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Old 11-18-2006, 07:27 PM   #16
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I intend to read this at some point. I just have a headache from a certain other thread at this moment.
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Old 11-18-2006, 07:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Modern astrophysics is a dogs breakfast, we have a universe that expanded too quickly and needs dark matter to fill in the gaps, we have paradoxical faster than light effects, we have theoretical explanations for the very small and the very large that cannot be reconciled. There are constantly new bits of evidence coming in and new theories being proposed and rejected or accepted.

Quite a moving target, eh?

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Big bang theory does have a strong case and there is good cause for it to be the dominant paradigm but the gaps and anomolies (the interesting stuff) may reveal something else altogether.
Yes - the Big Bang does have a good case. And it strangely fits right into my line of thinking...

AEON whispers - Creatio ex nihilo


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Originally posted by A_Wanderer

Then we can have cylcical models of the universe which also exist for an infinite timescale - just one type of model that has been proposed.
We both know there is little evidence for this. Who is demonstrating faith here?
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Old 11-18-2006, 08:57 PM   #18
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I think that you are; I am not saying that a cyclical universe is the case I am saying that it may turn out to be so. We do not know the real size of the universe (beyond the visible universe) and there are some tantalising hints about changes in physical constants since the big bang. As a science it is open to change and one area may be the standard model which is open to revision; the existence of a big bang stage from a singularity is not exclusive to there being an earlier big crunch. I think that Big Bang theory is a very good explanation for the facts such as the age of the universe being in the teen billions and the age of the Earth being in the billions with life existing and evolving here since for nearly 4 billion years: I do not see how it is evidence of creation in the absence of knowing the conditions of the very early universe.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I think that you are; I am not saying that a cyclical universe is the case I am saying that it may turn out to be so. We do not know the real size of the universe (beyond the visible universe) and there are some tantalising hints about changes in physical constants since the big bang. As a science it is open to change and one area may be the standard model which is open to revision; the existence of a big bang stage from a singularity is not exclusive to there being an earlier big crunch. I think that Big Bang theory is a very good explanation for the facts such as the age of the universe being in the teen billions and the age of the Earth being in the billions with life existing and evolving here since for nearly 4 billion years: I do not see how it is evidence of creation in the absence of knowing the conditions of the very early universe.
All of what you said is plausible in some regards. However, such a line of thinking would lead us to never be certain about anything other than uncertainty.
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Old 11-18-2006, 09:38 PM   #20
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That is science; every theory is in principle falsifiable (can be disproven) and explains the currently known facts better than others, for instance Newtons law of universal gravitation describes kinematics well but was disproven by the observation that there is a speed of gravitation, it wasn't instantaneous, Einstein brought in a theory that described gravity with this knowledge making it the more accurate model for reality. Even general relativity has it's problems in that it can describe the extreme situations on macroscales such as black holes etc. but can't describe small scale behaviours that quantum mechanics does; there is room for a model that can work at all scales.

In pursuing answers science is built on facts, it is also built on change and the principle that we can never be 100% certain. There are high confidence levels on things though, for instance the theory of evolution has such a high confidence level on the basis of the discoveries after it was proposed and its ability to put context to biology that if it was disproven that person would be put on the pantheon of great discoverers.
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Old 11-19-2006, 10:37 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
That is science; every theory is in principle falsifiable (can be disproven) and explains the currently known facts better than others, for instance Newtons law of universal gravitation describes kinematics well but was disproven by the observation that there is a speed of gravitation, it wasn't instantaneous, Einstein brought in a theory that described gravity with this knowledge making it the more accurate model for reality. Even general relativity has it's problems in that it can describe the extreme situations on macroscales such as black holes etc. but can't describe small scale behaviours that quantum mechanics does; there is room for a model that can work at all scales.

In pursuing answers science is built on facts, it is also built on change and the principle that we can never be 100% certain. There are high confidence levels on things though, for instance the theory of evolution has such a high confidence level on the basis of the discoveries after it was proposed and its ability to put context to biology that if it was disproven that person would be put on the pantheon of great discoverers.
So then, you do not deny the "possibility" that God created the universe. Given that any scientific theory could never actually be "proven" and that we can never be 100% "certain" about any proposition or theory provided by science.

Another question - in one sentence you say science is built on "facts." Yet, a few sentences above that you essentially agree with me that that the only certainty is uncertainty. I don't see how you can have it both ways. In other words - how can there be such a thing called "an uncertain fact."
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
[B]

So then, you do not deny the "possibility" that God created the universe. Given that any scientific theory could never actually be "proven" and that we can never be 100% "certain" about any proposition or theory provided by science.


but isn't the burden of proof of the existence of God on the shoulders of the believer?

seems to me that uncertainty becomes the basis of faith, that, yes, there might be a possibility, but the human placement of certainty upon that possibility, or less a possibility itself and more a possiblility that something can be falsified, is hubris writ large.
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:53 PM   #23
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but isn't the burden of proof of the existence of God on the shoulders of the believer?

seems to me that uncertainty becomes the basis of faith, that, yes, there might be a possibility, but the human placement of certainty upon that possibility, or less a possibility itself and more a possiblility that something can be falsified, is hubris writ large.
Well according to A_wanderer - it is impossible to prove God because it is impossible to prove anything.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:14 PM   #24
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Originally posted by AEON
Well according to A_wanderer - it is impossible to prove God because it is impossible to prove anything.
That's quite an odd extrapolation from the concept of "inherent uncertainty."

Basically, "inherent uncertainty" is what keeps science from devolving into a religion. You don't want an environment where altering the law of gravity, based on new evidence, would cause an outcry, because "it has always been defined that way."

Science, by definition, is not supposed to have any regard for tradition or have anything to do with concepts that cannot be directly observed or conjectured through theoretical physics (which is based heavily on inflexible mathematics). Even then, for a concept to arise out of theoretical physics to survive, such as string theory, it will eventually have to be proven through some sort of observation or it will be cast aside as a joke.

As such, it is not within the purview of science to mention God. That doesn't make it "atheist." That means that God lives outside of the laws of science. Particularly with some applications of theoretical physics, such as string theory or "what happened before the Big Bang" (yes, I know that time cannot exist before itself, but that aside...), you can apply your faith in God to fill in the blanks. And that's fine...in a religious sense. I would vehemently oppose any approach that mandates the unscientific teaching of God in science, and that includes the nonsense we call "intelligent design" or, even worse, "creationism." Leave both of those concepts to church or Sunday school.

The plain fact remains that God is not an observable concept in a scientific sense.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:24 PM   #25
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By the way, here's the Time article referred to in the first post of this thread:

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ar...555132,00.html
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:30 PM   #26
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Some comments on the article (and they will trickle in as I read more)...

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Like Freudianism before it, the field of evolutionary psychology generates theories of altruism and even of religion that do not include God. Something called the multiverse hypothesis in cosmology speculates that ours may be but one in a cascade of universes, suddenly bettering the odds that life could have cropped up here accidentally, without divine intervention. (If the probabilities were 1 in a billion, and you've got 300 billion universes, why not?)
Even if this is the case (and I'm certainly open to the possibility), religion can never be ultimately negated, because then the question can be asked of who/what created the multiverse? Who/what created those 300 billion universes? And if God is/can be everywhere, there's no reason that He's not present in the entirety of infinity. As I support the findings of evolution, if you believe that the process of evolution is an extension of God, there's no theological reason that you cannot apply the extension of the theoretical multiverse in the same way.

Unless, of course, one's faith is completely tied to narrow interpretations of the Bible, which means that you're probably screwed. That's not an issue with me.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:49 PM   #27
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Originally posted by Ormus
Some comments on the article (and they will trickle in as I read more)...



Even if this is the case (and I'm certainly open to the possibility), religion can never be ultimately negated, because then the question can be asked of who/what created the multiverse? Who/what created those 300 billion universes? And if God is/can be everywhere, there's no reason that He's not present in the entirety of infinity. As I support the findings of evolution, if you believe that the process of evolution is an extension of God, there's no theological reason that you cannot apply the extension of the theoretical multiverse in the same way.

Unless, of course, one's faith is completely tied to narrow interpretations of the Bible, which means that you're probably screwed. That's not an issue with me.
I completely agree with this post. Well said.
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Old 11-19-2006, 02:28 PM   #28
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So then, you do not deny the "possibility" that God created the universe. Given that any scientific theory could never actually be "proven" and that we can never be 100% "certain" about any proposition or theory provided by science.

Another question - in one sentence you say science is built on "facts." Yet, a few sentences above that you essentially agree with me that that the only certainty is uncertainty. I don't see how you can have it both ways. In other words - how can there be such a thing called "an uncertain fact."
It was a fact that light was made up of billiard ball like particles until the discovery of wave behaviour in it; this was then refined to wave-particle duality. The tools of investigation improved as did our understanding, we can't take any fact as with 100% certainty as there has to be the chance that it is wrong; for a fact to be proven wrong then other lines of evidence based in facts with high confidence levels must be employed.

I should also point out that all that we see in the universe has naturalistic cause, with evidence of God at zero I don't see any reason to accept a God of the gaps.
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Old 11-20-2006, 02:03 AM   #29
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but isn't the burden of proof of the existence of God on the shoulders of the believer?

I actually don't think a believer has to prove the existence of God to anyone else. I don't think it can be proven, as Melon said. But I'm okay with that. I don't NEED for "everyone else" to believe in God. Belief in God is kind of overrated. From my theological worldview I'd say Satan "believes in God." It hasn't done him much good, apparently. If a person doesn't see the evidence for God, I don't see a how a person can be faulted for that, and far be it from me to try and MAKE them see it. Of far more consequence is a person's response to God at the point of belief.
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:17 PM   #30
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There's an interesting article in today's New York Times on a scientists' conference held earlier this month at the Salk Institute in CA, on the theme "Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival." Dawkins and many other well-known scientists (Ayala, Churchland, Ramachandran, Weinberg etc.) were there; Collins was invited, but couldn't make it unfortunately. You can read more about the featured speakers here and also watch videos of the proceedings here.
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