Intelligent Design debate I'm having at the moment

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Intelligent Design debate I'm having at the moment

Sorry everybody, this is quite a long one, but if you could read it and offer me any further advice or sources to help fill out my arguements that would be great.  I have put my opponents in italics and my own comments in plain text 

<i>OLD) Posted By: Brink on Thu Mar 29 15:28:37 CEST 2007
seems like u have a bigger beef with god than ID...but thats my 2cents. You seem to associate a belief in God as backwards and that the only true sign of civilization is progress and that that progress cannot include a healthy belief in God.</i>

You are probably correct there, in that I have a bigger beef with God than with Intelligent Design, but even more so with organised religion.  After all you can't have intelligent design without any intelligent designer.  Also correct, a belief in God is backwards, progress should eventually banish God, and a belief in God isn't especially healthy anymore.


<i>I just dont see how you can throw around galileo without understanding galileo. Copernicus and Galileo couldnt prove their ideas when they asserted them. Furthermore Galileo belived that the tides were due to the sun not the moon this means THAT galileo wasnt always right and that in some cases he was dead wrong. Also, Galileo was a devout catholic and considered a clergyman.</i>

Well... I didn't mention Galileo, but... are you kidding me?  At the time it was not a smart move to proclaim non-relious beliefs to anybody, so I refute your calling on him as arguing from a religious perspective.  Personally I think he went about as far as anybody could dare to go against the Church at the time and that says a lot, but obviously I can't say whether he would have denounced his faith if he had the opportunity, and you can't either.  Who cares that he was wrong on some things?  I'm sure if he had the means for more evidence before the end of his life, he would have happily changed his mind.  Can Intelligent Design supporters say the same?  Obviously not because they are ignoring real observable evidence all the time.  The fact that we no longer believe the tides are due to the sun is tribute to the fact that real  claims are never, and should never be, free from the requirement of testing and being updated to match the reality as close as we can.


<i> Most of modern science is founded on religion and only in recent times has our society seemed to want to separate science with religion as if religion is some quasi-science. Furthermore, to claim that secular knowledge supercedes religious knowledge seems to only exist within the last 50 years of our society. One can look at the witchhunts of reformation Europe and compare the trials of the roman/spanish Inquisition to the secular courts of Germany/Swiss where they executed people 68% of the time vs the inquisitions 12%.</i>

I agree with your first sentence here.  For most of human history God was the best explanation for the existence and nature of the physical universe.  Unfortunately for God and religion, in recent times there have been other theories postulated that have several things going for them, like being more logical, consistent and backed by evidence.  The effect of this is of course the reduction of religion into quasi science (at best). (my wording here influenced by a bbc website).  I'm not sure what your reference to the witchhunts and inquisitions vs so called secular trials is supposed to be demonstrating, but I have a few questions.  Is it that the witchunters and inquisitioners' religious knowledge superceded the knowledge of the 'secular' courts?  Are these examples from similar time periods?  However if this is what you are trying to say then I would like to remind you what each of these examples were trialling.  On one side you have people being tried for... what exactly?  Being a bit eccentric?  Being called a *female dog* and somebody misheard the word?  No reason?  Also on this side you have people being tried for believing in a different book.  What was being tried in the secular courts?


<i>The point Im trying to make is that you seem to be unable to accept that the reason why everything is organized as some initial causation that points to God. Whether we want it to or not, until we have more proof...this is how it stands.</i>

I'm not sure if you've miswritten something there, I don't think your first sentence makes sense, grammatically and I'm don't know what you're trying to say.  The universe behaves as we would expect it to in the absence of a God.


<i> But, phoon[e]y you really come across as if your trying to take God down and champion humanity with a religion of progress instead of using reason.</i>

Not quite what I was trying to convey.  Through logic, reason, evidence and testing comes progress is what I mean.  Through ignorance (I do not mean to use this word with the baggage of all its negative connotations, I simply mean ignoring evidence), Dogma and faith comes stagnation.

<i>But, even Sartre had a priest on his deathbed...and you dont come close to rivaling his passion nor intelligence.</i>

I won't contend that I come anywhere near being in the same ballpark as this man for passion or intelligence, thanks for reminding me though.  However, even if this is true about having a priest at his deathbed, I wouldn't be rushing to blame him.  I could even attempt to give a Darwinian explaination for it!  Death is scary because having a healthy fear of death adds survival value for the genes that cause it and the organism that carries the genes.  Fear has always been one of the most potent weapons of the church, and they don't miss an opportunity to capitalise on it.

<i>You want a bone to chew on, defeat conservation of energy---how can energy neither be created no destroyed yet already exist in a finite form?---again use logic of today and please dont resort to well we will eventually find out progress ftw idea.</i>

Well, I'm not even sure conservation of energy needs to be defeated.  You've already got the idea in your head that something can have existed forever, why not the universe?  We already have strong evidence the universe exists, but nothing to indicate an Intelligent designer.  Why just make something up to fill a gap in knowledge?  You haven't solved anything by doing this and the "God of the Gaps" (phrase borrowed from Richard Dawkins, not sure if he is the origin of this term) is going to have less and less gaps to be god over.  This is what I meant earlier in this post about progress eventually banishing God.  For example, God used to be the magical loving light that chased away the darkness at the beginning of each day and gave life to the earth.  Now we know that is the Sun.  God used to be the explaination for the diversity and beauty and wonderful efficiency of nature all around us, now evolution goes a long way in explaining this.

I never said I have all the answers right now.  As I mentioned before (and I believe I was supported by Kevin) it's ok to not know, the important thing is to keep on trying to learn.  Yes, I'm afraid I am going to have to 'resort' to "well we will eventually find out..PROGRESS!"  Due to the historical evidence of the unknowable becoming common knowledge, I have very high hopes for the future of human knowledge and I would be very hesitant to throw around the word 'never' in regards to what we will eventually know.


<i>But, phooney i apologize if i came across rude or wrong in what your replies seemed to contain, however there is a piece of many if you care to discredit it go for it.</i>

Not at all, it will take more than that to offend me.  I appreciate that you seem to have put some thought into your stance.  I was somewhat resentful of your comment "btw do you even know anything about galileo galilei, jean-paul sartre, Steven Hawkins, Mendel, a good enough grasp of the science/philosophy that they contain" as I've tried to read as widely as possible.

And so....

<i>Becaused half what I keep reading is lol---blackholes lol this is what i read somewhere and it agrees with my views therefore it must be right lol.</i>

Oddly enough, this sentiment very much reminds me of what I hear from 'your' side of the argument.  I will admit that I haven't done every single one of the experiments that I read about, nor have I even done MANY of them.  I don't have an advanced degree in physics, chemistry, biology etc.  However when reading about these experiments etc, they at least do set out testable criteria for their findings, and they are answerable to their peers who are free to set out opposing criteria and present other evidence.  As far as religion and intelligent design are concerned, the entity that their theories are supposed to be answerable to hasn't exactly done much to sway the argument in their favour or correct any errors in their version of events.


<i> I want to clear up i am not some fundamentalist Christian or do I believe the earth was created in 7 days or adam and Eve are real. I believe there is a combination of bigbangtheory/Id until more evidence is yielded to modify further. I look at it like the word atom--smallest building block of life....it was when they named it. However as we know it isnt anymore protons-quarks...but that is what our human limits knew and we have a fascination with defining what we dont know so. That is the same way with cosmology.</i>

See this!  This is exactly the right mind-set.  Unfortunately at this stage you haven't presented me with any evidence to consider, could this be due to a lack of evidence supporting your ideas?

And secondly......

<i>OLD) Posted By: Jimmy on Thu Mar 29 18:34:19 CEST 2007
I'm not gonna go into all the evidence for ID cuz A) it would take to lond and B) i can't remember it all. i only remember certain points that were relevant to my own personal theory.</i>

This makes me lol.  However, I don't require you to give me all the evidence for ID, just present it a little bit at a time if you like.

<i>If you want all the evidence either go to the Museum in New York or find the Times article (which I will post the name and date of if I can find it, don't know if i still have that magazine lying around the house or not).</i>

Unfortunately not everybody in the world lives in New York and I'm pretty sure there aren't very many equivalent places because I would guess museum pieces that support this must be very short in supply.

<i>Oh and since everyone is tearing up ID, I guess I'll have to throw my 2cents in about facts that make evolution look wrong. Since we're so caught up on probablilty I guess I'll use this one. NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN MACRO EVOLUTION OCCUR!! Yes, we've seen micro evolution, but most ID people believe in micro evolution. However, no1 has ever seen one species evolve into another. I know evolution theory is less than 200 years old, but based on the total # of animals on this planet, some species had to undergo macro evolution during that time, yet no1 has seen it. Probablility says someone should have seen it.</i>

I'm not sure you've grasped the timescale of macro evolution, did you expect to see a giant squid giving birth to a dinosaur or something?  How about this though, I think most people would agree that a lion and a tiger are two different animals, and yet you can see they are similar in many ways.  In fact their evolutionary tree branched recently enough for their genes to be similar enough for them to still be able to mate with each other and produce viable offspring.

<i>I'll admit alot of ID people have some crazy theories. All I'm trying to say is that the people who stick to valid science have pretty much as strong reason to support ID as evolution.</i>

Then I repeat, show me this evidence.

Phooney


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phooney wrote: Oh and

phooney wrote:

Oh and since everyone is tearing up ID, I guess I'll have to throw my 2cents in about facts that make evolution look wrong. Since we're so caught up on probablilty I guess I'll use this one. NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN MACRO EVOLUTION OCCUR!! Yes, we've seen micro evolution, but most ID people believe in micro evolution. However, no1 has ever seen one species evolve into another. I know evolution theory is less than 200 years old, but based on the total # of animals on this planet, some species had to undergo macro evolution during that time, yet no1 has seen it. Probablility says someone should have seen it.

 Here's a nice bit of something to hit them with.  Regardless of what you call the process, micro-evolution or macro-evolution, they are still handled by the same mechanic, genetic variation selected by environmental pressures. Saying that Micro-evolution happens but then saying that you doubt that Macro-evolution ever happened or that we will ever see it is like saying that I can take steps but can never cross the street, or I can take steps towards the other side of the street but that the last step to cross the street is such a fundamentally different step that I am never able to take it.

 "Micro-evolution" so called is simply the single steps taken along a path.  "Macro-evolution" is not some grand different step, its just the trip from one point to another, the collection of steps that go from one place to another.  Truthfully I know that at the core this is a bad metaphor since evolution is not intelligently guided and my wish to get across the street is, but the idea should stick.

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Quote: The point Im trying

Quote:
The point Im trying to make is that you seem to be unable to accept that the reason why everything is organized as some initial causation that points to God. Whether we want it to or not, until we have more proof...this is how it stands.

I'm not sure if you've miswritten something there, I don't think your first sentence makes sense, grammatically and I'm don't know what you're trying to say. The universe behaves as we would expect it to in the absence of a God.


And there the problem lies. The proof is coming forwards and creationists are seeing quite rightly that this goes against their teachings and beliefs. They couldn't discredit the evidence and proof logically so now they're doing a mass PR campaign spreading lies and saying things like evolution aren't real science where as creationism is. They're making sure this is loud enough that the facts and evidence will get pushed under the carpet where nobody will see it.  Fact is it's actually the opposite way around. Evolution has evidence, creationism doesn't. It is as simple as that.

The Creationism PR machine then makes up new lies to tell the people along the lines of evolution is a hotly debated topic amongst scientists and close to 50% disagree when in actual fact 99% of them agree with it. They failed with logic, but they're winning with PR based on lies.

All the Evangelicals need to do is admit that Genesis was a parable. They can still easily and happily claim that evolution, abiogenesis and the big bang are simply how God put man on earth.

Quote:
You want a bone to chew on, defeat conservation of energy---how can energy neither be created no destroyed yet already exist in a finite form?---again use logic of today and please dont resort to well we will eventually find out progress ftw idea.


So does he want a logical answer or an illogical one? Was he able to do chemistry at the age of 5? Algebra maybe? No? Why not? It's because he hadn't learnt those things yet. Science is about finding the REAL answers to questions, it is not about knowing anything and everything. If we can't say "don't know YET", then we can't answer.

If he counters this saying "how come you can tell me I can't use the bible and god but I can't tell you that you can't say you don't know yet", that is because the bible and god are not evidence. They are not provable. There are scientists archaologists and historians currently looking for answers to the validity of the bible but until they definitively say either way it isn't acceptable evidence and neither is God. In fact, if you talk to Rook he will give you a few hundred pages of information on how the new testament and jesus himself is false. The Bible is on very shaky ground indeed if any at all.

Quote:
However, no1 has ever seen one species evolve into another.


English is a very beautiful language, it would be nice if he'd actually use it.

Evolution has been seen. It has been done by man. It gets done by man every day. Ever seen a dog? Many many generations ago it was a wolf. The dogs used by hunters in England with their short little legs? They were bred specifically to be that way, to evolve in to a dog capable of running in to the fox holes etc. In fact all breeders push evolution on a daily basis trying to get certain attributes from their animals into the next generation. Horse breeders are the same, it is why retired racing horses are so expensive - so that they can pass on the genes and through evolution get a race winning horse.

Natural evolution takes a much longer time, tens if not hundreds of thousands of years. We don't have that much recorded history and we most certainly can't live that long ... but we have accelerated it ourselves in many cases such as those I just listed.

Quote:
I'll admit alot of ID people have some crazy theories. All I'm trying to say is that the people who stick to valid science have pretty much as strong reason to support ID as evolution.
Quote:


Reason and Evidence are two entirely different things. ID has reason, Evolution has both reason & evidence.

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Suggestion: tell this

Suggestion: tell this dumbass to stop whining about the usual unimportant stuff, ie your supposed close mindedness, the history of the church and their usual strawman view of evolution and cosmology (asking you to defeat the conservation of energy is particularly telling, since it's the theist that believes in creation from nothing). Even if evolution is totally wrong, that does NOT mean that his creationism is right. Ask him to properly define "intelligent", "design" in positive terms, what the mechanism for this is supposed to be and most importantly, how we would scientifically test for this. Until then, he's just arguing science using his ass. Not valid.


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Here's the latest argument

Here's the latest argument that has been thrown at me:

it is common knowledge in Chemistry that systems favour reactions that cause a decrease in free energy. G=H-TS. For life to be created, H must be positive and S must be negative. That means G is positive. Reactions will not occur unless G is negative.

G is free energy. Its a term used to describe whether a reaction will be spontaneous (here spontaneous means the reaction can occur). H is enthalpy, the amount of heat absorbed or given off by the system during the reaction. T is temperature. S is entropy, the randomness of a system. S is positive if the system becomes for random. In order to create life, energy must be absorbed, which makes H positive. Life is less random than no life, so S is negative. T is always positive cuz we use Kelvin scale. G=H-TS. With the variables as they are, G must be postive. As already stated, if G is positive the reaction will not occur. That is evidence for ID. The reaction, based on our understanding of Thermodynamics, should not be able to occur. But obviously it did.

I've already pointed out that Evolution has nothing to do with how life started, but I am currently too hungover to research this one. Anybody here have a more in depth grasp of chemistry than me?

[MOD EDIT: colour removed] 


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Few things

One problem that I noticed was that your discussion didn't really touch ID. Who cares if Sartre had a priest at his death bed or Galileo wasn't always right, that has nothing to do with ID.

Also, if he cannot explain or even give you any evidence for ID, ask him how he can even subscribe to it. Apparently he doesn't even understand it. Also remember that being critical towards the theory of evolution does not provide any evidence or support to ID. The support of one theory cannot rely on the lack of support of another theory.

You could also ask him about ID: is the universe more, less or equally complex to the intelligent designer? If it the universe is more complex than the designer, than  complex particles, interactions and structures can originate from less complex (or simple) particles, interactions and structures. This is called evolution. If the universe is equally or less complex than the designer, then the designer also needs a designer (result: infinite line of designers).


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Is he trying to argue that

Is he trying to argue that life started on a cellular level?

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Quote: it is common

Quote:
it is common knowledge in Chemistry that systems favour reactions that cause a decrease in free energy. G=H-TS. For life to be created, H must be positive and S must be negative. That means G is positive. Reactions will not occur unless G is negative.

Wrong again. See that letter T next to S? That is the temperature in Kelvins, meaning it is always a positive or non-negative number. Here is some more math:

The actual equation is about changes (written as deltas, Δ) ΔG=ΔH-TΔS. If the ΔG = 0, the reaction is at equilibrium. The temperature needed for an equilibrium is then:

ΔG=0=ΔH-TΔS --> ΔH=TΔS --> T= (ΔH) / (ΔS)

Also I want to point out that ΔS and ΔH are reaction-specific and therefore saying that "For life to be created, H must be positive and S must be negative" is false.


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For this life creating

For this life creating chemical reaction I think he's saying that life is less random than no life, therefore the change in S is negative.

He's saying that energy must be absorbed therefore the change in H is positive.

According to these definitions it would appear that the change in G must be positive.

 

And so... there are a few questions raised.  Firstly, must the change in G be negative for a reaction to occur?  Secondly, is life less random than no life in terms of a chemical equation?

 Sorry MisterDax, I think what you wrote went over my head a little bit, could you elaborate?

It does appear that the conversation has parted ways from pure evolution vs ID.  Seems to happen pretty easily!


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Quote: For this life

Quote:
For this life creating chemical reaction I think he's saying that life is less random than no life, therefore the change in S is negative.

He's saying that energy must be absorbed therefore the change in H is positive.

According to these definitions it would appear that the change in G must be positive.

All life is series of chemical reactions. Ok, there is more to biological system than the chemistry, but the equation given applies to the chemical part.

Also, energy itself may not be absorbed directly, but via matter. For example, you eat something to get energy from it, you don't lie in the sun to get nourished.  Entrophy S is also kinda tricky, because it allows local decrease in entrophy (eg. biosynthesis inside a cell) only if the entrophy of the environment increases so the total entrophy increases.

 

Quote:
Firstly, must the change in G be negative for a reaction to occur?

The Gibbs energy, or G, tells us the direction of the reaction. Lets examine the reaction A + B <==> C + D. The notion "<==>" means that the reaction can to either "direction". If the ΔG is negative, the reactions proceeds to "the right". If the ΔG is positive, then the reactions proceeds to "the left". However, if the ΔG is near zero, reaction occurs the same amount to the both directions and the number of the chemicals A, B, C and D do not appear to change. Note that the reaction does not stop, chemical reactions still occur.

Quote:
Sorry MisterDax, I think what you wrote went over my head a little bit, could you elaborate?

Trust me, this is exactly what happens when a chemist tries to explain chemistry Smiling Please, ask questions. I believe that if I cannot explain these things to others, it is a sign that I don't fully understand them.

Quote:
It does appear that the conversation has parted ways from pure evolution vs ID.  Seems to happen pretty easily!

ID and creationism are easily reduced to critisism of the theory of evolution.


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Oh man, I've had a real

Oh man, I've had a real fanatic respond now! Check this out:

 

OLD) Posted By: faboogula on Sat Mar 31 23:24:41 CEST 2007


Evolution is all a big hoax, some created by fraudulent evidence for peoples' own personal gain, and some because their studies were found to be inconclusive so in frustration/desperation they make up the pieces of the puzzle that are lacking.


Examples:

Carbon dating - They've tested living organisms to be dead for 3,000 years.

Charles Darwin - The Darwinian teaching of evolution in regard to the Earth humans, that they originally arose from apes, is truly not based on his own thoughts or from his own research, but on a Tibetan legend that all humans descended from eight different branches of apes.

Darwin exploited this legend, whereby he filed certain bones of an ape skeleton in order to substantiate and provide a line of evidence for his deceit, and presented the whole thing to the scientific body of the day.

In his last days Darwin himself discredited evolution and apologized for misleading everyone for his own benefit, but no one would take him seriously because he was dying and not thought to be of sound mind.

Ernest Haeckel - was a German biologist who was so convinced that he had solved the riddle of life's unfolding that he doctored and faked his drawings of embryonic stages to prove his point. Haeckel was exposed as a fraud in 1874 by Professor Wilhelm His. Haeckel's fraudulent drawings (or similar representations) remain in high school and college biology textbooks to this day as evidence for evolution.


I find it difficult to believe that anyone could dig down 50 feet into the ground and conclude that 'this bone is 12,567,423 1/2 years old and belonged to a caveman named Unga-Bunga. He had genital warts and walked with a limp, and liked the color fuchsia.'

Boy I'm having fun with this debate, responses like this only make it a cakewalk.

[MOD EDIT: colour removed] 


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sorry, that colour makes it

sorry, that colour makes it insanely difficult to read here!


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faboogula wrote: Evolution

faboogula wrote:
Evolution is all a big hoax, some created by fraudulent evidence for peoples' own personal gain, and some because their studies were found to be inconclusive so in frustration/desperation they make up the pieces of the puzzle that are lacking.

You just described creationism, not evolution.

faboogula wrote:
Carbon dating - They've tested living organisms to be dead for 3,000 years.

Carbon dating doesn't test for life or death, merely time. You are a liar.

faboogula wrote:
Charles Darwin - The Darwinian teaching of evolution in regard to the Earth humans, that they originally arose from apes, is truly not based on his own thoughts or from his own research, but on a Tibetan legend that all humans descended from eight different branches of apes. Darwin exploited this legend, whereby he filed certain bones of an ape skeleton in order to substantiate and provide a line of evidence for his deceit, and presented the whole thing to the scientific body of the day.

Pure lies.

faboogula wrote:
In his last days Darwin himself discredited evolution and apologized for misleading everyone for his own benefit, but no one would take him seriously because he was dying and not thought to be of sound mind.

Pure lies.

faboogula wrote:
Ernest Haeckel - was a German biologist who was so convinced that he had solved the riddle of life's unfolding that he doctored and faked his drawings of embryonic stages to prove his point. Haeckel was exposed as a fraud in 1874 by Professor Wilhelm His. Haeckel's fraudulent drawings (or similar representations) remain in high school and college biology textbooks to this day as evidence for evolution.

You don't know what you're talking about.

faboogula wrote:
I find it difficult to believe that anyone could dig down 50 feet into the ground and conclude that 'this bone is 12,567,423 1/2 years old and belonged to a caveman named Unga-Bunga. He had genital warts and walked with a limp, and liked the color fuchsia.

Noones ever done that. Liar.

phooney wrote:
Boy I'm having fun with this debate, responses like this only make it a cakewalk.

No doubt. Had to have taken me 1/10th the time to refute as it took him to write.

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Well, my debate

Well, my debate continues. However, all the intelligent design people's last words were along the lines of "I'll go get the evidence and post back when I have time"

I haven't heard from them since.

However, now a deist has flung himself into the mix, at least arguing with some logic:

I hereby formally request permission to use the quote, "Without religion you'd have good people doing good things, bad people doing bad things, but to make good people do bad things.... that takes religion" presented by Phooney on a daily basis. I am enjoying this thread, but you guys on ID side of things have been torn apart by phooney pretty bad with no real comebacks.

Tell me this Phooney. I get the view that you are prolly an resounding atheist. Do you have the same issues people who believe in a god, but do not believe he influenced anything in terms of personal/evolutional matters? I for one would argue the creation of the universe had to be super natural given the most current status of research, but I would say there is no evidence that this supernatural existance still exists, or has any interaction on a personal level. This is not to discredit evolution but goes along side it in many ways. I am curious to see if you are as opposed to this view point.

-Frank-
P.S. Deism and atheism are still religions of their own, as they have their own unique aspects of their movements based on faith (tho to a lesser degree than a full blown religion).

 

My response:

"I hereby formally request permission to use the quote, "Without religion you'd have good people doing good things, bad people doing bad things, but to make good people do bad things.... that takes religion" presented by Phooney on a daily basis. "

Permission granted if I'm allowed to grant it, I can't remember who's quote it really is, but I think it's a pretty good one.




"Tell me this Phooney. I get the view that you are prolly an resounding atheist. "

Yes, I suppose so.





"Do you have the same issues people who believe in a god, but do not believe he influenced anything in terms of personal/evolutional matters? "

Ah deism! That's another interesting topic. First let's just clarify that we have the same perception of what deism is. Basically, the idea of deism is that God was there at the beginning, defined all the laws in the universe such as the strength of gravity, the forces of electro magnetics, etc. Then he decided on the ratios of every atom (or every quark and neutrino etc) and the amount, then put them in a singularity in the vast emptyness before existence. After that he started the whole thing going (for example, by being the external force that caused the big bang). Then he turned his attention to more important matters and never looked in on us again. I'm not sure what yourself or most deists believe in terms of the soul or an afterlife though.

Does this match up closely enough with your definition? I shall assume for the time being that it does. I also assume you ARE a deist?

It certainly is a difficult thing to argue, for several reasons. One, there is no religious text taken as the ultimate authority on the religion that is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions from beginning to end. Two (and correct me if I'm wrong) but all our theories currently break down when we go back as far as the point of the initial singularity. Three, there is no evidence that deists have to provide of their god interfering with any of the above mentioned natural laws (miracles), because they say that doesn't happen. For some reason, this just reminded me of a scene in the original terminator movie where the psychiatrist character talks about the time traveller's story being a classical delusion in that it explained the lack of evidence about itself by it's very nature. Maybe a bad thing to have thought of at that point in time, as for the purpose of that movie, the time traveller's story turned out to be true.

However, I say that many of my same logical arguements and reasonings apply to deism just the same as theism. I fear that posting them won't really bring much more new content to the thread, but oh well, here I go anyway!





"I for one would argue the creation of the universe had to be super natural given the most current status of research, "

Why is that? It goes back to what I referred to previously as "God of the Gaps", or "If I don't know then it must be God". Feel free to replace the word "god" with supernatural if that is what a deist would prefer. Yes, it is going to be a very difficult question to try to solve, but remember that just because the answer is currently unproven, doesn't mean that the supernatural alternative has to be the default stand-in answer. It doesn't even mean that the deist god has a 0.5 probability of being correct, as the odds must be divided up not between just this god and science, but surely every god that has ever been considered, every god that hasn't been considered, and all current and yet to be thought of scientific theories must have a share of the probability. So you may ask, how does this mean that any scientific theory that I, Phooney, may come up with is any more likely to be true than any answer that your deism or religion has come up with? The answer is that without evidence, it doesn't.

But what is the use in coming up with an arbitrary answer in the meantime? By doing this, nothing has really been answered, or learned. I say again, it is ok to not know something, not having the answer to something doesn't make you worthless as a person and rob your life of meaning. It is ok to wait at least until there's some evidence to go on.

I say here what is the use of the arbitrary answer, and you may respond "what is the harm either?" Well, the harm comes from that 100% conviction that only faith in the supernatural, or God, seems to evoke. That 100% conviction lends itself to close-mindedness and intolerance, whereas the concept that nothing should be free from new testing and evidence that I have mentioned so many times in this thread embraces new evidence and new ideas, and also relates to the stagnation/progress comparison I made earlier as well.

Also, if I could tie in my arguement about probability from earlier (I previously used this to respond to LG's idea of the box of shaken watch parts). I submit to you that the universe is an incredibly complex thing. Due to the sheer size of it, I think you could be forgiven for thinking it must be almost infinitely complex. Yes, the odds of the initial causation (if there even must be one) just happening must be very improbable. However, how much more complex must a sentient being be that is capable of designing the whole universe and everything in it? Logically, such a being just popping into existence at some point infinity before they decided to make the universe must be even more unlikely. Also as I said before, some people already have the idea that something can have existed forever, so why not the universe? Being that we already have evidence that the universe exists...


However, I am glad you added the disclaimer "given the most current status of research" which implies to me that you are not the most set in stone believer!







"but I would say there is no evidence that this supernatural existance still exists, or has any interaction on a personal level. "

I would like to pose a question back to you if I may. You say here that there is no evidence of this supernatural entity's either former or current existence, which I agree with obviously. However, what is it that has led you to believe in this particular supernatural entity and decide that other things with no evidence are false. Unicorns? A teapot orbiting the sun that is at such a distance and too small for our telescopes to see? The list of things that cannot be disproven is literally endless. ENDLESS! This is why the burden of proof must be on the party that makes the positive claim of existence. This is also why I consider it healthier to apply at least mildly skeptical and critical thought, in particular to these issues that we have discussed in this thread.






"This is not to discredit evolution but goes along side it in many ways. "

Agreed, deism certainly doesn't fly in the face of evolutionary theory.







"I am curious to see if you are as opposed to this view point. "

I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts on this matter!






"P.S. Deism and atheism are still religions of their own, as they have their own unique aspects of their movements based on faith (tho to a lesser degree than a full blown religion). "

I disagree with this statement. You've seriously redefined a couple of very important words in this statement. The first one being religion, the second being faith. However, I think I understand what you were trying to get across here: "Deism and atheism are still religions of their own, in the sense that some of their core defining beliefs are based on uncertainty or a lack of evidence."

I think you are probably mainly aiming this idea at the fact that atheists don't know exactly how life started here, they don't know how the universe began.

What I consider to be the main difference with the core beliefs of an atheist and those of a theist (or deist?) is that even those few core beliefs are subject to being questioned in the face of new evidence, whereas it takes a long time and pretty consistently-contradicting blatant experience to change the core beliefs of religion.

I question whether not knowing how something happened can really be considered faith in a core belief? Faith is often used to refer to complete, certain belief in something. According to such a definition, atheism and science are certainly not acts of faith, as even the most dogmatic atheist will tend to refer to experimental data (or the lack of it) when asserting that God does not exist.

His Response:

Basically, the idea of deism is that God was there at the beginning, defined all the laws in the universe such as the strength of gravity, the forces of electro magnetics, etc. Then he decided on the ratios of every atom (or every quark and neutrino etc) and the amount, then put them in a singularity in the vast emptyness before existence.

Response- That is one way of describing deism. I've also said it is possible God was the universe prior to creation, and he was all powerful, all knowing. However was lonely and destroyed his massive body which ended up in the creation of the universe. It would explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organized in a manner that promotes life. You of course would say where is the evidence of this? My response is there is no more evidence for big bang theory than any other creation story atm. The difference between deism and atheistism is we do not pretend to know how the beginning came to be. Atheists tend to cling to the big bang theory or any other theory so long as it does not support a god. It is far more close minded theory if you ask me. The one thing we can prove scientifically is matter is not spontaneously generated. By this fact alone the universe was either A)created or B)existed forever. However eternal existance is an illogical starting point if you are trying to uncover the beginnings of the universe (because there is no beginning). Simply put if you do not believe in some form of creation power then you are incapable of having a starting point of the universe and thus you cannot design any experiment to test for that theory. Any experimentation designed to prove the "it has been here forever" is impossible to test in itself. Even if you had perfect scientific knowledge. Therefore deism gives the only true objective view that there was a starting point of the universe, and attributes it to an all powerful force which is God. Deism also allows for the possibility of the force that we now call God to not be intelligent in anyway shape or form. It could possibly be an undiscovered rule of physics, fact is no one knows but in order to test we must have a starting point. I believe this answers your question of the VALUE of deism as opposed to lack of belief in a God like force/power/being (whichever it maybe).

But what is the use in coming up with an arbitrary answer in the meantime? By doing this, nothing has really been answered, or learned.

Response- Like I said, deism for me is not arbitrary, it is a starting point for all evidence that has, and will come in the future experiments. Deism also does not advocate close mindedness, in fact the opposite. It claims there is no set morality from any supernatural being whatsoever. It encourages people to find their own way and to expirement into the nature of how things really are. You are confusing desim with current popular religions, which claim that there is some personal interaction with this God and the current universe. In deism, there is no evidence of anything of the sort.

However, how much more complex must a sentient being be that is capable of designing the whole universe and everything in it?

Resp- The God like force/being need not be sentient in deism. As there is no evidence this force/being is still in existance we attribute it no such details. However it does allow for a sentient God (which is infinately more complex), or a simple force like something unexplained in physics (maybe every 100 trillion years the universe spontanously generates matter and our lives are too short to figure it out). Such a force would be very simple in nature by comparision to any current theory. Deism accounts for both possible explainations and does not favor either of them except on a person by person basis. Also note that current research indicates there is so much more dark matter than we thought in the past (in order to explain the gravity interaction current planets exhibit) which does not correspond with a big bang theory. A new theory however has not been postulated due to the fact scientists do not have a new theory and it is still a possibility.

However, I am glad you added the disclaimer "given the most current status of research" which implies to me that you are not the most set in stone believer!

Resp- Part of deism is that the force/being that we believe to god may not be sentient. But we do not know (Atheist makes the assumption based on no evidence it is not sentient, religion the assumption that it is more certainly sentient). This is why I call atheism as much a religion as christianity or other popular religions. It makes a critical assumption which deists need not make. As you have said in your post many times, "it is ok not to know, why make the assumption"? Of course if we are confronted with evidence conclusively prove there is no God in the future, or that there is, deism is on good grounds in either aspect and has no true prejudices that either that both religions would try to obscure objectivity. Granted I am not positive that a specific religion is not correct! I readily admit maybe buddism, christianity, or any other religion is 100% true. But there is no evidence to support those claims at present. My belief in deism is based on the need for logical experimentation and explaination of the universe, and if put to the test I would believe anyone who says the universe has existed forever would be commiting a logical fallicy based upon what we know. At a macro level we know nothing lasts forever, that being said on a micro level we have proved matter CAN be destroyed through nuclear reactions, even if in only tiny amounts at a time. All that being said, any perspective can be wrong, aethism, deism, religon, but yes I admit that is certainly a possibility.

You say here that there is no evidence of this supernatural entity's either former or current existence, which I agree with obviously. However, what is it that has led you to believe in this particular supernatural entity and decide that other things with no evidence are false. Unicorns?

Resp- In reading my orginal post I believe I stated there is also no proof God even exists in the present. However nothing I have posted as said this being/force was eternal. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the being many attribute to being God maybe "dead" or if a new law of physics, dormant for some many years as not to be studyable in our short lifetimes. I have made no claim that this supernatural being must be sentient, or even caring. It could simply be a natural force, which is certainly much more logical than believing in unicorns. As a deist, I cannot by definition belief in there being current evidence for existance. But as for at the beginning, there is definately a force at work that has not been explainned by science, that force, however sentient, natural, or however strong that force was is what I claim to be God. Which may not be a standard deist view point, but it is the most logically consistent position I can put forth.

Here is my question to you as an athest. Why must you assume there is is a lack of a supernatural force? By very definition athesim denies such a possibility and also does not adequetely address moral conciousness. In fact athesim just assumes sentience is a random chance caused by subatomic particles comming together in a specific manner. Despite this no sentient being has been produced via artificial means despite having the exact same components. If it is true that everything is consistent with the laws of physics and there is no force other than those we know, then this should not be overly difficult to replicate. Why do you make an absolute assumption this is a coincidence? A deist's vantage can most certainly be considered much less faith based than that of the atheist. Deism attempts to leave all options open for study (whereas religion excludes anything but creation and atheism anything but scientific explaination). Deism is somewhere between those as we do not believe it is intelligent to discount either possibility, and in fact beleive there is strong evidence based on organization/life on there being a God at the beginning (though who knows if it still exists), but does not dismiss the possibility this God like being maybe a simple undiscovered non sentient force of physics. Ignorance is the state of humanity when it comes to its origins. But I do believe there is VERY strong evidence that any religion worshipping during the course of humanity has been created by man rather than divine being(s).

My response:

Thanks for posting Frank, I really appreciate your use of logic.

Now! On to my response:





"It would explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organized in a manner that promotes life. You of course would say where is the evidence of this? My response is there is no more evidence for big bang theory than any other creation story atm. "

I think I missed something here, how does that explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organised in a manner that promotes life? I know you said this is just one possibility you've come up with, but I'd like some clarification on it if I could.

However, there is observational evidence for the big bang theory. As time goes on, everything we've observed in the universe is moving away from each other. Cosmic microwave background radiation that was predicted by the big bang theory is detectable. Also the abundance of light elements supports big bang theory. This is all evidence that supports the big bang theory, though admitedly some of it can be used to support other theories as well. I readily admit that that the big bang theory may be proven incorrect, but at the moment it is the best theory we've got and if I recall correctly, most new theories about the first moments of the universe are derivatives of the big bang theory, aren't they?



"The difference between deism and atheistism is we do not pretend to know how the beginning came to be. Atheists tend to cling to the big bang theory or any other theory so long as it does not support a god. It is far more close minded theory if you ask me. "

I disagree with this. Deism is the one of those two that has made the positive claim that a supernatural influence was responsible for the creation of the universe, atheism makes no such claim of that knowledge and is open to new evidence should it arise. You probably have a point here though in that atheism is likely to be subject to bias in not supporting theories involving god, but let's remember where that bias comes from. It comes from following the strongest evidence.



"The one thing we can prove scientifically is matter is not spontaneously generated. By this fact alone the universe was either A)created or B)existed forever. However eternal existance is an illogical starting point if you are trying to uncover the beginnings of the universe (because there is no beginning). "

unfortunately our understanding does break down at the singularity, I'd hate to make the definitive statement about what can and cannot happen in there. I agree that trying to find the beginning of something that has existed in some form or another eternally is illogical. However, if that turns out to be what the evidence ends up pointing to, I would think that a reasonable goal would be to try to define the cycle that the universe goes through. Making an assumption here that it would be a recurring cycle, to give a rough example: big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, etc. Not trying to put this forward as a great scientific theory as too much is beyond my understanding, but just using it as an example of what I think would be a reasonable goal should the universe prove to be eternal.


"Simply put if you do not believe in some form of creation power then you are incapable of having a starting point of the universe and thus you cannot design any experiment to test for that theory. Any experimentation designed to prove the "it has been here forever" is impossible to test in itself. Even if you had perfect scientific knowledge. "

But having the belief in the creation power doesn't end the infinite regression either. What created the creating power? What created the power that created the creating power?

Why is it impossible to test in itself? Not disagreeing with you here, but I think you've come to some conclusions that you haven't explained. If it does somehow prove to be untestable, what strength does it give to the supernatural external causation? You're using this as the default stand-in answer again.


"Therefore deism gives the only true objective view that there was a starting point of the universe, and attributes it to an all powerful force which is God. Deism also allows for the possibility of the force that we now call God to not be intelligent in anyway shape or form. It could possibly be an undiscovered rule of physics, fact is no one knows but in order to test we must have a starting point. I believe this answers your question of the VALUE of deism as opposed to lack of belief in a God like force/power/being (whichever it maybe). "

As per my previous comment, I'm not sure what you mean when you say you need an absolute beginning for testing something. You've given God a several different definitions in this arguement, which is unfortunately robbing the word of any real meaning. Of course if I define God as a can of beer, then yes God definitely exists and my religion is obviously the one true way! By saying that under deism God could be defined as sentient or not, intelligent or not, the entire universe or not, an undiscovered rule of physics or not we've really stopped talking about God.


"Response- Like I said, deism for me is not arbitrary, it is a starting point for all evidence that has, and will come in the future experiments. "

I still define it as arbitrary in the sense that you have come to a conclusion about the starting point, while also admitting there is no evidence for it. As I said, it is ok to not know.


"Deism also does not advocate close mindedness, in fact the opposite. It claims there is no set morality from any supernatural being whatsoever. It encourages people to find their own way and to expirement into the nature of how things really are. You are confusing desim with current popular religions, which claim that there is some personal interaction with this God and the current universe. In deism, there is no evidence of anything of the sort. "

Ok, I have probably been mistaken in regards to this, and I apologise. I think this aspect is something that deism and atheism have in common.



"Resp- The God like force/being need not be sentient in deism. As there is no evidence this force/being is still in existance we attribute it no such details. However it does allow for a sentient God (which is infinately more complex), or a simple force like something unexplained in physics (maybe every 100 trillion years the universe spontanously generates matter and our lives are too short to figure it out). Such a force would be very simple in nature by comparision to any current theory. Deism accounts for both possible explainations and does not favor either of them except on a person by person basis. Also note that current research indicates there is so much more dark matter than we thought in the past (in order to explain the gravity interaction current planets exhibit) which does not correspond with a big bang theory. A new theory however has not been postulated due to the fact scientists do not have a new theory and it is still a possibility. "

Again here you seem to have made the statement "By my definition, God could be anything, therefore I am right."




"Resp- Part of deism is that the force/being that we believe to god may not be sentient. "

As per previous comment.


"But we do not know (Atheist makes the assumption based on no evidence it is not sentient, religion the assumption that it is more certainly sentient). This is why I call atheism as much a religion as christianity or other popular religions. It makes a critical assumption which deists need not make. "

Ok, I see the point you're trying to make here, but disagree in the definition of religion. I'd say religion is the belief in a supernatural creator of the universe and by definition atheism is the lack of belief in a supernatural creator of the universe. Under this definition atheism is clearly not a religion. However, the definition of religion you have used is any belief that is based on no evidence. I disagree with the idea that atheism makes the assumption based on no evidence. The idea is to make no assumption without evidence, and this lack of belief in a supernatural explaination is what I think you are describing as a.... let's call it a "positive assertion of no god", which it isn't.

I have evidence of natural forces, none of supernatural forces, so I see no reason to have my default stand-in answer be supernatural while I wait to see what evidence is gathered.

I described in an earlier post the value of approaching things with at least mildly skeptical critical thought. You need to do this otherwise you must logically believe in everything for which there is no evidence until there is conclusive proof of it's non-existence: Unicorns, celestial teapot etc, and it is impossible to 100% disprove something like that. This is why the burden of proof must be on the party that makes the positive claim.


Again, I think this may be just something between our points of view that we are misunderstanding definitions, and our views are actually remarkably similar in many ways.








"Of course if we are confronted with evidence conclusively prove there is no God in the future, or that there is, deism is on good grounds in either aspect and has no true prejudices that either that both religions would try to obscure objectivity. Granted I am not positive that a specific religion is not correct! I readily admit maybe buddism, christianity, or any other religion is 100% true. But there is no evidence to support those claims at present. "

Agreed they may be true, as it is not possible to 100% disprove them, and agreed there is no evidence to support them. However, I would add that the balance of probability is definitely against them.


"My belief in deism is based on the need for logical experimentation and explaination of the universe, and if put to the test I would believe anyone who says the universe has existed forever would be commiting a logical fallicy based upon what we know."

An excellent reason for your belief! However, I'm not sure you've defined whether the supernatural force you call god has existed forever? If so, are you not making the same logical fallacy?



"At a macro level we know nothing lasts forever, that being said on a micro level we have proved matter CAN be destroyed through nuclear reactions, even if in only tiny amounts at a time. "

Destroyed? Or converted to energy of some kind?



"Resp- In reading my orginal post I believe I stated there is also no proof God even exists in the present. However nothing I have posted as said this being/force was eternal. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the being many attribute to being God maybe "dead" or if a new law of physics, dormant for some many years as not to be studyable in our short lifetimes. I have made no claim that this supernatural being must be sentient, or even caring. It could simply be a natural force, which is certainly much more logical than believing in unicorns. As a deist, I cannot by definition belief in there being current evidence for existance. But as for at the beginning, there is definately a force at work that has not been explainned by science, that force, however sentient, natural, or however strong that force was is what I claim to be God. Which may not be a standard deist view point, but it is the most logically consistent position I can put forth. "

Yes, you have made your definition of the god force very, very wide indeed, but, as I said, I think this has come at the cost of taking away any meaning in the word. However, I won't continue to argue that in this paragraph. What I want to ask here is why do you say the belief in one thing that has no evidence is more logical than the belief in another thing that has no evidence? Yes, my examples given were extreme and ridiculous, but that was my intention to try to show the similarities in their belief.






"Here is my question to you as an athest. Why must you assume there is is a lack of a supernatural force? By very definition athesim denies such a possibility and also does not adequetely address moral conciousness. "

This is what I spoke of earlier in this post, the lack of belief is not a positive assertion of no supernatural force, skeptical critical thought is necessary to avoid several absurdities, with examples already given here.

Moral consciousness? I think this has darwinian explainations, which I can try to explain if you like, let me know. But didn't you say that deism has nothing to say about that supernatural force having anything to do with moral consciousness?



"In fact athesim just assumes sentience is a random chance caused by subatomic particles comming together in a specific manner. Despite this no sentient being has been produced via artificial means despite having the exact same components. "

Like I have said before, I have great hopes for the future of human knowledge. However are you trying to say that the fact we haven't been able to create life ourselves is an arguement against atheism somehow? The intelligence of the rest of your post makes me assume that I must have misunderstood what you mean in this point.



"If it is true that everything is consistent with the laws of physics and there is no force other than those we know, then this should not be overly difficult to replicate. Why do you make an absolute assumption this is a coincidence? "

Well, I never said there was no force that we don't know about, but even if there is, it doesn't make that force supernatural. Even if you define 'supernatural' as that which is currently beyond our understanding, then if and when we define that new force, it will become natural. I certainly don't think that life is simple though, why would it be easy to replicate? I gave my reasons earlier about why my default answer isn't supernatural, and I think that neither of our point of views makes any absolute assumption or assertion.


"A deist's vantage can most certainly be considered much less faith based than that of the atheist. Deism attempts to leave all options open for study (whereas religion excludes anything but creation and atheism anything but scientific explaination). "

I think this comes back to the same point about you defining a lack of belief as a positive assertion of non-existance, dealt with already. I would say again that deism has made the positive assertion here (albeit a very wide-open assertion) of something that is believed in based on faith, not atheism. I'm quite sure that if there was evidence pointing towards creation, an atheist would take it into account, but until then the skeptical critical thinking is important.


"Deism is somewhere between those as we do not believe it is intelligent to discount either possibility, "

Atheism would agree here I think, but would also consider the balance of probability as I think I have mentioned already.

"and in fact beleive there is strong evidence based on organization/life on there being a God at the beginning (though who knows if it still exists), but does not dismiss the possibility this God like being maybe a simple undiscovered non sentient force of physics. Ignorance is the state of humanity when it comes to its origins. "

But by this definition it isn't supernatural, or won't be if and when we discover it.



"But I do believe there is VERY strong evidence that any religion worshipping during the course of humanity has been created by man rather than divine being(s). "

Absolutely agreed!



I look forward to your response.

Phooney

His response:

I think I missed something here, how does that explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organized in a manner that promotes life? I know you said this is just one possibility you've come up with, but I'd like some clarification on it if I could.

However, there is observational evidence for the big bang theory. As time goes on, everything we've observed in the universe is moving away from each other. Cosmic microwave background radiation that was predicted by the big bang theory is detectable. Also the abundance of light elements supports big bang theory. This is all evidence that supports the big bang theory, though admittedly some of it can be used to support other theories as well. I readily admit that that the big bang theory may be proven incorrect, but at the moment it is the best theory we've got and if I recall correctly, most new theories about the first moments of the universe are derivatives of the big bang theory, aren't they?

Resp- 1a) A truly chaotic universe would not have standard laws of physics that apply constantly (or it would not be truly chaotic). Also the conditions of life are greatly dependant on the laws of physics. If laws pertaining to heat/matter/gravity were not constant then there would be absolutely no hope of life at all. There would be no potential atmosphere, planets would fly apart randomly, a truly chaotic universe by definition does not have standardized system. Unfortunately for those who want to claim random chance in a chaotic universe, all the laws we have currently promote life. That is gravity/heat/the interaction between subatomic particles. Unless I am mistaken, life as we know it could not exist in a universe that did not have the exact laws of physics we do. Thus my use of the word organized, which I do not feel in anyway shape or form is a misrepresentation of current body of evidence.
1b) Like I said in my previous post, more recent studies (big bang theory is fairly old in terms of scientific theory and the rate we discover new things) is not supported by current observational data. In fact there are scientists today, who use the manner in which planets are moving away from each other that the amount of dark matter in the universe must be far more immense than ever calculated before. The introduction of this fact in itself does not support a big bang theory at all, and now the very big strength the big bang theory used to have (the way all things seemed to move away from one another), is in doubt by creditable scientists. Unfortunately doubt is far from producing a new theory, but current observational data leans against the big bang far as I understand it. Perhaps if you were a Nobel award winning physics/mathematician you would say otherwise, but then again maybe not since the direction of science is influenced by what you can get grants for. It is hard to get a grant to publish a study to disprove all current theories out there, and thus why there are few scientists willing to actually go out on a limb and risk their careers.

I disagree with this. Deism is the one of those two that has made the positive claim that a supernatural influence was responsible for the creation of the universe, atheism makes no such claim of that knowledge and is open to new evidence should it arise. You probably have a point here though in that atheism is likely to be subject to bias in not supporting theories involving god, but let's remember where that bias comes from. It comes from following the strongest evidence.
Resp-
The big bang theory is a Negative claim but stated in such a way as to be a logical fallacy. As I said before it is completely impossible to setup a scientific experiment to prove something has existed forever. The reason the theory of the big bang still exists due to the lack of observational data currently is exactly the same as that of the creationist. That is to say it relies on the condition that we are in a practice unable to observe in finite time . It is impossible for us to prove even if the universe continues and does repeat in a cyclic nature that it did not have an origin, and has done so infinitely. It is an illogical starting point for any theory to claim of origin on a negative claim without very specific well-defined limits. Which an infinite regression by definition has absolutely no limitations.


unfortunately our understanding does break down at the singularity, I'd hate to make the definitive statement about what can and cannot happen in there. I agree that trying to find the beginning of something that has existed in some form or another eternally is illogical. However, if that turns out to be what the evidence ends up pointing to, I would think that a reasonable goal would be to try to define the cycle that the universe goes through. Making an assumption here that it would be a recurring cycle, to give a rough example: big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, etc. Not trying to put this forward as a great scientific theory as too much is beyond my understanding, but just using it as an example of what I think would be a reasonable goal should the universe prove to be eternal.

Resp- Actually we don't even know if there was a singularity. New evidence has called this into question. But even if the singularity were confirmed, infinite regression is only possible under the classical view of conservation, "The classic view on conservation of matter is this: all matter is composed of atoms of the various elements, and the total number of atoms in the universe remains constant. That is, you can rearrange the existing atoms in any way you like, but you cannot cause additional atoms to materialize
nor can you cause existing atoms to disappear." This of course was prior to the discovery and production of anti-matter particles in the 1990's by CERN laboratories. These particles have been found to exist in high energy particle collisions throughout the universe (usually during celestial collisions).

The destruction of these anti-matter particles does not provide the energy of splitting of a single atom, yet it will completely annihilate both particles. It has been said with all the atoms of anti matter and matter annihilated by CERN laboratories, they have only produced enough energy to power a light bulb for a few minutes. According to the E=mc squared formula 1 kg of anti-matter interacting with 1kg of antimatter would produce approximately 134 times as much energy as obtained by nuclear fusion of the same mass of hydrogen. This however does not hold true or despite our limited capability to produce such particles would be much closer to a practical application”.
"It is now thought that symmetry was broken in the early universe during a period of baryogenesis, when matter-antimatter symmetry was violated. Standard Big Bang cosmology tells us that the universe initially contained equal amounts of matter and antimatter: however particles and antiparticles evolved slightly differently. It was found that a particular heavy unstable particle, which is its own antiparticle, decays slightly more often to positrons (e+) than to electrons (e-). How this accounts for the preponderance of matter over antimatter has not been completely explained. The Standard Model of particle physics does have a way of accommodating a difference between the evolution of matter and antimatter, but it falls short of explaining the net excess of matter in the universe by about 10 orders of magnitude."
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter-

In response to this particle lesson falling short on the order of magnitude of mass in the universe by a magnitude of 10 orders is HUGE, enough so that any other theory we presuppose is discredited instantaneously if it is wrong by an order of 10 magnitudes. You could not build a house, deck, or any other size object if your original equations for the measurements are off by a magnitude of 10 or more. The universe of course being infinitely more complex, does not avoid this problem by sheer size or diversity.

But having the belief in the creation power doesn't end the infinite regression either. What created the creating power? What created the power that created the creating power?

Resp- Actually having a creation power doesn't necessarily end with infinite regression. Essentially to have infinite regression you must belief that god (or the universe) is and was eternal. Religions make this claim all the time (in fact I think just about all of them do), but deism would by definition argue the lack of evidence that even a God force/being/ect might have its own origin. I argue that in our current state of science we are far from ever discovering our own origins, much less that of God. Perhaps in time but we should not assume anything is eternal as it rules out the important possibility of true scientific investigation. A all powerful god being in a Christian sense would be 100% beyond our comprehension, and studies would not be of any use. Likewise eternal universe would be impossible to design any logical experiment of proof. Thus the logical starting point of an experiment should assume there is a start of the universe, and try to prove as much as possible from there. For the sake of science and the fact we are finite in time ourselves, this is the greatest opportunity for discovery that science can give us.

Why is it impossible to test in itself? Not disagreeing with you here, but I think you've come to some conclusions that you haven't explained. If it does somehow prove to be untestable, what strength does it give to the supernatural external causation?

Resp- The easy answer is try to ask you design a test that would discover if something has no existed forever, infinitely in one form or another. Hypothetical = I could ask you to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your soul has existed forever and has eternal existence in the afterlife. After perhaps many seconds/minutes/hours/days you would come to the conclusion that is completely impossible task. Not because of our lack of understanding (because if I told you that your soul rested within god or some natural phenomenon would make no difference), but because you cannot build a starting point for that experiment. There is nothing we do to prove that things existed infinitely in a manner prior to known existence no matter how well the experiment is designed (short of being able to condense the universe into a singularity and being able to create a new universe). Best you can hope for is a logical guess based on the way things are, acting in the same manner as before. But you have no grounds to presuppose that the laws we know today existed 100 billion years ago, little lone infinitely, forever. Nor could you ever find anyone to test that sort of time travel. For an experiment to be designed intelligently, it must have a starting point in order to determine the independent and dependant variables. A universe that has infinite regression unfortunately has none of these studyable possibilities. Thus it does not make intellectual sense to try and study a universe with hopes of proving infinite regression as it is a negative claim with no constraints (which is a fallacious place to start any test). It is very similar to asking someone to design an experiment to prove "there is no such thing as a zurp" yet not defining what a zurp is, what function it might have, or when it might have existed, and where one should start looking for evidence. It is a nonsensical position for a scientist to claim proof, and for the same reasons. Your Unicorn example is worthless as there is a great deal of evidence now that does not support the big bang theory. In fact it looks very unlikely that this is the case at all.

Side notes-
Atheist as a religion- Right now atheist position does not rely on science as they would claim. As I have tried to argue for in the majority of this response, you CANNOT prove a negative scientifically unless you have very specific constraints on your theory. Infinite regression has an absolute lack of constraint and on top of that the evidence does not support such a theory. Atheists are placing faith that there is no supernatural being/force as a starting point with absolutely nothing to support the position. This is every bit the same position as the Christian takes in his absolutely positive claim of creation by God, only with the opposite idea that there is no God, placing all their faith on the unprovability of infinite regression. Infinite regression as a theory is just as faith based as any creation belief. Concluding I stick with deism as it is the only position that declares we must look for a beginning point to declare you do not know what God is (sentient being or not a sentient force) does not take away from the value of a beginning and the ability to scientifically test any well designed scientific theory. It only discredits faith a based theory, since we cannot test for.

He's used a lot of wordplay here! If anybody can be bothered reading such arguments as an amateur like myself has put forth, can you please let me know if I am guilty of using any logical fallacies myself?

 

Also, any ideas as to how to progress with this debate would be appreciated.

[MOD EDIT: colour removed]


MattShizzle
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That yellow text is

That yellow text is impossible to read.


phooney
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looking back on it now,

looking back on it now, it's actually my purple text that is impossible for me to read.

 

I guess it depends on your monitor/settings, but if you want to read it, just highlight it.

Sorry for this inconvenience, this was copied directly from the site the debate is happening on.


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I can read the yellow fine.

I can read the yellow fine. I have to highlight the purple to even see it. Dude, how about useing normal fonts, and for whos responce it is put a font colour marker.

"When I die I shall be content to vanish into nothingness.... No show, however good, could conceivably be good forever.... I do not believe in immortality, and have no desire for it." ~H.L. Mencken

Thank god i'm a atheist!


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I have the white background.

I have the white background.


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Colour

Colour removed! 

 

 

 

Well, my debate continues.  However, all the intelligent design people's last words were along the lines of "I'll go get the evidence and post back when I have time"

I haven't heard from them since.

 However, now a deist has flung himself into the mix, at least arguing with some logic:

I hereby formally request permission to use the quote, "Without religion you'd have good people doing good things, bad people doing bad things, but to make good people do bad things.... that takes religion" presented by Phooney on a daily basis. I am enjoying this thread, but you guys on ID side of things have been torn apart by phooney pretty bad with no real comebacks.

Tell me this Phooney. I get the view that you are prolly an resounding atheist. Do you have the same issues people who believe in a god, but do not believe he influenced anything in terms of personal/evolutional matters? I for one would argue the creation of the universe had to be super natural given the most current status of research, but I would say there is no evidence that this supernatural existance still exists, or has any interaction on a personal level. This is not to discredit evolution but goes along side it in many ways. I am curious to see if you are as opposed to this view point.

-Frank-
P.S. Deism and atheism are still religions of their own, as they have their own unique aspects of their movements based on faith (tho to a lesser degree than a full blown religion).

 

My response:

 

"I hereby formally request permission to use the quote, "Without religion you'd have good people doing good things, bad people doing bad things, but to make good people do bad things.... that takes religion" presented by Phooney on a daily basis. "

Permission granted if I'm allowed to grant it, I can't remember who's quote it really is, but I think it's a pretty good one.

"Tell me this Phooney. I get the view that you are prolly an resounding atheist. "

Yes, I suppose so.

"Do you have the same issues people who believe in a god, but do not believe he influenced anything in terms of personal/evolutional matters? "

Ah deism! That's another interesting topic. First let's just clarify that we have the same perception of what deism is. Basically, the idea of deism is that God was there at the beginning, defined all the laws in the universe such as the strength of gravity, the forces of electro magnetics, etc. Then he decided on the ratios of every atom (or every quark and neutrino etc) and the amount, then put them in a singularity in the vast emptyness before existence. After that he started the whole thing going (for example, by being the external force that caused the big bang). Then he turned his attention to more important matters and never looked in on us again. I'm not sure what yourself or most deists believe in terms of the soul or an afterlife though.

Does this match up closely enough with your definition? I shall assume for the time being that it does. I also assume you ARE a deist?

It certainly is a difficult thing to argue, for several reasons. One, there is no religious text taken as the ultimate authority on the religion that is riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions from beginning to end. Two (and correct me if I'm wrong) but all our theories currently break down when we go back as far as the point of the initial singularity. Three, there is no evidence that deists have to provide of their god interfering with any of the above mentioned natural laws (miracles), because they say that doesn't happen. For some reason, this just reminded me of a scene in the original terminator movie where the psychiatrist character talks about the time traveller's story being a classical delusion in that it explained the lack of evidence about itself by it's very nature. Maybe a bad thing to have thought of at that point in time, as for the purpose of that movie, the time traveller's story turned out to be true.

However, I say that many of my same logical arguements and reasonings apply to deism just the same as theism. I fear that posting them won't really bring much more new content to the thread, but oh well, here I go anyway!

"I for one would argue the creation of the universe had to be super natural given the most current status of research, "

Why is that? It goes back to what I referred to previously as "God of the Gaps", or "If I don't know then it must be God". Feel free to replace the word "god" with supernatural if that is what a deist would prefer. Yes, it is going to be a very difficult question to try to solve, but remember that just because the answer is currently unproven, doesn't mean that the supernatural alternative has to be the default stand-in answer. It doesn't even mean that the deist god has a 0.5 probability of being correct, as the odds must be divided up not between just this god and science, but surely every god that has ever been considered, every god that hasn't been considered, and all current and yet to be thought of scientific theories must have a share of the probability. So you may ask, how does this mean that any scientific theory that I, Phooney, may come up with is any more likely to be true than any answer that your deism or religion has come up with? The answer is that without evidence, it doesn't.

But what is the use in coming up with an arbitrary answer in the meantime? By doing this, nothing has really been answered, or learned. I say again, it is ok to not know something, not having the answer to something doesn't make you worthless as a person and rob your life of meaning. It is ok to wait at least until there's some evidence to go on.

I say here what is the use of the arbitrary answer, and you may respond "what is the harm either?" Well, the harm comes from that 100% conviction that only faith in the supernatural, or God, seems to evoke. That 100% conviction lends itself to close-mindedness and intolerance, whereas the concept that nothing should be free from new testing and evidence that I have mentioned so many times in this thread embraces new evidence and new ideas, and also relates to the stagnation/progress comparison I made earlier as well.

Also, if I could tie in my arguement about probability from earlier (I previously used this to respond to LG's idea of the box of shaken watch parts). I submit to you that the universe is an incredibly complex thing. Due to the sheer size of it, I think you could be forgiven for thinking it must be almost infinitely complex. Yes, the odds of the initial causation (if there even must be one) just happening must be very improbable. However, how much more complex must a sentient being be that is capable of designing the whole universe and everything in it? Logically, such a being just popping into existence at some point infinity before they decided to make the universe must be even more unlikely. Also as I said before, some people already have the idea that something can have existed forever, so why not the universe? Being that we already have evidence that the universe exists...

However, I am glad you added the disclaimer "given the most current status of research" which implies to me that you are not the most set in stone believer!

"but I would say there is no evidence that this supernatural existance still exists, or has any interaction on a personal level. "

I would like to pose a question back to you if I may. You say here that there is no evidence of this supernatural entity's either former or current existence, which I agree with obviously. However, what is it that has led you to believe in this particular supernatural entity and decide that other things with no evidence are false. Unicorns? A teapot orbiting the sun that is at such a distance and too small for our telescopes to see? The list of things that cannot be disproven is literally endless. ENDLESS! This is why the burden of proof must be on the party that makes the positive claim of existence. This is also why I consider it healthier to apply at least mildly skeptical and critical thought, in particular to these issues that we have discussed in this thread.

"This is not to discredit evolution but goes along side it in many ways. "

Agreed, deism certainly doesn't fly in the face of evolutionary theory.

"I am curious to see if you are as opposed to this view point. "

I hope you have enjoyed my thoughts on this matter!

"P.S. Deism and atheism are still religions of their own, as they have their own unique aspects of their movements based on faith (tho to a lesser degree than a full blown religion). "

I disagree with this statement. You've seriously redefined a couple of very important words in this statement. The first one being religion, the second being faith. However, I think I understand what you were trying to get across here: "Deism and atheism are still religions of their own, in the sense that some of their core defining beliefs are based on uncertainty or a lack of evidence."

I think you are probably mainly aiming this idea at the fact that atheists don't know exactly how life started here, they don't know how the universe began.

What I consider to be the main difference with the core beliefs of an atheist and those of a theist (or deist?) is that even those few core beliefs are subject to being questioned in the face of new evidence, whereas it takes a long time and pretty consistently-contradicting blatant experience to change the core beliefs of religion.

I question whether not knowing how something happened can really be considered faith in a core belief? Faith is often used to refer to complete, certain belief in something. According to such a definition, atheism and science are certainly not acts of faith, as even the most dogmatic atheist will tend to refer to experimental data (or the lack of it) when asserting that God does not exist.

His Response:

Basically, the idea of deism is that God was there at the beginning, defined all the laws in the universe such as the strength of gravity, the forces of electro magnetics, etc. Then he decided on the ratios of every atom (or every quark and neutrino etc) and the amount, then put them in a singularity in the vast emptyness before existence.

Response- That is one way of describing deism. I've also said it is possible God was the universe prior to creation, and he was all powerful, all knowing. However was lonely and destroyed his massive body which ended up in the creation of the universe. It would explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organized in a manner that promotes life. You of course would say where is the evidence of this? My response is there is no more evidence for big bang theory than any other creation story atm. The difference between deism and atheistism is we do not pretend to know how the beginning came to be. Atheists tend to cling to the big bang theory or any other theory so long as it does not support a god. It is far more close minded theory if you ask me. The one thing we can prove scientifically is matter is not spontaneously generated. By this fact alone the universe was either A)created or B)existed forever. However eternal existance is an illogical starting point if you are trying to uncover the beginnings of the universe (because there is no beginning). Simply put if you do not believe in some form of creation power then you are incapable of having a starting point of the universe and thus you cannot design any experiment to test for that theory. Any experimentation designed to prove the "it has been here forever" is impossible to test in itself. Even if you had perfect scientific knowledge. Therefore deism gives the only true objective view that there was a starting point of the universe, and attributes it to an all powerful force which is God. Deism also allows for the possibility of the force that we now call God to not be intelligent in anyway shape or form. It could possibly be an undiscovered rule of physics, fact is no one knows but in order to test we must have a starting point. I believe this answers your question of the VALUE of deism as opposed to lack of belief in a God like force/power/being (whichever it maybe).

But what is the use in coming up with an arbitrary answer in the meantime? By doing this, nothing has really been answered, or learned.

Response- Like I said, deism for me is not arbitrary, it is a starting point for all evidence that has, and will come in the future experiments. Deism also does not advocate close mindedness, in fact the opposite. It claims there is no set morality from any supernatural being whatsoever. It encourages people to find their own way and to expirement into the nature of how things really are. You are confusing desim with current popular religions, which claim that there is some personal interaction with this God and the current universe. In deism, there is no evidence of anything of the sort.

However, how much more complex must a sentient being be that is capable of designing the whole universe and everything in it?

Resp- The God like force/being need not be sentient in deism. As there is no evidence this force/being is still in existance we attribute it no such details. However it does allow for a sentient God (which is infinately more complex), or a simple force like something unexplained in physics (maybe every 100 trillion years the universe spontanously generates matter and our lives are too short to figure it out). Such a force would be very simple in nature by comparision to any current theory. Deism accounts for both possible explainations and does not favor either of them except on a person by person basis. Also note that current research indicates there is so much more dark matter than we thought in the past (in order to explain the gravity interaction current planets exhibit) which does not correspond with a big bang theory. A new theory however has not been postulated due to the fact scientists do not have a new theory and it is still a possibility.

However, I am glad you added the disclaimer "given the most current status of research" which implies to me that you are not the most set in stone believer!

Resp- Part of deism is that the force/being that we believe to god may not be sentient. But we do not know (Atheist makes the assumption based on no evidence it is not sentient, religion the assumption that it is more certainly sentient). This is why I call atheism as much a religion as christianity or other popular religions. It makes a critical assumption which deists need not make. As you have said in your post many times, "it is ok not to know, why make the assumption"? Of course if we are confronted with evidence conclusively prove there is no God in the future, or that there is, deism is on good grounds in either aspect and has no true prejudices that either that both religions would try to obscure objectivity. Granted I am not positive that a specific religion is not correct! I readily admit maybe buddism, christianity, or any other religion is 100% true. But there is no evidence to support those claims at present. My belief in deism is based on the need for logical experimentation and explaination of the universe, and if put to the test I would believe anyone who says the universe has existed forever would be commiting a logical fallicy based upon what we know. At a macro level we know nothing lasts forever, that being said on a micro level we have proved matter CAN be destroyed through nuclear reactions, even if in only tiny amounts at a time. All that being said, any perspective can be wrong, aethism, deism, religon, but yes I admit that is certainly a possibility.

You say here that there is no evidence of this supernatural entity's either former or current existence, which I agree with obviously. However, what is it that has led you to believe in this particular supernatural entity and decide that other things with no evidence are false. Unicorns?

Resp- In reading my orginal post I believe I stated there is also no proof God even exists in the present. However nothing I have posted as said this being/force was eternal. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the being many attribute to being God maybe "dead" or if a new law of physics, dormant for some many years as not to be studyable in our short lifetimes. I have made no claim that this supernatural being must be sentient, or even caring. It could simply be a natural force, which is certainly much more logical than believing in unicorns. As a deist, I cannot by definition belief in there being current evidence for existance. But as for at the beginning, there is definately a force at work that has not been explainned by science, that force, however sentient, natural, or however strong that force was is what I claim to be God. Which may not be a standard deist view point, but it is the most logically consistent position I can put forth.

Here is my question to you as an athest. Why must you assume there is is a lack of a supernatural force? By very definition athesim denies such a possibility and also does not adequetely address moral conciousness. In fact athesim just assumes sentience is a random chance caused by subatomic particles comming together in a specific manner. Despite this no sentient being has been produced via artificial means despite having the exact same components. If it is true that everything is consistent with the laws of physics and there is no force other than those we know, then this should not be overly difficult to replicate. Why do you make an absolute assumption this is a coincidence? A deist's vantage can most certainly be considered much less faith based than that of the atheist. Deism attempts to leave all options open for study (whereas religion excludes anything but creation and atheism anything but scientific explaination). Deism is somewhere between those as we do not believe it is intelligent to discount either possibility, and in fact beleive there is strong evidence based on organization/life on there being a God at the beginning (though who knows if it still exists), but does not dismiss the possibility this God like being maybe a simple undiscovered non sentient force of physics. Ignorance is the state of humanity when it comes to its origins. But I do believe there is VERY strong evidence that any religion worshipping during the course of humanity has been created by man rather than divine being(s).

My response:

Thanks for posting Frank, I really appreciate your use of logic.

Now! On to my response:

"It would explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organized in a manner that promotes life. You of course would say where is the evidence of this? My response is there is no more evidence for big bang theory than any other creation story atm. "

I think I missed something here, how does that explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organised in a manner that promotes life? I know you said this is just one possibility you've come up with, but I'd like some clarification on it if I could.

However, there is observational evidence for the big bang theory. As time goes on, everything we've observed in the universe is moving away from each other. Cosmic microwave background radiation that was predicted by the big bang theory is detectable. Also the abundance of light elements supports big bang theory. This is all evidence that supports the big bang theory, though admitedly some of it can be used to support other theories as well. I readily admit that that the big bang theory may be proven incorrect, but at the moment it is the best theory we've got and if I recall correctly, most new theories about the first moments of the universe are derivatives of the big bang theory, aren't they?

"The difference between deism and atheistism is we do not pretend to know how the beginning came to be. Atheists tend to cling to the big bang theory or any other theory so long as it does not support a god. It is far more close minded theory if you ask me. "

I disagree with this. Deism is the one of those two that has made the positive claim that a supernatural influence was responsible for the creation of the universe, atheism makes no such claim of that knowledge and is open to new evidence should it arise. You probably have a point here though in that atheism is likely to be subject to bias in not supporting theories involving god, but let's remember where that bias comes from. It comes from following the strongest evidence.

"The one thing we can prove scientifically is matter is not spontaneously generated. By this fact alone the universe was either A)created or B)existed forever. However eternal existance is an illogical starting point if you are trying to uncover the beginnings of the universe (because there is no beginning). "

unfortunately our understanding does break down at the singularity, I'd hate to make the definitive statement about what can and cannot happen in there. I agree that trying to find the beginning of something that has existed in some form or another eternally is illogical. However, if that turns out to be what the evidence ends up pointing to, I would think that a reasonable goal would be to try to define the cycle that the universe goes through. Making an assumption here that it would be a recurring cycle, to give a rough example: big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, etc. Not trying to put this forward as a great scientific theory as too much is beyond my understanding, but just using it as an example of what I think would be a reasonable goal should the universe prove to be eternal.

"Simply put if you do not believe in some form of creation power then you are incapable of having a starting point of the universe and thus you cannot design any experiment to test for that theory. Any experimentation designed to prove the "it has been here forever" is impossible to test in itself. Even if you had perfect scientific knowledge. "

But having the belief in the creation power doesn't end the infinite regression either. What created the creating power? What created the power that created the creating power?

Why is it impossible to test in itself? Not disagreeing with you here, but I think you've come to some conclusions that you haven't explained. If it does somehow prove to be untestable, what strength does it give to the supernatural external causation? You're using this as the default stand-in answer again.

"Therefore deism gives the only true objective view that there was a starting point of the universe, and attributes it to an all powerful force which is God. Deism also allows for the possibility of the force that we now call God to not be intelligent in anyway shape or form. It could possibly be an undiscovered rule of physics, fact is no one knows but in order to test we must have a starting point. I believe this answers your question of the VALUE of deism as opposed to lack of belief in a God like force/power/being (whichever it maybe). "

As per my previous comment, I'm not sure what you mean when you say you need an absolute beginning for testing something. You've given God a several different definitions in this arguement, which is unfortunately robbing the word of any real meaning. Of course if I define God as a can of beer, then yes God definitely exists and my religion is obviously the one true way! By saying that under deism God could be defined as sentient or not, intelligent or not, the entire universe or not, an undiscovered rule of physics or not we've really stopped talking about God.

"Response- Like I said, deism for me is not arbitrary, it is a starting point for all evidence that has, and will come in the future experiments. "

I still define it as arbitrary in the sense that you have come to a conclusion about the starting point, while also admitting there is no evidence for it. As I said, it is ok to not know.

"Deism also does not advocate close mindedness, in fact the opposite. It claims there is no set morality from any supernatural being whatsoever. It encourages people to find their own way and to expirement into the nature of how things really are. You are confusing desim with current popular religions, which claim that there is some personal interaction with this God and the current universe. In deism, there is no evidence of anything of the sort. "

Ok, I have probably been mistaken in regards to this, and I apologise. I think this aspect is something that deism and atheism have in common.

"Resp- The God like force/being need not be sentient in deism. As there is no evidence this force/being is still in existance we attribute it no such details. However it does allow for a sentient God (which is infinately more complex), or a simple force like something unexplained in physics (maybe every 100 trillion years the universe spontanously generates matter and our lives are too short to figure it out). Such a force would be very simple in nature by comparision to any current theory. Deism accounts for both possible explainations and does not favor either of them except on a person by person basis. Also note that current research indicates there is so much more dark matter than we thought in the past (in order to explain the gravity interaction current planets exhibit) which does not correspond with a big bang theory. A new theory however has not been postulated due to the fact scientists do not have a new theory and it is still a possibility. "

Again here you seem to have made the statement "By my definition, God could be anything, therefore I am right."

"Resp- Part of deism is that the force/being that we believe to god may not be sentient. "

As per previous comment.

"But we do not know (Atheist makes the assumption based on no evidence it is not sentient, religion the assumption that it is more certainly sentient). This is why I call atheism as much a religion as christianity or other popular religions. It makes a critical assumption which deists need not make. "

Ok, I see the point you're trying to make here, but disagree in the definition of religion. I'd say religion is the belief in a supernatural creator of the universe and by definition atheism is the lack of belief in a supernatural creator of the universe. Under this definition atheism is clearly not a religion. However, the definition of religion you have used is any belief that is based on no evidence. I disagree with the idea that atheism makes the assumption based on no evidence. The idea is to make no assumption without evidence, and this lack of belief in a supernatural explaination is what I think you are describing as a.... let's call it a "positive assertion of no god", which it isn't.

I have evidence of natural forces, none of supernatural forces, so I see no reason to have my default stand-in answer be supernatural while I wait to see what evidence is gathered.

I described in an earlier post the value of approaching things with at least mildly skeptical critical thought. You need to do this otherwise you must logically believe in everything for which there is no evidence until there is conclusive proof of it's non-existence: Unicorns, celestial teapot etc, and it is impossible to 100% disprove something like that. This is why the burden of proof must be on the party that makes the positive claim.

Again, I think this may be just something between our points of view that we are misunderstanding definitions, and our views are actually remarkably similar in many ways.

"Of course if we are confronted with evidence conclusively prove there is no God in the future, or that there is, deism is on good grounds in either aspect and has no true prejudices that either that both religions would try to obscure objectivity. Granted I am not positive that a specific religion is not correct! I readily admit maybe buddism, christianity, or any other religion is 100% true. But there is no evidence to support those claims at present. "

Agreed they may be true, as it is not possible to 100% disprove them, and agreed there is no evidence to support them. However, I would add that the balance of probability is definitely against them.

"My belief in deism is based on the need for logical experimentation and explaination of the universe, and if put to the test I would believe anyone who says the universe has existed forever would be commiting a logical fallicy based upon what we know."

An excellent reason for your belief! However, I'm not sure you've defined whether the supernatural force you call god has existed forever? If so, are you not making the same logical fallacy?

"At a macro level we know nothing lasts forever, that being said on a micro level we have proved matter CAN be destroyed through nuclear reactions, even if in only tiny amounts at a time. "

Destroyed? Or converted to energy of some kind?

"Resp- In reading my orginal post I believe I stated there is also no proof God even exists in the present. However nothing I have posted as said this being/force was eternal. Like I said at the beginning of this post, the being many attribute to being God maybe "dead" or if a new law of physics, dormant for some many years as not to be studyable in our short lifetimes. I have made no claim that this supernatural being must be sentient, or even caring. It could simply be a natural force, which is certainly much more logical than believing in unicorns. As a deist, I cannot by definition belief in there being current evidence for existance. But as for at the beginning, there is definately a force at work that has not been explainned by science, that force, however sentient, natural, or however strong that force was is what I claim to be God. Which may not be a standard deist view point, but it is the most logically consistent position I can put forth. "

Yes, you have made your definition of the god force very, very wide indeed, but, as I said, I think this has come at the cost of taking away any meaning in the word. However, I won't continue to argue that in this paragraph. What I want to ask here is why do you say the belief in one thing that has no evidence is more logical than the belief in another thing that has no evidence? Yes, my examples given were extreme and ridiculous, but that was my intention to try to show the similarities in their belief.

"Here is my question to you as an athest. Why must you assume there is is a lack of a supernatural force? By very definition athesim denies such a possibility and also does not adequetely address moral conciousness. "

This is what I spoke of earlier in this post, the lack of belief is not a positive assertion of no supernatural force, skeptical critical thought is necessary to avoid several absurdities, with examples already given here.

Moral consciousness? I think this has darwinian explainations, which I can try to explain if you like, let me know. But didn't you say that deism has nothing to say about that supernatural force having anything to do with moral consciousness?

"In fact athesim just assumes sentience is a random chance caused by subatomic particles comming together in a specific manner. Despite this no sentient being has been produced via artificial means despite having the exact same components. "

Like I have said before, I have great hopes for the future of human knowledge. However are you trying to say that the fact we haven't been able to create life ourselves is an arguement against atheism somehow? The intelligence of the rest of your post makes me assume that I must have misunderstood what you mean in this point.

"If it is true that everything is consistent with the laws of physics and there is no force other than those we know, then this should not be overly difficult to replicate. Why do you make an absolute assumption this is a coincidence? "

Well, I never said there was no force that we don't know about, but even if there is, it doesn't make that force supernatural. Even if you define 'supernatural' as that which is currently beyond our understanding, then if and when we define that new force, it will become natural. I certainly don't think that life is simple though, why would it be easy to replicate? I gave my reasons earlier about why my default answer isn't supernatural, and I think that neither of our point of views makes any absolute assumption or assertion.

"A deist's vantage can most certainly be considered much less faith based than that of the atheist. Deism attempts to leave all options open for study (whereas religion excludes anything but creation and atheism anything but scientific explaination). "

I think this comes back to the same point about you defining a lack of belief as a positive assertion of non-existance, dealt with already. I would say again that deism has made the positive assertion here (albeit a very wide-open assertion) of something that is believed in based on faith, not atheism. I'm quite sure that if there was evidence pointing towards creation, an atheist would take it into account, but until then the skeptical critical thinking is important.

"Deism is somewhere between those as we do not believe it is intelligent to discount either possibility, "

Atheism would agree here I think, but would also consider the balance of probability as I think I have mentioned already.

"and in fact beleive there is strong evidence based on organization/life on there being a God at the beginning (though who knows if it still exists), but does not dismiss the possibility this God like being maybe a simple undiscovered non sentient force of physics. Ignorance is the state of humanity when it comes to its origins. "

But by this definition it isn't supernatural, or won't be if and when we discover it.

"But I do believe there is VERY strong evidence that any religion worshipping during the course of humanity has been created by man rather than divine being(s). "

Absolutely agreed!

I look forward to your response.

Phooney

His response:

I think I missed something here, how does that explain why laws are not chaotic, and are as organized in a manner that promotes life? I know you said this is just one possibility you've come up with, but I'd like some clarification on it if I could.

However, there is observational evidence for the big bang theory. As time goes on, everything we've observed in the universe is moving away from each other. Cosmic microwave background radiation that was predicted by the big bang theory is detectable. Also the abundance of light elements supports big bang theory. This is all evidence that supports the big bang theory, though admittedly some of it can be used to support other theories as well. I readily admit that that the big bang theory may be proven incorrect, but at the moment it is the best theory we've got and if I recall correctly, most new theories about the first moments of the universe are derivatives of the big bang theory, aren't they?

Resp- 1a) A truly chaotic universe would not have standard laws of physics that apply constantly (or it would not be truly chaotic). Also the conditions of life are greatly dependant on the laws of physics. If laws pertaining to heat/matter/gravity were not constant then there would be absolutely no hope of life at all. There would be no potential atmosphere, planets would fly apart randomly, a truly chaotic universe by definition does not have standardized system. Unfortunately for those who want to claim random chance in a chaotic universe, all the laws we have currently promote life. That is gravity/heat/the interaction between subatomic particles. Unless I am mistaken, life as we know it could not exist in a universe that did not have the exact laws of physics we do. Thus my use of the word organized, which I do not feel in anyway shape or form is a misrepresentation of current body of evidence.
1b) Like I said in my previous post, more recent studies (big bang theory is fairly old in terms of scientific theory and the rate we discover new things) is not supported by current observational data. In fact there are scientists today, who use the manner in which planets are moving away from each other that the amount of dark matter in the universe must be far more immense than ever calculated before. The introduction of this fact in itself does not support a big bang theory at all, and now the very big strength the big bang theory used to have (the way all things seemed to move away from one another), is in doubt by creditable scientists. Unfortunately doubt is far from producing a new theory, but current observational data leans against the big bang far as I understand it. Perhaps if you were a Nobel award winning physics/mathematician you would say otherwise, but then again maybe not since the direction of science is influenced by what you can get grants for. It is hard to get a grant to publish a study to disprove all current theories out there, and thus why there are few scientists willing to actually go out on a limb and risk their careers.

I disagree with this. Deism is the one of those two that has made the positive claim that a supernatural influence was responsible for the creation of the universe, atheism makes no such claim of that knowledge and is open to new evidence should it arise. You probably have a point here though in that atheism is likely to be subject to bias in not supporting theories involving god, but let's remember where that bias comes from. It comes from following the strongest evidence.
Resp-
The big bang theory is a Negative claim but stated in such a way as to be a logical fallacy. As I said before it is completely impossible to setup a scientific experiment to prove something has existed forever. The reason the theory of the big bang still exists due to the lack of observational data currently is exactly the same as that of the creationist. That is to say it relies on the condition that we are in a practice unable to observe in finite time . It is impossible for us to prove even if the universe continues and does repeat in a cyclic nature that it did not have an origin, and has done so infinitely. It is an illogical starting point for any theory to claim of origin on a negative claim without very specific well-defined limits. Which an infinite regression by definition has absolutely no limitations.

unfortunately our understanding does break down at the singularity, I'd hate to make the definitive statement about what can and cannot happen in there. I agree that trying to find the beginning of something that has existed in some form or another eternally is illogical. However, if that turns out to be what the evidence ends up pointing to, I would think that a reasonable goal would be to try to define the cycle that the universe goes through. Making an assumption here that it would be a recurring cycle, to give a rough example: big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, big bang, expansion and cooling, contraction and heating, big crunch, etc. Not trying to put this forward as a great scientific theory as too much is beyond my understanding, but just using it as an example of what I think would be a reasonable goal should the universe prove to be eternal.

Resp- Actually we don't even know if there was a singularity. New evidence has called this into question. But even if the singularity were confirmed, infinite regression is only possible under the classical view of conservation, "The classic view on conservation of matter is this: all matter is composed of atoms of the various elements, and the total number of atoms in the universe remains constant. That is, you can rearrange the existing atoms in any way you like, but you cannot cause additional atoms to materialize
nor can you cause existing atoms to disappear." This of course was prior to the discovery and production of anti-matter particles in the 1990's by CERN laboratories. These particles have been found to exist in high energy particle collisions throughout the universe (usually during celestial collisions).

The destruction of these anti-matter particles does not provide the energy of splitting of a single atom, yet it will completely annihilate both particles. It has been said with all the atoms of anti matter and matter annihilated by CERN laboratories, they have only produced enough energy to power a light bulb for a few minutes. According to the E=mc squared formula 1 kg of anti-matter interacting with 1kg of antimatter would produce approximately 134 times as much energy as obtained by nuclear fusion of the same mass of hydrogen. This however does not hold true or despite our limited capability to produce such particles would be much closer to a practical application”.
"It is now thought that symmetry was broken in the early universe during a period of baryogenesis, when matter-antimatter symmetry was violated. Standard Big Bang cosmology tells us that the universe initially contained equal amounts of matter and antimatter: however particles and antiparticles evolved slightly differently. It was found that a particular heavy unstable particle, which is its own antiparticle, decays slightly more often to positrons (e+) than to electrons (e-). How this accounts for the preponderance of matter over antimatter has not been completely explained. The Standard Model of particle physics does have a way of accommodating a difference between the evolution of matter and antimatter, but it falls short of explaining the net excess of matter in the universe by about 10 orders of magnitude."
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimatter-

In response to this particle lesson falling short on the order of magnitude of mass in the universe by a magnitude of 10 orders is HUGE, enough so that any other theory we presuppose is discredited instantaneously if it is wrong by an order of 10 magnitudes. You could not build a house, deck, or any other size object if your original equations for the measurements are off by a magnitude of 10 or more. The universe of course being infinitely more complex, does not avoid this problem by sheer size or diversity.

But having the belief in the creation power doesn't end the infinite regression either. What created the creating power? What created the power that created the creating power?

Resp- Actually having a creation power doesn't necessarily end with infinite regression. Essentially to have infinite regression you must belief that god (or the universe) is and was eternal. Religions make this claim all the time (in fact I think just about all of them do), but deism would by definition argue the lack of evidence that even a God force/being/ect might have its own origin. I argue that in our current state of science we are far from ever discovering our own origins, much less that of God. Perhaps in time but we should not assume anything is eternal as it rules out the important possibility of true scientific investigation. A all powerful god being in a Christian sense would be 100% beyond our comprehension, and studies would not be of any use. Likewise eternal universe would be impossible to design any logical experiment of proof. Thus the logical starting point of an experiment should assume there is a start of the universe, and try to prove as much as possible from there. For the sake of science and the fact we are finite in time ourselves, this is the greatest opportunity for discovery that science can give us.

Why is it impossible to test in itself? Not disagreeing with you here, but I think you've come to some conclusions that you haven't explained. If it does somehow prove to be untestable, what strength does it give to the supernatural external causation?

Resp- The easy answer is try to ask you design a test that would discover if something has no existed forever, infinitely in one form or another. Hypothetical = I could ask you to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that your soul has existed forever and has eternal existence in the afterlife. After perhaps many seconds/minutes/hours/days you would come to the conclusion that is completely impossible task. Not because of our lack of understanding (because if I told you that your soul rested within god or some natural phenomenon would make no difference), but because you cannot build a starting point for that experiment. There is nothing we do to prove that things existed infinitely in a manner prior to known existence no matter how well the experiment is designed (short of being able to condense the universe into a singularity and being able to create a new universe). Best you can hope for is a logical guess based on the way things are, acting in the same manner as before. But you have no grounds to presuppose that the laws we know today existed 100 billion years ago, little lone infinitely, forever. Nor could you ever find anyone to test that sort of time travel. For an experiment to be designed intelligently, it must have a starting point in order to determine the independent and dependant variables. A universe that has infinite regression unfortunately has none of these studyable possibilities. Thus it does not make intellectual sense to try and study a universe with hopes of proving infinite regression as it is a negative claim with no constraints (which is a fallacious place to start any test). It is very similar to asking someone to design an experiment to prove "there is no such thing as a zurp" yet not defining what a zurp is, what function it might have, or when it might have existed, and where one should start looking for evidence. It is a nonsensical position for a scientist to claim proof, and for the same reasons. Your Unicorn example is worthless as there is a great deal of evidence now that does not support the big bang theory. In fact it looks very unlikely that this is the case at all.

Side notes-
Atheist as a religion- Right now atheist position does not rely on science as they would claim. As I have tried to argue for in the majority of this response, you CANNOT prove a negative scientifically unless you have very specific constraints on your theory. Infinite regression has an absolute lack of constraint and on top of that the evidence does not support such a theory. Atheists are placing faith that there is no supernatural being/force as a starting point with absolutely nothing to support the position. This is every bit the same position as the Christian takes in his absolutely positive claim of creation by God, only with the opposite idea that there is no God, placing all their faith on the unprovability of infinite regression. Infinite regression as a theory is just as faith based as any creation belief. Concluding I stick with deism as it is the only position that declares we must look for a beginning point to declare you do not know what God is (sentient being or not a sentient force) does not take away from the value of a beginning and the ability to scientifically test any well designed scientific theory. It only discredits faith a based theory, since we cannot test for.

He's used a lot of wordplay here!  If anybody can be bothered reading such arguments as an amateur like myself has put forth, can you please let me know if I am guilty of using any logical fallacies myself?

 

Also, any ideas as to how to progress with this debate would be appreciated.


phooney
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Have many people made this

Have many people made this comparison before:

 

"Lets be serious... an omnipotent divine being would have absolutely no problem whatsoever with convincing the whole world of his existence all at once. And before you or anybody else says it, he wouldn't even have to mess with 'free will' either. How about God rearranges the stars in the night sky to spell out "I am God, hear me roar, in numbers (1) too big to ignore!" This would be a simple matter for a divine being to accomplish. But noooooooo instead the christian god sometimes acts like a little schoolgirl telling her friend to take this note to that boy over there telling him that she loves him. Of course, sometimes the schoolgirl acts like Carrie (stephen king) as well! "