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Elite47

Why should i believe in God?

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Based on what? I see no particular reason to believe that Event A is more likely to occur than Event B just because Event A occurred before, at some point in the past.

You were born once. It is ludicrously unlikely that another, identical copy of you will ever be born again.

But, logically, not impossible.

Event A is no more likely to occur than event B, but because it has already done so, we know that Event A can happen. Event B might be equally possible and equally likely, but if it hasn't happened once we have no guarantee that it can happen at all.

Not really. Every time we fill out some part of it, we discover a new blank space somewhere else.
*Shrug* We don't believe that human sacrifice keeps the sun coming back. That blank space used to be an awful lot bigger, and has been shrinking steadily. New things crop up, but they'll be solved in time too
But if your point was merely that physics isn't your strong point, then I took it the wrong way, and I am sorry.
That and I don't much like applied mathematics. But then I had a remarkably poor physics teacher.
What I take issue with is the notion of unguided and purposeless macroevolution because there are just too many holes in the theory. And of course this is not based upon my meaningless opinion.  Rather this is the conclusions drawn by many scholarly and highly respected academics in the fields of paleontology, biology, and physics.
If they're denying evolution then they aren't highly respected, I'm practically certain of that.

Edit: Or at least if they are, it's for completely unrelated reasons. Advances in electron microscopy perhaps.

It's the purposeless thing, isn't it? Some people just can't stand the idea that they're not that special, that they and their entire species arose through exactly the same blind mechanism that made cockroaches. Science has no room for ego in that regard, I'm afraid.

Besides which, you think what, that god just dropped a few whales into the ocean 40 million years ago? If macroevolution is a lie then where do new species come from, and why are they so similar to old species? Why don't we have any tentacled vultures yet? That I'd like to see. You can't have your creationist cake and eat it, you know.

And Wolf, while I appreciate the respect you're showing, it's not making for a very good argument is it? ;)

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And Wolf, while I appreciate the respect you're showing, it's not making for a very good argument is it? Wink

It's all actually very self-interested; my classes and work do not permit me the free time to really give you an honest run for your money in debate, so I'd much rather do my reading under the guise of "ecumenical respect." I also feel comfortable letting Edric and Hwi run our side of the table, as posters go, they're pretty competent.

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To be honest, the origin of life, while explicable by science, is still an area with room for "blank spots" at the moment. Now what I believe is that the raw materials, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, etc, under the influence of heat, electricity and other such factors, formed the first amino acids spontaneously. This can be demonstrated in laboratory testing. There's a whole lot more to the theory of course, but that's what it boils down to.

There are others in the world who believe that, while the process was natural, it was under the influence of a "guiding hand" so to speak. A hand that did not put things together like a jigsaw puzzle and set things walking, but one that took the right ingredients in the right circumstances and added the single spark needed to get the ball rolling. In other words, these people believe in evolution by natural selection, and that everything after the moment of creation was random, directionless and free from interference. But they also believe that the spark that set it off was supernatural, if not outright deific.

And while I disagree most emphatically with this point of view, it's one that I'm prepared to respect and not throw mud at.

Unlike the natural selection naysayers, who can take a running jump.

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''What I take issue with is the notion of unguided and purposeless macro-evolution because there are just too many holes in the theory.''

Hwi, I'm going to assume by macro-evolution you mean, speciation (what else separates macro-evolution from ''usual evolution'').

Speciation is the creation of new species. Do you know how species are seperated? By their inability to produce viable, fertile offspring.

All evolution occurs via the same mechanism  of transferring alleles (thus changing allele frequency and also resulting in reproductive isolation). Do you have some disagreement specifically with the idea that members within a species occasionally produce offspring that cannot mate (produce viable fertile offspring, specifically) with the existing members of the species that produces it, thus producing offspring that are not the same species and creating new species (speciation)?

Do I really need to provide examples of species where their mating (within or without a species) produces offspring that cannot mate with their parents (for example?). Ie: an example where the offspring are reproductively isolated from the species of their parents.

It is just a combo of genes that have the phenotypic expression of resulting in an ''child'' that cannot mate with the existing members of the species that produced it.

Is there something special about producing this combo of genes as opposed to any other?

(edit) If you accept the pretty much infallible idea of gene transferring via reproduction, then how you can seriously deny the occurrence of speciation via the same means? (edit)

Note, that all this is with the most commonaccepted definitions of species and macro-evolution.

In fact, with the most commonly accepted definition of species, anything that is unable to reproduce for ANY reason is not of the same species. So horses in America are VERY technically members of a different species than horses in Europe. Move those horses to Europe and all the fore-mentioned horses are now of the same species. Of course all of this can lead to some inconsequential word play. The most ''normal'' idea of species is that species are separated by a physical inability to produce viable and fertile offspring (eg: if the sperm can't penetrate the egg membrane of another species or survive the reproductive tract)

Speaking about word play, it seems that this ''macro-evolution'' stuff is probably going to lead to nothing more than that.

We've already seen how compounding changes within one species and then within that species descendants and in that species descendants and so on can clearly lead to major changes.

Even within a species we can have major changes, but this is rare because over time you would expect some changes to lead to reproductive isolation (eg: if one species becomes relatively ginormous and correspondingly large genitalia it will be unable to mate). Enough change, and eventually the ability to mate will change, because it is affected by these other factors.

Feel free to give me your definitions of macro-evolution, species, e.t.c. Feel equally free to disembark from what may be a pointless venture as well please  :P

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Hwi - I'm asking just out of curiosity - did you get those quotes from a webpage somewhere, or did you collect them yourself?

Naturally, the opinions of scientists (or anyone else, for that matter) cannot be used as an argument for the existence of God. That would be the fallacy of Appeal to Authority. But these opinions can be used to prove that religious or supernatural views are not confined to the ignorant, as some atheists like to claim. Quotes can't prove that God exists, but they can prove that the quoted people believe God exists.

Allow me to predict the atheist response to your argument: "Yes, it may be ridiculously improbable for the universe to be so perfectly tuned to allow our existence, but, given an infinite number of universes, even the most improbable things will happen eventually."

That is true. But there's a problem. This line of argument rests on the existence of universes other than our own... and there is absolutely no evidence that any such alternate universes exist. It's a belief in the supernatural (anything outside our universe is by definition supernatural), so it is no different from religion.

From an that perspective...why would God bother to create such a huge void, with so many inanimate bits of rock and gasses in between?

I can more or less follow the reasoning that the universe is perfectly fine tuned for the type of life that we're familiar with, and under the laws of physics that we're accustomed to - but why would an omnipotent god be bothered about such things?

Hwi: the coincidence of fine-tuning aside (I can't escape the feeling there's a logical flaw in there somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it so I won't bother elaborating) most of those scientists seem to think that if the universe wasn't designed by someone/something great, it would have been a lot simpler. Or that there must have been a brilliant designer behind it, seeing as how we are struggling to find out how it works. To me that smells of anthropocentric hubris, ironically.

Also, why do christians (or muslims or jews, but I've only seen christians do it) always try to rationalize monotheism in the most bland sense. I'll happily believe that many physicists can see the hand of some creator in the Big Bang and whatnot but surely we can dispense with virgin births and such.

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Naturally, the opinions of scientists (or anyone else, for that matter) cannot be used as an argument for the existence of God. That would be the fallacy of Appeal to Authority. But these opinions can be used to prove that religious or supernatural views are not confined to the ignorant, as some atheists like to claim. Quotes can't prove that God exists, but they can prove that the quoted people believe God exists.

Of course faith is not about being smart or being ignorant. Moreover i doubt faith is about being a physicist rather than a biologist. May be when a physicist says God he actually doesn't mean some superior being who inspired the prophets but just some initial principle he has no better name for. God in the physicist words is much like the Legislator (or the Tax Payer) in the politician words, it does not suppose (yet does not exclude) some religious belief.

Einstein famously said "God does not play dice".

However his religious beliefs were clearly at a minimum:

I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Not every unbounded admiration is religious faith.

To put in a nutshell, traditional evolution may explain

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Mmm ... stew sounds lovely on a chill October day. :)

It's been a pleasure to find out how people react and think about this fact.

I quite agree. Although I would probably phrase that "how people ... <b>don't</b> think" or "<b>avoid</b> thinking." :)

... Much nonsense and waste of time from those who participated.

One is glad to do what one can. ;D

... Try to think simple...

Again, I couldn't agree more! All these Big Cosmological Doubts (But <b>Who</b> banged the Big Bang?!) and IDiotic objections (Then why doesn't my hamster mutate into a T-Rex?!) are just obfuscation born out of desperate ignorance. (Seriously, gills for whales?) The simpler questions are far more interesting.

Anathema mentions dispensing "with virgin births and such", but actually that's the crux (as it were, for the "Paulians") of the matter, isn't it?

A simple question: Was the man referred to as "Jesus" somehow an incarnation of the Creator of the Universe, born from a virgin?

Another: Did this man's execution by the Romans somehow constitute a Jewish blood sacrifice, expiating the "sins" of every human being across all of time? (Said sins being the result of the first two humans eating some fruit.)

How about: Do you believe the events depicted in the books of Moses actually occurred, or were they just another result of his communing with some smoking weed?

Or: If a friend or loved one started hanging out in a cave then later came to you and told you an angel had spoken to him with messages from God, would you believe him or rush him to hospital for possibly inhaling bat guano vapors?

If you do not accept every word of your Torah/Bible/Qur'an as literal truth, how do you pick and choose? What are your criteria? If you don't believe that Jesus walked on water or raised others and himself from the dead, why do you buy into Paul's mystery religion? If Jibreel did not speak to Muhammad for Allah, of what value is any of the Qur'an other than as (fantastic) literature?

Science cannot (and, as I believe it was Wolf pointed out, may never be able to) tell me why or how this universe arose and exists, nor how life arose on this planet. (It can, based on the evidence of the fossil record, tell me much about how life has developed.) But I don't feel, on the basis of that inability and uncertainty, any need to conjure some Great Prime Mover Boojum. Nor to connect some such entity to the creator deity of three rather dire & primitive religions. :)

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Einstein famously said "God does not play dice".

However his religious beliefs were clearly at a minimum:

I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Not every unbounded admiration is religious faith.

Einstein clearly believed in God in the deistic meaning of the term.  In other words, based upon the overwhelming evidence that Einstein observed through his groundbreaking study and understanding of physics, mathematics and the beautiful complexities of it all, he rationally concluded that there was an intelligent agent responsible for it.  But as indicated by deistic ideology, he also believed that once this intelligent agent completely his work, he abandoned it leaving mankind to his own devices.  So no, Einstein did not believe in God as revealed through the major world religions.  But the important thing to remember is that Einstein was convinced, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that an intelligent agent was responsible for causing the universe, and all life in it, to exist.

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Hwi: the coincidence of fine-tuning aside (I can't escape the feeling there's a logical flaw in there somewhere, but I can't put my finger on it so I won't bother elaborating) most of those scientists seem to think that if the universe wasn't designed by someone/something great, it would have been a lot simpler. Or that there must have been a brilliant designer behind it, seeing as how we are struggling to find out how it works. To me that smells of anthropocentric hubris, ironically.

Fair observation.  Permit me to illustrate it this way:  If we were explorers traveling in the wilderness and we happened upon a lump of clay fashioned roughly in the shape of an automobile, we might logically conclude that this was the work of either a child or someone of limited intelligence and skill level.  However, if we subsequently came across a fully functioning high precision automobile like a Lamborghini, we would be astounded and marvel at the beauty and masterful design.  If we could pop open the hood and look at the engine or open the doors and examine the interior, we would be even further amazed and logically conclude that someone of high intelligence had designed and built this automobile

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Dante mentioned before that, "if it can happen once, it can happen again." And I can't help but think that if the human brain--a rudimentary, fragile, wet ball of meat--can produce self-awareness, then certainly something on the grand scale of the cosmos might be able to achieve the same.

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If the universe and its laws of physics weren't capable of, eventually, producing sentient life then nobody would have been around to discuss the subject. (and there'd be no sound of falling trees)

A Lambourghini is an extremely well designed verhicle compared to say, a Volkswagen beetle or a Trabant.

The fundamental properties of the universe are extremely well desgiend compared to...what exactly?

I'm not a physicist (or any scientist for that matter), but I think most of them would agree with me that the position that some other, hypothetical universe would never be capable of supporting life isn't falsifiable. But if such thinking is permitted and laws of physics can be whatever you want, why not an alternative universe that takes less than 5 billion years in order to churn out even the most basic life forms, and in more places?

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Heh. Once again I have prepared a post but don't want to post it because I am still considering it. I guess Anathema has at least ''encouraged'' me enough to express something of temporary agreement.

If I were forced to comment now, I would say that there is no way in hell we could know what laws and constants would be required to generate life, even if we knew what possible life forms could exist given the correct conditions (right now, we only think of carbon based oxygen utilizing life forms, but to think that is the only possibility seems unsound, like a fish in the depths of the sea thinking only fish could exist and nothing could survive out of the water). The latter is required to know the former and itself seems extremely difficult to know.

Therefore, right now, the likelihood of a configuration occurring (out of the infinite possible configurations) that allows life is unknowable.

So, if we cannot decide whether this is remarkable or not, we cannot use it as evidence of the existence of purposeful design.

Come back to me in 500 years with a mega super duper galaxy class bio fusion computer and the hundreds of years of research along with all the scientists involved and we can speak about the likelihood of the universe's laws and constants allowing for the existence of life.

(Edit: On the other hand, I guess somebody might suggests that though we don't really know, we could make a reasonable guess that we can simply naturally see that the number of such combinations compared to the number of possible combinations is low. Hence some of the cause for the prevarication on my part. I'll also mention here though that I am currently considering a new idea, which may have some importance on this issue and might eliminate the potential above objection. Since it is still requires further consideration before deeming it worthwhile though I won't post it yet)

(edit: As a result of the ''encouragement'' I've decided to post much of what I had prepared. Some of it is perhaps a repetition of the above, but since it may provide SOME new content, I decided to put it here.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

''''Note here that the scientists of this caliber are in awe not due to their ignorance as to how it works, but rather their awe and wonder are a result of their expert knowledge regarding how the object in question functions.  They, more than anyone else, are in a position to fully comprehend the level of intelligence required to have created such complexity from scratch.''

And what of all the scientists who DON'T think that there is some ''intelligence'' involved? Should we for some reason respect their word less?

Hwi, you should understand that immensely complex structures can be developed through natural processes. If someone were to randomly distribute particles, then yes it would be unlikely for say a planet to form (per a distribution). But the idea is that the universe and objects we have today are not the result of random distributions but of natural processes and laws.

Now, that the laws themselves should be set so ''conveniently'' is a different story. Your argument about the constants being the perfect constants required is a different story.

People speak of multiple big bangs and whatnot but I tend to assume that the laws and constants are the same everywhere and always (perhaps even for other ''space-time'' sheets if such things exist). That is simply based on the fact that typically, the laws are the same everywhere.

So even with multiple big bangs (to tell the truth, I am weary of the concept of even ONE big bang) there is only one ''arrow'' to set the laws and constants of the universe.

However, we don't really know what would happen with different sets of constants and laws now do we? Not only that but we also don't know all the possible ways life can exist.''

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Anathema, I am afriad your conflation of "life" with "self-awareness" makes it extremely difficult for me to respond to your post without irony, however, you did tangentially touch on a point of some interest: the universe is highly complex (I said nothing of its properties), but unfortunately, only a distinct minority of its composition is even observable in the form of a mixture of matter and energy. I do not know what function the vast majority of unobservable, yet demonstrably present, otherness serves, if any that is observable or relevant to us. I suppose, then, that what other properties the universe might have is merely speculation.

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I'm not a physicist (or any scientist for that matter), but I think most of them would agree with me that the position that some other, hypothetical universe would never be capable of supporting life isn't falsifiable. But if such thinking is permitted and laws of physics can be whatever you want, why not an alternative universe that takes less than 5 billion years in order to churn out even the most basic life forms, and in more places?

Ah, the Church of Infinite worlds.  Yes, Edric predicted that this topic would be raised.  Very well then, we

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Wolf: I suppose I did make a mix-up there because Hwi didn't mention sentience anywhere in her earlier post. I'm aware of it now  :P

Hwi: I don't "believe" in multiple universes, I just pointed out that they had entered the discussion once you said that in universes with slightly different conditions there couldn't have been life. If we were to accept that, we also have to allow for different hypothetical universes wich are even better adjusted for producing life.

Speaking of wich, what sorts of life are we talking about? Many scientists think that carbon based molecules are the only viable building blocks for life in general. Even if that's true, how would arbitrarily changing the constants of the universe affect chemistry?

The notion that our universe is unbelievably well adjusted to produce life therefore is self-selective, because whoever phrases it is only considering life as we know it. For example, "...that allow for the obscenely unlikely chance of our arrival in this universe..."

You should know that years ago we had someone on the forum called emprworm, who often "debated" in favour of the existence of God by using arguments like "irreducable complexity" when talking about evolution. It was the first time I'd ever even heard of the term so I wasn't well prepared to debate the opposite, although I've since learned that it's bovine dung. In retrospect I'm pretty sure that emprworm never really "knew" more about science than I did, he was just good at searching the internet for arguments and theories that supported his beliefs.

I vaguely recall you worked for a bank. Is higher physics one of your hobbies or something?

Also, I agree with what's been said by our resident South African commie ;)

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Like usual I was prevaricating on posting this, wanting to consider it more. However, since the forum has been somewhat inactive lately, I guess I'll hazard putting it out there:

''''

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"Irreducible complexity" is basically the argument that Hwi has been appealing to, both in physics and biology (and hey, what amateur doesn't possess detailed knowledge on both of those subjects?). The notion that anything so complex, so intricate, so masterful must have been created by an intelligent mind. The "watchmaker" hypothesis, in other words.

Unfortunately, as Anathema pointed out, it's hogwash. Not only that, it's a logical fallacy.

"A watch (or a Lambourghini) is very complicated. Also, if you take one part away, or alter it even slightly, it cannot function. If you happen across a watch (or a Lambourghini), you assume that it must have been made by an intelligent mind, not formed randomly by chance. Life and the universe are even more complicated, so it stands to reason that they must also have been made by an intelligent mind."

Now if I might apply that reasoning elsewhere...

"Cats eat mice. Owls eat even more mice, so they must be a species of cat."

"Elephants are big and alive. Blue whales are even bigger, so they must be more alive."

"Children are not big enough to be human."

And the absolute favourite example of the creationists to use is the eyeball. Take away the cornea, the iris, the optic nerve, or any individual piece and it ceases to function. Or at least, it was the favourite example, until we caught on and turned it into our favourite rebuttal.

Observe:

EYEBALLS.jpg

Now I realise that some of you won't have a clue what you're looking at, so I'll explain it in brief.

Essentially, all you need for the beginnings of an eye is for some cells to be more sensitive to light than others. That's not difficult, light has an influence on all sorts of things. It's a very useful energy source for some organisms, many of which have evolved to use it as such rather than for sensory purposes. Such light sensitivity, while no good for sight as we know it, would enable a creature to seek out light spaces (very useful if feeding on plants, which could be found in greater concentration there even if they couldn't be seen), or avoid them (if suceptable to predation by pelagic predators, for example).

Once you have light-sensitive cells, you tend to find that they arrange themselves in such a way as to maximise the light than falls on them. That's a bit of a no-brainer, it just means more cells with greater sensitivity in some form of arch shape. All you need to do is multiply what's there.

After that, skin may stretch over the light-receptive area. This too is a sensible development, it allows the amount of light to be controlled and roughly focused, what used to be merely light/dark perception is now approaching true vision.

A lens is the next feature to be added (note that at no point in this development did the creature ever have to lose its sight in order to gain the next level), allowing more accurate focus, enabling examination of objects both further away and up close without the need to travel to investigate. The advantages are obvious. Once the skin grows over the eye, it can be filled with liquids that are better able to channel light than mere water (this is all about refractive index).

Finally, it's just a matter of tidying up. The lens is held in place for more accurate focus, the skin develops a more advanced filtration device (the iris) and becomes clear (the cornea). The eye in the final diagram belongs to an octopus, but it's practically the same as a vertabrate eye.

Just to put this into context for you: the octopus and a human being diverged so early from each other in the evolutionary past that the similarity in their eyes is truly amazing, demonstrating what we call convergent evolution, or the development of two very similar structures (or structures used for the same purpose) in two completely different lineages. We are more closely related to starfish than we are to octopi, and yet both came up with remarkably similar tools for the same purpose.

Does this mean that we came from the same stock, or that we had the same creator? Neither, it means that the best tool for the job is likely to arise with the materials at hand. If we evolved to hit nails, would we develop hammer hands or screwdrivers?

Irriducable complexity simply does not exist, and it relies on false logic in any case. Evolution never backwards-engineers itself. When the penguin took to the sea, did it search back in its genes for fish fins? No, it had to turn its wings into flippers. When bats took to the air, could they search in themselves for the same genes that insects developed into wings? Hell no, bats are more closely related to starfish than they are to insects. They had to turn their hands into wings instead. So to say that the eye or the entire body could not work if you took a piece away, and that therefore it could not evolve piecemeal, is false logic. That's not how it works. Once again evolution by natural selection is denied by people who simply don't understand it.

I dealt with fossils and the rarity of "transitional forms" in my last, somewhat therapeutic post.

"Eldredge noted that those who persist in believing that gradual evolution of the species could be proven in the fossil record were obviously weak in paleontology (this statement was made toward Richard Dawkins with whom he debated the subject).  Eldredge went on to say: 

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That's right, keep deluding yourself. Your smugness is all the more pathetic in that it's wasted on me. You think I'm worked up? You haven't seen me angry, you've seen me slightly annoyed. And that was three years ago.

As for your equally smug quotation, I'm content with people being self-satisfied so long as they don't spread or espouse ignorance. Some of us have mountains of ignorance to conquer, while the rest of you bang rocks together in the hope that some invisible sky wizard will hear you. Robert Jastrow himself, happily, was agnostic.

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Some of us have mountains of ignorance to conquer, while the rest of you bang rocks together in the hope that some invisible sky wizard will hear you.

Yes, that

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In the hopes of revitalizing a more civil context, I shall reiterate the same talking points that I have articulated for the many years that we have known each other. But first--to Anathema--no worries, actually, your misstep caused me to think critically of a subject only moderately related to this one, but one that is nonetheless fascinating, and I think we should pursue the topic at another time.

Re. God:

1. I do not put forward any evidence suggesting that God exists. However, I believe I can put forth a theory, and in fact, several theories, by which God may exist. Further, I do not think it can be properly demonstrated that God cannot exist, or even that God does not exist. Therefore, the atheist's position (in my view) is just as tenable (or untenable, depending on your point of view) as the theist's. I think this is good not only because it is the most rational conclusion, but as a policy decision, I believe that recognition of this view will lead to less acrimony and rending of hair & cloth in the future. (Indeed, I think the point of the Jastrow quote was to illustrate that, ultimately, theists and atheists tend to reach the same kinds of conclusions, and that, rationally and philosophically, they are more or less equally founded.)

2. Regarding evolution. You know, no one ever said [okay, this isn't true, but the assertion is unsupportable in either case, so I'm making it for myself, now] that evolution couldn't be God's tool for creation. For my part, I do not view the subjects of evolution-as-valid-theory and the-existence-of-God as being related. The merits of either can be debated separately, and regardless of the outcome, it has no bearing on the outcome of the other topic whatsoever.

Are there any others? Oh, yes, actually, this is new.

3. I take issue with the "banging rocks at the invisible sky wizard" remark. I'm sure if I had the creativity analogically to reduce the other side's arguments to entertaining absurdity, I would appear to win arguments, too. But in terms of evaluating the actual strengths of the arguments being made, it is a poor tool, and one that tends to make me think less of the tool's user--regardless of the context or the debate. Dante, you were better off with charts and graphs. However, since you do tend to make a point of the scientific and rational superiority of your view, I shall treat the remark seriously, and answer it, and in doing so, shame us both. I believe the analogy you draw with the remark does not hold on four substantial points of comparison: 1.) I never said that God was a wizard, or even a man. 2.) I have never, nor do I ever, engage in the banging of rocks to entertain the attention of God. 3.) Of the attributes I asserted as belonging to God, invisibility was not one of them. 4.) Indeed, of the attributes I did assert, omnipresence was one, which I suppose would mean that God does in fact occupy the "sky," but I take your remark as meaning to imply that God, as an invisible sky wizard, exists only in the sky, and this is simply just not what the theist's side of the table is arguing for.

Whew. I hope that was good for you, too.

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Dante mentioned before that, "if it can happen once, it can happen again." And I can't help but think that if the human brain--a rudimentary, fragile, wet ball of meat--can produce self-awareness, then certainly something on the grand scale of the cosmos might be able to achieve the same.

Anathema, I am afriad your conflation of "life" with "self-awareness" makes it extremely difficult for me to respond to your post without irony, however, you did tangentially touch on a point of some interest: the universe is highly complex (I said nothing of its properties), but unfortunately, only a distinct minority of its composition is even observable in the form of a mixture of matter and energy. I do not know what function the vast majority of unobservable, yet demonstrably present, otherness serves, if any that is observable or relevant to us. I suppose, then, that what other properties the universe might have is merely speculation.

By the way, what the hell were you warbling on about in the above? What part of the composition of the universe (the majority, according to you) is not composed of matter and energy, and of what then is it composed? Did you mean the as-yet-theoretical dark matter and energy? (And if not those, where are you getting your information?)

And if you can but speculate on the properties of such things, what basis have you for your earlier warble about the cosmos achieving self-awareness in the same way as the human brain?

(I can't help but reflect that just as the human brain has no awareness of the cells and other wee bits and pieces that compose it, your conscious cosmos should be completely unaware of our microscopic existences.)

But cheers for the purdy word pictures, eh! :)

(Btw, did any of the Paulians and other theists & deists here ever reply concerning Jayzuss strolling on the lake, etc?)

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4b/DarkMatterPie.jpg

The answer is yes, and a warbler is a bird, not a verb to be overused by a child. Crack open a thesaurus as well as an encyclopedia before you so condescendingly attempt a facsimile of civilized communication.

*EDIT: Oh, the basis. I mean, the human mind is essentially a wet meat-ball. Seems fairly simple to me. But, you've already acknowledged this with your astute reflection:

"I can't help but reflect that just as the human brain has no awareness of the cells and other wee bits and pieces that compose it, your conscious cosmos should be completely unaware of our microscopic existences."
... which already indicates to me that you're thinking somewhat critically about this. Yeah. What you're saying is certainly a possibility, as is the possibility that the universe might have some sense of self-awareness. Consider also that the term "self-awareness" as we know it would be all-too crude and basic to encapsulate fully the awareness such a being might have. It very well could have an internal awareness of what its "cells" were up to. The Bene Gesserit did. Have you ever read this book Dune?

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