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September 17, 2009

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My former farrier was a born again christian. He was a knowlegeable guy and we had many interesting discussions, but the subject of religion was generally avoided. We were on the same page in many areas, but there was a difference in our cosmologies.

One time he couldn't resist trying to get me on board the christian bandwagon. He got the idea I was an athiest because I spoke of reality much as I do on this blog and he wanted to help me to see the light.

He used the analogy of a completely disassembled bicycle with all its component parts floating around in infinite space to illustrate that there must be intelligent design for the universe to come together as it has.

He said that the likelihood of all the atoms of the universe coming together on their own to form a functioning unit without a "Supreme Mechanic" to be far less likely than all the bicycle parts coming together on their own to form a functioning unit without a mechanic. The bicycle doing this by itself, let alone the universe, seemed impossible to him. This conclusively proved to his satisfaction that God existed.

To me it only proves that given billions and billions of years atoms do marvelous things.

I forgot to add a Duhism that seemed germane to the theme of this post:

"Speak not about what is seen by all, but what is not seen by any. This will get you a free room with nice padded wallpaper."

http://www.duhism.com/1030/you-didnt-hear-it-from-me/

I think everyone is fond of metaphors, not just the religious, they are often used to try convey complex concepts to a wide lay audience.

How can one possibly get a proper feel for the space-time singularity of the big bang without an in-depth study of the mathematics and physics involved?

Stephen Hawking's metaphor, in regard to geodesics and infinitely curvilear space - was likening the causual question of what came before the big bang as equivalent to the question what is north of the north pole?

What I would say about religious metaphor is that it sometimes is very beautiful and enticing and hence potentially hooks and appeals to a wider audience. How accurate these methaphors or what they are trying to describe is another matter entirely, but many prefer concepts that appeal on a gut or instictual level, which imo seems to be what mysticism is all about. i.e. some sort of unexplainable feeling of an existential angst or unfillable void that there is something greater or beyond the rational laws of the universe.

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