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Einstein would disagree with you on the time issue. time is what we operate in all the time, it allows change to occur and is absolutely provable by nearly every scientific measurement. Velocity is distance travelled over a period of time. Time is also tied to space and thereby had a beginning along with the universe.
It hurt my brain, but I cannot deny the logic.
the only thing that man invented was the language we use to describe a section of time.
If you really want to bend your mind, consider this, we live in an infinitesimally small measure of time that is now, constantly shifting from past to future but never being anywhere for any measurable amount of time. Now is immeasurably small.
My entire premise resides on the Einsteinian view of time, if it did not have a beginning (as relativity demands) then indeed, time is bigger than or equal to God.
A bit of a side note but that is incorrect (on dimensional ground alone). What you have defined is speed, not velocity.
No, Mark, you have got it all wrong.
1) Atheist didn't invent a god and have NO obligation to disprove a god.
2) DNA, fine-tuning, and the Big Bang theory don't even come close to proving a god. If you think they do you'll have to extensively explain that ill-fated idea!
3) It isn't "technical agnosticism" to require that there be REAL empirical proof of a god. It is just logic.
4) In every case, you have to make a major leap to span the gap of logic and proof to accept a god to be real. YOU say that something had to be outside space and time to create OUR universe. a) That is an assumption on your part, and b) it still doesn't prove a god.
Your leader in battle analogy isn't germane. I have been in many battles. There is no relation to what you are saying.
In battle, things change and you have to adapt but it all based on REALITY NOT speculation.
The fact is that you DON'T know what existed before the Big Bang and you are just making yet ANOTHER assumption.
@mark 1)who says that there was nothing and then suddenly there was something? I sense a strawman... Either that or you really don't understand the big bang theory.
2)math and logic do not transcend anything, they are tools we implement to help us understand things. That's it. They don't exist apart from human minds in some alternate dimension. The transcendental arguement is total bunk based on empty assertions.
3)call whatever you want god. As an axiomatic statement you can do that. But as soon as you turn it into a synthetic proposition it requires a pragmatic demonstration.
Hi Aposteriori Unum, Thanks for your response. It seems that you are proposing an eternal universe model again. Similar to the expanding and collapsing universe?
I think that math and logic are ideas. they have no mass or energy and they are not tied to space and time as they have no dimension. Yet they are real, otherwise this whole discussion is not actually happening. 1+1=2 is a truth that is just as true even if nobody understands or agrees with it.
In general, all things born of our minds are transcendent (outside of) the universe, even though they occur within it.
Do you have examples of something outside of the universe?
I'm not proposing anything. I'm saying that the only people that say everything came from nothing are people who don't understand physics or who refuse are theists making a strawman argument.
1 plus1 will always equal two but that doesn't mean that it is a transcendent thing. In that numbers and the way we use them are purely analytic propstions... Axioms. The whole of mathematics is arbitrary.
You say you can't follow myks logic and you often invoke logic, but I seriously question you're knowledge of logic. You ascribe magic to where there is none. And call magic the things that can be explained without. The basics of epistemology would help you understand why your reasoning is wrong.
If you want to talk logic I may be the one to do ot with. I can teach you things that you need to know to make good logical arguments and to avoid fallacious ones.
I certainly do not fully understand the big bang, nobody does, or this argument would have no validity at all. Are you suggesting that you do understand the big bang theory? I mean on a provable level?
My understanding is that time had a beginning and is not eternal, with all due respect to Stephen Hawking who tried to make time reciprocal, but had to change some laws of nature to do it.
As to mathematics not being transcendent, I would argue that it is necessarily transcendent of the universe as we are using it to attempt to understand dimensions outside of what we experience in the universe (string theory as an example) although this math seems to get pretty muddy and controversial I admit.
In fact if we ever do manage to prove uncaused causation of the universe it will be through this transcendent math.
I hold to a more narrow view of course, at this time i am unconvinced of extra-universal universes, but since i believe in an extra-universal God, i certainly do not dismiss them.
Okay, let me say it like this: things can be expressed mathematically. That is that we can use mathematics to describe the universe and various aspects of it. We can also use language to describe the universe. English does not exist apart from the minds of the humans who speak it. If we started the world over we would still develop language and maths but we would never see English and calculus.
I didn't say that you don't understand the big bang. I said you probably don't understand the big bang theory; what it says. You said there was nothing and then everything came from it. That's not what the scientific theory suggests. Only that at some point there was a singularity and that it inflated to what we observe today. It explains our observations that the vast majority of galaxies are moving apart from one another. Extrapolate backwards and you have a point. Not that there was a black void without matter and then suddenly for no reason everything came into existence. In fact, it is usually only stated this way by a theist making strawman arguments.
My objective here is merely to point this out, not to go into an in depth lecture on the big bang theory and quantum field theory and other relevant fields of study. I don't care of you understand it or not. I only care that you don't invoke that which you don't fully understand to prove an unprovable point.
I also do not subscribe to the multiverse idea. It's a fun thought, but there is, and may well never be, no evidence to support it.
"In fact if we ever do manage to prove uncaused causation of the universe"
OK leaving aside the obviously contradictory nature of the sentence, why does anyone need to 'disprove' something for which there is no evidence? The physical universe exists, and natural causes exist, Occam's razor applies to your attempts to shoehorn extra claims for a supernatural cause that you can't evidence.
" the big bang theory is what drove me to accept the obvious implication that whatever caused the big bang, must be outside of space/time and mass/energy. i am not a physicist, nor a cosmologist, but I do understand the concepts that they are teaching around the singularity."
Well kudos as these concepts are beyond my feeble intellect. However you seem to have fallen into a basic error, the universe had a point of origin, but the word 'beginning' is not entirely accurate as time didn't exist as we observe it in the physical universe, so a beginning in the sense we understand it need not be the case. Also the current scientific model of the big bang posits no cause, so please explain why you have added this and are claiming it is 'scientific' when it is not? Also what evidence have you for a cause, and why haven't you published this in any worthy scientific journals? Until you can demonstrate evidence for a cause I have no reason to believe there was one, even then you would need to evidence what the cause was, and explain how it 'created' the universe ex nihilo, rather than simply asserting it was your chosen deity.
" I do understand the concepts that they are teaching around the singularity. There was nothing, when the universe began there was nothing, "
No you don't understand these concepts at all, or you wouldn't be making unevidenced assertions that are not part of any current scientific models for the big bang. How did you test or evidence there was nothing? Define nothing for us precisely please, if you are using it in an absolute sense then there could have been no deity could there, if there was a deity then your claim for an absolute nothing is contradicting itself.
"to suggest that there was a natural law that governed nowhere and nothing, causing it to become everything, is just a way to evoke magic without calling it magic."
Nothing in the big bang model claims this. So again you really have not understood it at all. However how is that straw man claim any different to the bare unevidenced assertion the universe was created from nothing by a deity from a bronze age superstition using magic?
"The big bang theory is really the only thing out there, there is no opposing scientific theory. "
>>Scientific theories don't have opposing theories, that's not how they work or what they are used for, they are expansive explanations of natural phenomena, that are underpinned by a weight of evidence and research, that has testable predictions, and they must be falsifiable so they can be tested and will be falsified if they are indeed false. Supernatural claims are by definition unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific.
"The big bang demands a big banger,"
>>No it doesn't, and again if your claim to understand the big bang theory were remotely true you'd know this forms no part of this scientific theory.
"Science is useless for the big bang, it is limited to understanding the universe as it is and is therefore incapable of showing us anything beyond the universe. "
>>And you know this how exactly? Even if it true, name one thing religion has established as factually true that can be demonstrated in a way remotely as objective as science demonstrates things it has explanations for?
"I have yet to hear an alternative explanation"
>>Argumentum ad ignorantiam, if someone claims pixies created the universe, not have a scientific explanation does not validate that claim about pixies, anymore than it does your chosen deity.
" Logic dictates that the beginner had to be outside of that which He began, and therefore outside of time and space, and unbound by the rules He set in place for mass/energy to operate by."
>>Again you're simply repeating ad nausea your bare assertion where you put your wheezy broken down donkey in front of your cart. Show some evidence for a creator, otherwise assertions about it's attributes in an argument for it's existence is just using circular reasoning to define it into existence. What's more you could make the same argument about leprechauns and it would have to have the same validity if they were assigned the same attributes.
"I have searched and searched, but there is no other explanation "
>>Sigh, argumentum ad ignorantiam again. You really need to understand some basics about logic if you are going to keep involving it like this, these are called common logical fallacies, look it up.
"We know that God cannot be therefore there will one day be another explanation." this seems disingenuous."
>>It's very disingenuous, but I have only ever heard theists use this claim. And again not having an explanation doesn't in any way validate bare assertions that have no explanatory power at all, like the 'god did it' claim, which amounts to no more than assertions about unevidenced and inexplicable magic.
I think you are right; but you probably won't like the explanation. Yes, we don't know your imaginary friend. I submit this is why even fellow believers can't agree on the details about god.
@Mark: The big bang demands a big banger
No it doesn't .... it's YOU that is demanding one and then calling it GOD.
I have yet to hear an alternative explanation that does not invoke the use of "just trust science".
I have given you one in my previous posting (no mention of science) you chose to ignore it ..
@Mark - While I would say atheists are atheist by belief (we don't believe there is a god), we are agnostic in relation to the supernatural in general (science cannot make claims or statements in regard to that which is inherently unobservable in the real world). Neither of these is a "belief system" or a faith claim. Rather we remain unconvinced of anything supernatural, and believe the preponderance of evidence points away from a deity of any kind.
So there could be a god, but atheists doubt it. If there were, s/he would probably be a super-advanced alien who developed elsewhere and is tinkering with our universe under experimental conditions, because s/he clearly isn't interested in intervening.
But, one thing that hasn't been discussed yet is YOUR god. As to your specific Yahweh, he's just pure fiction. We CAN prove that. Just examination of the described attributes of Yahweh render him impossible by logical definition (Omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, perfectly just, perfectly merciful, etc). Such a being could not exist by logical definition.
Even aside from that argument, there are many examples of how Yahweh is derived from earlier myths, not to mention the nearly endless evidence of biblical tampering, tinkering, and general corruption (the bible being the only cohesive description of the judeo-christian version of yahweh).
So while you may be able to believe god is the cause of the big bang and have some basis for claiming that statement alone is the equivalent of an atheist saying god is NOT the cause of the big bang, the moment you drag Yahweh into the argument, it's just a lost cause.
Darkkwolfe, Thank you for your reply. You are right, we have not discussed my God, this would be pointless to do without establishing that there is at least reasonable possibility of a God, any God of existing. Christian apologetics is field unto itself, and one that i am fond of, as I am a born skeptic.
I was hoping to keep the conversation focussed on the possibility of any God existing, on the possibility of the supernatural. The reason for this is that until we can agree on something, further discussion would be fruitless i fear.
Interestingly, you said "science cannot make claims or statements in regard to that which is inherently unobservable in the real world.". I agree, except in the case of God. The reason for this is that He claims to have made the natural world. it stands to reason then that it should appear designed and that it should show signs of having had a beginning.
Science (the study of how God did things) will never be able to give us a complete picture of who He is, because it is limited by the observable.
It is these fingerprints of design that have kept me from embracing Atheism as a possibility.
I will note that your argument around Yahweh being derived form earlier myths is odd to me. The creation story is not thought to have been revealed to Moses as he wrote Genesis. he was just writing down the already established beliefs of his ancestors, if there were indeed one God, it would stand to reason that other cultures had similar beliefs about Him. Similarity does not prove derivative.
For starters: why would energy need an origin?
" I joined this site as a bit of a spy I think. I have seen and heard so much hatred leveled against those who hold to a view that includes a Creator."
>>Quote half a dozen posts levelling hatred at creationists please, not against their absurd superstitious beliefs or their mendacious attempts to indoctrinate children by distorting their education with flimflam creationist propaganda, but as you have claimed here, against creationists themselves.
"Dawkins is the leader of the pack that seems to have a powerful hate-on for all things religious, but after seeing him in numerous debates with actual intelligent Christians and those of other faiths, I think that perhaps his bravado is inspired more toward book sales than any real conviction."
>>What specifically do you find nefarious about a writer trying to sell books? Please cite some evidence that his frustration with religions, and the lies creationists try to pass off as facts that deny scientific facts is insincere? Just one piece of compelling evidence, also please tell us why it annoys you enough to come here and troll in an atheist forum, if you really think he's just being insincere when he debates the religious and disputes their superstitious claims?
"I would like to ask this question to anyone who cares to answer me. Do you think that Atheism is anything more than another belief system?"
>>It's not a belief system. The OED defines atheism as:
Disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.
It is therefore the absence of a single belief.
"I ask this because it seems inadequate to explain origins."
>>So what? That's a common logical fallacy called argumentum ad ignorantiam, it;s an appeal to ignorance, or what professor Dawkins called in The God Delusion a 'god of the gaps' argument. Not believing in Zeus doesn't explain the origins of the universe or life, does that make Zeus real or in any way validate the claim he is real?
"I tried to forsake my Christian beliefs when i was in my early twenties, but these two questions stopped me dead in my tracks, and I have never had a decent answer."
>>Why did you believe in the first place, why did you try to 'forsake your beliefs'? Why does not having an answer justify leaping to the unevidenced assertion that a deity exists, and how do you know you have the right one?
"i just cannot buy a statement of faith from a system of thought that claims to have done away with the need for a mind behind it all."
>>Me neither, as an atheist I don't believe anything on faith. So what evidence can you demonstrate that everything has a 'mind behind'? Beyond yet another argument from ignorance, or argumentum ad ignorantiam?
@Mark: My story goes like this The universe had a beginning, something outside and beyond it's laws and confines, had to have begun it.
Not that old chestnut ?
OK Mark. If everything has to have a 'beginning' aka a 'creator' (which you call GOD) who created that creator? And who created the creator's creator?
You see where your story takes you .....
Hi Big George, i have thought a lot about that actually.
my logic goes like this (it is not easy, but i think it makes sense) If space and time are indeed finite, then before the universe existed there was no time, and no before and after. Therefore, if we allow for a creator, He cannot exist within the universe or time. How can a being who exists outside of time have had a beginning? He is therefore an uncreated creator that exists outside of linear time. I believe in a really, really, really, big and mind blowing God, he defies my full understanding, if He did not, then he would be just another man i think.
So if we allow for the existence of God at all, he cannot have been created.
I have heard it said this way also, if you as an atheist acknowledge that you did not always exist, and therefore the universe made you, and the universe is not eternal, then who made your maker?
That argument is flawed because it is circular either way.
Fun to think about this stuff though. I think i should have been a philosopher.
So Mark what country do you live in that there is hostility towards christianity? It can't be the USA or even most of the world. The fact is that there is NO war on christmas, christianity enjoys unbridled freedom to even step on individual rights
I am not sure when i said that my country was hostile to Christianity, but i do think that recent laws have been passed here that definitely contradict and challenge my moral views.
Atheists have had to deal with Theocracy's for a long time, and i am not denying that.
My point is that one of us is right in our view on God and the other is wrong. Allowing every idea equal power, and influence in society is irresponsible until we establish the claims as reasonable and true.
I do indeed fear a world where atheists rule, not because the individuals are evil, but the regimes do tend toward final solutions for those who disagree with them.
Theocracies tend toward this as well, and i do not think that churches should have political power, not because God is untrustworthy, rather his servants tend toward stupidity.
I am a protestant for a reason, i dislike the political nature and power of the Roman Catholic (and Anglican, Lutheran for that matter) churches.
Mutual respect is important, honest and open discussion carried out with respect is a big part of peace, until we can all agree on one world-view. Hence why i have come to your republic carrying a flag of diplomacy...lol.
@Mark: I am not sure when i said that my country was hostile to Christianity.
Mark, you chose the heading for the Topic you started as "Just a Christian Voice in a hostile country"
I got what you were implying straight away. The 'hostile country' was this website wasn't it? You automatically assumed that atheists would be 'hostile' towards you. That's pretty insulting actually but I let it pass.
But that's not the end of your insults. Now you express your opinion that 'atheist regimes' tend toward final solutions.
Let's not beat around the bush here.
You are referring to the mass extermination of Jews by the Nazi regime under Adolf Hitler between 1941 - 1945. I have no doubt that you think Hitler was an atheist.
Actually there is plenty of evidence that Hitler was not an atheist. In fact Hitler was raised a catholic, never renounced catholicism and in a 1928 speech, said: "We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity ... in fact our movement is Christian." - is that evidence enough for you?
While we are at it, Joseph Stalin, who was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1953 and who was responsible for the murder of millions, probably was an atheist, but, he did not order the killings in support of atheism or because of his lack of religious belief. He was a dictator and (like countless other dictators of varying religious beliefs) power over life and death is endemic of such systems.
Your assertion that atheist societies end in mass murder is a lie.
Supply one example of mass murder being carried out in the name of atheism.
You biased, blinkered, religious pontifications are misinformed and insulting.
Hi Big George,
I meant no insult.
You say that Stalin was not performing his killings in support of atheism. That is correct, and i would say irrelevant as we have already established that Atheism has no guidelines or overarching philosophy.
The larger point of my statement is that if we allow man to be the ultimate authority of what is right or wrong, then how do we define between two opposing actions? I take it that, by what you have said, you disagree with Stalin, but you have no reason for doing so. If morality is based on what man says, then if a man says 'X' is right and another says 'x' is wrong, they are both correct. You can at that point only argue about the results of actions, not the rightness of them.
My worldview says that humans have more value than animals for instance. there is no naturalistic or empirical reason for this, but i hold it because of my broader world-view.
I have heard many Atheists concede that we cannot place value on human life over that of a bacterium, there is no standard of value as all things are just matter and energy, no different in value than a rock or a quantum particle.
I am not suggesting that all of those who profess Christianity are any more moral than an atheist, but we do have a measure against which to compare ourselves.
I am a sinner, not because i am worse than other men (although that may be true), but because I am less than pure perfection.
Morality is not relative to the circumstances or our surroundings. Relative morality is just immorality.
Personally, i will say that i default to selfishness nearly every time. looking out for me and mine, even if i appear altruistic I am usually getting something out of it, even if it just a warm fuzzy feeling.
I am sorry that you took offence to my reference ot atheist regimes as being less than great, I do not lump all atheists in with those individuals or groups. I just mean that it iss the logical outcome of atheism that you will get conflicting morality and totalitarianism.
The same is true of theocracies for the most part, although to a lesser extent.
Mark @: The larger point of my statement is that if we allow man to be the ultimate authority of what is right or wrong, then how do we define between two opposing actions?
I don't know where you have been living Mark, but here on planet Earth man IS the ultimate authority of what is right or wrong.
Even if you live in some dysfunctional, barbaric, theocracy like Iran who do you think it is that interprets their 'holy books'. This right, 'humans' ! Men (never women).
In every society that has ever existed, men have made the laws, and enforced them. There are countless examples of societies that have no conception of the sort of God you claim and none of these societies for example advocated rape and murder.
Believe it or not it seems to be a natural human impulse not to do such things. It's observable amongst animal too (and they are clueless about religion) So you see, morality does not need help from an imaginary deity.
You might think that without the help of your holy book you would be a depraved jerk (and maybe you would) but don't insult the rest of us by implying that we would be the same as you.
You said, "Allowing every idea equal power, and influence in society is irresponsible until we establish the claims as reasonable and true."
Since you said and there is NO proof that anything about any god is true, therefore you must believe that religion has no right to influence or impose its ideas on society through government.
Secularism is NOT atheism but instead a mutual respect for all faiths or lack of faith.
BTW, you still haven't answered my question. What country are you from or in?
The title of this thread indicates that your christian faith is persecuted. I would strongly disagree given the facts about chistianity in America and in most nations.
sorry, I Misunderstood your question, my reference was to the "Atheist Republic", Just a bit cheeky, playing with the site name. There has been much talk in the media about militant Atheism, that is why i chose 'hostile'.
I think that my broader point here in this forum is that I see this choice as being a necessary one. Is there a God or not? There are only two options really. the evidence is imperfect, but as there are only two choices, I am making my choice where the evidence seems to be strongly indicating.
We might change our minds (plenty have switched camps in both directions). But the underlying question of a basis for the existence of right and wrong are at stake, and thereby all of the very real and personal effects of the rules that follow.
This is not just a cerebral gymnastics, the answer has real world application for us all.
I will also take this time to apologize for the inflammatory title, I have found all of the debate to be quite civil, hostile to my view, but certainly civil.
Mark, you wrote, “Is there a God or not? There are only two options really.”
At the risk of repeating this ad nauseum, the label ‘atheist’ is applied to people who reject the assertion that god(s) exist. So, there is at least one more option - it is: I don’t know. Theists have not met their burden of proof to support such an assertion, therefore, I reject it. This is NOT to say I assert there is no god(s).
You seem to say that withholding your vote is a third option...That seems to be more of an action than an option. Would you not agree that there is a God or there is not? Agreeing with one side or another is a personal option, but not an answer.
"there is a God", that statement is either correct or incorrect. Not knowing the answer is not an answer in itself, so we are still left with only two options as to the answer.
I agree with you that both sides have the burden of proof if they wish to take a side, but we lack the tools to provide scientific proof as science can only describe what is known and test what is proposed by what we already know to be true.
I would propose that we need to allow different kinds of evidence into this debate if we are going to reach any real consensus. Logical extrapolation in particular, at least until we can agree that God is a reasonable explanation, not just invocation of magic.
Mark, you said, "there are only two options really. the evidence is imperfect, but as there are only two choices, I am making my choice where the evidence seems to be strongly indicating."
Well, certainly isn't true. There isn't ANY evidence, let alone evidence that is strongly indicated that there is a god. Not a shred.
The short answer is that everything is a product of evolution, originating from the basic quantum foam that produced elemental particles that produced celestial hydrogen atoms which produces everything else. Right now we are an interim life form that is just becoming intelligent. We have no idea how long we will survive or if we will ever become fully intelligent as a species. And while we don't know how large the universe is or what it is it's safe to say that the biblical God Yahweh had no part in its creation. If people need to worship something they should worship hydrogen.
@Diotrephes: "they should worship hydrogen.
But not in the presence of oxygen, for oxygen is a jealous god.