To all theists: Why do you believe? [kill em with kindness]

B166ER
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To all theists: Why do you believe? [kill em with kindness]

I'm putting this in the Kill em' with kindness section so that more theists will feel safe posting on it. I'm not used to watching what I say, or in my opinion calling a spade a spade, but I'll do my best.

As a person who has never believed in deiti(es), I have always been curious as to why people believed in them. Don't think I'm using this thread to just try and belittle believers, I am genuinely curious as to what you have felt and experienced which brought you to a belief in some kind of "higher power". I am curious as to the kinds of experiences which will lead someone to god belief.

Was it a close call with death? Your own or someone close to you?

Was it your upbringing? What part of it lead you to begin or keep believing?

Was it something else entirely, like a personal vision or something of that nature?

So what's YOUR story? I may not agree that there is any truth to belief in deiti(es), but people do believe, and I'm wondering what causes it.

 

"This may shock you, but not everything in the bible is true." The only true statement ever to be uttered by Jean Chauvinism, sociopathic emotional terrorist.
"A Boss in Heaven is the best excuse for a boss on earth, therefore If God did exist, he would have to be abolished." Mikhail Bakunin
"The means in which you take,
dictate the ends in which you find yourself."
"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme leadership derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony!"
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I was sent to sunday school

I was sent to sunday school as a child by my Mother. (My Dad was an Atheist) I hated going and sometimes faked illness to get out of it. So I presume that that is where I learnt about Jesus. Latter on in life I became an alcoholic but was so heavily into drugs that you couldn't notice it. I "prayed" to Jesus one day to help and "something" did happen. From that day on I did not crave drugs or alcohol anymore. That was in 1977 and since then I have drunk a handful of times and "smoked up" maybe 3 times but never gone back to that life style. 

 

I have put a challenge on this site for Atheists to give me there most damaging evidence against the claims of Christianity. I have been working my way through them and haven't found anything yet that can not be reasonably defended. Though I have not read all the posts yet. Actually I've kind of lost the thread but I'm sure someone will redirect me. All I need is one irrefutable piecfffffdfdfde of evidence. The longer it takes for said evidence to show up the stronger my faith grows. Thank you for your time.


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shadowlanddweller wrote:I

shadowlanddweller wrote:

I was sent to sunday school as a child by my Mother. (My Dad was an Atheist) I hated going and sometimes faked illness to get out of it. So I presume that that is where I learnt about Jesus. Latter on in life I became an alcoholic but was so heavily into drugs that you couldn't notice it. I "prayed" to Jesus one day to help and "something" did happen. From that day on I did not crave drugs or alcohol anymore. That was in 1977 and since then I have drunk a handful of times and "smoked up" maybe 3 times but never gone back to that life style. 

 

I have put a challenge on this site for Atheists to give me there most damaging evidence against the claims of Christianity. I have been working my way through them and haven't found anything yet that can not be reasonably defended. Though I have not read all the posts yet. Actually I've kind of lost the thread but I'm sure someone will redirect me. All I need is one irrefutable piecfffffdfdfde of evidence. The longer it takes for said evidence to show up the stronger my faith grows. Thank you for your time.

Well, Shadow, it sounds like you don't believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Since you are an atheist with regard to His Noodliness please show me one piece of irrefutable evidence that He does not exist and I will believe you. Huh? Huh? The longer it takes you, the stronger my faith grows. Thank you for your time.


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shadowlanddweller wrote:I

shadowlanddweller wrote:

I was sent to sunday school as a child by my Mother. (My Dad was an Atheist) I hated going and sometimes faked illness to get out of it. So I presume that that is where I learnt about Jesus. Latter on in life I became an alcoholic but was so heavily into drugs that you couldn't notice it. I "prayed" to Jesus one day to help and "something" did happen. From that day on I did not crave drugs or alcohol anymore. That was in 1977 and since then I have drunk a handful of times and "smoked up" maybe 3 times but never gone back to that life style. 

 

I have put a challenge on this site for Atheists to give me there most damaging evidence against the claims of Christianity. I have been working my way through them and haven't found anything yet that can not be reasonably defended. Though I have not read all the posts yet. Actually I've kind of lost the thread but I'm sure someone will redirect me. All I need is one irrefutable piecfffffdfdfde of evidence. The longer it takes for said evidence to show up the stronger my faith grows. Thank you for your time.

Snakes don't talk. At all.

Male and female genetic material are required for impregnation.

Miracles do not happen. Prayer doesn't work.

The Problem of Evil.

Evolution. Fossil evidence. Radiological decay evidence. Dinosaurs.

Dogs are more ethical than the god described in the Bible.

 

 


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shadowlanddweller wrote:I

shadowlanddweller wrote:
I was sent to sunday school as a child by my Mother. (My Dad was an Atheist) I hated going and sometimes faked illness to get out of it. So I presume that that is where I learnt about Jesus. Latter on in life I became an alcoholic but was so heavily into drugs that you couldn't notice it. I "prayed" to Jesus one day to help and "something" did happen. From that day on I did not crave drugs or alcohol anymore. That was in 1977 and since then I have drunk a handful of times and "smoked up" maybe 3 times but never gone back to that life style. 

 

I have put a challenge on this site for Atheists to give me there most damaging evidence against the claims of Christianity. I have been working my way through them and haven't found anything yet that can not be reasonably defended. Though I have not read all the posts yet. Actually I've kind of lost the thread but I'm sure someone will redirect me. All I need is one irrefutable piecfffffdfdfde of evidence. The longer it takes for said evidence to show up the stronger my faith grows. Thank you for your time.

Well, since you by your own admission did not come by your faith for any rational reason, it would be pretty futile for us to present evidence to you, wouldn't it? It would be pearls before swine.


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Actually, imagine an

Actually, imagine an alcoholic on drugs.... there are a few ways to cure brains of such a person, and the psychological block like some religious taboo may work pretty well.  It might not good at all for him to start asking questions because they may destroy the psychological blockade.   In my opinion this is one of a few cases when religion can be beneficial to people if anything else fails to treat the illness.  This is where I am FOR state/federal controlled churches, I can only dream of government multi-religion priests that will help mentally traumatized people to find the best curing religion or to cure them from religion and turn back to atheism. 

 

Again, in this particular case, I don't think the person will benefit from learning.

 

 


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B166ER wrote:I'm putting

B166ER wrote:

I'm putting this in the Kill em' with kindness section so that more theists will feel safe posting on it. I'm not used to watching what I say, or in my opinion calling a spade a spade, but I'll do my best.

As a person who has never believed in deiti(es), I have always been curious as to why people believed in them. Don't think I'm using this thread to just try and belittle believers, I am genuinely curious as to what you have felt and experienced which brought you to a belief in some kind of "higher power". I am curious as to the kinds of experiences which will lead someone to god belief.

Was it a close call with death? Your own or someone close to you?

Was it your upbringing? What part of it lead you to begin or keep believing?

Was it something else entirely, like a personal vision or something of that nature?

So what's YOUR story? I may not agree that there is any truth to belief in deiti(es), but people do believe, and I'm wondering what causes it.

 

I would say I believe largely due to my upbringing.  It's extraordinarily difficult, for me at least, to shake the way I was raised--I first attended church the Sunday after I came home from the hospital, and went 'religiously' for 21 years.  I'll be 31 this year, and haven't been an official church member for almost a decade.  I still consider myself a believer of some sort; my family does not.  What I am practicing now very well may not be religion or Christianity in any traditional or practical sense, as it is very private and as such meaningful to me.

Though, I suppose it was a done deal by age 6, right?  It's also extraordinarily difficult to shake the foundations laid in those formative years. 

A personal vision... I thought I had one of those the week after I turned 18.  1997, I was a senior in high school, and under an enormous amount of stress at home (parents divorced, dealing with step-parents--you get the point, I won't bore you).  So that morning, like 6 am, I turn on the hot water in the shower, and as the water hits me...I dunno, it was like this complete inner experience for me.  Everything started to make sense, the world, people, everything.

I mean, who knows?  I valued the experience for quite some time, though it means considerably less to me now.  Interpreted literally, the experience was most likely induced by the aforementioned stress coupled with my increasing interest in deep intellectual and emotional matters, and it all just came out sort of symbolically, like a washing away of the old me, a washing away of debris, falsehood, blindness, etc.  I mean, philosophy is chock full of mythology (Cave Allegory, etc), right?  This was my personal mythology.

Also, yes, it makes me feel good.  It works for me.  And there's nothing wrong with that.

Look, I don't know if God exists or what, obviously.  For all I know, we very well may have reached the same conclusion concerning God's existence--that it is impossible for God to exist in any way that makes sense to humans.  It's just that this conclusion probably means something different to you than it does to me.

 


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Congrats jmm.

 

 

 

                  Your almost there,  what you describe of yourself makes you  an agnostic.  Maybe it is time to have your theist tag replaced.  If you continue to rationalize your shower experience you will become a full blown rationalist.  We are after all the RATIONAL RESPONSE squad  NOT the atheist response squad.

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Jeffrick

Jeffrick wrote:

 

 

 

                  Your almost there,  what you describe of yourself makes you  an agnostic.  Maybe it is time to have your theist tag replaced.  If you continue to rationalize your shower experience you will become a full blown rationalist.  We are after all the RATIONAL RESPONSE squad  NOT the atheist response squad.

Yeah, I've been agnostic for years.  I mean, I think honest people are agnostic concerning lots of things besides God.  Agnosticism merely describes my knowledge (or lack), not my belief.


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jmm wrote:Jeffrick

jmm wrote:

Jeffrick wrote:

 

 

 

                  Your almost there,  what you describe of yourself makes you  an agnostic.  Maybe it is time to have your theist tag replaced.  If you continue to rationalize your shower experience you will become a full blown rationalist.  We are after all the RATIONAL RESPONSE squad  NOT the atheist response squad.

Yeah, I've been agnostic for years.  I mean, I think honest people are agnostic concerning lots of things besides God.  Agnosticism merely describes my knowledge (or lack), not my belief.

So you are not sure if a god exists or not but you believe one does...

/scratches head

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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David Henson wrote:cj

David Henson wrote:

cj wrote:

I'll let ShadowofMan answer the rest of your questions, but I'm curious.  I searched for evidence of god/s/dess existence for years.  All I found was a bunch of self-delusional people who wanted very badly for an invisible friend.  I understand their need for finding self-worth outside of themselves, but that isn't proof that said invisible friend exists.

Find me one, just one, person who was healed of cystic fibrosis or limb amputation or something similarly visible and I could believe in miracles, too.  Invisible tumors, headaches, backaches, or images of Jesus in bacon fat just won't cut it for me, sorry.

You can't find God in people. Healings were isolated events in the Bible in order to accomplish something other than healing itself. Paul said healings and speaking in tongues would end for these reasons, for the weak in spirit to witness more or less, would end. Healings can be performed by people under the influence of demons, though most alleged healings are fake.

odd then that Jesus said, ".........heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons.........." to say nothing of Paul, Peter, etc. If your gonna believe the Bible, it's rational to believe ALL of it!

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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BobSpence1

BobSpence1 wrote:

NON-aethiest wrote:

time and space are linked proved by einstien

matter can be converted into energy and vice versa

so saying in the beginning there was nothing but energy is a true

concept but what if the energy could purposly manipulate itself?

Quote:
That is a really crazy "what if".

you mean irrational? Why?

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We have no evidence that anything without a complex stable structure could possibly display anything like intentionality.

you mean no empirical evidence within the space-time framework given an unregenerate epistemology.

Quote:
It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

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In the light of modern scientific understanding,

ie. having no empirical evidence within the space-time framework and given an unregenerate epistemology.

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the God concept is not only unnecessary as an explanation for our existence,

irrational reduction to functionalism; implied unjustified proposition.

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it actually raises far more puzzles than it even attempts to answer, like what determined the existence of such an entity in the first place?

God is the uncaused cause - by definition. 

Quote:
And how can you really make logical coherence out of the traditional 'omni' attributes, which appear to be the product of a childish imagination,
does the analogy [justified or otherwise] strengthen your case?

Quote:
not even logically necessary for a "creator" being.

reduction to functionalism.

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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freeminer wrote:NON-aethiest

freeminer wrote:

NON-aethiest wrote:

time and space are linked proved by einstien

matter can be converted into energy and vice versa

so saying in the beginning there was nothing but energy is a true

concept but what if the energy could purposly manipulate itself?

Quote:
That is a really crazy "what if".

you mean irrational? Why?

Nothing can manipulate itself, let alone something as elemental as energy. It would make more sense to claim that water can decide whethr to freeze or not.

Quote:

Quote:
We have no evidence that anything without a complex stable structure could possibly display anything like intentionality.

you mean no empirical evidence within the space-time framework given an unregenerate epistemology.

Right, no evidence with any even partial degree of justification.

Quote:

Quote:
It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

Quantum Theories strongly suggests that there is an irreducible level of 'uncertainty' about the state of anything, including 'free space', so the extension of this idea is that the lowest energy state possible still implies a finite possibility of something coming into existence from 'nothing', as long as it doesn't persist for more than a certain period of time.

One concept is that in such a backgound, tere is a small but finite possibility of something with enough energy of the right kind to trigger a Big Bang event to appear for long enough for the singularity to form, It would then promptly become enclosed in its own space-time and disappear from the background field, thus not violating the uncertainty principle from the perspectine of that 'enevironment'.

Forget about 'motion' as a separate pre-requisite. That betrays the source of your ideas in the profound misconceptions of medieval metaphysics. Motion is purely a manifestation of energy, which is all that is required. Once matter of some kind 'condenses' out of the energy, then we can have 'form'.

Quote:

Quote:
In the light of modern scientific understanding,

ie. having no empirical evidence within the space-time framework and given an unregenerate epistemology.

Quote:
the God concept is not only unnecessary as an explanation for our existence,

irrational reduction to functionalism; implied unjustified proposition.

Irrational appeal to a  set of totally irrational and unsupportable ideas, and rejection of the only epistemology which has any coherent level of justifiability.

Quote:

Quote:
it actually raises far more puzzles than it even attempts to answer, like what determined the existence of such an entity in the first place?

God is the uncaused cause - by definition. 

Which makes him impossible, by definition. Thank you.

That phrase is a deeply intellectually dishonest idea, that merely defining something automatically gives it some right to be taken seriously - or that when a particular line of argument seems to be leading to an absurdity, you 'define' an entity with the required attributes into existence.

Quote:

Quote:
And how can you really make logical coherence out of the traditional 'omni' attributes, which appear to be the product of a childish imagination,
does the analogy [justified or otherwise] strengthen your case?

Quote:
not even logically necessary for a "creator" being.

reduction to functionalism.

Reduction to reality, and the only basis we have for knowledge of any useful degree.

The ability of empirical investigation and theorizing to construct a plausible framework for the origin of the Universe, which bypasses the infinite-regress problem, without resorting to the special pleading that at least one entity greater than an elementary particle did not require some precursor state, demonstrates that the God hypothesis is no longer necessary.

Whatever philosophical doubts you can cast on empiricism, that it cannot be proved, you have certainly failed to disprove it.

I ask again, show me your alternative source of and justification for knowledge of such things.

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:freeminer

Quote:

time and space are linked proved by einstien

matter can be converted into energy and vice versa

so saying in the beginning there was nothing but energy is a true

concept but what if the energy could purposly manipulate itself?

Quote:
That is a really crazy "what if".

Quote:
you mean irrational? Why?

 

Quote:
Nothing can manipulate itself, let alone something as elemental as energy. It would make more sense to claim that water can decide whethr to freeze or not.

 

sorry Bob. . ... skim read the post! Yes you're right, the last bit is mystical.......but after all, it is the basis of evolutionary theory.  You'll say that is enviromental,  to which I'd reply; you believe the environment manipulated itself.

 

Quote:
We have no evidence that anything without a complex stable structure could possibly display anything like intentionality.

Quote:
you mean no empirical evidence within the space-time framework given an unregenerate epistemology.

Quote:
Right, no evidence with any even partial degree of justification.

Strictly speaking Bob, Christians would argue that the existence of the genetic code is just one example since codes do not create themselves so I have to fundamentally disagree..... having said that I'm disinclined to major on the issue because I think I should "make more space" for your atheistic presuppositions.......while DNA is a complex stable structure, I don't think the most fervent atheist would attribute consciousness to it but a code indicates distinct external "intentionality". My main argument is that you presuppose that empirical evidence is the only kind because you presuppose that the space-time framework is the only kind...... that's like Rome presupposing that Galileo was wrong simply because they weren't the ones with the telescope!           

 

Quote:
It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

Quote:
not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

Quote:
Quantum Theories strongly suggests that there is an irreducible level of 'uncertainty' about the state of anything, including 'free space', so the extension of this idea is that the lowest energy state possible still implies a finite possibility of something coming into existence from 'nothing', as long as it doesn't persist for more than a certain period of time.

So you wish to drop the closed system of Newtonian physics and become metaphysical........ I suppose that is progress .....and in line with quantum mechanics . You still have to assume that zero-point energy is created ex nihilo.

I will assume you accept an open system from now on. I trust you will not be resorting to empiricism as your basis from hereon.

 

Quote:
One concept is that in such a backgound, tere is a small but finite possibility of something with enough energy of the right kind to trigger a Big Bang event to appear for long enough for the singularity to form, It would then promptly become enclosed in its own space-time and disappear from the background field, thus not violating the uncertainty principle from the perspectine of that 'enevironment'.

you are probably aware of the problems with BB without me listing them

 

Quote:
Forget about 'motion' as a separate pre-requisite. That betrays the source of your ideas in the profound misconceptions of medieval metaphysics. Motion is purely a manifestation of energy, which is all that is required. Once matter of some kind 'condenses' out of the energy, then we can have 'form'.

it wasn't included as a pre-requisite, it was just there to cover the bases. 

 

Quote:
In the light of modern scientific understanding,

ie. having no empirical evidence within the space-time framework and given an unregenerate epistemology.

Quote:
the God concept is not only unnecessary as an explanation for our existence,

Quote:
irrational reduction to functionalism; implied unjustified proposition.

Quote:
Irrational appeal to a  set of totally irrational and unsupportable ideas,

that's no different from Einstein's "spooky" comment regarding non-locality. The laws of logic which comprise your "rationalality" are  adrift on an endless sea......... ever since you dumped Newton. You can't have it both ways! 

 

Quote:
and rejection of the only epistemology which has any coherent level of justifiability.

see above....... we have moved beyond your epistemology.

 

Quote:
it actually raises far more puzzles than it even attempts to answer, like what determined the existence of such an entity in the first place?

Quote:
God is the uncaused cause - by definition. 

Quote:
Which makes him impossible, by definition. Thank you.

see above - you no longer have grounds for asserting what is not possible - for instance in this case, you irrationally [given an open system] assert the universality of the space-time continuum by this statement.

Quote:
That phrase is a deeply intellectually dishonest idea, that merely defining something automatically gives it some right to be taken seriously

no, I haven't purported to define God in two words!........just describe the particular aspect we were debating. Whether it should be "taken seriously" ie as a subject for rational conjecture........not on the basis of a two word proposition, no but ultimately I see no reason why not....... do you?                   

 

 

Quote:
- or that when a particular line of argument seems to be leading to an absurdity, you 'define' an entity with the required attributes into existence.

see above - I have to point out that it was your argument that empirical approximations are all there is to "evidence" which got us here. I accept an "open system"......it appears to concur with physics. You seemed to also........now you call it "absurd"!

 

Quote:
And how can you really make logical coherence out of the traditional 'omni' attributes, which appear to be the product of a childish imagination,
Quote:
does the analogy [justified or otherwise] strengthen your case?

Quote:
not even logically necessary for a "creator" being.

Quote:
reduction to functionalism.

Quote:
Reduction to reality, and the only basis we have for knowledge of any useful degree.

for someone who can't pin down materiality and can't prove it philosophically, you have a lot of faith in the "working assumptions" of your finite Newtonian physics. Your "knowledge" is based on an unregenerate epistemology.......I had one of those once too. 

 

 

Quote:
The ability of empirical investigation and theorizing to construct a plausible framework for the origin of the Universe,

I thought you'd just trashed, your finite empiricism. Plausibility is not synonymous with truth. 

Quote:
which bypasses the infinite-regress problem,

it's an old-fashioned and as you've demonstrated, unnecessary idea.

Quote:
without resorting to the special pleading that at least one entity greater than an elementary particle did not require some precursor state, demonstrates that the God hypothesis is no longer necessary.

nothing is nothing is nothing is nothing........anything else begs the question. My case is that someone spoke.

Quote:
Whatever philosophical doubts you can cast on empiricism, that it cannot be proved, you have certainly failed to disprove it.

I have no wish to dispense with the Laws of the Universe. Rationally they constitute evidence of a lawmaker. We have agreed that are finite, that is all. 

Quote:
I ask again, show me your alternative source of and justification for knowledge of such things.

if we conjecture in rational scientific fashion about the possibility of an infinite personal intelligence inhabiting other dimensions........[we already speculate regarding 11 or more - I suggest 12] who created,  I fail to see why it should be held irrational that such a Being would communicate with his creation. If we set out to look for such communication we would expect it to answer all the philosophical issues and reflect our own rationality. In dealing with his creation we would not expect his actions to evince our own space-time, cause-effect finitude. It is not irrational to conjecture that the Bible represents  such communication especially set against the alternatives. None of which is, of itself, proof.

 

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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freeminer wrote:Quote:time

freeminer wrote:

Quote:

time and space are linked proved by einstien

matter can be converted into energy and vice versa

so saying in the beginning there was nothing but energy is a true

concept but what if the energy could purposly manipulate itself?

Quote:
That is a really crazy "what if".

Quote:
you mean irrational? Why?

Quote:
Nothing can manipulate itself, let alone something as elemental as energy. It would make more sense to claim that water can decide whethr to freeze or not.

sorry Bob. . ... skim read the post! Yes you're right, the last bit is mystical.......but after all, it is the basis of evolutionary theory. You'll say that is enviromental, to which I'd reply; you believe the environment manipulated itself.

If you mean that something in the environment had an effect on something else that was also part of the same collection of 'things', well d'uh. 'Manipulated' could only apply to a purposeful being (in the most elementary sense such as maybe a bird building a nest, that is still not something manipulating itself. The environment affects the course of evolution of all creatures, whose successful reproduction can in turn have an effect on the ongoing state of the environment, but that is not 'manipulation', just 'blind' causation.

To partially retract, I will concede that sufficiently aware and resourceful beings, such as ourselves, can 'manipulate' themselves, by knowing what are our normal reactions, both physical and mental, to various actions, and so doing those things to ourselves.

What I was really thinking of was the all-too-common nonsensical comments from Theists about things 'creating' themselves.

That aside, any idea of self-manipulation is utterly foreign to evolutionary theory. It is the basic process of feed-back, one effect having some effect in turn back on what caused it, but only in the next 'cycle', ie not retrospectively. Thermostats are one of the most common everyday examples of consciously designed feed-back systems, where a rising temperature will cause a mechanical reaction which will move the control on an air-conditioner or heater in the direction to reduce the temperature.

Many examples occur in living populations, eg any increase in the population of predators in a region will reduce the prey population, which will in turn limit or reduce the growth of the predator population.

Within a certain temperature range, increasing sea-surface temperature will increase evaporation, cause more clouds to form, which will reflect more sunlight away from the surface, and limit the warming.

If you don't understand feed-back mechanisms, both negative as I just described, or postive, which tend to runaway effects, like melting snow in Global Warming, you are severely handicapped in understanding complex real-world phenomena.

Quote:

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We have no evidence that anything without a complex stable structure could possibly display anything like intentionality.

you mean no empirical evidence within the space-time framework given an unregenerate epistemology.

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Right, no evidence with any even partial degree of justification.

Strictly speaking Bob, Christians would argue that the existence of the genetic code is just one example since codes do not create themselves so I have to fundamentally disagree..... having said that I'm disinclined to major on the issue because I think I should "make more space" for your atheistic presuppositions.......while DNA is a complex stable structure, I don't think the most fervent atheist would attribute consciousness to it but a code indicates distinct external "intentionality". My main argument is that you presuppose that empirical evidence is the only kind because you presuppose that the space-time framework is the only kind...... that's like Rome presupposing that Galileo was wrong simply because they weren't the ones with the telescope!

I already know that many Christians are woefully ignorant on such topics, of course.

I will try and explain it to you, I guess, in simple terms.

DNA sequences can form in literally any sequence whatever. Those sequences which strongly and selectively tend to bind to particular peptides , and which are in turn enhance the synthesis of particular sequences of those peptides, AKA proteins, which enhance the process by which DNA strands are copied, will be selected for by the blind processes of natural selection. Since DNA strands can be quite long. the chances of such useful sequences arising is not all that low, and anything which encourages the replication of DNA in the its region of the strand will get into one of the positive feedback loops I mentioned above.

This is not like a code in the way we normally use the term, where relation between the particulars of the code and the information it represents is more-or-less arbitrary, and determined by our conscious decisions, whereas the association between DNA sequence and the protein it 'codes for' is determined by chemical affinity.

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It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

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not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

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Quantum Theories strongly suggests that there is an irreducible level of 'uncertainty' about the state of anything, including 'free space', so the extension of this idea is that the lowest energy state possible still implies a finite possibility of something coming into existence from 'nothing', as long as it doesn't persist for more than a certain period of time.

So you wish to drop the closed system of Newtonian physics and become metaphysical........ I suppose that is progress .....and in line with quantum mechanics . You still have to assume that zero-point energy is created ex nihilo.

Of course not. No implications on Einsteinian Physics (Newton is a bit old hat), 'closed' or not.

Not 'created', that would be begging the question, just spontaneously appearing, and within very strict time and quantity constraints. And on a purely random timetable. IOW, no indication of any 'consious' intervention whatever.

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I will assume you accept an open system from now on. I trust you will not be resorting to empiricism as your basis from hereon.

Sticking to strict empiricism, as that is what gave us our counter-intuitive insights into the behaviour of the 'Quantum Realm'.

There have been proposals that those randomly appearing 'virtual' particles are manifestations of higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context, which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance. This is plausible in abroad sense, as are many variations on such theories about the underlying 'mechanism' of Quantum effects. Much more research is needed to get some indication which direction future investigation should look, and things like the LHC are part of this search.

It seems pointless to go on until, if ever, you adjust your assumptions to be somewhat more in accord with reality, as empirically indicated.

Or do want to continue with your sustained demonstration of the total disconnect between your ideas and any meaningful understanding of reality?

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


BobSpence
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Freeminer wrote:if we

Freeminer wrote:

if we conjecture in rational scientific fashion about the possibility of an infinite personal intelligence inhabiting other dimensions........[we already speculate regarding 11 or more - I suggest 12] who created,  I fail to see why it should be held irrational that such a Being would communicate with his creation. If we set out to look for such communication we would expect it to answer all the philosophical issues and reflect our own rationality. In dealing with his creation we would not expect his actions to evince our own space-time, cause-effect finitude. It is not irrational to conjecture that the Bible represents  such communication especially set against the alternatives. None of which is, of itself, proof.

If the best 'evidence' you can produce involves that collection of ancient, inconsistent, confused writings, and the presumption of an infinite sentient being, you have just experienced an epic fail.

It would be just barely rational to search for the existence of some non-random patterns in quantum and other phenomena, currently assumed to be essentially random or chaotic. Any such indications may be a pointer to some alien intelligence, either within our known universe or in some 'metaverse' or parallel universe.

This could be suggested by certain kinds of non-random patterns. If there was additionally some evidence of responsiveness to our personal thoughts and actions, this would be even more interesting, but would require very careful double-blind testing, at the very least.

Thank you for demonstrating by that response the total intellectual bankruptcy of your position. You have consistently failed to provide any counter to my account of the justification for having confidence in the adequacy of empirical knowledge. No 'proof' required, just a consistent set of arguments reinforcing our confidence in the conclusions.

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


freeminer
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  Quote:If you mean that

 

 

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If you mean that something in the environment had an effect on something else that was also part of the same collection of 'things', well d'uh. 'Manipulated' could only apply to a purposeful being (in the most elementary sense such as maybe a bird building a nest, that is still not something manipulating itself. The environment affects the course of evolution of all creatures, whose successful reproduction can in turn have an effect on the ongoing state of the environment, but that is not 'manipulation', just 'blind' causation.

I think the phrase was inherited from the post you commented on. What I meant was that atheists resile from the notion of chance on the grounds that the environmentdidit and conveniently forget that in their view the evvironment was the product of chance too......but you are allowed some pedantry regarding "manipulate itself".

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To partially retract, I will concede that sufficiently aware and resourceful beings, such as ourselves, can 'manipulate' themselves, by knowing what are our normal reactions, both physical and mental, to various actions, and so doing those things to ourselves.

What I was really thinking of was the all-too-common nonsensical comments from Theists about things 'creating' themselves.

it's surprising how many times atheists use the phrase apparently without irony.

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That aside, any idea of self-manipulation is utterly foreign to evolutionary theory. It is the basic process of feed-back, one effect having some effect in turn back on what caused it, but only in the next 'cycle', ie not retrospectively. Thermostats are one of the most common everyday examples of consciously designed feed-back systems, where a rising temperature will cause a mechanical reaction which will move the control on an air-conditioner or heater in the direction to reduce the temperature.

Many examples occur in living populations, eg any increase in the population of predators in a region will reduce the prey population, which will in turn limit or reduce the growth of the predator population.

Within a certain temperature range, increasing sea-surface temperature will increase evaporation, cause more clouds to form, which will reflect more sunlight away from the surface, and limit the warming.

If you don't understand feed-back mechanisms, both negative as I just described, or postive, which tend to runaway effects, like melting snow in Global Warming, you are severely handicapped in understanding complex real-world phenomena.

you're preaching to the converted but while we're at it, Christians accept adaptation too. 

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 My main argument is that you presuppose that empirical evidence is the only kind because you presuppose that the space-time framework is the only kind...... that's like Rome presupposing that Galileo was wrong simply because they weren't the ones with the telescope!

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I already know that many Christians are woefully ignorant on such topics, of course.

we all have our interests........many atheists are woefully ignorant of theology. I should be the one complaining here not you - arguably Christians should be equipped for apologetics.

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DNA sequences can form in literally any sequence whatever. Those sequences which strongly and selectively tend to bind to particular peptides , and which are in turn enhance the synthesis of particular sequences of those peptides, AKA proteins, which enhance the process by which DNA strands are copied, will be selected for by the blind processes of natural selection. Since DNA strands can be quite long. the chances of such useful sequences arising is not all that low, and anything which encourages the replication of DNA in the its region of the strand will get into one of the positive feedback loops I mentioned above.

This is not like a code in the way we normally use the term, where relation between the particulars of the code and the information it represents is more-or-less arbitrary, and determined by our conscious decisions, whereas the nassociation between DNA sequence and the protein it 'codes for' is determined by chemical affinity.

Bob, you are not stupid.......a "code" which is "more or less arbitrary" is not a code........which of course is what you which to imply because codes imply a codifier. You know as well as I do that your phrase,"chemical affinity" is a semantic ploy which begs the question of who determined the "affinity". It is, at a technical level, a vast understatement. Biological information is not, as you also seek to imply, a "different" type of information. We find a unique coding system and definite syntax in every genome.  There is no known process by which information arises spontaneously in dead matter. Which came first, the DNA or the protein motor? Which came first, the coding system or the cell's ability to interpret it?  

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It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

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not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

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Quantum Theories strongly suggests that there is an irreducible level of 'uncertainty' about the state of anything, including 'free space', so the extension of this idea is that the lowest energy state possible still implies a finite possibility of something coming into existence from 'nothing', as long as it doesn't persist for more than a certain period of time.

So you wish to drop the closed system of Newtonian physics and become metaphysical........ I suppose that is progress .....and in line with quantum mechanics . You still have to assume that zero-point energy is created ex nihilo.

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Of course not. No implications on Einsteinian Physics (Newton is a bit old hat), 'closed' or not.

so zero-point energy spontaneously appears.

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Not 'created', that would be begging the question, just spontaneously appearing,

and you think "spontaneously appearing" is not begging the question. 

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and within very strict time and quantity constraints.

and who set these "very strict time and quantity constraints".......like every other instance of order in the universe , nothing could possibly constitute 'evidence'.

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And on a purely random timetable. IOW, no indication of any 'consious' intervention whatever.

 

to indulge in a moment's pedantry - is there such a thing as a "random timetable"? No instance of order constitutes evidence but people complain if trains don't run on time!

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I will assume you accept an open system from now on. I trust you will not be resorting to empiricism as your basis from hereon.

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Sticking to strict empiricism, as that is what gave us our counter-intuitive insights into the behaviour of the 'Quantum Realm'.

if it was counter-intuitive it wasn't "empirical" furthermore, conceptual mathematics can hardly be described as "empirical" If it had been empirical, agreement would have been easy. It was the insights which confirmed the boundary of empiricism.  

 

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There have been proposals that those randomly appearing 'virtual' particles are manifestations of higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context, which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance.

this only pushes the question back - and applies it to the, "higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context"

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which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance.

see above.......no, it just confirms an open system.

 

 

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It seems pointless to go on until, if ever, you adjust your assumptions to be somewhat more in accord with reality, as empirically indicated.

Or do want to continue with your sustained demonstration of the total disconnect between your ideas and any meaningful understanding of reality?

this looks odd because I haven't employed assumptions, so we have a self-confessed science freak complaining that my agreement with physics that we have an open-system doesn't constitute a " meaningful understanding of reality" and insisting that empirical evidence is the only methodology when science itself operates conceptually and hopes to observe afterwards.........just like Christianity!

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


freeminer
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Quote:if we conjecture in

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if we conjecture in rational scientific fashion about the possibility of an infinite personal intelligence inhabiting other dimensions........[we already speculate regarding 11 or more - I suggest 12] who created,  I fail to see why it should be held irrational that such a Being would communicate with his creation. If we set out to look for such communication we would expect it to answer all the philosophical issues and reflect our own rationality. In dealing with his creation we would not expect his actions to evince our own space-time, cause-effect finitude. It is not irrational to conjecture that the Bible represents  such communication especially set against the alternatives. None of which is, of itself, proof.

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If the best 'evidence' you can produce involves that collection of ancient, inconsistent, confused writings,

well, we've barely discussed evidence and how from your perspective you would know what constitutes it. I have the same facts as you. 

1] "ancient" - you mean the Being I conjecture should have waited until last week to speak?

2] "inconsistent" - we would need to  discuss specifics.

3] "confused" - there is a pattern - I think you mean you find it confusing.  

 

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and the presumption of an infinite sentient being, you have just experienced an epic fail.

no,  I haven't "presumed" anything, neither have I asked you to.

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It would be just barely rational to search for the existence of some non-random patterns in quantum and other phenomena, currently assumed to be essentially random or chaotic. Any such indications may be a pointer to some alien intelligence, either within our known universe or in some 'metaverse' or parallel universe.

we can show the limits of our own rationality - in fact 20th century philosophy was very successful in this though of course it was unintentional . We know our own rationality is finite, it becomes Rationalism and decays into absurdity. We are in no position to categorise that which appears random to us, particularly given the conceptual evidence for multiple dimensions, as irrational........ we don't have the empirical or conceptual tools.

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This could be suggested by certain kinds of non-random patterns. If there was additionally some evidence of responsiveness to our personal thoughts and actions, this would be even more interesting, but would require very careful double-blind testing, at the very least.

careful......you seem to be discussing prayer.

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Thank you for demonstrating by that response the total intellectual bankruptcy of your position.

having said which, you have failed to provide a rational rebuttal to my assertion that it is not irrational to conjecture regarding the existence of an infinite personal Being. I have asserted that you live by faith - you are unable to rebut it......you took refuge in semantics. I have asserted an open-system.  Even now you cannot resile from it because you know physics backs me. I put the case that you irrationally refuse to accredit facts as evidence when in every other walk of life you accept them  as such eg evidence of logos. You irrationally cling on to empiricism as the only available evidence even while we agree on its finitude. You have nowhere to go vis a vis all the non-material entities which make human beings human......you think the signal is synonymous with the medium on which it rides.......are the words I'm writing adding to the weight of my laptop?........and you call my position, "intellectual bankcruptcy"!!!!.........somehow I think I am not the impoverished one!  

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You have consistently failed to provide any counter to my account of the justification for having confidence in the adequacy of empirical knowledge.

 no, it's fine, as long as you're happy to live with the dichotomy and relativism is your bag.......unfortunately truth and freedom are sleeping partners. The effect on society is ok....... for just as long as it doesn't affect you......unfortunately eventually it will.

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No 'proof' required, just a consistent set of arguments reinforcing our confidence in the conclusions.

yes, this is the motto of optimistic humanism.......despite our findings both scientific and philosophical......wherever the evidence leads, when the chips are down we'll deny everything to cling to our autonomy.  This is why it's so often the people at the end of themselves

who ditch Rationalism and choose to believe.

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


BobSpence
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freeminer wrote:Quote:If you

freeminer wrote:

Quote:

If you mean that something in the environment had an effect on something else that was also part of the same collection of 'things', well d'uh. 'Manipulated' could only apply to a purposeful being (in the most elementary sense such as maybe a bird building a nest, that is still not something manipulating itself. The environment affects the course of evolution of all creatures, whose successful reproduction can in turn have an effect on the ongoing state of the environment, but that is not 'manipulation', just 'blind' causation.

I think the phrase was inherited from the post you commented on. What I meant was that atheists resile from the notion of chance on the grounds that the environmentdidit and conveniently forget that in their view the evvironment was the product of chance too......but you are allowed some pedantry regarding "manipulate itself".

You excel in your ability to fit so many misconceptions and non-sequiturs in a short stretch of text.

'Chance' is an essential part of evolution!! Where the f**k do get your ideas??

Chance guarantees the greatest possible range of variation, the best chance of hitting upon something genuinely novel, that even the cleverest 'intelligent designer' might miss.

Then the inherent requirements for survival in the particular environment that any give life-form has to survive and reproduce in filters out the most effective variations.

And of course there is an significant degree of chance in the particular environment it will face, but any life-form that achieves significant numbers in that environment will in turn likely have some effect on it.

"Manipulate itself" is just nonsense in the vast majority of evolutionary situations, but I did concede that it is not as inherently nonsensical as 'create itself'.

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To partially retract, I will concede that sufficiently aware and resourceful beings, such as ourselves, can 'manipulate' themselves, by knowing what are our normal reactions, both physical and mental, to various actions, and so doing those things to ourselves.

What I was really thinking of was the all-too-common nonsensical comments from Theists about things 'creating' themselves.

it's surprising how many times atheists use the phrase apparently without irony.

Since atheists only normally use it when responding to a Theist raising the idea in the first place, you are talking nonsense as usual.

In this case, it was first raised by"NON-atheist", and then when I stated that his hypothetical "what if the energy could purposly manipulate itself?" was a "really crazy 'what if' ", you responded with "you mean irrational? Why?".

So I ask you, do you, or do you not think the idea of "energy manipulating itself" is irrational?

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That aside, any idea of self-manipulation is utterly foreign to evolutionary theory. It is the basic process of feed-back, one effect having some effect in turn back on what caused it, but only in the next 'cycle', ie not retrospectively. Thermostats are one of the most common everyday examples of consciously designed feed-back systems, where a rising temperature will cause a mechanical reaction which will move the control on an air-conditioner or heater in the direction to reduce the temperature.

Many examples occur in living populations, eg any increase in the population of predators in a region will reduce the prey population, which will in turn limit or reduce the growth of the predator population.

Within a certain temperature range, increasing sea-surface temperature will increase evaporation, cause more clouds to form, which will reflect more sunlight away from the surface, and limit the warming.

If you don't understand feed-back mechanisms, both negative as I just described, or postive, which tend to runaway effects, like melting snow in Global Warming, you are severely handicapped in understanding complex real-world phenomena.

you're preaching to the converted but while we're at it, Christians accept adaptation too. 

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 My main argument is that you presuppose that empirical evidence is the only kind because you presuppose that the space-time framework is the only kind...... that's like Rome presupposing that Galileo was wrong simply because they weren't the ones with the telescope!

Curious - do you actually accept evolution as described, but with God setting it up or driving it, or is your comment re 'adaptation' simply meant to refer to your version of the Creationists'  'micro' evolution, while you would deny 'macro' evolution?

Don't quite understand your point with Rome and the telescopes. The actual point was that both the Pope and Galileo could see through the telescope that the empirical evidence contradicted the picture of the the stars and planets that the Church endorsed, which had been based mainly on intuitions rather than empirical evidence.

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I already know that many Christians are woefully ignorant on such topics, of course.

we all have our interests........many atheists are woefully ignorant of theology. I should be the one complaining here not you - arguably Christians should be equipped for apologetics.

Theology itself is 'woefully ignorant'. I am no more interested in the theories and conclusions of Theology than I am in the arguments of the 'Flat Earthers'.

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DNA sequences can form in literally any sequence whatever. Those sequences which strongly and selectively tend to bind to particular peptides , and which are in turn enhance the synthesis of particular sequences of those peptides, AKA proteins, which enhance the process by which DNA strands are copied, will be selected for by the blind processes of natural selection. Since DNA strands can be quite long. the chances of such useful sequences arising is not all that low, and anything which encourages the replication of DNA in the its region of the strand will get into one of the positive feedback loops I mentioned above.

This is not like a code in the way we normally use the term, where relation between the particulars of the code and the information it represents is more-or-less arbitrary, and determined by our conscious decisions, whereas the nassociation between DNA sequence and the protein it 'codes for' is determined by chemical affinity.

Bob, you are not stupid.......a "code" which is "more or less arbitrary" is not a code........which of course is what you which to imply because codes imply a codifier. You know as well as I do that your phrase,"chemical affinity" is a semantic ploy which begs the question of who determined the "affinity". It is, at a technical level, a vast understatement. Biological information is not, as you also seek to imply, a "different" type of information. We find a unique coding system and definite syntax in every genome.  There is no known process by which information arises spontaneously in dead matter. Which came first, the DNA or the protein motor? Which came first, the coding system or the cell's ability to interpret it?

The pattern was automatically selected by its affinity for the protein sequences most useful to DNA replication, so the answer is they arose together.

In Physics, every object contains, is defined by, embodies an amount of information related to the number of fundamental particles it contains, and the information required to describe their configuration.

And you are right, the amount of such information cannot change within a closed system, but it can certainly change, as the particles change position and momentum.

Physical information is equally present in dead or alive matter. The information describing a living being does not disappear when the being dies, it just changes its arrangement. Even the 'biological' information is still there, it does not immediately change, but it starts to change the as creature decomposes.

Since all DNA sequences of the same length contain the same amount of physical information, there is no problem with that information changing as individual genes mutate, relocate, get duplicated or deleted, as long as the total amount of DNA plus any 'scrap' DNA remains constant.

You make a giant presumption when you ask "who" determined the "affinity". Each particular "affinity' is a physical consequence of the atomic arrangements on each molecule, which were available in pretty much all possible configurations.

You are right, normal use of the term 'code' implies a 'codifier', which is why that usage of the term is not applicable to DNA, where 'code' is used by analogy to describe the correspondence between the sequences and the proteins they 'code for'. It is because there is this direct physical connection between the protein sequences and the DNA sequence that codes for it that no coder is required. Human 'coders' deliberately encrypting something would of course make sure that there was no such simple association between the code and what it coded for, which is what happens in the most common idea of 'code'.

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It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

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not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

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Quantum Theories strongly suggests that there is an irreducible level of 'uncertainty' about the state of anything, including 'free space', so the extension of this idea is that the lowest energy state possible still implies a finite possibility of something coming into existence from 'nothing', as long as it doesn't persist for more than a certain period of time.

So you wish to drop the closed system of Newtonian physics and become metaphysical........ I suppose that is progress .....and in line with quantum mechanics . You still have to assume that zero-point energy is created ex nihilo.

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Of course not. No implications on Einsteinian Physics (Newton is a bit old hat), 'closed' or not.

so zero-point energy spontaneously appears.

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Not 'created', that would be begging the question, just spontaneously appearing,

and you think "spontaneously appearing" is not begging the question.

No - you are confusing 'zero-point energy' with virtual particle pairs. 

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and within very strict time and quantity constraints.

and who set these "very strict time and quantity constraints".......like every other instance of order in the universe , nothing could possibly constitute 'evidence'.

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And on a purely random timetable. IOW, no indication of any 'consious' intervention whatever.

to indulge in a moment's pedantry - is there such a thing as a "random timetable"? No instance of order constitutes evidence but people complain if trains don't run on time!

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I will assume you accept an open system from now on. I trust you will not be resorting to empiricism as your basis from hereon.

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Sticking to strict empiricism, as that is what gave us our counter-intuitive insights into the behaviour of the 'Quantum Realm'.

if it was counter-intuitive it wasn't "empirical" furthermore, conceptual mathematics can hardly be described as "empirical" If it had been empirical, agreement would have been easy. It was the insights which confirmed the boundary of empiricism.  

You are utterly mistaken here. Empirical evidence contradicts intuition all the time. 'Conceptual mathematics' is not used to justify or derive Quantum Theory. Mathematics is employed by Quantum Theory to precisely define and describe the details of the theory. If Quantum Mechanics was intuitive, it wouldn't have taken so long to get even the current rough consensus on what it signifies.

The math derived from the empirical data is accepted, but just what it implies about the physical nature of what is going on is very much subject to various 'interpretations'.

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There have been proposals that those randomly appearing 'virtual' particles are manifestations of higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context, which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance.

this only pushes the question back - and applies it to the, "higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context"

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which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance.

see above.......no, it just confirms an open system.

More accurately described as proposing that 'our' universe' is not strictly closed, but not is part of the 'ultimate' metaverse system which can be assumed to be closed - otherwise that means there is a another 'level', ie it would not be the 'ultimate' level of reality.

Of course, the levels may actually be closed like a Klein bottle, a 'final' level opening up into the 'lowest' level. These are the kind of thing one must consider at this level of speculation.

Even you assume the 'ultimate' is closed, otherwise 'God' will be impinged upon by some yet higher-level existence, so ultimately your insistence that 'our' universe is open is beside the point.

You claim the 'top-level' is inhabited by 'God', or is God. I claim that is a naked assertion, which even if true, would be unknowable. 

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It seems pointless to go on until, if ever, you adjust your assumptions to be somewhat more in accord with reality, as empirically indicated.

Or do want to continue with your sustained demonstration of the total disconnect between your ideas and any meaningful understanding of reality?

this looks odd because I haven't employed assumptions, so we have a self-confessed science freak complaining that my agreement with physics that we have an open-system doesn't constitute a " meaningful understanding of reality" and insisting that empirical evidence is the only methodology when science itself operates conceptually and hopes to observe afterwards.........just like Christianity!

That is just what I would expect, since it is the nature of intuition-based 'assumptions' that they do not feel to you like 'assumptions', but rather as self-evident truths.

As I said above, an 'open system' just means that the system referred to is neither the ultimate level of reality, nor essentially isolated from whatever else may be contained within the 'next level, or dimensionality, of reality. There may be a whole hierarchy and/or collection of parallel closed Universes.

And of course, all world-models may be described as 'conceptual', meaning they develop, manipulate, and apply 'concepts'.

The difference is that, unlike Science, Christianity doesn't realize or accept that concepts not tested against the entities and events that impinge upon us lack an essential level of validation, and are thus indistinguishable from pure fantasy, figments of our unconscious imagination.

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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freeminer wrote:Even now you

freeminer wrote:
Even now you cannot resile from it because you know physics backs me.

Give me an example of how physics supports your worldview.

freeminer wrote:
You have nowhere to go vis a vis all the non-material entities which make human beings human

Okay, give me an example of an immaterial entity that makes human beings human.

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


BobSpence
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freeminer wrote:Quote:if we

freeminer wrote:

Quote:

if we conjecture in rational scientific fashion about the possibility of an infinite personal intelligence inhabiting other dimensions........[we already speculate regarding 11 or more - I suggest 12] who created,  I fail to see why it should be held irrational that such a Being would communicate with his creation. If we set out to look for such communication we would expect it to answer all the philosophical issues and reflect our own rationality. In dealing with his creation we would not expect his actions to evince our own space-time, cause-effect finitude. It is not irrational to conjecture that the Bible represents  such communication especially set against the alternatives. None of which is, of itself, proof.

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If the best 'evidence' you can produce involves that collection of ancient, inconsistent, confused writings,

well, we've barely discussed evidence and how from your perspective you would know what constitutes it. I have the same facts as you. 

But I have pointed out that a number of your assumed facts are in error.

Anything as inconsistent and contradictory as the Bible is certainly not worth counting as evidence to anything much beyond the fact of its own existence.

I trust from your comments that that is among the facts that you also have access to?

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1] "ancient" - you mean the Being I conjecture should have waited until last week to speak?

2] "inconsistent" - we would need to  discuss specifics.

3] "confused" - there is a pattern - I think you mean you find it confusing.  

So it appears you contest my assessment of that nonsense.

1. No - another of your erroneous assumptions.

2. Wildly so.

3. Of course, I find it confusing, and the confused misunderstandings of science and empiricism you have demonstrates satisfies me that you have less claim to be able to judge the coherence of any set of propositions.

So it reduces to an argument about personal perceptions. But this is old ground, the documentation of the many inconsistencies and confusions in the Bible is well-documented, as are the many twists and turns required to torture language and logic into a form which can dress it up into some superficially plausible interpretation. 

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and the presumption of an infinite sentient being, you have just experienced an epic fail.

no,  I haven't "presumed" anything, neither have I asked you to.

So when you said "if we conjecture in rational scientific fashion about the possibility of an infinite personal intelligence inhabiting other dimensions." that was a conjecture, not a presumption. OK. 

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It would be just barely rational to search for the existence of some non-random patterns in quantum and other phenomena, currently assumed to be essentially random or chaotic. Any such indications may be a pointer to some alien intelligence, either within our known universe or in some 'metaverse' or parallel universe.

we can show the limits of our own rationality - in fact 20th century philosophy was very successful in this though of course it was unintentional . We know our own rationality is finite, it becomes Rationalism and decays into absurdity. We are in no position to categorise that which appears random to us, particularly given the conceptual evidence for multiple dimensions, as irrational........ we don't have the empirical or conceptual tools.

We can't really show them explicitly, but we do realize we have finite capabilities, of course.

Randomness can be explicitly measured, although to establish it with a given level of confidence or accuracy over long periods would require even longer periods of continuous measurement. 

'Conceptual evidence' is an oxymoron, and in any case, multiple dimensions would not negate the randomness measured in any given context. The Christian position has indeed long 'decayed into absurdity', since it relies on a severely flawed and limited version of 'rationality'.

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This could be suggested by certain kinds of non-random patterns. If there was additionally some evidence of responsiveness to our personal thoughts and actions, this would be even more interesting, but would require very careful double-blind testing, at the very least.

careful......you seem to be discussing prayer.

I was indeed, more-or-less - and given the failure of prayer to be evidenced in any careful test, we have no indication of any evidence for such 'outside' influences.

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Thank you for demonstrating by that response the total intellectual bankruptcy of your position.

having said which, you have failed to provide a rational rebuttal to my assertion that it is not irrational to conjecture regarding the existence of an infinite personal Being. I have asserted that you live by faith - you are unable to rebut it......you took refuge in semantics. I have asserted an open-system.  Even now you cannot resile from it because you know physics backs me. I put the case that you irrationally refuse to accredit facts as evidence when in every other walk of life you accept them  as such eg evidence of logos. You irrationally cling on to empiricism as the only available evidence even while we agree on its finitude. You have nowhere to go vis a vis all the non-material entities which make human beings human......you think the signal is synonymous with the medium on which it rides.......are the words I'm writing adding to the weight of my laptop?........and you call my position, "intellectual bankcruptcy"!!!!.........somehow I think I am not the impoverished one!  

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You have consistently failed to provide any counter to my account of the justification for having confidence in the adequacy of empirical knowledge.

 no, it's fine, as long as you're happy to live with the dichotomy and relativism is your bag.......unfortunately truth and freedom are sleeping partners. The effect on society is ok....... for just as long as it doesn't affect you......unfortunately eventually it will.

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No 'proof' required, just a consistent set of arguments reinforcing our confidence in the conclusions.

yes, this is the motto of optimistic humanism.......despite our findings both scientific and philosophical......wherever the evidence leads, when the chips are down we'll deny everything to cling to our autonomy.  This is why it's so often the people at the end of themselves

who ditch Rationalism and choose to believe.

There is no dichotomy in empiricism, it is your desperate clinging to your primitive presuppositions of an infinite personal being while trying to reconcile it somehow with science and empiricism with its massively demonstrated practical success that is the dichotomy. Such a being is so wildly beyond anything we have actually encountered as an empirically existent being, especially the 'infinite' bit, that it is impossible to justify asserting anything coherent about how such a thing might manifest.

Not so much relativism, more a matter of honest recognition of precisely the limits of our understanding you referred to earlier.

You seem to be making the common mistake of conflating the absence of absolutely knowable 'facts', plus the scientific recognition that any given conclusion based on what has been discovered and understood to date is likely to extensively revised or even overturned by future discoveries and/or insights, that acknowledged and unavoidable uncertainty, with 'relativism'.

The degree of confidence we have in empirical knowledge is based on what we can justify, and we keep that inherent limitation in mind, which is in stark contrast to the arrogant confidence that tends to go along with non-empirical 'understandings', as we encounter with virtually every Theist we encounter, who ultimately falls back on his 'perfect' confidence in the 'truth' that he really has been 'walking with Jesus', or whatever vacuos claim they want to believe in. History records a long history of continual overturning of intuitively 'known' beliefs, from the nature of the stars and planets, the origins and development of life, the size and shape of the Earth, the terrible effects of travelling too fast (at the speed of early railway trains), the impossibility of heavier-than-air flight, the idea that light originated in the eye, that heavier objects fall consistently faster than lighter ones, etc, etc. An infinite superbeing is just another example of the same sort of thing.

Philosophy makes no 'findings', just speculations.

Science continually revises its findings - it is the world of faith which clings to its delusions.

Empiricism is humble and honest, recognizing our limitations, but systematically comparing and correlating what information we seem to have gained, to extract what elements of it we can establish with a useful degree of confidence.

Whereas away from empirical evidence, you have nothing but naked hope and faith, wishful thinking, hallucination and delusion. And no way to demonstrate anything to the contrary, without falling back on actual, ie, empirical, evidence.

It is not that empiricism gives an absolutely solid guarantee of truth, just that everything else has far less.

You know, I would have had more difficulty dismissing your arguments if you didn't repeatedly demonstrate explicit basic errors in your understanding of science and empirical research.

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


Kapkao
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I'm not sure if I ever

I'm not sure if I ever believed -HOWEVER, when I still valued my parent's judgment on most subjects (including theism), my #1 priority was seeing if I could prove God existed/didn't exist, make divine contact, etc. My conclusions kept coming up negative, so I gave up all together.

 

I guess that means I have nothing relevant to contribute...

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


freeminer
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Quote:well, we've barely

Quote:

well, we've barely discussed evidence and how from your perspective you would know what constitutes it. I have the same facts as you. 

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But I have pointed out that a number of your assumed facts are in error.

but you agree that your whole epistemology is subject to "error"!

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Anything as inconsistent and contradictory as the Bible is certainly not worth counting as evidence to anything much beyond the fact of its own existence.

I trust from your comments that that is among the facts that you also have access to?

as I said, this would call for a discussion of specifics but as a generality - it concurs with what we observe.

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1] "ancient" - you mean the Being I conjecture should have waited until last week to speak?

2] "inconsistent" - we would need to  discuss specifics.

3] "confused" - there is a pattern - I think you mean you find it confusing.  

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So it appears you contest my assessment of that nonsense.

1. No - another of your erroneous assumptions.

so on what conceivable basis does its age preclude its veracity?

 

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2. Wildly so.

an unsubstantiated presupposition ......atheists tend to console themselves with these.

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3. Of course, I find it confusing, and the confused misunderstandings of science and empiricism you have demonstrates satisfies me that you have less claim to be able to judge the coherence of any set of propositions.

and yet, for all the boldness of this assertion you are not able to identify a single "confused misunderstanding"........tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies........you know this as well as I do. I have merely set down that:

1] you cannot establish absolute objective reality philosophically - refute it

2] you cannot establish absolute objective reality empirically - you agreed with me.

3] therefore you live by faith - the object of your faith being "working assumptions".

4] You have not sought to refute my assertion of an open system base on non-locality.

5]Therefore I assert that the conjecture regarding the possibility of a Being unconfined within the space-time continuum and of infinite iintelligence is not inherently irrational.

6] I then assert that the proposition that such a Being may communicate with his creation is not inherently irrational

7] I then assert that the proposition that the Bible may constitute such communication is not inherently irrational.  

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So it reduces to an argument about personal perceptions.

so does atheism but Christianity can provide a rationale.

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But this is old ground, the documentation of the many inconsistencies and confusions in the Bible is well-documented,

 see above

 

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as are the many twists and turns required to torture language and logic into a form which can dress it up into some superficially plausible interpretation. 

I see no reason to so indulge.

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and the presumption of an infinite sentient being, you have just experienced an epic fail.

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no,  I haven't "presumed" anything, neither have I asked you to.

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So when you said "if we conjecture in rational scientific fashion about the possibility of an infinite personal intelligence inhabiting other dimensions." that was a conjecture, not a presumption. OK. 

yes it's conjecture prior to commitment .

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It would be just barely rational to search for the existence of some non-random patterns in quantum and other phenomena, currently assumed to be essentially random or chaotic. Any such indications may be a pointer to some alien intelligence, either within our known universe or in some 'metaverse' or parallel universe.

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we can show the limits of our own rationality - in fact 20th century philosophy was very successful in this though of course it was unintentional . We know our own rationality is finite, it becomes Rationalism and decays into absurdity. We are in no position to categorise that which appears random to us, particularly given the conceptual evidence for multiple dimensions, as irrational........ we don't have the empirical or conceptual tools.

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We can't really show them explicitly, but we do realize we have finite capabilities, of course.

Randomness can be explicitly measured, although to establish it with a given level of confidence or accuracy over long periods would require even longer periods of continuous measurement. 

If you have a standard against which to measure randomness,  then randomness is no longer random... the uncertainty principle would no longer be uncertainty.......you see, what is this:   

"a given level of confidence or accuracy over long periods"

supposed to mean? What would a given level of confidence be and how would you know how it relates?

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'Conceptual evidence' is an oxymoron,

no it isn't, we proceed on the basis of conceptual mathematical modelling. 

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and in any case, multiple dimensions wouldnot negate the randomness measured in any given context.

this is a wonderful statement........ how would one have the vaguest idea?

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The Christian position has indeed long 'decayed into absurdity', since it relies on a severely flawed and limited version of 'rationality'.

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please state the basis of this claim,  so far I have "ancient", "confused" "contradictory"

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This could be suggested by certain kinds of non-random patterns. If there was additionally some evidence of responsiveness to our personal thoughts and actions, this would be even more interesting, but would require very careful double-blind testing, at the very least.

careful......you seem to be discussing prayer.

 

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I was indeed, more-or-less - and given the failure of prayer to be evidenced in any careful test, we have no indication of any evidence for such 'outside' influences.

what possible rational presupposition leads you to the conclusion that God is susceptible to empiricism?! The Bible says, "without faith God can do nothing." This is because he deliberately limits his sovreignty in regard to Man. 

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Thank you for demonstrating by that response the total intellectual bankruptcy of your position.

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having said which, you have failed to provide a rational rebuttal to my assertion that it is not irrational to conjecture regarding the existence of an infinite personal Being. I have asserted that you live by faith - you are unable to rebut it......you took refuge in semantics. I have asserted an open-system.  Even now you cannot resile from it because you know physics backs me. I put the case that you irrationally refuse to accredit facts as evidence when in every other walk of life you accept them  as such eg evidence of logos. You irrationally cling on to empiricism as the only available evidence even while we agree on its finitude. You have nowhere to go vis a vis all the non-material entities which make human beings human......you think the signal is synonymous with the medium on which it rides.......are the words I'm writing adding to the weight of my laptop?........and you call my position, "intellectual bankcruptcy"!!!!.........somehow I think I am not the impoverished one! 
 

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You have consistently failed to provide any counter to my account of the justification for having confidence in the adequacy of empirical knowledge.

 

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no, it's fine, as long as you're happy to live with the dichotomy and relativism is your bag.......unfortunately truth and freedom are sleeping partners. The effect on society is ok....... for just as long as it doesn't affect you......unfortunately eventually it will.

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No 'proof' required, just a consistent set of arguments reinforcing our confidence in the conclusions.

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yes, this is the motto of optimistic humanism.......despite our findings both scientific and philosophical......wherever the evidence leads, when the chips are down we'll deny everything to cling to our autonomy.  This is why it's so often the people at the end of themselves

who ditch Rationalism and choose to believe.

Quote:
There is no dichotomy in empiricism, it is your desperate clinging to your primitive presuppositions of an infinite personal being while trying to reconcile it somehow with science and empiricism with its massively demonstrated practical success that is the dichotomy.

I didn't say there is a dichotomy within empiricism. I  said, those who live assuming that empirical evidence is the only kind, live with a dichotomy. This is self-evident. We agree that empiricism does not supply absolutes but you have no choice but to live as though absolutes exist........you are doing it constantly in this debate,  otherwise, on your own admission you are not an atheist at all but an agnostic since the notion that God does not exist is just an "assumption".

 

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Such a being is so wildly beyond anything we have actually encountered as an empirically existent being,

"empirically"?......if God could be encompassed within an empirical framework, he would, by definition, not be God.......and rationally, why should he be? People claim to have encountered him.

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especially the 'infinite' bit, that it is impossible to justify asserting anything coherent about how such a thing might manifest.

no it isn't........what evidence can you present that the space-time continuum is universal given an open system?

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Not so much relativism, more a matter of honest recognition of precisely the limits of our understanding you referred to earlier.

but you are the one claiming unlimited knowledge, you are claiming that conjecture is irrational.... you seem to be under the misapprehension that I'm presenting proof. The Bible claims that proof is only available subsequent to commitment.

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You seem to be making the common mistake of conflating the absence of absolutely knowable 'facts', plus the scientific recognition that any given conclusion based on what has been discovered and understood to date is likely to extensively revised or even overturned by future discoveries and/or insights, that acknowledged and unavoidable uncertainty, with 'relativism'.

I have no need to. The simple formula is that if you have no absolute, all you have left is relativism and no attempt to stick a dialectical plaster on that will solve it. Natural law gives you your "working assumptions" but the presumption  that these are universal in an open system is entirely irrational.......that's what you do when you presume an infinite Being to be an irrational hypothesis. The last bit is just optimistc scientism.

 

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The degree of confidence we have in empirical knowledge is based on what we can justify, and we keep that inherent limitation in mind,

no it isn't. Evolutionists are forever accrediting facts with the status of evidence without a scrap of justification. Climate change........need I say more? 

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which is in stark contrast to the arrogant confidence that tends to go along with non-empirical 'understandings', as we encounter with virtually every Theist we encounter, who ultimately falls back on his 'perfect' confidence in the 'truth' that he really has been 'walking with Jesus', or whatever vacuos claim they want to believe in.

there are vacuous claims among atheists and Christians alike. Whether confidence is "arrogant".....well, there is no call for arrogance from either side. Your assertion seems subjective and emotion based. I doubt it assists us to arrive at truth.            

 

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History records a long history of continual overturning of intuitively 'known' beliefs, from the nature of the stars and planets, the origins and development of life, the size and shape of the Earth, the terrible effects of travelling too fast (at the speed of early railway trains), the impossibility of heavier-than-air flight, the idea that light originated in the eye, that heavier objects fall consistently faster than lighter ones, etc, etc.

you're right........people attach  'belief' to all sorts of things. Some of your examples were, "working assumptions"The difference with this:

"An infinite superbeing is just another example of the same sort of thing."

is that people testify to an altered epistemology. Why?

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Philosophy makes no 'findings', just speculations.

well that is historically, provably untrue.

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Science continually revises its findings - it is the world of faith which clings to its delusions.

which is what we would expect if Christianity is true.

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Empiricism is humble and honest, recognizing our limitations, but systematically comparing and correlating what information we seem to have gained, to extract what elements of it we can establish with a useful degree of confidence.

I think we can scotch the idea of universal humility......to say nothing  of honesty!!! An excellent calling none the less.

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Whereas away from empirical evidence, you have nothing but naked hope and faith, wishful thinking, hallucination and delusion. And no way to demonstrate anything to the contrary, without falling back on actual, ie, empirical, evidence.

1] As we've seen -  you have nothing but naked hope and faith in your "working assumption"while the Christian's Absolute is fundamental to his world-view.

2] To categorise it as "wishful thinking", you would need to see inside another's head .

3] "Delusion" is the oldest jibe in the book.......see [2 above.

4] "Empirical evidence"........reductionism - do you test your every emotion empirically? Do you test your love empirically? This is the sort of absurd reductionism which claims that more police equals less crime.

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It is not that empiricism gives an absolutely solid guarantee of truth, just that everything else has far less.

and how would you know?.......unjustified presupposition and... without an an absolute, unjustifiable.

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You know, I would have had more difficulty dismissing your arguments if you didn't repeatedly demonstrate explicit basic errors in your understanding of science and empirical research.

as they are so prevalent and obvious, why haven't you dismissed them? State why conjecture regarding the  existence of the God of the Bible is inherently irrational......the sum total appears to be, because he is not susceptible to empiricism ie you have no choice but to replace the real question with a contradictory and therefore irrational one. On that ludicrous premise, arguably the atheist stakes his eternity.

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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Kill 'em with Kindness

I see that you atheists have set up a forum where everyone has to act like pansies and dance around the issues. That's just the sort of thing I would expect from an atheist forum.

The Truest Christian these atheists will ever meet. I worship the only Lord at the Church with the Truest Christians: Landover Baptist.


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Quote:If you mean that

Quote:

If you mean that something in the environment had an effect on something else that was also part of the same collection of 'things', well d'uh. 'Manipulated' could only apply to a purposeful being (in the most elementary sense such as maybe a bird building a nest, that is still not something manipulating itself. The environment affects the course of evolution of all creatures, whose successful reproduction can in turn have an effect on the ongoing state of the environment, but that is not 'manipulation', just 'blind' causation.

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Ithink the phrase was inherited from the post you commented on. What I meant was that atheists resile from the notion of chance on the grounds that the environmentdidit and conveniently forget that in their view the evvironment was the product of chance too......but you are allowed some pedantry regarding "manipulate itself".

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You excel in your ability to fit so many misconceptions and non-sequiturs in a short stretch of text.

where is your list?

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'Chance' is an essential part of evolution!! Where the f**k do get your ideas??

where did I say this? I simply pointed out that the environment you cite as a source of determinism is itself, according to you the product of chance.

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Chance guarantees the greatest possible range of variation,

chance "guarantees" nothing - by definition.  

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the best chance of hitting upon something genuinely novel, that even the cleverest 'intelligent designer' might miss.

sure, just give those monkeys the typewriters! This is why John Cage is so popular. 

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Then the inherent requirements for survival in the particular environment that any give life-form has to survive and reproduce in filters out the most effective variations.

sorry this looks a tad incoherent

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And of course there is an significant degree of chance in the particular environment it will face, but any life-form that achieves significant numbers in that environment will in turn likely have some effect on it.

"Manipulate itself" is just nonsense in the vast majority of evolutionary situations, but I did concede that it is not as inherently nonsensical as 'create itself'.

we will not disagree re adaptation.

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To partially retract, I will concede that sufficiently aware and resourceful beings, such as ourselves, can 'manipulate' themselves, by knowing what are our normal reactions, both physical and mental, to various actions, and so doing those things to ourselves.

What I was really thinking of was the all-too-common nonsensical comments from Theists about things 'creating' themselves.

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it's surprising how many times atheists use the phrase apparently without irony.

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Since atheists only normally use it when responding to a Theist raising the idea in the first place, you are talking nonsense as usual.

not in my experience.

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In this case, it was first raised by"NON-atheist", and then when I stated that his hypothetical "what if the energy could purposly manipulate itself?" was a "really crazy 'what if' ", you responded with "you mean irrational? Why?".

So I ask you, do you, or do you not think the idea of "energy manipulating itself" is irrational?

I pointed out that this is indeed irrational .........mystical

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That aside, any idea of self-manipulation is utterly foreign to evolutionary theory. It is the basic process of feed-back, one effect having some effect in turn back on what caused it, but only in the next 'cycle', ie not retrospectively. Thermostats are one of the most common everyday examples of consciously designed feed-back systems, where a rising temperature will cause a mechanical reaction which will move the control on an air-conditioner or heater in the direction to reduce the temperature.

Many examples occur in living populations, eg any increase in the population of predators in a region will reduce the prey population, which will in turn limit or reduce the growth of the predator population.

Within a certain temperature range, increasing sea-surface temperature will increase evaporation, cause more clouds to form, which will reflect more sunlight away from the surface, and limit the warming.

If you don't understand feed-back mechanisms, both negative as I just described, or postive, which tend to runaway effects, like melting snow in Global Warming, you are severely handicapped in understanding complex real-world phenomena.

you're preaching to the converted but while we're at it, Christians accept adaptation too. 

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 My main argument is that you presuppose that empirical evidence is the only kind because you presuppose that the space-time framework is the only kind...... that's like Rome presupposing that Galileo was wrong simply because they weren't the ones with the telescope!

 

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Curious - do you actually accept evolution as described, but with God setting it up or driving it, or is your comment re 'adaptation' simply meant to refer to your version of the Creationists'  'micro' evolution, while you would deny 'macro' evolution?

that is a reasonable synopsis of my position.

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Don't quite understand your point with Rome and the telescopes. The actual point was that both the Pope and Galileo could see through the telescope that the empirical evidence contradicted the picture of the the stars and planets that the Church endorsed, which had been based mainly on intuitions rather than empirical evidence.

my point was that before looking for themselves they denied it simply because they didn't have the necessary physical equipment.......the same is true of spiritual equipment.

 

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I already know that many Christians are woefully ignorant on such topics, of course.

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we all have our interests........many atheists are woefully ignorant of theology. I should be the one complaining here not you - arguably Christians should be equipped for apologetics.

Theology itself is 'woefully ignorant'. I am no more interested in the theories and conclusions of Theology than I am in the arguments of the 'Flat Earthers'.

so you are "woefully ignorant"....... so that was just a touch of hypocrisy.

 

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DNA sequences can form in literally any sequence whatever. Those sequences which strongly and selectively tend to bind to particular peptides , and which are in turn enhance the synthesis of particular sequences of those peptides, AKA proteins, which enhance the process by which DNA strands are copied, will be selected for by the blind processes of natural selection. Since DNA strands can be quite long. the chances of such useful sequences arising is not all that low, and anything which encourages the replication of DNA in the its region of the strand will get into one of the positive feedback loops I mentioned above.

This is not like a code in the way we normally use the term, where relation between the particulars of the code and the information it represents is more-or-less arbitrary, and determined by our conscious decisions, whereas the nassociation between DNA sequence and the protein it 'codes for' is determined by chemical affinity.

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Bob, you are not stupid.......a "code" which is "more or less arbitrary" is not a code........which of course is what you which to imply because codes imply a codifier. You know as well as I do that your phrase,"chemical affinity" is a semantic ploy which begs the question of who determined the "affinity". It is, at a technical level, a vast understatement. Biological information is not, as you also seek to imply, a "different" type of information. We find a unique coding system and definite syntax in every genome.  There is no known process by which information arises spontaneously in dead matter. Which came first, the DNA or the protein motor? Which came first, the coding system or the cell's ability to interpret it?

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The pattern was automatically selected by its affinity for the protein sequences most useful to DNA replication, so the answer is they arose together.

no it wasn't.......there is absolutely zilch empirical support for the notion - you couldn't even suggest an energy source.

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In Physics, every object contains, is defined by, embodies an amount of information related to the number of fundamental particles it contains, and the information required to describe their configuration.

And you are right, the amount of such information cannot change within a closed system, but it can certainly change, as the particles change position and momentum.

this only tells us what 'is' not where the information came from....... unless there was a purpose, you do not have "information" you have random noise.

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Physical information is equally present in dead or alive matter.

please don't try to tell me the coding for proteins is present in dead matter....you  are attempting to conflate this with sub-atomic "information" apparently - smoke and mirrors.......give me a break! 

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The information describing a living being does not disappear when the being dies, it just changes its arrangement. Even the 'biological' information is still there, it does not immediately change, but it starts to change the as creature decomposes.

Since all DNA sequences of the same length contain the same amount of physical information, there is no problem with that information changing as individual genes mutate, relocate, get duplicated or deleted, as long as the total amount of DNA plus any 'scrap' DNA remains constant.

I'm not quite sure whether you're trying to refute the notion of 'code' here........do you need me to go into detail as to why it  is? Are you attempting to make a case for macro evolution?

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You make a giant presumption when you ask "who" determined the "affinity". Each particular "affinity' is a physical consequence of the atomic arrangements on each molecule, which were available in pretty much all possible configurations.

but this is trite Bob.......it's like me watching you building a cupboard and then denying your existence on the grounds that I know how you did it. You see "affinity" tell us nothing.

its "availability" contrasts remarkably with its observed specificity see: Thaxton, Baxter, Olsen.

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You are right, normal use of the term 'code' implies a 'codifier', which is why that usage of the term is not applicable to DNA, where 'code' is used by analogy to describe the correspondence between the sequences and the proteins they 'code for'. It is because there is this direct physical connection between the protein sequences and the DNA sequence that codes for it that no coder is required.
oh dear Bob.....non sequiter! I can hardly believe

you wrote this totally irrational assertion.

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Human 'coders' deliberately encrypting something would of course make sure that there was no such simple association between the code and what it coded for, which is what happens in the most common idea of 'code'.

!!!! no...... this is just a code intended to  restrict access. The fact that this is not the case in DNA does not alter the latter's 'code' status. If you need me to use information theory to show this, I'll do so. 

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Quote:
It is also completely unnecessary to allow something to happen - quantum randomness will all but guarantee that any special state needed to trigger a 'Big Bang' will happen eventually if it isn't explicitly impossible.

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not if there is no mass, motion nor energy it won't.

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Quantum Theories strongly suggests that there is an irreducible level of 'uncertainty' about the state of anything, including 'free space', so the extension of this idea is that the lowest energy state possible still implies a finite possibility of something coming into existence from 'nothing', as long as it doesn't persist for more than a certain period of time.

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So you wish to drop the closed system of Newtonian physics and become metaphysical........ I suppose that is progress .....and in line with quantum mechanics . You still have to assume that zero-point energy is created ex nihilo.

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Of course not. No implications on Einsteinian Physics (Newton is a bit old hat), 'closed' or not.

so zero-point energy spontaneously appears.

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Not 'created', that would be begging the question, just spontaneously appearing,

and you think "spontaneously appearing" is not begging the question.

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No - you are confusing 'zero-point energy' with virtual particle pairs. 

 

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no, you will still have to assert that energy is spontaneously produced ex nihilo from a zero-point energy field. However you break it down, you postulate a theretofore non existent dense  mass spontaneously emerging and exploding by its theretofore non existent energy.

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and within very strict time and quantity constraints.

and who set these "very strict time and quantity constraints".......like every other instance of order in the universe , nothing could possibly constitute 'evidence'.

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And on a purely random timetable. IOW, no indication of any 'consious' intervention whatever.

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to indulge in a moment's pedantry - is there such a thing as a "random timetable"? No instance of order constitutes evidence but people complain if trains don't run on time!

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I will assume you accept an open system from now on. I trust you will not be resorting to empiricism as your basis from hereon.

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Sticking to strict empiricism, as that is what gave us our counter-intuitive insights into the behaviour of the 'Quantum Realm'.

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if it was counter-intuitive it wasn't "empirical" furthermore, conceptual mathematics can hardly be described as "empirical" If it had been empirical, agreement would have been easy. It was the insights which confirmed the boundary of empiricism.  

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You are utterly mistaken here. Empirical evidence contradicts intuition all the time.

this is nonsense Bob, my senses tell me a vacuum is empty space......it was intuition supported by conceptual mathematics which led us to the which led to the conclusion that it's anything but.

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'Conceptual mathematics' is not used to justify or derive Quantum Theory.

of course it was, what else do you think think Heisenberg worked with?! All along he had the belief, the intuition, that his model was right and the 'old-guard' were wrong. If he'd had empirical evidence he could have just waved it in front of Einstein's face.  

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Mathematics is employed by Quantum Theory to precisely define and describe the details of the theory.

you seem addicted to half truths..... the above is only true retrospectively...... .we didn't start by saying, oh look! Quantum Theory! 

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If Quantum Mechanics was intuitive, it wouldn't have taken so long to get even the current rough consensus on what it signifies.

if quantum theory were empirical, it certainly wouldn't have taken so long.

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The math derived from the empirical data is accepted, but just what it implies about the physical nature of what is going on is very much subject to various 'interpretations'.

Bob, we don't speculate about higgs boson because we empirically know of its existence we speculate because on the basis of the mathematics our intuition tells us there may be something to be found........we built the LHC in the hope of establishing empirical data - in fact there is a real discussion as to whether physical experimentation has any further value in the field.

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There have been proposals that those randomly appearing 'virtual' particles are manifestations of higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context, which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance.

this only pushes the question back - and applies it to the, "higher-dimensional particles temporarily changing state so as to mainfest in our context"

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which would negate the need to assume even this restricted form of 'ex-nihilo' appearance.

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see above.......no, it just confirms an open system.

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More accurately described as proposing that 'our' universe' is not strictly closed, but not is part of the 'ultimate' metaverse system which can be assumed to be closed - otherwise that means there is a another 'level', ie it would not be the 'ultimate' level of reality.
quite...though I can't imagine on what basis we'd "assume" such a thing. Simply on the basis of non-locality the closed system is blown. You have no basis for arguing simple cause-effect.  

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Of course, the levels may actually be closed like a Klein bottle, a 'final' level opening up into the 'lowest' level. These are the kind of thing one must consider at this level of speculation.

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Even you assume the 'ultimate' is closed, otherwise 'God' will be impinged upon by some yet higher-level existence, so ultimately your insistence that 'our' universe is open is beside the point.

he claims infinte omnipresence.

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You claim the 'top-level' is inhabited by 'God', or is God. I claim that is a naked assertion, which even if true, would be unknowable. 

he claims you can know him.

 

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It seems pointless to go on until, if ever, you adjust your assumptions to be somewhat more in accord with reality, as empirically indicated.

Or do want to continue with your sustained demonstration of the total disconnect between your ideas and any meaningful understanding of reality?

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this looks odd because I haven't employed assumptions, so we have a self-confessed science freak complaining that my agreement with physics that we have an open-system doesn't constitute a " meaningful understanding of reality" and insisting that empirical evidence is the only methodology when science itself operates conceptually and hopes to observe afterwards.........just like Christianity!

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That is just what I would expect, since it is the nature of intuition-based 'assumptions' that they do not feel to you like 'assumptions', but rather as self-evident truths.

your intuition didn't lead to God - why should mine? Paul  thought the truth "self-evident" - it's a POV but not a necessary starting point. God says, "try it and see" - that's straight forward experimentation.

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As I said above, an 'open system' just means that the system referred to is neither the ultimate level of reality, nor essentially isolated from whatever else may be contained within the 'next level, or dimensionality, of reality. There may be a whole hierarchy and/or collection of parallel closed Universes.

but this is not the issue is it? The issue is simply that there is no reason to presuppose that God is locked into a space-time continuum of his own creation....... which would contradict the very definition.

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And of course, all world-models may be described as 'conceptual', meaning they develop, manipulate, and apply 'concepts'.

The difference is that, unlike Science, Christianity doesn't realize or accept that concepts not tested against the entities and events that impinge upon us lack an essential level of validation, and are thus indistinguishable from pure fantasy, figments of our unconscious imagination.

This is a fundamental error - Christianity deals with ALL the entities impinging on us including the ones invisible to empiricism. It recognises that we are in the midst of a conflict which while not of our making, we have no choice but to be involved in. As I said on the other thread, it recognises the totality of the human condition and refuses to consciously ignore the greater part. An experiment is put before you. The conjecture is perfectly  rational.

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


BobSpence
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A living animal and one that

A living animal and one that has just died have the same coding sequence.

Physical information simply is a description of the current position and momentum of each fundamental particle - 'purpose' totally inapplicable.

No energy was specifically involved in the assertion that particular sequences of nucleotides will have a higher affinity for a particular sequence of amino acids (proteins). Not sure what you were driving at there.

But my description did short-circuit the process, at least as it works in current cells (whatever happened in precursors to current life forms). There is an intermediate molecule involved, 'transfer RNA' (tRNA), which comes in different variants. One end of the tRNA molecule binds to a specific amino acid, the other exposes three nucleotides (the elements of the genetic 'code' ):

http://www.contexo.info/DNA_Basics/Protein_synthesis.htm wrote:

There are many different types of transfer RNA molecules--actually more than one for each of 18 of the 20 different amino acids found in proteins (methionine and tryptophan being the exceptions.)

So the 'affinity' is between the particular amino acid and the arrangement of atoms at one end of a particular tRNA molecule.

The three exposed nucleotides at the other end of the tRNA bind to their complementary bases in the standard pattern of all RNA/DNA, as described in that article.

Dunno what you are referring to as having 'zilch evidence'. There has to be such an affinity, an attraction, involved for the process to work. Its a bit like a jigsaw puzzle - certain arrangements of atoms fit more readily into complementary arrangements on another molecule. They can stick together due to the attraction between complementary patterns of electric charge on each side, but not strongly enough to become permanently bonded. Any energy required comes from cell metabolism. For the original primeval precursors, the energy would have ultimately come from sunlight.

The mapping between the sequence of three 'bases' in each 'codon' of the DNA molecule is listed here.

On your last comment, Christianity simply assumes, with no possible validation, that some concepts refer to external realities, despite total lack of any evidence of their existence outside our imagination, simply on the basis that they are consistent with a particular mythical narrative.

I may come back for more, but no guarantees, since I see mostly the same points being argued over in different variations, and it seems unlikely you will 'get it'. You are presenting nothing not already addressed in some form.

 

 

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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cj wrote:David Henson

cj wrote:

David Henson wrote:

Because I have gathered the evidence and have no choice but to believe. The instant I should find any contrary evidence I will immediately cease to believe, very publicly and very openly.

I'll let ShadowofMan answer the rest of your questions, but I'm curious.  I searched for evidence of god/s/dess existence for years.  All I found was a bunch of self-delusional people who wanted very badly for an invisible friend.  I understand their need for finding self-worth outside of themselves, but that isn't proof that said invisible friend exists.

Find me one, just one, person who was healed of cystic fibrosis or limb amputation or something similarly visible and I could believe in miracles, too.  Invisible tumors, headaches, backaches, or images of Jesus in bacon fat just won't cut it for me, sorry.

Cystic Fibrosis is nearing a cure... but only thanks to a number of researchers at UAB. <-the theistobot comes for you now.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


freeminer
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Quote:A living animal and

Quote:

A living animal and one that has just died have the same coding sequence.

of course.......I'm not sure how you think this strengthens your case

Quote:
Physical information simply is a description of the current position and momentum of each fundamental particle - 'purpose' totally inapplicable.
yes.......why did you apparently wish to revert to a discussion at the molecular level?  With regard to information in crystals it only begs the question.

Quote:
No energy was specifically involved in the assertion that particular sequences of nucleotides will have a higher youaffinity for a particular sequence of amino acids (proteins). Not sure what you were driving at there.

you propose sunlight as an energy source to drive abiogenesis......how do you propose to convert it to directed energy?

I propose to bundle together your posts vis a vis RNA and simply quote research findings:

Quote:
But my description did short-circuit the process, at least as it works in current cells (whatever happened in precursors to current life forms). There is an intermediate molecule involved, 'transfer RNA' (tRNA), which comes in different variants. One end of the tRNA molecule binds to a specific amino acid, the other exposes three nucleotides (the elements of the genetic 'code' ):

 

There are many different types of transfer RNA molecules--actually more than one for each of 18 of the 20 different amino acids found in proteins (methionine and tryptophan being the exceptions.)

 

So the 'affinity' is between the particular amino acid and the arrangement of atoms at one end of a particular tRNA molecule.

The three exposed nucleotides at the other end of the tRNA bind to their complementary bases in the standard pattern of all RNA/DNA, as described in that article.

Dunno what you are referring to as having 'zilch evidence'. There has to be such an affinity, an attraction, involved for the process to work. Its a bit like a jigsaw puzzle - certain arrangements of atoms fit more readily into complementary arrangements on another molecule. They can stick together due to the attraction between complementary patterns of electric charge on each side, but not strongly enough to become permanently bonded.

 "the most reasonable interpretation is that life did not start with RNA......The transition to an RNA world like the origins of life in general is fraught with uncertainty and is plagued with a lack of relevant experimental data. Researchers into the origins of life have grown accustomed to the level of frustration in these problems......It is time to go beyond talking about an RNA world and begin to put the evolution of RNA in the context of the chemistry that came before it and the biology which followed"

Joyce. G.F. RNA Evolution and the Origin of Life. 

I quote AW Swee-eng:

1] Pentose sugars can be synthesised in the formose reaction given the presence of formaldehyde. The products are a melange of sugars of various carbon lengths which are optically left and right handed [D and L] With few exceptions, sugars found in biological systems are of the D type which is always  produced in small quantities abiotically.

2] Hydocyanic acid undergoes polymerisation to form diaminomaleonitrile which is on the pathway to purines......the difficulty is to produce pyrimidines in comparable quantities.

3] Neither preformed purines nor pyrimidines have been successfully linked to ribose by organic chemists. An attempt to make purine nucleosides resulted in a "dizzying array of related compounds"

This is expected if sugars and bases were randomly coupled. The prebiotic production of numerous isomers and closely related molecules hinders the likelyhood of forming desirable mononucleosides.  Furthermore unless ribose and the purine bases form nucleosides rapidly, they would be degraded quite rapidly."

 

Quote:
The mapping between the sequence of three 'bases' in each 'codon' of the DNA molecule is listed here.

if you wish to resort to DNA, I'm happy to discuss it.

Quote:
On your last comment, Christianity simply assumes, with no possible validation, that some concepts refer to external realities, despite total lack of any evidence of their existence outside our imagination,

but this is irrational, the MOST obvious conclusion of external evidence is logos.  

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simply on the basis that they are consistent with a particular mythical narrative.

you irrationally presuppose that the narrative is "mythical"

Quote:
I may come back for more, but no guarantees, since I see mostly the same points being argued over in different variations, and it seems unlikely you will 'get it'. You are presenting nothing not already addressed in some form.
I think I already "have it" but I am not susceptible to patronisation......it is a common refuge of the atheist. We do appear to have moved on but in the face of your irrational assertion that, "nothing went bang", that information creates itself, that empiricism is universal in an open system and tthat you have a basis for logic, I do discern that you are commited to self-delusion. 

 

 

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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Kapkao wrote:cj wrote:David

Kapkao wrote:

cj wrote:

David Henson wrote:

Because I have gathered the evidence and have no choice but to believe. The instant I should find any contrary evidence I will immediately cease to believe, very publicly and very openly.

I'll let ShadowofMan answer the rest of your questions, but I'm curious.  I searched for evidence of god/s/dess existence for years.  All I found was a bunch of self-delusional people who wanted very badly for an invisible friend.  I understand their need for finding self-worth outside of themselves, but that isn't proof that said invisible friend exists.

Find me one, just one, person who was healed of cystic fibrosis or limb amputation or something similarly visible and I could believe in miracles, too.  Invisible tumors, headaches, backaches, or images of Jesus in bacon fat just won't cut it for me, sorry.

Cystic Fibrosis is nearing a cure... but only thanks to a number of researchers at UAB. <-the theistobot comes for you now.

 

A CF cure would be fantastic.  I know treatment has improved - given the number of people who have CF on the bus and are obviously getting around.  When I was a child CF was largely a death sentence and very few made it to adulthood.

The thistobot idea is kind of creepy.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

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freeminer wrote:Quote:A

freeminer wrote:

Quote:

A living animal and one that has just died have the same coding sequence.

of course.......I'm not sure how you think this strengthens your case

Only in the trivial sense that I was clarifying my statement that information is not dependent on 'life' in any magical sense, and as defined in Physics, the amount of information contained in an object is a function purely of the number of fundamental particles it contains. The information 'encoded' in a DNA molecule is the same whether it 'codes' for a particular useful protein or not. Or even if it was randomly generated.

The 'useful' sequences, ie those which produce proteins which 'work' as part of cellular metabolism and reproduction, are selected for by the process of evolution, by the fact that they are useful. No conscious design required. However much you want to refer to 'information' and 'codes' as implying a conscious designer by analogy with the process by which a human will translate a particular sequence of data from one form to another, as when we record a description of some observations, some thoughts we want to keep, whatever, in the form of a sequence of symbols that we have standardized to represent the various words in some language, you are talking about such different processes overall, in the way the symbol matching is arrived at, that it in no way demonstrates that the DNA code implies a conscious designer. The only part of a human code that involves conscious design is the list of symbols and what they are meant to represent.

The nature of the correspondence between a particular DNA codon and the amino acid it specifies is such that it follows directly from the properties and particular structure of the molecules involved.

Imagine one set of molecules, say the 20 different amino acids that make up proteins, and another class of molecule, tRNA, with a range of alternate possible configurations at one end of it, one or more of which possible variations match the arrangement of atoms on one part of a particular amino acid, somewhat like two matching pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Under the right chemical conditions, they will tend to to stick together if the bump into each other in the ceaseless jittering and movement in any collection of molecules at any temperature above absolute zero. That matching is what determines the DNA code. The useful molecules wil be selected for ultimately, by the same process of 'natural selection' that governs the whole evolutionary process.

You can argue about the ability of the Darwinian algorithm to lead to macro evolution, or to allow a particular 'primitive' set of self-replicating molecules to evolve into what we recognize as Life, but there is no extra magical intervention required to evolve the DNA code. It is just as inherently 'evolvable', or not, as any other complex process in living organisms. This argument about the significance of a 'code' is a total red herring.

Quote:

Quote:
Physical information simply is a description of the current position and momentum of each fundamental particle - 'purpose' totally inapplicable.
yes.......why did you apparently wish to revert to a discussion at the molecular level?  With regard to information in crystals it only begs the question.

Quote:
No energy was specifically involved in the assertion that particular sequences of nucleotides will have a higher youaffinity for a particular sequence of amino acids (proteins). Not sure what you were driving at there.

you propose sunlight as an energy source to drive abiogenesis......how do you propose to convert it to directed energy?

It does not require 'directed'  energy, just 'available' energy, ultimately in the thermal energy of warm water. 

The interactions will then be driven by the ceaseless movement of all the molecules, representing the energy they have acquired from other molecules and ultimately from the energy of the photons in sunlight hitting the water molecules and rocks near the surface of the water. Or possibly the heat of the water and other material spewing from some vent at the ocean bottom.

When two molecules with some affinity for each other collide, they will react in some way.

This is called 'chemistry'.

Quote:

I propose to bundle together your posts vis a vis RNA and simply quote research findings:

Quote:
But my description did short-circuit the process, at least as it works in current cells (whatever happened in precursors to current life forms). There is an intermediate molecule involved, 'transfer RNA' (tRNA), which comes in different variants. One end of the tRNA molecule binds to a specific amino acid, the other exposes three nucleotides (the elements of the genetic 'code' ):

There are many different types of transfer RNA molecules--actually more than one for each of 18 of the 20 different amino acids found in proteins (methionine and tryptophan being the exceptions.)

So the 'affinity' is between the particular amino acid and the arrangement of atoms at one end of a particular tRNA molecule.

The three exposed nucleotides at the other end of the tRNA bind to their complementary bases in the standard pattern of all RNA/DNA, as described in that article.

Dunno what you are referring to as having 'zilch evidence'. There has to be such an affinity, an attraction, involved for the process to work. Its a bit like a jigsaw puzzle - certain arrangements of atoms fit more readily into complementary arrangements on another molecule. They can stick together due to the attraction between complementary patterns of electric charge on each side, but not strongly enough to become permanently bonded.

 "the most reasonable interpretation is that life did not start with RNA......The transition to an RNA world like the origins of life in general is fraught with uncertainty and is plagued with a lack of relevant experimental data. Researchers into the origins of life have grown accustomed to the level of frustration in these problems......It is time to go beyond talking about an RNA world and begin to put the evolution of RNA in the context of the chemistry that came before it and the biology which followed"

Joyce. G.F. RNA Evolution and the Origin of Life. 

I quote AW Swee-eng:

1] Pentose sugars can be synthesised in the formose reaction given the presence of formaldehyde. The products are a melange of sugars of various carbon lengths which are optically left and right handed [D and L] With few exceptions, sugars found in biological systems are of the D type which is always  produced in small quantities abiotically.

2] Hydocyanic acid undergoes polymerisation to form diaminomaleonitrile which is on the pathway to purines......the difficulty is to produce pyrimidines in comparable quantities.

3] Neither preformed purines nor pyrimidines have been successfully linked to ribose by organic chemists. An attempt to make purine nucleosides resulted in a "dizzying array of related compounds"

This is expected if sugars and bases were randomly coupled. The prebiotic production of numerous isomers and closely related molecules hinders the likelyhood of forming desirable mononucleosides.  Furthermore unless ribose and the purine bases form nucleosides rapidly, they would be degraded quite rapidly."

So??

It is not going to be easy to forensically work out the details, and it was likely dependent on a particular combination of environment and a mix of suitable chemicals being present, and so on, which is why it may have only occurred once in some millions of years.

So I agree that it is unlikely, in any specific environment. We already knew that. You would need you put a figure on it, and we have nowhere enough information of the details of all the various local environments likely to have existed at some point during the billion years it took for life to appear.

And also why we don't see new versions of Life arising many times since the original event. Once Life got established and started to fill all those nice 'warm ponds' that were most suitable for it, and most likely to generate it, new proto-life would just be food for the existing life, and would have a hard time competing.

Quote:

Quote:
The mapping between the sequence of three 'bases' in each 'codon' of the DNA molecule is listed here.

if you wish to resort to DNA, I'm happy to discuss it.

The mapping on DNA is identical to RNA apart from the substitution of one base, uracil in RNA, instead of thymine in DNA, bonding to adenine. There is more than one mapping between 18 of the 20 amino acids and codons (triplets of DNA/RNA bases).

I trust you are aware that it has been demonstrated that RNA can from reasonably readily under conditions highly likely to be present on an early earth, so progress is being made in piecing together the details of how Life arose that long ago.

Quote:

Quote:
On your last comment, Christianity simply assumes, with no possible validation, that some concepts refer to external realities, despite total lack of any evidence of their existence outside our imagination,

but this is irrational, the MOST obvious conclusion of external evidence is logos.  

Quote:
simply on the basis that they are consistent with a particular mythical narrative.

you irrationally presuppose that the narrative is "mythical"

Nothing 'irrational' about assuming it was mythical - it has all the hallmarks of a myth, and many similarities in the details of the narrative with other recognized myths.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, a reasonable assumption, even if not 100% provable.

Quote:

Quote:
I may come back for more, but no guarantees, since I see mostly the same points being argued over in different variations, and it seems unlikely you will 'get it'. You are presenting nothing not already addressed in some form.
I think I already "have it" but I am not susceptible to patronisation......it is a common refuge of the atheist. We do appear to have moved on but in the face of your irrational assertion that, "nothing went bang", that information creates itself, that empiricism is universal in an open system and tthat you have a basis for logic, I do discern that you are commited to self-delusion. 

Where did I assert "nothing went bang'??

It is true in a sense that nothing actually exploded in the sense we think of in ordinary life, it would more accurately described as a very fast expansion in size from something extermely small - the exact state right at the proposed 'singularity' is subject to debate, but the sequence of events from a time beyond the Planck Epoch, 10-43 seconds later, is tending to reach a consensus.

Information does not create itself, I never said or implied that. The "created itself" thing is a common misconception of the Theist.

Information is just the description of the state of matter. It adds no further complication to whatever problem there may be about the origin of matter, and does not constrain rearrangements of matter into more or less interesting or useful forms.

'Empiricism' in the sense it is used in Science, is not something that is either "universal" or not, whether we are in the context of an open or closed system. It is simply referring to basing ones ideas about the nature of a given aspect of reality from evidence obtained by actually studying, by whatever means available, and where possible, testing, all manifestations of the aspect of reality we are interested in. If we have no way of obtaining externally testable information about some proposition, we have no way of deciding whether it is true or not, unless it is a direct logical consequence of some propositions which are verifiable to some degree.

Ultimate reality is, by definition, a closed system. So there is no problem. If there is some occasional 'break-through' from a 'metaverse' within which our known 'big bang' universe exists, that just means we have a wider context of reality to account for.

The 'open' system stuff is another red herring. It is an obsession of the Theist to find some hole, some place 'beyond our reality', for a God, that our science has no access to, to exist.

You still have not presented any justification for an alternative to empiricism - I point to cross-checked evidence, you offered 'conjecture'. <face-palm>

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


freeminer
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Quote:A living animal and

Quote:

A living animal and one that has just died have the same coding sequence.

of course.......I'm not sure how you think this strengthens your case

Quote:
Only in the trivial sense that I was clarifying my statement that information is not dependent on 'life' in any magical sense, and as defined in Physics, the amount of information contained in an object is a function purely of the number of fundamental particles it contains. The information 'encoded' in a DNA molecule is the same whether it 'codes' for a particular useful protein or not.

but we are not discussing "amounts" of information but the fact that information is never, ever self-generating. 

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Or even if it was randomly generated.

a notion for which there is no empirical evidence.

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The 'useful' sequences, ie those which produce proteins which 'work' as part of cellular metabolism and reproduction, are selected for by the process of evolution, by the fact that they are useful. No conscious design required.

I think you mean "adaptation".......achieved by loss of genetic information . The inherent redundancy simply begs the question.

 

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However much you want to refer to 'information' and 'codes' as implying a conscious designer by analogy with the process by which a human will translate a particular sequence of data from one form to another, as when we record a description of some observations, some thoughts we want to keep, whatever, in the form of a sequence of symbols that we have standardized to represent the various words in some language, you are talking about such different processes overall, in the way the symbol matching is arrived at, that it in no way demonstrates that the DNA code implies a conscious designer. The only part of a human code that involves conscious design is the list of symbols and what they are meant to represent.

However much you wish to to dispense with the fact of a 'code' because you don't care for the implications,  your argument doesn't stand rational examination.

We have 20 amino acids as building blocks for proteins. When a specific protein is to be manufactured, the chemical formula has to be communicated to the cell as well as the procedures for its synthesis. Since the sequence is critical the instructions have to be in 'written' form. This requires not only a code but the facility to decode and carry out the instructions for the synthesis.

We need a coding system to compile information which you claim self-generated......something never ever seen, and it must be able to identify uniquely, all the amino acids by means of a standard set of symbols which must remain constant. You claim this happened by chance.

For a given piece of information, this code must involve precisely defined semantics, pragmatics and apobetics. There must be a physical information carrier capable of storage in minimum space. Given that in the case of human DNA the information would stretch from the North Pole to the Equator if typed on paper using standard letter sizes and that DNA replication is akin to 280 people copying the entire Bible sequentially without error.........I call that a code, if you wish to play semantics and call it something else that is up to you. It is what it is but to claim it originated without logos is a pure absurdity.

 

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The nature of the correspondence between a particular DNA codon and the amino acid it specifies is such that it follows directly from the properties and particular structure of the molecules involved.

but not only is this crass reductionism it merely restates what IS. It doesn't even start to answer the question.

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Imagine one set of molecules, say the 20 different amino acids that make up proteins, and another class of molecule, tRNA, with a range of alternate possible configurations at one end of it, one or more of which possible variations match the arrangement of atoms on one part of a particular amino acid, somewhat like two matching pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Under the right chemical conditions, they will tend to to stick together if the bump into each other in the ceaseless jittering and movement in any collection of molecules at any temperature above absolute zero. That matching is what determines the DNA code. The useful molecules wil be selected for ultimately, by the same process of 'natural selection' that governs the whole evolutionary process.

You can argue about the ability of the Darwinian algorithm to lead to macro evolution, or to allow a particular 'primitive' set of self-replicating molecules to evolve into what we recognize as Life, but there is no extra magical intervention required to evolve the DNA code. It is just as inherently 'evolvable', or not, as any other complex process in living organisms.

so why has every attempt to reproduce it failed? After all, this process is so natural, so inevitable! Bradley and Thaxton calculated that the chances of amino acids forming into a protein are 4.9 x 10 to the power of -191.......well beyond the laws of probability and a protein is not even close to becoming a cell. Given 2000 enzymes, the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is about one part in 10 to the power of 40,000. That is a ridiculously small  probability. Furthermore you have contemplated the chance origin of the highly complex mechanism of the protein motor before anything exists to direct the energy to create it and drive the cell mechanisms. No serious evolutionary scientist would contemplate the notion that the protein-motor spontaneously evolved fully formed simultaneously with DNA, the genetic code and the mechanism to decode it. The story evolutionists tell themselves trail off into realms of pure fantasy. You and I both know that if ever a proto- cell came anywhere close to spontaneous existence the thermodynamics would dictate its degradation aeons before an ATP motor came anywhere near existence. In experiment, Bradley, Thaxton, Olsen only saw a couple of simple amino acids.

Even if  a DNA molecule were assembled abiotically there is the instability and decay of the polymer by hydrolysis of the glycosyl bonds and the hydrolytic deamination of the bases. Genetic information can be stored stably only because DNA repair enzymes scan the DNA and replace damaged nucleotides.

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This argument about the significance of a 'code' is a total red herring.

 see above - empirically, information has never been found to spontaneously generate itself- the whole thing is pseudo-science.

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Physical information simply is a description of the current position and momentum of each fundamental particle - 'purpose' totally inapplicable.
yes.......why did you apparently wish to revert to a discussion at the molecular level?  With regard to information in crystals it only begs the question.

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No energy was specifically involved in the assertion that particular sequences of nucleotides will have a higher youaffinity for a particular sequence of amino acids (proteins). Not sure what you were driving at there.

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you propose sunlight as an energy source to drive abiogenesis......how do you propose to convert it to directed energy?

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It does not require 'directed'  energy, just 'available' energy, ultimately in the thermal energy of warm water.

no it doesn't - undirected energy is always destructive.........try sticking your finger in a power socket.               

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The interactions will then be driven by the ceaseless movement of all the molecules, representing the energy they have acquired from other molecules and ultimately from the energy of the photons in sunlight hitting the water molecules and rocks near the surface of the water. Or possibly the heat of the water and other material spewing from some vent at the ocean bottom.

so which are you going to opt for, sunlight or hot water? Both are undirected and therefore destructive. Organisms living around thermal vents are not "simple" They are highly adapted to replace sugars rapidly. So you wish to propose an archaebacteria? You will need acetyl-CoA as the biosynthetic intermediate for other molecules thus two molecules of CO2, a nickel enzyme complex and other co factors. You will need thiamine pyrophosphate [TPP] to convert glucose to acetyl- CoA.  The appearance of coenzymes so early in evolution  would be odd. Keefe et al attempted the synthesis of pantetheine [having assumed the existence of precursor molecules on primitive earth] Heating pantetheine with ADP or ATP failed to produce a dephosphocoenzyme A. Chemolithotrophs are anything but simple given the kinds of enzymes and metabolic pathways they possess.

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When two molecules with some affinity for each other collide, they will react in some way.

This is called 'chemistry'.

This is called "reductionism"

I propose to bundle together your posts vis a vis RNA and simply quote research findings:

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But my description did short-circuit the process, at least as it works in current cells (whatever happened in precursors to current life forms). There is an intermediate molecule involved, 'transfer RNA' (tRNA), which comes in different variants. One end of the tRNA molecule binds to a specific amino acid, the other exposes three nucleotides (the elements of the genetic 'code' ):

There are many different types of transfer RNA molecules--actually more than one for each of 18 of the 20 different amino acids found in proteins (methionine and tryptophan being the exceptions.)

So the 'affinity' is between the particular amino acid and the arrangement of atoms at one end of a particular tRNA molecule.

The three exposed nucleotides at the other end of the tRNA bind to their complementary bases in the standard pattern of all RNA/DNA, as described in that article.

Dunno what you are referring to as having 'zilch evidence'. There has to be such an affinity, an attraction, involved for the process to work. Its a bit like a jigsaw puzzle - certain arrangements of atoms fit more readily into complementary arrangements on another molecule. They can stick together due to the attraction between complementary patterns of electric charge on each side, but not strongly enough to become permanently bonded.

 "the most reasonable interpretation is that life did not start with RNA......The transition to an RNA world like the origins of life in general is fraught with uncertainty and is plagued with a lack of relevant experimental data. Researchers into the origins of life have grown accustomed to the level of frustration in these problems......It is time to go beyond talking about an RNA world and begin to put the evolution of RNA in the context of the chemistry that came before it and the biology which followed"

Joyce. G.F. RNA Evolution and the Origin of Life. 

I quote AW Swee-eng:

1] Pentose sugars can be synthesised in the formose reaction given the presence of formaldehyde. The products are a melange of sugars of various carbon lengths which are optically left and right handed [D and L] With few exceptions, sugars found in biological systems are of the D type which is always  produced in small quantities abiotically.

2] Hydocyanic acid undergoes polymerisation to form diaminomaleonitrile which is on the pathway to purines......the difficulty is to produce pyrimidines in comparable quantities.

3] Neither preformed purines nor pyrimidines have been successfully linked to ribose by organic chemists. An attempt to make purine nucleosides resulted in a "dizzying array of related compounds"

This is expected if sugars and bases were randomly coupled. The prebiotic production of numerous isomers and closely related molecules hinders the likelyhood of forming desirable mononucleosides.  Furthermore unless ribose and the purine bases form nucleosides rapidly, they would be degraded quite rapidly."

 

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So??
So the proposition becomes  thermodynamically untenable.

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It is not going to be easy to forensically work out the details, and it was likely dependent on a particular combination of environment and a mix of suitable chemicals being present, and so on, which is why it may have only occurred once in some millions of years.

no, it's not going to be easy and it's going to take lots of time........this is what the evolutionist tells himself in the face of all the empirical evidence that it cannot happen. The very nature of the evolutionary paradigm is that it facilitates the building of speculation upon speculation. This is the thread of story-telling upon which he hangs his eternal destiny. He hangs on to empiricism and dives into speculation the moment empiricism fails him. This is not science! Even on the basis of your own thinking, the arguments don't stack up.

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So I agree that it is unlikely, in any specific environment. We already knew that. You would need you put a figure on it, and we have nowhere enough information of the details of all the various local environments likely to have existed at some point during the billion years it took for life to appear.

yes Bob, above we've only skimmed the surface of the difficulty of producing just a proto-cell. I'm glad you didn't opt for photosynthesis anyway.......that would be too ridiculous! We only have a "specific environment".........your terminology is interesting because it smacks of the vagueness with which evolutionists are forced to hold the tenets of their faith! I suggest you are far too intelligent for this. The whole evolutionary paradigm is, far, far less rational than the creationist one AND on the basis of the empirical evidence. Saint Dawkins himself proposes that it is not irrational to conjecture vis a vis alien life.......so perhaps before going around proclaiming the "rationality" of this forum  too much, someone here would like to tell me why that life should be constrained by the space-time continuum and not be of infinite intelligence. 

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And also why we don't see new versions of Life arising many times since the original event. Once Life got established and started to fill all those nice 'warm ponds' that were most suitable for it, and most likely to generate it, new proto-life would just be food for the existing life, and would have a hard time competing.

but we DO see many versions  of life........the Bible calls them 'kinds'.

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The mapping between the sequence of three 'bases' in each 'codon' of the DNA molecule is listed here.

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if you wish to resort to DNA, I'm happy to discuss it.

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The mapping on DNA is identical to RNA apart from the substitution of one base, uracil in RNA, instead of thymine in DNA, bonding to adenine. There is more than one mapping between 18 of the 20 amino acids and codons (triplets of DNA/RNA bases).

I trust you are aware that it has been demonstrated that RNA can from reasonably readily under conditions highly likely to be present on an early earth, so progress is being made in piecing together the details of how Life arose that long ago.

no it hasn't.........I gave you in outline the reasons why not. Not least is the 'handing' problem. 

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On your last comment, Christianity simply assumes, with no possible validation, that some concepts refer to external realities, despite total lack of any evidence of their existence outside our imagination,

but this is irrational, the MOST obvious conclusion of external evidence is logos.  

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simply on the basis that they are consistent with a particular mythical narrative.

you irrationally presuppose that the narrative is "mythical"

 

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Nothing 'irrational' about assuming it was mythical - it has all the hallmarks of a myth, and many similarities in the details of the narrative with other recognized myths.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, a reasonable assumption, even if not 100% provable.

not even a "reasonable assumption" The fact that certain stories around the world duplicate those of scripture actually testiffies to the veracity of scripture. The Chinese for "salvation" is eight people and a boat! If you can't tell the difference between the fairy tales of Islam and Scriptural propositions, you're less bright than I took you for. Who would bother to attack Islam? Which nation has ever made its own stupidity integral to its written history?!

 

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I may come back for more, but no guarantees, since I see mostly the same points being argued over in different variations, and it seems unlikely you will 'get it'. You are presenting nothing not already addressed in some form.
I think I already "have it" but I am not susceptible to patronisation......it is a common refuge of the atheist. We do appear to have moved on but in the face of your irrational assertion that, "nothing went bang", that information creates itself, that empiricism is universal in an open system and tthat you have a basis for logic, I do discern that you are commited to self-delusion. 

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Where did I assert "nothing went bang'??

It is true in a sense that nothing actually exploded in the sense we think of in ordinary life, it would more accurately described as a very fast expansion in size from something extermely small - the exact state right at the proposed 'singularity' is subject to debate, but the sequence of events from a time beyond the Planck Epoch, 10-43 seconds later, is tending to reach a consensus.

that's correct, you can't explain everthing ex nihilo, contrary to Universal Law. There is no consensus, these days there is no consensus about the BB itself - it has too many problems.

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Information does not create itself, I never said or implied that. The "created itself" thing is a common misconception of the Theist.

the "sprang from nowhere" thing is a misconception of the atheist and contrary to his own stated precepts. So, since information did not "create" itself and since you wish to assert that the cell's ability to decode and the ATP motor all sprang into existence spontaneously and concurrently [since thermodynamics dictates rapid degradation] whodidit then?

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Information is just the description of the state of matter. It adds no further complication to whatever problem there may be about the origin of matter, and does not constrain rearrangements of matter into more or less interesting or useful forms.

you just seem to exude reductionism. Everything in life can be described as "just" so and so. As a designer, I'll tell clients I'm just waiting for "matter to arrange itself in interesting or useful forms"! There are certain things which just don't happen without logos.......no matter how much time one allocates. It is not simply the issue of information existing but information being directed.  

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'Empiricism' in the sense it is used in Science, is not something that is either "universal" or not, whether we are in the context of an open or closed system.

yes it is, either it holds good outside the cause/effect framework or it doesn't. If you don't know it does you can't rationally assert that a Being outside the framework is known  to be constrained by it.

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It is simply referring to basing ones ideas about the nature of a given aspect of reality from evidence obtained by actually studying, by whatever means available, and where possible, testing, all manifestations of the aspect of reality we are interested in.

if your definition were truly  this wide, you would become a Christian right now by testing the Biblical claim. 

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If we have no way of obtaining externally testable information about some proposition, we have no way of deciding whether it is true or not, unless it is a direct logical consequence of some propositions which are verifiable to some degree.

The Bible says there is a way and it's testable.

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Ultimate reality is, by definition, a closed system. So there is no problem.

no it isn't, non-locality testifies against you. If we even knew what "ultimate reality" were we wouldn't have wasted all that money on the LHC. I respect you but from time to time you're given to making absurd claims! 

 

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If there is some occasional 'break-through' from a 'metaverse' within which our known 'big bang' universe exists, that just means we have a wider context of reality to account for.

PRECISELY!!!!

 

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The 'open' system stuff is another red herring. It is an obsession of the Theist to find some hole, some place 'beyond our reality', for a God, that our science has no access to, to exist.

if he were susceptible to empiricism he wouldn't be God - by definition. I am not a God-of the-gaps merchant.

 

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You still have not presented any justification for an alternative to empiricism - I point to cross-checked evidence, you offered 'conjecture'. <face-palm>

if you wish to move beyond conjecture you must do what the Bible says.......it's how experiments work.

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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I like your "In Go we trust"

I like your "In Go we trust" quote btw. I follow that one myself, I can throw all kinds of trust in something that doesn't exist and it will never let me down, that is unless I were to actually expect it to do something. In the latter case I would be crazy.

Faith is the word but next to that snugged up closely "lie's" the want.
"By simple common sense I don't believe in god, in none."-Charlie Chaplin


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Why Do I Believe?

Hello everyone, I am new to these forums.  This comment is in response to the original question, why do theists believe in God?

I will make this brief and if necessary clarify later.  First, I cannot tell you why any other theist believes in God, only why I believe in God.  Second, I believe in the existence of the Holy Trinity because I believe it is the best possible explanation - for everything.  This may not seem very informative, but a more concise and general [intellectual] answer cannot be given.  Third, my belief is on some level subjective - the Christian doctrine is one that has been effective in my personal life - but this is inevitable and I see no conflict with a subjective belief that is appropriated toward personal fulfillment that is also justifiable on intellectual grounds.  What I would like to know is, is it a problem if my belief in God is based on some traumatic experience, and if so, why?  And how would my reasons for that belief make it any less true, or would they make it any less true?

As to those who argue that "the burden of proof rests with theism," I disagree.  The burden of proof rests with everyone who makes a claim unverifiable by natural science to defend that claim, even if their claim is that they do not or cannot know any claim.  If a theist demands answers of an atheist yet does not give any, how seriously can he be taken?  It will not do to shift the burden - a clever strategy in rhetoric, perhaps, but in logic it is a fallacy.

IC XC

David


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drichards85 wrote:What I

drichards85 wrote:
What I would like to know is, is it a problem if my belief in God is based on some traumatic experience, and if so, why? And how would my reasons for that belief make it any less true, or would they make it any less true?

It doesn't matter as long as your reasoning is sound. Personal experiences are good evidence for you as long as you think clearly. The problem is that people often derive non sequitur conclusions because the intense emotions from the experience have impaired their ability to reason.

drichards85 wrote:
The burden of proof rests with everyone who makes a claim unverifiable by natural science to defend that claim,

The burden of proof rests with those that make positive claims. Atheists do not necessarily make positive claims, as it includes non-belief. Atheists do not necessarily believe that there is no God. They merely do not believe that any theistic claim has been proven true. Like, in the laws of most first world countries, defendants must be proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise, they are legally innocent by default. The jury does not give a verdict of innocent, merely that guilt has not been established. Atheism is not guilty.

drichards85 wrote:
even if their claim is that they do not or cannot know any claim.

'I don't know' can never hold the burden of proof. If it makes any claim, it is the claim to lack of knowledge.

drichards85 wrote:
It will not do to shift the burden - a clever strategy in rhetoric, perhaps, but in logic it is a fallacy.

The burden of proof has always been on the party making the positive claim. Theists are making the positive claim. Ergo, they have the burden of proof.

 

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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Wrong Reasons = Wrong Belief?

butterbattle,

Does the truth of the proposition "God exists" depends on whether or not I believe through so-called solid reason?  Though I believe it is important for me to be able to give a rational defense of my faith, I fail to understand why my personal subjective reasons for belief should render my other intellectual defenses invalid.  It is supposed that, if it can be shown that I believe for reasons other than reason alone, that therefore my belief is unjustified or my other claims are suspect.  I do not see how that follows at all.  I can believe the right thing for the wrong reasons, so this should not even be a consideration when it comes to whether or not my belief is true.  In short, it is a red herring.

Why does the burden of proof rest just with those who make the positive claims?  This is what I challenge.  I do not believe atheists -- or anyone, which includes my fellow theists, for that matter -- has the privilege to sit on their intellectual laurels while others provide reasons for their belief and they reject all the reasons without providing any of their own.  The presumption here is in favor of atheism, but why?  It is a clear bias by those who claim to be free-thinkers.  Just as atheists go through each theist argument and deconstruct them, I am confident that one can, if the atheist will actually provide a real argument (from premises to conclusion), deconstruct the reasons the atheist gives for unbelief.  But for someone to claim that they just do not have to, without any argument at all, borders on the type of dogmatism so many atheists despise in religion.

'I don't know' can certainly take on the burden of proof, if he proposes to argue with those who do claim to know.  Even to claim 'I don't know' is a claim to knowledge - the knowledge that one does not know.  So where does the person who says 'I don't know' get that knowledge from?  Or is that the only fact he knows?  That is special pleading and such a position leads to absurdity if one takes it seriously.  At the most the person who doesn't know can't argue - because if he doesn't know, he doesn't know you're wrong.  So the person either can't give an argument or, if he does, the question can simply be put back to him, "If you don't know then why should you argue with me?"

So I'm simply asking someone to back up these assumptions that the burden of proof rests with us.  One cannot assert that we are the only ones with the burden of proof and then provide no argument to that effect.  Someone should make a formal argument - from PREMISES to CONCLUSIONS so we can follow the line of their thought - as to why the burden of proof rests with theists and why they positively disbelieve in God.  So far that isn't being done.

IC XC

David


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drichards85

drichards85 wrote:

butterbattle,

Does the truth of the proposition "God exists" depends on whether or not I believe through so-called solid reason?  Though I believe it is important for me to be able to give a rational defense of my faith, I fail to understand why my personal subjective reasons for belief should render my other intellectual defenses invalid.  It is supposed that, if it can be shown that I believe for reasons other than reason alone, that therefore my belief is unjustified or my other claims are suspect.  I do not see how that follows at all.  I can believe the right thing for the wrong reasons, so this should not even be a consideration when it comes to whether or not my belief is true.  In short, it is a red herring.

Why does the burden of proof rest just with those who make the positive claims?  This is what I challenge.  I do not believe atheists -- or anyone, which includes my fellow theists, for that matter -- has the privilege to sit on their intellectual laurels while others provide reasons for their belief and they reject all the reasons without providing any of their own.  The presumption here is in favor of atheism, but why?  It is a clear bias by those who claim to be free-thinkers.  Just as atheists go through each theist argument and deconstruct them, I am confident that one can, if the atheist will actually provide a real argument (from premises to conclusion), deconstruct the reasons the atheist gives for unbelief.  But for someone to claim that they just do not have to, without any argument at all, borders on the type of dogmatism so many atheists despise in religion.

'I don't know' can certainly take on the burden of proof, if he proposes to argue with those who do claim to know.  Even to claim 'I don't know' is a claim to knowledge - the knowledge that one does not know.  So where does the person who says 'I don't know' get that knowledge from?  Or is that the only fact he knows?  That is special pleading and such a position leads to absurdity if one takes it seriously.  At the most the person who doesn't know can't argue - because if he doesn't know, he doesn't know you're wrong.  So the person either can't give an argument or, if he does, the question can simply be put back to him, "If you don't know then why should you argue with me?"

So I'm simply asking someone to back up these assumptions that the burden of proof rests with us.  One cannot assert that we are the only ones with the burden of proof and then provide no argument to that effect.  Someone should make a formal argument - from PREMISES to CONCLUSIONS so we can follow the line of their thought - as to why the burden of proof rests with theists and why they positively disbelieve in God.  So far that isn't being done.

IC XC

David

 

The reason why the burden of proof rests on the theist is that you are making a positive claim, saying that something exists. Logically and scientifically it's nigh impossible to prove a negative. If you want, study the thought experiment of Russells Teapot, he made the argument that there might well be a china teapot between earth and mars revolving around the sun in an eliptical orbit, due to positioning we could never see it. However, just because we can't disprove it doesn't mean that it exists. Similarly, I might claim the existence of a Dragon that spoke to me, the dragon is invisible and immaterial, but I can hear it speak to me. Odds are you would assume I was lying or delusional, but you can't disprove the existence of my dragon. When you say that something exists you have to provide evidence for it, in science I have to provide evidence for something before I can call it a theory, and even then it has to undergo years of review and study by people who will dissect it in all ways, and then if it survives all that it's worth teaching. You are essentially saying "God exists, you can't prove otherwise" but then again the same is true for all past present and future divinities from hundreds of myths and legends.


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that wretched teapot again!

Quote:
The reason why the burden of proof rests on the theist is that you are making a positive claim, saying that something exists. Logically and scientifically it's nigh impossible to prove a negative. If you want, study the thought experiment of Russells Teapot, he made the argument that there might well be a china teapot between earth and mars revolving around the sun in an eliptical orbit, due to positioning we could never see it. However, just because we can't disprove it doesn't mean that it exists.

the simple flaw in Russell's argument is that it presupposes a priori that there are no empirical facts which may constitute evidence for the existence of God, since there are, the analogy breaks down immediately.

 

Russellis making an unexceptionable point about burden of proof and/or the ad ignorantiam fallacy. If the existence of X has not been disproven it does not follow that X exists or even that it is reasonable to believe that X exists. So if anyone were to affirm the existence of something like Russell's celestial teapot or Edward Abbey's angry unicorn on the dark side of the moon, then the onus probandi would be on him to support his outlandish claims. The burden of proof would not rest on those who deny or dismiss such claims.

Russell is suggesting that belief in God is epistemically on a par with believing in a celestial teapot. Just as we have no reason to believe in celestial teapots or flying spaghetti monsters we have no reason to believe in God. But perhaps we should distinguish between a strong and a weak reading of Russell's suggestion:

Strong: Just as we cannot have any reason to believe that an empirically undetectable celestial teapot exists we can't have any reason to believe that God exists.


Weak: Just as we do not have any reason to believe that a celestial teapot exists we don't have any reason to believe that God exists.


But both these arguments are false, we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Here http://philofreligion.homestead.com/fil ... ments.html Alvin Plantinga outlines theistic arguments and a reasoned argument can be made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.


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freeminer wrote:But both

freeminer wrote:

 

But both these arguments are false, we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Here http://philofreligion.homestead.com/fil ... ments.html Alvin Plantinga outlines theistic arguments and a reasoned argument can be made.

"Page you're looking for can't be found..."

Better fix that link before someone makes a funny remark about how ironic that is.


drichards85
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How was your stay at Arkham?

Joker,

The point is that I believe God exists, not that I said He does.  And the question is whether I can justify this belief.  I see no reason, just because I argue in the positive, that the burden of proof should rest only with me.  I have heard the assertion over and over but it usually comes down to "because atheists said so" more often than an actual argument, from premises to conclusion, for why the theist and only the theist must justify his belief over against the atheist objection.  It is a positive claim, but what does that have to do with the burden of proof?  Natural science can neither confirm or deny the existence of God because the concept of God falls outside the purview of natural science - what else in nature is immaterial, spaceless, and timeless? - so you have about as much epistemic warrant for your belief as I have for mine, if we base our beliefs on science.

Re: Russell's Teapot and the Invisible Dragon, I fail to see how these concepts are on par with the concept of God, or what sort of explanatory value they might have.  What is the argument here?  That Russell's Teapot and the Invisible Dragon do not exist, so therefore God does not exist?  Or, it is stupid to believe in Russell's Teapot and the Invisible Dragon, so therefore it is stupid to believe in God?  Help me to understand how bringing in these Flying Spaghetti Monsters amounts to an argument against my position.

What I want is not rational proof one way or the other.  I want disbelief in God to be justified.  There is a difference between justification and proof.  This whole thread began with the question of why theists believe in God, so it asked (I presume) for justifications not proofs.  And I made a comment to the effect that it seems theists are always put in the position of defending their beliefs but really the burden rests on everyone who is making a claim that neither party can verify by natural science.  To presume that the burden rests with us just assumes the rightness of your belief, but on what basis is your belief assumed to be right?  If God could exist, but we simply cannot know given the scope of natural science, then you must provide reasons (not proof) for why you do not believe He exists.  Period.  So far no one has even approached an argument for why the burden of proof rests with theists alone, nor have they explained how their made-up deities provide an adequate argument against the existence of God.

IC XC

David


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freeminer wrote:But both

freeminer wrote:


But both these arguments are false, we have all sorts of reasons for believing that God exists. Here http://philofreligion.homestead.com/fil ... ments.html Alvin Plantinga outlines theistic arguments and a reasoned argument can be made.

 

I think the discussion could move on if you gave us your reasons for believing god/s/dess exists.

1. the beautiful world made just for us - if you had been born on Mars, you would think Mars was beautiful and perfect.  So?  Tell the millions who have died from natural disasters or starvation how perfect this world is.

2. S/he/it/they give me strength.  It is your strength, not someone else's.   You have the strength, you had it all along.  You got up and fixed your own problems.  Take pride in yourself.

3. S/he/it/they love me.  That's nice.  It's no use having an invisible friend who doesn't love you.

4. S/he/it/they answer my prayers.  Well, there is no evidence of that.  http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=adC8Tv0rlwBk&refer=europe 

Can you tell me the number of times your prayers weren't answered?  No?  That is called confirmation bias.  http://www.mindtweaks.com/wordpress/?p=439

5.  All the philosophical stuff about first causes and supreme beings.  Make no sense to me - argue them with someone else.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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justify?

 

 

 

              Atheist claim zero,  theist claim there is a god. Atheist have nothing to prove, theist claim a god and they get to prove it. It is that simple.

 

 

              Why don't I believe in a god? Because your god like Russel's teapot, flying dragons, pink unicorns and the flying spagetti monster are fairy tales, if you have any proof that your god is real please present it.  I don't have any belief in a real Santa Claus nor the easter bunny either. 

 

 

               Aesops' fables have better morals then the bible and the Brothers Grimm had better storylines, I don't run my life based on Aesop, the Grimms or the bible.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


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Take Three

Jeffrick,

How is belief in God the same as belief in Russell's Teapot, Flying Dragons, Pink Unicorns, and The Flying Spaghetti Monster or fairy tales?  Could you give me the premises of your argument and tell me how you arrived at this conclusion?

Atheists make a lot of positive claims, they just also happen to make the negative claim that God does not exist.  So it is inaccurate to say they "claim zero."  Many of them also claim that belief in God is wrong, no?  That is a positive claim and it needs to be argued that belief in God - not the existence of God - is wrong, rather than just asserted.

You ask for proof but I think I established that I do not believe that a rational proof can or will present itself from either side.  The real question is, can you justify this belief that you have, that God does or does not exist?  Atheists routinely fail to justify their beliefs because they do not believe they have to; they just assume that theirs is the correct belief.  But if you do not have to justify your belief, why should I?  As of yet no one has actually given an argument as to why I have to justify my beliefs while atheists do not, but it would be instructive if someone here could move beyond mere assertions and into the realm of logic.

IC XC

David


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David; Pay Attention!!

 

 

 

              Your god is on a par with other imaginary gods, also equal to imaginary non-gods. I can not "justify" non-belief because there is no belief to begin with.  Your premise is that  there Is a God that Atheists do not believe in yet.  Atheist have no belief in the unreal, our premise is zero.  Even you admit there is no rational proof to believe a god, yet you willingly believe anyway. Atheist have no rational proof to believe a god eather so we don't.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

If man was formed from dirt, why is there still dirt?


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drichards85 wrote:What I

drichards85 wrote:

What I want is not rational proof one way or the other.  I want disbelief in God to be justified.  

 

I have said it elsewhere - I go with Epicurus.  There is no indication that god/s/dess directly interacts with the world or people.  Therefore, I might as well act as if s/he/it/they do not exist.  Why waste my time on an invisible friend who does nothing for me or anyone else?

I want nothing to do with any philosophy/religion that prattles on about "free will"/"original sin".  I can think of no benevolent outcome to infants being born in sin, babies beat or shaken to death by their care givers, of five year old girls sold by their own mother to a man who rapes and murders her.  (I can hunt up the news reports for you if you don't believe me.)  I fail to see how this is helpful or educational to anyone - parents, health care workers, or the dead child.  But god/s/dess knows more than I do about his/her/its/their plan.  Why the hell can't they explain it to me so it makes sense to me?  It wouldn't be hard to do and think of all the converts gained.

"God/s/dess only sends us what tragedies we can handle/survive."  Please - explain the number of divorces and suicides after a family loses a child.  Explain PTSD as how we can cope with bad things happening to good people.

"We can only know what is right to do by following god/s/dess morals precepts."  Yeah, like kill everyone in the town and be sure to run a sword through all women of child bearing age to be sure to kill any unborn infants.  Or how about children eaten by bears because they teased someone about their bald head.  But killing people is not okay - unless it is self defense, or national defense, or state executions, or an accident.  Then it's okay - because that is not what "Thou shalt not kill" really means.  Mighty flexible that commandment.  "My girlfriend is not married so I'm not committing adultery, she is."  "Thou shalt not covet" unless it is the hot girl or car in the ad on TV.  How about living a good life without harm to others just because it is the right thing to do?  Why do you have to have the threat of hell fire before you can be a good person?

God/s/dess are made up.  The one in the bible and the one in the koran were made up by bronze age goat herders.  Why should those invisible friends be more 'real' than any other invisible friend?  And why should I believe in an invisible friend who thinks I'm a second class citizen - seeing as I am a woman.  If I absolutely had to choose an invisible friend, I think I would go with a female one - at least one could hope she would have a clue about coping with men.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Bad Believers = False Belief?

Jeffrick,

How is my belief in God on par with other imaginary deities?  That is a positive claim, not a negative one, so I would like to see the argument for that claim rather than just its assertion, please.  Thanks.

cj,

I am not sure how much of anything follows from what you wrote.  For example, how do we get from "there is no evidence that God interacts with the world" to the conclusion that God does not exist?  Whether or not you want anything to do with a philosophy of free will and original sin is irrelevant to whether that philosophy is true.  Besides, not even all Christians believe in so-called "original sin" - at least I don't, as accepted and taught by most Western churches.  So that removes at least one objection since it is possible to be a theist, even a Christian, and not believe in the doctrine that infants are born with sinful natures.  As for your other objections along the lines that some babies were beaten to death - that is horrible, and I agree.  But I wonder what that has to do with belief in God?  Both people who claim religion as their inspiration and those who are not religious at all have committed atrocities.  People also use religion as an excuse to justify their actions, but it does not follow from the mere fact that they use religion that God does not exist.  What does it prove?

Christians have a word for those horrible actions you mentioned - sin.  I believe in the existence of moral absolutes whereby such actions are condemned and punished.  But I wonder, on what basis are you disgusted with such actions?  Do you believe in moral absolutes too, and if so, then why?  The existence of moral absolutes cannot be proven through the examination of the natural world or through natural science, because just like the concept of God moral concepts do not correspond to anything in the natural world.  If you do not believe me, read Darwin and G.E. Moore.

I think what I want are actual reasons one disbelieves, not the anecdotal stuff that is only brought up because it pertains to religion.  My arguments would never be accepted if I pointed to Soviet Russia as the paradigm for atheism.  It is unfair, not to mention illogical, to sample the worst examples of Christians or other religious folks and then use those examples to draw general conclusions about all Christians or all religion.  I admit that people have done bad things in the name of some God, but all that shows is that they have done bad things in the name of some God, not that God is a bad concept or does not exist.  I am surprised at the number of atheists I meet who claim that their views are the most reasonable, yet when asked to give a rational defense of their views they shirk responsibility, shift the burden of proof, and finally just end up providing these subjective anecdotal reasons why religion disgusts them.  I could do the same with the irreligious, but then, that would not be an argument.

IC XC

David

Edit: Your comment about being a second-class citizen because you're a woman confused me.  Do you mean that the Christian God would view you as a second-class citizen because you're a woman, or that Christians already view you as a second-class citizen because you're a woman?  At any rate I definitely don't think women are second-class citizens or that you deserve less respect because of your gender/sex.


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drichards85 wrote:How is my

drichards85 wrote:
How is my belief in God on par with other imaginary deities?

I don't know why, but it never ceases to amaze me just how special believers imagine their particular belief to be. My belief is in something real. Everyone else's is imaginary.


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An Argument Please?

KSMB,

Whether or not I hold my belief to be "special" is irrelevant to whether or not it is true, and besides, it is not an argument to assert that your belief is real and others' beliefs are imaginary.  It's an assertion.  If you have an argument as to why my belief is "imaginary" or is somehow on par with these made-up deities I would be interested in reading it; otherwise, I can simply chalk this up to an assertion that isn't backed by an actual argument.

IC XC

David


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drichards85

drichards85 wrote:
KSMB,

Whether or not I hold my belief to be "special" is irrelevant to whether or not it is true, and besides, it is not an argument to assert that your belief is real and others' beliefs are imaginary.  It's an assertion.  If you have an argument as to why my belief is "imaginary" or is somehow on par with these made-up deities I would be interested in reading it; otherwise, I can simply chalk this up to an assertion that isn't backed by an actual argument.

IC XC

David

Wow, you did it again. No hint of irony either. Well done, sir.


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?

Did what again?  If my belief is false, please tell me how or why.  Do you have an argument?

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David


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drichards85 wrote: I am not

drichards85 wrote:

I am not sure how much of anything follows from what you wrote.  For example, how do we get from "there is no evidence that God interacts with the world" to the conclusion that God does not exist? 

 

Wiki (various quotes from Epicurus and Epicureanism) wrote:

The Epicureans believed in the existence of the gods, but believed that the gods were made of atoms just like everything else. It was thought that the gods were too far away from the earth to have any interest in what man was doing; so it did not do any good to pray or to sacrifice to them. The gods, they believed, did not create the universe, nor did they inflict punishment or bestow blessings on anyone, but they were supremely happy; this was the goal to strive for during one’s own human life.

Epicureanism rejects immortality and mysticism; it believes in the soul, but suggests that the soul is as mortal as the body. Epicurus rejected any possibility of an afterlife, while still contending that one need not fear death: "Death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved, is without sensation, and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us."

Epicurus was an early thinker to develop the notion of justice as a social contract. He defined justice as an agreement "neither to harm nor be harmed." The point of living in a society with laws and punishments is to be protected from harm so that one is free to pursue happiness. Because of this, laws that do not contribute to promoting human happiness are not just. He gave his own unique version of the Ethic of Reciprocity, which differs from other formulations by emphasizing minimizing harm and maximizing happiness for oneself and others:

It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing "neither to harm nor be harmed" ),
and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.

 

Am I an Epicurean?  Not really.  But these passages have more meaning for me than anything I have read in the bible.  Ah, yes, I have tried to be a christian, but I just can't turn off my brain.  Epicurus says the gods exist, they just aren't interested in people so live a good, pleasant live and don't worry about what the gods may be doing since it won't be anything to do with you.

My take on this is if the god of the bible really wanted me to believe, s/he/it/they would get off their ass and do something.  Since s/he/it/they don't bother, they either don't care about me or they don't exist.  For all intents and purposes, rather than believe I am totally unimportant, I chose to believe they don't exist.

 

drichards85 wrote:

Whether or not you want anything to do with a philosophy of free will and original sin is irrelevant to whether that philosophy is true.  Besides, not even all Christians believe in so-called "original sin" - at least I don't, as accepted and taught by most Western churches.  So that removes at least one objection since it is possible to be a theist, even a Christian, and not believe in the doctrine that infants are born with sinful natures.  As for your other objections along the lines that some babies were beaten to death - that is horrible, and I agree.  But I wonder what that has to do with belief in God?  Both people who claim religion as their inspiration and those who are not religious at all have committed atrocities.  People also use religion as an excuse to justify their actions, but it does not follow from the mere fact that they use religion that God does not exist.  What does it prove?

 

It proves god/s/dess - if s/he/it/they exist - are not omnibenevolent or not omnipotent or not omniscient.  Or perhaps, they are none of these and therefore, not god/s/dess.  And why bother with a do nothing imaginary friend?  Or a sadistic imaginary friend?  Or a not powerful one?  A not knowing one?  Why bother with them at all?  Again, rather than believe god/s/dess is a malignant thug, I chose to believe s/he/it/they do not exist.

 

drichards85 wrote:

Christians have a word for those horrible actions you mentioned - sin.  I believe in the existence of moral absolutes whereby such actions are condemned and punished.  But I wonder, on what basis are you disgusted with such actions?  Do you believe in moral absolutes too, and if so, then why?  The existence of moral absolutes cannot be proven through the examination of the natural world or through natural science, because just like the concept of God moral concepts do not correspond to anything in the natural world.  If you do not believe me, read Darwin and G.E. Moore.

 

I am disgusted because I am a caring person.  I don't need a god/s/dess to tell me these actions are wrong.  Morality is based on human society.  We need each other in order to raise children and grandchildren - natural selection is the ability to have grandchildren.  To live with each other, we need to get along - somehow.  And the best way to do that is to be nice to each other.  Societies where people are not nice to each other have not survived - at least not for long.  And so the caring people are generally the ones who have survived to pass on their genome.

 

drichards85 wrote:

I think what I want are actual reasons one disbelieves, not the anecdotal stuff that is only brought up because it pertains to religion.  My arguments would never be accepted if I pointed to Soviet Russia as the paradigm for atheism.  It is unfair, not to mention illogical, to sample the worst examples of Christians or other religious folks and then use those examples to draw general conclusions about all Christians or all religion.  I admit that people have done bad things in the name of some God, but all that shows is that they have done bad things in the name of some God, not that God is a bad concept or does not exist.  I am surprised at the number of atheists I meet who claim that their views are the most reasonable, yet when asked to give a rational defense of their views they shirk responsibility, shift the burden of proof, and finally just end up providing these subjective anecdotal reasons why religion disgusts them.  I could do the same with the irreligious, but then, that would not be an argument.

 

If you want to be religious you have choices.  You can say everything in your particular magical book is to be believed and followed as strictly as you can.  You can say most of it is allegorical and pick and choose those passages that appeal to you.  You can throw away the book and make stuff up as you go along.  I chose anecdotes that mean(t) the most to me.  I can not give you all of my reasoning in a few posts on a internet forum. 

For me, the conclusive proof that either god/s/dess doesn't give a damn or doesn't exist is this:  I will go stand in the middle of my yard (which is clear of trees and highly visible from the air) and yell, "GOD/S/DESS DOES NOT EXIST.  I REPUDIATE HIM/HER/IT/THEM.  THEY EAT SHIT AND FUCK UNICORNS!"  And the only thing that will happen is my neighbors will come over and ask if I am having a bad day as I am not known for behaving like an idiot or for getting wasted.  Since I am important and I don't want to get involved with some supposedly all powerful malignant thug, I'll go with god/s/dess doesn't exist.

If you want philosophical proofs, maybe one of the guys who posted one will stop by and give it to you.

 

drichards85 wrote:

Edit: Your comment about being a second-class citizen because you're a woman confused me.  Do you mean that the Christian God would view you as a second-class citizen because you're a woman, or that Christians already view you as a second-class citizen because you're a woman?  At any rate I definitely don't think women are second-class citizens or that you deserve less respect because of your gender/sex.

 

Apologies, I've been debating Billy Bob Jenkins too much.  His contention is the KJV version is the absolute truth and should be followed in all things.  Including slapping around his wife when she "starts behaving like a woman."  His idea of convincing me to take Jesus in my heart is to tell me I'll probably be slapped around less when I become perfect and make it to heaven to be with him for eternity.  You can guess he hasn't won me over as a convert to his particular view of christianity.  You will have to ask him for all the supporting verses for his attitude.  I didn't bother to memorize them.

I realize making sweeping generalizations is not a great debating tactic.  However, there are so many views of what christianity is supposed to be about, it is hard to know which one I might be debating at any one time.  It seems like for you, christianity is all sweetness and light, hugs and kisses, sugar and cream, sunlight and kittens.  Any other nasty verses are ignored or justified as being "god's plan" and "all will be revealed in the fullness of time".  You are of the pick and choose variety of christian.  Fine.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Fundamentalist? Not I.

cj,

Why does a subscription to Christian belief require one to turn off their brain?  Have I said anything throughout this discussion to indicate that I do not use my brain?

Also, I am not sure why you would assume that, if God did exist, He would make Himself known to you in the ways you describe.  What is the basis for this belief?

I do not believe God is "a malignant thug," so on that we are in agreement.  But then, why argue against a position that I do not hold?  It is possible to understand God in a way that is not malignant or pure wrath, so why should that be an obstacle to belief in any God?  To reject one view does not require one to reject every view.

I do not demand "philosophical proofs," per se, only that someone gives an actual argument for their position or a justification for their belief that does not boil down to the "I used to be a Christian but got screwed over," or "All the Christians I know (or who are in the media) are stupid/hypocrites/evil," etc.  It is a fallacy to conflate the outspoken bigotry of some extremists and fundamentalists with Christians across the world and over the centuries, especially since the type of extremism and fundamentalism you deplore has a pretty recent history and its origins are easily traced to some doctrines which were exaggerated and then used as excuses to amass power.  But that sort of thing happens across the board, so I see no reason to point it out in reference to some particular religion or all religions but downplay secular or atheist ideologies that also had harmful effects on society and the world at large.  Just as it would be unfair to treat every atheist as the Bill Maher type, it is not quite charitable to pretend that we are all Fred Phelps in Billy Graham clothing.

As for Billy Bob Jenkins, he may be a character - I have read some of his comments - but that type of tone is hardly conducive to dialog nor are many of his particular beliefs supported by history or geography.  What did Christians do before the KJV?  How did they interpret the Scriptures before the rise of Evangelical Fundamentalism?  I simply see no good reason to let the baseless and (in some cases) un-Christian views, in the historical sense of that word, be mistaken for the beliefs of millions upon millions of people who live now and lived in the past.  Such polemic against the "stupid/evil" atheists would never be tolerated if it came from my side; I only ask for that same courtesy.  I am not an Evangelical, nor am I Fundamentalist.  As I have indicated before, I do not believe in the doctrine of "original sin" or with it the Calvinist claims to predestination and the total depravity of man.  I believe that human nature is good, even though individual persons choose to act contrary to their nature.

I am not sure what I said to give you the impression that I "pick and choose" what I want to believe, so I am not sure what prompted you to say that.  Have I indicated here or anywhere else that I simply pick and choose the parts that make me happy and disregard the parts that make me uncomfortable?  And in any case, is that relevant?  Seems sort of ad hominem to me.

IC XC

David