneck from where you are.

Quote:

"Astronomical observations continue to demonstrate that the earth is no more significant than a single grain of sand on a vast beach"

Intelligent life is no more significant than a bunch of sand? Are there really that many examples of other planets out there with life? Can you name one of these billions - if not infinite - planets?

He didn't say "Intelligent Life", he said the Earth, and numerically, there are likely to be broadly the same order of numbers of planets as there are total grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth.

Quote:

"We are gradually learning that several of the laws of physics, those that seem the most universal and profound, are in fact little more than statements about the simplicity of nature that can almost go unsaid. The "laws" of energy, momentum, and angular momentum conservation have been shown to be statements about the homogeneity of space and time."

Apparently time, and therefore space, is without a coherent definition. What is time? Can it be said to be Homogenous? Oh look, it says that below:

 

No, he did not say they were "without a coherent definition", just that their definitions follow almost directly from the consistency of space and time across the universe.

Quote:

 

"The first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy, results from there being no unique moment in time. Conservation of momentum follows from the Copernican principle that there is no preferred position in space."

"Other conservation laws, such as charge and nucleon number, also arise from analogous assumptions of simplicity."

 

Which directly supports his statement.

Quote:

 

Blah blah blah, bunch of other tripe.

 

Oh, very clever refutation of his statements. Damn I will now have to rethink everything... 

EDIT: Just so you know the context. Victor Stenger, who wrote that is:

 

Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado
Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy, University of Hawaii (retired in 2000)

 

Quote:

 

Lets say, for example, that this energy produces itself out of nothing. Now, just say for arguments sake that I believed in a God who was not eternal, but caused itself. Now, God and energy are both ill-defined here, so forget that argument. In terms of how they came to be, is there any difference between the theories? 

 

Are you really stupid enough to use that "produces itself out of nothing" crap?? Only someone brain-damaged enough to take Theology seriously would assert that anything could do that. If you really believed that, then there is no point continuing a discussion.

Energy is far more fundamental and elementally simple, therefore infinitely more likely to simple begin to exist, if anything can do that. Energy is NOT 'ill-defined', unlike God.

It is that which can be converted into motion against resistance, or to increase the velocity of a mass, or to drive chemical reactions which require more energy in than they release.

IOW it is close to what has been traditionally labelled the "First Mover", but totally without purpose, motivation, will, sentience, etc. Just the raw essence of acceleration, activation, etc.

Quote:

 

Quote:
Energy is not an intelligent purpose-driven agent. That is the crucial distinction. Rather significant.

Ok. Fair enough. Intelligence is quite a jump. But have you answered the question posed? ("And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God?" )

Standard Logic, which shows that a God is totally unnecessary.

Quote:

Quote:
Also, energy actually does have specification - it is whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable output work.

Then I could go plug this definition of energy into a few arguments, and it will all make sense? You can set me on the right path by posting whatever it is that you think started the universe. I'll substitute the word energy with your definition and see how we go, deal?Heres one to start you off:

Quantum "whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable work" fluctuated producing a great deal of "whatever gives anything the capacity to do measureable output work", commonly known as the Big bang.

 

Mmmm. Satisfying.

Another dumb argument by ridicule. See earlier.

Quote:

Quote:

The fact that we don't know everything about what goes on inside our known Universe, and only speculation about what may exist 'outside' or 'before' the Big Bang, we have no basis to conclude anything with confidence about what 'must' exist outside it. God ideas don't contribute anything here.

We have no way to know anything about such an entity, since it could either completely hide its presence, or present itself in literally any way it chose, if it decided to manifest. Until there is some persistent irregularity or unpredictability which defies fitting into a framework of law, which would be the real sign of a God intervening, we have no justification for even considering that possibility, since if God was actually intervening, we might as well abandon all investigation of Laws of nature..

Hence the effort spent on the LHC is to get some hint of the behaviour of matter at conditions closer to the earliest state of the Big Bang, which may give us a hint of what may have triggered such a state.

So you are agnostic when it comes to origin?

Do you actually allow for the possibility of God in your scientific conjectures?

We don't know the actual results, but primitive ideas like the Christian God, Yahweh, Anubis, Zeus, Jupiter, Wotan, Allah, Shiva, etc, don't explain anything, so are not in serious contention. 

The minimum indication pointing to a sentient God would some phenomena that could neither be fitted into a consistent pattern with other observations, nor into a purely random pattern, or some combination of random + deterministic behaviour. It would be hard, if not impossible, to prove that something had to be the result of conscious intervention, but that would be the sort of thing we would need. 

Of course, such a thing would also be consistent with the intervention of a vastly advanced but still 'non-supernatural' alien or race of aliens.

IOW, because we make the reasonable assumption that the 'greater' universe is still likely to be consistent with our observed universe, its properties are likely to be extensions of, extrapolations from, what we already know. So the various possible speculations are not given equal a priori likelihood. God is way down then with other magic beings.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


jumbo1410
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Quote:Most atheists here are

Quote:
Most atheists here are of the mindset that there is no reason to believe in god, not that god cannot exist.  The problem is is that theists like to play this "well you don't understand it, so it could be god," card.  If you found a pile of shit in the backyard, and someone asked you where it came from, you don't say, "I KNOW it was a deer,"  and then go and make that knowledge known to all other yard-owners that there is a shitting deer in your neighborhood.  You don't make the purpose of your entire week to inform everyone of said deer.  This metaphor is kind of how we see theists.  You take a possibility and turn it into what you claim to be knowledge, spreading it to whomever will listen.  We like to ask theists things like, well, couldn't it have been a dog?  Better yet, we trust the local animal feces specialist, who can come out and verify what kind of animal it was.  You use intuition and emotion, we use science and reasoning.

 

Some (or most) theists probably do. The real test is  telling the difference between what you think they are saying, and what is said. The last sentence bothers me. They are called "appeals to pity". Some here think that is evidence enough to accept a conclusion.

It wouldn't hurt to defend a theist when they are right about a particular argument once in a while.

Quote:

 

"Astronomical observations continue to demonstrate that the earth is no more significant than a single grain of sand on a vast beach"

Intelligent life is no more significant than a bunch of sand? Are there really that many examples of other planets out there with life? Can you name one of these billions - if not infinite - planets?

 

 

He didn't say "Intelligent Life", he said the Earth, and numerically, there are likely to be broadly the same order of numbers of planets as there are total grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth.

What he said is that the Earth is no more significant than a single grain of sand on a vast beach. If that is the case, the Earth and all it's properties of being Earth-like (distance from the sun, water, life, elemental composition, temperature, atmosphere etc) are insignificant. A beach has billions of grains of sand. Grains of sand are generally identical. I was merely asking how one could come to the conclusion that the Earth was just like any other planet; without any other example of the Earth. The Earth is the most unique aspect of the universe so far, hardly something you could refer to as insignificant.

You say that he was referring to Earth numerically. Consider the following analogy. If I came along a beach littered with fruit, and found the only banana in existence, would you consider it no more significant than any other piece of fruit that you find? Is it very scientific of you to disregard the most unique finding of all - the defining features of a banana - merely because it is a piece of fruit and fruit is common?

 

BTW, you didn't answer my questions aforementioned. "And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God", and now "Can you name a single planet with life?"

 

Quote:
No, he did not say they were "without a coherent definition", just that their definitions follow almost directly from the consistency of space and time across the universe.

Hmmm. What is time, Bob? What is space? Two more avoided questions. He did not say time and sapce are without definition. He did not address the issue at all. I call that begging the question. Definitions of time and space are nothing but convenient concepts made up to solve equations (Wikki Time). Mind you, the concept of time and space are so flawed, they do not even uniformly fit into any given equation.

 

Quote:
Are you really stupid enough to use that "produces itself out of nothing" crap?? Only someone brain-damaged enough to take Theology seriously would assert that anything could do that. If you really believed that, then there is no point continuing a discussion

No, I dont. Which is why I asked you to provide whatever version of origin you ascribe to. I am gathering that this is your answer:

Quote:

Energy is far more fundamental and elementally simple, therefore infinitely more likely to simple begin to exist, if anything can do that. Energy is NOT 'ill-defined', unlike God.

It is that which can be converted into motion against resistance, or to increase the velocity of a mass, or to drive chemical reactions which require more energy in than they release.

IOW it is close to what has been traditionally labelled the "First Mover", but totally without purpose, motivation, will, sentience, etc. Just the raw essence of acceleration, activation, etc.

 

Energy, which is just the property of something to give other things the ability to do work, as defined by you; is far more fundamental and simple than... something producing itself out of nothing?

Energy (the property of giving things the ability to do work) is infinitely more likely to just simply begin to exist, and this is not something from nothing? Then it must be eternal, yes?

So it is "the property of giving other things the ability to do work" that is infinitely likely to exist? And this is a coherent definition to answer the point above about "energy being ill defined"?

Additionally, energy is the thing that can be converted into motion. How did things move before energy simply just existed, since energy itself is defined by those things which gain the property of "doing work" or "movement"?

Do you see the problem I am having with Energy being ill-defined? Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to take the time and explain energy in a way that i cannot misunderstand, which is what I asked you to do in the first place. If you do not, I will assume you cannot.

 

Quote:
Standard Logic, which shows that a God is totally unnecessary.

A demonstration please?

 

Quote:
Another dumb argument by ridicule. See earlier.

Avoided the question, ad homenim, refernce to a question begging explanation above.

 

Mmmm. Satisfying.

 

Quote:
We don't know the actual results, but primitive ideas like the Christian God, Yahweh, Anubis, Zeus, Jupiter, Wotan, Allah, Shiva, etc, don't explain anything, so are not in serious contention. 

The minimum indication pointing to a sentient God would some phenomena that could neither be fitted into a consistent pattern with other observations, nor into a purely random pattern, or some combination of random + deterministic behaviour. It would be hard, if not impossible, to prove that something had to be the result of conscious intervention, but that would be the sort of thing we would need. 

Of course, such a thing would also be consistent with the intervention of a vastly advanced but still 'non-supernatural' alien or race of aliens.

IOW, because we make the reasonable assumption that the 'greater' universe is still likely to be consistent with our observed universe, its properties are likely to be extensions of, extrapolations from, what we already know. So the various possible speculations are not given equal a priori likelihood. God is way down then with other magic beings.

It is easier to write "Yes".

 

 


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jumbo1410

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
 

"Astronomical observations continue to demonstrate that the earth is no more significant than a single grain of sand on a vast beach"

Intelligent life is no more significant than a bunch of sand? Are there really that many examples of other planets out there with life? Can you name one of these billions - if not infinite - planets. 

He didn't say "Intelligent Life", he said the Earth, and numerically, there are likely to be broadly the same order of numbers of planets as there are total grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth.

What he said is that the Earth is no more significant than a single grain of sand on a vast beach. If that is the case, the Earth and all it's properties of being Earth-like (distance from the sun, water, life, elemental composition, temperature, atmosphere etc) are insignificant. A beach has billions of grains of sand. Grains of sand are generally identical. I was merely asking how one could come to the conclusion that the Earth was just like any other planet; without any other example of the Earth. The Earth is the most unique aspect of the universe so far, hardly something you could refer to as insignificant.

You say that he was referring to Earth numerically. Consider the following analogy. If I came along a beach littered with fruit, and found the only banana in existence, would you consider it no more significant than any other piece of fruit that you find? Is it very scientific of you to disregard the most unique finding of all - the defining features of a banana - merely because it is a piece of fruit and fruit is common?

Well, planets are maybe a not much more variable in properties than grains of sand, if you are looking at beaches around the world. They vary in color from white to black thru yellow to brown  to yellow to red, from as big a range of sizes as planets, with nearly as much variation in composition.

We have found hundreds of planets, just in the tiny part of the Universe close enough, and for planets with an orbit within the limited range of orientation with respect to our viewpoint that will give us a chance of detecting it. 

We are only just getting to the stage where we might be able to detect the presence of gases in the atmosphere which might indicate life.

So we are in the situation of just barely being able to see that the closest islands have beaches, not what might be on those beaches. We do know that at least some of those islands are likely to have similar soil to ours, so might be able to grow fruits as well. 

We cannot say we have knowledge of the only planet inhabited by intelligent life in the Universe. All we can say that there is at least one, so it isn't impossible for life to arise. Other studies increasingly suggest that the probability of life arising in the sort of conditions likely to exist on a significant fraction of the available planets is not all that unlikely.

Quote:

 

BTW, you didn't answer my questions aforementioned. "And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God", and now "Can you name a single planet with life?"

Its up to you to show what logic actually points to God.

I have covered the last point, and of course the answer to that question is "no", which does not say anything about the possibility of other inhabited planets, either way.

Quote:

Quote:
No, he did not say they were "without a coherent definition", just that their definitions follow almost directly from the consistency of space and time across the universe.

Hmmm. What is time, Bob? What is space? Two more avoided questions. He did not say time and sapce are without definition. He did not address the issue at all. I call that begging the question. Definitions of time and space are nothing but convenient concepts made up to solve equations (Wikki Time). Mind you, the concept of time and space are so flawed, they do not even uniformly fit into any given equation.

We do at least have some equations, which means time is not a total unknown/unknowable like God. Your last statement is total crap, we have some equations from Einstein which predict the effect of gravity and motion to such exquisite position that we can provide very fine corrections to the signals from nav sats.

Quote:

Quote:
Are you really stupid enough to use that "produces itself out of nothing" crap?? Only someone brain-damaged enough to take Theology seriously would assert that anything could do that. If you really believed that, then there is no point continuing a discussion

No, I dont. Which is why I asked you to provide whatever version of origin you ascribe to. I am gathering that this is your answer:

Quote:

Energy is far more fundamental and elementally simple, therefore infinitely more likely to simple begin to exist, if anything can do that. Energy is NOT 'ill-defined', unlike God.

It is that which can be converted into motion against resistance, or to increase the velocity of a mass, or to drive chemical reactions which require more energy in than they release.

IOW it is close to what has been traditionally labelled the "First Mover", but totally without purpose, motivation, will, sentience, etc. Just the raw essence of acceleration, activation, etc.

 

Energy, which is just the property of something to give other things the ability to do work, as defined by you; is far more fundamental and simple than... something producing itself out of nothing?

Energy (the property of giving things the ability to do work) is infinitely more likely to just simply begin to exist, and this is not something from nothing? Then it must be eternal, yes?

So it is "the property of giving other things the ability to do work" that is infinitely likely to exist? And this is a coherent definition to answer the point above about "energy being ill defined"?

Additionally, energy is the thing that can be converted into motion. How did things move before energy simply just existed, since energy itself is defined by those things which gain the property of "doing work" or "movement"?

Do you see the problem I am having with Energy being ill-defined? Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to take the time and explain energy in a way that i cannot misunderstand, which is what I asked you to do in the first place. If you do not, I will assume you cannot.

Energy probably came before matter, in so far as energy can exist separate from matter. It is part of the same system, it makes no sense to have matter without energy.

Quote:
 

Quote:
Standard Logic, which shows that a God is totally unnecessary.

A demonstration please?

Read any of my arguments about the possible origins of the Universe.

Or if you assume God is required to create the Universe, consistent logic requires something greater than God to create Him, and so on. You have to make the special, illogical assumption that somehow God doesn't require a creator while the Universe does.

Quote:

Quote:
Another dumb argument by ridicule. See earlier.

Avoided the question, ad homenim, refernce to a question begging explanation above.

Mmmm. Satisfying.

Quote:
We don't know the actual results, but primitive ideas like the Christian God, Yahweh, Anubis, Zeus, Jupiter, Wotan, Allah, Shiva, etc, don't explain anything, so are not in serious contention. 

The minimum indication pointing to a sentient God would some phenomena that could neither be fitted into a consistent pattern with other observations, nor into a purely random pattern, or some combination of random + deterministic behaviour. It would be hard, if not impossible, to prove that something had to be the result of conscious intervention, but that would be the sort of thing we would need. 

Of course, such a thing would also be consistent with the intervention of a vastly advanced but still 'non-supernatural' alien or race of aliens.

IOW, because we make the reasonable assumption that the 'greater' universe is still likely to be consistent with our observed universe, its properties are likely to be extensions of, extrapolations from, what we already know. So the various possible speculations are not given equal a priori likelihood. God is way down then with other magic beings.

It is easier to write "Yes".

My explanation was not consistent with your assumption that a God explanation was remotely worth the same level of consideration as serious possibilities.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:Most

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Most atheists here are of the mindset that there is no reason to believe in god, not that god cannot exist.  The problem is is that theists like to play this "well you don't understand it, so it could be god," card.  If you found a pile of shit in the backyard, and someone asked you where it came from, you don't say, "I KNOW it was a deer,"  and then go and make that knowledge known to all other yard-owners that there is a shitting deer in your neighborhood.  You don't make the purpose of your entire week to inform everyone of said deer.  This metaphor is kind of how we see theists.  You take a possibility and turn it into what you claim to be knowledge, spreading it to whomever will listen.  We like to ask theists things like, well, couldn't it have been a dog?  Better yet, we trust the local animal feces specialist, who can come out and verify what kind of animal it was.  You use intuition and emotion, we use science and reasoning.

 

Some (or most) theists probably do. The real test is  telling the difference between what you think they are saying, and what is said. The last sentence bothers me. They are called "appeals to pity". Some here think that is evidence enough to accept a conclusion.

It wouldn't hurt to defend a theist when they are right about a particular argument once in a while.

 

Quote:

And what logic covers the existence of the universe without a God? I could say that energy is eternal, immortal, fundamental, transitional, fluctuating etc. but the energy itself remains unspecified - what exactly is this "energy"? How does this differ from the God Hypothesis?

 

Lets say, for example, that this energy produces itself out of nothing. Now, just say for arguments sake that I believed in a God who was not eternal, but caused itself. Now, God and energy are both ill-defined here, so forget that argument. In terms of how they came to be, is there any difference between the theories?

 

This is, more specifically, what I was referring to.  The comparison of god to supposed unknowns in science.  The reason we are against that is because it is an excuse to be satisfied with incompleteness.  Science might need to be around for an eternity.  So be it.  I'd rather do that than accept an incomplete theory.

 

This might sound cold, but I wouldn't defend a murderer for administering anesthetics before killing someone.  Similarly I won't defend your position because part of it is right.


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jumbo1410 wrote:


Or if you assume God is required to create the Universe, consistent logic requires something greater than God to create Him, and so on. You have to make the special, illogical assumption that somehow God doesn't require a creator while the Universe does.

 

Quote:

 

Aquinas onto centre stage.

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Quote:This is, more

Quote:
This is, more specifically, what I was referring to.  The comparison of god to supposed unknowns in science.  The reason we are against that is because it is an excuse to be satisfied with incompleteness.  Science might need to be around for an eternity.  So be it.  I'd rather do that than accept an incomplete theory.

The contention is how energy as an origin hypothesis is/is not logical. If God shares the "incompleteness" of science, then so be it. God of the gaps is equally science of the gaps.

An objective way of saying what you already said, is 'God and science share similar problems and which one you believe is up to you".


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Quote:Its up to you to show

Quote:
Its up to you to show what logic actually points to God.

Burden of proof lies with the propnent of a hypothesis. You are saying the universe originated from... whatever it is that you say it does (you still have not answered the question of origin without God). I am quizzing you about your position, whether thatbe science or whatever.

The burden of proof lies with you on this one. Such are the traps of mechanical thinking.

Quote:
We do at least have some equations, which means time is not a total unknown/unknowable like God. Your last statement is total crap, we have some equations from Einstein which predict the effect of gravity and motion to such exquisite position that we can provide very fine corrections to the signals from nav sats.

True, true. And when I get up for work, I arrive on time etc etc. But my question was not how we measure time, Bob. What is time? A label of convenience, that fails at both ends of the spectrum  - except that which we live in - perhaps all too conveniently. In other words, you have not elucidated time at all.

Quote:
Energy probably came before matter, in so far as energy can exist separate from matter. It is part of the same system, it makes no sense to have matter without energy.

But presumably it makes sense to have energy without matter, as you stated. What is energy again? "It is that which can be converted into motion against resistance, or to increase the velocity of a mass, or to drive chemical reactions which require more energy in than they release." - Bob.

So energy is this "non-material ability to do work" but is itself ill-defined because it cannot be explained without that which it affects? Sounds question-begging to me.

Or, the same concept backwards, how do you seperate energy from matter when energy is described in terms of how it affects things?

 

Quote:
Read any of my arguments about the possible origins of the Universe.

I don't think I need to. The above is accomplishing what is needed. I'd say your posistion is equally as illogical as God supposedly is at this point.

Quote:
Or if you assume God is required to create the Universe, consistent logic requires something greater than God to create Him, and so on.

Why, when your energy can just exist outside of nature quite happily? Or is it producing itself? Either way, I am ready to hear your argument about how science is more logical when it comes to origins.

Quote:
You have to make the special, illogical assumption that somehow God doesn't require a creator while the Universe does.

??

I think you should start defending your position, it is looking... illogical.

 

Quote:

My explanation was not consistent with your assumption that a God explanation was remotely worth the same level of consideration as serious possibilities.

I wasn't asking about levels of probability. I asked about possibility. You're a science freak, so you are committed to saying yes to the possibility of a God - unless you know something the rest of the world does not. It is possible that you will win lotto 10 times. It is more probable that you will win lotto 10 times than intelligent life should exist.

Arguments from probablity are ridiculous. Quoting your link,

Quote:
The universe exists with one hundred percent probability (unless you are an idealist who believes everything exists only in your own mind). I have made some estimates of the probability that a chance distribution of physical constants can produce a universe with properties sufficient that some form of life would have likely had sufficient time to evolve. In this study, I randomly varied the constants of physics (I assume the same laws of physics as exist in our universe, since I know no other)

This is meant to be a philosopher?

Firstly, we know of no other planet with life, that is, Earth is completely unique and ultimately significant. Yet this dude is quite happy to say the Earth is "insignificant" by postulating similar planets outside of the known fact that complex life on other planets is not known to exist. Now when it comes to probability, he assumes the same laws of physics exist in all possible universes because there is no known universe with different laws of physics (postulation within the known facts).

The question is, are we to postulate other universes with unknown laws of physics (outside of fact) just as we would postulate other planets with life (outside of fact)? People who set aside context as and when they please are biased. This is not an objective argument.

 

Secondly, this guy altered the properties of whatever it is he was measuring by a magnitude of ten. That is, using the same physics in our universe, he did not establish any probabilities beyond a magnitude of 10 either side of the current values of what he was measuring. There are INFINITE values either side of what he was measuring, meaning absolutely nothing can be deterimined from such an infinitessimal sample. It is impossible to even compute that sort of calculation to begin with.

 

Third, his conclusion,

Quote:
Note that my thesis does not require more than one universe to exist, although some cosmological theories propose this. Even if ours is the only universe, and that universe happened by chance, we have no basis to conclude that a universe without some form of life was so unlikely as to have required a miracle.

from the facts, does not follow. His argument is unsound at best, and no amount of academia will change that.
 


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:We do

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
We do at least have some equations, which means time is not a total unknown/unknowable like God. Your last statement is total crap, we have some equations from Einstein which predict the effect of gravity and motion to such exquisite position that we can provide very fine corrections to the signals from nav sats.

True, true. And when I get up for work, I arrive on time etc etc. But my question was not how we measure time, Bob. What is time? A label of convenience, that fails at both ends of the spectrum  - except that which we live in - perhaps all too conveniently. In other words, you have not elucidated time at all.

Isn't this question about time rather like asking 'What is length?'. I assume that when you're asking 'What is time?' you want some intangible essence of time, and won't be happy with an analogy to distance.

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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:This

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
This is, more specifically, what I was referring to.  The comparison of god to supposed unknowns in science.  The reason we are against that is because it is an excuse to be satisfied with incompleteness.  Science might need to be around for an eternity.  So be it.  I'd rather do that than accept an incomplete theory.

The contention is how energy as an origin hypothesis is/is not logical. If God shares the "incompleteness" of science, then so be it. God of the gaps is equally science of the gaps.

An objective way of saying what you already said, is 'God and science share similar problems and which one you believe is up to you".

 

Energy is by definition related to the origin of the universe, seeing as it was the motive entity behind the events which occurred during it's creation (assuming it was created.)

There are several explanations for how it was created, one of which would be two branes coming together and producing the subsequent big bang, and higgs. Another is that the universe was always there and big bangs are oscillatory (the branes could still be there, and could be getting ready to collide again).

"God" is not an explanation for how the universe began, because when you say "god did it" you aren't able to explain how, or why you believe this in an empirical matter. A logical explanation requires testable statements to be empirical. If a logical explanation is not based in empiricism it can rarely be verified. I can logically support the existence of farting space cattle myself, but without empirical forestatements my argument is extremely weak.

This is of course assuming you utilize empiricism as the strongest basis for truth in your philosophy, which is something that I have found many theists like to lie about. They say they value faith more then empiricism, but then they always go for the medically tested supplements, the proven to be safe sell by dates, the proven arrival times of buses, the repeatable success of surgical operations, the proven efficiency of cars, etc.


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:This

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
This is, more specifically, what I was referring to.  The comparison of god to supposed unknowns in science.  The reason we are against that is because it is an excuse to be satisfied with incompleteness.  Science might need to be around for an eternity.  So be it.  I'd rather do that than accept an incomplete theory.

The contention is how energy as an origin hypothesis is/is not logical. If God shares the "incompleteness" of science, then so be it. God of the gaps is equally science of the gaps.

An objective way of saying what you already said, is 'God and science share similar problems and which one you believe is up to you".

 

But then I ask you, how can you scientifically explore god?  The way I see it, is that the distinction is science vs. philosophy/theology.  I DON'T think these are synonymous in any sense.  If you want I can say that yes, I do have faith in science over theology.  Also, even if we could observe natural evidence of god, it would never get associated with him, because then god wouldn't be supernatural.  Essentially my stance is if god exists, then it's the pantheist view of god, and not a supernatural one.  (to me supernatural is impossible to have in physical reality)


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:Its up

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Its up to you to show what logic actually points to God.

Burden of proof lies with the propnent of a hypothesis. You are saying the universe originated from... whatever it is that you say it does (you still have not answered the question of origin without God). I am quizzing you about your position, whether thatbe science or whatever.

The burden of proof lies with you on this one. Such are the traps of mechanical thinking.

I am not stating a specific origin of the Universe, I have described some broad possibilities based on extrapolations of current knowledge.

You are making a positive claim that a God exists and is responsible for creating the Universe without explaining what created God.

Explain God and where he came from. Such are the requirements of logic.

Quote:

Quote:
We do at least have some equations, which means time is not a total unknown/unknowable like God. Your last statement is total crap, we have some equations from Einstein which predict the effect of gravity and motion to such exquisite position that we can provide very fine corrections to the signals from nav sats.

True, true. And when I get up for work, I arrive on time etc etc. But my question was not how we measure time, Bob. What is time? A label of convenience, that fails at both ends of the spectrum  - except that which we live in - perhaps all too conveniently. In other words, you have not elucidated time at all.

Time can be measured mechanically, we experience its passage. We arguably do not know the ultimate nature of anything, bume manifestly appears to exist, the term refers to a fundamental aspect of reality.

God is invisible, immeasurable, intangible, etc. You have yet to demonstrate why I should address the concept as though it is more than an incoherent idea in your head.

Quote:

Quote:
Energy probably came before matter, in so far as energy can exist separate from matter. It is part of the same system, it makes no sense to have matter without energy.

But presumably it makes sense to have energy without matter, as you stated. What is energy again? "It is that which can be converted into motion against resistance, or to increase the velocity of a mass, or to drive chemical reactions which require more energy in than they release." - Bob.

So energy is this "non-material ability to do work" but is itself ill-defined because it cannot be explained without that which it affects? Sounds question-begging to me.

Or, the same concept backwards, how do you seperate energy from matter when energy is described in terms of how it affects things?

Energy can be transmitted through space as electromagnetic energy. This can be measured physically, can be sensed, depending on its wavelength and intensity, as heat or light, or both. So whatever its ultimate nature, it clearly exists. Unlike God.

Quote:

Quote:
Read any of my arguments about the possible origins of the Universe.

I don't think I need to. The above is accomplishing what is needed. I'd say your posistion is equally as illogical as God supposedly is at this point.

Quote:
Or if you assume God is required to create the Universe, consistent logic requires something greater than God to create Him, and so on.

Why, when your energy can just exist outside of nature quite happily? Or is it producing itself? Either way, I am ready to hear your argument about how science is more logical when it comes to origins.

Quote:
You have to make the special, illogical assumption that somehow God doesn't require a creator while the Universe does.

??

I think you should start defending your position, it is looking... illogical.

Nothing can produce itself from nothing. Only Theists ever make this stupid claim. That is one way in which Science is more logical about origins. Or it claims there is something complex that just existed forever. There is no logic behind such a claims. There is not even any logical linkage from a hypothetical Creator to the attributes of omnipotence or omniscience, let alone omni-benevolence. Yet these are simply claimed. Without logic. And if you can show me Aquinas' arguments, I will point out the fallacies.

Science proposes the possibility that if something did exist a priori, it has to be something as close as technically possible to ultimate nothingness, such as quantum foam, etc.

Show me something illogical about science.

Quote:
 

Quote:

My explanation was not consistent with your assumption that a God explanation was remotely worth the same level of consideration as serious possibilities.

I wasn't asking about levels of probability. I asked about possibility. You're a science freak, so you are committed to saying yes to the possibility of a God - unless you know something the rest of the world does not. It is possible that you will win lotto 10 times. It is more probable that you will win lotto 10 times than intelligent life should exist.

Arguments from probablity are ridiculous.

Far from being ridiculous, any serious argument about the world has to rigorously treat probabilities, since that is all we have with regard to most data.

You clearly have no conception of science. The first physics lecture I attended at University was spent telling us how to handle the spread of data from experiment and observation.

Theories are assessed on relative probabilities.

There is a rigorous mathematical theorem which tells us how to accurately combine probabilities, devised, ironically for you, by Thomas Bayes, a British mathematician and Presbyterian minister.

That comment alone reveals your incompetence in this discussion.

Quote:

Quoting your link,

Quote:
The universe exists with one hundred percent probability (unless you are an idealist who believes everything exists only in your own mind). I have made some estimates of the probability that a chance distribution of physical constants can produce a universe with properties sufficient that some form of life would have likely had sufficient time to evolve. In this study, I randomly varied the constants of physics (I assume the same laws of physics as exist in our universe, since I know no other)

This is meant to be a philosopher?

Firstly, we know of no other planet with life, that is, Earth is completely unique and ultimately significant. Yet this dude is quite happy to say the Earth is "insignificant" by postulating similar planets outside of the known fact that complex life on other planets is not known to exist. Now when it comes to probability, he assumes the same laws of physics exist in all possible universes because there is no known universe with different laws of physics (postulation within the known facts).

The question is, are we to postulate other universes with unknown laws of physics (outside of fact) just as we would postulate other planets with life (outside of fact)? People who set aside context as and when they please are biased. This is not an objective argument.

 

There is no proof at all that "Earth is completely unique and ultimately significant". That is an explicit logical fallacy, so you are on shaky ground accusing anyone else of not folowing logic.

What we do have is good physical evidence that vast numbers of planets are highly likely to exist beyond Earth, and that the precursors to life are likely to exist in roughly similar conditions to what may have likely existed on early earth.

When you postulate other Universe, with variations on various known attributes of our own, and find mathematical (logical) calculations that are consistent with some minimal requirements for life as we have already established, just what is illogical in that?

Quote:

Secondly, this guy altered the properties of whatever it is he was measuring by a magnitude of ten. That is, using the same physics in our universe, he did not establish any probabilities beyond a magnitude of 10 either side of the current values of what he was measuring. There are INFINITE values either side of what he was measuring, meaning absolutely nothing can be deterimined from such an infinitessimal sample. It is impossible to even compute that sort of calculation to begin with.

Which means he was being conservative, and his conclusions are valid. To assume that most, if not all, other possible universe are vastly unlike ours is the illogical, since the one we know of is exactly like ours...

Quote:

Third, his conclusion,

Quote:
Note that my thesis does not require more than one universe to exist, although some cosmological theories propose this. Even if ours is the only universe, and that universe happened by chance, we have no basis to conclude that a universe without some form of life was so unlikely as to have required a miracle.

from the facts, does not follow. His argument is unsound at best, and no amount of academia will change that.

Your clear inability to follow any argument which contradicts your deep conviction that a God exists is your problem. No amount of illogical fiddling will change that.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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Quote:Quote:Or if you assume

Quote:
Quote:
Or if you assume God is required to create the Universe, consistent logic requires something greater than God to create Him, and so on.

Why, when your energy can just exist outside of nature quite happily? Or is it producing itself? Either way, I am ready to hear your argument about how science is more logical when it comes to origins.


Energy doesn't exist outside the universe, genius.  Nor does it produce itself.  It was 'produced' in the Big Bang.

 

The difference is is that science says, "This may be how the universe came to be, but until we have evidence, it is only a possibility."  You, on the other hand, will take any opportunity to posit god as the cause.  Yes, god is a possibility.  But where is the evidence?  You are exploiting a LACK of evidence as reason to believe in god.  To me that is horrible reasoning that won't convince intelligent people to believe in god.


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Quote:Isn't this question

Quote:
Isn't this question about time rather like asking 'What is length?'. I assume that when you're asking 'What is time?' you want some intangible essence of time, and won't be happy with an analogy to distance.

Yes, they are the same question. But no, I am not asking any trick question or wanting some convoluted response. The answer is just plainly we won't know. In fact, there are many examples of questions like this. The more you measure something, the more mysterious it becomes. It is a feature of our universe that the more attention or consciousness paid to something, the more that thing changes or behaves strangely. There are entire divisions of physics devoted to these questions. Einstein had a similar issue with reality, which prompted him to invent General Relativity, and more importantly, Special Relativity. The problem is, the values of time and space have to change to fit the equation, not the other way around. To solve the problem, an entirely new value was invented out of nothing to make his equations balance - the cosmological constant. Now, you don't need a science lecture, but my point is that it is not past scientists to label a phenomenom "close enough" to balance equations, so long as they are repeatable and "relatively" accurate. These are called "Laws", but the priciple behind them is equally arbitrary, regardless of what Steranger or Stranger or whatever that dudes name is; says.

 

Quote:

But then I ask you, how can you scientifically explore god?  The way I see it, is that the distinction is science vs. philosophy/theology.  I DON'T think these are synonymous in any sense.  If you want I can say that yes, I do have faith in science over theology.  Also, even if we could observe natural evidence of god, it would never get associated with him, because then god wouldn't be supernatural.  Essentially my stance is if god exists, then it's the pantheist view of god, and not a supernatural one.  (to me supernatural is impossible to have in physical reality)

You are committing a fallacy. An ad homenim tu quoque is when someone says, "Well, your theory of x has just as many holes if not more than y, so y is better". Just as the God Hypothesis frustrates you, the avoidance of philosophical/scientific questions frustrates me. I am not positing a God here, I am positing a universe without God so that you may explain your theory. Throwing God back at me when I am not arguing for the existence of one commits a further fallacy, strawman. It avoids an explanation, unless all of a sudden the Rational Response Squad is no longer committed to being rational, or even responding.

So far, no one has made an attempt at an origin theory, even when asked. Your avoidance shows that either you don't know, or you know that your theory commits the same fallacies as the God Hypothesis and are afraid to debate it.

 

Quote:

I am not stating a specific origin of the Universe, I have described some broad possibilities based on extrapolations of current knowledge.

You are making a positive claim that a God exists and is responsible for creating the Universe without explaining what created God.

Explain God and where he came from. Such are the requirements of logic.

How convenient. Not stating a specific argument, avoid the problems inherent in science, change subject and shift burden of proof. You have excelled yourself.

 

Quote:
Time can be measured mechanically, we experience its passage. We arguably do not know the ultimate nature of anything, bume manifestly appears to exist, the term refers to a fundamental aspect of reality.

Once again, what is it we are measuring? Time. So what is time by the above definition? Something we can measure and feel passing. Self referencing.

I have not heard of this "bume". Is it analogous to a temporal time slice, by any chance?

 

Quote:
Energy can be transmitted through space as electromagnetic energy. This can be measured physically, can be sensed, depending on its wavelength and intensity, as heat or light, or both. So whatever its ultimate nature, it clearly exists. Unlike God.

Doesn't answer any questions about energy, only the effects energy has on other matter - which is a problem if you consider this stuff to exist before matter, because it is not even defined apart from that which it affects. IOW, self-referencing and question-begging. Fail.

 

Quote:
Nothing can produce itself from nothing. Only Theists ever make this stupid claim.

I'm waiting to hear your argument. Nothing from nothing is what you do not believe. How about a positive claim?

 

Quote:
Science proposes the possibility that if something did exist a priori, it has to be something as close as technically possible to ultimate nothingness, such as quantum foam, etc.

Ulimate nothingness? How does ultimate nothingness differ from regular nothingness? If there is no difference, then science does in fact think that something can come from nothing, as stated in your link provided - or didn't you read it?

 

A quick google on quantum foam yeilded the following result, but I need not rely on that to debate this point. Are you providing quantum foam as an origin hypothesis? From NASA:

Quote:

Scientists say that Albert Einstein's principle of the constancy of the speed of light holds up under extremely tight scrutiny, a finding that rules out certain theories predicting extra dimensions and a "frothy" fabric of space.

If you read further down the page, it is getting mighty close to 26D theory. It reminds me of the first post I ever made on this forum, 6 months ago. Wouldn't it be funny if I was actually right the whole time.

 

Quote:

Far from being ridiculous, any serious argument about the world has to rigorously treat probabilities, since that is all we have with regard to most data.

You clearly have no conception of science. The first physics lecture I attended at University was spent telling us how to handle the spread of data from experiment and observation.

Theories are assessed on relative probabilities.

There is a rigorous mathematical theorem which tells us how to accurately combine probabilities, devised, ironically for you, by Thomas Bayes, a British mathematician and Presbyterian minister.

I think you are the one that is confused. What data do you put on a graph when comparing competing universes? That is my contention. Here it is a matter of what you leave out that affects the probability, not what you put on. Hopefully this will set you on the path to what I actually wrote.

 

Quote:

There is no proof at all that "Earth is completely unique and ultimately significant". That is an explicit logical fallacy, so you are on shaky ground accusing anyone else of not folowing logic.

What we do have is good physical evidence that vast numbers of planets are highly likely to exist beyond Earth, and that the precursors to life are likely to exist in roughly similar conditions to what may have likely existed on early earth.

When you postulate other Universe, with variations on various known attributes of our own, and find mathematical (logical) calculations that are consistent with some minimal requirements for life as we have already established, just what is illogical in that?

I don't think you even understood my argument. The answer has already been given. I will reply if you have a more relevant question. HINT: The last two sentences don't even address what I said, and how you treat the concept of "Earth" is important. Please call again when you have all of the ingredients.

 

Quote:
Which means he was being conservative, and his conclusions are valid. To assume that most, if not all, other possible universe are vastly unlike ours is the illogical, since the one we know of is exactly like ours...

CONSERVATIVE! Seriously, I actually laughed out loud.

 

Quote:
Your clear inability to follow any argument which contradicts your deep conviction that a God exists is your problem. No amount of illogical fiddling will change that

That line is getting old. Can't you come up with something more creative?

 

Quote:

Energy doesn't exist outside the universe, genius.  Nor does it produce itself.  It was 'produced' in the Big Bang.

 

The difference is is that science says, "This may be how the universe came to be, but until we have evidence, it is only a possibility."  You, on the other hand, will take any opportunity to posit god as the cause.  Yes, god is a possibility.  But where is the evidence?  You are exploiting a LACK of evidence as reason to believe in god.  To me that is horrible reasoning that won't convince intelligent people to believe in god.

Well:

1. The BB does not posit a singularity. Perhaps you would like to explain how the BB exploded?

2. Bob, in previous threads, suggested quantum fluctuations  - minute variations in energy levels - as a cause for TBB, indicating that energy existed eternally, or is the cause of itself. You can take it up with him if you like.

3. The difference is... actually nothing. Read the last 10 posts to find out why.

4. No I am not exploiting the lack of evidence. This is an ad homenim tu quoque. See above.

5. Reasoning has everything to do with my beliefs in God. But, a fortiori, so does faith. Which one you believe is up to you, but precisely what reasoning am I lacking?

6. A little research goes a long way.


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BobSpence1 wrote:  God

BobSpence1 wrote:
  God ideas don't contribute anything here. 

That is perhaps one of the key points.  God as an explanation has no explanatory power and, so, is not an explanation at all.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


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Jumbo, You may consider

Jumbo,

 

You may consider your god a hypothesis.  I'll give it to you that it is one possible explanation.  However this 'hypothesis' does NOT constitute reason to believe.  Just as I don't state that ANY origin hypothesis is true.  I accept them as possibility, but don't take them as true.

 

So are you trying to argue that god COULD exist?  Or that he DOES?  There is a huge difference.

 

Oh, and to think that every theist accepts that god is only a hypothesis is absurdly naive, if that is what you think.

 

BTW, your 'god hypothesis' will NEVER be proven true.  Anything found to affect nature will be labeled a natural law, and not the actions of a deity.  Like they said, offering god as a possibility is not providing any sort of physically observable explanation.


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Well, since you ask...

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Isn't this question about time rather like asking 'What is length?'. I assume that when you're asking 'What is time?' you want some intangible essence of time, and won't be happy with an analogy to distance.

Yes, they are the same question. But no, I am not asking any trick question or wanting some convoluted response. The answer is just plainly we won't know. In fact, there are many examples of questions like this.

This is a difficult question I'll admit. There are a lot of concepts of time, there are even cultures which do not share the same concept of time as we do. In physics even, the definition of time varies depending on what context you're speaking in, and there are theories which simply do away with it.

Mathematically time is a variable which increases uniformly for a given observer. I appreciate that's probably not very helpful to you though.

jumbo1410 wrote:
The more you measure something, the more mysterious it becomes. It is a feature of our universe that the more attention or consciousness paid to something, the more that thing changes or behaves strangely.

Ah, here I think you're referring to the uncertainty principle and the question of wavefunction collapse. You don't need a conscious observer for that, in any sufficiently complex system decoherance collapses the wavefunction (basically all the wavefunctions cancel each other out leaving only one possible overall state).

Similarly the universe is not increased in complexity or strangeness by us looking at it. It is complex already. What does happen is that the more we study it the more layers of complexity we are aware of, but then again we've spent about a billion years evolving to identify patterns.

jumbo1410 wrote:
There are entire divisions of physics devoted to these questions. Einstein had a similar issue with reality, which prompted him to invent General Relativity, and more importantly, Special Relativity. The problem is, the values of time and space have to change to fit the equation, not the other way around. To solve the problem, an entirely new value was invented out of nothing to make his equations balance - the cosmological constant.

In General Relativity as it is now, there is no cosmological constant. Einstein introduced the constant because his theory explained gravity successfully, but also suggested that the universe was expanding. Expansion hadn't been observed yet, so in accordance with standard scientific practice he made the very minor change to an otherwise successful theory to make it match what was known by adding in the cosmological constant. Of course, now we know that the universe is expanding and that every galaxy is moving away from every other, so we've dropped the constant. It's actually looking like it might make a comeback thanks to dark matter theory.

Einstein removed the constant from his own theory after expansion was observed. He called it his greatest mistake.

jumbo1410 wrote:
Now, you don't need a science lecture, but my point is that it is not past scientists to label a phenomenon "close enough" to balance equations, so long as they are repeatable and "relatively" accurate. These are called "Laws", but the priciple behind them is equally arbitrary, regardless of what Steranger or Stranger or whatever that dudes name is; says.

You seem to be saying that scientific laws are arbitrary statements. They're not. Scientific laws can be falsified in exactly the same way as scientific theories, and are built up using evidence and logical induction in the same basic way. What is different is that a scientific law is a simple statement which underlies many theories, but it's not sufficient as a theory in itself. If I tell you that the entropy of a closed thermodynamic system always increases, that tells you nothing about how I was able to have fresh milk for my coffee earlier. If I tell you the theory of Carnot cycles (which would take several pages), which is the physical theory on which my refrigerator works, then you know how I am able to have fresh milk on hand. The connection may not be obvious, but someone must have made it or I wouldn't have a refrigerator.

jumbo1410 wrote:
So far, no one has made an attempt at an origin theory, even when asked. Your avoidance shows that either you don't know, or you know that your theory commits the same fallacies as the God Hypothesis and are afraid to debate it.

Well since you ask, my favoured origin theory postulates that the big bang was actually the spontaneous and inhomogeneous decay of a false vacuum. This has the advantage of requiring only the existence of a space with slightly different properties to our own, which could have formed through the same mechanism. It is also entirely possible that our universe could decay into a new one in this way at some unspecified point in the future.

Since for what I hope are obvious reasons we can't observe anything before the start of our own universe, we'll never know for sure and scientifically it doesn't really matter anyway. Science offers a lot of possible explanations for the big bang. For the most part, scientific origin theories do not require the existence of a god, but don't exclude it either. Since it's not necessary, other scientific principles such as Occam's razor tell us it's unlikely.

 

God: "Thou Must Go from This Place Lest I Visit Thee with Boils!"
Man: "Really? Most people would bring a bottle of wine"


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Quote:Jumbo, You may

Quote:
Jumbo,

 

You may consider your god a hypothesis.  I'll give it to you that it is one possible explanation.  However this 'hypothesis' does NOT constitute reason to believe.  Just as I don't state that ANY origin hypothesis is true.  I accept them as possibility, but don't take them as true.

 

So are you trying to argue that god COULD exist?  Or that he DOES?  There is a huge difference.

 

Oh, and to think that every theist accepts that god is only a hypothesis is absurdly naive, if that is what you think.

 

BTW, your 'god hypothesis' will NEVER be proven true.  Anything found to affect nature will be labeled a natural law, and not the actions of a deity.  Like they said, offering god as a possibility is not providing any sort of physically observable explanation.

 

What I personally think will differ from what I am trying to prove true. This is completely consistent with how philosophical debates usually proceed.

I do not consider God a hypothesis, but I am happy to argue as if it were. I find it easier to move thorugh various objections one at a time, rather than having to swallow several arguments at once - this also is completely consistent with philosophical discourse. The first step toward proving God exists, logically, is accepting that a God can exist. So it makes sense to compare like theories - for example two relatively similar origin theories.

I don't know if every theist agrees on just about any given issue - but I am not your average theist. This sort of discussion helps me become a better philosopher, not a better christian. If I want to learn about God, I will go to church. In my first post, I wrote an analogy, "If you want to build a better chair, don't sit in chairs, study chairs or design chairs - sit on the floor". Translated, it means that those who surround themselves with people who are studying or agree upon the same things as you, do not challenge themselves to become better. By surrounding yourself with people who disagree with just about everything you say, you have all the opportunity in the world to get stronger and stronger. It has paid off, I consistently get over 90% for most of my essays and exams, and now I am in line for graduating with honors.

I hope this answers your question.

 

And BTW, never ever say never.


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Quote:This is a difficult

Quote:
This is a difficult question I'll admit. There are a lot of concepts of time, there are even cultures which do not share the same concept of time as we do. In physics even, the definition of time varies depending on what context you're speaking in, and there are theories which simply do away with it.

Mathematically time is a variable which increases uniformly for a given observer. I appreciate that's probably not very helpful to you though.

You sound very learned. May I ask of your persuasion? I am guessing atheist. The time issue is really irrelevant to the point I was trying to make - but after extended periods of people not understanding the question, I tried other approaches. Yes, time is tricky.

 

Quote:

Ah, here I think you're referring to the uncertainty principle and the question of wavefunction collapse. You don't need a conscious observer for that, in any sufficiently complex system decoherance collapses the wavefunction (basically all the wavefunctions cancel each other out leaving only one possible overall state).

Similarly the universe is not increased in complexity or strangeness by us looking at it. It is complex already. What does happen is that the more we study it the more layers of complexity we are aware of, but then again we've spent about a billion years evolving to identify patterns.

I've heard it said that a sufficiently complex "environment" can collapse the probability of x's occurance. However, my question is if that sufficiently complex environment were not observed to be observing x, would it still collapse x's probabilty? This may be a logical impossibility (the question, that is), but I am curious nonetheless. I suppose it is the tree falling question in a different context. This point, too, is not that important.

 

Quote:
You seem to be saying that scientific laws are arbitrary statements. They're not. Scientific laws can be falsified in exactly the same way as scientific theories, and are built up using evidence and logical induction in the same basic way. What is different is that a scientific law is a simple statement which underlies many theories, but it's not sufficient as a theory in itself. If I tell you that the entropy of a closed thermodynamic system always increases, that tells you nothing about how I was able to have fresh milk for my coffee earlier. If I tell you the theory of Carnot cycles (which would take several pages), which is the physical theory on which my refrigerator works, then you know how I am able to have fresh milk on hand. The connection may not be obvious, but someone must have made it or I wouldn't have a refrigerator.

Philosophically, science is as arbitrary as anything else, strictly speaking. A lot of the above was in response to Bobs posts, and not really what I had wanted to discuss (I got a little side tracked).

So the fact that there is fresh milk indicates someone must have made it? Are you familiar with the principle of sufficient reason? On a much broader scale, the fact that anything exists at all requires an explanation. Hence, it is now a matter of what one believes to be the origin of the universe. Here is where our conversation begins.

 

Quote:
Well since you ask, my favoured origin theory postulates that the big bang was actually the spontaneous and inhomogeneous decay of a false vacuum. This has the advantage of requiring only the existence of a space with slightly different properties to our own, which could have formed through the same mechanism. It is also entirely possible that our universe could decay into a new one in this way at some unspecified point in the future.

The Big Bang is a result of a decaying false vacuum. I am not a physics major, so I need this in words:

A false vacuum is a near-zero energy state in space, correct?

So a decaying false vacuum is one that tunnels to a lower energy state, correct?

Now, when you say "Big Bang", are we talking the inception of space-time, or is this irrelevant? Which flavor of BB are we dealing with here?

When you say that this decaying vacuum required only slightly different properties than our own, then there is another state that has given birth to our state, correct?

Then is it not this former state that is the focus of a theory of origin?

If this former state differs only slightly from our own (for arguments sake) and it formed through the same mechanism as our own vacuum state, then would you consider this a self referencing argument?

Or is there an infinite regress of vacuum states, each causing subsequent states? If there are possibly infinite states, then doesn't this violate the aforementioned principle of sufficient reason?

 

I am probably way off, so don't worry if the answer is no to all of the above. I am more interested in getting to the bottom of this (so to speak). I am really looking forward to your reply.


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Since my argument was posted

Since my argument was posted twice, there is no alternative than that Jumbo is unable to respond. Point, set, match.

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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:This

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
This is a difficult question I'll admit. There are a lot of concepts of time, there are even cultures which do not share the same concept of time as we do. In physics even, the definition of time varies depending on what context you're speaking in, and there are theories which simply do away with it.

Mathematically time is a variable which increases uniformly for a given observer. I appreciate that's probably not very helpful to you though.

You sound very learned. May I ask of your persuasion? I am guessing atheist. The time issue is really irrelevant to the point I was trying to make - but after extended periods of people not understanding the question, I tried other approaches. Yes, time is tricky.

Thank you. As it happens I am indeed an atheist.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:

Ah, here I think you're referring to the uncertainty principle and the question of wavefunction collapse. You don't need a conscious observer for that, in any sufficiently complex system decoherance collapses the wavefunction (basically all the wavefunctions cancel each other out leaving only one possible overall state).

Similarly the universe is not increased in complexity or strangeness by us looking at it. It is complex already. What does happen is that the more we study it the more layers of complexity we are aware of, but then again we've spent about a billion years evolving to identify patterns.

I've heard it said that a sufficiently complex "environment" can collapse the probability of x's occurance. However, my question is if that sufficiently complex environment were not observed to be observing x, would it still collapse x's probabilty? This may be a logical impossibility (the question, that is), but I am curious nonetheless. I suppose it is the tree falling question in a different context. This point, too, is not that important.

Yes, a sufficiently large and complex quantum system collapses it's own wavefunction. It's one of the reasons why Schrodingers cat is not a particularly good thought experiment.

The simple explanation is that the wavefunction of a quantum system is the sum of the wavefunctions of it's components. Barring some exotic cases, as the systems get larger the wavefunctions cancel each other out leaving fewer and fewer possible states. Large enough systems have only one state.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
You seem to be saying that scientific laws are arbitrary statements. They're not. Scientific laws can be falsified in exactly the same way as scientific theories, and are built up using evidence and logical induction in the same basic way. What is different is that a scientific law is a simple statement which underlies many theories, but it's not sufficient as a theory in itself. If I tell you that the entropy of a closed thermodynamic system always increases, that tells you nothing about how I was able to have fresh milk for my coffee earlier. If I tell you the theory of Carnot cycles (which would take several pages), which is the physical theory on which my refrigerator works, then you know how I am able to have fresh milk on hand. The connection may not be obvious, but someone must have made it or I wouldn't have a refrigerator.

Philosophically, science is as arbitrary as anything else, strictly speaking. A lot of the above was in response to Bobs posts, and not really what I had wanted to discuss (I got a little side tracked).

So the fact that there is fresh milk indicates someone must have made it? Are you familiar with the principle of sufficient reason? On a much broader scale, the fact that anything exists at all requires an explanation. Hence, it is now a matter of what one believes to be the origin of the universe. Here is where our conversation begins.

No, that would be analogous to affirming the consequent. Fresh milk does not imply refrigerators, refrigerators imply the possibility of fresh milk. Fresh milk could also come about because I have a small cow in my kitchen, or because there is a special milk main plumbed into my house, or because I've been especially generous when I last sacrificed chocolate chip cookies to the god of milk. The hypotheses are arbitrary.

The fact that both milk and refrigerators are observed, while none of the other possibilities have been, implies that the refrigerator hypothesis is the better hypothesis. That isn't arbitrary, it is empirical. 

The principle of sufficient reason states that for every logical truth there is a reason why. There are a lot of interpretations of this, and some problems, and it does seem to be in contradiction with the Incompleteness theorem. It also implies a logically closed system, which essentially requires taking Occam's razor as a deductive rule rather than a heuristic.

jumbo1410 wrote:
 

Quote:
Well since you ask, my favoured origin theory postulates that the big bang was actually the spontaneous and inhomogeneous decay of a false vacuum. This has the advantage of requiring only the existence of a space with slightly different properties to our own, which could have formed through the same mechanism. It is also entirely possible that our universe could decay into a new one in this way at some unspecified point in the future.

The Big Bang is a result of a decaying false vacuum. I am not a physics major, so I need this in words:

A false vacuum is a near-zero energy state in space, correct?

So a decaying false vacuum is one that tunnels to a lower energy state, correct?

Now, when you say "Big Bang", are we talking the inception of space-time, or is this irrelevant? Which flavor of BB are we dealing with here?

When you say that this decaying vacuum required only slightly different properties than our own, then there is another state that has given birth to our state, correct?

Then is it not this former state that is the focus of a theory of origin?

If this former state differs only slightly from our own (for arguments sake) and it formed through the same mechanism as our own vacuum state, then would you consider this a self referencing argument?

Or is there an infinite regress of vacuum states, each causing subsequent states? If there are possibly infinite states, then doesn't this violate the aforementioned principle of sufficient reason?

I shouldn't have mentioned this, since it's going off at a tangent. My point was actually that there are many theories as to the precise nature and cause of the big bang, but since we cannot observe we cannot draw a definitive conclusion due to insufficient evidence.

By Big Bang I refer to the enormous energy release in a highly confined but rapidly expanding space which is the earliest observable event in the universe.

To briefly answer your questions, a false vacuum is a region of space with a different zero-point energy (the energy that space has when empty) than our familiar space. If a region of space were created which was stable at a lower zero-point energy than our regular space then that region would likely expand outwards as the speed of light. Exactly what would happen to anything that the boundary of that region encountered is not known for certain. It is very likely that the laws of physics would be essentially the same inside that region as outside it, but the physical constants would be different. There was a big fuss about this last year when someone suggested that the Large Hadron Collider could cause this kind of event. While this hypothesis does imply an infinite regression, it does also imply that the laws of physics are uniform even across iterations of the whole universe; removing special pleadings in exchange for accepting infinite regression certainly seems simpler and therefore more plausible to me.

As I said, we don't know. We can't observe, which limits what answers we can hope to get. The best we can do is form hypotheses and discuss their plausibility. We can talk about what is and is not required for certain hypotheses to be plausible. We can assume that simpler hypotheses are more likely than complex ones. From all that we might one day be able to say "given all evidence that it is possible for us to observe, and all knowledge of physics that we possess, one hypothesis is most likely", but it will still be a hypothesis not a theory because it won't be falsifiable. 

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jumbo1410

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Jumbo,

 

You may consider your god a hypothesis.  I'll give it to you that it is one possible explanation.  However this 'hypothesis' does NOT constitute reason to believe.  Just as I don't state that ANY origin hypothesis is true.  I accept them as possibility, but don't take them as true.

 

So are you trying to argue that god COULD exist?  Or that he DOES?  There is a huge difference.

 

Oh, and to think that every theist accepts that god is only a hypothesis is absurdly naive, if that is what you think.

 

BTW, your 'god hypothesis' will NEVER be proven true.  Anything found to affect nature will be labeled a natural law, and not the actions of a deity.  Like they said, offering god as a possibility is not providing any sort of physically observable explanation.

 

What I personally think will differ from what I am trying to prove true. This is completely consistent with how philosophical debates usually proceed.

I do not consider God a hypothesis, but I am happy to argue as if it were. I find it easier to move thorugh various objections one at a time, rather than having to swallow several arguments at once - this also is completely consistent with philosophical discourse. The first step toward proving God exists, logically, is accepting that a God can exist. So it makes sense to compare like theories - for example two relatively similar origin theories.

I don't know if every theist agrees on just about any given issue - but I am not your average theist. This sort of discussion helps me become a better philosopher, not a better christian. If I want to learn about God, I will go to church. In my first post, I wrote an analogy, "If you want to build a better chair, don't sit in chairs, study chairs or design chairs - sit on the floor". Translated, it means that those who surround themselves with people who are studying or agree upon the same things as you, do not challenge themselves to become better. By surrounding yourself with people who disagree with just about everything you say, you have all the opportunity in the world to get stronger and stronger. It has paid off, I consistently get over 90% for most of my essays and exams, and now I am in line for graduating with honors.

I hope this answers your question.

 

And BTW, never ever say never.

 

Okay, I understand going from one thing to the next.  I understand that, yes, god could exist.

 

As for my never statement, I am confused.  How can god be real and supernatural?  I thought 'natural' as a concept covers everything in existence, meaning if god were supernatural, he wouldn't be real.  Similarly, how can we EVER observe a natural phenomenon, and then attribute it to a supernatural source?  We certainly couldn't do it in a scientific context, unless we simply get to the point where science gives up.  To me, god, as a scientific answer to unknown questions, is a final acceptance that humans cannot understand how it happens, so then something supernatural has to be the cause.  This is where I see humans never giving up on science, even if it takes an eternity.


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Quote:Since my argument was

Quote:
Since my argument was posted twice, there is no alternative than that Jumbo is unable to respond. Point, set, match.

Are you referring to this:

Quote:

Did god create itself? I know and understand your reluctance to define god as defining it may limit it or attribute aspects to which it does not adhere, but to say it created everything is too vague.

If so, I was not aware that you were referring to me (furycat's quote was the final quote, not mine).

To answer your question, I don't know if God created himself, I'm not even sure that is a coherent question. As far as defining God, Omnimax will suffice.

With respect to God creating everything, I'd say no. It is quite clear that if I take a dump, God did not put poo in my toilet, I did. That is, there is at least one thing that God did not create.

Now if you consider that your parents created you, and those that create things that create; created those things as well, then you and I are no longer responsible for our actions - with or without a God.

(If you consider x creates y creates z therefore x creates z to be true, then it is the single celled-whatever that we evolved from that is responsible for the poo in my toilet, or the knife in my hand... etc.)

 

Quote:
Yes, a sufficiently large and complex quantum system collapses it's own wavefunction. It's one of the reasons why Schrodingers cat is not a particularly good thought experiment.

The simple explanation is that the wavefunction of a quantum system is the sum of the wavefunctions of it's components. Barring some exotic cases, as the systems get larger the wavefunctions cancel each other out leaving fewer and fewer possible states. Large enough systems have only one state.

Hmmm. Not what wikki says. Nor does it answer what I ultimately asked. I said that the more you observe something, the more peculiar it becomes, and asked if it was known that a sufficiently large system can collapse itself wothout an observer.

Quote:
The reality of wave function collapse has always been debated, i.e., whether it is a fundamental physical phenomenon in its own right or just an epiphenomenon of another process, such as quantum decoherence.[2] In recent decades the quantum decoherence view has gained popularity. Collapse may be understood as a change in conditional probabilities.

Now, the epiphenomenon could be the very act of conscious observation, be it first, second or third hand, could it not? If this is indeed a possibility, then you cannot reasonably hold that a sufficiently large system can collapse itself.

Quote:

No, that would be analogous to affirming the consequent. Fresh milk does not imply refrigerators, refrigerators imply the possibility of fresh milk. Fresh milk could also come about because I have a small cow in my kitchen, or because there is a special milk main plumbed into my house, or because I've been especially generous when I last sacrificed chocolate chip cookies to the god of milk. The hypotheses are arbitrary.

The fact that both milk and refrigerators are observed, while none of the other possibilities have been, implies that the refrigerator hypothesis is the better hypothesis. That isn't arbitrary, it is empirical. 

The principle of sufficient reason states that for every logical truth there is a reason why. There are a lot of interpretations of this, and some problems, and it does seem to be in contradiction with the Incompleteness theorem. It also implies a logically closed system, which essentially requires taking Occam's razor as a deductive rule rather than a heuristic.

Quote:

But we agree that the existence of fresh milk requires an antecedent, yes? That is really just the same point, albeit formally. Also, how far does the Incompleteness Theorem extend? Does it extend into collapsing wavelenghts for example?

 

Quote:
I shouldn't have mentioned this, since it's going off at a tangent. My point was actually that there are many theories as to the precise nature and cause of the big bang, but since we cannot observe we cannot draw a definitive conclusion due to insufficient evidence.

It is not a tangent. This is about the only relevant point in this discussion.

Quote:
By Big Bang I refer to the enormous energy release in a highly confined but rapidly expanding space which is the earliest observable event in the universe.

Now the issue I have arises with how you are using the word "energy". Take the following for example.

Quote:
a false vacuum is a region of space with a different zero-point energy (the energy that space has when empty) than our familiar space
Quote:

Here, a region of space with different energy ultimately produces the Big Bang - described by you as an enormous release of energy. I see it as question-begging. What is your definition of energy if it is meant to mean two different things?

Quote:
While this hypothesis does imply an infinite regression, it does also imply that the laws of physics are uniform even across iterations of the whole universe; removing special pleadings in exchange for accepting infinite regression certainly seems simpler and therefore more plausible to me.

Firstly, if infinite regressions did not work for Aquinas, they will not work for science, unless I am mistaken.

Secondly,you sad that the laws of physics are likely to be universal (abbreviated), yet you state that, " Exactly what would happen to anything that the boundary of that region encountered is not known for certain". Where do you draw the conclusion that the laws of physics are likely to be uniform. It certainly is not in your argument.

Third:

Quote:
removing special pleadings in exchange for accepting infinite regression certainly seems simpler and therefore more plausible to me.

On the contrary. If they are both fallacious, the bald assertion is the simplest because it requires no information at all. We would have a hard time arguing the point, though, so I'll corss this off as rhetoric.

 

Quote:

As I said, we don't know. We can't observe, which limits what answers we can hope to get. The best we can do is form hypotheses and discuss their plausibility. We can talk about what is and is not required for certain hypotheses to be plausible. We can assume that simpler hypotheses are more likely than complex ones. From all that we might one day be able to say "given all evidence that it is possible for us to observe, and all knowledge of physics that we possess, one hypothesis is most likely", but it will still be a hypothesis not a theory because it won't be falsifiable.

I'm afraid I will only slow you down. I have not got a university degree in Physics, unfortunately. I have held off this sort of debate before because I lack the mathematical genius required. Can I ask you something? Can most mathematical concepts - such as BBT equations etc - be explained using words and analogies? If so, I'll do my best to keep up. 


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Indeterminate wrote:Yes, a

Indeterminate wrote:

Yes, a sufficiently large and complex quantum system collapses it's own wavefunction. It's one of the reasons why Schrodingers cat is not a particularly good thought experiment.

That and it involves a dead cat.  Or not.

But the possibility of a dead cat is a bad thing.

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"Are you referring to

"Are you referring to this:"

No. You are correct, that post was to Furry. Mine to you was thus:

Vastet wrote:
jumbo1410 wrote:

I doubt we will ever find out (it negates faith for one).

That's not true at all. Faith is negated NOW. In order to have faith in something, you have to at the very least believe it exists. You may have faith in a friend, but you cannot have faith in ultraviolet monkeys. I cannot have faith in a god unless I know or believe it exists. If I know or believe it exists, then I can have faith in it, or choose not to. Without the knowledge there is no choice to make.

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However, I find your

However, I find your response to that question interesting. I would ask you to define omnimax before a response to your response is possible. I could not find a definition.

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 jumbo1410

 

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
Yes, a sufficiently large and complex quantum system collapses it's own wavefunction. It's one of the reasons why Schrodingers cat is not a particularly good thought experiment.

The simple explanation is that the wavefunction of a quantum system is the sum of the wavefunctions of it's components. Barring some exotic cases, as the systems get larger the wavefunctions cancel each other out leaving fewer and fewer possible states. Large enough systems have only one state.

Hmmm. Not what wikki says. Nor does it answer what I ultimately asked. I said that the more you observe something, the more peculiar it becomes, and asked if it was known that a sufficiently large system can collapse itself wothout an observer.

I did oversimplify somewhat. There are plenty of more detailed explanations of this kind of phenomenon out there if you are interested. One of the problems with quantum physics is that the equations are counter-intuitive and cannot easily be explained in classical terms. That is why there are many interpretations of quantum physics: there are multiple mutually exclusive but equally valid ways of putting quantum theory into words.

I read what you asked and I explained that wavefunctions do collapse. I also suggested that the human proclivity for spotting patterns causes the apparently increasing peculiarity of things the more we look.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
The reality of wave function collapse has always been debated, i.e., whether it is a fundamental physical phenomenon in its own right or just an epiphenomenon of another process, such as quantum decoherence.[2] In recent decades the quantum decoherence view has gained popularity. Collapse may be understood as a change in conditional probabilities.

Now, the epiphenomenon could be the very act of conscious observation, be it first, second or third hand, could it not? If this is indeed a possibility, then you cannot reasonably hold that a sufficiently large system can collapse itself.

Since quantum theory cannot model consciousness, and theoretical models show wavefunction collapse, there is no reason to privilege an observer by saying that consciousness has any special power to induce wavefunction collapse. You also seem to be implying that the possibility of one trigger of wavefunction collapse excludes all other possibilities.

You also seem to have misunderstood your own quotation. If wavefunction collapse is an emergent property of a deeper process, it would be a related process such as decoherance. Consciousness is an emergent property of brain structure, with little directly to do with quantum theory.

You seem to be very keen on privileging consciousness in this way. From the point of view of physics, there is no reason to suppose that consciousness even is, never mind that it has any privileged position. I am content to be a cluster of electrochemical interactions which claims to be conscious, whether I am or not. Souls are not necessary, merely chemistry.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:

No, that would be analogous to affirming the consequent. Fresh milk does not imply refrigerators, refrigerators imply the possibility of fresh milk. Fresh milk could also come about because I have a small cow in my kitchen, or because there is a special milk main plumbed into my house, or because I've been especially generous when I last sacrificed chocolate chip cookies to the god of milk. The hypotheses are arbitrary.

The fact that both milk and refrigerators are observed, while none of the other possibilities have been, implies that the refrigerator hypothesis is the better hypothesis. That isn't arbitrary, it is empirical. 

The principle of sufficient reason states that for every logical truth there is a reason why. There are a lot of interpretations of this, and some problems, and it does seem to be in contradiction with the Incompleteness theorem. It also implies a logically closed system, which essentially requires taking Occam's razor as a deductive rule rather than a heuristic.

But we agree that the existence of fresh milk requires an antecedent, yes? That is really just the same point, albeit formally. Also, how far does the Incompleteness Theorem extend? Does it extend into collapsing wavelenghts for example?

The existence of fresh milk does have logical antecedents. I ought to point out that this is not true for every statement, which is one of the problems with the principle of sufficient reason in the context of logic. Sooner or later you are faced with setting definitions and axioms, and the incompleteness theorem shows that there will always be true but unprovable statements.

The incompleteness theorem extends to any non-trivial system of formal logic, and causes problems with the principle of sufficient reason in any deductive argument. As far as physics goes, quantum mechanics permits spontaneous actions without cause, again causing problems with the principle of sufficient reason. There are some very convoluted ways around those issues, or it can be safely dropped in many contexts. It's a heuristic in any case, which is probably why there are about a dozen versions of it each with a long list of exceptions and conditions.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
By Big Bang I refer to the enormous energy release in a highly confined but rapidly expanding space which is the earliest observable event in the universe.

Now the issue I have arises with how you are using the word "energy". Take the following for example.

Quote:
a false vacuum is a region of space with a different zero-point energy (the energy that space has when empty) than our familiar space

Here, a region of space with different energy ultimately produces the Big Bang - described by you as an enormous release of energy. I see it as question-begging. What is your definition of energy if it is meant to mean two different things?

It doesn't mean two different things, and I'm struggling to see how you came to that. 

The important point is that space has zero-point energy which is usually equated with virtual particle pairs which are constantly being created and annihilated. If you reduce the zero point energy of a space the surplus has to go somewhere in order for energy to be conserved. In this case the hypothesis is that the surplus energy becomes the real particles of our universe.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
While this hypothesis does imply an infinite regression, it does also imply that the laws of physics are uniform even across iterations of the whole universe; removing special pleadings in exchange for accepting infinite regression certainly seems simpler and therefore more plausible to me.

Firstly, if infinite regressions did not work for Aquinas, they will not work for science, unless I am mistaken.

Secondly,you sad that the laws of physics are likely to be universal (abbreviated), yet you state that, " Exactly what would happen to anything that the boundary of that region encountered is not known for certain". Where do you draw the conclusion that the laws of physics are likely to be uniform. It certainly is not in your argument.

I cover regressions below, and yes it is possible for infinite regressions to work for science.

The laws of physics will likely be uniform because there is no reason for them to change. We are essentially talking about the change in a single physical constant here. Lacking the theory of everything we don't know how a change in one constant will effect other constants, but there is no reason to suppose that the relationship between constants would be changed. 

What would happen at the boundary, or more to the point what would happen to things crossing the boundary, is not currently known because it has not been studied in depth and is not something that we have observed. It may well be something that cannot be observed.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Third:

Quote:
removing special pleadings in exchange for accepting infinite regression certainly seems simpler and therefore more plausible to me.

On the contrary. If they are both fallacious, the bald assertion is the simplest because it requires no information at all. We would have a hard time arguing the point, though, so I'll corss this off as rhetoric.

Yes, we could go round and round this forever. 

It was foolish of me to say that this implies infinite regression, since it doesn't. It merely implies regression. There is no reason why some other mechanism cannot trigger off a chain reaction of universes decaying into more universes. Actually, I rather like the idea, it's quite poetic. Given the nature of this debate I should point out that just because I like an idea does not mean I believe it to be true, a statement which also applies to this who false vacuum decay scenario that we're discussing.

An infinite regression need not be fallacious anyway, since provided it obeys certain rules it can be treated mathematically. Foremost of those rules is that equations governing each state and it's relation to the previous state remain constant. Unless you intend to redefine god and consciousness as an equation then this argument cannot apply to god; it's tenuous enough when applied to unthinking equations.

Once again however: we do not and can not know. At best we may one day be able to make plausible guesses. Any scientific hypothesis about the cause of the universe is nothing but a mathematical curiosity. While few if any of these hypotheses exclude the action of god, none require it so we have to reason as assume there is a creator.

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:

As I said, we don't know. We can't observe, which limits what answers we can hope to get. The best we can do is form hypotheses and discuss their plausibility. We can talk about what is and is not required for certain hypotheses to be plausible. We can assume that simpler hypotheses are more likely than complex ones. From all that we might one day be able to say "given all evidence that it is possible for us to observe, and all knowledge of physics that we possess, one hypothesis is most likely", but it will still be a hypothesis not a theory because it won't be falsifiable.

I'm afraid I will only slow you down. I have not got a university degree in Physics, unfortunately. I have held off this sort of debate before because I lack the mathematical genius required. Can I ask you something? Can most mathematical concepts - such as BBT equations etc - be explained using words and analogies? If so, I'll do my best to keep up. 

Not very well, at least not by me. My background is mathematics more than physics, and I'm already struggling to use words to express most of this stuff instead of equations. There are probably people here that can explain all this far better than I can.

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FurryCatHerder wrote:

Indeterminate wrote:

Yes, a sufficiently large and complex quantum system collapses it's own wavefunction. It's one of the reasons why Schrodingers cat is not a particularly good thought experiment.

That and it involves a dead cat.  Or not.

But the possibility of a dead cat is a bad thing.

This is why eight out of ten cats prefer classical physics Smiling

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OK. I will quote you out of

OK. I will quote you out of order, because I want to address the main points first:

Quote:

Not very well, at least not by me. My background is mathematics more than physics, and I'm already struggling to use words to express most of this stuff instead of equations. There are probably people here that can explain all this far better than I can.

I figured as much. Philosophy and mathematics are not generally opposing arts - but obviously one is stepped in words, the other in symbols. I am far more proficient with the former rather than the latter, yet it would be unfair to make a science debate an entirely philosophical debate, or an entirely mathematical debate. I hope there is some middle ground that we can reach.

 

Quote:
I should point out that just because I like an idea does not mean I believe it to be true, a statement which also applies to this who false vacuum decay scenario that we're discussing.

Agreed.

 

Quote:
Once again however: we do not and can not know. At best we may one day be able to make plausible guesses. Any scientific hypothesis about the cause of the universe is nothing but a mathematical curiosity. While few if any of these hypotheses exclude the action of god, none require it so we have to reason as assume there is a creator.

I agree that we may never know the truth about origins - this is perhaps the most important point of all (similar to your point above). It frames the debate as entirely hypothetical.

The second half of what you say is problematic. This is similar to the question-begging objection in my previous post. More on that later.

You said that none of the current hypothesis exclude a God. I agree, because there are literally infinite hypothesis to begin with. However, drawing the conclusion that none of these theories requires is presumptuous. A scientific theory of origin must be completely self-cpntained, for if it relies on previous or any initial conditions, then it is not a theory of origin by the definition of the word. It may very well be, for example, that a false vacuum does require a God. Your statement is actually false. A better one would have been, "It is not known if a God is required at this point". That is the only logical conclusion. I am open to objections.

 

Quote:
There is no reason why some other mechanism cannot trigger off a chain reaction of universes decaying into more universes.

Then your theory is not a theory of origin, rather it is a theory of beginning, because it does not address the former cause(s) of the casue of our universe. It avoids an answer.

 

Quote:
An infinite regression need not be fallacious anyway, since provided it obeys certain rules it can be treated mathematically. Foremost of those rules is that equations governing each state and it's relation to the previous state remain constant.

As stated earlier, it would be unfair to make this an entirely mathematical debate. But we can agree on some rules. Now, the contention is whether an infinite regress is fallacious. Mathematically, it may not be. You can provide the proof of that, by all means.

I'll attack it from a philosophical standpoint. If I asked you to explain why a glowing yellow sphere was on your front lawn, and you replied, "It was put there by a previous glowing yellow sphere". Now if I asked you how each sphere had got there, and you said, "There were spheres all the way back to infinity on my lawn". Would you consider this an answer, or an avoidence of the question of how that sphere got there? This is an abbreviated version of a much larger argument that proves that a reply of how long something extends back in time is not an answer of how or why. Or more succinctly, an answer of age is not an answer of reason. This is the principle of sufficient reason.

It should be pretty easy to apply this to the actual debate. Basically, answering the question of how we got here with an infinite mathematical regress does not answer the question at all - it holds off an answer, infinitely.

Moreover, even if the principle of sufficient reason does not apply, a mathematical regress does not explain why this infinite regress should regress infinitely. It is quite possible that all these regresses are contingent upon something else more fundamental for their ability to regress infinitely.

 

Quote:
Unless you intend to redefine god and consciousness as an equation then this argument cannot apply to god; it's tenuous enough when applied to unthinking equations.

Dan Dennett has a paper on consciousness that might be of interest. He suggests that (philosophically) consciousness is a matter of perspective. I have read many more papers on souls and personal identity. Prima facie, it appears consciouness is a product of brain function. However, this is actually not entirely correct. Dr. Kadawinsky wrote a book called "The age of spiritual machines". This guy is a neuro-surgeon, and has some pretty wild theories on consciousness, developed over several years of witnessing strange phenomenon of aparently brain dead patients. Additionally, Searle, in hsi paper "Minds, brains and programs", details several more theories of consciousness and computers. The best paper I can recall is one by a Dave (or Dan) Cohen - which addresses three competing theories of personal identity.

My point is that there is more than just a mathematical apporach to consciousness, and the burden of proof is on you to convince me why I should ascribe to one en vogue theory.

 

I am pressed for time, but will post more later. Its a pleasure talking to you.

 

 

 

 

 


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:There

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
There is no reason why some other mechanism cannot trigger off a chain reaction of universes decaying into more universes.

Then your theory is not a theory of origin, rather it is a theory of beginning, because it does not address the former cause(s) of the casue of our universe. It avoids an answer.

 

Your theory has the same problem.  What was there before there was god?  God always was?  then why can't the universe have always been?  they are the exact same thing.

We don't know the origin of the universe, but it is just as likely, if not more likely, that it was not because of an invisible magician.

p.s. the original topic of the thread also led me to atheism, eventually.

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An infinite regression is

An infinite regression does lead to a mathematically infinite total quantities or physical impossibilities, providing that, on average, the energy and duration of each 'causal' event is smaller than the next one in the chain.

For example, the infinite sum of a chain of quantities where each going back is half the magnitude of the previous, is given by

(1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/16 + ... + 1/2r + .., as r -> infinity) = 2.0

Ie only twice that of the starting quantity.

The 'principle of sufficient reason' really doesn't say much, since we now know that things can happen for no discernible or even theoretical cause. IOW, the 'reason' which is 'sufficient' to any event may be virtually zero, or infinitesimal, especially if the scale of the event is at the Planck level. The other way of looking at it is that many events are influenced by many 'causes' some of which may be unstable balances of forces which need but a tiny trigger to initiate the avalanche. So between Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory, 'cause and effect' is nowhere near as straight-forward and intuitively 'obvious' as people like Aquinas may have believed.

 

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Quote:You said that none of

Quote:
You said that none of the current hypothesis exclude a God. I agree, because there are literally infinite hypothesis to begin with. However, drawing the conclusion that none of these theories requires is presumptuous.

Quote:
It may very well be, for example, that a false vacuum does require a God. Your statement is actually false. A better one would have been, "It is not known if a God is required at this point". That is the only logical conclusion. I am open to objections.

No scientific hypothesis requires god. It is always possible to construct a theory which requires some arbitrary thing if you wish to. The hypothesis that someone said 'Let there be light' requires someone to say it, whom we could call god. Such a hypothesis isn't particularly scientific, since it doesn't postulate natural occurrence. Science is after all a naturalistic approach, so any supernatural requirement within a scientific theory is a contradiction.

In the false vacuum case, you're conflating necessity with sufficiency. God is sufficient but not necessary. God can woggle his fingers and trigger false vacuum decay. However a false vacuum can, by it's nature as a quantum-mechanical construct, decay spontaneously. No actor of any kind is required. Why claim that god might be needed for this to occur when we have no reason to believe this is the case? Why claim god was involved without evidence of god? It's rather like claiming that coffee is required if you wish to make marzipan (I was making sweets earlier).

Quote:
A scientific theory of origin must be completely self-cpntained, for if it relies on previous or any initial conditions, then it is not a theory of origin by the definition of the word.

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Then your theory is not a theory of origin, rather it is a theory of beginning, because it does not address the former cause(s) of the casue of our universe. It avoids an answer.

No scientific theory is entirely self-contained. General Relativity, for example, does not give us a complete description of the behaviour of massive objects, it describes only a part of their behaviour and other factors outside the scope of the theory must be accounted for by other means. Scientific theories do not need to be self-contained, they just need to be unambiguous about what they describe.

I think you're using semantics to confuse the issue. Any hypothesis which offers a description of how the universe as we know it came about is an answer to the only question that science can possibly hope to answer when it comes to the origin of the universe. As far as science is concerned, that is a theory of origin.

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If I asked you to explain why a glowing yellow sphere was on your front lawn, and you replied, "It was put there by a previous glowing yellow sphere". Now if I asked you how each sphere had got there, and you said, "There were spheres all the way back to infinity on my lawn". Would you consider this an answer, or an avoidence of the question of how that sphere got there?

But I am not proposing an answer which applies to every case, only one which applies to the immediate case; even then it's pure conjecture on which only judgements of relative plausibility can be made.

This is the problem with cosmology of course, and why it is a special and highly unusual case of science: it relies on the observation of isolated cases. Abductive reasoning is generally considered to be poor reasoning, but induction is not available in cosmology.

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proves that a reply of how long something extends back in time is not an answer of how or why. Or more succinctly, an answer of age is not an answer of reason. This is the principle of sufficient reason.

True. What, When and Where are also important questions however. Science purports only to answer What and How, and sometimes when time or space dependent processes are involved also Where and When. Why is a completely different container of swimming things.

Now, since we've gone around scientific epistemology a few times I'm wondering whether you can present anything that would favour the plausibility of god over other possible hypotheses?

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My point is that there is more than just a mathematical apporach to consciousness, and the burden of proof is on you to convince me why I should ascribe to one en vogue theory.

Ah, but I'm not trying to persuade you of any particular theory. In the original context of this I believe I was pointing out that only a simple and uniform system of equations could be used to describe an infinite series.

 

What I think you are missing is that the whole point of a purely scientific approach is it's incompleteness. There is always something that continues to be unknown. In exchange for accepting that we don't know everything, science allows us far more thorough analysis of the things that we do know. It allows us to speculate, without requiring that any of our speculations are correct. Most importantly, it allows us to exclude some possibilities without proving others.

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SapphireMind wrote: Your

SapphireMind wrote:
Your theory has the same problem.  What was there before there was god?  God always was?  then why can't the universe have always been? 

My take on that: if something must have always existed and if we must choose between God and matter/energy in some form, then I think it's more likely that matter/energy in some form (not necessarily in the form of the universe as we know it) has always existed.  After all, we have no testable evidence supporting the idea that God exists or has ever existed whereas it's pretty clear that matter/energy does exist.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


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I'd just like to say on behalf of all the lurkers

 

That I'm really enjoying this thread. It's fascinating to 'watch' the thought processes and feel the natural biases that always have to creep into such arguments.

In some ways they are most telling...

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Ill try a different

Ill try a different approach. One point at a time.

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In the false vacuum case, you're conflating necessity with sufficiency. God is sufficient but not necessary. God can woggle his fingers and trigger false vacuum decay. However a false vacuum can, by it's nature as a quantum-mechanical construct, decay spontaneously. No actor of any kind is required. Why claim that god might be needed for this to occur when we have no reason to believe this is the case? Why claim god was involved without evidence of god? It's rather like claiming that coffee is required if you wish to make marzipan (I was making sweets earlier).

What necessary conditions gave rise to a false vacuum then?


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Quote:My take on that: if

Quote:
My take on that: if something must have always existed and if we must choose between God and matter/energy in some form, then I think it's more likely that matter/energy in some form (not necessarily in the form of the universe as we know it) has always existed.  After all, we have no testable evidence supporting the idea that God exists or has ever existed whereas it's pretty clear that matter/energy does exist.

Unless energy can produce itself, then this is the only logical conclusion. Bu what you have done is created a scientific God - energy. You said that it is pretty clear that energy/matter does exist, but this is begging the question - as I have said a hundred times already. Energy/matter interactions are co-dependent. A false vacuum presumaby has no matter to act upon, so the energy that is present in a false vacuum (or is the false vacuum) cannot be the same type of energy that was produced after the big bang. If it is the same type of energy, then this begs the question by using what is being produced, as the producer. (EDIT: Vacuum energy is measured in terms of E, hence lacks a definiion outside of m and E). Mathematically, you may have an argument (but that is most probably because I don't know Math). Philosophically, the concept is about as good as any other hypothesis, including God.

Energy in this context is ill-defined (like God), lacks any known intrinsic properties (like God), cannot be falsified (like God), is eternal (like God), is immortal - as in cannot be destroyed (like God) and completely indetectable (like God).

 

EDIT: Spelling, clarity.


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:My

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
My take on that: if something must have always existed and if we must choose between God and matter/energy in some form, then I think it's more likely that matter/energy in some form (not necessarily in the form of the universe as we know it) has always existed.  After all, we have no testable evidence supporting the idea that God exists or has ever existed whereas it's pretty clear that matter/energy does exist.

Unless energy can produce itself, then this is the only logical conclusion. Bu what you have done is created a scientific God - energy. You said that it is pretty clear that energy/matter does exist, but this is begging the question - as I have said a hundred times already. Energy/matter interactions are co-dependent. A false vacuum presumaby has no matter to act upon, so the energy that is present in a false vacuum (or is the false vacuum) cannot be the same type of energy that was produced after the big bang. If it is the same type of energy, then this begs the question by using what is being produced, as the producer. (EDIT: Vacuum energy is measured in terms of E, hence lacks a definiion outside of m and E). Mathematically, you may have an argument (but that is most probably because I don't know Math). Philosophically, the concept is about as good as any other hypothesis, including God.

Energy in this context is ill-defined (like God), lacks any known intrinsic properties (like God), cannot be falsified (like God), is eternal (like God), is immortal - as in cannot be destroyed (like God) and completely indetectable (like God).

 

EDIT: Spelling, clarity.

 

You missed this earlier (I completely understand, you've got multiple paragraphs pointed at you):

 

Okay, I understand going from one thing to the next.  I understand that, yes, god could exist.

 

As for my never statement, I am confused.  How can god be real and supernatural?  I thought 'natural' as a concept covers everything in existence, meaning if god were supernatural, he wouldn't be real.  Similarly, how can we EVER observe a natural phenomenon, and then attribute it to a supernatural source?  We certainly couldn't do it in a scientific context, unless we simply get to the point where science gives up.  To me, god, as a scientific answer to unknown questions, is a final acceptance that humans cannot understand how it happens, so then something supernatural has to be the cause.  This is where I see humans never giving up on science, even if it takes an eternity.

 

I think this is an important distinction.  Even if science comes to the point where it has to conclude that energy is the basic, infinite, eternal aspect of the universe, it will have done so in a way that would seriously be 'giving up.'  Calling the 'unknown basic element of the universe' god does nothing.  Like I said, anything science finds in reality receives a name, and, to me, it seems that the only thing calling something 'god' does is just muddle the concept of god.  If you can't give a concrete, physical description of god, it doesn't have a place in science.  We can describe how energy works.  We don't yet know for sure what it is made of, or where it came from.  Positing that 'it may be and be from god' accomplishes what?  Confusion over what 'god' is?  Methinks yes.


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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:My

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
My take on that: if something must have always existed and if we must choose between God and matter/energy in some form, then I think it's more likely that matter/energy in some form (not necessarily in the form of the universe as we know it) has always existed.  After all, we have no testable evidence supporting the idea that God exists or has ever existed whereas it's pretty clear that matter/energy does exist.

Unless energy can produce itself, then this is the only logical conclusion. Bu what you have done is created a scientific God - energy. You said that it is pretty clear that energy/matter does exist, but this is begging the question - as I have said a hundred times already. Energy/matter interactions are co-dependent. A false vacuum presumaby has no matter to act upon, so the energy that is present in a false vacuum (or is the false vacuum) cannot be the same type of energy that was produced after the big bang. If it is the same type of energy, then this begs the question by using what is being produced, as the producer. (EDIT: Vacuum energy is measured in terms of E, hence lacks a definiion outside of m and E). Mathematically, you may have an argument (but that is most probably because I don't know Math). Philosophically, the concept is about as good as any other hypothesis, including God.

Energy in this context is ill-defined (like God), lacks any known intrinsic properties (like God), cannot be falsified (like God), is eternal (like God), is immortal - as in cannot be destroyed (like God) and completely indetectable (like God).

 

EDIT: Spelling, clarity.

Nothing can produce itself.

There is reason to believe from observations of quantum phenomena, that quantum scale energy in the form of virtual particle pairs can appear spontaneously, and as long as they disappear within a certain time period, no laws of conservation are violated, since we cannot determine the energy levels of anything with perfect precision.

The properties of energy are somewhat mysterious, but it is capable of measurement and empirical study, unlike God, which is intrinsically unknowable, even if It exists. Energy is much simpler, since it does not display any attributes of purpose or intention, nor would it make sense to attribute such things to it. It can be falsified, and is certainly detectable.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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jumbo1410 wrote:Quote:My

jumbo1410 wrote:

Quote:
My take on that: if something must have always existed and if we must choose between God and matter/energy in some form, then I think it's more likely that matter/energy in some form (not necessarily in the form of the universe as we know it) has always existed.  After all, we have no testable evidence supporting the idea that God exists or has ever existed whereas it's pretty clear that matter/energy does exist.

Unless energy can produce itself, then this is the only logical conclusion. Bu what you have done is created a scientific God - energy.

Only you play really fast and loose with the term God.  If God can lack characteristics like consciousness, intelligence, intentionality, etc., then sure.  But, if that's the case, then anything can be God and it seems to me that pantheism is just atheism with a bit of whimsy.

 

jumbo1410 wrote:
Energy in this context is ill-defined (like God), lacks any known intrinsic properties (like God), cannot be falsified (like God), is eternal (like God), is immortal - as in cannot be destroyed (like God) and completely indetectable (like God). 

I agree that we don't know anything about what might have preceded the big bang.  To posit anything before the big bang -- assuming, for the sake of argument, that it is meaningful to speak of a "before the big bang" -- is to speculate (some speculations are more reasonable than others, of course).  However, if you're willing to settle for a God that is indistinguishable from ill-defined energy, then I don't see that there's much to discuss.

Reality is the graveyard of the gods.


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jumbo1410 wrote:Ill try a

jumbo1410 wrote:

Ill try a different approach. One point at a time.

Quote:
In the false vacuum case, you're conflating necessity with sufficiency. God is sufficient but not necessary. God can woggle his fingers and trigger false vacuum decay. However a false vacuum can, by it's nature as a quantum-mechanical construct, decay spontaneously. No actor of any kind is required. Why claim that god might be needed for this to occur when we have no reason to believe this is the case? Why claim god was involved without evidence of god? It's rather like claiming that coffee is required if you wish to make marzipan (I was making sweets earlier).

What necessary conditions gave rise to a false vacuum then?

The decay of another false vacuum would also be sufficient, or the formation of a false vacuum through various string interactions which could in principle increase the zero-point energy over a small area (assuming string theory is more than hot air). I know of no one thing which is necessary for all cases.

Which brings me back neatly to my main point. God is sufficient but not necessary for the universe to be, so the existence of god does not follow logically from the existence of the universe. A basic principle of the scientific (and philosophical) method is not to needlessly multiply entities, and therefore when there are multiple explanations available we go with the simplest one that fulfills the criteria. Assuming that a quantum mechanical process is simpler than an omnipotent being, we can conclude that until and unless some other evidence turns up, the likelihood that god created the universe is negligible, and then move on to look at better hypotheses.

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I have to confess that I

I have to confess that I gave a poor definition of a false vacuum in the first place, which might be causing some confusion. I said

Quote:
a false vacuum is a region of space with a different zero-point energy (the energy that space has when empty) than our familiar space. If a region of space were created which was stable at a lower zero-point energy than our regular space then that region would likely expand outwards as the speed of light.

when it would be better to say that a false vacuum is a region of space which is stable with a zero-point energy which is not the lowest possible stable zero-point energy state.

jumbo1410 wrote:
A false vacuum presumaby has no matter to act upon, so the energy that is present in a false vacuum (or is the false vacuum) cannot be the same type of energy that was produced after the big bang. If it is the same type of energy, then this begs the question by using what is being produced, as the producer. (EDIT: Vacuum energy is measured in terms of E, hence lacks a definiion outside of m and E). Mathematically, you may have an argument (but that is most probably because I don't know Math). Philosophically, the concept is about as good as any other hypothesis, including God.

For the purposes of this explanation lets say that there are three kinds of energy: Kinetic, Potential and Matter. Energy is conserved, meaning that it can be converted from one kind to another but the total amount remains constant.

Zero-point energy is the potential energy of empty space. Since energy is conserved when a false vacuum decays from one state to another state some of that potential energy must be converted into Matter and Kinetic energy, so there is plenty for this false vacuum to act upon. Under the right circumstances it might even decay into a state with a higher zero-point energy, and correspondingly less mass. 

jumbo1410 wrote:
You said that it is pretty clear that energy/matter does exist, but this is begging the question - as I have said a hundred times already.

How it can be begging the question to accept the existence of energy with 14 billion years worth of evidence, including several thousand years of direct observation and experiment, is beyond me.

I think others have already pointed out the issues with your comparison of energy to god.

God: "Thou Must Go from This Place Lest I Visit Thee with Boils!"
Man: "Really? Most people would bring a bottle of wine"