What do you guys think of Deism?

nebula
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What do you guys think of Deism?

I was a Christian for many, many years and just within the past month or so I have decided that I no longer believe in Jesus or the Bible at all.   I have been trying to figure out what I believe and have been alternating between Atheism, Apatheism, Agnosticism, Pantheism and Deism (there are Wiki articles for each of these schools of thought).

Anyway, something like Deism, which I take to mean a belief in "God" based on reason alone without any belief in any "revealed" religion seems like a good one.   Taking a Deist position can be useful when debating a Christian, when the Christian brings up the First Cause problem for example.  (Just to put it out there, I believe that science will eventually figure out why singularities happen and I believe there is probably a simple, natural explanation for them so I don't necessarily see the beginning of the universe as being a huge problem for Atheism in general.)  However, with Deism you still have the Problem of Evil and I haven't figured out how to deal with that one yet.   Maybe God has an evil side?      

I understand that Atheism is simply the lack of belief in any deities and I think this is a very reasonable position.   However, I read something on Deism.com that made sense to me.   Given the vastness of the universe, many of us find it plausible that extra-terrestrial beings exist.   If we find this plausible, then why wouldn't we find an extra-dimensional Supreme Being plausible as well?

If a Deistic conception of God is true, then the possibility of an afterlife is not ruled out completely.  On the one hand, I think that belief in an afterlife can be extremely destructive to people.  Among other things, it can cause them to waste their precious earthly lives, thinking of this life as some mere preamble to eternity.   On the other hand, due to some irrationality or immaturity on my part, I'm afraid of death and like to the think the possibility of an afterlife may be true.   Of course, if the Deistic conception of God is true, it could be that God's gift to us is this biological life on earth and only this life, which would be fine.  I guess I'm just a little greedy and want an afterlife as well.  

I know that this is all pretty hazy.  I'm not trying to argue any position because I really don't have one.   I'm just kind of interested in what Atheists think of Deists.   Does their position seem reasonable to you?   Why or why not?   Thanks in advance.     

   


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Hello, welcome to the

Hello, welcome to the forum.

I definitely think deism is more reasonable than the theism of any organized religion, but I still don't think it is a justified belief. There's not enough evidence; that's about it.  

nebula wrote:
Given the vastness of the universe, many of us find it plausible that extra-terrestrial beings exist.   If we find this plausible, then why wouldn't we find an extra-dimensional Supreme Being plausible as well?

Sure, if we can show that other dimensions are plausible, then extra-dimensional beings might be plausible as well.

But....what is a "Supreme" extra-dimensional being? And why should I call it "god?" This is a rather meaningless term commonly attached to god concepts.

nebula wrote:
If a Deistic conception of God is true, then the possibility of an afterlife is not ruled out completely.  On the one hand, I think that belief in an afterlife can be extremely destructive to people.  Among other things, it can cause them to waste their precious earthly lives, thinking of this life as some mere preamble to eternity.   On the other hand, due to some irrationality or immaturity on my part, I'm afraid of death and like to the think the possibility of an afterlife may be true.   Of course, if the Deistic conception of God is true, it could be that God's gift to us is this biological life on earth and only this life, which would be fine.  I guess I'm just a little greedy and want an afterlife as well.  

You're very honest and open-minded for recognizing your own biases. 

Well, no possibility is ever ruled out completely, as in we can never be 100% sure of truths other than specific categories of claims like definitively true statements. The existence of any afterlife is counter-inductive regardless. When people suffer brain damage, their personality can change; all the available evidence implies that my consciousness and everything that makes me "me" is a product of my physical brain.      

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Although deism is a more

Although deism is a more reasonable viewpoint compared to organized religious views, it is still on par with religious concepts in the sense that there is nothing to back up the claim really. The other claim of course is if there is a god like being that the afterlife is a possibility, well that is not necessarily true. There could be a god like being, but that doesn't mean there HAS to be an afterlife as well. Only that there is a god like being. The afterlife, well there is even less evidence than for god really.


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Welcome to the forum, I like

Welcome to the forum, I like your name, it reflects your state of mind methinks.  You seem open minded enough to arrive at your own conclusion.  I think a definite position comes down to intellectual honesty.  What do you know, and how do you know it.  Read a bit on epistemology for some food for thought.  As for Deism, the majority of us on this forum, consider ourselves agnostic atheists, and even so, intellectual honesty forces me to admit that there is an extremely small possibility of a deity existing.  But as someone has pointed out, you have to define deity in order to be a deist, and there you run into the same problem as any theist.  Generally religions are just more "defined" deistic ideas, once you go down that road it is a slippery slope.

While it is a more open minded approach, it is still just wishful thinking.  Look really hard at the evidence, and consider if there is ANYTHING other than a "gut feeling" to support your deistic belief.  If it's nothing more than a "feeling", or a proof in the form of "you don't know that not to be true" then it is on par with any religion.  Using "you don't know that NOT to be true" leads to non sense conclusions every time.  

 

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Hi, and welcome to the

Hi, and welcome to the forum.

Equating the idea of "an extra-dimensional Supreme Being" to the plausibility of other advanced civilizations is an enormous stretch. 'Aliens' just assumes that we we may not be the only example of intelligent life in a vast Universe and makes no new assumptions.

Whereas a God, even a Deist one, is totally beyond our experience.

IOW, we have 100% solid evidence that conscious beings capable of developing a world-spanning civilization is possible (our own existence), little or none for a 'Supreme Being'.

You see a Deist God as opening up the possibility of an 'after-life'? Is that why you would like to believe it exists? I don't see any clear logical connection there. At least you are honest enough to effectively concede that it is ultimately driven by your fear of death, which is of course a basic driver of most if not all religious belief.

Is that an intellectually honest and respectable reason for accepting any idea?

With current scientific understanding, a 'Supreme Being' doesn't qualify as any sort of logical 'explanation' for the origin of our Universe, let alone its own existence.

But hey, if you like bouncing around these ideas, this is a good place for it.

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Ktulu wrote:Welcome to the

Ktulu wrote:

Welcome to the forum, I like your name, it reflects your state of mind methinks.  You seem open minded enough to arrive at your own conclusion.  I think a definite position comes down to intellectual honesty.  What do you know, and how do you know it.  Read a bit on epistemology for some food for thought.  As for Deism, the majority of us on this forum, consider ourselves agnostic atheists, and even so, intellectual honesty forces me to admit that there is an extremely small possibility of a deity existing.  But as someone has pointed out, you have to define deity in order to be a deist, and there you run into the same problem as any theist.  Generally religions are just more "defined" deistic ideas, once you go down that road it is a slippery slope.

While it is a more open minded approach, it is still just wishful thinking.  Look really hard at the evidence, and consider if there is ANYTHING other than a "gut feeling" to support your deistic belief.  If it's nothing more than a "feeling", or a proof in the form of "you don't know that not to be true" then it is on par with any religion.  Using "you don't know that NOT to be true" leads to non sense conclusions every time.  

 

Very well put, Ktulu.

Welcome to the forum, nebula.

There are 2 points that underpin any belief of deities.

1- That they exist.

2- That there is an afterlife, which implies that there is a 'soul' or 'spirit' that is contained in our 'material' bodies, but that it's wholly apart from.

The first one is easy. No one was there to witness this, or any other universes being formed. Ipso facto, no one knows exactly how this universe formed. We don't even have a full understanding of particles, or the forces in this universe.

The second one isn't very problematic, IMO. There isn't any evidence that anyone can reanimate after rigor mortis. And certainly no reason to assume that our consciousness doesn't simply extinguish after our brain stops being capable of firing neurons, or any electrical activity.

 

 

 

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redneF wrote:2- That there

redneF wrote:

2- That there is an afterlife, which implies that there is a 'soul' or 'spirit' that is contained in our 'material' bodies, but that it's wholly apart from.

 

Thanks everybody.   After reading everyone's response Deism seems kind of stupid so I think I'm going to just identify myself as an agnostic atheist.   For a while there I was considering myself a Naturalistic Pantheist but atheists can consider nature "sacred" and have a sense of wonder at the universe or a DNA molecule just as much as a Naturalistic Pantheist so, being a Pantheist really isn't necessary.   Most people don't understand Naturalistic Pantheism as much as they do Atheism anyway.

Ktulu, I see what you mean about the slippery slope.   redneF.... I wasn't actually thinking of it as a soul exactly (although I thought maybe there is a soul).   Rather I had more of a Resurrection conception.   Like the space of the universe finishes expanding and then it starts contracting.    Eventually ("eventually" would be an understatement) it contracts all the way back to a singularity at which time all the atoms that made up our bodies are "gathered up" and at this point God or a conscious universe or whatever assembles the molecules/atoms that made up our bodies at the time we died into new "Resurrection bodies" for us.   A fantastic idea I know.  Of course none of our DNA molecules would survive so this deity would have to have some serious powers in order to do this for us.  Oh well I'll get over it.    I kind of like the idea of not having an afterlife more anyway.   Who cares?   When I'm dead I won't know that I'm not having an afterlife.   And I won't have to see all the creepy people I don't like for all of eternity.     


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p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

So what do I think about Deism? Not much actually. It seems to be a proposition for those who wish to walk away from organized religion but still keep an idea that there could be something we can call a god as real.

 

The problem here is that it posits a god who really does not give a shit what happens in the universe that he made. This leaves me wondering what motivated this supposed being to run the experiment in the first place?

 

I can only get to that by analogy though.

 

I come from a family that has a multigenerational tradition which hold that if you are tall enough to stand in front of the stove, you are old enough to learn how to cook. Now I am not going to claim food omnipotence on that but at 49 years old, I have more time in the trenches than all of the iron chefs combined.

 

It seems to me that any possible god who does not give a shit is running on the same level as the four year old child who puts random ingredients in a bowl and stirs them up. Given enough such experiments, something useful must come out eventually but the odds are that every such run will produce stuff that nobody in their right mind would eat.

 

Sure, Spinoza seems to have believed in such a god. However, there is a huge problem here. If in whatever sense we use the term universe, why does the one we have even make sense? A god who just does not care would not be a god who makes such a universe.

 

The only way to get past that is to say the the deistic god made an infinite number of universes. OK, then there are an infinite number of universes which make sense. However, there are also an infinite number of really stupid universes and the deistic god made then all to no real purpose.

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }

The only way to get past that is to say the the deistic god made an infinite number of universes. OK, then there are an infinite number of universes which make sense. However, there are also an infinite number of really stupid universes and the deistic god made then all to no real purpose.

 

 

Yeah, and also I don't really buy the notion of Intelligent Design as the Deists do (I was reading about it on Deism.com).   The design really isn't all that intelligent.   Why do we have an appendix for example?   And what is going on in between our legs?  It's like somebody put a playground in the middle of a sewage plant.


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Hey there Nebula

 

nebula wrote:

 

Thanks everybody.   After reading everyone's response Deism seems kind of stupid so I think I'm going to just identify myself as an agnostic atheist.   For a while there I was considering myself a Naturalistic Pantheist but atheists can consider nature "sacred" and have a sense of wonder at the universe or a DNA molecule just as much as a Naturalistic Pantheist so, being a Pantheist really isn't necessary.   Most people don't understand Naturalistic Pantheism as much as they do Atheism anyway.

 

 

Welcome to the forum - you seem to be making a similar transition to that of many former god people who wind up identifying themselves as agno-atheists - me included. I agree with you about the wonder of the universe. The idea of being the product of a quantum ripple in the smooth surface of the big bang is head bending enough for anybody. As for the biochemistry of abiogenesis, I reckon we will uncover it in the future. Not everyone will accept our findings, of course, but we'll reverse engineer cells at some point in the next couple of hundred years - nukes and religions permitting... 

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


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Welcome!There's a pretty

Welcome!

There's a pretty simple philosophical argument which handily wrecks deism and goes like this:

Even considering the broadest of deistic statements, that all things were arranged and then abandoned by one or more intelligent agents, still implies that there is additional supporting complexity behind any originating agents. Then we are forced to ask where that complexity arises, leaving us exactly where we started.

The lack of a reasonable answer to that question forces us to be just as ignorant about any supposed pre-universe era as we are about orbital teapots, invisible unicorns, and buried refrigerator sized diamonds - and therefore atheists.

As for pantheism, I dismiss it as a matter of semantics. Calling nature "god," as a matter of habit, diminishes the utility of language since most people think of something entirely different when we say "god."

And now, here's Tom with the weather! 

 


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inspectormustard wrote:And

inspectormustard wrote:

And now, here's Tom with the weather! 

 

 

ISS GONE RAIN!


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Although I dismiss Deism for

Although I dismiss Deism for the same reason I do other beliefs in an invisible, omnipotent creator of the universe.... I will say that if every Christian and Muslim were Deists, the world would be a better place.


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Not my favorite.

Not my favorite.

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I think deism (or pantheism)

I think deism (or pantheism) is the logical & inevitable future of monotheism, much like monotheism was the logical & inevitable future for polytheism.

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Deism is just as stupid a

Deism is just as stupid a claim as a specific meddling god. It still starts with the idea that non-material thinking entity exists. This is the road many go down after rejecting the contradictions and hypocrisy of the god who inconsistently and selective nature.

Jefferson bought such a concept. The idea that it created everything and then stepped aside. But this too has it's problems, mainly as will all god claims for the reason stated above.

But even if one wants to claim it is unaware, then you cant call it "all knowing" or "all seeing" and thus no reason to call it god.

If you want to say it stepped aside at the moment of creation and wont get involved, then such a god, even in the generic sense, if one is still insisting on calling it "all powerful" can only be considered cruel for providing such a crappy home full of disease, crime, war, famine, which have never ceased in our species evolution.

But the main reason, like I said, I equate the generic "stepped aside" deity, and the specific meddling deity as being the same, is they both start from the absurd presumption that a thought can occur outside a material process. So to me, it doesn't matter. People who claim to be generic deists are people merely trying to avoid the pratfalls of the specific myths, but they too, are in the same boat as far as evidence.

New age versions of deism come in the form of pantheism. The idea that the universe itself is a thinking entity. Now while more earthy and natural a concept it still relies on the super natural claim that thoughts can exist without a material process, (a brain)

Thoughts require a physical brain to exist and as such there is no such thing as an invisible brain.  So deism, while it tries to avoid the myth and bigotry and division of old myths, it still requires willful ignorance and credulity to accept.

Claims, both past and present, including the new age idea that the universe has the human capability of thought, are nothing but humans projecting their own wishes and qualities on the world around them. We invent them because of our own selfish desires. Humans have always done this because relatively speaking, our evolution is much older than the past 200 years of industrial discovery and spread of science.

 

 

 

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I am completely fine with

I am completely fine with deists. I am no where near educated enough to be able to say they are wrong. I don't see the need to pop a god at the beginning of the cosmic chain though. I really don't know enough to even guess if it is necessary so I am just going with the simpler answer.

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Tapey wrote:I am completely

Tapey wrote:

I am completely fine with deists. I am no where near educated enough to be able to say they are wrong. I don't see the need to pop a god at the beginning of the cosmic chain though. I really don't know enough to even guess if it is necessary so I am just going with the simpler answer.

I am only fine with deists in the sense that they are less likely and almost never, if ever, interject their generic deity into a public classroom or politics.

BUT I will never be fine with ANY unsubstantiated claim. And claims of ANY, generic or specific, deity are the grand daddy of all naked assertions.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to KNOW that there has never been any empirical demonstrable universal testable and falsifiable model SHOWING how a thought arises out of a non material process.

"I don't know" is not an answer, it is a QUALIFIER to the position, it is not the position itself.

"I don't know" but I think there is a god", Makes one an agnostic theist.

"I don't know, but I don't hold a god belief due to lack of evidence" makes one an agnostic atheist.

"I don't know" only qualifies the position one holds, it is not the position itself.

"I don't know" as to go in front of theist or atheist, it cannot stand alone, nor should it stand alone.

Do you need to know every location of every planet and physically see every planet  in the universe to know that there is not an invisible teapot orbiting them?

So why would cognition be a possibility as a cause(generic or not) by default simply because science doesn't have every answer to the universe?

If you are not going to default to everything claimed or uttered being true by default, then don't default to even a generic being a possibility. Otherwise any postulation can be inserted and must be considered equally valid by default.

Claims, ON ANY SUBJECT, are not automatically true by default simply because someone has the ability to concoct them.

 

 

 

 

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Conscious being(s) of any

Conscious being(s) of any sort exercising 'will' to bring existence into existence makes zero sense, since it would require them to create themselves before they existed.

IOW, the basic respnse of "well, who/what created the creator?" still holds, no matter how much theological/metaphysical nonsense they spew to dance around it.

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Is there any issue with

Is there any issue with thinking matter, the universe, has always existed? Why does it even need a beginning? Humans are limited and this is hard to accept, but I am feeling more comfortable with this thought.

there was never a time when there was nothing.

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The problem is we'll likely

The problem is we'll likely never know. There could very well have been matter & energy before the big bang, but any evidence of it was erased by the big bang. It's kind of like trying to see a 40 watt light bulb behind a giant blue star. Even if it was there, the stars' light overwhelms it by such a vast degree that the light bulb is invisible. But it's worse than that, because there's also the space/time & expansion factors. So it's kind of like trying to see a light bulb behind a giant blue star that exploded some 14 odd billion light years away/ago and growing. That's not really a flawless analogy, but I think it sufficiently describes the difficulty in finding out what, if anything, was before.

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Agreed. It is all just

Agreed. It is all just guessing, but it would frustrate a fundie who wants corner you with spontaneous generation, something coming out of nothing and first cause bs. I can say we don't truly know what happened then and your analogy sheds some light on why (pun intended), but I would say my belief is matter has always existed. And if they annoyed me I would day it came to me in a night vision.

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The only alternatives, if

The only alternatives, if you avoid all the possible implications of Time itself being multi-dimensionsal or 'circular', are that something simply came into existence, or there has always been 'something', which need be no more than the minimum quantum energy state, which cannot be exactly and constantly zero, according to he Uncertainty Principle.

What bugs me is that theists keep wanting to insert 'created' in there somewhere, to make it sound absurd, because 'nothing' can't 'create' 'something'. But Quantum Mechanics implies spontaneous formation, like virtual particles simply 'popping into existence' and then disappearing again, in a truly random fashion.

The idea of 'God' creating himself is even more absurd, and a God simply popping into existence seems far less likely than an energy field that is as close to nothing as allowed by the laws of physics. So introducing a 'God' in any scenario only makes things worse.

They are hung up on an 'act of will' being needed to initiate an event at an arbitrary time, since they can't get their heads around truly random, effectively 'uncaused' events, which we see every time an atom of a radioactive element decays. It is the most purely 'random' common event we are aware of, whose random nature and whose probability of happening in any given period of time is statistically known to be very constant, so we use it for radiometric dating.

 

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BobSpence1 wrote:The only

BobSpence1 wrote:

The only alternatives, if you avoid all the possible implications of Time itself being multi-dimensionsal or 'circular', are that something simply came into existence, or there has always been 'something', which need be no more than the minimum quantum energy state, which cannot be exactly and constantly zero, according to he Uncertainty Principle.

What bugs me is that theists keep wanting to insert 'created' in there somewhere, to make it sound absurd, because 'nothing' can't 'create' 'something'. But Quantum Mechanics implies spontaneous formation, like virtual particles simply 'popping into existence' and then disappearing again, in a truly random fashion.

The idea of 'God' creating himself is even more absurd, and a God simply popping into existence seems far less likely than an energy field that is as close to nothing as allowed by the laws of physics. So introducing a 'God' in any scenario only makes things worse.

They are hung up on an 'act of will' being needed to initiate an event at an arbitrary time, since they can't get their heads around truly random, effectively 'uncaused' events, which we see every time an atom of a radioactive element decays. It is the most purely 'random' common event we are aware of, whose random nature and whose probability of happening in any given period of time is statistically known to be very constant, so we use it for radiometric dating.

 

This is all fine and good, but, neither way is a cognition required.

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ex-minister
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BobSpence1 wrote:They are

BobSpence1 wrote:

They are hung up on an 'act of will' being needed to initiate an event at an arbitrary time, since they can't get their heads around truly random, effectively 'uncaused' events, which we see every time an atom of a radioactive element decays. It is the most purely 'random' common event we are aware of, whose random nature and whose probability of happening in any given period of time is statistically known to be very constant, so we use it for radiometric dating.

 

 

Bob, I need your help understanding what you wrote. You say that radioactive elements decay is truly random and yet is very constant. That seems contradictory to me. You will have to dumb it down some for me. 

To kind of give you a sense of my limited knowledge just off the top of my head here is what I understand. Sorry if it is not technically accurate, but I think the general idea is good. Feel free to correct any mistakes.

There are over 100 elements and of those over 1000 are isotopes.  The isotopes decay on a steady rate and the half life can be determined because it is constant.  The decay rate for various elements has quite a range from sub-seconds to billions of years. For carbon 14 (c12 & c13 are not isotopes, thus stable) the half like is just under 6000 years. So when they test a sample they can tell how old something by what percentage of the isotopes have decayed. How is that random? It seems constant and predictable.

 

 

 

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ExM:

 

You actually seem to have got about half of that right on. However, there is another picture you can look at. Let's consider the individual atoms in a radioactive sample.

 

We know that in a sample with a given number of atoms, there will be a steady number decaying over a certain amount of time, so it is constant. If the sample is prepared in such a way that it makes a Geiger counter click exactly one time per second, then that is what it will indeed do.

 

Now, down to the level of individual atoms, We cannot know which atom will decay at any specific moment. We also cannot know what trajectory the emitted particle will take moving away from the parent atom.

 

The level of randomness is so good that we can use the effect to generate the highest quality random numbers. Basically, if you take a screen treated to fluoresce when it gets hit by the emitted particles and divide it into sections, there is just no way to know which specific section will light up at any given moment. However, as with above, you can be as certain as anything the the sections will flash at the same steady rate until the sample is used up.

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ex-minister wrote:

Is there any issue with thinking matter, the universe, has always existed? Why does it even need a beginning? Humans are limited and this is hard to accept, but I am feeling more comfortable with this thought.

there was never a time when there was nothing.

 

Well, a number of leading minds in the physics community are working on the idea of a cyclical cosmology where the universe eventually runs down and a new one forms phoenix like from the ashes.

 

There are several schools of though on this and the details vary. Sir Rodger Penrose has one which is fairly easy to cover.

 

While the universe as a whole is expanding, local galaxy clusters are actually contracting. We see this in our own neighborhood as well as in the ones which are close enough to get good enough measurements on.

 

In about two billion years, the two dozen odd closest galaxies will merge to form a single super galaxy. The process will be quite messy with all of the galactic central giant black holes flying all over the place sucking up everything in their path. Eventually even they will collide to form a single black hole with the mass of a few trillion suns.

 

However, black holes do decay and release their mass back into the universe. The larger the black hole, the slower the process is but eventually, it will get small enough that its ultimate death throe will occur and it will basically burst like a balloon. That event, according to Penrose, is akin to a new big bang.

 

There is a problem with this though which remains unresolved. If you consider that each time it happens, there is less mass to make a universe from and you extend the idea back infintely in time, that means that ultimately, there must be infinite mass. The idea of infinte is really slippery that way. Hence the reason that scientists tend to avoid in like the plague. When an idea or equation resolves to some infinite situation, it ceases to have any sense of utility to science.

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ex-minister wrote:BobSpence1

ex-minister wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

They are hung up on an 'act of will' being needed to initiate an event at an arbitrary time, since they can't get their heads around truly random, effectively 'uncaused' events, which we see every time an atom of a radioactive element decays. It is the most purely 'random' common event we are aware of, whose random nature and whose probability of happening in any given period of time is statistically known to be very constant, so we use it for radiometric dating.

 

 

Bob, I need your help understanding what you wrote. You say that radioactive elements decay is truly random and yet is very constant. That seems contradictory to me. You will have to dumb it down some for me. 

To kind of give you a sense of my limited knowledge just off the top of my head here is what I understand. Sorry if it is not technically accurate, but I think the general idea is good. Feel free to correct any mistakes.

There are over 100 elements and of those over 1000 are isotopes.  The isotopes decay on a steady rate and the half life can be determined because it is constant.  The decay rate for various elements has quite a range from sub-seconds to billions of years. For carbon 14 (c12 & c13 are not isotopes, thus stable) the half like is just under 6000 years. So when they test a sample they can tell how old something by what percentage of the isotopes have decayed. How is that random? It seems constant and predictable.

AiG's response is pretty much on target.

If you simply consider one specific atom, we have no way to know in advance when it will decay. There is no way, AFAWK, to measure anything about a specific atom to estimate how close it is to decaying.

But we have observed that when we have a large number of atoms of the same isotope, ie each atom has the same number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus, then the average rate at which they decay can be determined very accurately, if we wait long enough to count a useful number of decays.

This is normally described by the term 'half-life', which is how long it will take for half the atoms in a sample to decay.

This can be related back to a specific atom by saying that the probability that it will decay within a period of time equal to its 'half-life' is precisely 50%.

And it is an observation that this seems to be a constant for any given isotope. It is harder to verify for very slowly decaying isotopes, we need long times or large quantities to estimate the rate of decay.

IOW, starting with 1000 atoms of the identical composition, half of them will have decayed after a period equal to their known half-life, but we cannot know in advance which 500 atoms will have decayed, ie, it is random. And the exact number may be 501 or 499, for such small numbers, but again, statistically, the bigger the number, the closer to the long-term average the number will be.

Think of a steady rainstorm. We can measure pretty accurately the number of raindrops per square yard, but we cannot in practice calculate the trajectory of each raindrop.

Hope that helps.

 

 

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ex-minister
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AiG & Bob,Thanks that

AiG & Bob,

Thanks that cleared it up for me. 

 

So then Jesus isn't popping each individual atom like we do with bubble wrap. His will is not required once again.

(sorry it just popped into my head and gave me a giggle).

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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Even without discussing the

Even without discussing the decay of atoms, one of the more absurd aspects of "all powerful" as a claim, would be if claimed fictional being were "all powerful", it would have to have the ability to manipulate every atom in your body, on this planet, in the sun, in the galaxy, and the universe, all at the same time. Thus making "all powerful" the biggest cluster fuck of an attribute to give a "god".

The simple solution to "what is" is that "what is" is the result of processes, not cognition.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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