Yes, one could have arguments against some of his points, but there is no way to deny that his arguments are quite subtle, original and important to address. I wrote previously about whether I was looking for God , in reply to a commenter. But in any case, I believe you will not find a reasonable answer to your question easily.
The proverbial cow dung or pie in the sky. Hmm, that reminds me how some people in the dark ages used to think decapitation was the best way to ensure no one could come back to haunt you. Or the old myth that if you had any part of your body missing except the foreskin, and perhaps your teeth too you could not enter heaven. Now, I am not suggesting that anything CAN or does survive death, or what form it takes.
I AM suggesting you cannot prove nothing survives death, or that you cannot prove that suddenly you do not go into a parallel universe, or even a parallel state call it heaven, nirvana, or cuckoo land on some distant galaxy, almost or even at the speed of light — the actual time it takes to get there, whether millions or billions of light years, seemingly irrelevant to the equation.
Maybe what happens after death is as irrelevant as what was there before the big bang, to the observable universe. But hey I too, am free to believe or disbelieve what I will — am I not? Wow, 64 comments and not one mention of Shiva or Thor, Vishnu or Viracocha. As for the discussion on consciousness, reviewing some of the contemporary, extensive, philosophical discussions might be valuable, if one is seriously interested. PS — lol to your update. And their lives whether they are remembered or not, was meaningless and to all intents with no more purpose than any other group of atoms wondering aimlessly or with purpose, around the universe simply obeying the laws of physics as described mathematically mathematics a language constructed and comprehensible to the human Mind.
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. SPYDER, I have not suggested I have any particular God or that other gods may or may not be different manifestations of the same god, though string theory would mathematically postulate that to be possible. Imagine that you are heterosexual, and there is a particular form of brain injury that will cause you to become homosexual. Now imagine that there is another person that was born homosexual, while there is a similar brain injury that would cause that person to become heterosexual.
With these two cases, what survives death? The homosexual personality, or the heterosexual personality? And yet the change could be affected by a physical change in the brain, and furthermore this is an aspect of ourselves which we consider an integral part of our personal identity.
But this really just underscores the catch that theists are in, along with others who believe in various supernatural. Either you place your beliefs in something that is empirically testable, and in so doing put your beliefs on the line, or you define your beliefs in such a way that, even in principle, they could never be tested, and in so doing make your beliefs functionally identical to those of the materialist. Which or what god to disbelieve in.
As to your argument, I do understand where you are coming from.
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You may choose to become or believe something totally different tomorrow than you are today. And aside from the mental state, you have also undergone all the normal physical changes and the natural multi cell deaths that the body undergoes at its various phases of growth, change and decay.
And yet all the while I presume there is a thread that you hold onto that is you, or you identify as you. Clearly like actors we play different roles throughout our life son, brother, father, uncle, … but there is something that we generally hang onto that we identify as I. That may be something very personal based on personal experiences , which others cannot ever wholly know or see — and in some cases may be based on experiences or memories which we may even wish to forget.
And of course as you point out, there are those who either thru disease, trauma or injury have lost some part of themselves some or all their memories , and there is also the onset of alzheimers, which would posit that if there is degeneration of the brain, there is increasing difficulty in identifying ourselves, never mind recognising others. But returning to my point — we cannot possitively discount that there is more to the human being than the physical ie: As to what comes out the other side, I shall not speculate further here — since clearly I could only possibly ever hope at best to speculate on what may or may not be.
Things we theorize or speculate about, whether it be Strings, Dark Energy or Gravitons… which may turn out to be true and exist or not and lead us onto further things we do not know. But my original argument in reply to Sean was If there is life after death, then that would be something that would change the universe we know as we know it. I did not presume to be able to prove it. As fundies seem to be less of a baleful influence on education and legislation in the UK than the US although muslims are increasingly vociferous , we can generally afford to take a less combative and more dispassionate stance on religion.
What querulous atheists forget, or sweep under the carpet, is the huge evolutionary advantage religion has had, from the dawn of mankind to the present day. Dawkins of all people, as a biologist I think? One advantage of religion is to render that boss a nebulous mysterious entity rather than a person. Yes, maybe sovereigns and chief priests and so forth have claimed to rule by divine right; but they know and everyone knows that all, including the ruler, are answerable to this higher power. The problem with atheists is that in the absence of a God they presume to take on the role of God themselves!
In any case, we live surrounded by lies and deceptions great and small. Why bother to wear clothes if the weather is not inclement? It would be more rational to save wear and tear and the effort of washing clothes to walk around stark bollock naked where practical. Also, why this insistence that everyone matters? In truth, hardly anyone matters a fig in the grand scheme of things, even distinguished scientists. If any of us dropped dead tomorrow, someone else would take our place, and any achievements we might have made could be made by others.
The point is, what is one more white lie even if as an atheist you believe it so if it makes the vast majority of believers feel and act as better people. Apologies for length of this post, and hopefully it makes some sense. It is worth bringing up issues of our changing personality making it hard to say what should survived death. However, your argument above that brain damage in effect disproves survival is fallacious. Why does it matter to worry about your own experiences years from now, when your mental processes will be different?
This is the great insight of many Eastern religious traditions, and I have experienced it quite beautiful even though I am not sure it is true. Finally, talk about God interfering in the world whether overtly or through quantum cracks is not the most important question, but rather concerning the why of the world, the grounding of existence versus mere Platonism , and its being life-friendly in terms of both laws and experiential realness. And if they all exist, its chaos. So the spiritual absolute would be the essence of awareness, not an ideal form of it.
As individuals, we are constructs in the first place and our sense of individuality is a function of mental focus. Because we view a potential deity as top down in order to maintain social and civic order, we assume it is intentional, but if it is bottom up, raw awareness, then it is aspirational, which is a good description of conscious behavior.
Currently humanity is top predator in the eco-system, but if life on this planet amounts to a single organism, then humanity has the potential to be its central nervous system. But Neil, in this case the program is the machine. There is no difference. This makes the whole idea of an immutable soul nonsensical.
Or, multiple universes exist, and we are the lucky self-selection outcome. Stephen Hawking pointed out that even if we do ever come up with a grand unified theory of everything, the equations will be chaotic and will be of little use for many predictive purposes, right? I would certainly expect the least of demigods to have more power at his finger tips than the President of the US, the USAF and the combined ourtput from US energy and industry. Start by listing every possible conception of God that you have a compelling argument against. At the very least, a qualifier I often use when discussing theology , worship of those same gods allows me to directly deal with buried forces in my id that would otherwise require lots and lots of therapy to reach. As for positivism and its discontents, let me repeat below what I said earlier that never got a substantive reply:. And our personality can be altered, in a myriad of ways, due to the introduction of chemicals i.
Also bear in mind, Quasar9, that I am not trying to prove anything. That makes life after death exceedingly unlikely to be correct. Might as just drop the word entirely. All that can be advanced is latent within it. I think God is like the ultimate generalization of what the virtual sea is in more particular and limited form. It has intelligence, not as process, since all that can be thought is wrapped up in that omnifarious superspace.
That includes all grounds for evaluation and the rules for validity of same, so God is not even-handed in attribute towards good and evil etc. Most thinkers, either AI or traditionalists, would not agree. Please read The Mind of God by physicist Paul Davies on this question in like vein not per religious tradition.
It is indeed the modern classic. He fully deserved to win the Templeton prize for the corruption of science with gibberish. It seems to me that this argument always boils down to the inability of the mind to suspend the notion of cause and effect or beginning and end in the analysis of the God question.
More specifically, a previous commenter made the point that you could argue the existence of some feature that would not be present in a God-less universe. This is a poor example, but an atheist could always counter with the idea that, given the existence of the afterlife, there might also exist a scientific explanation for the afterlife. Given that the egg came first, someone could argue that there must of been a chicken to lay the egg, etc. What I am saying is that you could apply this to God itself.
Show me what it means that God exists by telling me what would be different. Short of a booming voice from the sky or a burning bush, I am yet to be convinced. Instead, he merely asserts:. If the universe is pointless and reasonless, reality is ultimately absurd. We should then be obliged to conclude that the physical world of experience is a fiendishly clever piece of trickery: At this point in the argument, it is no longer an intellectual debate.
It reflects the awe inspiring, transcendent quality that many people see and intuit in the universe. However, in saying that the human intellect is currently, or perhaps forever, not up to the task, the stance is non-rational and non-scientific. Scientific thinking provides a way to stand awestruck before the majesty of the universe per John Baez, Joel Primack, and many others.
However, psychologically and socially, science leaves people cold. There is a huge unmet task of translating between science and culture. As illustrated by Max Tegmark , physics itself often pretends to give answers that are hardly satisfying. But I think we can do better. Now, you may decide to believe that or not, of course. Because I talk to you. Let me tell you a little story here. And that guy was not the brightest in the class. So that same day, I decided there was no reason this guy could talk to God and not me, and I tried.
I would say that I prayed for the first time. For me, now, God is a personal presence. Of course, I know that this may be an illusion of my brain, but I know that on the exact same level as I know you may be an illusion of my brain. I cannot prove you exist, I cannot prove God exists, I still believe both of you exist.
But that really describes how the apple falls, not why it fell. A better reason why it fell is because I decided to open my hand. If you are a hard core materialist, you can then find another root cause: Such a dialogue has three logical ends: I personally find this intellectually dishonest. Andrew, I think that the cell analogy is completely beside the point, in fact.
I am not asking for the perfectly accurate Final Theory of God. Nor am I insisting that the ineffable be put in some overly constraining physicalist box. I am simply asking people who call themselves religious to explain what they mean. Even the poor mitochondrion, who might not be able to explain what it is to be human, should be able to explain what they mean when they say they believe in the existence of something called a human being. These are important questions, and ones that are worth taking seriously and rigorously, rather than pretending that some human feelings in the face of a pretty impressive but ultimately purely physical universe can be lazily confused with sincere even if misguided beliefs in a higher non-physical power.
But that person will go on believing Him having no idea what He is, because he knows He exists from scripture and personal experiences. No morality would be an obvious one. I would probably say no free will. A friend of mine from graduate school reads cosmicvariance, and he suggested that I check out this thread. Coming in after more than 80 comments against the original post, I must say that you do have an interesting thread going here. Anyone who believes in objective truth and seeks the truth believes in God and seeks God. One who worships God worships the truth, and vice-versa.
Believing in this alone amounts merely to the assertions that objective truth exists and that honesty and logic are of the highest value. The very principle of being underlying everything that is, so that it can be. It is evident at least to me that there is a deep consistency between 0 above and the view of God as existence itself. But there is more in this particular view, in which the absence of God is the absence of existence itself and therefore the absence of everything.
Nothing would exist without God. These attributes of God reflect the association of a Mind with God, and here is the root of the notion of creation. The Mind of God organizes all of existence so that a created mind may comprehend the universe. This likeness gives the human person a dignity on which human rights can be firmly established. Of course, the obligation to protect the dignity of every human person from conception to natural death can be inconvenient, and so one might care to oppose the idea of God if it means that there might be some real obligation involved.
The idea here is that some knowledge has been communicated to humanity in history by God. The content of the communication includes knowledge about the relationship between God and the universe, the relationship between humanity and the rest of the universe, relationship between God and humanity, and the relationship between a human and his neighbor. In order for this revealed information to be communicated reliably in every age, an authoritative and living institution has been established in the Catholic Church, which God imbues with a certain infallibility.
That part ends with the death of the imperfect body that lives in this imperfect world. After the death of the body, each human will be judged by God, and there are essentially two possible judgments, friend of God or enemy of God. Friend of the truth or enemy of the truth. Respecter of reason or distorter of the truth.
Not that I could discern. The book is a catalogue of the usual stuff: But what about Luke Go ahead, look it up. Is there any doubt in context that Jesus was using a strong wording here to underline how difficult the path of faith is, not to request people to hate one another? And for the lazy ones:.
Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? There is no program that is perfect.
What makes a successful program is how effectively it copies itself. To do this it becomes more complex until such a point that the complexity becomes counterproductive and then it resets back to an equilibrium point. It is a bottom up process, not top down structure. A good social example is between North and South Korea. The structure serves the process, not the other way around. Structure is subject to entropy. It is constantly degrading and needs maintenance. This requires constant application of fresh energy and information, which also keeps structure from settling into equilibrium.
Corporations are the structure in the process of capitalism. Individual companies come and go, as the process moves on. What religions have done is to provide a structural concept for the organic community in a world that is transitioning between tribal groupings and a world community.
Why is God needed for the universe? You might say well, our universe is not unique in the multiverse picture, I would say God would be still necessary for that picture as well, He is the cause of the existance of that multiverse. Frankly the multiverse is a beautiful idea and very profound and logical and i tend to beleive it, if it is the right picture regardless of how we might be able to show that I will be still beleiving in God, God caused the multiverse which evolved naturally and one of the universes happened to be suitable for life.
One might want to see a miracle to beleive, If God exists let him make me fly, well, even if he made him fly or even made him talk to the dead and he beleived today the next day he would wake up saying I must have been dreaming, or was drunk or something, and so on. So Asking for a proof is eventually like saying I will never be convinced that God exists. May be if particle physicists discovered a mechanism or an underlying theory which would spit out yukawa couplings uniquely, they would beleive in God. But i guess later they would come up with something to avoide the necessity of God.
So how does beleiving in god affect the universe around you? Things which mean that one should think more about God and his existance, just the same way one thinks about new physics from hints from the standard model! I will explain to you God god if you can expalin to me how our knowable universe came into existance.. I mean from the very beginning if there was one. Thanks for any reply. Imagine there was once a common folk belief that people fall in love because little cherubs shoot them in the butt with invisible arrows.
They believed this so strongly that most average people thought that the feeling of love was really the same thing as having an invisible arrow in your butt. Lots of average people say, hold on, their beloveds light up their hearts and therefore love exists and hence invisible arrows exist. Do not believe that all your eyes or rather your mind thru the eyes see, nor disbelieve that anything you cannot see with your physical eyes even aided by powerful telescopes or electron microscopes cannot or does not exist. So what is Dark Energy, and does the observable universe as we know it, need dark energy to exist.
Does it matter whether I believe or disbelieve whether dark energy exists. Or are people like Sean and this sinner Dawkins incapable of love? God solves those problems. A world with God is a world that you believe you can comprehend in an acceptable way. At the end of the day, God is about fear of the unknown. God is the chief character in a nightmare tale that parents tell their young innocent children to scare the living hell of them so they behave. God is an excuse some humans use to see what would happen if they burn other humans to death.
James, No, you have the wrong idea about this discussion at the level of philosophical theology. The cherub analogy is incorrect: Muslim up ahead has well summarized the proper framing of the issue. But the argument that a specific deity is the cause of the universe itself is nonsensical. Well, let me rephrase that a bit. And in retreating from putting your belief on the line, you remove all meaning from the belief.
Nobody could prove me wrong just put their head in the sand. If I do it again, will you take the point or will you just go on pretending circular logic about god or any other eternal existence some time will do the trick? The origin of the concept of God was of the tribal spirit and individuals came and went. Is God also infinite? God of order past. God of complexity present. God of chaos future. The fact is any understanding of reality we are capable of is the roughest of sketches, as the more abstract it is, the more detail it distills out.
We are reaching a point where either our ability to cooperate overcomes our inclination to compete, or we start that long slide back to where we came from. You want to know what God is? The basic common denominator of material exchange. If we want a society that functions, then we are going to have to accept that money is a form of public utility, similar to roads, not private property. That means that since taxpayers pay for the monetary system and insure the banking system, the profits of that system should be public funds.
Neutrinos are elementary particles that travel close to the speed of light, lack an electric charge, are able to pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed, and are thus extremely difficult to detect. Neutrinos have a minuscule, but non-zero, mass too small to be measured as of They are usually denoted by the Greek letter? Neutrinos are created as a result of certain types of radioactive decay or nuclear reactions such as those in the sun, in nuclear reactors, or when cosmic rays hit atoms. Electron neutrinos are generated whenever protons change into neutrons, while electron antineutrinos are generated whenever neutrons change into protons.
These are the two forms of beta decay. Interactions involving neutrinos are generally mediated by the weak nuclear force. Most neutrinos passing through the Earth emanate from the sun, and more than 50 trillion solar electron neutrinos pass through the human body every second. But even if and when we can detect every elementary particle, component or string in the universe, will we be able to categorically state that nothing survives death, or that heaven is not sitting safely cocconed on some far off distant galaxy of the observable universe.
Or should we be prepared to admit that there is much we do not know, and there are advances we hope to make. But even when we think we know everything, or at least everything about the observable universe including visible matter and dark matter will be ever be any closer to the great Unknown. If only we could, you know, just make him understand how we view God! There is no salvation from death. No multiverse version either.
No personal self pre-exists birth and none survives death. We have to take Darwin seriously. I may have intellectual reasons for or against this. Or, I might be impressed with the opinions or beliefs of other thinkers I respect. Or, it might be experiential: Now, is this putative belief testable? Is it precisely defined? I certainly feel that believing this, or not believing it, means something; that is I do not think it is a purely semantic or meaningless distinction.
Have deep, careful thinkers that I admire believed both sides of the issue? Does belief in this affect whether a given mathematical proposition is considered true? Would it influence the way I did mathematics, or which topics I studied if I were a mathematician? Would it change the personal meaning or feeling I get while doing mathematics?
This sort of literal belief would be silly. But that does not mean the whole notion is empty or misguided. But this helps me, at least, to have some idea by analogy of what people may be talking about when they talk about God. Are you sure about that? Could it happen again? None of us asked to be born as far as we can recall. That is existential terror of another order entirely. Please, no circular arguments or empty self-referential pleas to that not being a problem for you etc. If you meant the universe should have been a paradise or etc.
How in the world can you know? Really, Dawkins probably assumes any rational person would agree with him if only they did their homework. Do you really know whether he did his homework? And, it has nothing to do with Darwin. All Darwin says to us is that the genetics of life forms changes through generations, and selection picks out some more than others, etc.
Very good point using the philosophy of mathematics as an analogy. There is constructivism, intuitionism, etc. People have various intellectual reasons for believing in these, and similarly for whether the universe is contingent or self-existent etc. Let each of them be what they are. You are ultimately fighting metaphysics with metaphysics anyway. At the risk of pushy over-commenting, but I have to go soon: Well, why is it just like that? What have you to offer to answer that? That makes enough sense to me, as a conceptual approach. What are you offering either as genuine critique or better answers, other than talk-radio grade put-down bombast?
To extend it a bit let me suggest the following: However, I also believe it when people say that the many world interpretation is a very efficient way to think about quantum mechanics, which leads to many insights and new discoveries. Maybe the analogy extends in that direction? We might think that a presentation gives us only an appearance or an opinion.
We would then have to go on to prove the truth of what has been presented, and we would do so by giving reasons for it. We have to explain it; that is, we have to derive it from other, more certain premises, even from axioms, to show why it has to be the way it is. In this view, we do not know anything until we have proved it; we demand a proof for everything. Nothing is directly presented to us, but we can reach truths by reasoning to them. Descartes appealed to such method at the beginning of modernity, and he thought that method could replace insight.
This confidence in method is part of the rationalism of modernity. It is an attempt to get disclosure under control and to subject it to our wills. If we can get the right method in place, and if our methodical procedures can be helped by computers, we will be able to solve many important problems. We will get a hammerlock on the truth of things, coercing consent in ourselves and in others. This may be the heart of why you find any view of God more complicated than the straw-man approach to be vacuous and nonsensical.
We have only one example of a biosphere, and we have a massive amount of disagreement and uncertainty about the nature, origins, and universality or otherwise, of physical constants. Given that the universe has any regularity at all — without which it would not be able to support reasoning, memory, perception, etc.
The most objectionable thing about the book was the abuse of language. Humans are doing just fine coming up with meaning and purpose for their lives. Instead, even the most diehard materialist still act in everyday life as though personal will, ideas, love, grief, art, etc. Does it have human beings in it, and if it did, how would they know it, and if they knew it, why would they care enough even to bother talking about it? In the case of computers, the program is not the machine. At the very least, they appear largely influenced by contacts with others, personal experience, and so on.
So definitely, the program is not the machine even for humans. Let me finish by pointing out that Christian belief is not about an immortal or immutable soul. That would not be too shocking. The second one derives from the fact that Jesus appeared to his disciples in the flesh, not as a ghost.
Let me rewrite what you said in a different context: This example only proves that the brain is a highly redundant system. Computer clusters occasionally exhibit cluster split brain if you sever the right cable at the right moment. We know from our daily experience that our bodies are designed for largely autonomous behavior. I can drive while thinking about something different, I can talk while I prepare a meal, and so on.
That does not make me two. But that makes the notion of resurrection relatively nonsensical, except if you see it as resurrection of the body. As transfiguration highlights, this does not mean that this will be exactly the same kind of body. It makes sense if you give it a chance. The seven stars are pole stars on this Great Clock in the heavens. Hi Christophe de Dinechin, clearly things survive death in our universe, whether thoughts or works of art, or children and DNA, even the atoms and molecules of which one is composed of — whether you become worm food or are cremated — ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
I would list the existence of first-person experience, and the real existence of possibilities. Your last point, Sean, about the mistake in using traditional religious language in this kind of philosophical discussion is a good one and thought-provoking for me. I will try to briefly outline what or who God is by a process of triangulation from philosophy, biology, and history of religions. The philosophy of scientists consists of the formal or informal metaphysics of practicing scientists. The philosophy of science and the philosophy of scientists are related, but not the same.
The philosophy of scientists is more important because it undergirds the success of science. The main assumption of the philosophy of scientists today, deriving most powerfully from Newton, is that purpose and meaning are not useful categories when it comes to formulating or testing scientific theories. The worth of this assumption is borne out by experience. However, it must not be forgotten that this is a metaphysical assumption, not an observation or a scientific hypothesis. Of course, in actually doing science, scientists do value and use categories such as truth, beauty, and so on.
There is, therefore, a tension or even a contradiction between the thinking of scientists in doing science, and the philosophy of science which assumes the purposelessness of Nature. This is related to various limitations of formal systems: Wolpert to empirically decide whether this reflects an actual transcendence as Penrose, e. At any rate, in this context, God is the assumption that the transcendence of categories in scientific reasoning over the categories in scientific models is an actual transcendence, not an apparent one.
In the history of religions, God is not a necessary category. Buddhists and Taoists do not use it. In the history of religions, God is the cause of religious experience as felt or interpreted in personal terms. But in my view, non-theistic religions suffer from paradoxes of impredication, e.
In my view, theism does not suffer from impredicability. Because different religions have critically different theologies and histories of God, and because all predate or violate critical thought, it is clear that no religion is epistemologically priviliged, and that therefore the common or surface meanings of their doctrines are in fact empty, or even idols.
This proves that religious experience does not actually carry its own interpretation. The interpretation is socially constructed, and this process of construction is creative and therefore absolutely depends upon individual thought. As a theist, I take it that God is the hidden beauty that lures men and women in every questioning, through an instinctual mediation. Given that believers tend to expect real actions or inactions, for that matter from people, including non-believers, I think it is very reasonable to ask for physical proof first.
That is a verywell thought out outline, as are some of the other descriptions of religious function. Beauty is a type of positive attraction, as opposed to the negative. This dichotomy of good and bad is the binary code for biological calculation. The most elemental forms of life have these essentially magnetic attractions and repulsions. What the real mystery is, is the awareness that makes this process something more then electro-magnetic forces. Since our nervous system is form and its function is awareness. Religion falls for the same basic fallacy, in that it is continually wrapping itself in form in order to function.
The individual brain may be a locus of consciousness, but it is still a field effect, both internally in that there is no obvious point in the brain where consciousness originates and externally, in that what is perceived and acted upon, is external input and output. Evolution, civilization and all the complex details seem, in the big picture analysis, an effort to establish and project awareness onto an otherwise mindless existence. So far as we know, all of life are branches of the same biological tree and that dimple in the middle of your stomach is similar to the one on the top of an apple.
It is not therefore, in the field of biology, far-fetched to think of life on this planet as one organism. It is very easy though, given all the complexities, to miss the forest for the trees. Nope, not in the least. This argument utterly fails because we could not observe a universe any other way. If that were the case with us, we would have a clear reason to expect a creator. We would be forced, however, to consider the action of some form of intelligence if we found ourselves living on Mars. That is indeed a boring reply. The question, I think you would agree, is whether assuming the existence of something e.
Most platonists would, I think, hold that the realm of platonic forms is real for just the same reason as the physical world is: More than that though: If you list every possible conception of God that you have a compelling argument for — God is not any of those either. You are supposed to be able to consider use imagination, abstract reasoning what could or could not exist, what the implications would be, etc. As for omnipotence, that is not necessary logically entailed to the definition of First Cause.
This was supposedly the flower of rationalism, I gather. One problem in general: Most of those educated in science as such, think why? Davies knew what he was talking about. No, Neil, it is you who are confused. The only thing I ever talked about is what we can conclude about the habitability of our universe. The answer is, quite simply, nothing. You simply cannot draw any logical conclusions about the mere fact of existence. You seem to be misunderstanding the nature of consistent default positions. That is to say, when the evidence is lacking, we should have a default position as to what we should conclude.
When it comes to a creator deity, such a thing must necessarily be so complex as to be extraordinarily unlikely, provided we have no evidence to point towards its existence. Thus, when you frame your definition of the creator deity in such a way that there can never be evidence in favor of its existence, you have automatically excluded it as being exceedingly unlikely.
Like I said about the schoolboy question… And I really want to hear, why should our universe be like it is? Are you avoiding thinking about that? That default is best given by foundational reasoning into the question. Your critique is like an earnest classical in the broad sense of the term, incl. The modern left it behind. It is not soul or mind, nor does it possess imagination, conviction, speech, or understanding. Nor is it speech per se, understanding per se. It is not number or order, greatness or smallness, equality or inequality, similarity or dissimilarity.
It is not immovable, moving or at rest. It has no power, it is not power, nor is it light. It does not live nor is it life. It is not a substance, nor is it eternity or time. It cannot be grasped by the understanding since it is neither one nor oneness, divinity nor goodness. Nor is it a spirit, in the sense in which we understand that term.
It is not sonship or fatherhood and it is nothing known to us or to any other being. It falls neither within the predicate of nonbeing nor of being. Existing beings do not know it as it actually is and it does not know them as they are. There is no speaking of it, nor name nor knowledge of it. Darkness and light, error and truth—it is none of these. It is beyond assertion and denial.
We make assertions and denials of what is next to it, but never of it, for it is both beyond every assertion, being the perfect and unique cause of all things, and, by virtue its preeminently simple and absolute nature, free of every limitation, beyond every limitation; it is also beyond every denial. I trust that clears things up. It is, for example, a terribly interesting question as to why the entropy at early times is low, or why the vacuum energy density is tiny if not zero , or why the physical laws appear fine-tuned.
But any answer we make to these questions, if it is to be an answer at all, has to have some meaning. A simple statement that a creator deity would be interested in producing a universe conducive to life, for example, is not only not a logical conclusion of the definition the desire has to be assumed in the definition , but is untestable because no sentient life form can observe the converse.
Now, one might argue that the truth may be untestable. And this is entirely possible and may even be likely. Of course, not all of the truth is untestable, and it makes no sense to give up now and stop looking for testable answers. It really comes down to what you mean by it. And if it has no intellect, then we might just be talking about a tunneling event or vacuum fluctuation. Why would anybody want to call something like that god? Intellect is mechanics and mostly classical mechanics.
The decision is in the distinction. A rock possesses some degree of order. A closed set settles into equilibrium. If God is defined as intelligence, why did it take so long for intelligent life to evolve? Presumably there is some elemental sense of awareness pretty far down the evolutionary scale and frankly there are a fair number of people who are about as susceptible to manipulation and being herded around as a bunch of cattle, so the notion of intelligence is relative. That consciousness is bottom up phenomena, not top down order.
Did it begin spontaneously, or is it some eternal property that manifests when, where and how it can? We are not in a position to find out. The fact is though, that all life we are aware of does have the same root structure and it certainly appears far more concerned with propagating and preserving that source code then it is with the long term survival of any of its applications, no matter how smart or beautiful. Intelligence is effect, not cause.
Good question John Merryman, however that is no different from asking why did the universe without a god wait Oh, well, that is easy. Our region of the universe, circa Before any life could form, the universe first had to cool off, and then we had to wait for structure to form. Once structure formed galaxies and the like , well, we still had the problem that nearly all of the matter in the universe was in either hydrogen or helium, something that would hardly be conducive to life. So we had to wait until the stars processed some matter, and that matter made its way into new stars, enough so that there could be rocky planets and enough of the light elements to form life.
Once that happened, we had to wait some time longer for life itself to evolve, then for intelligence to evolve. But it is worth noting that there may well have been other life that formed much earlier, in the denser regions of the universe where structure formed first. Hi Jason, describing a process is not the same as answering why a process is thus.
Why did or does the observable universe the one we are IN proceed a certain way. This Universe started randomly? As for it needing parts to have mind: Heck no, and neither do you or anyone else. Science is science and philosophy is philosophy, and we do what we can. If you believe that the world is a platonic realm of mathematical forms, that DOES produce an observable difference in the universe: If your belief in those forms makes you a genius at math — or makes you an idiot at it — then the difference your belief makes in the world is directly related to the difference that you make in the world.
Could you have the same relationship to math as you do with a different set of beliefs? For my own part, I am not a scientist, but a philosopher. So far, the discussion in this thread has focused on a monotheistic interpretation of God. In my own theology, Deity arises from the stuff of the universe, not the other way around. Stretching back centuries, belief in the gods little g I honor has been part of the cultural subconscious of my ancestors. At the very least, a qualifier I often use when discussing theology , worship of those same gods allows me to directly deal with buried forces in my id that would otherwise require lots and lots of therapy to reach.
Thus, worshipping them causes me to gain uncommon self-knowledge and control over my own emotions, reactions and desires. I believe that humans and gods evolved in symbiosis with one another over the course of eons, that as the human mind grew more complex and riddled with psychological needs in greater numbers and strength, that so did the gods grow in power and majesty to fill the need that humanity created.
I believe that they are powerful and do make themselves known to those who look. I call them by their old names: Freya, Thor, Loki, Odin and the others. They are not gods to be cowered before, for they love not cowards. There is an aspect to worship and religious ecstacy which is intensely individual and which can only be experienced through personal gnosis. Connection with the gods makes the divine spark inside of us stronger. More than that, connection with them highlights a way of life that is good to live, which I can rationally see is a good way to live, but which is made more powerful by the evocation of symbols buried in the subconscious.
Could I have come to my way of life through atheistic methods? How would the universe be different if there were no gods? Millenia of cultural evolution has given us gods. It is posted here , if anyone is still interested in this discussion and would care to read about my ideas. As effective a description of the whole as is possible;. But the mystics and seers, those who have begun the journey into experiential relationship with the Divine that belief initially makes possible, eventually abandon the framework of belief. For some, this step away from belief is painful; it presents itself as a crisis of faith, the long dark night of the soul.
And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? These educated thinkers and scientists must certainly have noticed all manner of ignorance rampant in the world, and yet it is this supposed religious ignorance that galls them, that provokes attack. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing.
I was equally angry with him for creating a world. Why should creatures have the burden of existence forced on them without their consent? But that same self-awareness, the sense of longing and dissatisfaction itself, can also become the vehicle by which the mystic, the spiritual seeker, emerges from this dark night. One begins to realize that spiritual experiences—experiences of loss, longing and grief regarding the meaningful nonmaterial—persist even in the face of lost faith, even when we no longer have confidence in or use for the words and images we once used to describe and provoke such experiences.
The frame has broken, and the workings of art spill over, off the canvas and into everything, everywhere. The line between observer and observed is erased. To the mystic, all things are consecrated, everything is holy—divinity no longer means duality, separating out the sacred from the profane; it means union, the encompassing of all creation and creativity, all potential and activity, within the Divine. So gracious is He that if it were at all possible He would die for your sake.
Since that is not possible, then you must die so that God can reveal Itself to you. This belief, too, must be broken open, so that the Divine that is existence, including our own, might be made manifest and experienced fully. Ali, very thoughtful and beautiful. Later I found similar sentiments had been experienced by Julian of Norwich and St.
John of the Cross. No March on Washington: If we screw this World up or let it get screwed up, it will be screwed up. This is only if string theory is correct, but then there may actually be ways to search out the entire space of universes. And yes, there is one set of laws that produced our region of the universe. We just happen to find ourselves within one of region in which life is possible, among what are probably a vast number of regions.
And yes, it is irrelevant, except as a reference point to now. There is no such thing as absolute time, after all. In order for a definition to be useful, there must be natural conclusions that are not assumed in the definition. And when considering a creator deity, it really does seem impossible to make any such deductions. There is no reason yet to suspect that a natural universe is absurd. Secondly, we have no clue how many regions of the universe have been born or will be born in the future: Finally, if a region such as our own started naturally once by fully natural means, it stands to reason that other regions could also start through fully natural means.
So, no, a natural start of our region of the universe is not remotely absurd. If you are looking for places to get published, here is one that might interest you. So it seems we can conclude that in a Universe with or without the god we expect the laws of physics as we know them to create the right conditions for life to appear and evolve into humans who debate the origins and make up of the universe — and the purpose of life. Mind you what Sean was asking is what would be different about the universe as we know it if there were a God.
In other words the old rational argument — if we cannot see, touch or measure it, it does not exist. However the fact that we cannot detect or mathematically postulate or predict something does not mean it cannot exist, — and viceversa — the fact that we can mathematically postulate something, is no guarantee that it does indeed exist.
So Sean, we remain inconclusively each in our own camp. And not being able to detect or measure something is clearly not proof that it does not exist, as you well know. No, but the fact that we cannot ever detect any observable difference that the existence or non-existence of something would entail means that that something is an utterly meaningless concept. And, by the way, nobody is saying anything remotely to the tune of postulation equating to existence. Obviously this is not the case. But at least something which, when postulated, provides specific predictions, then saying it exists has meaning.
I for one would expect any God or even demigods to be powerful enough to be invisible, and above having to demonstrate their overwhelming superiority — in the manner that mere mortals such as US Presidents or British PMs like to. I would certainly expect the least of demigods to have more power at his finger tips than the President of the US, the USAF and the combined ourtput from US energy and industry. Would you like olives, anchovies or pepperoni on yours. I guess I agree with some things you say.
You represent a world-view that says you had to write that blog entry, whether it was true or not. I want everyone to recognize that Sean makes his statements on just the same grounds as an astrologist, a creationist, a magician or Donald Duck, because the ground of all statements on his view are determined by how the interaction of particles happened to turn out. Who could judge what is the most reasoned view? Not to mention that it religiously existentially turns him into a pathetic creature. Perhaps you are wrongly of in your materialism from the get go?
People should be profoundly amazed that a talented physicist hold views like this. What makes a person behave so inconsistently? Well the determinist have his answer he is determined to behave inconsistently. Personally I think he tries to dodge the non-straw man God, who quite frankly could be scary. But also a source of meaning where ones day to day life finally make sense in this complex and beautiful universe of ours. Spirit, is different then the physical substance?
Matter states and densities involved reduces spirits workings. I mean, unless you want to engage in fantasy or something of the sort. I love good fiction. But, more importantly, this is in no way intangible. For example, if you are a military strategist, your strategy may well change dramatically dependent upon whether or not your opponent has certain camouflage technology.
Sean has demonstrated time and again his existence, through his writings and video. But no deity has ever done this. No deity can ever have been shown to have presented any evidence whatsoever of its existence. And furthermore, many god concepts are built so that there is no possible way that anybody could detect their existence, while those concepts that are, in principle, detectable, have always come up empty.
So what reason is there to believe? Besides wishful thinking, I mean? It would be one of the attributes of any deity to make themselves invisible and or undetectable, if for no other reason than because they CAN. It is clearly stating that there is a realm above or beyond that which you can see or measure. If it cannot act in this universe what is the point of it. Two thousand years ago someone talking about a silver machine flying at great speed and breaking the sound barrier would have seemed like fantasy.
Future means of travel, and energy sources are all inherently fantasy — until we either reveal the materials or the means to do it. So, should we stop fantasizing? So far as we can define it, consciousness is as much or more an emergent property of networks, rather then the apparent matter of which they consist. Popularity Popularity Featured Price: Low to High Price: High to Low Avg. Answering Questions of Loneliness and Identity Jan 01, Available for download now. Only 2 left in stock - order soon.
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