Little-Known Bible Verses: Predestination

One of the most common Christian beliefs, and the one most often appealed to in order to explain why evil exists, is that human beings have free will to make choices that are not in God’s control. God doesn’t want robots, the argument goes, nor mindless puppets programmed to sing his praises. He desires genuine fellowship with real, independent beings, and giving us free will is the only way to achieve that, though some people may misuse the gift and cause evil and sin that harm others.

But if you look at the Bible, this reasoning isn’t so easy to support. In fact, there’s strong evidence that, in the world of Christian theology, human beings are not free to make their own choices – as we see from some little-known bible verses.

“According as [Christ] hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated [Greek proorizo, to predetermine, to decide beforehand] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will….”
—Ephesians 1:4,5 (KJV)

This verse from Ephesians arguably isn’t even the strongest predestination verse in the Bible, but I chose it because it easily disposes of the usual counterargument: that God does not predestine, but with his omniscience, he sees in advance who will freely choose him. This verse refutes that interpretation by using the Greek word proorizo, which specifically means “predestinate”.

If the author of this verse had instead wanted to say that God would foresee who would choose him, there’s a perfectly good Greek word for that – proginosko. That word is not used here. However, it is used in another verse which puts the nail in the coffin of the foreknowledge argument:

“For whom [God] did foreknow [proginosko], he also did predestinate [proorizo] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? …. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”
—Romans 8:29-33 (KJV)

This verse uses both the words for “foreknow” and “predestinate”, and it specifically says that God does both. But there’s one more predestination verse in the Bible that’s the most compelling of all:

“Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

—Romans 9:14-21 (KJV)

This long verse makes it clear what Paul’s views on free will are. Salvation is “not of him that willeth”, but the choice of God, who selects some people and shows mercy to them. The rest, like Pharaoh, he “hardens” so that they will reject him and be condemned. But the most incontrovertible proof that this passage teaches predestination is that Paul anticipates the obvious counterargument – that it would be unjust for God to punish people for being as he made them to be – and responds to it! His argument is that since God is the maker, he can do whatever he wants with us – just as a potter shapes clay into different vessels to suit his purposes – and we have no right to lay a charge of injustice against him.

Verses like these may disturb Christians who’ve always believed that God gave us free will. But the truth is that such a concept finds little support in the Bible. By contrast, the pro-predestination verses are numerous and specific in their wording: God makes us as he chooses, rewards the people whom he made to be good, and punishes the ones whom he made to be evil, even though neither group had any choice in how they would turn out. Many influential historical Christian thinkers, including Augustine, Martin Luther and John Calvin, accepted these verses for what they say.

Today this view is much less popular, probably because of its unsettling moral implications for God’s goodness. As mentioned earlier, even most Christians now seem to accept that a god who was directly responsible for evil, and who condemns people for being as he made them to be, would not be worthy of worship. But this can’t change the fact that it is still what the Bible clearly says.

Other posts in this series:

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Maynard

    Instead of “the devil made me do it” it should be “god would not allow me to do otherwise.”

  • http://lostaddress.org ray

    So does that mean that we don’t believe in god because god makes us not believe? Which would make atheism part of his mysterious ways then? This makes my head hurt, it makes god into the kind of guy that would do a Manchurian Candidate on the whole of mankind – which makes him not just evil, but also fiendish and comic book villainous. Which would make the devil into a James Bond character and, and, … I think I stretched that too far :)

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    Given the evidence available in the world, a malevolent god seems much more plausible than a benevolent one. Such a deity would also be consistent with the kind of being that would create a hell. But, Christians assure us that:

    1. God is good, all the time
    2. God is love

    Sorry – neither of those formulations comport with the data.

  • http://larianlequella.com Larian LeQuella

    Maynard, I am SO stealing that saying! Thanks for the laugh and the idea!

    I consider these types of verses to be further proof that all this was made up by people who were not quite as in tuned to certain philisophical nuances that we have become better at spotting. If there were some magical skydaddy with all the powers attributed to him, he’d surey have done a much better job.

  • Ritchie

    Very interesting verses, but personally I prefer the point you made in one of your essays on Adam and Eve – if God did not want them to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and did not want them to HAVE knowledge of good and evil, then they could have made no moral choices for themselves. Adam and Eve WOULD have been mindless automatons referring to God’s will to make every moral decision. Even if we take the story of the garden of Eden as a metaphor, the implications still seem pretty obvious – God’s fury at mankind stems from our desire to have our own free will and make our own decisions. Humans WERE supposed to be mindless automatons in God’s perfect paradise.

  • 2-D Man

    [Irrelevant and unsupported declarations that other verses don't support the idea of predestination.]

    [Harping on about how you're not reading the Bible correctly because you're a mean ol' atheist.]

    [Yammering about how in light of the previous unsupported assertions, the second-to-last paragraph is illogical, and therefore the entire premise of the article must be discarded (after some back-and-forth, will reveal that this is really a discussion of the second sentence of that paragraph only. Accusations of straw-man attacks abound.).]

    [Demand that Ebonmuse admit he is using an emotional argument because he has an agenda.]

    [/cl]

    Figured I’d just head that off before it starts.

  • 2-D Man

    Given the evidence available in the world, a malevolent god seems much more plausible than a benevolent one.

    I have to disagree, St. Chappie. The only deity I could see existing in this universe is the completely indifferent one. Good things happen to people in places where people work to make good things happen. The more resources that are spent on appeasing deities, it seems, the less frequently good things happen. That, and natural disasters seem to strike according to natural laws. Deities don’t seem to play our games.

  • Mathew Wilder

    But 2-D Man, you just don’t understand evil god’s mysterious ways. It’s all for the greater suffering and pain in the end, even if we can’t see how that would work out now. It’s our small, limited human brain and point-of-view.

  • Polly

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    This is exactly the same appeal to personal authority that is made in Job: “I’m bigger than you, so STFU.” It’s bully-theology.

    I think a lot of the philosophical sophistication of Christianity is the result of learned, thoughtful men throughout the centuries attempting to reconcile all the ridiculous, contradictory teachings of the various authors and redactors of the Bible.
    The best aspects of Christian theology that are least problematic from an intellectual viewpoint are ASCRIBED to the scriptures through a careful process of emphasis of some passages with a de-emphasis or outright disregard for others. Tracing a path to a conclusion that side-steps all the mines in the field.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    2-D Man (#6),
    Bravo sir. FTW!

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Adam and Eve – if God did not want them to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and did not want them to HAVE knowledge of good and evil, then they could have made no moral choices for themselves.

    The real absurdity is believing that there was an actual tree that had pieces of fruit hanging from it, that if you ate it, gave you knowledge of good and evil.

    Adam takes a bite and suddenly realizes, “Hey, I’m naked! That’s not good!”

  • daonlyfreez

    “According as [Christ] hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated [Greek proorizo, to predetermine, to decide beforehand] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will….”

    This is about Adam and Eve, not about mankind in general.

    “For whom [God] did foreknow [proginosko], he also did predestinate [proorizo] to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? …. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.”

    This too.

    “Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

    “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

    This is about the Pharao, not about God. God allows the Pharao to act as he knows he will. The rest of the verse is Paul explaining this needs to be accepted as the will of God.

    And I guess Paul is trying to “excuse” his own history: “some men are evil, accept this as Gods will (and everything will be fine). Only God can ‘re-potter’ a ‘vessel’ (a messenger of God), if he wants to”.

    Nothing like fixed predestination. Calvinism is a heartless and hollow shell version of Christianity.

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    OMGF & 2-D Man,

    Grow up and quit trolling.

    Ebonmuse

    For some reason I actually liked this exegesis post more than the ones you typically write, and I was actually only gonna say two quick things: Proverbs 16:9 also supports your case here so keep that in mind if you ever rework it, but where you see Romans 8:29-33 as damning, I see the use of proginosko you noted as pointing right back to the free will / omniscience position. It also identifies a specific group of people to whom proorizo applies, that is, those God foreknew God chose, so for example, that would make it tough to say something like, “God predestined somebody to be an atheist.”

    I’ve always kinda kinda thought determinism was predestination for atheists, quite frankly.

  • Ritchie

    Tommykey -

    The real absurdity is believing that there was an actual tree that had pieces of fruit hanging from it, that if you ate it, gave you knowledge of good and evil.

    Adam takes a bite and suddenly realizes, “Hey, I’m naked! That’s not good!”

    And just while we’re on the subject, why is it bad to be naked anyway? Is being naked a sin? And if it is (by some psychotically anal train of logic), doesn’t that imply God made Adam and Eve in a ‘sinful’ state (nakedness) which they were simply unaware of until they ate the fruit?

    Of course, the absurdities with this story are legion…

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    This is about the Pharao, not about God. God allows the Pharao to act as he knows he will.

    Except the Bible doesn’t say that. It says that god hardens hearts, and we happen to know of at least one example as given by the Bible. In fact, if you read the story, you’ll see that the pharaoh is ready to give in and then god steps in and hardens his heart.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    2-D Man: You know, you remind me of someone, but for the life of me I can’t think who.

    daonlyfreez: Your exegesis is pure invention. For just one thing, Adam and Eve are not mentioned anywhere in Ephesians. The letter is addressed to “the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus” (1:1); those people are the “us” referenced in verses 4 and 5.

  • Ritchie

    daonlyfreez

    Where are you getting the idea that the first two comments are about Adam and Eve and not mankind in general? After a brief scan of my Bible, Adam and Eve don’t seem to even be mentioned in the whole of Ephesians chapter 1, nor in Romans chapter 8.

  • Ritchie

    Jinx…

  • MS Quixote

    Amen, Ebon!

    Great, great job handling the Biblical text here, Ebon. I always knew if you were converted, you’d make a fine reformer:) And even if I don’t agree with your subsequently drawn implications, they’re a fairly accurate depiction of Arminian Christianity, and, I assume, your own. Take care, my friend.

    MS

  • http://she-who-chatters.blogspot.com D

    Ooh, I should have used those verses in my explanation of how the Pharaoh was a philosophical zombie. That would have been awesome!

    But yeah, great post! Turns out, ethics was not exactly the strongest suit of our Bronze Age predecessors. Part of patriarchy is that everyone submits to the man in charge. Chieftain, priest, father, boss, commander, president, what-have-you. That guy is in charge, so you do what he says, The End. Criticize the penis-having authority figure, and a whole bunch of whiny children who can’t think for themselves will jump down your throat and call you an infidel, or un-American, or a traitor, or insubordinate, or whatever the fashionable term is for “not submitting to the authority figure.” God’s just the ultimate man in charge. Boring, I know, but most of our myths are boring when you get down to it, because thousands of years ago, people cared more about authority than imagination (or, rather, ideas about authority were more likely to take root in the culture than truly imaginative ones). Also, the early Hebrews clearly hadn’t been exposed to the Euthyphro problem yet.

    @ cl: Oh, c’mon! It was funny. Also, I think you’d make more friends if you laughed along and stuck to insightful points (like the part directed at Ebonmuse) instead of complaining when someone makes fun of you. Also, determinism is the idea that the entire Universe, including the self-aware beings in it, is on causal rails and free will is a convincing illusion; this is distinct from the idea that God made the world such that certain people would do certain things. The former idea is impersonal, whereas the latter is very personal: God’s intentions are behind every person’s fate, and God still (apparently?) has free will of his own, and we should accept this state of affairs because God is the authority figure (rather, those who accept it are predestined to do so and good for it, and those who do not are predestined not to and bad for it). The important points are that predestination is personal and contains significant amounts of “Goddidit.” But you are correct in that both views maintain that propositions about the future have definite truth value (whereas an indeterminate worldview entails that propositions about the future cannot have truth value).

    @ 2-D Man: Ooh, burn! You got told! Well, not really, but your prediction didn’t come true… quite possibly because the way you made it influenced future events – but still!

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I think a lot of the philosophical sophistication of Christianity is the result of learned, thoughtful men throughout the centuries attempting to reconcile all the ridiculous, contradictory teachings of the various authors and redactors of the Bible.

    The best aspects of Christian theology that are least problematic from an intellectual viewpoint are ASCRIBED to the scriptures through a careful process of emphasis of some passages with a de-emphasis or outright disregard for others. Tracing a path to a conclusion that side-steps all the mines in the field.

    What Polly said. It’s remarkable how much standard theology is like retro-fitted fanfic: clever attempts to interpret the text to make it seem consistent and moral when it clearly is neither.

    And Paul’s “Who are you to complain about God, you puny human?” argument would be laughable if it weren’t so appalling. He’s basically conceding that God is not, in fact, good: not by any useful understanding of the word “good.” He’s essentially saying that might makes right; that God’s omnipotence gives him the moral right to do whatever he wants. How morally bankrupt can you get?

  • Karen

    The war between the predestination and the free will camps of Christianity has been ongoing since the founding of the religion. It is the cause of many historical denominational splits, with Calvinism being on the predestination-heavy side. It is verses such as you cited that fuel the fire.

    Of course, the free will groups will counter predestination verses with citations such as Jesus’s invitation in Matt 11:28 for “all who are weary and heavy-laden” to come to him to find rest. Or the constantly cited Rev. 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock…”

    Truth is that the bible is full of contradictions that cannot be reconciled because it is not inerrant or divinely inspired and was written by mere humans with many different points of view.

    That obvious statement does not sway many true believers, of course, or even occur to them.

  • AC

    Grow up and quit trolling.

    That’s the pot calling the kettle black, there, perhaps?

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    @2-D Man:

    I agree that, if there is a deity, it is more likely to be indifferent to humankind than to be either malevolent or benevolent. If it’s not indifferent, then I would look at the world and conclude the god is malevolent rather than benevolent. Since I don’t believe in any of them anyway, the question and its possible answers don’t hold my attention for very long.

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  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    the chaplain “I agree that, if there is a deity, it is more likely to be indifferent to humankind than to be either malevolent or benevolent.”
    Alternate hypotheses include:
    *Free Market Gods, where competing deities attempt to attain monopoly. Some offer better product or lower price, while others try to undermine them with chicanery and intrigue.
    *Incompetent God/s/, where a god or group of gods that really mean well, but just aren’t very good with matter/energy/people. A variant of this has all the gods being former employees of Lucas Industries. (Take that, British cars!)

  • http://www.WorldOfPrime.com Yahzi

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    My answer to this question is: “If the clay can ask, then it deserves an answer!”

    What is a moral agent? It is an entity that is capable of understanding and acting on morality. If a clay pot can demand its rights as a moral agent, then, by definition, it is a moral agent.

    This quote from the Bible shows that God is not interested in goodness; but rather, in obedience.

  • Leum

    I’ve always kinda kinda thought determinism was predestination for atheists, quite frankly.

    There are similarities (both are currently minor positions within their respective communities, the case for each is easier than the case against*), but the big difference is that there aren’t any implications about the universe’s nature if determinism is true. Predestination changes (or can change) the ease of seeing God as good, determinism doesn’t make the universe easier or harder to see as morally neutral.

    *Your mileage may vary, obviously. I certainly think an atheistic case for free will can be made, as well as a Christian (and Biblical) case for free will.

  • http://www.WorldOfPrime.com Yahzi

    There is no such thing as Free Will, and it doesn’t matter. The future is pre-determined but unpredictable. This is because any sufficiently accurate calculation of the future would take longer than the future takes to happen.

    Chess, for example, is a finite game, with a limited number of moves and outcomes. And it doesn’t matter. There are so many possible outcomes to each move that even computers can’t calculate them – indeed, there may be more possible chess games than there are atoms in the universe. So chess is finite but uncountable.

    We need the concept of Free Will in exactly the same way we need the concept of temperature; trying to live without either conceptual short-hand would be nigh-impossible. However, temperature does not exist in the real world. Atomic particles do not have temperature; temperature is an aggregate property of a collection of molecules. Free Will is exactly the same: it is not a fundamental constituent of the universe. It does not exist at the atomic level any more than temperature does, and it is just as necessary to believe in Free Will as it is to believe in temperature.

  • Scotlyn

    Modusoperandi – I love the right side of your brain!

    *Free Market Gods, where competing deities attempt to attain monopoly. Some offer better product or lower price, while others try to undermine them with chicanery and intrigue.

    It could be argued that this was the exact context in which Yahweh said

    “Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them [other Free Market Gods], for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” Exodus 20:5, KJV

    No implication here that these other gods do not exist, only that if you follow them you and your children will be hounded! The only Free Market competitive strategy you neglected to mention was that of threatening those who choose the competitor’s product!

  • Scotlyn

    I also often wondered if the threat to be visited through the generations with the “iniquity of the fathers” is not a simple transcription error by English speaking scribes. Surely the threat of being visited by the “inequity of the fathers” is the threat that has actually come to pass.

  • Pi Guy

    @Yahzi:

    However, temperature does not exist in the real world.

    After reading that a few times, I kept coming up with the same involuntary (does that mean predetermined?) response: W…T…F…?

    Temperature is essentially a measure of the difference in thermal – that is, electronic – energy between two points in space. The greater the temperature, the greater the degree of electronic activity options there are. Saying that temperature doesn’t exist is like saying that length (a measure of the difference between the locations of two points in space) or that voltage (the measure of the difference between the electric potential of two charged particles) don’t exist. Unless you have a “Get out of Special Relativity Free” card (that card might say “EPR Paradox” on it), temperature, length, and voltage exist. They are real. They are simply an objective means by which we measure the difference between two totally, wholly real states.

    Free will, then, might be thought of as the difference between the ability to act under one paradigm (location) as opposed to another more restrictive one. The degree of free will that is permitted is moderated by many factors but it isn’t static. If a guy with a whip is fixing to whack you, being 3 feet (1 meter, for those of you in the metric system) infers a different amount of imposed limitation than being 50 ft (15 m) away. In fact, I think that it falls off sharply after about 10 ft (3 m). Like to zero. A gun extends that reach. Move further away and it falls off again.

    Free will, I suspect, works similarly. The more distance you put between yourself and that which would seek to stop your behavior – real or imagined – the more stuff you can do. An analogy – and I’m not saying that it’s one-to-one – is that opression and slavery are the rough equivalent of absolute zero (or at least really, really cold) or ground in an electric sircuit. You don’t start there but, without outside energy (free will) added to the system, entropy says that you’re always tending in that direction. Free will is that energy, that which keeps us from devolving or, at least, enables us to hold our ground. Without free will, all of us would be slaves. Apparently, some of us choose that. Blessed are the meek for they shall deliver themselves into slavery. From what I can tell, that must be what god wants.

    Free will is basically the aggregated amount of unencumbered activity permitted by those nearby who seek to limit your activity. Just because it’s an average, and just because it’s not an intrinsic property of the individuals but rather of the groups who espouse it, doens’t mean it’s not real. Free will is every bit as real a thing as is temperature. You’ll notice a change in the level of social restriction in much the same way that notice that the temperature has dropped when the sun sets. If its absence means one thing, its presence means another.

    If free will doesn’t exist then I’d say that god is the most egregious soul-sucker, of all time. Why would anyone worship a Dementor?

    “God – The Original Black Body”. Never thought of that before…

  • Pi Guy

    BTW: I know “sircuit” really begins with a “c” and that there’s no need to set “…of all time” off as an appositive. I was just exercising my free will.

    :)

  • Scotlyn

    An analogy – and I’m not saying that it’s one-to-one – is that opression and slavery are the rough equivalent of absolute zero (or at least really, really cold) or ground in an electric sircuit. You don’t start there but, without outside energy (free will) added to the system, entropy says that you’re always tending in that direction. Free will is that energy, that which keeps us from devolving or, at least, enables us to hold our ground. Without free will, all of us would be slaves.

    Great analogy, Pi Guy! It may not be one-to-one, but it is certainly thought-provoking. It makes me think about people caught at the mercy of others in situations where they have few or no choices – like the current newsworthy case of Jacey Lee Dugard, for example – in a whole new way. Making the required change that can end that person’s “absolute zero temperature” situation of enslavement may require an outside intervention – or the introduction of the “free will” of an outside agent. Very interesting! A plausible argument for the use of force (and believe me, there are very few I personally find plausible), with a specific end and very restricted scope.

  • http://thechapel.wordpress.com the chaplain

    @ Modusoperandi, #26:
    Those alternative work too. :)

  • prase

    @Pi Guy:

    I can’t know how Yahzi has meant the non-existence of temperature, but can at least think of this interpretation of his words:

    In statistical physics we encounter two types of quantities. The first type are quantities which are well defined for any microstate, that is, a fully specified state with positions and velocities of all nuclei and electrons given. Such quantities are energy or volume, for example. Then, there are quantities, which are defined only for statistical ensembles. Examples of such quantities are entropy and temperature. A statistical ensemble represents a macrostate, which is then specified by only few macroscopic quantities, instead of the vast number of individual particle coordinates and velocities.

    To have a statistical ensemble essentially means that we don’t know exactly in which microscopic state the system is, and so it’s reasonable to assume that the system is in each possible microstate with some probability p, or equivalently, we have a whole bunch of systems (an “ensemble”) where each individual system is in some microstate (the higher probability of that microstate is, the more systems occupy it), but we can speak only about the ensemble as a whole.

    Now, it can be shown, that under some conditions, basically when our system is in weak interaction with some much larger system, called a thermal bath, it is reasonable to assume that p=exp (E/kT), where E is the energy of correspondent microstate, k the Boltzmann constant and T is a number characterising the ensemble, which is then interpreted as the ensemble’s temperature. Such ensembles are called canonical.

    The key fact is that if we knew exactly in which microscopic state the system is and could make calculations with all the microscopic variables, we wouldn’t need ensembles, and thus also wouldn’t need temperature. Also, one deals with other ensembles as well. For example, a perfectly isolated system is described conventionally by the microcanonical ensemble, where instead the temperature the defining number is the energy, and we take all microstates with that energy with the same probability (and the other microstates have p=0). Needless to say, temperature is not defined for such systems. One can introduce it “artificially” by dividing the system into smaller parts, but it’s not needed.

    So the point is that the concept of temperature, however strange it may sound, is made possible by our ignorance of the detailed information about the world. Were we omniscient, we wouldn’t see any need for temperature. Of course, real systems don’t have temperature (although they approximately behave as they had it). In this way, temperature doesn’t exist in our world, it exists only in our minds.

  • prase

    Erratum: it should be exp (-E/kt) of course, I lost the minus sign.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Scotlyn “No implication here that these other gods do not exist, only that if you follow them you and your children will be hounded!”
    And don’t forget that time He set a bull on fire, while Baal just sat there. There’s a lost market opportunity for Baal, I say.

    “The only Free Market competitive strategy you neglected to mention was that of threatening those who choose the competitor’s product!”
    And the taking of Canaan (at least as presented in the OT) was nothing more than a hostile takeover.

    the chaplain “@ Modusoperandi, #26: Those alternative work too. :)”
    I know, right?! I’m thinking of starting my own cult. Mine will be like a Cargo Cult, but with nachos. A Nacho Cult. God’s Mexican, you see. The road to paradise is paved with refried beans.
    Further Revelations are pending.

    prase “Erratum: it should be exp (-E/kt) of course, I lost the minus sign.”
    /me rolls d20 Oh, you failed your Saving Throw. Nerd.

  • http://www.WorldOfPrime.com Yahzi

    PI Guy:

    That’s exactly what I meant. Thank you for putting it more accurately. Well, except for the minus sign mistake. ;D

    The key fact is that if we knew exactly in which microscopic state the system is and could make calculations with all the microscopic variables,
    Right, but note that if we were trying to calculate a future microscopic state, the calculation itself would require more time and resources than simply waiting for the future to occur. So our calculations are always either a) approximate, or b) late.

    So the point is that the concept of temperature, however strange it may sound, is made possible by our ignorance of the detailed information about the world.
    And the concept of free will is made possible by our ignorance of the detailed information about the world!

    Thanks again for explaining this more gooder. :)

  • http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/ UNRR

    This post has been linked for the HOT5 Daily 8/30/2009, at The Unreligious Right

  • prase

    @Yahzi:

    I would put it thus: to even store accurate data about some system, you have to have at least as big memory as the original system. So to do it for the whole universe, one would have to have at least one another universe as a computer. I am not absolutely sure about the speed, since you can use some properties of the physical laws to scale the time up. I mean, if you e.g. imagine that your particles interact only gravitationally and we are for simplicity in non-relativistic regime, then, if I calculate correctly, by giving the bodies c-times greater velocities but c^2-times smaller distances, you will get c^3 times quicker evolution, for any number c and fixed masses of the bodies. In reality if will be more difficult, but I think always you can accelerate the calculation by putting more resources in. The real problem is in data storage, IMO.

    Btw. I almost completely agree with your opinion about the free will.

  • Pi Guy

    So the point is that the concept of temperature, however strange it may sound, is made possible by our ignorance of the detailed information about the world.
    And the concept of free will is made possible by our ignorance of the detailed information about the world!

    If, by ignorance of detailed information about the world, you mean information about a single actor, well then this I think that we’re at a stopping point (but, no worries; more Thermo lessons with Pi Guy shortly). My point is that, average or not, temperature, voltage, and the degree to which free will can be exercised is not a statement about the nature of any single thing. It’s a measure of the relative difference between two things, a reference point and a test point. The temperature of a single electron or the voltage at a single point in an electric circuit isn’t a meaningful… well, anything. I’m asserting that the free will of an individual in the absence some other moderating influences is likewise meaningless. I don’t know what to call what you’re doing here… It’s as though you’ve asked me “How far is it to Baltimore?” and I say “From where?” and you’ve jumped out and said “A-ha! See? There’s no such thing as distance!” It’s the delta between two states that gives temperature and, by loose analogy, I hope, free will meaning in the first place.

    Now, why do I take issue with your “we’re just too ignorant to get it” argument? Well, Monsignors Yhazi and prase [note to apophenic self: Yahweh and Praise; ergo, we're ignorant = no one can know god's mind...] you’ve hijacked a technical term, microstate, which sounds all deep and meaningful when you include it in your church social cocktail party banter – so I’ll bet it’s big with the same crowd as is microevolution – but about which you appear to be a bit murky on the, uh – detailed information. Let me explain.

    Suppose we want to know how much a bag of peas weighs. Selecting a single pea from the bag and setting it on a triple beam balance will enable us to find the mass of a single specific pea. So, in order to avoid being what you refer to as “ignorant of detailed information”, we should weigh each pea individually, record its mass, and sing “Every pea is sacred, Every pea is great, If a pea is wasted, God gets quite irate”. Why – to boost the self-esteem of peas? We were trying to determine the weight of the whole bag of peas. For reasons that might not yet be obvious, I note that we could, if we wish at this point, count the peas and calculate an average mass of a pea from our bag. I further note that that avg mass would not differ greatly from the avg mass determined from a sample of 100 or probably even just 10 peas. In any case, the total mass would be super darn close to the product of any of the avg pea masses, the sample size, and the inverse of the ratio of the sample size to the total number of peas, or

    Mass{total} = mass{avg} * (sample size) *(sample size/total # of peas)^-1

    Sort of like the definition of mass density. Just saying.

    Staying with your initial analogy, temperature is akin to the total mass of the bag. Note that replacing one pea with a much larger or much smaller one will not likely change the measurable mass of the whole bag. If we replace 10, or even 100 – actually, the more the better – peas, probabilities would suggest that some replacement peas would be heavier than average, some lighter, and so, for the most part, would cancel out each of the other’s deviation from the mean. Replace a handful of thermionic electrons with another handful and the temperature stays the same. Temperature is a macrostate entity. That doesn’t mean it’s not detailed enough. It’s exactly as detailed as it’s supposed to be.

    Consider a mechanical engineer performing finite element analysis on a bridge design. The stresses and strains at each node or at any point on are characterized by tiny elements which both influence and are influenced by the element properties of its neighbors. But the microstates here – the values of the property characteristics of an element in the case of a bridge such as mass density, bulk modulus, and the thermal expansion coefficients – are already macroscopic. IOW, in the case of a bridge, determinism works. However, in the case of temperature, the constituent microstate properties run into a dilemma: we are constrained by quantum mechanics.

    See, in classical mechanics, the microstate of a given element is not defined relative to an associated quantum microstate. However, in the case of temperature, we encounter a concept known as the “thermodynamic limit”. (NOTE: By what I believe to be no coincidence at all, the thermodynamic limit is relevant to those who would wish to compute a set of values know as the degrees of freedom for a thermally energetic particle.) Basically, because temperature is an aggregate measure of the behavior of a very large number of particles by definition, it can only be used to predict the probability of a given element existing in a given microstate. But, working the other way, the quantum behavior of entities at this scale indicates that, not only is the precise thermodynamic microstate of any given element not knowable, it’s not meaningful or even useful to have knowledge of such information. To put it all mathyish: the sum of the microstate heats and energies at the quantum level do not yield a closed-form, differential equation as they would in the case of classical microstate spectrum of probabilities. In other words, because they’re subject to quantum effects and smeared out in the continuum, in the case of temperature, not knowing the microstates is of nothing.

    Bottom line: if you’re going to invoke a difficult-to-understand technical concept to forward a fuzzy, non-technical agenda, you should appreciate that there are many limitations in forming such analogies. I was careful to qualify mine. But even more, you should know what you’re talking about because the very analogy that you’re trying to draw – that having detailed information about the free will microstate of a single actor is as crucial to the understanding of the whole enterprise of free will as is having detailed information about the thermodynamic microstate of an element is to understanding whole enterprise of temperature – leads to exactly the opposite conclusion of that which you purport. Namely, the concept of temperature is not possible because of our ignorance. It’s possible because those differences don’t matter a whit. Does this demonstrate that free will exists? Of course not. It only shows that:

    - Temperature is real despite our, as you say, ignorance;

    - Using sciency-sounding terms to address our understanding of non-sciency sorts of things is fraught with pitfalls;

    - Making pretend that you know something when you’ve really just read or heard the distilled, mine-quoted explanation of some physical phenomena distorted in such a way as to give false credence to a position that has little other, if any, support for holding (like, say, suggesting that, because we don’t know the microstate of Elliot Electron, free will does not exist and we are simply ignorant of the motivations for there being limitations on the degrees of freedom of a single actor);

    - I’ve called you out as someone who wishes to appear as though you’re just another interested but casual debater but, in fact, come in with an agenda to push. I mean, if you visit an atheist web site and your comments go all “Thermodynamics is just like Free Will only without all the Calculus” as you assert that free will, let alone temperature, don’t exist anywhere except in our minds, you stand out. A lot. It seems equally likely that you’re doing a homework assignment for Dr. Dembski’s graduate class.

    Or, as modusoperandi put it:”/me rolls me d20 Oh, you failed…” IOW, nice try but no cigar.

    Nice D&D reference, though! :)

  • http://www.WorldOfPrime.com Yahzi

    Prase

    First, sorry about mis-attributing my thanks. They were clearly directed to you. So… thanks again. :)

    you can use some properties of the physical laws to scale the time up

    But then you’re not doing an exact calculation… so your answer is approximate. In other words, you might be surprised sometimes when your system does not achieve the state you predicted. Ta da! Free Will! :D

    Pi Guy

    You posted a lot of very technical, detailed argument, which looks impressive. However, you seem to think that I am advancing a religious position; that I am a theologian with a hidden agenda. Since this is both impossible to derive from my comments and manifestly untrue, I am afraid I must paraphrase modusoperandi:

    /epic fail

    Please tell me what the temperature of a single molecule is. You can’t, because a single molecule doesn’t have temperature. It only has motion. So you can’t tell me what the temperature difference between two molecules is; you can only tell me what the velocity and mass difference is.

    Hence your analogy to distance fails: I can tell you the distance between any two points. That is totally not a problem.

    But you cannot tell me the temperature difference between any two (arbitrary) elements of the universe, because temperature itself – the very idea of it – requires enough individual elements to be lumped together that statistical laws become relevant and quantum ones don’t. That is what Prase was trying to say: that temperature is a useful concept only where actual, real quantum-level concepts can’t apply.

    Temperature is a concept that only exists in our perception of the world. It is not really there, in the same sense that distance, mass, and velocity, are. Those are statements independent of whether you are talking about a single atomic element or a collection of atomic elements. But temperature is a concept that can only apply to a collection.

    My proposition is that Free Will is exactly the same thing. Prase’s point is that it is the level of ignorance we must accept about the collection to allow the collective property to model results that makes the collective property useful. You make the claim that knowing the velocity/position of every single particle is not useful in any way, since quantum statistics so perfectly models reality: but give your epic failures to date, I’m not sure I’m willing to take your word on that.

    So: free will and temperature are both statements about collections that cannot necessarily be applied to atomic elements; and yet, both of them are perfectly understandable and necessary comments. Just because there is no “free will” attribute in the universe does not invalidate the concept, any more than that there is no “temperature” attribute invalidates that concept. The universe can be completely and totally deterministic and yet we still have to live with the concept of free will. Just as we have to live with the concept of temperature.

  • 2-D Man

    No, Yahzi. The definition of temperature is as refined that of velocity, distance or mass. The zeroth law of thermodynamics makes this explicitly clear; so does the thermometer in your medicine cabinet.

    Please tell me what the temperature of a single molecule is. You can’t, because a single molecule doesn’t have temperature. It only has motion. So you can’t tell me what the temperature difference between two molecules is; you can only tell me what the velocity and mass difference is.

    Actually, this does exist; it can be measured. Granted, it ties in strongly to the kinetic energy, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, and it doesn’t mean that these are the same quantity. Strangely enough, we don’t even need a molecule to get a temperature reading! We can get temperatures in a vacuum.

    Hence your analogy to distance fails: I can tell you the distance between any two points. That is totally not a problem.

    And I (or Pi Guy) can tell you the temperature difference between any two points. What’s your point?

    You make the claim that knowing the velocity/position of every single particle is not useful in any way, since quantum statistics so perfectly models reality: but give your epic failures to date, I’m not sure I’m willing to take your word on that.

    I’m having trouble figuring out what you mean by this. Are you saying that you don’t think quantum mechanics makes good models for the universe? Or are you saying that even though QM is a good model, you still think it’s possible to know the positions and velocities of every particle in a system?

  • http://www.thewarfareismental.info cl

    Good to hear from you, Leum.

    D,

    ..I think you’d make more friends if you laughed along and stuck to insightful points..

    What, you thought I wasn’t laughing along? Honestly, I found the irony hilarious. Making friends is great, and I’m always glad when that happens, but such must remain subordinate to cogency when it comes to logic and debate. Thanks for the “insightful points” part, BTW.

    Yahzi,

    I interpreted your temperature remark the same way I interpret time – both are inventions of language used to describe intervals. If that’s anywhere near where you were going, cool. If not, well… I tried.

  • Bronxboy47

    In the final analysis, I believe the totality of Christian theology to be the equivalent of a Zen Koan. You must grapple with the riddle presented by its patent absurdities and its myriad competing and contradictory assertions until the mind snaps and satori is achieved. At that point you are truly “born again” as a free entity. Good Luck

  • Bronxboy47

    Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    My answer to this question is: “If the clay can ask, then it deserves an answer!”

    Brilliant!!

  • http://www.WorldOfPrime.com Yahzi

    2-d Man

    The definition of temperature is as refined that of velocity, distance or mass.

    I did not it was not refined. I said it was not atomic.

    Actually, this does exist;

    No, it does not. Temperature is not simply a function of velocity and mass. Consider 1 mole of carbon atoms, all traveling at 100 m/s in exactly the same direction. What is the temperature of the diamond? It’s zero; because if every atom had the same vector, the object would not be hot; it would be perfectly cold and in motion.

    Atoms do not exhibit this quality. They are moving or they are not; there is not atomic property called temperature.

    And I (or Pi Guy) can tell you the temperature difference between any two points. What’s your point?

    No, actually, you can’t: you can only tell me the temperature difference between any two places.

    I’m having trouble figuring out what you mean by this.

    Didn’t stop you from arguing with me about what I meant, though.

    Are you saying that you don’t think quantum mechanics makes good models for the universe? Or are you saying that even though QM is a good model, you still think it’s possible to know the positions and velocities of every particle in a system?

    What I said was that QM contains statistical approximations. That is all I said.

    cl

    both are inventions of language used to describe intervals.

    Not quite: both are ways of describing aggregates. That is, they both describe behaviors that arise out of complexity; hence, looking for them in some simple atomic schema is going to fail

    And they are more than just inventions of language. Free will is just as real as temperature, and just as inaccessible to deterministic physics.

  • prase

    Pi Guy, when you are going to argue, please put up your point directly. Your argument, if it can be called such, is hard to follow and reply, and no, it’s not because I am not enough smart to understand your reasoning. I’m not saying that I never fail to understand an argument because of my own incompetence. But what you have written is a masterpiece of obfuscation, and I am confident that you could have it written more clearly, at least you could resist the temptation to fill your comment with ad hominem attacks.

    Now more concretely, I will point out what I am complaining about:

    See, in classical mechanics, the microstate of a given element is not defined relative to an associated quantum microstate.

    There is no need to invoke quantum mechanics, since you don’t need it to introduce the concept of temperature. You are right that there’s not a one-to-one correspondence between quantum and classical states, but this is off topic, and you even don’t seem to use the statement any further.

    However, in the case of temperature, we encounter a concept known as the “thermodynamic limit”.(NOTE: By what I believe to be no coincidence at all, the thermodynamic limit is relevant to those who would wish to compute a set of values know as the degrees of freedom for a thermally energetic particle.) Basically, because temperature is an aggregate measure of the behavior of a very large number of particles by definition, it can only be used to predict the probability of a given element existing in a given microstate.

    This is extremely unclear. Once more, you mention the thermodynamic limit without even saying what it is (in fact, it’s a limit of the number of particles going to infinity, an idealisation, which says that effectively the described system behaves like an infinite system) or using it any more. I am not sure what you mean by “element” and the last sentence in the block quote as a whole.

    But, working the other way, the quantum behavior of entities at this scale indicates that, not only is the precise thermodynamic microstate of any given element not knowable, it’s not meaningful or even useful to have knowledge of such information.

    What do you mean that it’s not knowable? Practically, of course it isn’t, but there is no principle that would protect us from knowing perfect information about a quantum system. When you measure all compatible observables, the system collapses to a well defined and known state. I agree that such knowledge is hardly useful, but not meaningful? Can you clarify it?

    To put it all mathyish: the sum of the microstate heats and energies at the quantum level do not yield a closed-form, differential equation as they would in the case of classical microstate spectrum of probabilities. In other words, because they’re subject to quantum effects and smeared out in the continuum, in the case of temperature, not knowing the microstates is of nothing.

    This has no sense. Lots of technically sounding words without technical meaning. Once more, evolution of any quantum system is driven by corresponding Schrödinger equation, which is a differential equation, in a closed form (I have encountered many situations when a solution of a dif. eq. is not in a closed form, but frankly, an equation which itself is not in a closed form would be a really exotic object). I can imagine few sensible interpretations of what you are speaking about (do you refer to decoherence in some way?), but it would have to be formulated a lot differently to be intelligible with certainty.

    Bottom line: if you’re going to invoke a difficult-to-understand technical concept to forward a fuzzy, non-technical agenda, you should appreciate that there are many limitations in forming such analogies. I was careful to qualify mine.

    This was probably directed at Yahzi, but let me say only that you weren’t too careful at drawing you own analogies. Otherwise agreed.

    But even more, you should know what you’re talking about because the very analogy that you’re trying to draw – that having detailed information about the free will microstate of a single actor is as crucial to the understanding of the whole enterprise of free will as is having detailed information about the thermodynamic microstate of an element is to understanding whole enterprise of temperature – leads to exactly the opposite conclusion of that which you purport.

    What you are trying to say here? I think the analogy was: Knowing an exact microstate of the brain and being able to compute fast, you could predict deterministically any decision made by that brain, and there is consequently no space for a fundamental concept of free will. But one can still speak about free will when one hasn’t the perfect knowledge and computing abilities, which makes the concept useful as an approximate description of decision process. Similarly, knowing the exact microstate of a gas and being able to compute effectively, one wouldn’t need to speak about temperature, since one would know the exact microscopic quantities. I don’t like the analogy much (well, I don’t like analogies in general, because they are more often misleading than useful), but from what you have written it’s not clear whether you have actually understood what the analogy is.

    Making pretend that you know something when you’ve really just read or heard the distilled, mine-quoted explanation of some physical phenomena distorted in such a way as to give false credence to a position that has little other, if any, support for holding (like, say, suggesting that, because we don’t know the microstate of Elliot Electron, free will does not exist and we are simply ignorant of the motivations for there being limitations on the degrees of freedom of a single actor);

    This is a matter of politeness. Let’s just suppose, for the sake of argument, that you are right and we aren’t. Then, before starting to make any assumptions about our education and accusations of pretending that we know something we don’t, it is a standard in a civilised debate to try to explain things in a polite way. This is not only the preceding quote, in fact, your reactions are full of similar passages. Unless you start debating with elemetary politeness, I’m afraid it’s no point in continuing this discussion.

    Let me remind you that, although you seem to say that each microstate has assigned well defined temperature, and even a single atom has, nowhere in your argument have you written anything supporting this statement (which I insist is false). To continue constructively, I suggest the following: A microstate is uniquely defined by the microscopic quantities, or in quantum case, its wave function. If a temperature is assigned to such a state, it has to be calculated from these quantities. Write down a formula defining temperature as a function of positions and momenta of the constituent particles, or, in quantum case, the temperature operator. This shouldn’t be a problem even if the temperature were defined relatively in a similar way as potential energy or distance are defined.

  • prase

    Yahzi,

    you can use some properties of the physical laws to scale the time up

    But then you’re not doing an exact calculation… so your answer is approximate.

    No, it isn’t. Look at the solar system. If you scale it in the way I’ve described, you get its smaller, but exact model, which evolves quicklier. Now, you can do it with a box full of ideal gas, in principle (el-mag force is also of type 1/r^2, so the necessary scaling is the same).

    Well, when relativity steps in, it becomes a lot more difficult, because you have to scale masses as well, and the scaling is necessarily non-linear (because velocities can’t surpass speed of light), and it is difficult (maybe I should say impossible) to obtain e.g. a particle with properties of an electron with mass twice as high. So, for all practical purposes, you are right:)

  • TikiHead

    If you’d like to get back to the thread, it’s about three miles that-away.

  • 2-D Man

    Yahzi

    I did not [say] it was not refined. I said it was not atomic.

    A distinction without a difference. Temperature has been refined to the point where it works at the atomic level.

    Temperature is not simply a function of velocity and mass.

    Never said it was. Did you actually read this paragraph? I specifically pointed out that we can get temperatures in a vacuum (which is true, but it would be more relevant to say ‘of a vacuum’ – my apologies). We don’t need to make contact with a massive object to get a temperature reading.

    Consider 1 mole of carbon atoms, all traveling at 100 m/s in exactly the same direction. What is the temperature of the diamond? It’s zero; because if every atom had the same vector, the object would not be hot; it would be perfectly cold and in motion.

    The trouble with a Gedanken is that you must make sure you’re following all known theories in order for it to work. For now, let’s put aside the problems that we run into with the Fermi energy. If you have a bunch of carbon atoms at absolute zero, how do you accelerate them without introducing thermal motion (QM)? Once you have them going, how do you cool them down to absolute zero if they already have thermal motion (Third law of Thermo.)? My point is that you cannot get motion without thermal motion. You cannot take ideas that work at ‘normal’ conditions (like motion independent from temperature) and directly slap them into cryokinetics.

    Atoms do not exhibit this quality. They are moving or they are not; there is [no] atomic property called temperature.

    Thermal motion doesn’t just occur at the atomic level. The electron cloud is notorious for storing thermal energy. We need some way to measure this energy, and hey, look at that! We suddenly have a property that perfectly coincides with what we call temperature. And it applies to a single atom or a population of them.

    No, actually, you can’t: you can only tell me the temperature difference between any two places.

    Another distinction without a difference.

    What I said was that QM contains statistical approximations. That is all I said.

    Actually, you said that you wouldn’t accept Pi Guy’s assertion that QM provides the best explanation of atomic motion. I asked why you don’t accept it.

  • http://www.WorldOfPrime.com Yahzi

    Prase

    That old reality is just so tricky! :D

    2-D Man

    A distinction without a difference.

    You make no distinction between refined and atomic?

    This does not bode well for a technical discussion…

    We suddenly have a property that perfectly coincides with what we call temperature. And it applies to a single atom or a population of them.

    Prase says you’re wrong. And Prase uses way bigger words than you! :P

    On a more serious note, this discussion seems to have degenerated from me trying to explain a concept to petty bickering about technical terms and details, with plenty of misreading and misunderstanding. So I won’t be returning to it. Thanks, though, for your polite and informative comments.

  • Von

    Wow- I thought I was bad in going in the wrong direction on a thread! Back to the point. As a theist I’ve always found it hard to accept the ‘reason’ why God ‘allows’ evil in the world. But I find it equally as hard to accept the reason why Australia won’t utilise capital punishment for a mass murderer!

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Von “As a theist I’ve always found it hard to accept the ‘reason’ why God ‘allows’ evil in the world.”
    Have you considered atheism? Evil is in the world because shit happens, sometimes. Gravity doesn’t care that you don’t want to fall down the stairs, and your neighbour has that axe because he’s gone off his meds and he’s hearing voices again.

    But I find it equally as hard to accept the reason why Australia won’t utilise capital punishment for a mass murderer!”
    *Because sometimes the innocent are convicted, and while you can apologize and monetarily compensate someone for the error, you can’t take back killing a guy.
    *Because it doesn’t make other potential killers avoid killing to avoid the death penalty themselves.
    *Because killing a guy just makes another person a killer.
    *Because the death penalty is revenge, not justice.
    *Because “it’s cheaper”, even if it were true, is a poor metric for a justice system.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    your neighbour has that axe because he’s gone off his meds and he’s hearing voices again.

    Man, you promised not to tell.

  • Von

    Modusoperandi

    Yes I’ve considered atheism. But for the moment I’m still a theist. If we find out that autogenesis is true, why the universe is so perfectly suited to life (I don’t buy the multiuniverse theory) and how, despite vestigal parts of our anatomy, our brains can dream, wonder, create and adapt, then I’ll become an atheist. For now, I’ll still believe in at least some kind of intelligence outside our own. Now please don’t ask me to produce evidence to prove that God exists, I doubt if I can produce something you’d accept. My belief in a higher being is based as ‘God’ being the default.

    As for mass murderers, you are right. I was just reading about one just prior to writing my previous comment.

    Von

  • Snoof

    Well, for one thing, the universe isn’t “perfectly suited” to life. 99% of it is lifeless vacuum. 99% of the stuff which isn’t vacuum is stupidly hot hydrogen. Even out of all the cold rocks out there, only one bears life that we know of. Two, briefly, if you count the moon.

  • other scott

    The universe isn’t perfect for life. Life is perfect for the universe. The universe and all it’s laws came first. They came before life and as such life evolved according to the parameters as set by the laws of the universe. That’s why we fit so perfectly. If you had a bucket full of water you wouldn’t say “Wow, the bucket is just the right shape to carry that water!!” You would understand that the water is the shape that it is because the bucket shapes it. Just as the universe shaped life as we know it.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    If we find out that autogenesis is true…

    The evidence we have leads us to the conclusion that abiogenesis happened. The how is still in question.

    …despite vestigal parts of our anatomy, our brains can dream, wonder, create and adapt…

    I’m failing to see what vestigial systems have to do with our brain development. This is really just an argument from incredulity. You find it incredible that our brains are so developed as to allow these things (BTW, other animals can do those things too) and so you throw up your hands and claim “goddidit.”

    My belief in a higher being is based as ‘God’ being the default.

    Why not leprechauns? Is it your standard practice to believe in things until they are disproven? I’ve got some land to sell you if that’s the case.

  • Von

    OMGF

    I get you. Good points. I think that humanity has a long way to go before we can say that everything happened naturally. After all we really don’t know too much, but admitedly we’ve come a long way. Eg, why is the universe so finely tuned that at least on this world it can support life? We can only guess a reason.

    An athiest assumes that nature has made everything. A theist assumes that god has made everything. What’s the difference? I have to admit, I really don’t know that god exists, the Fundamentalists don’t know either. Does an athiest know god doesn’t? An athiest is making a bold assumption in saying probably not.

    If you assume complete naturalism, I have some land to sell you. All you’ve done is put nature where God used to be.

    I can’t really see that this is going anywhere. It probably doesn’t really matter.

    Back to predestination, Modusoperandi is right. **** happens, and when it does, people usually never agree.

    Von

  • http://www.myspace.com/driftwoodduo Steve Bowen

    An athiest is making a bold assumption in saying probably not.

    Not really! It is a considered and rational assumption because any being capable of creating the universe must be more complex than the thing itself. The most parsimonious assumption is that the universe is self organised. Also as you’ve stated atheists (in the main) only say god(s) “probably” don’t exist, this is because it will always be possible to postulate a kind of god whose existance is un-falsifiable.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Von,

    Eg, why is the universe so finely tuned that at least on this world it can support life?

    Why is the universe so finely tuned that one little spec in the vast infiniteness of the universe happens to be able to support life? Huh?

    An athiest assumes that nature has made everything. A theist assumes that god has made everything. What’s the difference?

    There are a couple differences. The first is that atheists don’t assume that nature made everything. The second is that we only have evidence for nature. Without evidence for god, it’s irrational to ascribe events to god. As I said, you may as well ascribe those events to leprechauns.

    Does an athiest know god doesn’t? An athiest is making a bold assumption in saying probably not.

    I know very few atheists that would claim that they know that god does not exist. I think certain conceptions of god are logically contradictory and therefore not possible, but as Steve Bowen points out, one can always claim some sort of god that is un-falsifiable. That said, is it really a bold statement (it’s not an assumption) to note that theists have yet to provide evidence for this god, so therefore it’s rational and logical not to accept that such a god exists?

    To clarify, you seem to be under the impression that atheists simply assume “No god” and go from there, but this is not how it works. Theists are making a positive claim that god exists. It is not an assumption to point out that the positive claim has not been supported, it is an observation. Non-acceptance of that claim is not an assumption, but a rational response to a claim that is not evidenced. Therefore, atheists are not assuming anything. Atheists are rejecting the unsupported assumptions of theists. This puts the atheist’s stance in a more rational position.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Does an athiest know god doesn’t [exist]? An athiest is making a bold assumption in saying probably not.

    Not really. To say that something entirely lacking in evidence probably doesn’t exist is only a rational response to a particular circumstance. Additionally, although you’ve already asserted that you will not be providing any evidence, you should be aware that that doesn’t relieve you of the obligation to support you case by presenting evidence; indeed, your plain refusal dramatically weakens it. I wonder why it is that you won’t discuss evidence?

    Finally, I have never seen a salesman so misread his customer base as you have here.

  • Von

    Gents

    OK, I admit I can’t show you evidence. At least evidence that you’d accept. I’ve interpreted from other comments you’d only accept empirical evidence anyway.

    Please don’t interpret me as being a creationist. Isn’t evolution based on circumstantial evidence? You accept that as fact.

    The idea of there being a God has numerous evidences over several millenia. Including eyewitness accounts. An atheist seems to reject all of it as delusion. If we were in a court of law and we had thousands of eyewitness accounts to an event you were trying to defend, you’d win the case. If the plaintiff tried to argue that all these thousands of eyewitnesses were delusional, that argument would be thrown out.

    To say that all of these witnesses were all delusional is a very brave thing to say. Written accounts from Roman Catholic databases are a good place to make a conclusion.

    Von

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    von “If the plaintiff tried to argue that all these thousands of eyewitnesses were delusional, that argument would be thrown out.”
    Are you including the eyewitnesses to gods other than your own? If a thousand eye witnesses all had completely different stories, then what? If eye witnesses from, say, Spain saw Mary, while ones from Texas saw Jesus while the Natives of Australia saw something else, while ones from India saw…while ones from North Africa saw…while ones from East Asia saw…while ones from the Arctic saw…while ones from Central America saw…while ones from South America saw…etc (and square that number if you include the pagan gods that aren’t around so much anymore). There are a million different “visions”, lots of which are wildly incompatible with the other ones, most of which, say, the RC’s reject (or try to wash away by blaming the devil or somesuch).
    Theology is the only science where you’re always right.

  • Von

    Modusoperandi

    I understand your point. I guess if one were to see ‘evidence’ that is good enough, that person would believe. That’s what it seems to come down to. I’m still making up my mind whether or not I’ve seen this ‘evidence’.

    No matter what, this evidence will never be empirical. We can say that we see the ‘design’, but that doesn’t hold up on it’s own merit. All I’m saying is that it seems possible, but unprovable. Using the scientific method, I don’t know. Noone really does. If I only used this same method, I’d have to say I’m agnostic.

    From what I’ve learnt from you guys, I have no issue with atheists. I just slightly disagree.

    Thumpalumpacus

    I think you’ve misunderstood me. I’m not trying to sell my belief in God. I never have.

    Take care gents.

    Von

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Von “I’m still making up my mind whether or not I’ve seen this ‘evidence’.”
    That vague sense of, um, more? That warm, transcendant feeling that all things are connected? I get that, too. That’s why I’m an occasional deist (though pantheist, or any suitable undefined, undefineable something would fit. Perhaps even…[pause for effect]…Magic Pantheism).

    “No matter what, this evidence will never be empirical.”
    If it has a measureable effect on the natural world, then it is empirical, if not consistently reproduceable (or when reproduced is consistent only in its inconsistencies), or only measureable indirectly. Unless the gods are dinks, which if they exist, is a possibility that cannot be discounted (case in point: monobrow).

  • other scott

    I came across a thought today whilst working at my mind numbing job. What if htere actually was a gene in human DNA that allowed people to truly ‘feel’ god’s presence. If say 60%(or any other random number) of the population had that gene and could actually really truly feel god, those 60% would probably be sitting there shaking their heads in utter disbelief that people are atheists. How could they not believe in god? surely they can feel him and see him in everything?

    But then the idea that there is no god is just as appealing to me, I love believing that my species has lifted itself up from the primordial soup and evolved into creatures capable of such wonders.

  • Von

    Primordial soup. Now that’s a speculation! Humanity really doesn’t know that much. The US space shuttle is poor in comparison to my anatomy, I’m not going to say that it was made naturally or Godmadeit. I just don’t know. If we don’t know how autogenesis happened, again we’re speculating.

    Albert Einstein believed in an impersonal God. Antony Flew believes that some impersonal higher intelligence had something to do with it. He may be right or maybe that man whom he said misguided him is right, being Richard Dawkins. I don’t spend my time awaiting the latest scientific revelation to govern my belief. If I did I’d have to change it every couple of months. I’m happy to say that I just don’t know scientifically. That’s why I’m always looking for some other evidence which isn’t necessarily scientific. Does that make sense?

    Just one more thing, please don’t give me the atheist drab of rubbishing Antony Flew. I’ve seen his interviews after his ‘conversion’. His faculties are perfectly intact. He kind of reminds me of my 92 year old aunt, looks old a haggie but is as sharp as a razor. One seeming bad interview doesn’t make him senile. I actually think he got the better of you guys. In my 30′s sometimes I lose it too. :)

    Von

  • ThatOtherGuy

    “Albert Einstein believed in an impersonal God.”

    He didn’t, actually. “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    “Just one more thing, please don’t give me the atheist drab of rubbishing Antony Flew.”

    What, please don’t give you what is actually the case? Have you watched some of the interviews with him? It’s so obvious that he’s not all there and is being manipulated by the questioner that I’m shocked you didn’t pick up on it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNkxpTIbCIw

    Sharp as a razor indeed. Even he falls for the Einstein thing, and as an atheist he would SURELY have been familiar with Einstein’s irreligion.

  • Bri

    Von,

    Firstly, I don’t like Flew because he doesn’t understand evolution and attacks straw men. Anyone who tries to advance some of the misinformed arguments he proposes loses credibility instantly. In fact, some of the arguments he proposes actually SUPPORT evolution (monkeys banging typewriters, for instance).

    Next, how can anyone take your claims seriously without evidence? The problem with subjective claims is that they can be the result of bias (a muslim and a christian will undoubtedly interpret the same event differently) or other unseen variables.

    Indeed, the people who believe in ghosts see them; the people who believe in god see statues weeping. What kind of twisted belief system requires one to believe BEFORE they can see? If god exists, your evidence should be such that it can sway even the most ardent Muslim. One can see (as I did) that evolution is true even when praying every night. It’s that kind of objectivity that science supports.

    About the primordial soup and abiogenesis: doesn’t the simple fact that we can test and falsify these theories make them better alternatives than “god did it”? Even if we never find evidence to support abiogenesis, I want to know your response to a number of commenters here; that is, why is the idea that a more complex being creating simpler beings better than the idea that simpler beings gradually become increasingly complex?

    Claiming that: P1- we can’t explain X, Y, and Z C- therefore god must exists is no better than if the greeks’ argument that zeus existed was because they needed an explanation for lightning strikes.

    The god of the gaps argument will never be a good reason for me to accept a positive claim about the universe. If in 100 years abiogenesis is still unsupported then I think that lack of evidence lowers the probability that abiogensis is a good explanation for the world.

    “Evidence” for god has never even come CLOSE to the evidence we have for say, evolution. Thus, I think I am justified in saying that there is a very low probability god exists. And this is before I even ask 1) what is god? and 2) how do I know I’m right?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Please don’t interpret me as being a creationist. Isn’t evolution based on circumstantial evidence? You accept that as fact.

    Evolution is indeed a fact. What science is working on is why evolution happens. That part is hypothesis, theory, prediction, analysis, and reformulation.

    The idea of there being a God has numerous evidences over several millenia. Including eyewitness accounts. An atheist seems to reject all of it as delusion. If we were in a court of law and we had thousands of eyewitness accounts to an event you were trying to defend, you’d win the case.

    Not so quick. This “evidence”, as you call it, is only hearsay, and not “eyewitness” reporting. And at least in an American court these would be summarily discarded.

    If the plaintiff tried to argue that all these thousands of eyewitnesses were delusional, that argument would be thrown out.

    See above.

    To say that all of these witnesses were all delusional is a very brave thing to say. Written accounts from Roman Catholic databases are a good place to make a conclusion.

    Yes, I’m certain that this is an unbiased resource.

    Primordial soup. Now that’s a speculation! Humanity really doesn’t know that much. The US space shuttle is poor in comparison to my anatomy, I’m not going to say that it was made naturally or Godmadeit. I just don’t know. If we don’t know how autogenesis happened, again we’re speculating.

    All of knowledge starts with speculation. The reason I find science infinitely more persuasive than theism is that science actually bothers to test its speculations — as is currently being done with abiogenesis.

    Albert Einstein believed in an impersonal God. Antony Flew believes that some impersonal higher intelligence had something to do with it.

    Arguments from authority cut no ice in rational argument.

    I don’t spend my time awaiting the latest scientific revelation to govern my belief. If I did I’d have to change it every couple of months. I’m happy to say that I just don’t know scientifically. That’s why I’m always looking for some other evidence which isn’t necessarily scientific. Does that make sense?

    No. “Unscientific evidence” (military intelligence, anyone?) is not evidence. It is merely a confusing concatenation of words. And personally, I love that science is self-correcting, and changing my beliefs according to the evidence reality presents. Indeed, it is this self-correcting nature that lends science its authority. I, too, am happy to say “I don’t know”; I’m just not satisfied that this should be the end of it.

  • Von

    Gents

    As I said our disagreement is minor. Also, as I said before, I’m what I call a scientific agnostic. I’m not going to discount God, perhaps there is a being beyond our understanding. A belief in such does’t cause scientific incuriousity at all.

    Anyway, i think that’s enough of this discussion for the time being.
    Von

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    If we don’t know how autogenesis happened, again we’re speculating.

    There’s actually a continuum between speculation and knowing. To present this as black and white is a false dichotomy. There are gaps in our knowledge, but inserting your god into those gaps is fallacious (as has been pointed out).

    That’s why I’m always looking for some other evidence which isn’t necessarily scientific. Does that make sense?

    No, it does not. What other evidence is there?

  • Von

    Scientifically I’m not sure god exists. I thought I’d made that clear.

    My theism is not based on scientific surety. I just think it is possible. As I said before, I’m still deciding whether or not I should keep my theism.

    Scientifically I’m happy to say I just don’t know whether or not God exists. Thus if I’m solely forming my belief off the evidence, then agnosticism is the way to go. To me that is the most logical position. To say probably not is to deny the possibility, thus atheistic reasoning in my opinion is flawed. If God does exist and he/she has not scientifically unveiled himself, it doesn’t mean he/she is not there. But damn guys, we’re not at opposite ends of the spectrum. This is not major difference of opinion by any means.

    I’m kind of getting tired of the conversation now. I’ll continue it when I can.

    Von

  • other scott

    Hi Von,

    I think if you really ask any atheist they will tell you that the possibility that a god/gods is always going to be there. There is always the chance no matter how small that we were created by a creature that has come to be called god. What an atheist will also tell you is that all the evidence points to the contrary, we can explain our existence without using a god, we can show logically how the god of the bible cannot exist, we can argue decisively that the universe doesn’t need a god to have come into being and furthermore that humanity doesn’t need god to tell it what to do.

    Basically, yes, there is always the possibility that god exists. Is it very likely that any god created us? No. Is it likely that the god of the Christian bible exists how he/she is portrayed in the bible? No. Am I happy enough with the evidence at hand to conclude that there is no god? You betcha! I don’t think I need absolute definitive proof that faeries don’t exist in order to not believe in them.

    I believe the point that OMGF was trying to make with his last post, however, is that there is no such thing as evidence that isn’t scientific. If something isn’t scientific, it isn’t real evidence. It becomes circumstantial evidence, hearsay, rumours, gossip, etc. True evidence is testable, verifiable, and quite scientific. If we found a fingerprint on humanity that could be traced back to god, that would be evidence. If all of a sudden every television screen/computer monitor/mobile phone in the world suddenly showed everybody a picture of god who then delivered his/her speech to the planet that would be evidence. If every amputee, disabled or crippled person was instantly healed all over the globe, that would be evidence. As such, no evidence truly exists, everything in the bible was written years after the events by people who were not alive at the time the events occurred, and this is not evidence. Every time a ‘miracle’ occurs, such as a statue bleeding, the sun moving, etc, there are always conflicting reports, this is not evidence.

    You may count the strange feeling of ‘oneness’ with the universe, or the awe you feel when you consider how magnificent the world is as your own personal evidence to yourself if you like. But these feelings are not supernatural. If you suddenly felt a sharp stabbing pain in your chest you wouldn’t think that Satan was causing you harm or a voodoo witch was stabbing your dummy. Why should you attribute your good feelings to god when most likely there is a measurable phenomenon at work also? Just like the chest pain brought on by a problem with your body, perhaps the good feelings are just also completely material. People on acid, mushrooms, weed and many many other drugs have reported feeling ‘at one’ with the world.

  • Von

    Mushrooms?! Oh dear. Have you read my biography? I call it ‘A weed user’s delight’. I’m not going to be locked up if I go to the home of the free for saying that, am I?

    Any evidence that I would accept would be critically analyzed. Of course.

    From scientific evidence, I admit, there is no evidence that god exists. But I have to agree with Flew. Science’s explanation of our origin is inadequate. For example, autogenesis, as it stands, is unimpressive. That’s part of the reason why I call myself a ‘scientific agnostic’. Agnosticism, due to science’s inadequacy, is seemingly more rational.

    Von

  • Ritchie

    Von -

    I suspect your understanding of what atheism and agnosticism actually are is slightly flawed.

    A person believes in God or they don’t. You either have an active faith that a god (of any sort) is looking down on us or not. If you do, you are a theist. If not, you are an atheist. There is no inbetween.

    Many people make the mistake of thinking of agnosticism as some kind of middle-ground. as though ‘theists say there is a God, atheists say there is no God, agnostics say we don’t know’. This is incorrect. Agnosticism is actually a position which states that God is unknowable! Many atheists including myself do not say there is DEFINITELY no God. We cannot be absolutely positive no God exists. But there is no evidence for one, and thus, no reason to believe there is one any more than to believe in unicorns or fairies.

    But even if it were the case that agnosticism is some halfway house, would it still be a rational position? Frankly no. Take the hypothesis that there is an invisible, immaterial, intangible elephant in my living room. Since it is invisible, intangible and immaterial, I have absolutely no way of detecting whether or not it is really there. All the evidence supports the absence of the elephant just as much as the existence of the elephant. Should I behave as though it MIGHT be there? Should I suspend judgement on whether it is there or not?

    Using the principle of Occam’s razor, I should chose the simplest explanation, and that is that there is no elephant. I should behave as though there is no elephant until more evidence appears which would make me review my conclusion.

    And so it is with God. With no real evidence supporting His existence, it is entirely logical to behave as if He does not exist until some good evidence can be presented to make us reconsider our conclusion.

  • Ritchie

    Von -

    That’s part of the reason why I call myself a ‘scientific agnostic’.

    Not wanting to be petty or anything, but that kinda makes you sound as though you’re agnostic ABOUT science. Just a thought…

    From scientific evidence, I admit, there is no evidence that god exists. But I have to agree with Flew. Science’s explanation of our origin is inadequate. For example, autogenesis, as it stands, is unimpressive.

    You are correct that science has not got all the answers. There are many things about the universe which we do not know, and the origin of life is one of them. However, that does not justify having ‘God did it’ as a default answer. The only intellectually honest thing to say is that we don’t know precisely how life originated – yet. We may find out in the future, but at the moment, we simply don’t know. Why does that make the hypothesis that God did it any more likely?

    For one thing, without any evidence for God (and you yourself admit there is none), the story of God creating us/life/the universe is just a story! Nothing more. I could invent one of them if you like. I could tell you the universe got snezzed out of the nose of a giant space monkey, or blown out of the bottom of a giant space elephant. I could invent a hundred tales – and each one would be as well supported by the evidence as the story about God.

    Or look at it this way – there was a time when gods and spirits were used to explain everything, from the seasons to illnesses to lightening. And yet, as each scientific mystery has been solved, as science has found the cause of seasons, storms, illnesses etc., we have always found a natural explaination. The easy answer of ‘It’s the work of the gods’ has never yet been found to be true. Why should we expect things to be different with the mysteries that plague us today?

  • Von

    Guys

    I understand your comments. I’ll think them through.

    Von

  • Von

    Ritchie

    I do follow a religion. But the existence of a Diety is unknowable, at least from a scientific perspective. The fact it’s unknowable is the way I understand what an agnostic person is. Wiki seems to agree.

    I get a lot out of following my religion. It’s quite fascinating. The history is quite remarkable, whether or not there is a God.

    I could go on about other reasons why I tend to believe, but you wouldn’t accept them. So just forget it.

    Now, I think we’re about 1 million kilometres away from the original topic. How the hell did this happen?

    Von

  • Ritchie

    Von

    I do follow a religion. But the existence of a Diety is unknowable, at least from a scientific perspective. The fact it’s unknowable is the way I understand what an agnostic person is. Wiki seems to agree.

    Yes, that’s what I was saying. The position of agnosticism is that God is unknowable. The prefix ‘a-’ meaning without, and ‘gnosis’ meaning knowledge. Just as ‘a- theism’ means without belief.

    I myself, for example, am an atheist, simply because I do not believe in any god. I might ALSO be of the opinion that knowledge about the existence of such a being would be unknowable, in which case I would be both an agnostic AND an atheist. The way you are describing yourself makes you sound like an agnostic theist. Does that make sense?

    The point I was making here is that I and most atheists I know are NOT saying ‘There is absolutely, definitely no God!’ Such a statement would be impossible to prove and irrational to believe. But the existence of God is no more likely that the existence of fairies or unicorns or Santa.

    I get a lot out of following my religion. It’s quite fascinating. The history is quite remarkable, whether or not there is a God.

    I don’t doubt it for a single moment. But notice these are things an atheist could appreciate.

    I could go on about other reasons why I tend to believe, but you wouldn’t accept them. So just forget it.

    I resent the implication that I would dismiss any kind of evidence simply because I do not like it. I wouldn’t accept it without examining it and questioning it, but if it weathered a critical analysis then I would be more than happy to admit I was wrong. I have done so many times before.

    Of course your faith is your own private business, and if you do not wish to share intimate details of it on a public forum, that is your right and no-one would think any less of you, I’m sure.

  • Von

    Ritchie

    Sorry to have insulted you. That wasn’t what I meant.

    Agnostic theist. All these terminologies give me a headache!

    Actually, we have a lot in common in the way we think. Our beliefs are only slightly different.

    If say, God does exist. I’m sure he/she would appreciate our rationalism.

    I still wouldn’t equate God with Santa though. If, hell- imagine the furore, the rabbit was found in the Cambrian, I think the planet would change pretty quickly. In other words, the same way Darwin changed science, another individual with some incredible insight could do the same. You never know, it may be Richard Dawkins just ordained as a RC Cardinal. HA, HA, HA. Or Flew with the unused for centuries title- Pontifex Maximus.

    Von

  • Ritchie

    Von

    Sorry to have insulted you. That wasn’t what I meant.

    That’s cool. No offence taken.

    If say, God does exist. I’m sure he/she would appreciate our rationalism.

    Amen to that! I say, if there is a benevolent God looking over us, he can hardly condemn our souls to torment for the sin of not believing when there is no evidence for His existence. I’m sure I wouldn’t if I were in His shoes.

    I still wouldn’t equate God with Santa though. If, hell- imagine the furore, the rabbit was found in the Cambrian, I think the planet would change pretty quickly. In other words, the same way Darwin changed science, another individual with some incredible insight could do the same.

    You are absolutely correct. The vital piece of evidence demonstrating the existence of God could be just around the corner. But the same is also true of Santa. Maybe there IS a fat man who rides on a sledge with flying reindeer and brings presents to children all over the world in one night. No-one can prove he DOESN’T exist…

  • Von

    Ritchie

    About Santa. When levitation is invented and some kind of time machine too, then he could be proven.

    It’s been a delight.

    Von

  • Ritchie

    Sorry, I’ve only just gone back over your last few posts before I chimed in and noticed you were trying to break away for a while.

    Nice to have spoken with you.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    About Santa. When levitation is invented and some kind of time machine too, then he could be proven.

    Think of how much more you’d have to invent in order to prove god. god, from that standpoint, is even more unlikely than Santa.

    In other words, the same way Darwin changed science, another individual with some incredible insight could do the same.

    This is very likely. The trend in science has been increasingly to explain our world without recourse to using magic and superstition. god is becoming less and less used as an “answer” for life’s mysteries.

  • Ashley

    I am a Christian and I, personally, do not believe in predestination. I figured I would give some Bible verses that counter the arguement of predestination because it is always good to challenge eachother in what they believe. I believe that God can and does reach into the lives of His creation to fullfill His purposes, but He doesn’t hand pick those who will receive eternal life. Although Romans 9 does blatantly speak about God’s predestination, I believe that Paul is refering to many historically relevant concepts such as Jacob and Esau that were widely known and discussed during his time, and that we cannot rightly interpret the Scriptures without the appropriate historical and cultural background and influence.

    This is an amazing link for more information: http://www.aggelia.com/htdocs/predestination.shtml

    Here are just a few of the verses that argue against predestination: John 3:16 Rev 22:17, John 6:37, Luke 15:2, 2 Corinth 5:14-15, Rev 21:6, 2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 20:28, 1 Tim 2:6, Hebrews 2:9, 1 John 2:2, Romans 3:22, Romans 5:18, James 5:19-20

    I value every person’s opinions and I know we are all entitled to our own, so this is my own personal opinion. I don’t intend to offend anyone, but just to enlighten and challenge. I believe a thirst for knowledge and an open heart and mind are key to growth. With that I say…

    God Bless each one of you :)

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I am a Christian and I, personally, do not believe in predestination.

    Then you’ll need to replace your omniscience/freewill synchromesh. Predestination is the only logical derivation of an omnipotent god.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Speaking of “omni” characteristics, did you know that on Christmas God gets omnipresents?

    That worked better out loud.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    In the Ephesians verse supplied by the author, it says “having predestinated [Greek proorizo, to predetermine, to decide beforehand] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself”. Do y’all not think that He predestinated for us to be saved by Jesus Christ, which is what it says? He knew beforehand that He wanted us to go through the saving power of Jesus Christ in order to get to Him, that is predestined. It is not saying, however, that we are predestined to go to heaven or hell, only how we can get to heaven.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Yes. But really, the balrog did it.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    So, Lee, that means that god meant for us to fall, suffer, etc. Nice guy that god.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    I also like the “because science tested it, it is a fact!” attitude. I wonder what new and exciting thing will cause cancer that scientists have discovered tomorrow? Of course, then in two weeks, it should actually be part of your daily diet. If you wanna believe everything scientists tell you based on “theories”, maybe we should all just live in cancer-free bubbles

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    Not trying to start a fight or offend anyone by any means, but I was reading an earlier post on here and am a little confused:

    How can an atheist believe that there is a chance God exist, but at the same time be fully supportive of the science accepted theory? Neither one supports each other so how can you believe that both are a possibility?

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Lee,
    Science is self-correcting and the best tool we have to gain knowledge. Our conclusions change based on gaining more and more evidence, which is a strength of science, not a weakness. And you seem to be ignorant about what a scientific theory is. It’s not a guess or a hunch as it’s commonly thought of in layman’s terms.

    How can an atheist believe that there is a chance God exist, but at the same time be fully supportive of the science accepted theory? Neither one supports each other so how can you believe that both are a possibility?

    If you really want an answer to this, you may have to be a bit more specific. Of course it’s all right for an atheist to accept that there is a chance (however small) that a god could exist. And, to my knowledge, there is no scientific theory or evidence that rules out the existence of a god of some type.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    OMGF,

    I was actually referring to someone’s comment on here earlier that said that atheists believe that there is a chance that God exists, but that they can also explain our complete existence based on science.
    I was just wondering how can you believe both if God is creator of all which does not support science’s theory and vice versa.

    I am aware of what a scientific theory is: it is a system of ideas, aka “educated GUESS”, based on experiments and what evidence they have. But isn’t the scientific idea is that of the BIg Bang Theory and what evidence do they have? Some of the evidence is that the universe is expanding. I don’t understand how the universe expanding is any more contributing to the Big Bang Theory than an infant is contributing to the construction of a skyscraper. God is creator of all things. He never claimed that the universe isn’t changing or that there isn’t radiation in space or that matter isn’t floating around.

  • http://theorangesashford.moonfruit.com Steve Bowen

    Lee

    I am aware of what a scientific theory is: it is a system of ideas, aka “educated GUESS”, based on experiments and what evidence they have.

    No it isn’t. A scientific theory is a model of reality based on observation. It allows predictions to be made which that can be tested by empirical experiment or further observation with the possibility that the theory can be proved false. The more the theory withstands attempts at falsification the more accepted it becomes. Science however always accepts that there may be some more data out there which means the model has to be revised.

    I was just wondering how can you believe both if God is creator of all which does not support science’s theory and vice versa.

    It very much depends on what kind of a god you are talking about. If you mean a literal Abrahamic type creator god, you can’t (unless you decide that god is a complete arse and designed the world to look as if it wasn’t created that way). However as OMGF points out there is nothing in science that completely rules out some kind of prime mover or first cause (although there are plenty of logical and philosophical arguments against this)

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lee wrote:

    Some of the evidence is that the universe is expanding. I don’t understand how the universe expanding is any more contributing to the Big Bang Theory than an infant is contributing to the construction of a skyscraper.

    If the matter in the Universe is flying apart, we can “rewind the tape”, so to speak, and see that the material of the Universe, at T = T-1 (where T = time in years), had to have been closer. At a certain time, say, T = T-13,800,000,000, we can see that all of the matter in the Universe should’ve been compacted into a singularity which then expanded, creating space and time. This model makes predictions, such as microwave background radiation with variations, that are supported by observations with a high degree of congruence.

    The proper analogy in this particular instance would be that this is a brick in the skyscraper.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    I was actually referring to someone’s comment on here earlier that said that atheists believe that there is a chance that God exists, but that they can also explain our complete existence based on science.

    This wouldn’t mean that a god didn’t exist.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    Just curious, lets pretend that the Big Bang Theory is correct, did scientists ever consider maybe they found a possibility of HOW God created all things? Obviously I do not know HOW God made everything, I just believe He did. And also, Thumpalumpacus, that does seem like logic thinking, HOWEVER, where did the singular, compact segment of matter come from?

    P.S. Thanks guys for not straight up attacking me. I felt that I should defend God, but I am not trying to cause conflict with anyone, just debate and learn.

    May God bless everyone!

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    Sorry OMGF.

    Does your last comment relate to what I am asking? I did not see your post at the moment.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lee wrote:

    And also, Thumpalumpacus, that does seem like logic thinking, HOWEVER, where did the singular, compact segment of matter come from?

    No one knows, and no one can know (with our current understanding of physics), because the laws of physics aren’t applicable before Planck Time, when the Universe was 10^-43 sec old. Before that time, no one can say anything about what did or didn’t exist.

    The possibility that God used the Big Bang to render creation is reasonable, if one first believes in God. However, I do not. To say that “God made the Universe” violates parsimony and lacks evidence, and thus is not tenable.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    I can see how one may think that, but Big Bang theory does lack evidence, otherwise it would not be incomplete correct? (comment on where did first bit of matter originate).

    If you do not mind me asking, why are you certain there isn’t God?

  • http://theorangesashford.moonfruit.com Steve Bowen

    Lee

    Thumpalumpicus said

    The possibility that God used the Big Bang to render creation is reasonable, if one first believes in God. However, I do not. To say that “God made the Universe” violates parsimony and lacks evidence, and thus is not tenable.

    At the risk of patronising you (and if I am I am sorry) I’ll un-pack that statement.
    Thump means that although God could be behind the big bang, to say he is just adds a further entity to explain the existence of. It is simpler (more parsimonious) to assume the universe “just is”.
    This is one of the logical/philosophical arguments I referred to in #99, the obvious argument is that you get an infinite series if questions if you don’t stop somewhere; “who created God, who created God’s creator” etc. The other point is that for a god to have created the universe it would have to be more complex than the thing it created, making its own existance even less likely.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Lee,
    You seem to be drawing a false dichotomy between science and god at times, which is what your comment seemed to imply. I was pointing out that it is not a true dichotomy, which it seems you reinforce with your idea that god could have started the big bang. This leaves me wondering what you are asking when you ask how atheists can accept scientific explanations and still say that a god is logically possible.

    I can see how one may think that, but Big Bang theory does lack evidence, otherwise it would not be incomplete correct?

    There are things we don’t know. This, however, doesn’t mean that the big bang is in doubt or that we should chuck it out in favor of goddidit. Our knowledge on any particular topic may never be 100% complete, but we can get to levels where we can say that certain things are facts. Evolution, big bang, etc. are all facts as the degree of our certainty is so great due to the volumes of evidence that we are justified in thinking they are factual.

    Adding god to the mix of the universal formation is an unjustified leap and violate Occam’s Razor.

    If you do not mind me asking, why are you certain there isn’t God?

    I don’t believe anyone here has said that they are certain there is no god. I’m certain that some specific gods can not exist as they are logically contradictory, but I can’t say that I’m certain that no god exists. The problem is that we simply have no evidence for any god and hence no reason to believe that any god does exist.

  • Arch

    There are things we don’t know. This, however, doesn’t mean that the big bang is in doubt or that we should chuck it out in favor of goddidit. Our knowledge on any particular topic may never be 100% complete

    But one of the very, very large problems here is that nothing can will itself into existence from non-existence. So with zero percent evidence of nothingness making itself into something, you still reject that God is likely, or as St. Thomas Aquinas explained, necessary.

    Accepting creation without an eternal God when nothing in the universe can will its own existence… that is a true example of an unjustified leap.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lee wrote:

    If you do not mind me asking, why are you certain there isn’t God?

    I am not “certain there isn’t God.” However, the lack of evidence for such a being is such that, even with the “incomplete” evidence (what does that mean, anyway? My evidence for you is incomplete — should I disregard my theory that you are a living being?) of the Big Bang, BB seems much more likely. But this is actually a false dichotomy; nothing in BB theory comments about God’s existence at all. (And thanks to OMGF and Steve Bowen for anticipating my answer here. I guess I’m posting too much if I’m that predictable).

    Arch wrote:

    But one of the very, very large problems here is that nothing can will itself into existence from non-existence.

    Aside from the fact that “will” is unneccessary, not to say irrelevant, to the issue, the virtual particles of quantum mechanics show that this trope of yours is completely incorrect.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Arch,

    But one of the very, very large problems here is that nothing can will itself into existence from non-existence.

    Not only what Thump said, but you also assume too much. You have no idea whether anything existed before the big bang, or what it means to even say that, considering that time didn’t exist. You can’t simply assume that there was nothingness which became something and that a god is needed in order to explain that in order to show that there was nothingness that became something and god is the only explanation. It’s called begging the question. You’re also imparting personification upon the act of the big bang by talking about “will.” There’s no need to assume that there was any “will” behind it at all.

  • Arch

    Aside from the fact that “will” is unneccessary, not to say irrelevant, to the issue, the virtual particles of quantum mechanics show that this trope of yours is completely incorrect.

    This is going down the same road as before, and, if you would like, substitute “cause” for “will”. Quantum mechanics do not prove anything. How did any particle, thing, cell, being, law of mechanics, etc, come into being? There is zero evidence for something causing its own existence, yet some are still willing to dismiss God . Once again, that is a truly unjustified leap.

    You have no idea whether anything existed before the big bang, or what it means to even say that, considering that time didn’t exist.

    This is more of the same from earlier posts. If nothing existed before the Big Bang, then nothing would exist now. Nothing can create itself. And you admit that time did not exist. Then how did time begin? It could not make itself begin.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Arch,
    You seem to be very confused about this subject, which is understandable, because it’s rather confusing, but let’s try to unpack some of your difficulties:

    This is going down the same road as before, and, if you would like, substitute “cause” for “will”.

    These are two distinct things. Will implies intent. Cause simply means that one event triggered another event. Do you believe that the Earth wills objects to fall or simply that the force of gravity is the cause of it?

    Quantum mechanics do not prove anything.

    Actually, we see particles blink into and out of existence without cause. This shows that your argument is deficient.

    How did any particle, thing, cell, being, law of mechanics, etc, come into being?

    We don’t know how the universe became as it is, but it’s unjustified to claim that it came from nothing or that something had to cause it to be so.

    There is zero evidence for something causing its own existence, yet some are still willing to dismiss God . Once again, that is a truly unjustified leap.

    When you can present evidence (and really prove) that the universe was “caused” by something, and a personal entity that can be called a god, then you’ll have much firmer footing to make this statement. Until then, you are the one making unjustified leaps. What evidence do you have that the universe was “caused?” What evidence do you have that nothing existed before the big bang? What evidence do you have that “before the big bang” is a meaningful term considering the absence of what we regard as time? Using that same absence of time and the inevitable need for time to determine causality, what evidence do you have that it’s even reasonable to speak about causality prior to the big bang?

    If nothing existed before the Big Bang, then nothing would exist now.

    How do you know this is the case? What evidence do you have for that belief?

    And you admit that time did not exist. Then how did time begin? It could not make itself begin.

    It’s an emergent property of our universe.

    What you seem to not understand is a couple things:
    1. No one is claiming that there was nothing and then there was something. There are myriad possibilities and you can’t keep trying to burn the same strawman as if that buttresses your argument. We don’t know what was around before the big bang or if it makes sense to talk that way.
    2. Time is a property of this universe, at least as we know and understand it. Before 10^-43 seconds of the lifetime of our universe, we can’t really speak about time, because all physics breaks down. Causality and intentionality as we understand them are dependent upon time. If we can’t talk about time, how can we talk about causality?
    3. You can’t assume creation, which you seem intent upon doing. You don’t know that anything was created vs. simply a change of state. And, even if there was a “creation” of types…
    4. Creation doesn’t imply a personal god as you seem to want to leap to. For all we know, our universe could be the spawn of a larger meta-universe that was “created” by completely impersonal means that obeyed the physics of that meta-universe. We can’t rule it out, which leads us to 5…
    5. Your argument is based on creating a false dichotomy, finding a reason to rule it out and then pretending that your solution should be the default. You need to present evidence for your position if you want it to be considered viable and/or show how it is the most parsimonious answer.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Arch wrote:

    Quantum mechanics do not prove anything. How did any particle, thing, cell, being, law of mechanics, etc, come into being? There is zero evidence for something causing its own existence, yet some are still willing to dismiss God . Once again, that is a truly unjustified leap.

    I refer you to:

    http://science.jrank.org/pages/7195/Virtual-Particles.html

    If you examine the Casimir Effect, you’ll see that causeless particles happen all the time, and that should get you to reexxamine your argument.

    This all, however, depends on the motivations for your incorrect arguments.

  • http://theorangesashford.moonfruit.com Steve Bowen

    And just to throw in the admittedly unsatisfactory, but nonetheless plausible, statistical hypothesis. There is only one way for there to be nothing, but many ways for there to be something, therefore odds there will be something

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    I really don’t think that the main focal of this string is wether cause should have been used or will. I understand that they have 2 different meanings but I believe we all knew what Arch meant.

    What Arch said makes a ton of sense. Maybe “wheel” itself into existence would have been more satisfying? Haha

    Thump:
    I am aware know that I asked you how you can be certain God doesn’t exist when in fact you didn’t say He doesn’t exist, just that you don’t believe in Him.
    I don’t understand what is hazy about the incomplete evidence part. I do know that some people are more particular with words so maybe missing piece is better.
    P.S. You should know I am a human being, I promise I am not an android. lol

    OMGF:
    How is adding God to the mix of the formation of the universe an unjustifiable leap and what do I care about Occam’s Razor? In all technicalities, if one should consider Occam’s Razor, wouldn’t it actually be a lot easier to just say God did it as opposed to trying to explain how the universe was created and attempting to approve or disprove it, hence the simplest strategy or explanation tends to be the best one?
    Also, what do you suggest existed before the big bang? Why would Arch need evidence to prove the statement about if nothing existed before the big bang, then nothing could exist now? Is that not kind of a gimme? That’s just common sense and logical reasoning. You even suggested that time did not exist prior to big bang, then what could cause the big bang if it did not occupy any time in space?

    OMGF and Thump:
    What are these particles made of? Atoms and molecules perhaps? Once again where do these come from? This by no means disproved what Arch has said. Everything comes from something. Nothing can create itself. Thats not even logic.
    I would also like to point out, because I did a little research on the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle which I got some info of this topic off of the supplied link from Thump (thanks by the way), that these virtual particles “exist” in a time frame too small to observe? This would prove OMGF’s statement deficient about observing particles blink in and out of existence. How can you prove something exists anyways without observing it? Faith perhaps? I believe this whole virtual particle should be in an uncertainty category of its own.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Lee,

    How is adding God to the mix of the formation of the universe an unjustifiable leap and what do I care about Occam’s Razor? In all technicalities, if one should consider Occam’s Razor, wouldn’t it actually be a lot easier to just say God did it as opposed to trying to explain how the universe was created and attempting to approve or disprove it, hence the simplest strategy or explanation tends to be the best one?

    No, adding god to the mix is the most complicated and unnecessary layer you can add. You’ve explained nothing by saying “goddidit” and you’ve simply added more unanswered questions. You’ve also added an entity to the mix that previously didn’t exist – i.e. you started with nature and went to nature + god. Further, without evidence that some god exists, it’s unjustified to leap to it as an explanation.

    Also, what do you suggest existed before the big bang?

    I don’t know, and I’m not sure that this question even makes sense. It’s like asking what’s north of the north pole? Before time existed, how could there be a before?

    Why would Arch need evidence to prove the statement about if nothing existed before the big bang, then nothing could exist now?

    For a couple reasons – 1. Arch doesn’t know that nothing existed. 2. We know from quantum theory that particles do seem to come from nothing in certain situations.

    You even suggested that time did not exist prior to big bang, then what could cause the big bang if it did not occupy any time in space?

    What do you mean by “cause” if there was no time? Cause is linked to time in the sense that without it you can’t claim that one thing “caused” another.

    What are these particles made of? Atoms and molecules perhaps? Once again where do these come from?

    See here.

    This by no means disproved what Arch has said. Everything comes from something. Nothing can create itself. Thats not even logic.

    Um, that’s the whole point of virtual particles, they arise from nothing. If you and Arch are making the claim that everything comes from something, then you are wrong.

    How can you prove something exists anyways without observing it? Faith perhaps?

    No. We “observe” them by the effect they have on the world around them.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lee wrote:

    I am aware know that I asked you how you can be certain God doesn’t exist when in fact you didn’t say He doesn’t exist, just that you don’t believe in Him. I don’t understand what is hazy about the incomplete evidence part. I do know that some people are more particular with words so maybe missing piece is better.
    P.S. You should know I am a human being, I promise I am not an android. lol

    What I mean by “incomplete evidence” is that incomplete evidence is still evidence that may be weighed, balanced, and examined to produce yet more evidence. Simply because we have a gap in our knowledge is no reason to assign that gap to a god lacking any evidence; incomplete evidence trumps no evidence.

    OMGF and Thump:
    What are these particles made of? Atoms and molecules perhaps? Once again where do these come from? This by no means disproved what Arch has said. Everything comes from something. Nothing can create itself.

    Nothing is created, or destroyed — it is transmuted, or phased, between energy and matter. Even the virtual particles are just transmuted energy. Additionally, saying that “everything comes from something” is certainly fatal to your creator hypothesis. And no one is arguing that anything is creating itself.

    Thats not even logic.

    This, from a theist. Irony, anyone?

    I would also like to point out, because I did a little research on the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle which I got some info of this topic off of the supplied link from Thump (thanks by the way), that these virtual particles “exist” in a time frame too small to observe? This would prove OMGF’s statement deficient about observing particles blink in and out of existence. How can you prove something exists anyways without observing it? Faith perhaps? I believe this whole virtual particle should be in an uncertainty category of its own.

    Fortuntely for you, but unfortunately for your argument, these virtual particles are shown to exist by the very fact of your posting here; after all, how could you see your monitor without the photons given off when an electron slides into a lower-energy orbit? Simply because they are too small to directly observe doesn’t mean they are non-existent. I mean, virii are too small to see, but I’ll bet you still take your medicine.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    Not sure I see the irony in me being a theist and being logic…..
    Bad example with the monitor relating to virtual particles brother…you said something happens as a result of something else, aka WHEN an electron slides into a lower-energy orbit.

    I am also dumbfounded as to why you believe there is no evidence of God?

    Eye witnesses for Jesus’ presence, GOD’s one and only Son, seeing the empty tomb, eating with Him after they saw Him crucified…..and on and on….

    Just curious, how many eye-witnesses exactly were there for this Big Bang theory?

    I was speaking with a fellow physicist and biologist about this thread and he wanted me to bring up a question…

    When was the last time that anything was created from an explosion or in relation to…?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Lee “Eye witnesses for Jesus’ presence, GOD’s one and only Son, seeing the empty tomb, eating with Him after they saw Him crucified…..and on and on….”
    I hate to point this out, but that makes everybody (virtuallly) else’s religion true, too.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lee wote:

    Not sure I see the irony in me being a theist and being logic…..
    Bad example with the monitor relating to virtual particles brother…you said something happens as a result of something else, aka WHEN an electron slides into a lower-energy orbit.

    I’m unclear how you reiterating my example negates it. Kindly clarify.

    I am also dumbfounded as to why you believe there is no evidence of God?

    In that case, please provide some.

    Eye witnesses for Jesus’ presence, GOD’s one and only Son, seeing the empty tomb, eating with Him after they saw Him crucified…..and on and on….

    Citing the Bible as evidence for God is like citing a criminal’s protestations of innocence in freeing him. It’s begging the question.

    Just curious, how many eye-witnesses exactly were there for this Big Bang theory?

    We’re almost there. You apparently don’t realize that as we look out further into space, we look further back in time. Right now, using the infrared spectrum, we can see back around 12 billion years. That’s 85% of the way to the Big Bang. Give it time.

    By the way, did you witness the Resurrection?

    I was speaking with a fellow physicist and biologist about this thread and he wanted me to bring up a question…

    When was the last time that anything was created from an explosion or in relation to…?

    Your physicist friend has no grasp of BB theory if he thinks it was an “explosion”. The BB was an expansion of spacetime itself. It no more “exploded” than does a balloon upon inflation.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Lee,

    Eye witnesses for Jesus’ presence, GOD’s one and only Son, seeing the empty tomb, eating with Him after they saw Him crucified…..and on and on….

    Not only what others said, but the authors of the Bible were not eye witnesses and all those stories are hearsay after the fact. We have no evidence that Jesus was god’s son and very scant evidence of Jesus’ existence at all.

    Just curious, how many eye-witnesses exactly were there for this Big Bang theory?

    It should also be noted that eye witnesses are an extremely unreliable source of evidence. We have much better evidence for the big bang including background radiation, red shifts, etc.

    When was the last time that anything was created from an explosion or in relation to…?

    Really? I mean, c’mon. A physicist should know better. All the matter and energy in the universe is neither created nor destroyed in explosions – things simply change form. There’s no reason to think the big bang was anything except a change in form as well.

  • http://jordan.lee_r@yahoo.com Lee

    Sorry guys, it would be a lot easier communicating if I inserted direct quotes as yall do, but I haven’t taken the time to figure it out bc I just kind of bounce back and forth and every now and then I make it to this thread.

    Thump:
    About your example, I was suggesting that was a poor example of virtual particles when yall say they come from nothing, yet you yourself claimed that the photons are given off after (as a result of) an electron slides into a lower orbit.
    Maybe I am confused but that is just how I took it.
    I don’t understand why the bible cannot be used in evidence towards God’s existence?
    Seems the direct source is always the best place to go.

    OMGF:
    I understand that stories can get misconstrued the more mouths that it goes through, but eye witness is exact.
    If you see something or someone, especially when you directly interact with it or them and have a relationship with it or them, wouldn’t that be a pretty secure bet in the existence of it or them?

    You can’t argue” oh well that was from a long time ago” either. If that is the case, 100 years from know will the BB theory be obsolete?

    Modus:
    I am always willing to learn, when time will permit of course, so what other religions have had a god powerful enough to be raised from the dead? Most other gods are so claimed to have spurred from other dead gods.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Lee “I am always willing to learn, when time will permit of course, so what other religions have had a god powerful enough to be raised from the dead?”
    That’s an odd metric. “What other religions have a god die, only to be raised by another part of that same god (which is also the one that died)?”
    A bunch of other religions have, to varying degrees, resurrection of the dead.

    “Most other gods are so claimed to have spurred from other dead gods.”
    Worst. Neo-natal ward. Ever.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    I am always willing to learn, when time will permit of course, so what other religions have had a god powerful enough to be raised from the dead?

    Lee, the dying-and-rising savior motif isn’t unique to Christianity. It was a very common feature of religions in the ancient world: The Egyptian mystery cults had Osiris. The Babylonians had Tammuz and Inanna. The Romans had Romulus. The Greeks had Dionysius. And there are others; in fact, Pliny the Elder says many ancient gods were believed to have done this.

    Richard Carrier discusses this in one chapter of his essay on whether Christianity is too improbable to be false.

  • Arch

    Even the virtual particles are just transmuted energy.

    So they clearly do not come to exist of their own accord from nothing, create their own being, or occur without a medium… trying to explain the means of their existence without God is an act of speculation, another “leap of faith in science” with no definitive answer. Quantum mechanics do not make the incredible complexity of the cosmos, matter, the cell, human life, etc, any more likely without God. Explaining the beginning of particles, the cell, the Big Bang theory, etc, without God is a dead end. For creation to have occurred from nothing, without God, is unexplainable and impossible. Nothingness cannot create or beget anything, and if nothing can cause its own existence, there should still be nothing today. Someone can make the argument that there could have been something, but will be unable to give any reasonable explanation of the existence of that something, unless they recognize the existence of an uncreated, transcendent Being.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    No matter how long you go on about it, Arch, your argument can be reduced to one sentence of special pleading:

    “The universe has to have a creator, but God doesn’t, because I say so.”

    Do you really expect atheists to not recognize this fallacy for what it is?

  • http://theorangesashford.moonfruit.com Steve Bowen

    Lee

    Bad example with the monitor relating to virtual particles brother…you said something happens as a result of something else, aka WHEN an electron slides into a lower-energy orbit.

    Not a bad example at all, Thump was spot on. The electron itself is a virtual particle, not a little ball wizzing in orbit around a nucleus. It is a virtual vave/particle with a statistical probability of coming into existence with a particular energetic relationship to a nucleus. At this quantum level it is actually difficult to talk about causality at all as the relatioship between “the” electron and “the” photon is a statistical one not an actual “this happened then that happened”.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Lee,

    I understand that stories can get misconstrued the more mouths that it goes through, but eye witness is exact.

    A) You don’t have any eye witnesses to Jesus.
    B) Eye witnesses are inherently unreliable as I already said. In fact, Ebon’s already done a post on it.

    If you see something or someone, especially when you directly interact with it or them and have a relationship with it or them, wouldn’t that be a pretty secure bet in the existence of it or them?

    If you are talking about supernatural beings, no. Even if you were speaking to a supernatural being, what assurance would you have that the being is who it says it is and is not lying to you?

    You can’t argue” oh well that was from a long time ago” either. If that is the case, 100 years from know will the BB theory be obsolete?

    I would argue that the only aleged acounts we have of Jesus come from well after they supposedly happened. We don’t have evidence for their existence. The BB, however, left behind traces of evidence and still exhibits that evidence to this day, which is what we can and do measure.

    Arch,
    Sticking your finger in your ears and yelling the same thing over and over is rather unpersuasive when your argument has already been met with objections. Ignoring them and repeating yourself doesn’t make you any more correct. So, before you start talking about how we need god to explain the unexplainable (god of the gaps fallacy) you need to provide evidence that this god exists.

  • Arch

    Sticking your finger in your ears and yelling the same thing over and over is rather unpersuasive when your argument has already been met with objections. Ignoring them and repeating yourself doesn’t make you any more correct.

    I repeat problems and questions that your comments and responses continue to fail to answer. Why is there something rather than nothing? How could the universe come to be, without an eternal Being, if nothing can cause its own existence? How did human life begin without God? How did the cell derive from matter? How is there any meaning of life without God? Wouldn’t it be arbitrary meaning, and therefore just as acceptable to have no meaning? How did time begin without God? How could organisms without intelligence have been able to act in particular ways without God? Etc… These questions are some of the key questions to natural revelation. The possibility, the likelihood, and the necessity of God can be recognized through observation of creation and reason.

    No matter how long you go on about it, Arch, your argument can be reduced to one sentence of special pleading:
    “The universe has to have a creator, but God doesn’t, because I say so.”
    Do you really expect atheists to not recognize this fallacy for what it is?

    If I may show the atheistic position in a similar light, we may say: “The universe just came to be. Though nothing causes its own existence, it came to be without a Being who was not created, because I feel like there must have been some way for that to happen.” Yet there is absolutely no reasonable argument for how matter, particles, the cell, human life, etc, came into existence from nothing, or had the ability to be in existence perpetually. Without an eternal God, this is an inexplicable belief. God’s presence is stamped in creation, and in the very fact that we exist.

  • http://theorangesashford.moonfruit.com Steve Bowen

    Why is there something rather than nothing?

    We don’t know yet, but why should there be God rather than nothing?

    How could the universe come to be, without an eternal Being, if nothing can cause its own existence?

    As above, but how do you know “nothing can cause its own existence”

    How did human life begin without God?

    Evolution.

    How did the cell derive from matter?

    It didn’t. The cell is a further evolutionary step way after a simpler (possibly RNA) chemical replicant arose. We haven’t filled in the first step yet but we have hypotheses that don’t require God. Watch this space (gap?)

    How is there any meaning of life without God? Wouldn’t it be arbitrary meaning

    There is meaning because we have family and society and relationships that we have evolved to imbue with meaning. Is it arbitrary? maybe but no more abitrary than meaning from God.

    How did time begin without God?

    Time flows from entropy, and in any event may only be an artifact of the way we perceive the universe.

    How could organisms without intelligence have been able to act in particular ways without God?

    I don’t think this is even a meaningful question

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Arch,
    This is nothing more than a god of the gaps argument. What reason do you have to jump to goddidit as an “answer” to any of these questions? Why not, “You don’t know why the universe is here, so unicornsdidit, or leprechaunsdidit.”

    I repeat problems and questions that your comments and responses continue to fail to answer.

    Because you fail to actually look at what is being said. For instance, you keep claiming that nothing can cause its own existence and we keep correcting you that the universe may very well be a-causal (as some particles are, which has also been pointed out) and/or that the universe was “caused” by impersonal “cause.” It’s also been pointed out how it doesn’t really make sense to speak of causality in the absence of time, which you continue to ignore.

    The possibility, the likelihood, and the necessity of God can be recognized through observation of creation and reason.

    That may be so, but god of the gaps fallacious thinking isn’t getting you there.

    Yet there is absolutely no reasonable argument for how matter, particles, the cell, human life, etc, came into existence from nothing, or had the ability to be in existence perpetually.

    You don’t know that. The universe may very well be eternal or part of a larger meta-verse that is eternal for all intents and purposes. The universe did not exist eternally in its present form, but that doesn’t preclude other options. Jumping to god is simply not warranted since you’re doing it based only on pouncing on any perceived gap in knowledge.

    Without an eternal God, this is an inexplicable belief. God’s presence is stamped in creation, and in the very fact that we exist.

    How so? If you are going to claim that our existence proves god’s existence, then you’ll have to make an argument for it beyond, “You don’t know it doesn’t, so therefore it does.”

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Lee wrote:

    About your example, I was suggesting that was a poor example of virtual particles when yall say they come from nothing, yet you yourself claimed that the photons are given off after (as a result of) an electron slides into a lower orbit.
    Maybe I am confused but that is just how I took it.
    I don’t understand why the bible cannot be used in evidence towards God’s existence?
    Seems the direct source is always the best place to go.

    The photon was materially non-existent before the drop in orbits. It arose from the excess energy in the system. Thus, something materially may come from nothing.

    Using the Bible as evidence for God’s existence assumes the truth of the proposition that you’re seeking to prove. That is circular reasoning, a clear logical fallacy. Let me break it down for you:

    “God exists.”
    “How do you know?”
    “The Bible says so.”
    “Couldn’t the Bible be wrong?”
    “No.”
    “Why not?”
    “Because it is the inerrant Word of God.”

    Does that clarify this fallacy for you?

    Arch wrote:

    So they clearly do not come to exist of their own accord from nothing, create their own being, or occur without a medium… trying to explain the means of their existence without God is an act of speculation, another “leap of faith in science” with no definitive answer.

    Clearly, they did. First they didn’t exist, then they did. Quite literally, they come out of nowhere and go back into nowhere. Simply because the energy was already extant doesn’t mean anything, because energy itself is eternal, and the substrate for material existence.

    Quantum mechanics do not make the incredible complexity of the cosmos, matter, the cell, human life, etc, any more likely without God.

    My citation of QM was as a direct reply to the false statement that “something cannot come from nothing.” I’m aware of its limits and am not trying to use it to explain these things, although it certainly has a role in physical existence.

    Explaining the beginning of particles, the cell, the Big Bang theory, etc, without God is a dead end. For creation to have occurred from nothing, without God, is unexplainable and impossible. Nothingness cannot create or beget anything, and if nothing can cause its own existence, there should still be nothing today.

    These are all bald assertions advanced without evidence. To paraphrase Hitchens, what is advanced without evidence may be discarded without evidence.

    Someone can make the argument that there could have been something, but will be unable to give any reasonable explanation of the existence of that something, unless they recognize the existence of an uncreated, transcendent Being.

    Statistically speaking, something is much more likely than nothing, especially when you consider that a vacuum is most unstable.

    Forgive me for quoting my self, but you have yet to address this:

    Additionally, saying that “everything comes from something” is certainly fatal to your creator hypothesis.

    Kindly explain why you feel this doesn’t apply to your creator.

  • Arch

    The fact that everything comes from something shows the need of there to be One who is not created. But everything in the universe has been able to occur because of existences already here. Nothing causes or wills its own existence. There is a “Necessary Being” therefore, who most call God. If God did not exist, there would still be nothing, which is clearly not the case.

    How so? If you are going to claim that our existence proves god’s existence, then you’ll have to make an argument for it beyond, “You don’t know it doesn’t, so therefore it does.”

    I am explaining that belief in God is rational. Assenting to the belief that creation, matter, or energy was always here is not rational. Some are making an inexplicable assent to faith in something while denying God, and claiming that assenting to faith in God is not rational. That does not make sense, but some accuse theists of irrationally accepting the possibility of God. I’m afraid that rejecting God is the truly irrational stance. And God has no comparability with fairies or unicorns as some try to say. God is eternal, and that than which nothing greater can be conceived.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Arch wrote:

    The fact that everything comes from something shows the need of there to be One who is not created. But everything in the universe has been able to occur because of existences already here. Nothing causes or wills its own existence. There is a “Necessary Being” therefore, who most call God. If God did not exist, there would still be nothing, which is clearly not the case.

    Translation: “Assertions already shown wrong can be resurrected without regard to answering objections.”

    Arch, you should know that “Because I say so” isn’t a very persuasive argument.

  • http://www.whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Arch,

    The fact that everything comes from something shows the need of there to be One who is not created.

    We’ve already told you about cases where something doesn’t have to come from something else, and also mentioned that you don’t know that the universe was not always around. Once again, simply repeating yourself doesn’t make you any more persuasive or right.

    If God did not exist, there would still be nothing, which is clearly not the case.

    This is begging the question.

    I am explaining that belief in God is rational.

    By relying on logical fallacies and strawmen arguments as well as unevidence assertions that are shown to be wrong?

    Assenting to the belief that creation, matter, or energy was always here is not rational.

    It’s a logical possibility that the universe always existed.

    Some are making an inexplicable assent to faith in something while denying God, and claiming that assenting to faith in God is not rational. That does not make sense, but some accuse theists of irrationally accepting the possibility of God.

    Wrong again. None of us here are saying that the possibility of god is irrational. We are (at least some of us) saying that belief in god is irrational and that your arguments for positive belief in god are irrational. There’s a big difference. OTOH, it’s more rational to withhold belief in god, as we do, until such time as evidence comes forth to support such a belief.

    And God has no comparability with fairies or unicorns as some try to say.

    Says you, but until you can show why your god should be held as more likely than any of those other mythological creatures, there’s really no difference.

  • Peter N

    Explaining the beginning of particles, the cell, the Big Bang theory, etc, without God is a dead end.

    That’s hilarious.

    “Where did particles come from?”
    “I don’t know. God must have created them. End of story.”
    “Where did the cell come from?”
    “I don’t know. God must have created them. End of story.”
    “How did the Big Bang occur?”
    “I don’t know. God must have done it. End of story.”

    Seems like explaining these things with God is the dead end.

  • Arch

    Where did particles come from? I don’t know. God must have created them. End of story. Where did the cell come from? I don’t know. God must have created them. End of story. How did the Big Bang occur? I don’t know. God must have done it. End of story.

    Rejecting God as mythological through such an argument is opening the door to the problems with atheistic justification.
    “Where did particles come from? We have no answer, but it couldn’t have been God.”
    “When and how did the cell begin? We don’t know, but it would be ridiculous to say it was God.”
    “How did creation begin? We don’t know for sure, but if you say God, you are clearly illogical.”

    It cannot be proven that God does not exist. And an eternal, omnipotent Being is to me far more rational than professing belief in an unknown, undemonstrated feat of matter to not be bound by space and time or to generate its own existence and then flourish into complexities beyond our human faculties. Of course, this is to approach God through the mind only… and God’s presence is manifest through both the mind and the heart.
    An atheist clearly has faith, though it is faith in what God has created, and not faith the in Creator directly.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com/ OMGF

    Arch,

    “Where did particles come from? We have no answer, but it couldn’t have been God.”

    One more time…that’s a strawman. We aren’t saying it couldn’t be god, we are saying we are unjustified in claiming it was god. I understand that you refuse to actually read what we are saying, but just this once it would be nice.

    “When and how did the cell begin? We don’t know, but it would be ridiculous to say it was God.”
    “How did creation begin? We don’t know for sure, but if you say God, you are clearly illogical.”

    Once again, we are saying that sans evidence for this entity that you call “god” we are unjustified in claiming that it is responsible for all of these things. The best answer is to claim that we don’t know and not simply believe in whatever we want to. That is why you are irrational and illogical to assert positive belief in god instead of non-belief. Again, I doubt that you’ll get this and you will continue to flog strawmen.

    It cannot be proven that God does not exist.

    True. This, however, does not give us license to believe that god does or must exist. You can’t prove that unicorns don’t exist either.

    And an eternal, omnipotent Being is to me far more rational than professing belief in an unknown, undemonstrated feat of matter to not be bound by space and time or to generate its own existence and then flourish into complexities beyond our human faculties.

    What you are really saying is that an unknown entity that has no evidence is somehow more rational than reserving judgement or relying on methods and empirical data. This is clearly not so. I could just as easily say that unicorns are far more rational than professing belief in an unknown, undemonstrated creator god.

    Also, I’d like to point out, once again, that you seem stuck on this idea that something had to generate its own existence when it could have been generated by impersonal forces, a meta-universe, or simply have always existed. You can’t rule out any of those possibilities, no matter how often you try to flog your strawman.

    Finally, you want to claim it’s impossible for something to come from nothing, but you use special pleading (as Ebon pointed out and you’ve ignored) to not include your god in that classification.

    Of course, this is to approach God through the mind only… and God’s presence is manifest through both the mind and the heart.

    Sorry, but hearts don’t think or feel or do anything beyond pump blood.

    An atheist clearly has faith, though it is faith in what God has created, and not faith the in Creator directly.

    Your strawman versions of atheists may perhaps have faith. Perhaps if you actually listen to what we are saying, you might be able to overcome your erroneous assertions. Disbelief in your faith does not constitute a positive faith of its own. Or, do you think you have faith that unicorns don’t exist as well?

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Nonsense. I don’t know the exactments of the origin of the Universe, and I am comfortable saying so. Simply because I reject your philosophical approach to discovering reality doesn’t mean that I have a blind belief that God cannot exist. I know the futility of proving a negative.

    All I’m waiting for is evidence. Not philosophical musings on how things “must” have gotten started, but material, concrete evidence. Fetch some and then we’ll see.

    Please note that this is not “faith in science”; it is trust in science. The difference is that faith is blindly given, while trust is earned.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Are we done here? Yes, I think we are.


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