Existence confounds me

83


Discussion by: RobertDeanIII

In the God Delusion RD briefly brings up the idea of multiverse or oscillating universe while spending more time explaining away the idea of a first mover with improbability. You may recall: life is improbable but god then would be far more improbable. I'm rather inclined to throw an argument 'multiverse' into the philosophy drawer while thermodynamics discard an oscillating universe. There is no way, yet at least, to prove there is a multiverse (aside through the musings of theoretical physicists), or for that matter string theory. We should, for the moment, put all of those things in a philosophy drawer until we devise a way to test them empirically. With that in mind, can we say that a multiverse or string theory is as concrete as trying to prove a first mover? Surely, all things must have a root? I consider myself a deist, wholly convinced nothing good comes of religion. RD likewise considered himself an almost assured atheist (6.7 out of 7 if I'm not mistaken) and even said in his debate with John Lennox he could see a reasonable case being made for an Einsteinian god (the mathematician). I suppose I wonder if the atheist movement has more to do with the progress of humanism and secularism instead of trying to disprove a god?

83 COMMENTS

  1. HI Robert,

    I agree with you to a point. Many Atheists will point to a multi-verse or string theory as a possible explanation but I think you need to be careful here in that when we do we are doing so knowing it is an as yet unproven speculation (hypothesis). It is quite right for theoretical physicists to looking at this because it is there speculation that will ultimately lead to discovering how it all started (if this is at all possible). Carl Sagan at the start of Cosmos sums up the attitude nicely something like “we will not be afraid to speculate but we will be clear when we are”. So my question to you is why are you unwilling to consider say the multiverse as a possible explanation of the origins of the universe until there is empirical evidence but are willing to consider a deity as a possible explanation. At least the theoretical physicists have proposed ways in which these things might be tested. Believing in a deity just says their is an automatic answer without the looking, blocks people from seeking to discover the actual truth and pre-disposes people to sloppy thinking.

  2. Well, let’s say that we live in a simulated universe created by an undergrad student on Andromeda a long time ago. That doesn’t make him a god. We are not even quite sure he got a good grade. The correct answer to the multiverse and the rest is “nobody knows but some are searching”. Of course, if you got it all sorted out already (godidit) you are not among the searching ones and no progress ever came from supernaturalism.

    • In reply to #2 by Ornicar:

      … let’s say that we live in a simulated universe created by an undergrad student on Andromeda a long time ago. That doesn’t make him a god. We are not even quite sure he got a good grade.

      Yessss! A simple “like” just isn’t emphatic enough. I love it. So, the Ultimate Question (Douglas Adams) is revealed to be: How many marks (out of 100) does our student get for this universe?

  3. We should, for the moment, put all of those things in a philosophy drawer until we devise a way to test them empirically.

    Thank you. String Theory is not science. I’m often surprised at how physicists wander into metaphysics, and they’ve every right but I think this creates confusion in the lay audience.

    With that in mind, can we say that a multiverse or string theory is as concrete as trying to prove a first mover?

    Unlike a creator god, it is a logical possibility.

    Surely, all things must have a root?

    ALL things. Prime-mover asserts one thing does not have a root. It’s a flawed question, like contemplating the edge of the Earth. There isn’t one. Whatever the nature of things is, it needn’t pander to our beliefs, intuition, or even senses.

    and even said in his debate with John Lennox he could see a reasonable case being made for an Einsteinian god (the mathematician).

    facepalm

    Einstein’s God is Spinoza’s God, a placeholder concept, a philosophical construct relating to monism, not an entity and certainly not a creator. Spinoza’s God precludes the logical possibility of theism or deism.

    I suppose I wonder if the atheist movement has more to do with the progress of humanism and secularism instead of trying to disprove a god?

    It seems focused on education, normalization, and dispelling myths, such as Spinozan Pantheism being a concession to deism.

  4. When someone says there is a god, they mean Jehovah as described in the bible, and that the bible is an accurate history of earth. This is clearly not so. It is a much much easier target than disposing of the idea of some sort of intelligent creator force.

    • In reply to #4 by Roedy:

      When someone says there is a god, they mean Jehovah as described in the bible, and that the bible is an accurate history of earth. This is clearly not so.

      Doesn’t the word “strawman” spring to mind? Roedy, you’ve done better. Stop playing with the creationist’s toys.

      I suppose it all depends what you mean by “someone”.

    • In reply to #4 by Roedy:

      When someone says there is a god, they mean Jehovah as described in the bible, and that the bible is an accurate history of earth. This is clearly not so. It is a much much easier target than disposing of the idea of some sort of intelligent creator force.

      It’s also the easy way out. Arguing with someone who believes in a literal reading of creation days is a far cry from engaging with an expert on the best classical arguments for and against the existence of God.

      • In reply to #36 by jack.blair.10:

        When someone says there is a god, they mean Jehovah as described in the bible, and that the bible is an accurate history of earth. This is clearly not so. It is a much much easier target than disposing of the idea of some sort of intelligent creator force.

        It’s also the easy way out. Arguing with someone who believes in a literal reading of creation days is a far cry from engaging with an expert on the best classical arguments for and against the existence of God.

        That is because the literalists honestly state their claims – at least as far as they actually understand their own claims or the Bible.

        The “best classical arguments” for “God”- (note not gods) are hidden in vague shuffling gapology which avoids giving clear definitions, and almost always has a yawning gap – between some vague alleged universe creating deity, with undisclosed methodology, and “therefore Jesus”, + YHWEH, and the even less well defined ‘Holy Spirit’ – all meddling in human affairs.

        The “best classical arguments” against gods – and against any gods meddling in current human affairs – are in the science which debunks (or has the potential to debunk), all theist claims of interactions between gods and our modern universe. (That is physical interactions apart from the material workings of god-spots in believer’s brains)

        The difference in the standards of claimed “evidence” is colossal!

      • So who are these ‘experts’ on god and how do THEY know?

        In reply to #36 by jack.blair.10:

        In reply to #4 by Roedy:

        When someone says there is a god, they mean Jehovah as described in the bible, and that the bible is an accurate history of earth. This is clearly not so. It is a much much easier target than disposing of the idea of some sort of intelligent creator force.

        It’s also the e…

      • In reply to #36 by jack.blair.10:

        Arguing with someone who believes in a literal reading of creation days is a far cry from engaging with an expert on the best classical arguments for and against the existence of God.

        Not really, spotting the logical fallacies is just a bit more convoluted.

  5. Atheism isn’t trying to disprove the existence of a god or god’s. It is a statement that says, “Your claim that there is a god has failed to meet its burden of proof. Until you can provide me some evidence, I’m rejecting your claim.” Or, as Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience would say, it’s like saying “not guilty” when the prosecutor’s claim of a person’s guilt has failed to meet its burden of proof. The jury isn’t saying “innocent.” They are saying “We’re not convinced the criminal is guilty.”

    • In reply to #5 by InYourFaceNewYorker:

      it’s like saying “not guilty” when the prosecutor’s claim of a person’s guilt has failed to meet its burden of proof. The jury isn’t saying “innocent.” They are saying “We’re not convinced the criminal is guilty.”

      There’s a verdict available to Scottish juries (I read somewhere). It is “not proven”. Which can mean “We know damn well the bastard did it but the prosecution stuffed up so badly we’re not going to give them the satisfaction of winning”. Or it can mean what it says.

    • In reply to #5 by InYourFaceNewYorker:

      Atheism isn’t trying to disprove the existence of a god or god’s. It is a statement that says, “Your claim that there is a god has failed to meet its burden of proof. Until you can provide me some evidence, I’m rejecting your claim.” Or, as Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience would say, it’s l…

      The problem is, the definition of proof is not given. Microscope? Telescope? Apparition? What are you walking about exactly? What would convince you of the existence of a Prime Source?

      • In reply to #73 by Truth:

        What would convince you of the existence of a Prime Source?

        A prime source of what?

        “Prime sources”, have a habit of degenerating into infinite regressions of questions, where ultimately the honest answer is, “We don’t know beyond this point!” and the dishonest answer is, “I know it happened by magic”!

      • In reply to #73 by Truth:

        In reply to #5 by InYourFaceNewYorker:

        The problem is, the definition of proof is not given. Microscope? Telescope? Apparition? What are you walking about exactly? What would convince you of the existence of a Prime Source?

        Why don’t you start with SOME evidence. At all.

      • In reply to #73 by Truth:

        What would convince you of the existence of a Prime Source?

        Any two of the following:

        • A completely legal tax-paid two billion dollars in my bank account tomorrow (In his infinite wisdom, He knows the account number).
        • Waking up tomorrow morning to discover my body is that of a fit and healthy 28 year old. Preferably male.

        Yes, I know, I’m so easily bribed.

  6. I’m sorry, but, proving or disproving there is a god, is such propter hoc nonsense it’s a total waste of time. There’s so much more we need to be focused on. Oh, you’re a deist, well, okay, how about putting your man pants on facing the evidence? Every god since the beginning of human consciousness has wound up on the dung heap of history. Ding! Time to move on.

  7. An oscillating (not multi) universe makes sense. It is the only model where the sum total of all vectors of its modes of existence is zero, requiring no creator. If I were a cosmologist, I would derive an oscillation frequency of 1.855E+43 Hz from Planck’s constant of time, but I am not. Every mystery concerning the nature of the universe has been, and will be, solved by maths and physics, not.by philosophy which gets in the way and adds confusion instead of clarity.

  8. With that in mind, can we say that a multiverse or string theory is as concrete as trying to prove a first mover?

    The difference is we have independent physical reasons to find these things plausible. String theory is motivated by certain problems in quantum field theory. If in particular M-theory holds, a multiverse occurs automatically. We didn’t think, “what alternative to a god can we come up with?”

    Surely, all things must have a root?

    You’re a Deist; what’s your god’s root? Either a rule has exceptions or it doesn’t. Or maybe you’ll reply in a way that basically advocates the Kalam cosmological argument. In that case, there are hundreds of posts debunking it here which you ought to refute: http://old.richarddawkins.net/discussions/507717-the-kalam-cosmological-argument

    On another topic, Zedbee an oscillation rate of the kind you suggest would mean the universe’s lifetime is about a Planck time. Well, that’s clearly wrong. I don’t know how much you know about the Friedmann equations, but physicists don’t expect all important-to-the-whole timescales to be the same.

    • In reply to #9 by Jos Gibbons:

      “an oscillation rate of the kind you suggest would mean the universe’s lifetime is about a Planck time”

      Sorry, but it doesn’t mean that at all, nor do I know what the collective family of physicists expect. What it means is that the universe cycles between long positive and negative states in discrete steps of Planck Time of 5.391E-44 seconds. I am not a cosmologist in any position to postulate such a solution, but if it is anywhere near being the case, then it would get us out of the desperation of having to invent a big bang which requires a creator and violates the first law of thermodynamics.

      • In reply to #12 by ZedBee:

        In reply to #9 by Jos Gibbons:

        “an oscillation rate of the kind you suggest would mean the universe’s lifetime is about a Planck time”

        Sorry, but it doesn’t mean that at all, nor do I know what the collective family of physicists expect.

        Time to break out the beer and popcorn to watch and let the entertainment commence

      • In reply to #12 by ZedBee:

        What it means is that the universe cycles between long positive and negative states in discrete steps of Planck Time

        And what are “long positive and negative states” for a universe? There are oscillatory models of the universe, but the idea that the whole universe oscillates on Planck timescales is neither necessary nor sensible, given certain inequalities in quantum mechanics that limit how quickly systems can change.

        if it is anywhere near being the case, then it would get us out of the desperation of having to invent a big bang which requires a creator and violates the first law of thermodynamics

        You’re wrong about a lot of the physics here. A Big Bang (1) does not require a creator (I suggest you read about the derivation of the Friedmann equations in general relativity), (2) is consistent with thermodynamics (see the law-by-law treatment below) and (3) was not desperately invented but is rather an inference based on the historical data: Hubble’s law, primordial isotope ratios, CMB radiation and its temperature and (if we include the inflationary aspects) the low curvature of the universe, the details of CMB anisotropies and negligible magnetic monopole density.

        Law 1: The universe is a mix of positive and negative energy, and may have zero total energy (that’s certainly consistent with the data). Even a non-zero total energy is possible; in M-theory, universes form when energy is transferred between colliding p-branes. Law 2: A gradual increase in entropy occurs after a Big Bang; what falls is the ratio of the universe’s total entropy to the maximum entropy it could have given its size. (Laws 0 & 3 are trivial.)

        Further to (2), oscillatory universes do have a thermodynamics problem (although it may just be that thermodynamics itself needs to be reformed, as is probably necessary in accelerating systems, e.g. due to the Unruh effect). The problem is that, if the universe contracts to microscopic size then expands again (this may have been what happened to our universe), its entropy has to fall because a small universe can’t have very much of it. There are proposals to get around this, but the kind of “oscillation” that’s involved is more complicated, e.g. an expanding universe effectively reproducing.

        • In reply to #16 by Jos Gibbons:

          when energy is transferred between colliding p-branes

          Colliding Peabrains? You mean like in some of the comments here?
          This site just keeps on getting funnier. Keep it up guys. Best laugh I’ve had all day.

        • In reply to #16 by Jos Gibbons:

          First, let me deal with my notion, in as friendly a manner as I can muster. It is not a theory, not even a postulate, just a notion. However, if you need an illustration, draw a sinusoidal curve as a Cartesian plot, with time on the x-axis, and the state of the universe (as I visualise it) on the y-axis, cycling between a positive maximum, through zero, to a negative minimum, and back again. Now split the solid line into dots separated by Planck’s time. An analogy of that (yes I know analogies are never perfect, but give me a break) might be like the jerky path of an electron in its orbit round the atomic nucleus, in quanta of Planck Space and Time. In this graph, the life of the universe is far from being merely a Planck instant. On the contrary, it extends into infinity in both directions, with neither beginning nor end, nor big bang nor rapture.

          Now let’s deal with the first law of thermodynamics deniers. Forget their spin which is good for Nobel Prizes but mostly useless for everything else. At one instant there isn’t a microgram of stuff to be seen anywhere in god’s empty domain, but at the very next instant there is 4.2 x 10^52 kilograms of goodies, from hydrogen to Uuq-114, packed on the head of a pin. If that is not a violation of the first law of thermodynamics, then it must be creationist magic. In which case let’s forget physics and enjoy Genesis, which, if the spin is to be believed, would make more sense, and would also save us the bother of questioning Ezra the Scribe and his camp-followers.

          Apart from anything else, the event horizon of all the stuff that came fresh out of the mouth of a god extends to 6.3 billion light-years, but the stuff goes through Schwarzschild’s radius to at least 13 billion light-years (unless the HST has been deluding itself), and very likely as far as 13.7 billion light-years and far beyond. It is of course impossible to see beyond that point, not because god had a big sneeze 13.7 billion years ago, but because the galaxies at that distance from any observer are receding at the speed of light. Why some big bangers criticise Stephen Hawking for believing in exploding black holes, is beyond me.

          I have to say that the “age” of the universe being 13.7 billion years (Sky at Night – January 2004) is absolutely brilliant, as well as being a fake a fraud and the con-trick of a spiv. Forget about James Ussher and his 4004 BC, and consider the latter day Usshers. Many years ago, using all the available evidence, real and presumed, they settled on 5 billion years ago for the date of god’s creation, but some silly fool found a stellar cluster older than that, and we can’t have a daughter older than her mum, so the big bangers re-birthed the universe to 7.5 billion years ago. Surely no one can dispute that, but some busybody did, by finding more clusters older than the big bangers’ universe. So the age went up to 10 billion years, just like that. Then a bright spark came to the conclusion that the big bangers should settle on 13.7 billion years, because at 13.7 billion light-years, the distant galaxies are receding at the speed of light and no one can ever see them, and the bangers can claim that they can’t be seen, even with the HST, WISE, IRAS, Roentgen, Chandra, Kepler, Webb or whatever, not because they are receding at the speed of light, but because they hadn’t been born prior to that date. Crooked science, it most certainly is, but bloody brilliant nevertheless.

          I know I can never do enough justice to declaiming the big bang garbage, because, like most others, I would only be dropping names and quoting snippets from other scientists’ researches. Instead I would point anyone interested in the subject to Meta Research Bulletin #11 to see some 30 solid bits of evidence against the big bang trash (not all in favour of Continuous Creation). They deal with such scintillating subjects as Adjustable Parameters (gravity, speed of light, numerous frames of reference etc.), Large Scale Structure, CBR, Galactic Local Streaming, Inflation, Gunn-Peterson Effect, the good old first law of thermodynamics, plus a host of other observed and presumed phenomena, and there is more in appendix #1. There is also an interesting article in “Science” magazine published on 25 April 2002, proposing a third model which plagues both houses. Have fun researching.

          • In reply to #31 by ZedBee:

            if you need an illustration, draw a sinusoidal curve

            I know how oscillation works. But on this idea, what quantifiable property of the universe has (for example) a sinusoidal value? We might even have a vector (or matrix etc.) of which each component is oscillating; but again, what quantities are we considering?

            Now split the solid line into dots separated by Planck’s time

            So what you’re saying is that, if, for example, the graph was y = sin(kt), the values of t for which y was calculated would be discrete rather than continuous. Right; you’re actually talking about time quantization there, not the “oscillation frequency” (which, if defined as linear or circular, would here be k/(2pi) or k), which is what you mentioned originally.

            at the very next instant there is 4.2 x 10^52 kilograms of goodies, from hydrogen to Uuq-114, packed on the head of a pin

            That’s not how it works. N Planck times after the Big Bang you have positive and negative amounts of energy equal to p(N) and –n(N), for some functions p and n. Then p and n each grow slowly, and p-n=0. The size of the universe after N Planck times places an upper bound on the value of p(N); that’s all to do with black hole thermodynamics.

            It is of course impossible to see beyond that point, not because god had a big sneeze 13.7 billion years ago, but because the galaxies at that distance from any observer are receding at the speed of light.

            The distance of the event horizon is determined by the Universe’s age and is a consequence of the finite speed of light. If the universe were even older, you could see further.

            Stephen Hawking [believes] in exploding black holes

            What are you talking about? I really hope that wasn’t an attempt at describing Hawking radiation (which no physicists seriously dispute now). You don’t seem to understand anything Hawking has said.

            the “age” of the universe being 13.7 billion years… [is] a fake a fraud and the con-trick of a spiv

            I’ll get the popcorn. Reading on it seems your complaint is physicists gradually refined their findings, initially having only weak lower bounds on the universe’s age, and later tightening their lower and upper bounds to the point where the age’s uncertainty is now only 0.3%. If you can cite sources that show at one time most scientists thought 5 billion years was a valid approximation rather than just a lower bound, and ditto with later 7.5 and still later 10 billion, then I’ll read them.

            the big bangers should settle on 13.7 billion years, because at 13.7 billion light-years, the distant galaxies are receding at the speed of light and no one can ever see them, and the bangers can claim that they can’t be seen… not because they are receding at the speed of light, but because they hadn’t been born prior to that date. Crooked science, it most certainly is, but bloody brilliant nevertheless.

            That’s not a fair appraisal of where the figure comes from. The age of the universe is approximately obtainable from Hubble’s law, although the exact result you get depends on how you conclude the universe’s expansion rate has varied in the past, for which we need other empirical measures. Indeed, when you look at the full set of data which support modern cosmology, rather than just said law’s proportionality constant, you can obtain both an upper and lower bound on the universe’s age, and thereby provide a narrow range in which the age exists. (Technically this is all a matter of probabilistic confidence intervals.) It is not simply a matter of noting the distance in light years to the most distant galaxy bright enough for us to see. If you believe otherwise, you owe it to yourself to take a proper course in cosmology.

            like most others, I would only be dropping names and quoting snippets from other scientists’ researches

            Why don’t you link to the research itself? It’s all over the internet if you know where to find it.

            some 30 solid bits of evidence against the big bang trash

            You mean this? http://metaresearch.org/cosmology/BB-top-30.asp Given that the very first point on the list lies to the effect that steady-state models are consistent with known evidence (that hasn’t been true for decades), I won’t debunk it point by point. You really shouldn’t take one non-peer-reviewed URL over scientific consensus. It’s also out of date; none of its sources postdate 2002, and we’ve learned a lot about cosmology since then. (You discuss specific issues by name below, and I identify one example therein of why 2002 isn’t recent enough.) Since it doesn’t link to online copies of any of its sources (many of which aren’t peer-reviewed – hell, some of them are even their own website), I don’t even know whether they say what they’re alleged to say.

            They deal with such scintillating subjects as Adjustable Parameters (gravity, speed of light, numerous frames of reference etc.)

            G and c are empirical and unadjustable. Our reference frames are determined by how we’re moving.

            Gunn-Peterson Effect

            Do you mean the Gunn-Peterson trough? This is another case of error bars and small chances of type I errors being gradually improved through further research. The trough hasn’t been a problem for inflationary Big Bang cosmology since c. 2003-6. The correct approach to the large number of different types of empirical information in cosmology isn’t to reject the consensus based on a handful of things we don’t currently understand. The consensus is accepted because it explains almost all the data. That “almost all” expands over time.

            the good old first law of thermodynamics

            I’ve repeatedly debunked that argument.

            There is also an interesting article in “Science” magazine published on 25 April 2002, proposing a third model which plagues both houses.

            2002? You need to keep up to date with modern data!

            Have fun researching.

            I’d say the same to you, but first you should learn the basics.

    • In reply to #10 by Len Walsh:

      I wonder if the atheist movement
      Atheism isn’t a movement…
      It’s merely the noise agnostics and deists emit when they discover the meaning of life.

      I would say it is the complaints they make when it dawns on them how badly they and their fellows have been hornswoggled by religion.

      Like all magicians, Christians use distraction, trying to get people to look in the sky and deep time for god, but god is really an illusion created in the here and now by the Christian to relieve the gullible of their money.

  9. I suppose I wonder if the atheist movement has more to do with the progress of humanism and secularism instead of trying to disprove a god?

    I hope so, as the first two seem worthwhile goals, while the last is not only pointless but impossible.

    As an atheist, I’ve wasted no time trying to disprove the existence of any gods, I’ve just found that no god has adequately proved their existence to me.

  10. while i tend to agree, I would not say from emperical evidence it’s safe to assume that in lieu of evidence, multiverse theory can be considered as less likely, i feel it should be assumed to be more likely than a single universe.

    the reason I think this, is maybe more philosophical than scientific but it’s the same as one of my main rejections of theism (and by extension deism). theists use the argument, a house can’t form itself someone must have built it. my rejection is no, it was bult by a team not by one builder, including materials like wood which was built by trillions of individual cells. if there is a supernatural, ther’s not one god, but many gods.

    we now know there are countless worlds, countless galaxies. everything we have successfully described in a scientific way has proved to not be truly unique. our brains evolved to deal with a flat earth under a canopy of lights. it’s science that put us in our place.

    my argument for a multiverse is basically an extension of the “mediocrity principle” Furthermore, a single universe, capable of providing physical laws so perfect for us to evolve and observe, is confounding. first bang and over 14 bn years, complexity is still growing.

    Nothing observed i nature is like this. darwinian evolution however explains pretty much everything. a universe that popped into existance with exactly the right conditions for live, is impossible to imagine as a one off event, easy to imagine as one of an infinite number of events

  11. and even said in his debate with John Lennox he could see a reasonable case being made for an Einsteinian god (the mathematician).

    mined quote!

    as I remember he was pointing out that a rational debate could be had on the subject as an example of why he will not debate with creationists

    • In reply to #14 by SaganTheCat:

      and even said in his debate with John Lennox he could see a reasonable case being made for an Einsteinian god (the mathematician).

      mined quote!

      Thank you. It sounded familiar but I couldn’t locate it. Much appreciated.

      as I remember he was pointing out that a rational debate could be had on the subject as an example of why he will not debate with creationists

  12. This of course an endless discussion, and will go on for millennia until science gets a lot further. The best comment on it was from Darwin himself – “It is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” I have based an entire novel on this premise. http://sbpra.com/robinhawdon.

  13. As a complete lay person in this context, with very little knowledge in the realms of theoretical physics, (i’m more into biology and philosophy myself) I have a sort of question or proposal.

    I find this toss up between multiverses and an ossilatory universe as very interesting but an idea has popped into my mind, perhaps erroneously, of a third possibility. Inspired by what little I have heard from Laurence Krauss and his theories on Nothingness. So make no mistake when I say I could have things completely wrong, but here goes.

    Krauss says that what we know as fundamental Nothingness, is an extremely volitile state, where matter pops in and out of existance constantly. And then we have the issue with an increasingly entropic universe, the process of which seems to be speeding up. Krauss may have proposed this himself I’m not sure, I haven’t read everything by him, certainly none of his books, but what if, with the universe tending to maximum entropy, when it is reached and matter and energy are spread so thinly that the universe has basically come as close to nothingness as possible, that this extremely volitile state then produces a new universe, inside the old universe, the old universe obviouslyno longer resembling what we would recognise as a universe because it’s so entropic. Basically another big bang, sweeping the old universe out of the way without a trace.

    Is this something that’s being ‘investigated’ or considered by physicists? Os is it complete fantasy?

  14. Existence is supposed to confound – as is anything that comes under the microscope of the human mind. It’s all fun (and vanity) to discover and explore, but we do take ourselves a bit seriously. The universe existed before the human mind and it will continue after we’re gone – we’re just a blip along the way to – well, nothing.

    The mind (a brain construct comprising of information and experience) can do nothing else but question and debate, it’s what it does and it is as automatic as the processes of the heart or lungs – and all to maintain the illusion of a mind with a sense of ‘self’ that is very temporary and does not exist in the way we have become to believe.

    So enjoy the trip, knowing that ultimately it does not matter!

  15. I feel the need to offer an apology if I’ve been annoying. I just found this topic to be a rich source of comments that tickled me.

    Jos, I mean no offence. Your knowledge of cosmology, and your willingness and ability to explain, I applaud.

    I do however wish it was made more clear where the boundaries of practical physics lie. There’s a lot that – elegant mathematics aside – is untestable conjecture, and that’s where it runs into the domain where theologians, philosophers, fundamentalists and the like have a lot more expertise. Strings, branes, multiverse, and such only play into their hands, if presented as Science (as opposed to aesthetically pleasing recreational mathematics).

    • In reply to #27 by OHooligan:

      I do however wish it was made more clear where the boundaries of practical physics lie.

      How do you what the capabilities will be in the future? When the ancients opined on the “physics” of the earth suggesting it might be turtles all the way down. I’m sure some responded: “Might be but we’ll never know for sure. It’s untestable conjecture.”

    • In reply to #27 by OHooligan:

      I do however wish it was made more clear where the boundaries of practical physics lie.

      I consider the boundaries of science (and thus, inclusively, of practical physics) to be that which exists (as something other than a mere concept). If, for example, multiverses were put forward as an idea but there was no way to ever, even in theory, detect them, interact with them or test for them in any way, shape or form then they exist merely as a concept and can be ignored. To all practical purposes, they do not exist. It should be noted that this is distinct from things that might exist, we merely can’t detect them yet. As long as they can potentially be detected, they fall within the boundaries of science.

      I led a religious person down this path a while ago and it upset them greatly to think that their god – which they kept regressing backwards out of the reach of testing (not physical, not measurable, interventions completely indistinguishable from the natural workings of the universe etc) – was merely a concept of no practical value. Of course, they stopped speaking to me and then a week later dishonestly hit the reset button and recommenced claiming to all and sundry that god was outside the reach of science. Ho hum.

  16. Seraphor: (18) an idea similar to that has been worked on, yes.

    OHooligan: (22) yes, it is a rule – one which doesn’t have exceptions. (If I’d said all rules have exceptions, that would have been paradoxical, but I didn’t, so your reaction makes no sense to me.) (23) Zedbee made explicit that a once-per-Planck time message was intended, so the frequency was indeed on the order of 1E+43 Hz. (24) They could just as easily have been called d-membranes, but people preferred brane as an abbreviation for membrane, and the brane dimension happened to be labelled p instead of d. (27) You can blame string theorists for that, many of whom like to present the acceptance of their ideas in science as a fait accompli. But inflationary Big Bang cosmology is overwhelmingly empirically attested.

    Chibisan: (28) I think OHooligan was referring to the current limits of what science has achieved. We shouldn’t say to theists “The correct answer to that is X” if the truth is we suspect X on theoretical ground but haven’t empirically supported that yet. Take string theory as an example s/he cited: many proposals have been made as to how that could be tested, some of which may one day yield fruit. But, for now, it’s merely a credible alternative to uncredible “magic man did it” religious ideas, as opposed to an accredited alternative to them.

  17. I’m with the people who think string theory and multi-verses are interesting conjectures, but until we can actually devise a test to falsify them they are not quite real theories. Interesting enough to work on, but not quite science yet.

    Who made your god? Oh he just existed? So things can just exist? So the universe could just exist.

    I have never tried to disprove god, it is just that there is NO evidence that one exists. I am as much concerned about any god existing as I’m concerned with fairies living in the flower baskets on my balcony. I think god has about the same chance of existing as fairies – pretty close to zero, but I’m willing to look at evidence.

  18. ” I suppose I wonder if the atheist movement has more to do with the progress of humanism and secularism instead of trying to disprove a god? “

    Uh, that is not what atheists ” do ” generally.

    I am not ” trying to disprove ” any god(s), whatever that would mean. Think non stamp collecting.

    • In reply to #37 by Neodarwinian:

      Think non stamp collecting.

      Yep, I’m a full time non-stamp-collector. Though I don’t say much about my non-stamp-collecting to my friends and workmates, even though I spend all of each and every day not collecting stamps. But if someone else wants to collect stamps, and have their own collection to enjoy in the privacy of their homes, or even in premises dedicated to stamp collecting, that’s fine by me.

      However, I don’t think it’s fair that stamp-collectors should get special tax breaks, even if they do manage a bit of charitable work on the side. Neither do I think that their interest, and no doubt expertise, in this field should qualify them to do other things like run schools and hospitals and shelters for the homeless. Some might say it would be ok for them to give away food stamps, but it makes me suspicious. Why not just food? Seems to be some kind of stamp-related agenda creeping in.

      And just let them try to target my kids with free stamp albums and the like, then they’ll have a fight on their hands.

      Disclosure: My grandfather was a stamp collector. He even gave my elder brother a stamp album as a birthday present, and used to bring him along to auctions and other places where stamps can be collected.

      • In reply to #39 by OHooligan:

        In reply to #37 by Neodarwinian:

        Think non stamp collecting.

        Yep, I’m a full time non-stamp-collector. Though I don’t say much about my non-stamp-collecting to my friends and workmates, even though I spend all of each and every day not collecting stamps. But if someone else wants to collect stam…

        I used to be just an ignorant non-stamp collector. I knew vaguely about these things called stamps, and I knew people collected them, but I didn’t think much else about them. When I found out what stamp collecting was, I became fully glad that I wasn’t one. The lengths people go to in pursuing and elevating stamps, and in trying to get stamp collecting privileged is simply astonishing.

        • In reply to #42 by Zeuglodon:

          The lengths people go to in pursuing and elevating stamps, and in trying to get stamp collecting privileged is simply astonishing.

          Weird part is that I used to collect stamps, but I agree completely.

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  20. As we now see with the American two party system, a rigid dichotomy such as between science and mysticism hardens each’s position without solutions to problems being offered. Looking to the transition from Roman paganism to Early Christianity, adaptation played a role in the successful transition. The Christmas tree, a pagan symbol, was first forbidden then incorporated into mainstream Christianity.

    In the documentary, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, it is explained that “mythology as the provision of a cultural framework for a society or people to educate their young, and to provide them with a means of coping with their passage through the different stages of life from birth to death. In a general sense myths include religion as well and the development of religion is an intrinsic part of a society’s culture.”

    So to me it seems reasonable to well consider altering public perception through a replacement story that offers hope and comfort that technology and science do offer instead of a castration of all mythic foundations that get us through the struggle of life. Here we are free to write our new stories, perhaps movies, maybe starring a blind watchmaker.

    • In reply to #44 by craigz06:

      As we now see with the American two party system, a rigid dichotomy such as between science and mysticism hardens each’s position without solutions to problems being offered. Looking to the transition from Roman paganism to Early Christianity, adaptation played a role in the successful transition….

      I’m all for story telling as a way to communicate shared values, culture, history, etc. But there is a real dichotomy between science and mysticism and I think it’s a mistake to deny that. Science is the only method that can really achieve something worth being called knowledge. Or at least objective knowledge. Mysticism and story telling may help individuals clarify their personal values and decide what they want to do with their lives but it can’t provide anything that qualifies as truth in the sense that it is testable, repeatable, and can be used as a foundation to find out more true things and to help us understand and influence our world.

      For too long scientists have been following the lead of people like Stephen J. Gould who said there are non-overlapping magisteria and that science is for understanding the natural world and religion/mysticism were for the world of values and ethics. I think one of Dawkins most important contributions was to drive a stake through that idea and every day people are doing research that shows we can learn a lot about ethics and other areas that are supposed to be in the mystical magisterium via the scientific method.

      • In reply to #45 by Red Dog:

        For too long scientists have been following the lead of people like Stephen J. Gould who said there are non-overlapping magisteria and that science is for understanding the natural world and religion/mysticism were for the world of values and ethics.

        Very true! Ethics involves matters of resolving conflicts of interests, where there are bound to be differences of opinion. Just because science cannot produce answers to everyone’s liking, that does not mean that mysticism can. That is just more gapology!

        I think one of Dawkins most important contributions was to drive a stake through that idea and every day people are doing research that shows we can learn a lot about ethics and other areas that are supposed to be in the mystical magisterium via the scientific method.

        He certainly does good work to clarify issues. Science may not resolve conflicts of interest to everyone’s liking, but it can usually provide an evidenced basis for informed judgements.

  21. To all rational thinkers, please listen to my grevience and have the courage to support me, or if you feel my complaint has no merit, tell me why.

    The author of the discussion “the nature for miraculous claims”, “achromat666″, first had my account deactivated, then when I created a new account he had my ip blocked. I can only assume he complained of spamming or harassment, both of which are baseless accusations. Read the thread and you decide whether I was simply having a rational back and forth (meaning he was responding to me and so I responded to his response) or if I was spamming nonsensical posts with total disregard for rational discussion. Unfortunately, achromat666 also manipulated the thread by deleting several of my posts, which ofcourse does nothing to help his argument, but only shows his lack of respect for truth and debate. How is this not like the religious who resort to anger towards any challenges to their perspective. My point to archomat666 was to offer him a fresh perspective on the common assumption and claim made by many like him that evidence will convince him of the truth of a supernatural claim, which is the same as saying I don’t believe in the supernatural explanation for phenomenon x because there is no evidence. The perspective I was offering him was this:
    The unique property that real things have (which is the potential ability to be proven true or false because evidence and reason is capable of acting on it) should not be surrendered to irrational views and claims like the supernatural, which by very definition (one that is as intellectually vacuous as the definition of the trinity) claims that the validity to the truth of itself is outside of reason and evidence. What a fancy way to say made up purely from imagination. Are the convinced by the philosophical hogwash that anything imagined must possibly exist in reality? Aren’t we easily capable of stringing words together to conceptualize things that are completely irrational?
    Basically, asking for evidence for the supernatural reinforces the notion that rational evidence can act directly on their claims, thus affording the supernatural the possibility of truth and the weight of reality. What evidence can act on the supernatural claim that, for example, an old shroud somehow contains the physical spirit and healing powers of an ancient man-deity. How can we say, without denying everything we know about reality, that we have to wait for the evidence to decide if its true or not. Is that really a rational stance?
    I understand it is a fine line that separates the two perspectives, but it an important distinction to understand because much like how the general acceptance of faith by even the nonreligious undermines rational criticism of religion, the general acceptance that the supernatural could, with evidence, be true, undermines science by creating skepticism towards its position as the only method to understanding truth. If we allow for an alternative reality outside of scientific understanding, first its not a coherent concept, but more importantly we disempower truth and reason from claiming the unique status they deserve.

    All that being said,
    Please understand that I have to post this to discussions other than the one this is about because the author has proven that he does not have the courage nor ethical conviction to deny himself from acting on the urge to silence and reshape arguments that hurt his ego. Please consider again, whether I was spamming his discussion or engaging in a rational debate with the author. (Please forgive this one spam) Also, if anyone thinks I am misunderstanding his position please let me know how. I’m always open to rational debate as thinking rationally is more important than shielding my ego from the devastatingly shattering blow of being wrong.

    I’m not asking for a march or boycott, just please show support or tell me why you won’t. I just want to quiet that fear that any rational thinker has, that I am obliviously making some illogical leap in my reasoning that completely discredits my argument. If you have the power, please ask administrators to review the complaints of achromat666 towards me.

    Hey crookedshoes, notice how your post in support of my stance on the supernatural was deleted. I hope you or anyone else that is here to have a rational discussion, never has to feel the disappointment of being forcefully silenced by a site that champions free thought and debate.

    • In reply to #46 by RealThinkTank2:

      The author of the discussion “the nature for miraculous claims”, “achromat666″, first had my account deactivated, then when I created a new account he had my ip blocked. I can only assume he complained of spamming or harassment, both of which are baseless accusations. Read the thread and you decide whether I was simply having a rational back and forth (meaning he was responding to me and so I responded to his response) or if I was spamming nonsensical posts with total disregard for rational discussion. Unfortunately, achromat666 also manipulated the thread by deleting several of my posts, which ofcourse does nothing to help his argument, but only shows his lack of respect for truth and debate.

      Only the site moderators have the power and ability you have erroneously afforded an ordinary member. If you were banned it was because you broke the sites T&C’s…severely and repeatedly in my opinion, the mods on this sit take a lot to get that riled up. Achromat666 is one of the more lucid and astute contributors to this site. Whatever bull you were peddling must have been special to get both that member and the moderators backs up enough that the moderators went to such lengths.

      Extraordinary claims require, nay demand, extraordinary evidence and what can be asserted without such evidence can be dismissed the same.

  22. In reply to #45 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #44 by craigz06:

    As we now see with the American two party system, a rigid dichotomy such as between science and mysticism hardens each’s position without solutions to problems being offered. Looking to the transition from Roman paganism to Early Christianity, adaptation played a role…

    Gould’s obituary in the Times closes with “He once wrote, ‘I love the wry motto of the Paleontological Society (meant both literally and figuratively, for hammers are the main tool of our trade): Frango ut patefaciam — I break in order to reveal.’”

    In order to promote acceptance of humanism and metaphysical naturalism to those indoctrinated with a faith based belief system NOMA could be set aside to investigate commonalities of science and religion. The methodology of religion has had time to evolve some successful tactics that science is only now using. The development of text illustration in painting, use of instructive stories (parables), fantastic works of architecture that offer an escape from the secular. In contrast science has museums that showcase in detail explanations for the mechanisms of life and innovation, classrooms throughout the world (except Texas) that inform. Yet science lacks PR in having good hero stories like religion. For example take a look at this travesty and mockery of Darwin in popular culture The Pirates!

    Yes, the scientific method is the best way to useful knowledge, but the real and presently dangerous problem with defusing religious extremism requires new strategies other than NSA pre-crime big data analysis. Conversion of mind-set is best done by stories of the masses. We all know ‘the Force’ is not a real field, but we all know what it purports.

  23. hi Robert. you raise questions as if by doing so it provides answers. saying things like “oscillating” and “improbability” doesn’t actually make you an observant scientist. you would like to put a lot into a philosophy drawer. if I had a bible, it would not even warrant a place in a ‘philosophy drawer’. I’d have to check if i’m allowed to put that kind of rubbish in the recycling bin.

  24. is it just me or is the same guy posting the same stuff under the guise of reason? I think one of the central points of the argument here is that any god theory is there to be proved by whomever deems it necessary to believe such pooh. prove it and we will believe. you cannot subvert this site any more than more than you subvert can rational thought. if it is only your own thought s and reasons that you seek to subvert then you needn’t go to the trouble of bothering the rest of us.

  25. But the difference between positing multiple universes does have one distinct advantage over positing a god.

    We already KNOW that a universe can exist, and we have evidence that a universe exists, so while it is still pure speculation, we do at least have a precedent on which to base such a suggestion.

    On the other side, a god (any god) is still an unproven and ill-defined hypothesis. And if a god ever is proven, the next question might be” OK so we have proven a god, might there be others?”

    So I would suggest that intellectually, the Multiverse suggestion (even though there is no way of confirming this yet) carries more plausibility than any god suggestion.

    • In reply to #52 by adey5:

      But the difference between positing multiple universes does have one distinct advantage over positing a god.

      We already KNOW that a universe can exist, and we have evidence that a universe exists, so while it is still pure speculation, we do at least have a precedent on which to base such a suggest…

      Data from ESA’s Planck Spacecraft high resolution CMB mapping indicated anisotropies and a large cold spot which may indicate the presence of multiple universes. Alan Guth’s Eternal Inflation predicts a mulitiverse formation of universes that support different laws of physics, with evolution sorting out the ones that are not stable. If Earth is a mediocre planet (Sagan, Hawking) then there must be many forms of life, some with highly advanced technology. Denying there is an entity that may possess the powers of God is akin to denying alien life is unlikely due to a lack of evidence. The Fermi Paradox applied to an infinite universe only confirms the communication limit of the speed of light or the method of communication.

      • In reply to #55 by craigz06:

        In reply to #52 by adey5:

        Denying there is an entity that may possess the powers of God is akin to denying alien life is unlikely due to a lack of evidence

        I think you’ve worded that poorly.

        • In reply to #56 by bob_e_s:

          In reply to #55 by craigz06:

          In reply to #52 by adey5:

          Denying there is an entity that may possess the powers of God is akin to denying alien life is unlikely due to a lack of evidence

          I think you’ve worded that poorly.

          See cosmologist Martin Rees’ maxim, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Admittedly this is fallacious reasoning from the ‘argument from ignorance’ point of view, yet we are ignorant of other lifeforms due to the probable scarcity of life in the see-able universe and the relative slowness of the speed of light.

          • In reply to #59 by craigz06:

            In reply to #56 by bobes:

            In reply to #55 by craigz06:

            See cosmologist Martin Rees’ maxim, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Admittedly this is fallacious reasoning from the ‘argument from ignorance’ point of view, yet we are ignorant of other lifeforms due to the probable scarcity of life in the see-able universe and the relative slowness of the speed of light.

            I’m not disputing the existence of a variety of other lifeforms, I’m disputing you using this to reason the existence of a god.
            What is a god, please?

          • In reply to #62 by bob_e_s:

            In reply to #59 by craigz06:

            In reply to #56 by bobes:

            In reply to #55 by craigz06:

            See cosmologist Martin Rees’ maxim, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Admittedly this is fallacious reasoning from the ‘argument from ignorance’ point of view, yet we are ignorant of other lifeform…

            Dependent on the placement within a timeline of an evolved intelligence, god powers could include inherent omniscience “the ability to know anything that one chooses to know and can be known”. In the fraction of the universe that is material, technological evolution would probably follow a standard course… mechanical and information ages. It’s not unreasonable to predict a transformation of consciousness to solid state devices yielding astonishing computational power. With technological development prediction becomes feasible yielding to a degree omnipotence. These powers alluded to in the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, but note the Krell didn’t forecast the rise of the Id Monster. Bounding these powers with limitations keeps the proposed god below diety level and prevents creation of information and knowledge contradictions, but to us animals the god power would be formidable.

          • In reply to #64 by craigz06:

            In reply to #62 by bobes:

            In reply to #59 by craigz06:

            My point, which you’re still ignoring was that you are conflating ‘god-like’ with ‘god’.

            I have no dispute that there may be entities in the universe that to us would appear to have supernatural powers.

          • In reply to #66 by bob_e_s:

            In reply to #64 by craigz06:

            In reply to #62 by bobes:

            In reply to #59 by craigz06:

            My point, which you’re still ignoring was that you are conflating ‘god-like’ with ‘god’.

            I have no dispute that there may be entities in the universe that to us would appear to have supernatural powers.

            Sorry, didn’t mean to. It’s a matter of suggesting that there are many advanced civilizations predicted by the Drake equation with respect to multiverse theory, and that the degree of advancement by evolution is plot able along some scale of their common features (such as quantity of usable data that can be manipulated in a short period of time). Whatever entity, for civilizations networked could be considered an organism, rises near the top it could not have infinite computational power nor knowledge. An infinite god could be physically summoned like a genie by anyone with a nose wiggle. No genies means no infinite god.

            Giving super intelligent alien ‘god’ a set of powers in our universe allows atheists to agree with believers, to a limit as x approaches infinity, there is a potential that god-like powers could be a real phenomenon. Finding some commonality with science and religion could be a means to steer the hostile memes to merge into something new. I was told by a missionary that Christians don’t have a problem with aliens! Can atheists acknowledge god-like powers?

          • In reply to #68 by craigz06:

            In reply to #66 by bobes:
            Can atheists acknowledge god-like powers?

            I can acknowledge that there could be powers that seem god-like. Without understanding of nuclear fusion the sun would seem god-like.
            To the mouse, the mousetrap is godlike.

            As Arthur C Clarke said:
            “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

            It doesn’t mean that it IS magic.

            Otherwise, I don’t disagree with you.

          • In reply to #72 by bob_e_s:

            In reply to #68 by craigz06:

            To the mouse, the mousetrap is godlike.

            Well, I suppose it could steer their evolution (away from being so inclined to go for the oddly placed bait). Some would say that it required godlike powers to get our evolution to where it is now. So, yes, godlike mousetraps.

          • In reply to #59 by craigz06:

            See cosmologist Martin Rees’ maxim, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Admittedly this is fallacious reasoning from the ‘argument from ignorance’ point of view, yet we are ignorant of other lifeforms due to the probable scarcity of life in the see-able universe and the relative slowness of the speed of light.

            In the interests of balance and clarity:-

            Absence of Evidence Is Evidence of Absence

            Even the most pious believer has to admit that there is no scientific evidence for God or anything else supernatural. If there were, it would be in the textbooks along with the evidence for electricity, gravity, neutrinos, and DNA. This doesn’t bother most believers because they have heard many times that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

            The inferences from “absence of evidence”, are not from unresearched or unexplored areas of ignorance, but from areas where we could reasonably expect to find evidence, but it is lacking!

          • In reply to #63 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #59 by craigz06:

            See cosmologist Martin Rees’ maxim, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. Admittedly this is fallacious reasoning from the ‘argument from ignorance’ point of view, yet we are ignorant of other lifeforms due to the probable scarcity of life in the see-able un…

            Thank you for the link. Note it was written in 2010 and the LHC has since shown the Higgs field exists. Suppositions if deemed worthy do lead to experimentation that uncovers facts. The LHC cost 19 billion dollars and validated the Standard Model. SETI to me is on the wrong track but that is another story.

          • In reply to #65 by craigz06:

            The inferences from “absence of evidence”, are not from unresearched or unexplored areas of ignorance, but from areas where we could reasonably expect to find evidence, but it is lacking!

            Thank you for the link. Note it was written in 2010 and the LHC has since shown the Higgs field exists. The LHC cost 19 billion dollars and validated the Standard Model.

            True, but the Higgs-field had been suspected on the basis of partial evidence for some time before that.

            Suppositions if deemed worthy do lead to experimentation that uncovers facts.

            There are not even credible suppositions or definitions for gods! Many theist claims have been made, but all have failed. List of deities
            From Wikipedia,

            SETI to me is on the wrong track but that is another story.

            The distances involved mitigate against contacts, even if alien life exists.

            @64 – Dependent on the placement within a timeline of an evolved intelligence, god powers could include inherent omniscience “the ability to know anything that one chooses to know and can be known”.

            Omniscience is a magic claim, defying laws of physics, – likewise the “the ability to know”, is governed by the ability to detect or transmit information at the speed of light, so information on demand for the whole universe is never going to be feasible.

          • In reply to #67 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #65 by craigz06:

            The inferences from “absence of evidence”, are not from unresearched or unexplored areas of ignorance, but from areas where we could reasonably expect to find evidence, but it is lacking!

            Thank you for the link. Note it was written in 2010 and the LHC has since shown t…

            True, but the Higgs-field had been suspected on the basis of partial evidence for some time before that.

            Good, then partial evidence is sufficient and worthy of further investigation. (I’m having trouble answering line by line..the preview is truncating the previous text).

            My subcategory that lies below the popular conception of deity which, if I may, name as Advanced Extraterrestrial Intelligence AETI. Deity seems to be a self contradiction of terms. The meme ‘god’ is very real having evolved naturally then artificially and cannot be dismissed because it is imaginary; look at the real effects. Is there a name for a variable in logic that cannot be proven but has real effects?

            Yes good old c does limit our reach. So does interstellar dust. This area needs more probing, for example a spooky action from many worlds. Quantum computing requires near absolute zero temperature −273.15° C and near zero entropy. Some super cooled large bodies have been recently been made to respond to quantum mechanics interrogatories. Space is very cold −270.45° C, so some objects could possible contain information. OK this is just hack idea but think of how quickly the internet came into being. Not just the speed but the need to communicate. This need has create false gods but it may be soon that we find a good artificial god that points the way to a bigger AETI network. From the AETI side of existence based on our own progress networked information should be very likely.

          • In reply to #69 by craigz06:

            (I’m having trouble answering line by line..the preview is truncating the previous text).

            Just delete the truncated section and copy/paste from the original post – with > at the start of each line and a double line-space at the end of quotes.

            The meme ‘god’ is very real having evolved naturally then artificially and cannot be dismissed because it is imaginary; look at the real effects.

            The problem is that most people are encouraged to look for gods in the wrong places! A microscope/scanner is needed – not a telescope!

            “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions.

            This project may help find the gods!

            http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2013/jun/21/bigbrain-3d-animation-human-brain-video

            Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute in Canada have created the most detailed 3D map of a complete human brain ever made by slicing a preserved brain into 7,400 sections, each no more than 20 micrometres thick. This video zooms in on layers of the BigBrain reference map to reveal detail in different regions including the corpus callosum, the basal ganglia, the insular cortex, the brainstem and the cerebellum.

  26. In reply to #55 by craigz06:

    Denying there is an entity that may possess the powers of God is akin to denying alien life is unlikely due to a lack of evidence.

    This relies on the absence of a credible definition of the properties of a god. Most theist definitions would fail to meet any credible criteria.

    There may certainly be alien life which appears to have god-like properties in the eyes of more primitive cultures.

    • In reply to #58 by Alan4discussion:

      In reply to #55 by craigz06:

      Denying there is an entity that may possess the powers of God is akin to denying alien life is unlikely due to a lack of evidence.

      This relies on the absence of a credible definition of the properties of a god. Most theist definitions would fail to meet any credible cr..

      Along the lines of John Archibald Wheeler’s “It for Bit” a real god would possess all coherent knowledge opposed to a false god. If there are finite configurations of atoms then god would be technically possible. Totally accessible, no. In a limited scientific way, maybe.

      • In reply to #60 by craigz06:

        a real god would possess all coherent knowledge opposed to a false god. If there are finite configurations of atoms then god would be technically possible.
        Totally accessible, no. In a limited scientific way, maybe.

        That definition would seem to be indistinguishable from a super-intelligent advanced alien, apart from a bit of “No true/(false) Scotsman fallacy”!

  27. In reply to #70 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #69 by craigz06:
    Just delete the truncated section and copy/paste from the original post – with > at the start of each line and a double line-space at the end of quotes.

    Thanks, got it

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions.

    The Human Brain Project has a research area devoted to future compting. ” Devices and systems, modelled after the brain, will overcome fundamental limits on the energy-efficiency, reliability and programmability of current technologies, clearing the road for systems with brain-like intelligence”

    Both Dennett and Blackmore believe the self does not exist, so following this line of reasoning we will find brain constructs that offer an allusion only for both a fictitious god and self. A scientist sure has to give up allot to be logically right. I noticed in the related articles to the Science Daily link you sent that “Religious, Spiritual Support Benefits Men and Women Facing Chronic Illness, Study Finds”

  28. From RobertDeanIII: “You may recall: life is improbable but god then would be far more improbable.”

    The idea that life is improbable comes from our human affliction of ‘Sudden Awe’. This Sudden Awe had us believing that volcanic eruptions were caused by the direct hand of a god, that hurricanes and tornadoes were so terrible that they had to be a punishment from a god. Once we started calmly investigating these events we came to understand that they are quite natural.

    Now, when we look at life at the microscopic and quantum levels we are in Sudden Awe of what we are seeing. At this time, those little machine-like parts that function within our DNA definitely call forth the ‘WOW factor’ within us. However, I’m sure that after a few hundred years of further research we will come to the conclusion that life is not only NOT improbable, but quite natural and quite common. Just my opinion.

    • In reply to #77 by Jigger:

      From RobertDeanIII: “You may recall: life is improbable but god then would be far more improbable.”

      The idea that life is improbable comes from our human affliction of ‘Sudden Awe’. This Sudden Awe had us believing that volcanic eruptions were caused by the direct hand of a god, that hurricanes and…

      Given the universe is so big and old it’s not improbable complex life is here; there is enough opportunity for evolution to get a footing. If Black holes can spawn new universes then evolution would tend to create more universes with more black holes whiich could account for fine tuning.

      And Fine tuning may someday be explained by the grand unification theory and then it may appear obvious but if so it would still keep its awesomeness in some intangentable way.

  29. I have read this thread through #80 and have found it to be entertaining and informative. Thank you one and all. This is such a great clearing house for pertinent data sources and deliberate thinking. I will jump in if I think I have something of value to add, but for now I am quite content to observe.

  30. The “question of existence” is not actually a question, I maintain, because it has no possible answer. Whatever is included in the totality designated by “the set of all things that actually exist,” that totality itself cannot possibly be explained (and this is true even if the set in question is infinite). Explanation is a procedure whereby one existing thing is related to, or accounted for by, other existing things. Because there is nothing outside the set of ALL existing things, there is nothing by which to explain that set as a totality.

    Melville in Moby Dick, and I believe Milton also in Paradise Lost, observed that if the God of the Christians exists, he cannot account for his own existence. That is another way of saying the same thing as I said in the previous paragraph. This, by the way, powerfully refutes the idea that the existence of a God would somehow solve the riddle of existence. Some will say that God is “sufficient unto himself.” Well then, the possibility that a thing can be sufficient unto itself being thus admitted, why might not the material universe, sans God and angels, be such a thing?

    We may wonder why anything exists at all, or why what exists consists of what it does instead of something else, but since these “questions” can never find answers, it is unwise to spend much time with them.

  31. In reply to #83 by Markovich:

    We may wonder why anything exists at all, or why what exists consists of what it does instead of something else, but since these “questions” can never find answers, it is unwise to spend much time with them.

    How could you possibly hope to prove this unsupported claim?

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