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Dear Lela (an honest discussion of God)


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Initial post: 18 Apr 2012 12:52:52 BDT
This thread is aimed at Lela, but open to all (obviously) and it seeks to have a discussion of god, and god alone. Please leave religion at the door.

So to start. The position I take on God is the same position I take on Bigfoot, just to a different degree.

People believe it exists and claim evidence it exists. Some of the evidence has been demonstrated to be false and some of it simply doesn't indicate the existence either way. I'd go further with God than Bigfoot. We know there are species we have not discovered. We know hairy bipedal things do live in forested areas. So Bigfoot is not inherentyl unlikely. However, due to the level of evidence and the typical reasons for initial belief, I find it likely a biproduct of human thinking which puts patterns on noise.

I'll use the same minimal conditions for god that I used in my "how likely is god" thread.

1) Sentience'
2) Involved in creating/maintaining/running the universe
3) Not a product of the universe.

So Lela, why would you say I was wrong to believe it is likely no god exists? What has convinced you?
Your reply to Occam's Whetstone's post:
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In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:03:20 BDT
"I think" an architect exists because:

1. there was a first cause to the Big Bang

2. We are contained within the universe

3. we did not create the universe

4. We know "nothing" about the universe (yet proceed to disregard any creators)

5. Although the rule "all things turn to chaos (in science chaos= equilibrium)" is true on a large scale, on a small scale Earth has come a long way from dust clouds, into a complex bio-sphere as part of a unique solar system.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:10:25 BDT
1. How do you know that?
2. So what?
3. So what?
4. Irrelevant.
5. Which is fully explained without resorting to an architect of far more complexity than the biosphere we're explaining.

Thanks for playing, try again soon.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:18:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2012 13:20:06 BDT
Harry,

"1. there was a first cause to the Big Bang"

How do you know?

"2. We are contained within the universe"

Yes, but why does this indicate an architect? (Could we stick with the label 'god' to avoid too many different terms?)

"3. we did not create the universe"

Yes, but why does this indicate a god?

"4. We know "nothing" about the universe (yet proceed to disregard any creators)"

Well, we do know some things. We don't disregard the possibility of a god, it's just that it's treated the same as any other idea. Without evidence to support it, the idea isn't taken as representative of reality.
If we do know nothing of the universe, how do you know that it was caused and has a creator?

"5. Although the rule "all things turn to chaos (in science chaos= equilibrium)" is true on a large scale, on a small scale Earth has come a long way from dust clouds, into a complex bio-sphere as part of a unique solar system."

Why would this indicate a god?

[ETA: Rd is obviously a faster typist than I am. :-) ]

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:21:30 BDT
Just realised it needed fewer words.

#*~*Please feel free to mention that this post does not add to the discussion.*~*#

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 13:25:09 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:29:47 BDT
Not relevant to the discussion Bert.
Lela asked for a discussion of God uninterrupted by discussions of specifics of religions, so I thiought that sounded like an interesting thread.
Care to argue for God without using your scripture or relgious tenets?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:36:08 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:47:34 BDT
Tom M says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 13:55:39 BDT
G. Heron says:
Tom M

On the subject of chance I think there are two type, the classical version of chance which as you say is a measure of our ignorance about a system, so we say the change of a toing being tossed and coming up heads is 50%. If we knew enough about the system before hand we should be able to determine with certainty the result of the toss.

There is also the type of chance which is fundamental to quantum mechanics where we find the best we can know about something like the position of an electron is a function which describes the probability of finding the electron at any given location.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:02:10 BDT
If you can't back up the claim that a god exists without referring to the word of man then the problem becomes inherently circular. How did he know etc. etc.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:06:08 BDT
"How is chance possible as a first cause if all around us we see order"
Order is not the opposite of chance nor are the two related, so this non sequitur asks nothing.

"The only premise a theist requires to show the exisence of God is the assumption that the universe is intelligible. "
Could you define the word intelligible in that assumption please?

Also, since you clearly don't understand my discussion of the transcendent truth of triangles properties, i'd rather you didn't quote a misunderstood and doctored version of it.

you also misrepresent the arguments relating to supervenience and to free will.

If you'd care to present an argument. I'll happily listen but as yet you have not done so.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:18:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2012 14:23:25 BDT
Harry-(there was a first cause to the Big Bang)
Sam- [How do you know?]

Well, physics knows that the big bang "occurred" that is to say, happened. It was a time of immense rapid expansion, the effects of which are happening today. Thermodynamics according to my physics teacher, tells us that an "object" won't act unless another force acts upon it.

Hawking argues that "physics caused the big bang, not God".

Therefore I conclude, from my own studying and evidences, that the Big Bang "happend by causality".

I think we just differ on how it was caused.

Harry-(We are contained within the universe)
Sam- [Yes, but why does this indicate an architect?]

(by the way I use the word architect, because I don't want to get lumbered with the religious fanatics and their ideology of our father in heaven, personally I don't think the creator of the universe has to care about us, it would be nice if he did though of course). The reason I believe being contained implies a creator, is because until science proves otherwise, I don't think there is any life like us, outside of the universe... I view us as an experiment in a lab. Stranger things have happened.

Sam-[If we do know nothing of the universe, how do you know that it was caused and has a creator?]

We know nothing about Dark energy, dark matter etc (making up 96% of the universe, therefore pretty much the entire universe) and I have never claimed to "know" if a creator exists. I'm giving my reasons for why "I think" something caused this mess of rocks and fireballs to occur. The idea of a complex bio-sphere coming from nothing shows "me" that there is a reasoning behind our very existence.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:29:38 BDT
"Thermodynamics according to my physics teacher, tells us that an "object" won't act unless another force acts upon it. "
Here you get off the beaten track, it wasn't an object that was acting, it was Space itself expanding.

"I think we just differ on how it was caused."
I think we differ on our certainty that causation applied as well.

"until science proves otherwise, I don't think there is any life like us, outside of the universe."
and why would the same not apply to intelligence outside the universe? which you are claiming for this architect?

"The idea of a complex bio-sphere coming from nothing shows "me" that there is a reasoning behind our very existence. "
Then that shows your stark ignorance. Once the big bang occured, everything in the unvierse is the probablisitc and natural result of the laws of the universe continuing to act blindly.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:47:11 BDT
richard says:
Rd,

but we depend upon scripture to tell us what god is like, what he wants/demands and what the consequences are of not worshipping him/her/it. without religion to tell us about god we have no information about god. god might have created the universe and then just gone on to do better things. god might not be the big boss but one of many (students) each creating a universe as part of a project. for all we know the universe this god created got a 'fail' and was just dumped!

without god interacting with man to pass on information we just have no idea what 'god' means other than in our heads and as we are perfectly capable of thinking up things that don't exist (dragons, unicorns, fairies, elves etc) we have no way of knowing that we haven't invented god.

doesn't god just become a completely abstract concept which quite likely, even if there is a god, is way off the mark. if aliens visited us and proved that they created the universe through science it would seem to meet your criteria yet would we call them god! our concept of god seems to require god to be something that we can not really imagine adequately. can't be an alien race from another universe because we would say god created them, can't create or control/influence using science because that's not 'god-like' as god has to think/wish things into existence. god's infinite powers can have nothing to do with science or with having been learnt/developed.

i think we have created a concept that we can only know anything about by people telling us that god has somehow passed on the relevant information to them.

i find myself in agreement with Bert, without religion/scripture how far can we get!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 14:49:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2012 14:52:51 BDT
[Once the big bang occured, everything in the unvierse is the probablisitc and natural result of the laws of the universe continuing to act blindly.]

Why don't you think life is the end result of the laws acting blindly?

According to probablity, every universe which might start by accident, will at some point develop life in it.

Because> On a "long enough time scale", anything is possible.

Where time is infinite, so are the possibilities.

[Here you get off the beaten track, it wasn't an object that was acting, it was Space itself expanding.]

I believe something made it expand, rather than nothing. That's all.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:04:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2012 21:40:25 BDT
Harry,

Cause and effect apply within the universe, but we only have one example of everything beginning: the universe. How do you know that cause and effect applies under those circumstances?

I understand why you'd want to use a term like architect or creator to distance yourself from the religious baggage (no, I don't mean Ann Widdecombe), but as this thread was started to discuss god as opposed to religion, I wonder whether using just one term would be helpful. Just a thought...

I don't see how life being contained in the universe and having no knowledge of any life existing outside of the universe leads to the idea that there was a creator. There doesn't seem to be a link.
If there were life outside of the universe (other universes, perhaps), would that mean that there wasn't a creator?

There are still many things to learn about the universe, including about dark matter and energy. How does our incomplete knowledge lead to the idea of there being a creator?

"The idea of a complex bio-sphere coming from nothing shows "me" that there is a reasoning behind our very existence."
Could you explain this, please?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:08:00 BDT
[Could you explain this, please?]

Can any of you explain how something comes from nothing?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:08:07 BDT
"but we depend upon scripture to tell us what god is like, what he wants/demands and what the consequences are of not worshipping him/her/it."
First you must demonstrate a reason to take the words of scripture seriously. Either by showing outside of them, there is a god who wrote/inspired/endorses them or by independently proving their claism to be true. Either way, the scripture canno tbe a starting point.

"without god interacting with man to pass on information we just have no idea what 'god' means other than in our heads and as we are perfectly capable of thinking up things that don't exist (dragons, unicorns, fairies, elves etc) we have no way of knowing that we haven't invented god."
Bingo, so you need to first show this to not be the case before scripture is worth a seconds thought.

"if aliens visited us and proved that they created the universe through science it would seem to meet your criteria yet would we call them god!"
If they were not a product of the universe and had created the universe, I would happily place the label "Gods" on them.

"i find myself in agreement with Bert, without religion/scripture how far can we get! "
Exactly as far as with it. First establish a reason to trust or care about scripture.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:09:26 BDT
[but as this thread was started to discuss god as opposed to religion]

The word God is so intertwined with "religion" that it would be hard to dispose of any baggage at all. Besides, what is "God" without religion? There is no definition for such a thing.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:09:32 BDT
"According to probablity, every universe which might start by accident, will at some point develop life in it. "
Not so, there may be universes where life is impossible.

"I believe something made it expand, rather than nothing. That's all. "
And so do I, but you're attributing certain properties to this something whereas I am not.

You still have all your work to do Harry.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:13:00 BDT
No, but we only have three options.

The historical chain of causes is infinite.
The historical chain of causes has one or more beginnings
The historical chain of causes is cyclical.

Cyclical causal chains have some problems which I'd rather not go into but seem very unlikely, so either someting came from nothing, or everything has no ultimate cause.

But the bioshphere is not somethign coming from nothing. It's something coming from something. from 10^-36 seconds after the big bang until the present day, everything just follows the laws of the universe and the present day is the result. No architect needed to interfere.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:13:56 BDT
I'd prefer you make the distinction between Deistic Architect (Creates and that's it) and Theistic Architect (creates and interferes) but other than that, use whatever label you want as long as you are willing to define it if people don't understand.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:17:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Apr 2012 15:18:02 BDT
Deistic architect. A watcher if you like. He planted the seeds in the big bang, and here we are 13.6 billion years later.

I can't see how an interfering God who visits Earth can go undetected by science.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2012 15:20:16 BDT
Ok Harry. That's fine.

I think the deistic viewpoint has a lot less against it than the theistic one.

I don't find any compelling reason to believe in a sentient, willfull, potent architect as the cause of the universe as opposed to an infinite history of causes or the singularity literally suddenly existing from nothing.

We're so far out of, to borrow Dawkin's phrase, "Middle World", intuition and common sense are useless here.

I would agree the Big Bang happened for a reason. I would agree that my instinct is that the reason will be causal but I wouldn't hold that view strongly. Beyond that, how are you determining anything about the cause?
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  22
Total posts:  226
Initial post:  18 Apr 2012
Latest post:  4 Jul 2012

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