We may never know (faith and wonder)

Cpt_pineapple
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We may never know (faith and wonder)

There has been plenty of discussion of faith lately on this board.

 

I'll start by saying wonder is human nature. Hell, it is the very base of science! Many scientific discoveries worked on wonder.

'I wonder why the sky is blue?', or

'I wonder why diamonds are hard?'

 

In essence, science starts from wonder and works up, trying to figure everything out. That is the essence of science.

 

However, science can only go so far. it may not explicity explain everything, every little detail, and even if they come up with mathematical matter, it may not be testable. For example, the energy of the Big Bang was over 10^20 Gev. We may never get the technology to reproduce the effects, or even begin to understand exactly what happened due to the fact physics breaks down at these imense energies. We may never be able to harness negative energy via the casmir effect (bring two conducting plates to 10^-33 m of seperation.)

 

Many atheists including Dawkins in the God Delusion say just because we may never know things such as where did the laws of physics come from? Or why are the universal constants like they are? doesn't mean we should insert a God, that is presumbly more complex than the issues themselves.

 

To me personally, I don't like this approach. It seems to come off as 'Give up. We can't figure it out.' I think this is counter productive to science. We cannot and should not dismiss a claim simply because it is an argument from wonder.

 

Even if we do put everything into a nice little formula, the interpretation of those facts, are still from wonder, and we cannot help it. As with any young child whose every second question is 'why?'.

 

I think this is the right approach we should be questioning, not only the facts, but theinterpretation of the facts.

 

So, I guess to sum it up, even if you teach logic/science in every school, and there was no creation or ID, there will still be Theism. Why?

Because it is human nature to wonder.

 

 

 

{edit:fixed spelling error}


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

I, and I think most of us here, do not find 'God' even a real answer, let alone satisfying. I base this on contemplation and study of science and philosophy in the broadest sense for many decades, and observation of many cultures all over the world. What background of experience and/or study informs your judgement, that we should take note of your naked assertions?

My backround is in physics, so that's what I'm basing it off of. Wavefunctions, and information theory.


 

 

Perhaps I should clarify:

 

I define consciousness as processing data. I find this is the basis of the universe. That is pretty much everything works on data exhange. This exchanging of data collapses wavefunctions, hence creating reality.

All this is merely potiental (the wavefunctions) but by limiting it, the universe comes to form.

This is data processing is used to form everything including matter.

"Processing data" - hmmm. Consciousness obviously involves this, but this is hardly a sufficient definition of consciousness, especially anything approaching human levels of consciousness. As already pointed out, this 'definition' is grossly inadequate.

You mention information...

I have studied communication theory at higher degree level, and that certainly involves information theory.

I see information as created by random processes, such as quantum level events, and is then filtered thru some deterministic process constrained by physical 'laws', such as the nature of space-time at a low level, or at a higher level, natural selection in the case of evolution. I do hope you acknowledge that information most certainly can be created and destroyed - something you said implied something about information not being destroyed.

The more structured and organised a system becomes, the less information is required to describe its state. Compare the difference in the amount of data needed to describe a single large perfect cube of salt crystal vs. the same amount of salt in a pile of tiny shattered particles. Just like the information content of a string of 1000 'a's is minimal - it can be replaced by the expression "1000 x 'a'".

Your quantum ideas are roughly consistent with some interpretations of the implications of QM, but seem irrelevant to questions of 'God', unless you subscribe to the thesis that 'God' is the ultimate 'observer' who collapses the wave function of the Universe. Even if you do, this still leaves the attributes of this entity pretty wide open, and amounts to little more than the philosophical idea of a few centuries back that 'God' was just a name for some sort of universal principle that was felt to be needed to 'explain' existence.

If you want to label some fundamental, high-level 'law' of physics or cosmology 'God', that is your privilege, but personally I find that adds nothing to my understanding of reality. You still don't seem to have described just why you find so 'satisfying' about applying the idea of 'God' as an explanation.

'Explaining' the Universe by 'God' is like explaining the nature of a car by pointing to the factory it was made in - the factory is much bigger and more complex than the car, so itself requires a presumably more elaborate explanation. This is not a useful approach, it seems to me.

 

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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A comment on the OP, and

A comment on the OP, and the title of this thread.

Surely it is 'faith' and appeal to 'God' which closes down the continued search for ever better understanding of reality, rather than the scientific endeavour, which is more open-ended.

Because science rejects ideas which conflict directly with logic or observation, that does not mean it is closing off legitimate lines of enquiry.

It is precisely the filtering of ideas thru the tests of consistency and independent verification and review that allows it to make such progress.

Knowledge understanding grows both by adding new tested ideas and discarding old and unhelpful ideas, like 'God'.

The tendency of new answers in science to open up even more questions leads to ever-growing sources of 'wonder'. Consider the deep-field images from Hubble, revealing directly the incredible scale and wonder of the Universe. To me, such insights are just so 'wonderful' in every sense compared to the ideas of the mystics and old philosophers that I marvel that anyone exposed to them still clings to the old 'knowledge'. 

If you allow your mind to be completely open, it will quickly be filled up with trash....

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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Archeopteryx

Archeopteryx wrote:
Quote:
Quote:

 

 

So the universe doesn't exist for a purpose, but it has purpose? What?

It doesn't exist for a reason, but it has a reason for existing? What?

That's not what I meant.

 

Okay... so explain what you mean?

 

I meant one can have the view that there is no 'purpose' or 'reason' for the universe. Nothing is forcing you to say there is.

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

 

Quote:

Your car will still function (serve it's purpose) if it wasn't light green. Just as the sky will still function if it wasn't blue.

 

That depends on your definition of "sky".

If you're talking about "sky" as in the thing that is blue and contains clouds, then it probably wouldn't still exist if it was another color, because that would mean that its composition had changed and probably would alter the life on earth completely, or cause it to vanish.

If you mean "sky" only in the sense that it means a layer of gas around the earth, then what you say would be true, but it would no longer be doing us a service in that case; it would be existing just because, which is what layers of gas around other planets seem to do.

 

 

The changes colour at sunset/sunrise. So no, the composition doesn't have to change, just the angle which the sun hits it.

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

You're just redefining consciousness as a means to suggest your god's reality. It also ignores the obvious (and well-founded) proposition that there are different kinds of consciousness, and most of them are not remotely like human consciousness. Some forms of consciousness can be as simple as a thermostat. That kind of "consciousness" does not argue well for a premeditated or even purposeful existence of the universe.

1. Consciousness is information processing.

2. All things in the universe "process information" in some way.

3. Therefore everything is conscious.

4. Therefore the universe formed due to "consciousness"

5. Therefore, a god?

 

I'm saying that it's the infinite consciousness. By infinite, I mean infinite potiental. That is why we see such a variety of consciousness throughout the animal kingdom.

 

Fish wrote:

1. My car will function without windows, headlights, a roof, a muffler, tires, etc. That doesn't mean that these things don't have a purpose.

All these are part of the car.

 

Fish wrote:

2. What is the function of the sky?

atmosphere?

Fish wrote:

3. Why are you allowed to give up wondering and stop talking about something, but yet complain when someone else does?

Like I said, I already stated the function of the sky (aka the atmosphere, aka the stuff you're breathing). The colour of it is irrelevent.


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The function of the sky is

The function of the sky is 'atmosphere'?

 What a totally illogical non-sequiter...

The 'sky' is not the 'atmosphere'.  It is the space above our heads, like the night sky, which is in clear conditions appears as a black background scattered with objects up to many light-years away.

The background color we see in 'the sky' during daylight hours from the surface of the Earth is scattered light from the atmosphere. This appearance has no function., any more than does the appearance of the stars in the night sky.

Life has a need and use for the atmosphere, obviously. There is no real 'function' for the color of the light scattered from the atmosphere, which is actually what you are referring to, it is simply a phenomenon...

Your responses display a really confused and/or imprecise train of thought.  No wonder you are 'satisfied' with the vacuous notion of 'God' as an  'explanation'.

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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BobSpence1 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

"Processing data" - hmmm. Consciousness obviously involves this, but this is hardly a sufficient definition of consciousness, especially anything approaching human levels of consciousness. As already pointed out, this 'definition' is grossly inadequate.

How about indepently processing data?

But if you have an alternative definition...

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
 

 

You mention information...

I have studied communication theory at higher degree level, and that certainly involves information theory.

I see information as created by random processes, such as quantum level events, and is then filtered thru some deterministic process constrained by physical 'laws', such as the nature of space-time at a low level, or at a higher level, natural selection in the case of evolution. I do hope you acknowledge that information most certainly can be created and destroyed - something you said implied something about information not being destroyed.

 

It can't be destroyed, because it is stored in energy. First law of thermodynamics. While it takes different forms, it isn't destroyed. 

Information is based on entropy, this is what causes the energy exchange.  Once everything is of the same temperature (Big Freeze), data exchange ceases. The energy is no longer exchanged, henced no information, however, the energy that generated it is still there.

 

 

SpenceBob1 wrote:

The more structured and organised a system becomes, the less information is required to describe its state. Compare the difference in the amount of data needed to describe a single large perfect cube of salt crystal vs. the same amount of salt in a pile of tiny shattered particles. Just like the information content of a string of 1000 'a's is minimal - it can be replaced by the expression "1000 x 'a'".

okay...

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
 

Your quantum ideas are roughly consistent with some interpretations of the implications of QM, but seem irrelevant to questions of 'God', unless you subscribe to the thesis that 'God' is the ultimate 'observer' who collapses the wave function of the Universe. Even if you do, this still leaves the attributes of this entity pretty wide open, and amounts to little more than the philosophical idea of a few centuries back that 'God' was just a name for some sort of universal principle that was felt to be needed to 'explain' existence.

 

What you're talking about is the interpetation 'Consciousness causes Collapse'

 

I take the 'It from Bit' interpertation coined by John Wheeler. I believe it is also refered to as 'Digital physics'

 

 

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

If you want to label some fundamental, high-level 'law' of physics or cosmology 'God', that is your privilege, but personally I find that adds nothing to my understanding of reality. You still don't seem to have described just why you find so 'satisfying' about applying the idea of 'God' as an explanation.

 The 'satisfaction' is that we're not just an insignificant blurb in the universe. 

 


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:
 

 

Surely it is 'faith' and appeal to 'God' which closes down the continued search for ever better understanding of reality, rather than the scientific endeavour, which is more open-ended.

It is only if we replace data with God. I'm not advocating that.

 

BobSpence1 wrote:
 

Because science rejects ideas which conflict directly with logic or observation, that does not mean it is closing off legitimate lines of enquiry.

It is precisely the filtering of ideas thru the tests of consistency and independent verification and review that allows it to make such progress.

 

That is why we should base our ideas on the scientific data.

 

Quote:
 

Knowledge understanding grows both by adding new tested ideas and discarding old and unhelpful ideas, like 'God'.

The tendency of new answers in science to open up even more questions leads to ever-growing sources of 'wonder'. Consider the deep-field images from Hubble, revealing directly the incredible scale and wonder of the Universe. To me, such insights are just so 'wonderful' in every sense compared to the ideas of the mystics and old philosophers that I marvel that anyone exposed to them still clings to the old 'knowledge'. 

If you allow your mind to be completely open, it will quickly be filled up with trash....

 

 

Like I said, I'm not trying to get God to replace any scientific data.

 

 

 

BobSpence1 wrote:

The function of the sky is 'atmosphere'?

What a totally illogical non-sequiter...

The 'sky' is not the 'atmosphere'.

Yes, it is. It's what's blue (in the day).

 

Quote:
 

It is the space above our heads, like the night sky, which is in clear conditions appears as a black background scattered with objects up to many light-years away.

That would be the cosmos. Otherwise, our 'sky' is the entire universe. 

 

Quote:
 

The background color we see in 'the sky' during daylight hours from the surface of the Earth is scattered light from the atmosphere. This appearance has no function., any more than does the appearance of the stars in the night sky.

Life has a need and use for the atmosphere, obviously. There is no real 'function' for the color of the light scattered from the atmosphere, which is actually what you are referring to, it is simply a phenomenon...

 

Which was my point. The sky (atmosphere) has a purpose. It's colour is irrelavent.


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THE SKY IS NOT THE

THE SKY IS NOT THE ATMOSPHERE. You basically agreed with this when you said the (night) sky is the entire cosmos. That is still sloppy phrasing, but more accurate than identifying it with the 'atmosphere'. In a sense, the sky is not a 'thing', it is 'what we see when we look up' to distinguish our field of vision from the 'ground', or the earth'. To say it has a purpose is like saying the direction 'up' has a purpose.

THE ATMOSPHERE HAS A USE, NOT A PURPOSE.

Your 'arguments', or at least the way you express them, are really quite incoherent, pretty much a string of non-sequiters.

Your 'God' seems to boil down to not much more than a warm fuzzy feeling, which we don't begrudge you. I happen to find other ideas much more appealing.

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


Cpt_pineapple
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BobSpence1 wrote: THE SKY

BobSpence1 wrote:

THE SKY IS NOT THE ATMOSPHERE. You basically agreed with this when you said the (night) sky is the entire cosmos. That is still sloppy phrasing, but more accurate than identifying it with the 'atmosphere'. In a sense, the sky is not a 'thing', it is 'what we see when we look up' to distinguish our field of vision from the 'ground', or the earth'. To say it has a purpose is like saying the direction 'up' has a purpose.

THE ATMOSPHERE HAS A USE, NOT A PURPOSE.

Your 'arguments', or at least the way you express them, are really quite incoherent, pretty much a string of non-sequiters.

 

 

The original question was 'why is the sky blue?' The atmosphere is blue because of the angle of light hitting it.

That is why I equated the sky with the atmosphere. The atmosphere is blue, ergo we see the sky as blue. 

 

Quote:

I happen to find other ideas much more appealing.

That's the best thing about wonder. 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

 

I meant one can have the view that there is no 'purpose' or 'reason' for the universe. Nothing is forcing you to say there is.

 

Then what the hell is all this talk about "I can't get around the 'why' question."

If you're not talking about a purpose or reason for the universe's existence, then what other "why" are you asking?

 

*edit*

I've also seen you use the term "function" when talking about the universe or its parts (e.g. the sky), but this doesn't work any better than "purpose" or "reason". So I lump that word in with the above and ask the same question.

*/edit*

 


 

Quote:

 

The changes colour at sunset/sunrise. So no, the composition doesn't have to change, just the angle which the sun hits it.

Still within the range of colors that we understand to be consistent with our "sky". So if this was your point in suggesting a color change, it was an empty statement.

 

The main point I was making, though, is that comparing natural objects to manufactured objects is dishonest (intentionally or not).

It's like the Paley's pocket watch proposition. "The universe is like a pocket watch." Everyone already knows that pocket watches are designed. The purpose and design of pocket watches are not in question. The purpose and design of the universe ARE.

Therefore, to say "the universe is like [thing that is unquestionably designed]" is a dishonest comparison. It's just restating the assertion with a bad analogy.

 

 

Quote:

 

I'm saying that it's the infinite consciousness. By infinite, I mean infinite potiental. That is why we see such a variety of consciousness throughout the animal kingdom.

 

But the animal kingdom doesn't have infinite consciousness. It doesn't even have infinite potential. There may be an infinite number of "consciousness" possibilities, but there is not an infinite number of "consciousnesses" that are attainable. Every species is limited by its evolutionary history. By taking one course over another, a species limits itself from another set of possibilities. And even these choices to take one path over another are dependent on so many different factors that one evolutionary "strategy" would work in one environment, but not in another, in one community of other animals, but not in another, during one period of time, but not in another.

So the animals and their consciousnesses that don't (or haven't yet) become a part of reality can't be said to have as much potential or as much probability of existing.

And, on a more philisophical note, consciousness, in every sense that we know it, IS FINITE.

To claim that there is an "infinite consciousness" is to claim that there is a consciousness that knows (or "processes&quotEye-wink some unknowable information in an unknowable way. Infinite consciousness doesn't exist either. This is replacing one unknown (i.e. the god) with another unknown (i.e. infinite consciousness, whatever that is). 

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: Fish

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Fish wrote:

1. My car will function without windows, headlights, a roof, a muffler, tires, etc. That doesn't mean that these things don't have a purpose.

All these are part of the car.

So is the paint.

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Fish wrote:

2. What is the function of the sky?

Like I said, I already stated the function of the sky (aka the atmosphere, aka the stuff you're breathing). The colour of it is irrelevent.

The function of the sky is atmosphere? I guess the function of the car is an automobile.

Let's imagine that the sky were a different color. Let's say it were completely transparent to ultraviolet light. Oops I guess we're all dead. What if the sky were black (absorbed all light)? How much life would there be then?

If your claim is that the function of the atmosphere is to support life (something you have yet to substantiate), then the color of the sky seems fairly important.


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Quote: Let's imagine that

Quote:

Let's imagine that the sky were a different color. Let's say it were completely transparent to ultraviolet light. Oops I guess we're all dead. What if the sky were black (absorbed all light)? How much life would there be then?

If your claim is that the function of the atmosphere is to support life (something you have yet to substantiate), then the color of the sky seems fairly important.

 

It would also be backward reasoning, such as saying that, given a pothole full of rainwater, the function of the pothole is to give the blob of rainwater its shape. There is no "function"; organisms have a certain degree of plasticity relative to their environment just as the water has plasticity relative to the pothole in which it finds itself.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Okay, let me clear some

Okay, let me clear some things up, I'm going to skip the analogiesto avoid confusion.

 

As you know, my view is wondering why the universe exists.

 

Now, you may ask, 'why did you stop wondering why the sky was blue?', since I was angry that people stopped wondering.

 

The answer is simple. I am looking at the grander picture. Without the universe, no sky, no cars, no us. That is why I am focusing on the universe, and why the sky is trivial compared to the actual universe. That is why I said the colour is irrelevant. If there was no universe, there wouldn't be a sky in the first place.

 

As for begging the question, then where did God come from? Why doesn't God need a purpose/cause etc...? 

 The honest answer is I don't know. Just like everybody else has this problem. I'm sure some of you think the universe always existed in different forms or whatever, to me that begs the same question, why that rather than nothing?

 

 Another note, I don't think God should replace scientific theories. If we don't know X, we should wonder, and use science to justify that wonder. To extrapolate if you will. So science is a valuable tool. 

 

 


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: As

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

As you know, my view is wondering why the universe exists.

Now, you may ask, 'why did you stop wondering why the sky was blue?', since I was angry that people stopped wondering.

The answer is simple. I am looking at the grander picture. Without the universe, no sky, no cars, no us. That is why I am focusing on the universe, and why the sky is trivial compared to the actual universe. That is why I said the colour is irrelevant. If there was no universe, there wouldn't be a sky in the first place.

As for begging the question, then where did God come from? Why doesn't God need a purpose/cause etc...?

The honest answer is I don't know. Just like everybody else has this problem. I'm sure some of you think the universe always existed in different forms or whatever, to me that begs the same question, why that rather than nothing?

Another note, I don't think God should replace scientific theories. If we don't know X, we should wonder, and use science to justify that wonder. To extrapolate if you will. So science is a valuable tool.

The fact that the sky is "trivial" seems difficult for me to accept, considering that without it there would be no people. If someone told me my heart is trivial, as over 6 billion people could live without it, I would disagree, partially as a matter of perspective. This points out a major flaw in your thinking. If you don't know the purpose of the universe, how can you make judgments as to what is important and what is not? Let's say for example, that the only purpose of the universe is to support human life. We could survive without all the stars in the sky. So, if that were the case, perhaps the sky would be more important than everything outside this solar system.

That aside, it still seems that the question your argument assumes is that there has to be a reason in the first place. The universe may have an ultimate purpose, but I don't see why that necessarily has to be true.

Finally, as you yourself pointed out, god doesn't seem to add any information to anything. That is:

If you say God gave purpose to the universe, "I say what gave purpose to God?" and you say "I don't know."

If I say there is no purpose to the universe, and you say "Why?" I say "I don't know."

So, if the answer is "i don't know" in both scenarios, what is the difference between having god and having no god (in terms of knowledge of the purpose of the universe)?


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  First of all, I echo the

 

First of all, I echo the statements near the end of the previous post. If you insist that the universe must have a teleological explanation (on the premise that all things must have one) and insert a god as a possible solution, but then claim that you don't know the teleological explanation for god, then why not just back up a step and claim that you don't know the teleological explanation for the universe? All you're doing is making the question more complicated by offering more complicated questions in place of the complicated questions at hand. That's not an answer; that's an obstacle.

 

Now, for my own contribution. Back to the basic question:

Why is there something rather than nothing?

You claim that to suppose that something is the natural state that needs no teleology begs the question just as much as the belief that nothingness is the natural state of things and needs no teleology.

Well... not really.

We know that it's not the case that "there is nothing, there always was nothing, and there always will be nothing," because we can clearly see that there is something.

My stance is that there is something, there always was something, and there always will be something. But there are two others stances as well.

First there was nothing. Then there was something.

-or-

First there was something, but eventually there will be nothing.

 

We have never seen mass-energy created or destroyed, so already we should be skeptical of these last two.

As far as begging the question goes, I may be begging the question that somethingness has always existed, but that is one question begged at best.

You, on the other hand, assert that absolute nothingness must have come before somethingness, which is one question begged. Then you assert that, in some unknown way, somethingness must have come from nothingness, which makes two questions begged. Then you assert a god figure to bridge the gap between the nothingness and the somethingness, which makes a third question begged.

No theory on the origin of the universe (to my knowledge) has yet been established as irrefutable fact, or even been reinforced enough to be accepted as a definite fact for most intents and purposes. But that doesn't mean that one conjecture is as good as the next.

The position that something has always existed and will likely continue to exist makes the least assumptions and doesn't require us to perform any philisophical gymnastics to maneuver around scientific laws and theories.

This is going to sound childish, but you beg the question much more than I do. So there.

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Fish wrote: The fact that

Fish wrote:

The fact that the sky is "trivial" seems difficult for me to accept, considering that without it there would be no people. If someone told me my heart is trivial, as over 6 billion people could live without it, I would disagree, partially as a matter of perspective. This points out a major flaw in your thinking. If you don't know the purpose of the universe, how can you make judgments as to what is important and what is not? Let's say for example, that the only purpose of the universe is to support human life. We could survive without all the stars in the sky. So, if that were the case, perhaps the sky would be more important than everything outside this solar system.

But no universe, no sky, and as you said no people.

 

Fish wrote:

 

So, if the answer is "i don't know" in both scenarios, what is the difference between having god and having no god (in terms of knowledge of the purpose of the universe)?

By wondering about God, you are wondering about purpose. 

 

 

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

 You, on the other hand, assert that absolute nothingness must have come before somethingness, which is one question begged. Then you assert that, in some unknown way, somethingness must have come from nothingness, which makes two questions begged. Then you assert a god figure to bridge the gap between the nothingness and the somethingness, which makes a third question begged.

 

That is not my position. I never said something came from nothing. I hold that something always existed.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: By

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

By wondering about God, you are wondering about purpose.

And you can wonder about purpose without god.  So you still have yet to state what purpose god serves in wondering about purpose. 


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We dealing

We dealing an idiosyncratic version of god, though, which may bear on the argument. God, as far as I can tell from Pineapple's description, is the infinite potential for consciousness in the universe, such as manifests in us (and presumably other things... not really sure... somebody mentioned the universe having the consciousness of a carrot in another thread...), so the universe can experience itself (*cough* Sagan's 'star stuff' /*cough*). Crap, I'd hoped his argument would make more sense by the time I was done writing that sentence...

Nope, sorry, still don't see it. Faith = collapse of wonder into unjustifiable certitude.


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Cpt_pineapple wrote: That

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

That is not my position. I never said something came from nothing. I hold that something always existed.

 

I meant to reply to this last night, but as soon as I read your post the librarians started ringing their closing bell. (What a nerd to stay at the library so long!)

Anyway, I do owe you an honest apology for attributing that position to you. I've known of (though not understood) your position for a while now and I agree that it is nothing like that. I suppose that's what I get for writing my response to you and a paper at the same time. No matter the reason, it was clearly my mistake, so I will humbly take it back.

 

But.

 

You are still begging more questions than I am. We both believe that the universe always existed. We both agree that what is observed in nature is what is observed in nature. Objective observations lead to knowledge. We would agree on all of this, correct? For both of our positions, the universe is what it is.

But for your position, the universe is also called "god". For what reason is the universe called god? If everything that we observe can be understood as natural, then why call it god, too? You can't appeal to what we don't know; that's already been demonstrated to be a dead end.

You've mentioned that the universe is conscious (while oversimplifying consciousness, it seemed to me), but you don't seem to have any persuasive evidence for thinking so. The reason for this, I think, is because there is none.

I hold the position that the universe is the universe (or mass-energy is mass-energy).

Your position seems to be that the universe is the universe, but the universe is also god and is conscious (which is the point where you make more assumptions than me).

This is what all of that Ockham's Razor business is about. You're attributing to the universe more than is necessary. It's a meaningless claim.

Sorry about before. We'll reset the bar right about there. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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Archeopteryx wrote:   I

Archeopteryx wrote:

 

I meant to reply to this last night, but as soon as I read your post the librarians started ringing their closing bell. (What a nerd to stay at the library so long!)

Anyway, I do owe you an honest apology for attributing that position to you. I've known of (though not understood) your position for a while now and I agree that it is nothing like that. I suppose that's what I get for writing my response to you and a paper at the same time. No matter the reason, it was clearly my mistake, so I will humbly take it back.

 

The way I worded one statement I think I can see where you got that. 

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

 

You are still begging more questions than I am. We both believe that the universe always existed. We both agree that what is observed in nature is what is observed in nature. Objective observations lead to knowledge. We would agree on all of this, correct? For both of our positions, the universe is what it is.

Yes.

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

But for your position, the universe is also called "god". For what reason is the universe called god? If everything that we observe can be understood as natural, then why call it god, too? You can't appeal to what we don't know; that's already been demonstrated to be a dead end.

You've mentioned that the universe is conscious (while oversimplifying consciousness, it seemed to me), but you don't seem to have any persuasive evidence for thinking so. The reason for this, I think, is because there is none.

 

Look up 'it from bit'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics#It_from_bit

 

 That is where I get the information part from.

 

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

 

I hold the position that the universe is the universe (or mass-energy is mass-energy).

 So do I, but isn't everything mass-energy?

 

Archeopteryx wrote:

Your position seems to be that the universe is the universe, but the universe is also god and is conscious (which is the point where you make more assumptions than me).

This is what all of that Ockham's Razor business is about. You're attributing to the universe more than is necessary. It's a meaningless claim.

Sorry about before. We'll reset the bar right about there.

 

Yes, but I'm not adding anything. I am looking at it differently.

 


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Information CAN be

Information CAN be destroyed, because it is not stored AS energy, it is stored as a pattern of energy or matter. If that pattern is rearranged, smoothed out, or changed sufficiently, the information is gone. The matter and/or energy are still there, but if they are in a different configuration ,or smoothed out into uniformity, the original information is simply not there any more.

The information on a CD is stored as a pattern of pits in a flat chunk of matter. No energy really involved. Melt the CD, the information is destroyed. The matter that used to store the information is still there. 

That same chunk of energy could have represented millions of different 'bits' of information over a finite period of time, none of them retrievable, even in principle, from 'reading' that store of 'energy'. 

It takes some minimal amount of energy to actually store, read or re-write the information, but once the information is erased or over-written, it is irretrievable gone. This is a fact.

Second Law of Thermodynamics is about aggregates. It is arguable that the Universe is trending toward a  state of maximum 'information', since it requires the maximum length sequence of symbols to describe something which has no structure, ie is totally dispersed at uniform temperature.

 Says nothing about whether entropy (or information, if you like) can increase or decrease in any region. Local decrease of entropy just requires input of energy. This law obviously allows that total entropy can not reduce in a closed system.

Even if you interpret that total information cannot be reduced, what happens if someone re-arranges the letters in a book to tell a completely different story? It may be that by some measure the total information content is the same, but is the original specific information still there?? Think about it... 

On the conclusion: 

'God' as a 'cause' of the Universe does not imply any special significance to man, in any logical sense. That would require knowing much more about this entity than we can derive from any of the arguments presented so far. There has not even been an argument directly establishing that the 'First Cause' needs to be anything resembling a conscious being. 

 

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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Archeopteryx wrote: Your

Archeopteryx wrote:

Your position seems to be that the universe is the universe, but the universe is also god and is conscious (which is the point where you make more assumptions than me).

This is what all of that Ockham's Razor business is about. You're attributing to the universe more than is necessary. It's a meaningless claim.

Sorry about before. We'll reset the bar right about there.

 

Cpt Pineapple wrote:

Yes, but I'm not adding anything. I am looking at it differently.

 

How are you not adding anything?

I mean, suppose that I said my wallet (the first item I saw on my desk) is just a wallet. It's made out of leather, it opens when I want it to, it lets me take money out when I want money, and it just plain obeys all the laws of physics and does exactly what we would expect my wallet to do.

But then suppose this guy sitting next to me says that, yeah, my wallet does all of that, but it also WANTS to do all of that at the same time. Obviously, or else sometimes it wouldn't allow me to do the things I expect it to allow me to do, and so on.

We could do that with any physical object, but what would be the point?  You're attributing to something that simply is what it is an attribute that, even if true, is completely unhelpful and, as you said, adds absolutely nothing. So what is the point of going on about it?

And I fail to see how it answers the "why" question. 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

Information CAN be destroyed, because it is not stored AS energy, it is stored as a pattern of energy or matter. If that pattern is rearranged, smoothed out, or changed sufficiently, the information is gone. The matter and/or energy are still there, but if they are in a different configuration ,or smoothed out into uniformity, the original information is simply not there any more.


The information on a CD is stored as a pattern of pits in a flat chunk of matter. No energy really involved. Melt the CD, the information is destroyed. The matter that used to store the information is still there.


That same chunk of energy could have represented millions of different 'bits' of information over a finite period of time, none of them retrievable, even in principle, from 'reading' that store of 'energy'.

It takes some minimal amount of energy to actually store, read or re-write the information, but once the information is erased or over-written, it is irretrievable gone. This is a fact.

Second Law of Thermodynamics is about aggregates. It is arguable that the Universe is trending toward a state of maximum 'information', since it requires the maximum length sequence of symbols to describe something which has no structure, ie is totally dispersed at uniform temperature.

Says nothing about whether entropy (or information, if you like) can increase or decrease in any region. Local decrease of entropy just requires input of energy. This law obviously allows that total entropy can not reduce in a closed system.

Even if you interpret that total information cannot be reduced, what happens if someone re-arranges the letters in a book to tell a completely different story? It may be that by some measure the total information content is the same, but is the original specific information still there?? Think about it...

 

 

 

 I am talking about Quantum information

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

The information of the Quantum state. 

 

Sorry for not clarifying that, perhaps I should have.

 I thought that was clear since I posted about how it collapsed wavefunctions. That is the information I was talking about being destroyed.

 

 

As for on a grander scale: 

Energy is re-arranged to create data., this energy in-equality  creates it. We harness the data and assign information to it. It takes energy to write the CD. You destroy the CD, the video game or photo-album is destroyed, but energy is conserved (FLOT). And that energy can then be re-arranged to form new data.

 

As I said, we rely on entropy to create the data.

 

 

Quote:
 

On the conclusion:

'God' as a 'cause' of the Universe does not imply any special significance to man, in any logical sense. That would require knowing much more about this entity than we can derive from any of the arguments presented so far.

 

 We are a way for the universe to know itself. -Carl Sagan 

 

I think he was speaking metaphorically, but I think he was on to something.

 

Another Sagan quote just for fun:

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe. -Carl Sagan

 

Quote:

 There has not even been an argument directly establishing that the 'First Cause' needs to be anything resembling a conscious being.

 

 

True, there by no means needs to be a God, in the way there by no means needs there to not be a God.

 

I think Theists/atheists can have two different but compatiable views of the universe.