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Science is supposed to embrace change, right?
Posted: 21 October 2010 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Hey Steve!

You are right with respect to the need of religions to follow some sort of revelation, usually a book.  The big difference lies on what you consider these books to be.  For instance, muslims see the quram as the word of god and sure enough they run into deep problems because many things just do not add up or are contradicted by science.  In the case of the bible you have different groups, some fundamentalists who interpret the bible literally and they too run into problems given the scientific evidence. But many christians understand that the bible and its message was inspired by god to the people who actually wrote it, but for them there is a need to look for the right meaning.

In this case these christians can live with their book and science without problems;  for instance when they interpret creation, the important aspects are that god created the universe, created life and in time by one way or another (evolution) created man at its own image.  All these ideas have not been disproved by science, and even more, the facts, the scientific evidence seem to still point that god did.  We understand that in time science will come out with the answer of how the universe started and how life began, but so far, the best explanation is that he did it.

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Posted: 21 October 2010 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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But many christians understand that the bible and its message was inspired by god to the people who actually wrote it, but for them there is a need to look for the right meaning.

But how do we know that? We only know for sure that the people who actually wrote it said that god inspired them, the only way to check would be to compare any ‘facts’ given in the bible with what can be proven empirically, and here science gives us the tools to do this i.e. the sun goes round the earth (I am sure that I do not need to list everything), has been proven to be false.

One would think that an entity who created everything would know the way that everything works.

In this case these Christians can live with their book and science without problems;

This would be more believable if those Christians were to delete from the bible all the ‘scientific’ writings and all of the genealogies and history of the Israelites and form ‘the new bible’ from what is left, try suggesting that to a practising Christian (I have) and see what reaction you get.

but so far, the best explanation is that he did it.

Another explanation could be that the whole universe is an experiment in a laboratory, contained in a tank of some sort; but that the tank is so huge we cannot see or detect it.

Either way the fact that everything progresses from simple to complex needs an answer to the question; who created the creator?

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Posted: 23 October 2010 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Steve :

I’m saying that their view, the christians”, is that the bible is god inspired, I was not saying that it is.

And the argument was leading to pointing out the difference between supposedly god written scriptures and god inspired.  If someone says the bible or the quram is god written, then that person will run into all sorts of difficulties trying to square scientific evidence with the text of their scripture.

If they argue that the scripture is god inspired, then they can live with scientific evidence by interpreting the scripture considering that it was written thousands of years ago by desert dwelling tribes, which in itself was a pretty good feat.

As for god knowing everything, certainly this should be an attribute for a god to be a real god; but this doesn’t mean necessarily that this god revealed everything there is to know to its believers; certainly is not the case and probably it is right that it seems to be this way.  If god had revealed everything to its creatures, then they would not have the freedom to answer god’s call and a creature supposedly created in god’s own image, necessarily must be free to chose and not imposed by god to believe.

As for science pointing to that he did, I say in view of scientific evidence which basically is the second law of thermodynamics, which states that there cannot exist a perpetual motion closed system; the universe, being a closed system, cannot be eternal, it must have had a beginning,  In other words the universe is winding down, and therefore something outside the universe must have wounded it up.  We do not know what but some external principle pre-existing space time should have done it.

[ Edited: 23 October 2010 03:04 PM by IAMWHOIAM]
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Posted: 16 November 2010 06:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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I’m going to go out on a limb and say more modern biologists have read more pages of the bible than more intelligent design believers have read Origin, or really any other modern science book on natural selection and genetics.

In short, the idea that a divine power created humanity and all life was left in the dust in the 1800s.  The science community has discovered evolution, it’s a fact.  The mechanism (natural selection) is the theory.  We can replicate short scale evolution in labs very easily with bacteria and genetic computer models.  Unfortunately, we can’t grow a giraffe in the lab, however, we can understand that natural selection would have favored the members of the species that had longer necks for survival and passing of DNA.  100 generations later, through genetic drift, on average, the giraffes would have longer necks.

I think scientists just avoid the whole god thing for two reasons - god is not needed in the equation, and it unnecessarily complicates it.

- Cody B

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Posted: 17 November 2010 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Cody B

But if we are being honest, there are still some events science has not been able to explain;  for instance, there is pretty much consensus that the universe started with the big bang, but science cannot explain what caused the big-bang.  Where did that energy come from?  How the laws that govern the universe came about?  It’s pretty weird that all mathematical models fail as you get close to the exact beginning of the universe, as if the natural laws do not work any more.

There are many, many theories and efforts to get around the Second Law of Thermodynamics which indicates that the universe had a beginning and therefore the need for a previous cause, as everything else in the natural world, but to no avail, that is how do we explain the beginning of the universe if there is no clarity about this previous cause?

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Posted: 17 November 2010 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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IAMWHOIAM - 17 November 2010 08:31 PM

Cody B

But if we are being honest, there are still some events science has not been able to explain;  for instance, there is pretty much consensus that the universe started with the big bang, but science cannot explain what caused the big-bang.  Where did that energy come from?  How the laws that govern the universe came about?  It’s pretty weird that all mathematical models fail as you get close to the exact beginning of the universe, as if the natural laws do not work any more.

There are many, many theories and efforts to get around the Second Law of Thermodynamics which indicates that the universe had a beginning and therefore the need for a previous cause, as everything else in the natural world, but to no avail, that is how do we explain the beginning of the universe if there is no clarity about this previous cause?

My question to you is this?  Why should we substitute “I don’t know” with “God”.  Obviously there are limits to our time and technology.  Darwin couldn’t have possibly known about genetics that way we do know - he had a hard time with sexual selection as well.  Many often against evolution in his time , were so, because there was no explanation for them - that mystery spot went to God.  Now we accurately understand genetics role in evolution and no god is needed.

My point in this - just because we don’t know how something works fully doesn’t mean we abandon all reason and logic to archaic dogma.  Newton’s apple didn’t suddenly stop mid air pending the outcome of Einsteins improvement on gravity and relativity.  We don’t abandon evolution at its core simply because we can’t explain the first nano seconds of time - there is much work needed to be done, and I think if that’s something you enjoy you should track the results of the collider in the Swiss border. http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/299966 for some info.

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Posted: 18 November 2010 07:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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The idea is by all means not to abandon evolution at all;  actually I do not think evolution is a theory, but a fact.

The problem, actually is not a problem but also a fact we have to deal with, is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics points to the idea that the universe, the one we see, or those we do not see, bouncing ones or multiverses, must have had a beginning.  And since everything we see in the natural world is subjected to causality, the universe, as part of the natural world should also have a cause.

So it seems this idea of the beginning of the universe does not go against reason and logic, it seems to me that on the contrary, reason and logic, together with the scientific evidence we have today regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the universality of causality, lead to the idea of an outside force at the beginning of the universe.

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Posted: 18 November 2010 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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IAMWHOIAM - 18 November 2010 12:37 PM

The idea is by all means not to abandon evolution at all;  actually I do not think evolution is a theory, but a fact.

The problem, actually is not a problem but also a fact we have to deal with, is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics points to the idea that the universe, the one we see, or those we do not see, bouncing ones or multiverses, must have had a beginning.  And since everything we see in the natural world is subjected to causality, the universe, as part of the natural world should also have a cause.

So it seems this idea of the beginning of the universe does not go against reason and logic, it seems to me that on the contrary, reason and logic, together with the scientific evidence we have today regarding the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the universality of causality, lead to the idea of an outside force at the beginning of the universe.

Thermodynamics seems to be a buzz word in the evolution debate, but so few people actually understand it in its entirety or even parts of it.  I’m certainly not an astrophysicist, but I do understand feedback loops quite well.  That the universe had a beginning doesn’t throw a wrench into anything, it’s accurately predicted and modeled with Einsteins theory of relativity.  My whole point is this, just because something is unexplained doesn’t make it unexplainable.  It’s easy for us to say ‘God’ instead of, wow that’s amazing, but we just don’t understand it at this time.

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Posted: 19 November 2010 03:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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Thermodynamics is not just a buzz word in the evolution debate.

Here is a quotation by Richard Dawkins, where he quotes Sir Arthur Eddington:

“Nothing violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The great astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington put it with memorable irony.
“If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

Since the Second Law implies the universe had a beginning, it either sprang spontaneously out of nothing or some previously existing force or energy, outside space-time caused it.  I do not think we have other options.

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Posted: 20 November 2010 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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IAMWHOIAM - 19 November 2010 08:21 AM

Thermodynamics is not just a buzz word in the evolution debate.

Here is a quotation by Richard Dawkins, where he quotes Sir Arthur Eddington:

“Nothing violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The great astrophysicist Sir Arthur Eddington put it with memorable irony.
“If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations - then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation - well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.”

Since the Second Law implies the universe had a beginning, it either sprang spontaneously out of nothing or some previously existing force or energy, outside space-time caused it.  I do not think we have other options.

I meant buzz word, as in non-physicists using thermodynamics in their discussion whether for or against evolution, without really understanding physics.

All of our information implies a beginning to the universe, the big bang billions of years ago.  My point still stands, no biblical god or any god is needed.  We don’t understand it, and may never fully understand it.  That still doesn’t excuse saying “God did it”.

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Posted: 21 November 2010 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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Cody B:

I still see a problem wrt the conclusions we can arrive to ;  Ok, we can’t imply that god did it from the fact there must be a beginning of the universe, in the form of the big bang, as it is widely accepted in the scientific community and given the scientific evidence we have. 

Then the options are, either the big bang occurred spontaneously out of nothing, or either there was a force previous to the beginning of the universe and of time, which triggered the big bang.

If we state that the universe sprang spontaneously out of nothing we are saying pretty much that nothing = something,  or something like   1=0,  which we know is not true.

So we have to come to the idea of a force, energy, entity, causing the beginning of the universe.

If we say there is no reason to believe this force is god, then we should try to figure what is this the force like.

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Posted: 22 November 2010 01:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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there are certain pretty amazing things religions have done for science;  for instance, it was a catholic priest (G Lemaître) who came up with the concept of the big bang, yes a catholic priest and his work was praised but Einstein himself;

This isn’t an example of religion doing anything for science; science is a method and a discipline, and anyone can adopt it, even a priest of the Catholic church.

This is like saying that Newton, who developed calculus, did so as if it were an outcropping of religious dogma, and therefore religion is the “father” of calculus.  Well, nothing of the kind is extant.  Religion, and in particular Christianity, says nothing about calculus, or gravity, or anything scientific at all—specifically, religion makes completely anti-scientific claims that are shown to be wrong over and over.

Theists practice a strong form of compartmentalization in their attempt to hold religion and science in different “majesteria”.  But the two most certainly do conflict, Stephen Jay Gould’s unwarranted dreams of integration notwithstanding.  And appeals to authority (Einstein) do not truth make.

also the catholic church in the dark ages was pretty much the custodian of science and culture.

Actually the reason it was called “The Dark Ages” in the first place is that the Catholic Church had a stranglehold on most of humanity and what humanity was permitted to believe.

Tyrannical oppression is not the handmaiden of stewardship of knowledge.  Human progress was stifled for 1500 years thanks to the Catholic Church, and its universities existed specifically to maintain articles of faith.  Let’s not rewrite history here.  The Church is not some bulwark of free human inquiry.  It was a tyrant against perceived heresy, and deeply, insanely corrupt, nothing more.

The problem with organized religion is that often it has been used and abused by the political power of the moment.

The problem with religion is that it bases its authority on faith, not knowledge.  Belief regardless of evidence (or in the face of evidence to the contrary) is the bread and butter of religions and political ideologies that mimic religion (like Stalinsm).  Religion is corruptible precisely because it relies on authority claims—that “Jesus is the only way to salvation” or, “The Jews are the Chosen People”, or, “Allah is the one true god and Mohammed is his prophet”—each of these are unsubstantiated, undemonstrated, and purely specious authority claims; and if anyone believes them, they do so based purely on the assertion, and not annoying little things like evidence, demonstration, or proof.

This doesn’t happen any more with Christianity where in most western nations there is a clear separation between the church and the state.

It happens all the time.  Do you think that Christianity had utterly nothing to do with the Bush administration’s wars?  Even more subtle, do you think that Christian values have nothing to do with any social impact in the USA? 

And it seems not to be the case in countries such as Iran or Saudi Arabia where not only there isn’t a separation, but the political power and the religious power feed on each other to perpetuate themselves in power.

Granted, it’s more obvious in theocracies, but it exists in secular nations as well.  Religious ideology impacts leaders and voters alike.  For instance, overwhelmingly Christians elected and re-elected Ronald Reagan (those were the days of “The Moral Majority”); clearly, religion has itself deeply embedded its tendrils in our political structure, and to not see it is a bit naive.

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Faith-free since 1985

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Posted: 24 November 2010 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Keep the Reason:

Your comment is just your opinion regarding the idea that instead of being a depository of culture and science, the catholic church was more a hindrance and pretty much caused the Dark Ages.  It seems you are mistaken of what the Dark Ages was;  it went from the fall of the Roman Empire until pretty much the XII-XIII century.  Just take a look at the Reims or Cologne cathedrals, or to Montecassino.  Of course there are many shadows and most relevant was Galileo’s encounter with the church, but this doesn’t erase the cultural legacy of the catholic church in the dark ages. 

With respect to Lemaître, he was a priest and so he belonged to the church’s hierarchy;  therefore his studies must have been necessarily supported by the church.

You cannot deny that in western countries there is a clear separation between church and state; now if there are constituencies that have religious leanings and organized themselves to achieve political power through the elections, well this is the democratic process.  Or would you like to ban these groups from the democratic game?

But anyway I think this thread lost its direction.  What I think is important to discuss is that current scientific evidence, in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, causality and logic, points to the fact that the universe had a beginning and that a force outside space-time caused this beginning.  In addition the scientific evidence indicates that this beginning occurred 13.72 billion year ago in the form of the big-bang.

The alternative origin of the universe would be that it sprang out of nothing spontaneously which doesn’t make sense scientifically since it would similar to saying that   nothing = something   or that   1=0,  which we know are not true.

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