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a higher power

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Ron
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25 posted 06-27-2008 03:51 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
But isn't the foundation of your religion (God) the very thing without a secondary causal agent?

Perhaps, Stephen. However, I'm not sure I would agree that God is the foundation of human religion. That might be true if He just pushed the Create Universe button and then walked away, but then we'd have a "religion" that more closely resembled the Greek or Roman religions you keep calling myths. I don't think the existence of God, albeit without a causal agent, is the foundation of any modern religion. It is, rather, the interaction between God and Man upon which we base our religions. Without that interaction (cause and effect) there is no religion beyond blind belief.

quote:
For how do we specifiy which specific "effects" indicate a higher power?   What do we go by as indicating "higher power" or "god", or to say something specific about god, "he", "she", "it" "personal" "impersonal" "omnipotent" etc.  

The answer to that question, Essorant, ultimately lies in another, much deeper question. What do you want from God?

If you believe God will put a quarter under your pillow in exchange for a tooth, your hypothesis is testable. If you don't consistently get the quarter, then you have to adjust your hypothesis accordingly. It's still all about cause and effect. Of course, that's doesn't mean it's easy either. If physics is a hard science, and psychology is a soft science, then religion is a truly mushy science. In each case increased complexity results in decreased repeatability; we don't understand human behavior as well as we understand electrons, and I suspect we understand God's motivations even less. However, while cause and effect aren't always obvious, that doesn't mean that stuff just happens randomly. That way lies insanity.

Religion isn't that much different than science. It either works for you or it doesn't. The biggest problem I see is that too many people expect their television to keep their food cold. Their expectations lead them to think their TV is broke. Instead of jumping from one television set to another, or worse, buying a radio because they've lost confidence in the existence of TV, they should adjust their expectations. Only when they figure out what a TV should do for them can they correctly decide if it's working.

Incidentally, no religion should be solely (or even primarily) about life after death. That's faith, not religion.

quote:
What stops anyone from pointing at anything and calling it "an indication of a higher power/god"? May not one basically point at anything and call it god?

What stops anyone from pointing at anything and calling it cold fusion?

Again, Essorant, it either works for you or it doesn't.

quote:
Considering how common complexity is in nature, one may just as well say it is inherent in nature itself, rather than instilled by any supernatural power.

Complexity is NOT inherent in nature, Ess. On the contrary, the most fundamental laws of science dictate that in a closed system order will always give way to disorder. You can call that entropy or Murphy's Law, but either way complexity can only arise when energy is input from outside the system.

In the case of Earth, we are not strictly a closed system and so everything that is complex on this planet depends on the energy of the sun. Unlike Stephen, I would never dream of pointing at a DNA molecule and calling it evidence of a higher power. Such evidence, in my opinion, is too flimsy, the lines between cause and effect too blurred. You don't need intelligent design to create very complex crystals, after all. You just need a little sugar, a bit of heat, and sufficient time.

However, while the Earth isn't a closed system, by definition, the Whole of Creation is. And, again, complexity can only arise when energy is input from outside the system?

(The latter may not be strictly true. Energy can also "glob" within a closed system, potentially giving rise to temporary order. Without more energy, however, that order will inevitably decay. Which I guess still leaves it up to the individual to decide the fate of their own Universe.)


Stephanos
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26 posted 06-27-2008 04:57 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron,

I wasn't merely referring to DNA's complexity, per se, but to the existence of coded information.  Of course it's not knock-down proof, but  a strong clue.  I don't have enough faith to think that happened without a mind.  

A little sugar, a bit of heat, and sufficient time gives rise to replicating molecules?  And to think that I could have created life myself if I had a little more time.     While I know that something like this is part of the dogma of scientific naturalism, it wasn't arrived at empirically.


Stephen
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Iím ignoring the urge to question the definition of ďthe whole of creationĒ and where the boundaries lie.

But I canít let this one go by without comment:

quote:
However, while the Earth isn't a closed system, by definition, the Whole of Creation is. And, again, complexity can only arise when energy is input from outside the system?


A closed system that can have energy input from outside!

That doesnít sound very closed to me - is Homeland Security involved somewhere along the line?

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quote:
While I know that something like this is part of the dogma of scientific naturalism, it wasn't arrived at empirically.


I think itís fair to suggest that the theory of a crystalline missing link precursor as the original replicator isnít supported by empirical evidence, however thatís only one tiny part of the argument that nature doesnít require an un-natural creator. In comparison the whole argument for religious dogma seems totally devoid of any acceptable empirical evidence as far as I can see, so much so itĎs even described as being reliant on faith.

As I see it thereís absolutely no empirical evidence that a higher power exists. You could of course use the standard counter - that thereís no empirical evidence that a higher power doesnít exist - but doesnít a total lack of empirical evidence one way or the other simply strengthen the argument that there is in fact nothing there? And isnít it the responsibility of those proposing that a higher power exists to put forward the evidence to that effect rather than challenging all dissenters to find evidence to disprove the theory?

Thereís no empirical evidence that fairies donít exist.
Thereís no empirical evidence that unicorns donít exist.
Thereís no empirical evidence that gods donít exist.

Why should we believe something exists simply because we donít have evidence that it doesnít - is that a sound basis for belief? If someone insisted that fairies really existed surely youíd expect some empirical evidence before joining the ďfriends of the fairiesĒ party. Higher powers though seem to be immune to this simple test, instead we are asked to prove that they donít exist and accept that they do when no evidence of their non-existence is forthcoming.

Itís just a grandiose version of the kings clothes

I may of course be wrong, perhaps thereís some empirical evidence Iíve overlooked, if you know any Iíd love to hear it.

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quote:
I wasn't merely referring to DNA's complexity, per se, but to the existence of coded information.

A little sugar, a bit of heat, and sufficient time gives rise to replicating molecules?  And to think that I could have created life myself if I had a little more time.


Whereas, Stephen, I wasn't referring to coded information, but rather to complexity and order.

Pretty much everything is coded information, after all. Just look at a Periodical Table of Elements.

quote:
A closed system that can have energy input from outside!

Ah, and therein lies the conundrum.

Science deliberately sidesteps the fact that any theory of creation, including the Big Bang theory (of which there is no empirical evidence, btw, hence we still call it a theory), is necessarily a paradox no less frustrating than anything resulting from omnipotence. Humanity's faith in cause and effect precludes the possibility of any first cause because, of course, any cause ultimately must be an effect.

quote:
I may of course be wrong, perhaps thereís some empirical evidence Iíve overlooked, if you know any Iíd love to hear it.

Okay. When I follow the precepts of my religion my life is demonstrably better than when I don't follow those precepts. For me, it works. If dropping a hammer on your foot is empirical evidence for the existence of gravity, then a better personal life is equally valid evidence for the existence of God. Both are demonstrations of cause and effect. And just as importantly, in my opinion and experience, both are repeatable.


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quote:
Science deliberately sidesteps the fact that any theory of creation, including the Big Bang theory (of which there is no empirical evidence, btw, hence we still call it a theory), is necessarily a paradox no less frustrating than anything resulting from omnipotence.



Does the first law of thermodynamics require your omnipotent creator to be part of the closed system?

Come to think of it doesnít the first law also provide a suggested natural solution to the first cause conundrum, could it be that the first cause doesnĎt actually exist?

If the total energy of the closed system universe is a constant it must be the same now as it was in the beginning as it will always be in the future. Saying that it will always be the same allows the possibility that it has always been the same. If the energy of the universe has always existed there is no first or last cause, the best presumption would be a cyclical and continuous series of cause and effects.

quote:
When I follow the precepts of my religion my life is demonstrably better than when I don't follow those precepts.


Is life demonstrably better for all people who follow the precepts of their religion?

What definition of ďbetterĒ are you using?

Is it possible that thereís a comparable Ron out their who doesnít follow the precepts of any religion and believes that that his life is demonstrably better because of that?

quote:
And just as importantly, in my opinion and experience, both are repeatable.


Your definition of repeatable is too limited to be accepted as empirical evidence and more importantly different in the two examples cited. Everyone can repeat the hammer experiment under the same circumstance and get the same results but following your religious precepts may only yield a resultant ďbetter lifeĒ for you. I may find the opposite is true, the scientific definition of repeatability requires that the resultant effect is constant on multiple samples by multiple testers and measurable.

Ron
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quote:
Does the first law of thermodynamics require your omnipotent creator to be part of the closed system?

Neither the first law nor the second, nor any other modern law of physics, existed during the first few microseconds of the Big Bang. And prior to the Big Bang? Even time couldn't exist. When asked what came before the Big Bang, most scientists will look puzzled and say there was nothing before. Some few, in recent years, are hypothesizing a collapsing Universe (possibly very different from our own) that became the singularity that became the Big Bang. So, uh, where did that Universe begin?

quote:
If the total energy of the closed system universe is a constant it must be the same now as it was in the beginning as it will always be in the future. Saying that it will always be the same allows the possibility that it has always been the same. If the energy of the universe has always existed there is no first or last cause, the best presumption would be a cyclical and continuous series of cause and effects.

And you find that satisfying? In spite of the fact that in a deterministic universe, you can name no other cause that isn't someone else's effect? It just always was?

Personally, Grinch, I find that no less mystical than most religions.

quote:
Is life demonstrably better for all people who follow the precepts of their religion?

Yes (though I can't speak to "their" religion, only to mine).

Which, I believe, answers all the rest of your questions under that heading? Especially those regarding repeatability?


Grinch
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32 posted 06-28-2008 10:48 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
Neither the first law nor the second, nor any other modern law of physics, existed during the first few microseconds of the Big Bang.


Would that be the same big bang for which we have no empirical evidence?  

Is there a need to abandon the first law in a closed system where cyclical expansions and contractions negate the need for a first cause. Where expansion would diffuse the energy of the universe as itís volume increased  until the energy had insufficient concentration to fuel expansion. At that point wouldn't a contraction begin fuelled by the same energy until all matter and energy is contained in a singularity to start the process all over again.

quote:
And you find that satisfying?


Yes.

The chances are high that Iím a tiny conglomeration of matter in a fairly insignificant galaxy during an expansion cycle. I didnít see the beginning of the present universe and Iím unlikely to witness the end.  I have no purpose in this universe other than that which I choose to impose on myself and Iím willing to accept the responsibility for those choices and my own actions and face the consequential results. However thereís still a real sense of satisfaction to be gained knowing that everything you are or have is all down to one person - yourself.


quote:
Is life demonstrably better for all people who follow the precepts of their religion?

quote:
Yes (though I can't speak to "their" religion, only to mine).


Are you suggesting that a person without a religion be better with one?
Ron
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quote:
Where expansion would diffuse the energy of the universe as itís volume increased  until the energy had insufficient concentration to fuel expansion. At that point wouldn't a contraction begin fuelled by the same energy until all matter and energy is contained in a singularity to start the process all over again.

It's certainly possible that our universe is a closed one (as opposed to an open or flat universe). For that to be true, roughly 95 percent of the universe would have to consist of "dark matter," that is, matter that doesn't interact in any way with the electromagnet spectrum and which, so far, has escaped any direct detection. In my opinion, while dark matter and God certainly aren't mutually exclusive, if I had to believe in only one there seems to be a lot more evidence for the latter than for the former.

Not incidentally, I'm probably being a little more optimistic than most. NASA would answer your question differently.

quote:
Are you suggesting that a person without a religion (would) be better with one?

I had to insert a word into your question, Grinch, to make darn sure I understood what I think you meant. If that's not what you meant, please ignore my answer and rephrase the question.

Even putting aside that it's a loaded question, my answer has to be no, the person would not be a better person. From where I sit, there was nothing wrong with the person, so there was nothing to make better.

What I said, Grinch, and continue to maintain, is that a person's life is better with religion than it is without religion. Not sometimes, not mostly, but every single time. When you drop the hammer, it falls to the ground without fail (in a quantum universe that's not strictly true, but I think we can call it true enough for human purposes). That's what I mean by repeatability. I don't think I can be any more clear than that?

Please don't take that out of context, though. What I said in the paragraph above rests on what I said earlier in the thread. If the hammer doesn't fall to the ground when you drop it, you have to be willing to adjust your hypothesis about gravity. You haven't got it right, yet.

Of course people who are hesitant to pick up the hammer will never know if it would have fallen or not.


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34 posted 06-28-2008 03:49 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Grinch:
quote:
As I see it thereís absolutely no empirical evidence that a higher power exists. You could of course use the standard counter - that thereís no empirical evidence that a higher power doesnít exist ...


What is your definition of empirical Grinch?  As Ron already pointed out, someone's experience of God in their own life is indeed empirical.  Of course that would seem too subjective to you to believe.  What about reported miracles in history, and their grammatico-historical analysis of plausibility?  But I suspect your philosophy holds that they can't be true because miracles can't happen (already presupposing nothing beyond nature).  What about the appearance of design, such that Dawkins had to remind his readers to remember that ďBiology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.Ē  Itís not that there hasnít been, or isnít empirical evidence, itís that you are free to make in inference to atheism anyway.  And thatís where faith comes in, for you and me.  

In addition to what may be called "empirical" are the existential evidences.  Why does the Biblical worldview it square so well with our experience of the moral problems of humanity, of guilt?  We do most share a feeling that life is a gift, and of the feeling that there is an obscenity imbedded somehow in death and disease?  Why the conviction that things are often not as they ought to be, as if "ought" could be anything more than opinion (even though philosophers have pointed out the impossibility of getting "ought" from "is" in a naturalistic system)  Why do we all share the delight of feeling that humanlove is more significant than a cloaked mechanism to splay more genetic material?  Why do we feel that those who maltreat us have sometimes really done us wrong, and not just violated custom, or made a wrong calculation?  Why are ethical systems of thought more alike than dissimilar, with their differences being so glaring only by virtue of their immense common ground?  Why are even atheists drawn to philanthropy and a desire to be a "good person"?  Why is there a prevailing feeling among humanity that death is not all there is to the story?  Why has most of humanity shared a desire to worship something, and belief in a "higher power"?

I mention all these things, empirical or not, to remind you that you already believe in many things, which have good and sufficient evidence, but are not strictly empirical in a test-tube sense.  When you say there is no empirical evidence for God, I feel like you have some once-for-all kind of test in mind.  Yet that is not your criteria for many historical beliefs, nor for many present realities.  To demand this kind of evidence for God is a category mistake.


quote:
Thereís no empirical evidence that fairies donít exist.



The fact that you can't prove a universal negative, isn't the crux of my argument at all ... in fact I agree with you that it isn't an argument.


quote:
If the energy of the universe has always existed there is no first or last cause, the best presumption would be a cyclical and continuous series of cause and effects.



You do realize that a singularity is where all laws break down?  Then Ron is right to point out that the cyclical view is just as mystical as any religious explanation.  And we haven't talked about the implications of the anthropic principle and the fine-tuned-universe, and the even more mystical multiverse theory used to explain it (away).



Ronster:
quote:
Stephen, I wasn't referring to coded information, but rather to complexity and order.

Pretty much everything is coded information, after all. Just look at a Periodical Table of Elements.


But the situation we have with DNA and the human genome is much closer in directly mimicking design scenarios in intelligent human life.  Yes chemicals have properties which interact to produce new Chemicals.  But DNA is literally encoded information for the assemblage of life by micro-machines within the cell, a full production line.  You may say there is no essential difference.  But I would say that one yells for the inference of design quite stronger than the other.  


quote:
Okay. When I follow the precepts of my religion my life is demonstrably better than when I don't follow those precepts. For me, it works. If dropping a hammer on your foot is empirical evidence for the existence of gravity, then a better personal life is equally valid evidence for the existence of God. Both are demonstrations of cause and effect.


Ron, I do appreciate what you're saying about the experiential aspect (or evidence) of God.  However, many I'm sure would ask you if that's all there is to it, or if there are some more objective criteria.  (Grinch has already pointed this out, more or less)  After all, the question of what constitues a "better personal life" is quite subjective in nature.  Are there other evidences for God that exist in a less Ron-or-Stephen-dependent way?  Do you have an apologetic that extends beyond yourself, even if it may include the subjective?  Does the creation itself give any evidence of God, as Paul seems to suggest in the 1st chapter of the book of Romans?


Stephen
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Well from past comments on your topic's, You'd prolly know that I'm a christian. So as such I keep my religion tomyself. And am pretty easy going with other people and they're faith and beliefs. So I don't shove my beliefs down other peoples throughts.
Yes in a right of sence I can see other peoples beliefs (Allaha, Budda, ext.) can be real.

But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
thou shalt not eat of it;
for in the day that thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die.

Genesis

Ron
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quote:
But the situation we have with DNA and the human genome is much closer in directly mimicking design scenarios in intelligent human life.  Yes chemicals have properties which interact to produce new Chemicals.  But DNA is literally encoded information for the assemblage of life by micro-machines within the cell, a full production line.  You may say there is no essential difference.  But I would say that one yells for the inference of design quite stronger than the other.

Not only don't I see it that way, Stephen, I don't believe it happened that way. If DNA were a poem, it would need a LOT of work. Besides, change the Periodic Table by so much as an electron and DNA couldn't exist. The design didn't start with Life, it culminated with it.

quote:
Does the creation itself give any evidence of God, as Paul seems to suggest in the 1st chapter of the book of Romans?

Nope.
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Ron:
quote:
The design didn't start with Life, it culminated with it.


I never said it started with life.  The idea of culmination would be exactly my thoughts too.  As I said, the question of design merely becomes more poignant with the arrival of life.  How can you say design culminates with life if said life does not demonstrate design?

quote:
Nope.


Just "Nope"?  Well that's convincing.  

Then how do you avoid complete fideism?

Or how do you account for St. Paul's words without trivializing them at best, or out-and-out denying them at worst?


Stephen    
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Ron,

You make it sound as if dark matter doesnít exist, most astrophysicists would disagree, even the page your link leads to notes that the existence of dark matter isnít contested itís what dark matter is thatís unknown at present.

ĒWe know of its presence because of the gravitational effects it has on objects that we can see.Ē

An intelligent man once wrote:

ďSeen the nucleus of an atom lately? Or an electron? How about a quark or a lepton?Ē

I think he could, quite easily, have included dark matter in his list.

quote:
I had to insert a word into your question, Grinch, to make darn sure I understood what I think you meant.


You got my meaning spot on, the irony is I edited it three times before posting to ensure the meaning was clear and somehow managed to eviscerate a word in the process.

I took what you were saying to mean that religion is to some people like insulin is to diabetics - if you need it itís good for you - I just wanted to clarify.

Stephen,

quote:
What is your definition of empirical Grinch?


Evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses, measurable and consistently repeatable and are capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment.

quote:
As Ron already pointed out, someone's experience of God in their own life is indeed empirical.


Only in the same way that someone seeing a fairy can claim to have empirical evidence that fairies exist.

quote:
What about reported miracles in history


It depends on your definition of miracles, I can accept that the statistically improbable can happen but not the scientifically impossible.

quote:
What about the appearance of design


The appearance of design  doesnít  require a designer, there is empirical evidence that natural selection can create the appearance of design and no evidence, beyond personal belief, that a designer exists.

quote:
Why does the Biblical worldview it square so well with our experience of the moral problems of humanity, of guilt?


Is it because it was written by men with experience of the moral problems of humanity?

quote:
We do most share a feeling that life is a gift, and of the feeling that there is an obscenity imbedded somehow in death and disease? Why the conviction that things are often not as they ought to be, as if "ought" could be anything more than opinion (even though philosophers have pointed out the impossibility of getting "ought" from "is" in a naturalistic system) Why do we all share the delight of feeling that humanlove is more significant than a cloaked mechanism to splay more genetic material? Why do we feel that those who maltreat us have sometimes really done us wrong, and not just violated custom, or made a wrong calculation? Why are ethical systems of thought more alike than dissimilar, with their differences being so glaring only by virtue of their immense common ground? Why are even atheists drawn to philanthropy and a desire to be a "good person"? Why is there a prevailing feeling among humanity that death is not all there is to the story? Why has most of humanity shared a desire to worship something, and belief in a "higher power"?


Because we are hardwired by evolution to react in certain ways to certain stimuli, what youíre describing is the human condition, not evidence of a creator.

quote:
You do realize that a singularity is where all laws break down?


Should I? After all thereís no empirical evidence to support that notion and certainly no reason to disbelieve that some laws, the first law of thermodynamics for instance, canít hold true in a singularity. In fact the very nature of the first law suggests that it has to remain within a singularity, singularities are in effect described by the first law being the sum total of all mass and energy in the universe.

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if God is the foundation of human religion.

I shall say yes.  Human, not only search for higher power when observe unexplainable phenomenon and when feel hopelessly unfairness of the nature world but also try to find spirit support to anchor our tiresome mind and calm the anxiety from our unpredictable life.  The desire to look for high power is same whether the imagined high power is you, her, He, a tree, a rock, a star, myself, or my mind.  But the truth is God Ėsearching. The desire, I believe, is build-in by God.  

Without that interaction (cause and effect) there is no religion beyond blind belief.

Cause and effect in religion
That tree gives me shade, so I worship it. But what if the tree was stroked by lightning and fell on my roof and ruined my house?  Shall I worship it based on human logic?

If I worship a star and my wish has never got granted, shall I continue?

ďCause and effectĒ is logic thinking and it belongs to human wisdom.   Higher power must have higher level wisdom, Right?

If DNA were a poem, it would need a LOT of work. Besides, change the Periodic Table by so much as an electron and DNA couldn't exist. The design didn't start with Life, it culminated with it.

Electron/neutron---Atoms----molecule----DNA---life, this chain is not randomly crashed out or evolved out.  One can always ask why it is P not S in DNA. Why double helix? Why RNA? Why protein does not do self-replicate?   No matter how wide and deep we imagine, we imagine with our limited human mind

And Nope
Many people agree.
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quote:
As I said, the question of design merely becomes more poignant with the arrival of life.

There's clearly a whole lot of people who don't agree, Stephen. I think if it wasn't already poignant enough before the arrival of life, a few self-replicating cells aren't likely to change anyone's perspective.

Life was pretty much inevitable. Now, water? THAT was an incontrovertible miracle!

quote:
Just "Nope"?  Well that's convincing.

I didn't know you wanted to be convinced?

quote:
Then how do you avoid complete fideism?

Complete fideism? As opposed to incomplete fideism?

I'm not trying to be difficult, Stephen, but that word means different things to different people. If you mean it in the sense that religion relies primarily on faith and revelation, then my answer has to be that I don't avoid it, I embrace it. If you mean it in the sense that faith is antithetical to reason, then I fail to see the contradiction. I believe reason can indeed by used to see God (which isn't necessarily the same thing as finding a god). But it also seems fairly self evident to me that reason can just as easily be used to hide God.

I tried to be succinct and answer the spirit of your question (I really didn't believe you wanted to be convinced), but let me provide a bit more detail. Evidence? Sure, there's evidence of God in His creation. It's absolutely all around us, and that's part of the problem. Everything is evidence of God. And that essentially means that nothing is evidence of God. It's just the way things are.

quote:
You make it sound as if dark matter doesnít exist, most astrophysicists would disagree, even the page your link leads to notes that the existence of dark matter isnít contested itís what dark matter is thatís unknown at present.

Sorry, no, I didn't mean to suggest dark matter doesn't actually exist. Only that it goes against intuitive common sense and can only be inferred by its effects on the world we see..

quote:
I took what you were saying to mean that religion is to some people like insulin is to diabetics - if you need it itís good for you

Everyone needs insulin, Grinch. Not just some.

I would be more inclined, I think, to compare religion to exercise. Everyone has some (even if they don't know they have it), most of us could use a great deal more, and there's always going to be a few who carry a good thing to harmful extremes.

quote:
Only in the same way that someone seeing a fairy can claim to have empirical evidence that fairies exist.

And if they told you where to go so you could see the fairy? It seems to me that refusing to make that journey, perhaps because it's too long and arduous, or perhaps just because you don't "believe" you'll find anything at the final destination, is a poor reason to decry a lack of evidence. Those seeking evidence have to go where the evidence is.

quote:
Stephen: You do realize that a singularity is where all laws break down?

Grinch: Should I? After all thereís no empirical evidence to support that notion and certainly no reason to disbelieve that some laws, the first law of thermodynamics for instance, canít hold true in a singularity.

Actually, there is empirical evidence. It's called math.

One of Einstein's more famous thought experiments centers on two elevators. He proposed that one elevator remain at rest on the surface of Earth and another be accelerated through the void of space at a rate equal to one Earth gravity (32 feet per second per second). These thought experiments led to his Equivalence Principle, which would become the foundation for General Relativity. The principle states there is no experiment a person could conduct in such circumstances that could distinguish between a gravitational field and uniform acceleration. In other words, whether you fall from an airplane or are shot out of a very big cannon, the phenomena are the same.

Behind the event horizon of a singularity, the gravitational pull is so intense that light can't escape. Hence, the term black hole. Now, apply the Equivalence Principle to that statement: Anything trapped by a black hole will accelerate into the singularity as a speed exceeding that of light (though it will ultimately do so one sub-atomic particle at a time).

You just divided by zero, and as I detailed almost nine years ago that means "anything is possible."

Using math, scientists can trace our known universe right back to a few micro- micro-seconds after the Big Bang. But their math breaks down utterly and completely when they try to go back further. When I was just a young'un (1968 and 1970), Stephen Hawking, along with George Ellis and Roger Penrose, wrote papers extending Einstein's General Relativity to include measurements in space and time. Their calculations show that space and time had a finite beginning that corresponded to the beginnings of matter and energy. The singularity that was the Big Bang didn't exist within space and time, but rather space and time existed within the singularity. There essentially was no such thing as physical laws before the singularity began expanding, and whatever laws existed in the few micro- micro-seconds after the expansion began are apparently nothing like what we see today. Both laws of thermodynamics, of course, rely on the passage of time if they are to have any meaning.

It's actually interesting, Grinch, that you so want to preserve the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The Second Law, as we've already discussed, states that closed systems invariably move from order to disorder over time. Science calls this entropy. One of the biggest questions about the initial conditions of our universe is why did entropy start out so low. Had our universe started in absolute disorder, there would be no arrow of time, no effects of entropy, and certainly no life.

Fancy that.
Essorant
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41 posted 06-29-2008 03:59 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,


quote:
In that statement you are placing religion wholly in the realm of "art" (the same root of the word artificial), and thus removing it from the world of Space/Time/History.



I am not wholly placing it in the realm of art, Stephanos, because art itself is not wholly in the realm of art.  It is in space, time, and history too.  What knowledge we may have of a spiritual "higher power"  seems inevitably confused with whatever we imagine and artistically represent as a "higher power".  They are both spiritual and both of a "higher power", so how may we distinguish one spiritual (the spiritual being), from the other spiritual (what we imagine and artistically represent as the spiritual higher power)?  I don't think we may with any certainty.  

But there is some consolation.  What we know more directly from Nature may be one thing.  But what we imagine, is not the opposite of knowing at all.  It is artistically altered and altered to reflect what we believe, an importance, an overall "role", etc. but it still includes and is based on native knowledge.  .  Therefore this business of art and imagination, is not the opposite of knowledge, but instead it is the artistic presentation of knowledge to include futher things, such as a special meaning, a belief, etc.

Artistic virtues are very important because they inspire people to keep in touch with knowledge, as it is presented in manifold forms, whether they believe it or not. The better religion is presented in art, the the more anyone and everyone may be persuased to appreciate it more.  Surely Grinch may even enjoy a poem about God when it is very well written? However, when something is presented in a horrible, distasteful, disrespectful, way, then even the believers will and ought to shun it.  Good art brings people from all corners to appreciate and enjoy something, whether or not they believe in it.  


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Ron,

It was the first law I was trying to retain -  that young fellow Hawking is the one trying to retain the second.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole_thermodynamics
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First, Grinch, Hawking's (et al) calculations deal exclusively with the event horizon of a black hole, not with the actual singularity. That may be picking a nit, but I think it's an important distinction if one is to understand black holes.

Second, and most importantly, while it's convenient to talk about the Big Bang in terms of black holes and singularities, they are definitely not the same thing. For example, the Big Bang didn't have an event horizon, nor did it rotate, both of which are vital factors in Hawking's work.


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44 posted 06-29-2008 05:52 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Ron,

quote:
the Big Bang didn't have an event horizon


It did right before it went Bang if the Big Bounce theorists are correct, Martin Bojowaldís recent work in loop quantum gravity comes to mind.

Ron
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How recent? I haven't heard anything about event horizons for the Big Bang singularity, nor would I expect to. Event horizons, almost by definition, are four dimensional entities within space-time. With all of space-time-matter-energy enclosed within the BB singularity it's a bit hard to imagine anything outside it.

Since this thread is about so-called higher powers (I so dislike that term), we should point out that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and the Big Bang it predicted was a strong argument for creation and the Judeo-Christian God. There had to be a beginning and every beginning has to have a cause. The work by Ashtekar and later Bojowald, on the other hand, which led to the Big Bounce, is much more akin to the endless cycles of Hinduism.

In any event, quantum gravity (which leads to quantum space and quantum time) is still highly speculative, with no known physical manifestations and no predictions that can be validated. By comparison, I think believing in fairies is a whole lot easier.  


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Does quantum gravity lead to the energy of higher power? Where  does the original energy come from?

If black whole is soooo powerful, why do we still see many stars in the sky? Who holds them away from the light swallowing ogre?

Do we find high power from the anatomy of Einstein's brain?

If we could calculate out a high power, can  math solve that 5 loaves+2 fish fed 5000 people and 12 basket left over?

One can believe in a fairy tale but wouldn't it be  better just to write one's own and grant power on it?  

Simon
Grinch
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quote:
How recent? I haven't heard anything about event horizons for the Big Bang singularity, nor would I expect to. Event horizons, almost by definition, are four dimensional entities within space-time. With all of space-time-matter-energy enclosed within the BB singularity it's a bit hard to imagine anything outside it.


His last paper was released in May this year.

Why would the singularity not have an event horizon? After all according to the standard definition the universe has one.

For arguments sake though letís take it that the singularity doesnít have one, that still doesnít mean that the first or second law of thermodynamics are defunct. The first law basically says that energy is neither gained nor lost, that the total energy of the universe remains the same. As the singularity would contain all the energy the first law is evident. The second law says that in a closed system entropy will occur unless, and until, there is equilibrium. A singularity is about as clear a state of equilibrium imaginable - it's one object in one unified state.

quote:
Since this thread is about so-called higher powers (I so dislike that term), we should point out that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and the Big Bang it predicted was a strong argument for creation and the Judeo-Christian God.


Thatís a little misleading, Einstein's General Theory of Relativity and the Big Bang theory added weight to the first cause argument. It didnít specifically lend credence to the existence of god.

In the same respect loop quantum gravity and Big Bounce theory, which removes the need for a first cause, doesnít lend any credence to the argument that god or fairies donít exist.

  
Essorant
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The existance of existance, however, may include the Big Bang, but it wasn't brought about by the Big Bang.  It may include God/gods, but it wasn't brought about by God/gods.  It was already being or becoming Big Bangs or Gods, and anything else that ever existed.  It was already there because existance was never not there.  Existance always existed and always shall exist because that is all it can do.  

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49 posted 06-30-2008 07:38 PM       View Profile for oceanvu2   Email oceanvu2   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for oceanvu2

Hi Ron:  Re: "What I said, Grinch, and continue to maintain, is that a person's life is better with religion than it is without religion."

What Joseph Campbell says, per one of John's posts and quotes, is that human life is impossible without religion and rites.

Campbell says it's biology. History seems to bear him out. As a species, we are religion prone, or maybe religion inevitable.  Which does not point to the validity of any religious belief, only to a common necessity.

Marx, that sullen son of a gun, declared that "Religion is the opiate of the masses."  Campbell would seem to agree.  You, Campbell, and Marx would seem to be saying something similar, but the debate, to my mind, turns on whether "we" are "better off" with it or without it

To the extent that it might be biologically inescapable, "better" or "worse" has nothing to do with it.  A desire for religiosity may be just an "isness." not subject to judgement.

Per Grinch, it might be possible to reject this "isness" intellectually through a concentration on the "isness" of physical realities.  I would tend to agree, except that so far, his arguments do not address things like the pineal gland etc, which are "there."

My thought is that we don't have a biological choice in the matter.  Whether our "beings" are God/religion subject may have nothing to do with theological concerns.

I wonder where the questions of "ethics and morality" come up.  Is this "religiosity" in a shade of words?"

Best, Jimbeaux
 
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