Because God Is An Invisible Dragon

Thank you everyone, for the taking the time to answer that pressing question, Why Aren’t You Catholic? So far, answers have been most excellent, respectful, and thought-provoking – traits I can only reward by offering up the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist, as administered by a Catholic priest, for you heathens, on this blessed feast day. If you aren’t Catholic, let us know why! I would like, first and foremost, to share with you Abemore’s reasons for not being Catholic, which were exemplified by Carl Sagan’s comparison of the idea of God to an invisible dragon. If there is no evidence, says Sagan, then what is the difference between there being no invisible dragon, and in comparison, no God? The dragon cannot be proven to exist by any manner of tests, and so:

what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?  If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?  Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true.

haters gonna hate

And this is true. There is no flour we can throw on the floor to show the footprints of God, no paint to spray that would reveal his form, and so the Christian weeps and the atheist rejoices. But here’s where the metaphor fails to satisfy, intellectually. If there were an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon, he would have been created by God. He would be a ‘natural’ being. “What, natural? An invisible dragon?” Yes, moron, not in the sense of being normal but in the sense of being a part of the universe, and thus obeying it’s laws. After all, Sagan placed him in a garage, creating the absolutely sensible expectation that this dragon should obey the same laws that everything else in the garage obeys, the car, the tool-box, the whiskey your teenager has been hiding for 5 years, etc.

But the theist’s claim has never been that there is God in their garage, and you can’t see him because he’s a very special thing that has all sorts of really cool qualities that make him hard to see, but OK believe him, HAHA K?!! cuz hes aaawesome, OMG, K?!?!? OMG LOL!!! Alright, maybe some Christians do argue like that, and for them Catholics have been redfacedly apologizing for a quite a while. No, God is supernatural.

I understand this word makes many atheist’s jaws clench, bringing to mind ghost-hunting reality T.V shows, so let me remind everyone that all supernatural means is ‘outside of nature’. The universe, good science has shown, is finite. We believe God is outside of this finite universe, which encompasses the laws of nature. So to submit God to the experiments that test if He follows the laws of nature, and thus exists, seems a little stupid. If Sagan had been told that this dragon’s nature was outside of the universe, and thus outside of the laws of the universe, would he really have been pissed to find his tests based on the laws of the universe - like mass, visibility etc. – failed?

But before you claim that I am copping-out, saying, “OMG!!! HES TOTES OUTSIDE! OF THE UNIVERS! LOL! SO YOU CANT PROVE HE DOSENT EXIST SO HE TOTES EXISTS! DUH! JK! LMAO OMG, IM SO COOL!?!! LOL!!”, understand that the above was not me giving evidence for God existing. I’m merely begging atheists of intelligence to change their tact. It wins all sorts of visual points to say God is just like Santa Claus, The Flying Spaghetti Monster or an invisible dragon, but these comparisons are false and misleading, as I’ve shown. Agreed?

So what are we to do? If the claim is that God’s very nature is supernatural, how can we possibly know anything about him? Sure, it means that Sagan’s dragon is stupid, but doesn’t it leave Christians with even less evidence, and the atheist with all the more reason to say, you cannot provide evidence of your God? The answer would be yes, if not for a few more characteristics of God, and one characteristic of man.

First is the claim that God is the creator of the universe. Say for instance, that Sagan had been told. “Listen, Carl, your garage was created by an invisible, fire-breathing dragon.” This is a claim that could be investigated by Carl’s previously failed tests. Knowing something about the idea of fire-breathing dragons, he could look for scorch marks, for melted metal and walls built with the desire to keep out knights. He might observe the princess- holding cage and say, “Yes, the evidence would suggest that my garage is dragon-made.” Or conversely, his garage might be far too small for a dragon, far too neat, with no princess-holding cage, to which our Mr. Sagan would straighten up and – with all the authority of science – declare, “My garage was not made by a dragon. I will make a YouTube video explaining how stupid you are for suggesting that.” The claim humanity has made of our Creator is threefold; that he is intelligent, creative, and that we are the most important of his individual creations. Science has certainly validated that our universe, our massive garage, reflects these three characteristics. The claim we make of man is that he is created in the image and likeness of God. The fact that we can comprehend the universe around us; that we can delve deep into the atom, the cell, the origin of the universe, the speed of light and all it’s implications – all this goes to show that, were there a Creator, he and we are of like mind. There’s the evidence you wanted. Here ya go.

jk Abemore. Have a great day.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17624589296171657699 egosumbarb

    "maybe some Christians do argue like that, and for them Catholics have been redfacedly apologizing for a quite a while"…indeed I have…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06011801689126417802 Lady Caitie in the Pretty City

    Is it true that you're 17? That must be one of those cyber rumors.. Either that, or you're the first less-creepy old guy to pose as a 17 year old boy for faith-based reasons. You are just waaaay too insightful to be a teen! Either way, real 17 year old, or less-creepy-old-guy-pretending-to-be-17-year-old, you are my new favorite blog!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03543460654672637122 Seeking

    Abemore, I thought the most interesting part of the "dragon" story was this: "Imagine that things had gone otherwise. The dragon is invisible, all right, but footprints are being made in the flour as you watch. Your infrared detector reads off-scale. The spray paint reveals a jagged crest bobbing in the air before you. No matter how skeptical you might have been about the existence of dragons — to say nothing about invisible ones — you must now acknowledge that there's something here, and that in a preliminary way it's consistent with an invisible, fire-breathing dragon."It made me think of the many, many physical healings that have occurred without any medical explanation. Here is an account of one, which happened within the last century (in other words, during a time when modern medicine would have been able to detect any fraud):'Of all of Padre Pio's healings, one of the most remarkable may have been a blind girl from the Palermo area named Gemma DiGiorgio… “I had no pupils in my eyes,” said Gemma in 1971, several years after Padre Pio's death. “I had no sight at all. When I was three months old, my mother took me to a very famous eye doctor in Palermo. He told her that, without pupils, I would never be able to see.” 'In 1946…Gemma's grandmother…brought the girl to see the famous monk, who heard the child's First Confession and gave her her First Communion — then made the Sign of the Cross on her eyes. After the blessing, Gemma was able to see.'It is impossible for a person to see without pupils, and yet this girl without pupils was able to see from that moment until the end of her life. Is this the sort of "footprints of the dragon" thing Sagan is describing, or is there something I'm missing?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14283452597167113019 Snow, Jak

    If I may be so bold: the expression is, "change one's tack". It's a nautical term. (Matey. Ahoy and all that.)Sorry, but Dad was a sailor and … well, the popular expression is "grammar Nazi".And, FWIW, good on you for posting (most) every day!(omg totes roflmao leik jk jk jk)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Seeking, I like where your head's at. But alas, all we really have here is a "god of the gaps" argument: "I don't understand that. Therefore, god did it." If you research, you will find that many claimed miracles have actually been confirmed hoaxes and none have been allowed to be observed in a controlled environment.We could also say that we only ever hear about the success stories. Lots of people pray all the time for lots of things. If by coincidence someone's wish comes true, we don't hear about all the failed wishes. Or if a cancer has a 20% survival rate, and 10 cancerous people all pray for healing. It seems like a healing miracle to the 2 people that survived, but no one talks about the 8 people who died.To address your specific example, what does it mean to have "no pupil"? Is it no iris? Closed iris? Cataracts? I don't understand the condition. As with most claimed "miracles", there is generally a lack of detailed information surrounding them. But believers tend to not care.Certainly if anyone was capable of performing miracles (such as faith healing), they'd have claimed this $1 million prize available to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any supernatural power or event.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    forgot the link to the $1 million challenge:http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Marc,This isn't relevant, but fyi it is not known if the universe is finite or infinite.I feel like you've missed the point the dragon story. Whether something is natural or supernatural, the following still applies:"Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. [Now pretend you're saying this next part directly to me:] What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so. [...] Surely it's unfair of me to be offended at not being believed; or to criticize you for being stodgy and unimaginative — merely because you rendered the Scottish verdict of 'not proved.'"If we were to imagine a fictional creator god named Bob, what properties do you imagine Bob would have? Certainly he'd be very similar if not identical to Yahweh. And since gods are untestable, they are therefore indistinguishable from imagination. I've been through RCIA. I was very Catholic for 5 years before I got tired of "all faith and no evidence." I deconverted (graduated) 2 years ago.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Abemore!Thank you for your civil responses, and general atheism, I love it.I did not, and would never ever-ever-ever, ask you to believe in the absence of any evidence. The point I make is that any evidence for the existence a supernatural being will not be that of natural beings, for the simple reason that one succumbs to the laws of nature, the other does not, by His very definition. That's why there is no flour and no spray-paint to reveal God, which can frustrate Christians as much as atheists.But I never claimed that you should believe on my say-so. What I did say, and still hold, is that there IS evidence, a crap ton of it.If there WERE such a supernatural being and he DID create the world and ourselves, then the effects of said creator would be apparent in the world around us and in ourselves.I argue that it is apparent, and put it forth as the evidence you demand.To recap: I agree with the statement: "Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder." But God is not one of those claims.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    "If there WERE such a supernatural being and he DID create the world and ourselves, then the effects of said creator would be apparent in the world around us and in ourselves."Why? Why would the effects be apparent? Let's take our imaginary creator-god, Bob. Bob creates a universe with some intelligent beings in it. Is Bob required to leave his fingerprint behind? Of course not. He's Bob. As far as science can tell, if there is a Bob, he would have created matter and the laws of physics and let the entire universe and everything in it evolve on it's own. On the other hand, if matter and the laws of physics have always existed, then Bob is not necessary to create them. The infinite natural universe takes the place of Bob. Occam's Razor slices him off. Every religious person must admit that it is not by evidence, but by faith, that they believe. Every trail of evidence you follow always dead-ends at a brick wall called faith. If there were evidence, then religion would be science.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    You've merely replaced God with the faith-based belief in an infinite universe. That gives you 0 science points. The evidence does not point towards an infinite universe, as even Hawkins conceded.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    I've done nothing but consider the possibilities. You get 0 brain points AND 0 research points."The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary. The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE."— Stephen HawkingAs science advances, religion retreats, but never without resistance. Why do you people resist? The earth ISN'T the center of the galaxy, Evolution IS a fact, and it is currently UNKNOWN if the universe finite or infinite. Stop pretending to know things you don't just to make it match your theology. Clearly I'm wasting my time here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Sir!I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. I often forget this isn't a trivial matter for atheists – I hope you'll forgive me. I respect you enormously for holding your own and staying civil.But quoting Hawkings as endorsing an idea that he was explaining, NOT offering evidence for, is silly. He admits that there is no evidence for the theory(which I believe centers around his imaginary time proposal), as much as he likes the idea. Especially silly, given that he says that theory in no way leaves out the idea of a Creator, but actually leaves room for a Creator a lot like Christians believe exists:Hear the man speak: "I still believe the universe has a beginning in real time, at the big bang. But there's another kind of time, imaginary time, at right angles to real time, in which the universe has no beginning or end. This would mean that the way the universe began would be determined by the laws of physics. One wouldn't have to say that God chose to set the universe going in some arbitrary way that we couldn't understand. It says nothing about whether or not God exists – just that He isn't arbitrary."Outside of that, other infinite universe proposals have been invalidated, from the Infinite Mother Theory, to the Big Crunch Theory, to the Infinite Wormhole Loop. Why? Because of the same lack of evidence. The evidence lies in favor of a finite universe (causation, background radiation). So I have a question for you. Why do you flee from the evidence in favor of non-evidenced theories that – as often as not – have even less of an ability to be validated than the idea of a Creator? It seems like you are ignoring the call of science – to follow the evidence – so you might better "match your theology". Namely, that there should be no theology.So your atheism is based on faith, faith in an infinite universe, faith in our ability to comprehend the universe. Which is fine, just don't pretend it's otherwise. You've picked another religion. If "it is currently unknown if the universe is finite or infinite" and you're choosing the side that fits atheism, that has no supporting evidence, fine. I'll just keep following the evidence.We know evolution is real. The Church never taught that the Earth was the center of the universe. Strawmen, strawmen.I beg you, take another look at the universe. Don't just conform to your atheism, but follow the evidence. If THAT leads you to atheism fine, but I'm worried that you are selectively believing that which already fits your world view.You're in my worthless prayers, and I mean it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Yes, I got a bit offended at your use of the F-word (faith). Sorry. Thanks for keeping a cool head.Let me tell you some things you probably don't know.Atheist just means "not theist". Similar to how atypical means "not typical". These are dichotomies. Not false dichotomies like black & white with shades of gray in between, but like black & not black. Everyone is either theist or atheist. We are all born atheist, then we learn to believe in gods as our cognitive abilities develop.Gnostic and agnostic is also a dichotomy. They deal with the idea that something is knowable or unknowable. So a person can be a gnostic theist or an agnostic theist, a gnostic atheist or an agnostic atheist. I have never met an atheist who when pressed wouldn't admit to being agnostic. Because however unlikely gods or unicorns or fairies may be, no one can ever be 100% certain that they don't exist. Okay, so now somehow we've derailed into a debate over the size of the universe which, if you recall, I deemed irrelevant (and still do). And you seem to have also projected a faith-belief on me even thoough I've clearly said that the size of the universe is UNKNOWN according to wikipedia. If you think you have better knowledge of cosmology than the wikipedia editors, then perhaps you should correct their article with your referenced sources? But again, it's irrelevant.Lets say that the universe is finite in time and space, whatever you want. What then exists outside that universe? What existed before it? You have obviously filled that gap with Yahweh, but how can you be sure? It could be any number of things including other gods, fairies or unicorns, an even bigger universe that contains this one, or something we haven't thought of. Faith provides no answers.If you could legitimately find something that I believe on faith, guess what I'll do? I'll stop believing it. Because faith is nothing. It literally stops thinking. It is non-information. Faith is what's required by every single supernatural, superstitious, and paranormal claim man has ever made including: religion, astrology, conspiracy theories, psychics, witches, dowsing, homeopathy, alien abductions, and ghosts. Even get rich quick scams require faith: "Just send us your money and we'll tell you how the system works!" Faith provides no provision for determining truth. Science is everything faith is not.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    But you seem to believe we Catholics base our beliefs on faith over evidence. What I'm saying is that the evidence LEADS to a necessity for faith. How can I show you this? To use the subject we're talking about – a finite universe: It's true we can't know what is "outside" or "before" the universe, and I use those terms lightly. But we do know that it could NOT be fairies or unicorns, as you postulate. Because fairies and unicorns follow the laws of the universe. What we DO know is that – since the universe contains all of nature – that which is outside must be supernatural. What we do know is that – since time is a product of the universe – that which is outside of the universe must be eternal, infinite, timeless.What we do know is that – since there IS a universe, and all finite things have a cause – that which is outside of the universe must be creative. (And this could just mean "creative" in the same way elements are creative – they have the ability to form new stuff)And we know that anything outside of the universe must be incredibly powerful, enough to give us all the energy we have in the universe today.So it is not faith, but very basic logic that leads to believe in the existence of a powerful, eternal, supernatural Creator. The evidence provides the same answers faith have given people throughout history.As for "science is everything faith is not", I had to laugh at that one. What is science but seeing something repeat itself a thousand times and saying – in faith – that it will always repeat as such? The laws of physics are repetition, and there is nothing but a very noble faith that allows scientists to say that they will never NOT repeat – that bodies will always stay dead, that bread and wine will forever remain material.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Almost everything you've said has been based on falsehoods or misunderstandings about nature and science. You have been trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.START OF TIME & SPACETime is simply the measurement of movement and the increments of such measurement (e.g. minutes, hours, days) are based off of how long it takes for Earth to move around the sun. During the Big Bang is when everything in our universe was set into motion making the start of motion and thus the start of time in our universe. Space on the other hand is, in simplest terms, the area within a container. Prior to the Big Bang our entire universe was condensed into a tiny fireball but then that ball rapidly expanded creating space within it. When scientists talk about the start of time & space they are talking about the start of movement and the formation of space within only our universe, not the start of all time & space. The Big Bang that created our universe is believed to be just one of many Big Bangs that each created separate universes containing time & space.SOMETHING FROM NOTHING?When physicists say there was "nothing" before the Big Bang of our universe they do not mean literally nothing. What they mean is that there was no matter, just energy. It was that energy which formed matter and the Big Bang. Christians will commonly ask "What came before that? Before that? And before that?" Once science cannot currently provide an answer they will insert God and assert that he created it. In this case they will assert that God created the energy which gave way to the Big Bang. There are two main problems to that assertion. First, it is a mere assertion not based on evidence. Secondly, you would have to ask what came before God? If one says it is an unanswerable question then why not say that "where did energy come from" is an unanswerable question too? And if one is going to conclude that God always existed then why not do as Carl Sagan suggests and save a step by concluding that energy always existed?

    • Seneca_Dei

      Abermore: What started the movement? Objects at rest tend to stay at rest, and objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless stopped by another force. That’s a definite fact.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    GOD IS NOT PROVABLESome claim that the existence of a god is not provable or testable. If that is the case then it is very dishonest for anyone to say that a god exists. However, even if a god supposedly resides in a mythical realm "outside of" the natural world it is the claimed interactions with the natural world than we can prove or disprove the existence of.THE UNIVERSE WAS NOT CONSCIOUSLY CREATEDThere are two major problems with the assumption that a god created our universe. Most obvious is that we know how the universe formed by natural means all the way back to a fraction of a second after the Big Bang. We also have several supported explanations to what caused the Big Bang, all of which show no need to invoke the aid of a god. Secondly, we also now know that consciousness is 100% based and dependent on the physical structure of the brain. In short, we know that consciousness cannot exist before the material world did and thus a conscious being could not have created the material world. Yet we do know how nature, a non-conscious force, can and did create the material world.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Faith vs ScienceThroughout its history the progress of science has been suppressed by those who favor faith over facts. In historic times Galileo was arrested by the Catholic church because his theory of Earth rotating around the sun contradicted faith based doctrines. In modern times the teaching of any field of science that conflicts with the Bible is constantly under attack. In mega churches children are told not to listen to scientists and in more common churches people are fed false information about science to make the Bible sound believable. Taking things a step further many faith based groups are actively working to replace science with faith based claims in public schools just as they do in the countless Christian private schools. All of this leads to a scientifically illiterate society which dramatically limits the number of educated scientific minds that will be shaping our future and also limits the support and funding received for life improving research.What Is Science?Science is both knowledge and a process of seeking knowledge related to natural world. It is a way of thinking critically about the universe and our own interpretations of it. Science shapes society, constantly improves the quality of life, and has even more than doubled life expectancy. Science is what allows the modern world to be modern.Is Science & Faith Compatible?No, they are two opposite methods of forming answers. Science provides answers based on a critical and honest examination of evidence. Faith provides answers based on personal desires and opinions with a disregard of the evidence. If evidence supports a claim there is no need for faith.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Why Science Is Important?Science affects us all, every second of every day of the year. Science is everywhere in today's world, from cooking and gardening, to recycling and the daily weather report, to reading a map and using a computer. Your alarm clock, the asphalt you drive on, the bus you ride in, your decision to eat a baked potato instead of fries, your cell phone, the antibiotics that treat your sore throat, the clean water that comes from your faucet, and the light that you turn off at the end of the day have all been brought to you courtesy of science. Advances in technology and science are transforming our world at an incredible pace and our children's future will surely be filled with leaps in technology we can only imagine. Being "science literate" will no longer be just an advantage but an absolute necessity. We can't escape from the significance of science in our world.THE CONCLUSIONAlthough we technically cannot say with 100% certainty that anything does not exist we can confidently say, based on empirical evidence, the existence of a god is no more likely than the existence of fairies, unicorns, or the Smurfs. There is absolutely no educated reason to think that a god does exist and the possibility of a conscious creator of the material universe is not even possible. All gods, including the god of Abraham, were all based on imagination and assumptions. They were not bases on evidence but rather on the once lack of evidence.All of the above has been strategically copied & pasted from truth-saves.com in order to answer your specific questions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Look, sir, I don't know how to tell you this,But if your answer to my one point – that if the universe is finite a Creator is implied, and all the evidence points to a finite universe, and as a rational and scientific people, we should follow the evidence where it leads – is to copy and paste 5 comments, the majority of which have nothing to do with the point, it all doesn't exactly speak volumes for your confidence in atheism, and especially not for your confidence in your own ability to answer my point.Freethought is apparently only as free as it's favorite website.Nobody is saying that science isn't important. I'm saying it IS and you're not following the evidence it provides. The Catholic Church was the single largest funder of Western science, how can you possibly say it is opposed to science? The only thing you have is the Galileo story, and that's a hyped up myth. sorry. http://townhall.com/columnists/dineshdsouza/2007/11/26/debunking_the_galileo_mythI could go through each of your points, but you copied and pasted the thing! They aren't things you care about, they aren't things you've thought about. Just really old 70s-sounding atheistic mantra that i'm surprised is still in circulation. Its as if I, in response to you saying that their isn't a God, showed you a passage in the Bible saying there was and then leaned back and smirked. As Catholics we believe science and faith are inseperable. Again, again, again a-bloody-gain, it is faith that the laws of nature are based on. It is faith that things you have seen repeat will always repeat. So stop pretending that we have all the faith and you have all the science.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Your point: a finite universe implies a creatorIt sound's like you haven't read the information I've pasted. If you go back and read "SOMETHING FROM NOTHING?" above, you will see that a finite universe DOES NOT imply a creator. To continue to assert that it does is just dishonest.Personal attacksYou've ignored the relevant arguments above in favor of irrelevant ad hominem attacks: "…speak volumes for your confidence in atheism…""…not for your confidence in your own ability…""Freethought is apparently only as free as it's favorite website." Do these offensive attacks solve anything? Why are you attacking me? Similarly, your reasons for dismissing my pasted arguments are irrelevant:"you copied and pasted the thing!""They aren't things you care about" [this is also false]"they aren't things you've thought about" [this too]"really old 70s-sounding atheistic mantra that i'm surprised is still in circulation"Again, what's the point? You haven't refuted anything. You might consider learning How to Disagree.

    • Seneca_Dei

      Abermore: Excuse me? If we’re talking about things outside of time and space, there can logically be no randomness. Only will. So how did some unchanging, unmoving energy create the universe?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

        If we’re talking about things outside of time and space, there’s nothing we can justifiably say about it, period. There could be randomness, there could be physical rules we don’t know. We’ll never know.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    The Galileo AffairThis whole thing with Galileo is just a distraction, but what I'm seeing in the link you provided is D'Souza perpetrating a strawman. The Galileo Affair is quite clearly TRUE as evidenced in wikipedia. But as the following historian suggests, Science & Religion usually try to avoid butting heads:"Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule." – Gary Ferngren, Science & Religion

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Faith & ScienceI think you're playing a semantic game in an attempt to justify faith (or perhaps in an honest misunderstanding of the word). Religious leaders funding science says nothing of faith. Neither does science rely on faith. I linked you to some images earlier of comparisons between science & faith. And from the paste above, "[Science & Faith] are two opposite methods of forming answers." If a scientist finds that water boils at 100 degrees. It is NOT accepted on faith that it will always do so. There is a system of falsification built-in. If the experiment keeps producing the same results, then you have a reasonable expectation that if you heat water to 100 degrees it will boil. Based on the evidence. Not based on faith. The more times we boil water, the more evidence we have that supports 100 degrees. Faith has no repeatable experiments that justify it. With faith, water could boil at 5 degrees or 5 million degrees. It's just a baseless assertion.Sometimes we use the word "faith" to describe different concepts. I think this is where confusion comes from. You might say, "I have faith in my friend." But really this is a different concept than faith as a baseless assertion. This is a concept of trust that your friend has earned based on the evidence over the years.I hate it when a language uses the same word for multiple concepts. It's great for poetry but bad for understanding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    More on Faith & ScienceJust to make sure I'm being clear, faith is like love in that it has different meanings depending on the context (Ex: I love pie, I'm in love with Jane; I have faith water will boil at 100 degrees, I have faith in fairies). It is the baseless assertion version of faith that is opposite science.Religious people & leaders, however much they might rely on baseless assertions (faith) in their religious beliefs, also seem to like to understand the natural universe and so they use science–either directly or by funding it. Conflicts only arise when science seems to say something directly opposed to dogmatic baseless faith assertions (ie. Galileo & Scopes & saying "I'm not a witch").If all you want to do is win a debate, then it is a good strategy for you to paint other people and methods and non-theists as being faith-based. It makes you look less crazy by comparison. But it is dishonest. If you're honest, you know that science is indeed the exact opposite of baseless faith assertions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12679230722483582032 Marc

    Sorry for not responding to the "something out of nothing" paste. I assumed you realized that it supported my original argument.Physicists say there was energy before the big Bang, because – logically – there would need to be an initial amount of energy to give us all the energy we have in the universe today. Since it is energy outside of nature, it does not follow the laws of nature, and is therefore very unlike anything we know. So what do we know?1. The energy is supernatural. (Outside of nature)2. like your website says, "During the Big Bang is when everything in our universe was set into motion making the start of motion and thus the start of time in our universe." and thus that energy must have been outside of time, or eternal.3. The energy is extremely powerful, unlimited by the space I and your website claim is a product of the universe, and therefore infinitely powerful. Hm, also, wouldn't that make it all-present? Outside of space itself? Very cool.4. The energy is creative. (it lead to the big band and thus an amazingly ordered and intricate universe.)We can INFER, not know, mind you, that this energy, or source of energy, is intelligent, looking at the incredible order and structure of the universe around us. Given our ability to comprehend the universe around us, and indeed, our ability to comprehend this energy outside of the universe, it can also be inferred that we have something in common with it.So let's sum it up shall we? You side with the scientists! who say, before the universe there was an eternal, supernatural, all-powerful creative energy, and I side with the ignorant, Christians who say there is a God. Would you kindly remind me of the differences between your energy and my God? I seem to have lost them…As for the ad hominem arguments, I apologize. I come from a family of 6, where it's all part of the fun.

    • Abemore

      Hi again, I just came across this informative and entertaining 5m video called Science, Religion, and the Big Bang, and it made me think of you and of this discussion. I hope you enjoy it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10124281239002793239 Abemore

    Before time & space vs. Outside natureSaying something existed prior to measurable time and space is not the same as saying it exists outside of nature. Energy is still part of the natural world today. We know that because we can measure it (in joules). And experience tells us that energy can neither be created nor destroyed (law of conservation of energy). So there is good reason to believe this same energy caused the big bang – which created matter & motion and therefore measurable time & space.Here's a hypothetical future scenario: Perhaps eventually all the matter in the universe will decay and convert back into energy. And perhaps that energy will again condense and create another big bang. I'm sure you'd agree this hypothetical second big bang would clearly not require a supernatural guide. And you wouldn't say that energy is supernatural or intelligent, would you? It's interesting to think about.A Flimsy FoundationI want to be clear. I am not saying your belief in whatever you want is wrong. I'm just saying there is no evidence to support it. Just like EVERY other supernatural or paranormal claim out there, no matter how many people superstitiously believe it, all the evidence you people claim to have is always based on misunderstandings, fallacies, or falsehoods.A supernatural creator remains an unnecessary extra step. If you want to say God has always existed and that no one created his order and structure, then why not say the same thing about energy and the natural laws? Save a step.Again, believe what you want, just don't claim it's anything more than that.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KDQFQTMD56CJAKMLXRFYUDNCPQ Montague

      Let me try at a quick and inept response (so we know that it’s not just the RCC that’s shaking their heads in embarrassment.)

      But first! A quibble: for the sake of God who does exist and all that really is Holy, please never say things like:

      “I am not saying your belief in whatever you want is wrong. I’m just saying there is no evidence to support it. Just like EVERY other supernatural or paranormal claim out there, no matter how many people superstitiously believe it, all the evidence you people claim to have is always based on misunderstandings, fallacies, or falsehoods.”

      Just say we are wrong, or that we are right, or that some of the arguments are right and others wrong, or that sort of thing, instead of emancipating belief from all reality and society. I’d rather you be honest in opinion and not worry about hurting feelings – although that may just be me, so please forgive me anyone who does get offended by any strong opposition (or don’t, because I think that’s bad.)

      Anyway. Basically, every argument about “it’s just belief” misses the enormously important point of the entire Bible, which is God is not just a little inner voice or whatever, but a Real Being who in real places made real covenants with real people for a real purpose; and died a real death on a real cross of real wood on a real hill outside of the real city of Jerusalem, and then really resurrected and ate real food and met real people who really wrote some Books telling us of whatever else real things happened to happen really. Those (quite possibly) damned Deists of the “enlightenment” age hide this from our eyes, but Christianity is about you and me and nations and kings and the land and sea and stars and God, and hell and nothings and everything else. So it really doesn’t matter whether or not the universe itself MUST be read ON ITS OWN as the handiwork of God (although it is and always was), so much as it must be read thusly because God Himself told us it was Him.

      And then there’s the argument from Platonic Idealism, which I would employ, but that’s for later. Anyway, in sum, God is because He was (and Is) Incarnate. So he isn’t really an invisible dragon.

    • Mike

      Again, apologies for coming late to the party, but I just discovered Marc’s blog a few weeks ago. Because I’m writing 15 months after the fact and because I’m fairly confident that Abemore is no longer following the discussion anyway, I’ll try to be brief (although there’s so much I could say).

      I find it interesting that 95%+ of the debates between theism and atheism sooner or later come to a discussion of the beginning of the universe (and 95%+ of THOSE discussions, sooner or later, involve the atheist invoking Carl Sagan in one way or another). Because it happens so often, it’s obviously a significant point of difference between the theist and the atheist.

      “Here’s a hypothetical future scenario: Perhaps eventually all the matter in the universe will decay and convert back into energy. And perhaps that energy will again condense and create another big bang. I’m sure you’d agree this hypothetical second big bang would clearly not require a supernatural guide. And you wouldn’t say that energy is supernatural or intelligent, would you? It’s interesting to think about.”

      This hypothetical end of the universe is something that I’ve heard atheists posit before. Often asserting that it is not only possible, but likely. And as it is likely to happen in the future, what’s to say that it didn’t happen in the past? (Note: I acknowledge that Abemore didn’t come forth and make this argument in so many words. However, in the quote above he did strongly suggest it.)

      Now, this assertion may not be proclaimed as fact by all atheists, but most of the defenses of atheism I’ve encountered use it as a “more likely” beginning of the universe than any religion. My question is “Why?” Do we have evidence that the universe will eventually shrink again? No, all human observation so far has only shown the universe to be expanding. Do we have evidence of what happened before the Big Bang? No, we don’t even have solid evidence of the Big Bang, although observation of the universe so far strongly supports the theory. It isn’t observable, testable, or repeatable from inside the universe.

      I’ve heard interviews and read articles from many rational atheists, several of whom said they “knew for certain” that God doesn’t exist, based on scientific observation. Unfortunately, most of the time they are not available to question directly and they never seem to be asked to present their observations or scientific proofs of the non-existence of God. The few times that they can be questioned, they turn out not to be entirely certain, but “Gosh, God is really unlikely, don’t you think? There has to be a simpler explanation.” But just because something is unlikely doesn’t mean it is false. It only means it is unlikely.

      “As far as science can tell, if there is a Bob, he would have created matter and the laws of physics and let the entire universe and everything in it evolve on it’s own. On the other hand, if matter and the laws of physics have always existed, then Bob is not necessary to create them. The infinite natural universe takes the place of Bob. Occam’s Razor slices him off.”

      Last thing, I promise. Occam’s Razor states, in general, “If all other conditions are equal, a simpler explanation is more likely to be true than a more complex one.” Again, not that it is true, it’s just generally more likely. History, literature, current events, and sitcom plots are all full of exceptions. Watch some Hitchcock, “Dial M for Murder” is a good example.

      And I find it amazing and amusing when Occam’s Razor is invoked to disprove God. From Abemore’s often cited gospel according to wikipedia on William of Ockham, for whom Occam’s Razor is named:

      William of Ockham believed “only faith gives us access to theological truths. The ways of God are not open to reason, for God has freely chosen to create a world and establish a way of salvation within it apart from any necessary laws that human logic or rationality can uncover.” [11] Ockham’s theism was based solely on private revelation and faith (he supported some sort of Non-overlapping magisteria). He believed that only science was a matter of discovery and saw God as the only ontological necessity.

  • KG

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve enjoyed reading some of these apologetics-style writings, and have found them helpful in explaining the faith clearly and concisely to other college students. Keep up the good work, and I encourage you to do more similar posts defending other aspects of the faith which people commonly struggle with.


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