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June 11, 2015

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How would you define atheism?
Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don't believe in (lack belief in God)?
Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who "lacks belief" in God to work against God's existence by attempting to show that God doesn't exist?
How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?
How sure are you that your atheism is correct?
How would you define what truth is?
Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?
Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?
Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not?
Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?
If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?
Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?
Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?
Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?
Must God be known through the scientific method?
If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?
Do we have any purpose as human beings?
If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?
Where does morality come from?
Are there moral absolutes?
If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?
Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?
If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?
What would it take for you to believe in God?
What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?
Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?
Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why?
Do you believe in free will? (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion).
If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?
If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become "deity" and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not?
If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren't you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?

AV, you asked a lot of questions. I'll answer them briefly. My answers follow the double dashes --
-------------------------
How would you define atheism?

-- Not believing in theism.

Do you act according to what you believe (there is no God) in or what you don't believe in (lack belief in God)?

-- I act according to what exists, the natural world that I exist in.

Do you think it is inconsistent for someone who "lacks belief" in God to work against God's existence by attempting to show that God doesn't exist?

-- I don't try to show that God doesn't exist. What I enjoy doing is pointing out that there is no demonstrable evidence that God does exist.

How sure are you that your atheism properly represents reality?

-- Quite sure. The probability is high that atheism is true, since there is no convincing evidence that God exists. It's a matter of probabilities, as all knowledge is.

How sure are you that your atheism is correct?

-- Oh, about 99.9% sure. Very sure.

How would you define what truth is?

-- Knowledge based on good reasons for accepting what is known.

Why do you believe your atheism is a justifiable position to hold?

-- Because there is no demonstrable evidence for theism.

Are you a materialist or a physicalist or what?

-- I believe in what is known to exist. So that makes me a materialist.

Do you affirm or deny that atheism is a worldview? Why or why not?

-- It is the absence of a theistic world view. That's what atheism means: the absence of theism.

Not all atheists are antagonistic to Christianity but for those of you who are, why the antagonism?

-- I'm antagonistic to all religions. i have a scientific approach to reality. Religions are antagonistic to science, because they rely on faith rather than evidence.

If you were at one time a believer in the Christian God, what caused you to deny his existence?

-- I've never believed in the Christian God.

Do you believe the world would be better off without religion?

-- Yes.

Do you believe the world would be better off without Christianity?

-- Yes.

Do you believe that faith in a God or gods is a mental disorder?

-- No. It's just a mistaken view of what is true about the cosmos.

Must God be known through the scientific method?

-- In order for God to be known, God has to exist. There is no proof that God exists.

If you answered yes to the previous question, then how do you avoid a category mistake by requiring material evidence for an immaterial God?

-- I didn't answer yes. There is no evidence for God, so God can't be known until that evidence exists.

Do we have any purpose as human beings?

-- Sure. The purposes human beings accept as purposes.

If we do have purpose, can you as an atheist please explain how that purpose is determined?

-- By human beings.

Where does morality come from?

-- From natural causes. Evolution/natural selection. Culture. Learning. Experience.

Are there moral absolutes?

-- No.

If there are moral absolutes, could you list a few of them?

-- There aren't moral absolutes.

Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? If so, what is it?

-- No.

If you believe that the God of the Old Testament is morally bad, by what standard do you judge that he is bad?

-- God is a fiction. How can a fictional character be bad?

What would it take for you to believe in God?

-- Solid demonstrable evidence.

What would constitute sufficient evidence for God’s existence?

-- Obvious evidence of supernatural powers, I guess. Like God writing "I am real" on the moon, or rearranging the stars to spell those words. That would be cool. Of course, aliens might have done this as a joke, so it would be hard to tell whether an advanced alien civilization was fooling around with us, or if God was communicating to us.

Must this evidence be rationally based, archaeological, testable in a lab, etc., or what?

-- Scientifically verifiable.

Do you think that a society that is run by Christians or atheists would be safer? Why?

-- Atheists. We can tell this from northern Europeans countries. Less belief in God means a safer country.

Do you believe in free will? (free will being the ability to make choices without coersion).

-- -- I don't believe in free will. Your definition is a bad one, by the way. Free will means something else. Read my blog posts on this subject.

If you believe in free will, do you see any problem with defending the idea that the physical brain, which is limited and subject to the neuro-chemical laws of the brain, can still produce free will choices?

-- I don't believe in free will.

If you affirm evolution and that the universe will continue to expand forever, then do you think it is probable that given enough time, brains would evolve to the point of exceeding mere physical limitations and become free of the physical and temporal and thereby become "deity" and not be restricted by space and time? If not, why not?

-- I affirm evolution. Evolution is undirected. Homo sapiens, our species, might die out completely. Most species do. Since brains are physical, it is very unlikely brains would evolve to be non-physical, since the non-physical, so far as is known, doesn't exist.

If you answered the previous question in the affirmative, then aren't you saying that it is probable that some sort of God exists?

-- I answered the question in the negative. It isn't probable that some sort of God exists.

1. Does God exist? The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

Many examples showing God's design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:

The Earth...its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

existence of GodThe Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.

Water...colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You'll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:

It has wide margin between its boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.

proof of God. Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.

Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.

Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.

Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.

proof of God.Ninety-seven percent of the Earth's water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.

The human brain...simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.

existence of God.The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.7 Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.

The eye...can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages -- simultaneously. Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain -- the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.

2. Does God exist? The universe had a start - what caused it?

existence of God.Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.

Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, "The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion...The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen."

Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, "the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade...and the universe was filled with light."

The universe has not always existed. It had a start...what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.

3. Does God exist? The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?

Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn't change -- on earth or in galaxies far from us.

existence of GodHow is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?

"The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn't have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence."

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, "Why nature is mathematical is a mystery...The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle."

4. Does God exist? The DNA code informs, programs a cell's behavior.

existence of God.All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It's made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!

Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.

existence of GodWhy is this so amazing? One has to ask....how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person's body should develop.

Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.

There is an excellent book I recommend: Burning to Read (James Simpson, Harvard University Press).

The book challenges the idea that the Reformation spawned the Enlightenment. The book deals with the issues around the translation of the Bible into the vernacular. Central to the book is a discussion of Martin Luther and the struggles (theological and psychological) Luther when through when faced with translating and promoting the message of the Bible.

He clearly understood the transcendental nature of his god. He understood that transcendental nature intellectually in a sense utterly at odds with Evangelicalism and Christianity as practiced today. Ironically, you write about the very issue that tore Luther to pieces intellectually.

Luther was faced with a paradox. Here is the Bible, the unexpurgated and final word of god, not one word of which could be added, not one word of which could be subtracted. He understood that his deity was so vastly beyond the powers of human conception that no one could ever know what god was or had in mind for the universe. He very clearly knew that no amount of prayer could alter the course god had set for a person. He knew that no one could ever know what fate (god) had in store for a person upon their death. He considered certainty as to what god intends to be utter hubris. He also accepted the principle that man is damned, saved solely by the grace of god, a grace he could never know because of the utter transcendence of god.

You very clearly set out that, when faced with the transcendent, your understanding of that transcendence is yours alone, as anyone who has ever had a psychedelic experience can affirm.

It can never qualify as knowledge. I have knowledge of a hydrogen atom, though I have never seen one. I can share that knowledge with you because both you and I can measure and weigh the atom and verify its existence. Experience of the transcendent (or beliefs there regarding) are contained solely within the person. The only possible knowledge I can have is your assertion of that experience. Faith may be real, but it has no existence beyond the mind of the believer. I do not understand why this concept is so difficult to grasp.

The recognition that faith inheres solely to the individual or to a community of individuals is why we maintain a separation between church and state. This is a paradox solely in the mind of the faithful who think we should be required to follow the obligations their faith places on them, even though it is utterly impossible for us to grasp the nexus between their faith and behavior and their seeming desire to impose it upon us.

AV, you're wrong.

Actually, the universe is spectacularly unsuited for life. See:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2015/06/misanthropic-principle-universe-fine-tuned-against-life.html

There are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy. There are at least a hundred billions galaxies. By chance, it makes perfect sense that some star systems, like ours, will be suitable for life as we know it.

Life could exist in other forms, of course. Life evolved on Earth in a certain way. It could evolve in other parts of the universe in other ways.

Your arguments are based on religious faith, not reason, evidence, and logic. I hope one day you expand your horizons beyond the confines of our own believing mind. You are focusing on ideas that support the ideas you already have, rather than seeking the truth.

Remember: the truth will set you free. Delusions won't. Liberate yourself.

I would suggest AV is caught in the paradox that bedeviled Luther: there exists and utterly transcendent and unknowable beyond man's comprehension yet man is also stuck with the concrete words of Scripture.

If what you can know is delimited by Scripture, then everything we see and measure that is inconsistent with Scripture is what? The work of Satan? Some so think. On the other hand, if you take Scripture as metaphor, then it ceases to be the word of the deity and you have to fall back on faith, which cannot be seen, measured, or weighed.

There will always exist the question you cannot answer, nor can I, nor can AV: where did it all come from? You cannot disprove the existence of an unknown. Nor can you prove the existence of an unknown. All one can do is hypothesize.

Wow, Brian, your definition of Atheism is a lot narrower than actual practice. Like an elephant trying to hide behind a twig!

The word Atheism literally means without a belief in God: A - Theism.

But Wikipedia wisely provides a range of four actual definitions that include an active polemic against those who do believe in God.

These definitions therefore include the Religion of Atheism --- a position something like this: 'I actively hold a belief that there is NO God and I also believe very strongly, with a religious conviction, that those who do are wrong and harmful to the world!'

The second position is Dawkins' and Hitchens' position.

For someone to claim that Atheism is only "non-belief in a God" is disingenuous when many famous Atheists and not a few posts here are very busy mounting a polemic against others who believe differently.

Atheism today includes the religion of Atheism. And like all religions, Atheism as it is practiced publicly, includes judging those outside their religion as ignorant and wrong. This polemic includes making fun of the stupidity of others who believe differently.


I don't know if naked mountainclimbers incurred the wrath of Oden, Shiva, Yahweh or Gaia (I expect they had a chat amongst themselves before proceeding with the avalanche) but I do know that what people think affects a lot more than what they know.

That's why we live in a polluted world today. Folks thought that if the cancerous effects of pollution could not be proven (and that has taken some time) that they didn't exist.

This, sadly, Brian, is the same rationale you are using.

The rationale is simply unscientific and wrong: That rationale claims, as you do (essentially) in nearly every post, that a dark room is in fact entirely empty.

And it's unscientific.

You can't know what's there until you really look.

You can debate outside of that room all you like, but none of that will increase your understanding.

You'll have to go inside, and with a good flashlight.

As for your request for hypotheses testing the effects of things that do not fit current scienfic knowledge, about things that havn't been measured yet, well, Brian, that would be just about every new scientific hypothesis.


Spence, we're all looking for what is real and true. But there is a big difference between what is real and true only within the confines of the human mind, and what is real and true in the outside world.

Science is our best way of differentiating subjective from objective reality. If you have demonstrable evidence of God, soul, the supernatural, or such, please share it.

Worldwide fame and maybe a Nobel prize awaits you. Until that happens, you shouldn't criticize those who want to be sure that something is genuinely real and true.

Again, we all are looking for truth. Religious believers just jump to the conclusion that their own mental subjectivity reflects objective truth -- which is highly egotistical, as well as wrong.

Dear Brian:

Thanks for getting back to me.

You wrote:
"But there is a big difference between what is real and true only within the confines of the human mind, and what is real and true in the outside world."

I agree in a way, but your view is too narrow and simplistic to capture that real world. The world isn't simply outside. It's inside. There is no "outside" or "inside" in reality. There's understanding reality to varying degrees.

Remember, the brain is at best a filter. A muddy, gooey, creepy biological filter. The brain isn't separate from reality at all. You can't separate your thinking from reality, from the circumstances you are in, in time, space and the conditions you can see and can't see. If you are living near a nuclear power plant, you can't see the radiation, but it's doing its work on you. And at some point when you go to the doctor and are diagnosed with cancer, then it has its effect. Just because you can't see it and have no measure for it, doesn't mean it isn't there, and effecting your well being and even your thinking.


Subjective / Objective: That is an artificial and unreal separation.


Outside and Inside...that's an artificial construct, and there is no actual data to support it.

So, first, Brian, we must undo the notions that prevent you and actual scientific data from getting to know each other.

As for the human mind, it's just a biological impression and stimuli manager. Very weak. Ill suited to much more than doing today's work and connecting the dots on today's limited input.

You wrote:
"Science is our best way of differentiating subjective from objective reality. "

Really? Then why prefer unsubstantiated conjecture about reality?

Brian, there is no such thing as "subjective reality." Whatever that is is false.

Any representation made by the human brain is an image, not real. It might be a realistic image, but it isn't reality.

So, right there you have adhered to a concept that has to be dispensed with. In science, everything you can witness reliably, repeatedly, and which you can test by manipulation, is in fact data about "reality". You have the hard data to replace the conjectural thinking. Everything that we can do to replace conjecture, and that kind of thinking, with actual measurable, repeatable, experience is the point of both science and any pursuit of the divine.

Science is also a conceptual reflection with rules about what is "truth" and what isn't. We can't throw that term around with any credibility if we aren't using the same rules to make conclusions, rather than jumping to and attaching ourselves to all sorts of ill conceived but comfortable beliefs.

Therefore, if you are going to talk about proof of God, you have to develop a working hypothesis. It's not up to some body else. If you wish to speak about God you have to do the research. Otherwise, you can be the first sort of Atheist, the one who doesn't hold a view. I'm an Atheist like that too. Thinking doesn't carry much weight for me. But discrimination between evidence, that is a reasonable use for mind.

Look at all the research on deep and prolonged meditation. Now Yale, Harvard and other very prestigious medical schools are publishing data on the health benefits of what was once considered the highest form of divine worship. Something is happening. What is it? We can only make theories.

Does it prove God exists? It proves that something else is there we don't fully understand, and it's connected with the deepest expressions of faith.

As I said before, Brian, we don't even know how Gravity works. We conjecture it exists by testing the effects on other things, indirectly. But no science experiment has yet recorded gravity waves. It's a theory, with lots of INDIRECT data as evidence.

All science works that way.

Before these new medical theories on why meditation provides unique effects on the body, even down to the genetic level, deep meditation and continuous prayerwere practices known throughout the world. Not always practiced well, or widely, but witnessed through all recorded history.

And the more the practitioner conducted the LESS they conjectured about God. The less they chose to depict God.

These practices removed superstitions and replaced them with evidence.

Today's Atheist just replaces one set of prejudices with another. Very sad.

Do we know exactly how it works? We have theories. Theories are not actual truth, Brian. They are what people invent to try to understand.

Then, when you want to test a theory, you develop a hypothesis.

So there is the theory, for example, that divinity, in some form another, can be found within you through meditation. A theory witnessed in writings for thousands of years.

For example, seeing the Radiant Form of the Master, having "Christ come to you" or, as I 've pointed out earlier, seeing through objects as if they are fields of energy.

For thousands of years mystics have claimed to have such experiences. These are all witnesses from various independent sources.

Pythagoras knew the earth was round and covered with oceans and continents. He must have somehow gotten a glimpse from space.

Does that prove God exists? It's indirect. It means that we can experience something new outside of common experience. Can we practice to the point of having access to that experience reliably enough to actually test it?

The ancients spoke about the laboratory, and the practices to first witness then manipulate the variables.

You didn't do that. You weren't able to duplicate the effect. If it was all hallucination, at least you should have been able to duplicate it. Then you could say "I saw what they saw, and I can confirm it is much the same, since I duplicated the effect in my lab repeatedly, following their instructions. But I tested it against other independent variables and it didn't bear out."

You didn't do any of that. You gave up and said "I just don't believe these guys. They are lying."

That's OK, but you still didn't go into that lab, whose effects even medical research has confirmed over and over again, to see it for yourself.

You at least have to duplicate reliably what those long term meditators have done with scientific verification...At least lower your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen consumption by 50% within an hour below resting levels under your own command and maintain that for a couple more hours. Then you can say the ones who say that this creation is all consciousness didn't go far enough in testing that report. And you can to come back with a different theory.

But if you can't duplicate it, then whatever you are calling God is not what these folks have reported in their own personal research.

Again, if you want to stand on a platform of Science (and not scientism) you have to be a pretty disciplined scientist first.

There are only three places where it is important to put aside your personal opinions in order to get something done: The laboratory, meditation, and anywhere in this world.

If you can duplicate the independent witnessed events reported from so many centuries, then you are in a position to offer a different theory, and a hypothesis to test.

Otherwise, don't try to comment on the witness, however reliable or otherwise, of other people. Don't accuse villagers jokingly of being ignorant because your God of science, which you believe but do not practice, isn't there's. That's not scientific: It's scientism.

So, Brian please throw the Science card with integrity, by also doing your own science reliably.

You have the mind for it. But the will must be there.

Right now the will is there to tear down everything you believe is false.

That's great if you start with the guy in the mirror. Give him some air time.

Those of us devoted to meditation have to fight with that guy every day, and every moment of every day. He's a son of a bitch. But I'd rather deal with him directly than impose him on others unknowingly.

Spence, here's the thing:

Someone tells me that she saw fairies pushing up the flowers in her garden, and is convinced that this is where flowers come from -- fairies.

Am I supposed to give this claim the same credence as what botanists tell me about flower growth?

You seem to be saying there is no distinction between subjective and objective. Yet it seems clear that we can't accept everything as real that someone experiences within their own mind.

There has to be a public, inter-subjective agreement among people that what is claimed to be true, really is. Likewise, absent demonstrable evidence, claims about god or the supernatural need to be viewed in the same fashion.

As merely reflecting someone's subjective experience, which is notably fallible, rather than some objective fact about the world.

The title here Up is excellent !

further :
An objective god would be a stupid one !
You can only BE Her

777

Dear Brian:

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

You wrote:

"Someone tells me that she saw fairies pushing up the flowers in her garden, and is convinced that this is where flowers come from -- fairies.

Am I supposed to give this claim the same credence as what botanists tell me about flower growth?"

I don't think you read my post.

You need to pursue what strikes you as possible. Then you must do the work of conducting the experiment yourself. If you like the idea of fairies, you might ask to accompany the woman in the garden and note what she is seeing when she claims they are there.

Two things will happen. First, you will learn more about what is in that garden. Second, you will learn more about what the woman is talking about. Her notion of fairies might be different from yours, and her verbal discription may not do justice to what she is actually experiencing.

You like to dismiss things out of hand. Fairies? Ridiculous!

That's dangerous thinking, Brian. It's the reason the Catholic Church insisted the earth was flat and the sun revolved around it when for a couple of millennia earlier mystics reported it was round and one tiny world in a space of billions of worlds and suns.

What you might do, if you are truly an a-fairiest, is say "I don't have any idea what this woman might or might not be seeing. I personally am not compelled by her witness to believe it."

That's as far as you can go, from the standpoint of intellectual honesty.

Otherwise, you go into the garden and investigate with her, to see, to measure, to verify, and to gain a better understanding.

If you are already a gardener, it's no problem for you. You like gardens. And if you have a healthy curiosity, you want to find out more about this woman's report and what's behind, inside and underneath it. You don't presume to know. You don't prejudge. Then there is no prejudice.

If you hate gardens and have no interest in fairies, don't point the finger at her and laugh and say "what an idiot," as so many of your posts do here.

It's not scientific.

In HER world fairies do that Spence
must be a lovely garden

777

777 Her world and yours are actually the same. Perception is different. But your world is not limited to what you personally are aware of. More is there.

That was my point about why this world is polluted. Many self-seeking business leaders decided that as long as they didn't see the cancerous effects, as long as those couldn't be linked; as long as they didn't see the suffering they caused, it didn't exist.

That's a dangerous and harmful way of thinking.

More, much more is going on than we perceive. And we should understand that so we take responsibility for the effects our actions and words have, as well as for our own destiny in trying to be good human beings.

Brian, you are saying that chance is the explanation for reality existing as far as you are concerned. What, then, is the intelligible grasp of this idea or concept of chance unless something "non-chance" also exists? And what is your explanation of this "non-chance"? If it isn't intelligent in some way, or designed in some way, how do you explain it?

The so called non-existence of free will, or determinism, is the complete absence of chance. Yet you claim that both free will probably doesn't exist due to insufficient information about the human brain in up to date scientific studies, and also that chance explains everything that exists. This is a blatant contradiction.

If you are going to talk about probabilities you are going to have to do mathematics. And if you are going to do mathematics, you have to explain its origin. You would say man invented mathematics yet you would also say that mathematics is "proof" of something being absolutely true and real independent of the human brain. So which is it? If it doesn't come from the human brain and exists outside of it, where did it come from? Chance? How is chance an explanation of the origin of the mathematical nature of reality? It isn't an explanation at all, just a conjecture for you to try to figure out.

David R, chance isn't something separate from determinism, as you imply. It is unpredictable (or chaotic) determinism. For example, roulette is called a "game of chance." But obviously where a ball lands on the wheel is determined -- it just usually can't be predicted where it will land, so we call that "chance." See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability#Relation_to_randomness

Likewise, a cosmic ray that strikes some genetic material, causing a mutation that is subject to natural selection, is viewed as a chance event. Again, though, the cosmic ray was caused, as was the mutation, and the natural selecting. Those events are just unpredictable, given our ability to know the causes.

So it isn't that non-determinism has caused life and the universe to be what it is. The laws of nature, combined with "chance" events (such as asteroids hitting the earth and causing mass extinctions), have led to things being how they are.

There is no evidence for design in the universe. That leaves the enigma, why the universe? And why anything?

At some point the chain of why's has to come to an end. Positing God or some other designer doesn't prevent this, because then we have to ask "Why God?"

My feeling, along with that of many others, is that it makes sense to end the why's with something evident and observable, rather than something unseen and supernatural.

Meaning, we can simply say "the universe is," or "existence is." It must always have had some possibility for structure, for lawfulness. Otherwise it is difficult to conceive how absolute nothingness could have become something.

But again, hypothesizing a God or other designer doesn't solve the why problem. It just pushes it back a notch to why God, why a designer?

Let's face the seeming fact that there always will be some primal mysteries that never will be revealed. Accepting that we humans can't know everything about everything is a humbling, and probably inescapable, fact about the cosmos.

Brian, the only difference between your version of random and determinism by design is merely intention. And that assumes a linear sequence along a line of time.

But if you understand that consciousness and reality are not actually separate, then there is no pre-planned design. It is in real time, but it is also known and understood.

One day the sciences will demonstrate that at the deepest levels there is no distinction in matter and energy nor time and no-time.

The speed of time can be measured proportional to space. Therefore, when all things began in a particle too small to measure, time as we define it didn't exist, therefore pre-thinking and design could not exist.

But neither can "Random".

It's nice to see how your thinking about Random has developed. It is only Random from our perspective.

But if there is no time, then there is no choice either, no divine "Will" that thinks and acts in separate stages. And no "Chance" of A or B happening. There is no pre-moment when alternatives existed, when you understand that time is really a part of human thinking and perception, not an actual physical reality..just an attribute like blue or green. There is no such thing. We perceive a variation in frequency as different. It isn't.

But God does exist. Consciousness is everywhere, Brian. It is before, and after and under time.

Science will get there. Just as they have already begun to show the fluid nature of matter and energy. Time is next, and in sub-atomic research they'll find it. Time is merely an artifact of space and matter. It can roll forward, backwards, be still, and even have multiple lines intersecting, each inseparable from matter of some kind or another.

No time means no design, but also, no random chance.

Brian, this isn't a matter of logic, just perception.

Imagine, for a moment, traveling back in time, in a world entirely determined. You could visit, you could move about, and you might even sit in a cafe and have a cup of coffee, because events would adapt to some extent to you. But everything you see around you already happened long ago. It seems real and new. It seems like you have choices.

But it already happened very long ago. The entire creation was baked as one cake, at once.

But it appears to develop, for us.

We are all living here in the past, Brian, regardless of how much we like to claim to live in the now.

"But it already happened very long ago. The entire creation was baked as one cake, at once. But it appears to develop, for us. We are all living here in the past, Brian, regardless of how much we like to claim to live in the now."

This is fascinating Spence. We do seem to be living in a time loop. Are you a satsangi? In Sant Mat we are taught that Time is the realm of the negative power and this is where we are trapped, in a kind of matrix, life after life we are probably repeating the same things over and over, probably why we have deja vu sometimes.

Really enjoying your posts :)

Brian, you said "the laws of nature". Where do these laws come from?

You stated, "there is no evidence for design in the universe". This is just a blanket assertion, and rather dogmatic too.

Contrary to this assertion, there is evidence of design everywhere. You could argue that there is evidence of poor design too, which is the next step atheists assume in order to attempt to deny an intelligent creator.

It seems that you have admitted ignorance here by saying when it all comes down to it you do not know. If you do not know, why are you so hostile to the idea of there being a God? If you think God is unlikely to exist why do you spend so much time writing about it?

I like
belief in "the laws of nature"

that can't be no atheist :-)

777

David R, do you know where the laws of nature come from? I didn't think so. I don't know either. Nobody does.

They could be eternal, like the physical universe. They could be random occurrences, our universe being one of countless others in the Multiverse. Again, nobody knows.

I'm not hostile to the idea of God. I just don't see any persuasive evidence that there is a God or gods. Nor that there is any evidence of design in the universe. Likewise, there is no evidence of design in life on Earth, but there are amazingly wonderful life forms here. Including humans.

I write about this subject because I've come to see the dangers and downsides of blind faith in God. This causes serious problems in the United States, where politicians often vote a certain way because they believe a holy book tells them to.

Global warming. Abortion. Same sex marriage. Stem cell research. All kinds of social issues are complicated by irrational beliefs that are disconnected from natural reality.

If people kept their religious beliefs personal, like a preference for vanilla rather than chocolate ice cream, there wouldn't be any problem in holding those beliefs.

But when religious believers try to force their way of looking upon the world onto others, and aren't willing to engage in open honest factual debate about issues, but instead rely on blind faith to make their arguments, then religions deserve to be criticized.

More questions for Mr. Brian 1. If creationists can’t do science, then why do Kent Hovind and Duane T. Gish, who are creation scientists, have professional degrees in science?

2. If dinosaurs turned into birds, why are we not afraid of them?

3. If homosexuality is right, then how come two people of the same sex not produce a child?

4. What purpose do we have if evolution is real?

5. You say Jesus never existed, but have you heard of the Shroud of Turin?

6. Why do we not see humans being born in the zoos from monkeys if we came from monkeys?

7. Why do we go to church if God is not real?

8. How did the Grand Canyon form?

9. Do you know that Jesus loves you?

10. If Christianity is false, then why is it popular?

11. If you say Christianity is not true, then why do hundreds of people continue to become saved every day?

12. Why do we not see half trees and half carrots, fronkeys, and crocoducks if evolution is real?

13. Why is Richard Dawkins afraid to debate Ray Comfort?

14. Did you know Christopher Hitchens was saved before death?

15. Are you aware Ray Comfort disproved atheism with a banana?

16. Why do people laugh at evolutionists?

17. How did the planets form when the Big Bang explosion all of a sudden happen? After all, you don’t see round objects form when something blows up.

18. If evolution is real, how can it explain gravity, angular momentum, human emotions, and why we worship God?

19. How did pond scum make living things appear out of nowhere?

20. How can evolution be true if we don’t see pocket watches or airplanes form by themselves?

21. Did you know that dinosaurs and man lived together?

22. If evolution is real, then why do caring people like Rick Santorum argue that it must be challenged in the classroom?

23. Why are youtube atheists like AronRa and Thunderf00t afraid to debate Ray Comfort?

24. Why do we celebrate Christmas if Christianity is not real?

25. If creationists can’t do science, then why does the website Answersingenesis have proven science articles from creationists that do science?

26. If evolution is true, then why can’t white people compete to be good in basketball like black people? After all, white people can’t jump!

27. Where do you decide to fit God in your everyday life if you don’t believe in him?

28. Why is Christianity the fastest growing religion if it’s false?

29. Do you feel free to commit murders, homosexuality, go to strip bars, steal, commit adultery, and do other sins since you believe there is no God?

30. Why do the fossils say no to evolution?

31. Why did Darwin admit that how the eye formed is impossible?

32. Where did everything come from if there is no God?

33. If there is no God, then why do we have laws that govern us, such as speed limits?

34. Do you know where you are going when you die?

35. Why do we not act like monkeys if it is true we came from monkeys?

36. Why do we display The Ten Commandments in the courtrooms if you say the Bible is not real?

37. Why should be it wrong to rape if God is not real?

38. Why is The Passion of The Christ very high on the Box Office?

39. How can America not be a Christian nation if there are way more churches than mosques?

40. How is the bible not real if it’s the most popular book read by man?

41. How did the moon form?

42. Did you know that famous scientists like Newton, Sir Richard Owen, Einstein, Galileo, and Copernicus were creationists?

43. Why do we not see black people come from white people?

44. Why are fruitflies still fruitflies in the lab experiments if they are claimed to prove evolution?

45. Did you know that the Piltdown Man was a hoax used for Darwinist propaganda?

46. Why do we not see frogs turn into birds?

47. Why is Fox News dishonest if it is a network run by truthful Christians?

48. Why did Hitler fail to make a superior race if evolution is true?

Brian, I think I disagree with everything you have said there. You say you don't know and add that nobody else knows either. This is simply a bald assertion that has no proof. How would you know whether someone else knows if God exists? Do you have telepathy to make such a ridiculous claim?

People that believe in God have good reasons for doing so but genuine believers wouldn't say they know everything about everything. That's just an assumption that atheists make.

Your last sentence in your previous response reveals your real intentions. You say that religion deserves to be criticised. No it doesn't. That's just an excuse for this blog you have. People who hold that attitude like you are bigots.

AV, your questions are so marvelous, I've decided to simultaneously become a devout Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jew, and Buddhist. Want to cover all of the spiritual bases.

Oh, forgot Rastafarian -- that will be my main religion, not coincidentally because it will be legal to possess 8 ounces of marijuana here in Oregon after July 1.

I found your question, "Why do the fossils say no to evolution?" particularly thought-provoking.

I've never wondered this before. Once I've gone through my 8 ounces of weed, I'm hopeful that the answer to this enigma will have penetrated my fully-stoned mind. Or, more likely, that I won't give a shit about the question.

David R, if someone knows that God exists, they should have some way of demonstrating this knowledge. Otherwise, how is it knowledge? Purely private "knowledge" is better termed subjective experience.

Psychotic or other mentally ill people frequently are convinced that certain things are true. Like that someone is controlling their thoughts. How can we prove this isn't true? We can't.

There just is no proof that it IS true. So it makes sense to diagnose them as psychotic or with some other mental illness.

No one has any idea what anyone else experiences. Subjectivity is, well, subjective. This doesn't only apply to those who make claims about experiencing God. It applies to everything. You have no idea if, when I say that a cup of coffee tastes good to me, I am telling the truth.

But this claim could be tested. Set up two cups, each with a liquid that looks like coffee, except one liquid is coffee and tastes like coffee. The other doesn't have a coffee taste. If I can tell the difference between them, you can be confident that my subjective experience reflects something objectively real.

Where is the evidence for having a God experience, though? There has to be some way of distinguishing between a purely subjective claim, "I have experienced God," and a claim that reflects an objective reality of a divine being.

If you don't accept this, then you must accept the truth of everything that anyone says to you.

Let's try this out: God just told me that she wants you to send me $1,000 in cash, or you are doomed to eternal hell. I'll give you my address. You believe in subjective experiences of God that lack objective proof. Hopefully you will believe in my experience. I look forward to getting the money.

AV

May I just says some extremely thought-provoking questions and prove why creations are such progressive thinkers.

1. Who?

2. Let's face it a budgie ain't no t-Rex

3. A dog who pokes a cat can't produce a child - is there wrong with either of them or giving it a go?

6. Not the monkeys, the apes. Your great great great grandpappy was swinging from the tress free as nature intended.


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