Dear Sara

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Dear Sara

This would be the as-of-yet unresponded to post. 


inspectormustard wrote:

I'll take a shot at this.

Sara wrote:

Why do you draw this arbitrary line between the universe with all of its contents and God? (. . .) A multiverse can simply "be" with no anthropomorphic qualities or consciousness whatsoever.

The reason why I draw the line between the universe and all of its contents and God is because it would be illogical for anything to create itself. If God were somehow contained within the material, then He would have to have created Himself (which is impossible). Nor could the universe have formed itself.

It still comes back to the horrible loop of 'where did this complicated being come from that created everything?' On the other hand, it seems more likely that all the energy we know of has always been around somewhere if not in this universe then in another. Multiverse begets multiverse, and since all things are is insubstantial information configured in various ways it also fits into probability.


One way to see how this works is through the infinite hotel thought experiment. In an infinite hotel with infinite guests, you can never run out of rooms even though the rooms are full. If you want to add an infinite number of guests to the infinite hotel, you simply have every guest move into the room number equal to double their current room number. Nevermind that there are so many impossibilities in this (time, space, etc.), probabalistically there is always room in infinity for jello.

On an infinite time scale (being that in the "beginning" there is no time), the probability of something happening is 1. Since time is simply the sequence of events it is just another informational value created by the illusion that things are happening in order when in fact things happening here occur at a different rate than elsewhere.

Sara wrote:

Multiverses are just as ad hoc as you claim God is. I know that you like that explanation better because you feel it is simpler from a materialist's view. But I think that God is a simpler and more thorough explanation for the formation of the universe.

God - Omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omnipresent.

Multiverse - Hypothetical explanation for some of the phenomena related to wave-function collapse.

God - Untestable.

Multiverse - Testable via very complicated experiments, one of which is starting up in November.

God is pretty complicated. Complication usually refers to the difficulty in trying to figure out how something works. Since "God works in mysterious (and blindingly inefficient) ways," I would say that God is more complicated than even the most convoluded quantum physics paper.

Sara wrote:

For example, pure materialism cannot explain how the universe arose from nothing by itself and formed personal beings. That makes less sense to me than believing that a Personal God made humans in His image.

The universe, to me, likely arose from another universe. As a whole, the multiverse did not arise any more going north of the north pole takes you further north. Another way to look at it would be like this: there always has been "something," even counting nothing since nothing is still a quantifiable "thing." So if you have less than nothing, you still have something.

You mention the existance of personal beings as evidence. By the very same logic, there must be a prime decider who moves cards around in a deck so that you choose precisely the right one since the chances of you drawing any particular hand are so small that you will never in your lifetime draw the same order of cards twice.

Sara wrote:

The scientist need not assert anything. (. . .) I see no reason for anyone to buy this, however, since it is a completely unnecessary and unhelpful idea.

Well, if you were trying to explain the origin of snot, your explanation makes more sense than saying snot came from nothing by its own power and is eternal (which is analogous to the materialists' explanation for the origin of the universe).

It's an oversimplification, but you're more or less right. In essence, everything is made of information. There can never be an absence of information, since that would still be a form of information. Anything you can express is information. Further refined, all things exist including those things which you cannot imagine. That infinitely more things exist which cannot be represented in material is still not evidence of god, only more information. If there were a god, things would be much simpler.

Sara wrote:

I'm afraid I cannot see that as equally plausible. My theory is a predictable outcome of evolution. (. . .) But even then we would have to look at our natural desire to persist after death and see if that impulse would logically lead to the commonality of belief.

Yes, it is the predicable outcome of evolution. But you again, must begin with the premise that materialism is true from the onset and then go on to make theories based on that premise. Evolution is the best theory that fits within this paradigm.

I, obviously, don't see materialism as the sole plausible theory for the origin of the universe, so pardon me if I reject some of those theories that heavily rely on it.

What would you propose in opposition to the idea that everything is made of something (materialism)?

Sara wrote:

My arguments are based on what we can know. (. . .) So the burden is on you to prove that the universe cannot make sense without adding this additional complication.

That's a very convenient position for the materialist. However, it may be entirely inaccurate to assume that the universe is all there is, ever was or will be.

We're not assuming that, you are. You're saying that this universe begins and ends, and that's all there is as far as we can know from realistic observation.

Sara wrote:

As I already stated, it seems illogical to maintain that the impersonal universe produced personal beings. Materialism cannot begin to explain why we seek to relate to eachother without reducing our relationships to meaningless interactions. I doubt you tell your loved ones that your interactions with them are nothing more than biological impulses that are necessary for your survival. Most people want to think that there is more meaning to life than materialism provides.

Personal and impersonal are labels we created. We seek to interrelate based on what our genes have learned, which is survival and replication. Comeradery makes a more fit beast than lone survival. However, what we have become because of the machine that produced us is more than the machine itself. Individually we can imagine whole worlds of fantasy, something which only a few other species we know of can do and not nearly as well as we. Cats cannot imagine flight, even though they know of the concept. The meaning of life is a personal thing, something to be decided by the individual and not some sadistic father figure.

Sara wrote:

Again, thank you for the interesting points. It's been nice chatting with you. I'm done for now, but will be back tomorrow.

Looking forward to it.

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  Hi Sara, I'm having some

  Hi Sara, I'm having some trouble with the quote feature- maybe because I cut and pasted this from the other thread.  Sorry if it is hard to read.  I couldn't figure it out in time before I have to leave for work.

Sara wrote,

The typing monkeys scenario was in regard to DNA, which is unquestionably ordered and non-random. Thus Perakh's "reading" order in random sequences where it does not exist is an absurd analogy in relation to the genetic code.

My point is that recent studies show that order arises spontaneously in chemistry.  And that the basis for biology is chemistry. The BZ reaction, Bernard cells, etc.  See: 

It doesn't matter where you think you derive your meaning from, the point is that you DO feel your life has meaning even though the materialist implication is that meaning does not exist. That is quite telling. It is also a major inconsistency for that world view. 

Meaning exists locally in my worldview, so it is not inconsistent.  You have not explained why my morality should apply to asteroids in deep space.


Gatogreensleeves wrote

"Because God is omniscient and I am not. You are ignoring the fact that the bible proclaims that God did not learn anything vicariously through humans as you suggest ("Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, and informed Him of the way of understanding?" (Is. 40:13-14). Are you saying that God learned something from the sins of humans/Satan/whoever? That is not eternal omniscience. I agree with you that humans can learn something about evil vicariously, but even still, only to a limited extent without the experience of actually committing the act. Knowing some act is wrong is not complete knowledge of the act. Are you saying that there is no knowledge in experience?"

My example was merely to point out that omniscience alone does not negate free will, in the same way your knowing the outcome of some event does not make you responsible for it.

Veils of Maya gave a fine example of why this is not true when he wrote, "Let's say I created an aircraft that was totally automated and used artificial intelligence that I personally wrote and tested to take off, navigate and land. Let's also say that instructed said aircraft to avoid flying in specific airspace to avoid colliding with air traffic I knew it could not safely avoid. I then let this aircraft cary passengers to and from any destination. If the artificial intelligence software I wrote ignored my instructions, flew into the airspace I instructed it not to and crashed - causing the deaths of 200 people - would I not be ultimately responsible? I might claim it wasn't my fault since the plane ran into unexpected input, which I was not aware of and could not have foreseen."

As for humans (or God) needing to experience evil as a perpetrator before understanding it, I couldn't disagree more. Ravi Zacharias made a very good point when he alluded to the fact that it is not the rapist who understands the depth of evil in the act he commits, but the one who is raped. In other words, the victim of the evil understands the horrors far more intimately than the person who commits the act. And as I stated before, Jesus experienced the evil from that vantage point. Thus He has a far better understanding of it than anyone.

I agreed with you about humans, so I don't know why you're making that an issue.  I am talking about God, and I know you would make a distinction between the two.  Again, yes something can be learned from the experience of being a victim of sin, but that is still an altogether different experience than commiting the sin. Apples and oranges.  There is a distinction which is shown in the difference between committing a sin and knowing about a sin alone.  That's why for one we are damned and the other is innocuous (though that is debatable, given Jesus' opinions on sins committed "in the heart&quotEye-wink.  That Xfactor that makes a sin a sin is unknown knowledge to God.  I think this broader knowledge of the experience of sin is crucial in the motivation and understanding of other emotions/actions, and is what actually allows for one form of empathy.  It's also telling that you site Jesus' earthly experience as essential in one way, yet not the other.


You answer that as if you do not have to devote any of your intellectual energy to determining whether or not a "fetus" (which, btw is the latin term for OFFSPRING or INFANT), is really a person. I think Dr. Seuss put it best when he said "A person's a person no matter how small" ~Horton Hears a Who.

No, I have already offered plenty of unrebutted questions concerning that issue in the thread.  Of course I know what fetus means, which is why I use "embryo" when I can (sometimes I am lazy about making the distinction), but modern medical terminology sometimes uses the term "fetus" for later stages of the development.  This terminology does not reflect an accurate assessment of personhood any more than Thursday is an accurate assessment of the existence of Thor... but I'll admit it could in the former circumstance.  I'm not going to repeat all the arguments I made- check the thread if you want to go on about this issue.  Keep in mind that there are different opinions on this in both the religious and secular circles.

I personally can't think of any instances where selfishness is seen as a virtue no matter what the outcome. If you can, please elaborate. So I used the word generally because there can be exceptions to the rule.

I can think of one immediately: when you are on a plane, you are instructed, in case of an emergency, to put on your air mask before putting it on others.  The implications of that notion are far reaching.

Defiling the Sabbath day was in essence blasphemy against God and the resulting penalty was death, this has not changed.

 So what do you make of Col. 2:16, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat and drink, or in respect of a holy day, or of the new moon; or of the sabbath days." or Rom. 14:5, "One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind." or when Jesus argues against it (Matt. 12:1-5), refering to a non-existent OT verse where David "and they that were with him" were blameless for eating "shewbread" on the Sabbath?

Likewise, beating a slave with the intent to kill was punishable by a penalty to be determined by the Judges. The second instance, though, seems to be describing a case where the intent was not to kill the slave thus the owner would not be punished since the loss of the slave was deemed penalty enough. As to the overall justice of the institution of slavery and whether or not it was "ethical" for Israelis (or anyone else) to own slaves requires more thought. During that period in the Ancient Near East, slavery for Israelis was both an option (i.e. to keep from falling into severe poverty) and sometimes a requirement (as in the case of a not being able to repay a debt.) But the fact that there were laws set up to ensure that slaves were not killed without impugnity was an ethical way to guard against abuse of your fellow man. Eventually, Israeli slaves could redeem themselves or choose to remain a slave. So it seems that this particular system more closely paralleled an employer/employee relationship than the system of slavery we are familiar with.

Ex. 21:20-21 says there is no punishment at all... because the loss of the slave is enough... Wow!!  There is no extra punishment and yes, they were able to be killed without impunity.  You cannot possibly consider the slave's absence to be punishment.  Imagine if today, we could kill off any prisoner without impunity, saying, "it's actually our loss, because we lost a good license plate maker... so we've already been punished."

This just lends more evidence to the fact that slaves have less (no) ontological value than other humans...  Human rights?  Nope.... but we digress from my original point: are there sins that are more offensive to God than others or not?  Is this an accurate qualification of crime fitting the punishment (also considering that the slave could be punished at any unjustified whim of the owner) compared to death for Sabbath breakers? 

As for American slavery, this was a different animal all together. Not only did the slave traders "steal" people from various lands (a direct violation of Leviticus 20:16 where the offenders would have been put to death), but owners were not punished at all for harming slaves.

And yet American slave owners still claimed to have the bible to back up their notion of slavery.

As to whether or not God views certain sins as being more or less evil, like I said, all sin is deserving of death. To hasten that death in response to certain sins is certainly God's perrogative. Since He is able to see the far reaching consequences for the various sins, it would make sense that He could assign varying degrees of punishment. If a particular sin would cause exceeding harm to the nation in general (as in the case of Blasphemy), then it should receive the swifter punishment.

Thank you, and yes, you are consistent with the bible on that... or every single crime would require the death penalty.  Now... why does not being a virgin on your wedding night require death, while taking a slave's life "if he continues on a day or two" does not even require punishment?  Blasphemy, witchcraft, etc.... do you really think these still require the death penalty?  Shouldn't we remain consistent qualitatively to the crime fitting the punishment in OT laws?

The 3rd Chapter of Galatians and also the 4th chapter of Romans addresses what makes a person righteous. As Paul states: "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness...But to him who does not work but believes on [God] who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." (Romans 4:3-8) So all Old Testament saints who put their trust in God were declared righteous because, by their faith, their sins would be covered by Christ's sacrifice in the future. Thus the timing of Christ's first advent did not preclude anyone who lived prior from receiving salvation. Ritual laws are moral laws in the sense that by maintaining ceremonial cleanness a person was showing reverence to God. When the perfect sacrifice occurred (i.e. Christ's sacrifice) believers are declared "clean" by their faith in Him.  The OT rituals were merely a shadow of the sacrifice that was to come, so even though they were part of an overall system in which sins were "covered", they could not remit sins completely. Only Jesus' death could accomplish that.

Anyone who got a chance to hear the gospel that is, right?  We could add 2 Chro. 7:14 to your list as an early example of forgiveness in the OT without Jesus- but you would say this is because Jesus' attonement is retroactive, right?  Why wern't the ritual laws "retroactive" like the moral laws?  So Jesus had to be executed at some point to cover the past and future.  It's convenient that He chose that time, because if He was born in America today or in other societies, He probably wouldn't have been executed for His beliefs.  That also has strange implications.  This retroactive notion is interesting if convoluted and limited- I will have to think more on that.

Well, again, your statement is arguing for some sort of dichotomy between the brain and the mind, which is what I've been maintaining all along. If the brain is the "car" and the mind is the "driver" that can "control" the car, then you have only proved my point, not yours.

No it doesn't.  As someone once said, "the mind is what the brain does."  Driving a car does not exist without the car.

Adding a qualifier does not affect whether or not a law is absolute, it simply ensures that the offender will be clearly identifiable.

Unless those qualifications contradict.  That is the point.

O.k. you are trying to make a point from the "post fall" perspective. God made humans and everything else perfect from the beginning, however when man chose to rebel against God and remove himself from God's provision, that is when man became subject to death and imperfection. So the vitamin C gene in humans and apes was probably functional at one time, but now is not. Everything is in a state of decay now, not only bodily or physically, but genetically. As Romans 5:12 says "by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:". Likewise all of creation was subjected to the same through Adam's rebellion (Romans 8:20). So making the argument "why did God design things so poorly" really isn't very compelling once you understand that the imperfect state we observe is not the way it was originally intended to be.

Then how in the world can anyone argue from design for the existence of God?  Don't you see your double standard?  If it is orderly it proves God- if not, it's the Fall.  I think the Fall is a really poor explanation for these things.  To say that we need to find vitamin C because Adam and Eve sinned is just absurd to me.  Why such arbitrary breakdowns from the Fall?  Even more disturbing is the implication that animals suffer because of the Fall.  I just don't think that cuts the mustard, sorry Sara.

I'm not exactly sure what you think "horse toes" and "chicken teeth" are supposed to prove other than the fact that scientist's have a biased interpretation of animal structures.

We can activate genes in the DNA that manifest features consistent with the theory of evolution.  It fits nicely and has no reason to exist in Christian theology.  These are not genes that, when activated, produce random mutations.  Why are they there?

Yes, but order is due to the inherent abilities placed in the animal or plant via its DNA, not from "random" factors.  Which brings us back to square one where we are haggling over whether or not God is responsible for the formation of DNA or the unlikely alternative that DNA formed itself.

See above for biochemical order links.

You are exactly right. God does know how much evidence you need. Maybe even if you were presented with all the evidence in the world, you would still choose to rebel against God, that's why He doesn't give you more. But I like to think that perhaps you are still in the process of gathering that evidence as we speak and will come to believe at a later date. Call me an optimist Smiling.

Maybe so... you never know... but at this point it doesn't look good.  The fact remains that God could give us undeniable evidence of His existence and make His salvation plan a moral choice.  This smells of mystery religion to me and further yet, absence of existence.  As someone put it, there was no more pressing business in heaven that Jesus had to get back to after the ressurection than there is here on earth- why not stay on earth and continue to testify? 

Thanks for your time Sara!  Sorry again if this was difficult to read...

"If Adolf Hitler flew in today, they'd send a limousine anyway" -The Clash