Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Power of Simplicity

The idea that the simplest explanation is often the best, is popularly known as Occam's Razor. We all use the Razor in our daily lives, even if we don't think about it. The examples of how we do so are so insignificant that they can almost be considered trivial. For example, if you own a dog, and you hear it running around your house, then you hear a crash and find a broken lamp, you'd conclude that the dog knocked it over. That is the simplest and most reasonable explanation. Why did you reject the possibility that the dog was chasing away an alien trespasser, and the alien knocked over the lamp as it fled out the window? You rejected it because it would require a whole lot of other explanations in order to make any sense.

In a court of law, if a defendant was found standing over a stab-wound riddled dead body, holding a knife, wearing clothes covered with blood, confesses to the crime because he hated the victim, and has video he took of himself doing the stabbing, isn't it reasonable for the jury to conclude that the defendant killed the victim? Why aren't other explanations considered? Why wouldn't people accept the argument that the body was planted, the video was faked, etc?

A good example of this principle in science is the development of our knowledge of the solar system. In order to maintain a presupposed geocentric solar system, people put a lot of effort into explaining the movements of the planets in the sky. They invented cycles upon cycles upon cycles in an effort to force the presupposed conclusion to fit the observed data. In the end, it was a huge, complicated mess. Then along came a much simpler explanation, that Earth was not the centre. The movement of the planets could then be explained by single ellipses, which fit the data perfectly. Of course, the religious fought this idea as hard as they could, and came down hard on those who supported it.

So now we come to the existence of gods. A lot of claims about gods have been made, and a lot of excuses have been made for why none of those claims seem to be supported by reality. Here is a small sample of questions that I have about gods:

1. Why won't the gods heal amputees?
2. Why is there no measurable effect of prayer?
3. Why do bad things happen to good people?
4. Why did the god of the Bible allow mistranslations of the scripture into modern languages, after being so careful to not allow any errors in the originals?
5. Why do the gods not perform blatant miracles today?
6. Why do the gods hide themselves from us but expect us to believe anyway?
7. Why do perfect gods make so many imperfect things?
8. Why don't religious leaders (eg. Catholic Church) seem to be more moral than the rest of us if they are representatives of these gods?

Now religious people have answers for all of these questions (none of which they can support), but they really have to wave their hands a lot. A simpler, universal, and therefore much more powerful answer to all of these questions, is that gods don't exist. No hand-waving and no magic required. The idea of gods not existing fits the data perfectly. In other words, all of those questions above can be answered in a way assuming that gods exist, or in such a way that they don't. But the only way that prevents us from having to "invent cycles upon cycles upon cycles" is if we accept the idea that gods don't exist. Or at least, the claims that religious people make about their gods are not accurate. I suppose a totally different kind of god would be possible, but the gods that most humans describe lead us to a huge, complicated mess of explanations, which we can safely reject.

106 comments:

Cypher said...

/cheer

Anonymous said...

Concerning question #3, I've always wondered instead, Why do GOOD things happen to BAD people? Why does god allow rewards and happiness to go to those who commit evil deeds? The religious among us would argue that their god is reserving punishment for the afterlife, but what motivation for changing their ways do the evil people have in the mean time? If they're being told that god will punish them if they don't stop their wicked ways, but at the same time they're being successful in their lives, why would they believe that god really wants to punish them?

And how about the good things that are happening to SUPPOSEDLY bad people? Like if a GAY person is having a good, successful life? If god hates the gays, why allow any of them to live lives of fulfillment and joy?

Speaking of ANYBODY that god doesn't like, why doesn't god just kill them himself? Are god's arms broken? Can't he just POINT and say "aneurysm, heart attack, aneurysm..."? Why do we need theists to tell us who god's enemies are? Can't god take care of them himself?

No god would be this ineffectual, so the simplest explanation is that there is no god.

Feki said...

Alternative "simplest explanations"


1. Why won't the gods heal amputees?
R= maybe cuz their limbs already made into heaven/hell/valhalla and cannot be resurrected

2. Why is there no measurable effect of prayer?
R= maybe we are using the wrong statistical approach (eg. equation "benefit - hours of praying = 0" could prove not linear).

3. Why do bad things happen to good people?
R= cuz of free albeit and sin (brought it upon themselves, like kids who lie and get cancer). Or just to fck people over and pretend there is randomness in the universe

good things happening to bad people (eg. child molester wins the lottery) = they'll be punish REAL hard in the afterlife

4. Why did the god of the Bible allow mistranslations of the scripture into modern languages, after being so careful to not allow any errors in the originals?
R= "So now you admit there were no errors in the originals... "

5. Why do the gods not perform blatant miracles today?
R= Apparently they nowadays perform lamer miracles in the form of a sunset, a cute puppy, a smiling baby, images on toast and mildew...

6. Why do the gods hide themselves from us but expect us to believe anyway?
R= why doesn't Santa knock at your door and deliver the presents right in your hands in broad daylight? well, it'd spoil the fun.

7. Why do perfect gods make so many imperfect things?
R= cuz we cannot appreciate perfection so the gods made us a crappy version of the perfect universe instead.

8. Why don't religious leaders (eg. Catholic Church) seem to be more moral than the rest of us if they are representatives of these gods?
R= maybe they are more moral but they pretend not to, otherwise their superior morality would alienate them from the rest of us.

Cypher said...

I hope, REALLY hope, that Feki was joking. Seriously. I can only hope, because otherwise...
Seriously...

Feki said...

Cypher, we are all entitled to have a little fun, aren't we?
seriously man, I am bit surprised you even thought it was for real: you very well know theists cannot provide such "logical answers" by themselves. Think of it as humanitarian aid :)

Abdullah said...

I think most modern people approach the existence of God from a very biased approach. One with many preconceived or predetermined expectations of God. If we leave out any particular concept of God, and only ponder over the existence of a Creator, I think it is only logical to reach the conclusion that a Creator exists. What sort of creator it is, and what plans or reasons that creator has, is an entirely different topic.
So what does logic at its most basic, unbiased form, tell us? Well, firstly, that I exist. So on the assumption that we do exist and this entire world is not just imagination, we see that an entire world exists. Since I exist, and the world around me exists, logic tells us that something or someone must have caused us to exist. Why does logic come to that conclusion? Because after spending some time in this world we don't suddenly see things popping out of nowhere, and we don't see anything happening without a reason, or cause. If I find footprints in the ground, experience tells me there must have been an owner to these footprints. Sometimes things happen we can’t identify the cause of, yet there was still a cause. Our failure in identifying the cause does not mean that there is no cause.
So, logic tells us that firstly, things do not appear out of nothing, and secondly, there is a cause for everything. Based on that alone it is only natural to assume that there must be some form of creator.

Now, just because there is a creator, say God, does not mean that we use God as the excuse or the answer to everything we don't understand.

Say I'm walking and I find a watch sitting in the middle of the jungle. I've never seen something like it before, but it looks nice and it functions, though I don't know what that function is. After some time I realize that the watch can be used to keep track of time. Wow! the dial is always more or less in the same position with relevance to that of the sun! Whoever made this watch is incredible. Now, I’m curious as to how it works. So I start taking apart all the different components of the watch, and discover that, oh, wait a minute, the hands are turning because of some gear mechanism on the inside I couldn't see before. Those gears are in turn powered by a battery, so on and so forth, (I’m no expert on watches). After years of examining the watch's different components and parts, I now fully understand how it works. Does this change the fact that somebody designed the watch? No, of course it doesn't.
Similarly, Science is a method for us to discover the mechanisms behind the functioning of the universe. Now that we understand more about how these mechanisms work, does that mean that the universe was not created? No, of course it doesn't. Of course the universe was created. And every creation must have a Creator, or so my logic says, but you are free to disagree.
But is the watch a miracle? Well here's a simple test. Now that I understand exactly how the watch works, after further study I am able to identify the materials and techniques required to produce another watch just like it. So after some more years of research and efforts, I am able to produce a brand new watch, out of "scratch." Therefore, although the watch is incredible, it is not a miracle. However, the raw materials composing the watch, are things I am unable to produce no matter what I do. These raw materials exist, perhaps also as a result of some evolutionary or stage-wise mechanism, but it is a mechanism that I will never be able to replicate. Therefore, if I am unable to create new things out of nothing, and nature is unable to create new things out of nothing, then the existence of these things in the first place is a miraculous event. There must have been some Creator, from outside this universe to create everything from apparently nothing.

I hope my argument for the logical deduction of a Creator's existence was clear, and that any criticisms would also be clear, and logical.

Admin said...

Clear, but in no way logical. This argument is so unbelievably tired and old, the fact that you'd think I've never heard it before is shocking.

The Universe exists, therefore it needs a creator. Ray Comfort's "paintings need painters".

So let me get this straight. The Universe requires a creator. Yet the thing which created it does not require a creator. Is that correct?

As I said, your argument is clear, but not logical in nay way. It's also extremely tired and simplistic. What were you expecting? For me to say, "Dang! I never thought of it like THAT!"?

Admin said...

"I think most modern people approach the existence of God from a very biased approach. One with many preconceived or predetermined expectations of God. If we leave out any particular concept of God, and only ponder over the existence of a Creator, I think it is only logical to reach the conclusion that a Creator exists. What sort of creator it is, and what plans or reasons that creator has, is an entirely different topic."


The irony being that you are completely biased yourself. Look at the assumptions you've included in this paragraph:

1. You've labeled the creator as God, the name for your god, of course.

2. You've assumed that this creator still exists, evidenced by your choice of exclusively present tense.

3. You've given it a conscious mind, as it has 'plans' or 'reasons'.

You claim to be approaching this in an unbiased way, but you've already given this 'creator' quite a few characteristics which are not supported by any evidence. Even its very (past or present) existence is not evidence-supported.

Why is the progenitor of the physical Universe, the singularity perhaps, not sufficient? It doesn't need a conscious mind, plans, reasons, a name, and it doesn't have to still exist today.

Abdullah said...

As for me including bias, I must agree. It was unintentional. Obviously bias is a difficult thing to remove completely. It seems I did end up making some assumptions regarding the Creator. You've pointed out, I assumed the Creator still exists, and that it has 'plans' or 'reasons'. However, whether those assumptions are true or not, does not affect the deduction that there must be, or at least have been a Creator of some sort.
Your response regarding the creator also requiring a creator is a very common one. I was somehow hoping for some new or unique answer. Well here goes:
Under the assumption that the Creator does not lie within the Universe, rather the Creator is outside the Universe, the laws of the Universe do not apply to the Creator. Within the universe every creation needs a creator, but we haven't a clue about anything outside the universe. So it is impossible for us to even begin to comprehend anything outside this universe, we can not possibly fully understand the Creator, though we can deduce that he/it exists. Yet, this might not be enough for persistent people, so there is a logical argument, which following the logic within this universe proves that the Creator, can not logically have a creator. It is as follows:

If the creator has a creator, then surely that creator has a creator, and that creator has a creator.... and so on. Following this logic we will have an infinite line of creators. However, we know that the universe had a beginning. Meaning something had to start it. If there was an infinite line of creators, this would not be possible. If there was an infinite line of creators then the universe would never have started. This can be understood more clearly as follows:

Imagine an infinite line of soldiers. The soldier in the front would like to fire his weapon, but to do so, he must first ask permission from the soldier behind him. The soldier behind him must ask permission from the one behind him, and each soldier must ask permission from the one behind him, and so forth. If this was the case, and the line goes back infinitely, then the soldier in the front would never fire his weapon. In other words the Universe would never have began to exist as we know it.

Therefore we can conclude that the Creator, assuming that he is not within the universe but outside it, was not created by anything. And to ask, "who created the Creator" is an illogical question, and therefore an invalid argument. So, since it is illogical to think that the Creator was created, then it is safe to think that the Creator is not created. The Creator simply, is. (or was. Though I'm sure i can think of a logical deduction as to why the creator must logically, still exist, but like I said, that's a different subject.)

Admin said...

You know what, Abdullah? I like you! You addressed my points and even admitted that you made an oversight or two. Both of these are more than I can say for the last religious person who posted here. That was a total mess. I think we might be able to have this conversation, at least for a while.

"Under the assumption that the Creator does not lie within the Universe, rather the Creator is outside the Universe..."

There is no proof that there is such a place/thing as 'outside the Universe', nor that any being could reside there.

"...the laws of the Universe do not apply to the Creator (because it is outside the Universe)."

The laws of the Universe/physics break down at times very near to the Big Bang, and we already know that. By your own rules, this would allow for the Universe to not require a creator.

Also, you keep using a capital 'C' when you write 'creator'. Even in casual conversation about creation, you cannot bear to leave it uncapitalised, as you probably feel it would be disrespectful to the being you are assuming to be the answer.

Your invention a creator that doesn't have to follow any rules, claiming that it exists outside space and time, is dishonest to yourself. The idea that a force outside the Universe can create a Universe in which it is not a part of, is severe speculation.

Here's the thing. Under your rules, where outside the current laws of the Universe, things don't need creators, the Universe could have created itself. We also know that the Universe exists. We have both agreed on this. What you've done is add an extra step, one which I argue is unnecessary and unsupported, which concludes something that we DO NOT know to actually exist. That's a problem when Occam comes knocking.

Here are the statements I'd agree to:

1. Everything we see around us was created somehow by something

2. Statement #1 doesn't seem to make sense, because something must have been involved in the origin.

3. We have no idea at all what that something is/was, as we currently have no way to describe what happens outside of the time/space that we know, if such a thing even exists.

4. It's perhaps THE most interesting, facing humanity today. There are very intelligent people working on it, but by its very definition, we may never be able to crack it.

Admin said...

Abdullah, we both seem to agree that something 'triggered' the creation of the Universe. That is clear. The difference is that I'm satisfied that the progenitor of it was natural and non-conscious. It was a 'someTHING', not a 'someONE'. On the other hand. I'm going to assume that you have given it a personality, desires, current existence, tendency to send prophets, etc. This is true if you are a Christian, or as your name suggests, possibly a Muslim.

Abdullah said...

Yes, I'm Muslim, but that and the assumptions you make about me giving the creator certain properties are irrelevant to the discussion. Please, let's stay focused.

You: "There is no proof that there is such a place/thing as 'outside the Universe', nor that any being could reside there."

If you mean tangible proof, then no, there isn't. But you and I both know that tangible proof is not required to prove something. All you need, is for it to be the most logical explanation. Since we know the Universe is finite, ie. has ends, then it is only logical that there is something outside the universe. Otherwise it would have to mean that the universe exists inside nothing. That is illogical.

You: "The laws of the Universe/physics break down at times very near to the Big Bang, and we already know that. By your own rules, this would allow for the Universe to not require a creator."

First off, it is my understanding that the laws of Newtonian Physics not being present only applies to the singularity. So it's not quite as you describe it, "at times near" the big bang; rather "before" the big bang. Correct me if I'm wrong, though I'll assume you will even without me asking.

Secondly, it's a good point, but not quite. The absence of Newtonian-physics as we know them does not automatically mean that no creator is required as you're implying. It, the singularity, still requires a creator. Also since there was a singularity, which then exploded to eventually form this entire universe, something must have caused that explosion to happen. Even more evidence of an external force.

The same can not be said about that external force because it is not part of the universe and we do not know anything about it. All we know is that it exists. Since you're an engineer, let's put it this way. If discovering the origin of the universe were a mathematical problem, it would probably be an integration. Singularity existed, something happend which caused it to explode (it got differentiated) and results in something else. So to understand it's origin we integrate. Well, we both know that in integration, no matter what you do there must be a constant value in your answer. You may not know what the value of that constant is, but you must assume the possibility of that constant. That constant would be the creator. Ironically, they also both start with C.

Regarding your argument that progenitor could have been natural and non-conscious. Progenitor and Creator are not the same thing. The universe could not have created itself out of a singularity. That singularity is itself the universe, but at an earlier age. Humans, at earlier ages are a drop of sperm, then a lump of organic material which blood does not even flow within it. Then, somehow it explodes into an entirely different thing. One might think that a big bang is happening everyday, wherever life is being formed. You've heard of something called the "tipping point" ?

For the universe to have created itself would mean that the universe must have existed and not existed at the same time. That is illogical. Therefore, all the logical evidence points towards an external force which created the universe. Also to point out, you have also assumed certain characteristics of the origin of the universe by assuming it could have been "natural" and "non-conscious." Yet those assumptions are baseless. My assumptions at the least, are the result of a logical thinking process.

As a point of interest, the singularity is not the only place where non-newtonian physics are absent. In fact, non-newtonian physics are absent everywhere in the universe, and within us as well, at the quantum level. So following that idea that the universe could have caused itself to happen due to the fact that newtonian physics were not present at the singularity, will lead people to believe, as some already do, that we ourselves are the creator, or a part of the creator.

Admin said...

"Yes, I'm Muslim, but that and the assumptions you make about me giving the creator certain properties are irrelevant to the discussion. Please, let's stay focused."

It is indeed important. It means that while you claim to be approaching the topic in an unbiased way, you are extremely biased. You've already decided what you believe this creature is, what it wants, etc. If you're a practicing Muslim, you live your life that way. It's very important for me to know my debate counterpart.

"Since we know the Universe is finite, ie. has ends, then it is only logical that there is something outside the universe. Otherwise it would have to mean that the universe exists inside nothing. That is illogical."

I completely disagree that we know this. Pure speculation. And that's exactly why you're debating this not in front of the world's great minds, but on my little blog. Because there's nothing substantiating these claims.

"First off, it is my understanding that the laws of Newtonian Physics not being present only applies to the singularity. So it's not quite as you describe it, "at times near" the big bang; rather "before" the big bang. Correct me if I'm wrong...."

Yes, it's wrong. We don't know that there is even such a thing as "before" the Big Bang (as far as I know), but we do know that the laws of physics (ie. quantum) completely fail if we go back too far. The laws of the Universe as we know them originated at some time after the Big Bang, but much less than 1 second. Even so, that allows the Universe, under your own reasoning, to not need a creator of any kind. If you want more info on this, this is not the place and I am not the person. University-level textbooks/professors would be much better to consult.

Admin said...

"The absence of Newtonian-physics..."

First, we're not talking jsut Newtonian physics here. This is quantum, relativistic physics, etc.


"...as we know them does not automatically mean that no creator is required as you're implying. It, the singularity, still requires a creator."

I only wrote that because you argued that your god didn't have to obey the laws of the Universe because it's outside of it. I informed you that the laws didn't even exist at the time of the singularity. The Big Bang CREATED the laws, therefore the singularity was also free from them.

"Also since there was a singularity, which then exploded to eventually form this entire universe, something must have caused that explosion to happen. Even more evidence of an external force."

I'm sorry, what? No. It is not evidence of any external force. If it is, and the singularity is not subject to any of the laws which you argue requires need for a creator, then you have to explain really well why your god still doesn't need a creator but the Universe still does.

"Singularity existed, something happend which caused it to explode (it got differentiated) and results in something else."

Not at all. How can things 'happen' when there is no time? And the rules of cause and effect aren't necessarily active.

"The universe could not have created itself out of a singularity."

Why not?

"For the universe to have created itself would mean that the universe must have existed and not existed at the same time."

Time didn't exist.

Admin said...

I'm going to stop here. It's clear that you are trying to use logical principles when we have no real reason to believe they even apply. It's not appropriate. If you're interested in the Big Bang, and you seem to be an intelligent person, then by all means go get yourself a relevant degree and begin researching it! But this speculation based on every day logical concepts is not going to help at all. The Big Bang and whatever 'preceded' it do not need to obey the same rules that we see in the world around us today. If you don't believe me, ask 100 cosmologists if they feel the Big Bang requires a creator as a matter of simple logic.

Admin said...

OK, here's more.

"Also to point out, you have also assumed certain characteristics of the origin of the universe by assuming it could have been "natural" and "non-conscious." Yet those assumptions are baseless. My assumptions at the least, are the result of a logical thinking process."

I assumed nothing. I do not know, nor do I claim to know. Only the person that I'm debating claims to know. Your assumptions are logical only if you forget that the rules are different at the point of creation, and if you forget that you've assumed a being with so many characteristics, NONE of which have been shown to even be possible. Here are some examples of those things which are required for your creator, but not known to be possible:

1. a place 'outside the Universe' exists

2. a force 'outside the Universe' can create a Universe of which it is not a part

3. a mind can exist outside of a physical body

etc.

"For the universe to have created itself would mean that the universe must have existed and not existed at the same time. That is illogical."

It is also illogical to believe that a single particle can be in two places/states at the same time. Yet when we go to the quantum level, that is EXACTLY what we find! Our logic does not apply to the Universe at extreme scales. Our brains did not evolve to work with such situations, and our common-sense reasoning utterly fails us. And of that, we have rock-solid PROOF from quantum experiments.

Admin said...

And if any of your results based on your simple reasoning as a non-cosmologist are correct, then you should be able to find agreement. Please point me to the scholarly papers which agree that the consensus of the world's cosmologists is that 'simple logic' dictates that a conscious force outside of the known Universe caused the Big Bang. If you cannot find such a thing, then it doesn't seem to be as simple as you suspect, and perhaps the reason for that is that you understand the situation far less than these physicists do.

Admin said...

Abdullah, I found this article, written by a physicist actively involved in cosmological research, about what caused/came before the Big Bang. Check it out:

http://www.fortunecity.com/emachines/e11/86/big-bang.html

In case you want to skip to the point, the bottom line was that the Big Bang needs no cause, and that nothing at all happened before the Big Bang.

It also talks about the suspension of 'cause and effect' at the quantum level, something that certainly violates our ides of what is 'logical'. I'd conclude that therefore no logical argument can be used to pin down the nature of the beginning. Nature doesn't seem to care about what we find to be logical or illogical. You might hate that answer, but I find it very interesting.

Abdullah said...

You sure do produce a lot of red herrings in your counter arguments. First of all, I just want to make it clear that I'm not approaching you with the intention of having a debate. I hate debates. They are non-productive. The person on each side will try to prove their point no matter if they are right or wrong, and it turns into a linguistic gymnastics competition rather than intellectual discussion.

That being said, your responses:
"I'm sorry what?..."
"Not at all. How can things 'happen' when there is no time?..."
"Why not?"
"Time didn't exist"

Are all very redundant, empty statements which provide no logical counter argument at all that I might even consider. All you're doing is rejecting my arguments and information, without providing an alternative or reasons. Empty statements do not disprove my arguments. My entire argument is based on the idea that an external creator for the universe, is the most logical conclusion based on what we know. If you want to disprove my argument you need to provide an alternative explanation, that is more logical, based on things we know, not based on speculative, untested, unproven theories. I read the article you recommended written by Paul Davies and will comment on it, but first let's revise what has happened so far. If I miss any key points, do point them out:

1. I presented the argument which you summed up simply as, "every painting needs a painter."
2. You responded by arguing that if that were the case with a creator, then surely that creator also requires a creator.
3. I answered with 2 arguments. The first being that we do not know of the nature of anything beyond our universe (space/time), and therefore can not understand how things happen beyond the universe. We can only logically deduce that something must have started the universe. The 2nd was the "line of soldiers" argument. On the assumption that the universe had a beginning and did not always exist, this argument proves that a creator, assuming he/it is external to the universe, can not logically have a creator. Therefore, assuming the creator is external to the universe, the argument of "every painter needs a painting," is a valid and perfectly logical argument.
4. You pointed out that there is no proof of anything or place outside the universe. You also pointed out, even if it's true that since outside the known laws of our universe then no creator is required for the creator, then we could argue that the Universe could have created itself since the known laws of the Universe collapse towards the origin of the big bang.
5. I responded by saying that tangible proof is not required to prove the existence of a creator or place or thing, external to the universe, as long as their existence is the most logical conclusion. I argued that we already know that the universe is finite. Since the universe is finite, then there must be something outside the universe. I further argued that the universe could not have created itself, the big bang being the beginning of time as we know it, from a singularity which existed before the big bang, because that singularity is itself the universe, just at an earlier phase. To emphasize my point I compared it to the different stages a human goes through.
6. You disagreed about the fact that the universe is finite. (Well i'll tell you now, sorry, but it is well known to be finite, you can research it). You also stated that, as far as you know, there isn't such a thing as "before the big bang." You then went on to claim that the laws of physics, including quantum laws, completely fail if we go back too far in time. You then repeated your argument, that the universe could have created itself. You also further made some criticisms which I will now attempt to address, with scholarly reference.

Abdullah said...

Okay, to start, I'll repeat that the universe is in fact finite, which means there must be something beyond the universe. Reference will follow. Second, regarding the article by Paul Davies. Davies argues that nothing happened before the big bang. In his argument he goes on to borrow a theory co-proposed by Hawking and Hartle. He then argues that it might be possible for time to emerge out of space and vice-versa. Then he somehow jumps to the conclusion that nothing happened before the big-bang, without really connecting any dots. Even if what he's saying is true about time being created from matter, that doesn't answer why that matter existed to begin with. He gave an example of how in the quantum level, things do suddenly just pop into existence, so perhaps that's how the matter arrived. Yet, amongst other problems that I don't need to mention now with this understanding of quantum laws, it still would not explain how those laws themselves came into existence. Surely laws are a sign of intelligence?

Now, let's see what Professor Stephen Hawking who is the Lucasian Professor at University of Cambridge has to say:

In his lecture of "The Begginning of Time" written 1996 he says,
"Many people hoped that quantum effects, would somehow smooth out the singularity of infinite density, and allow the universe to bounce, and continue back to a previous contracting phase. This would be rather like the earlier idea of galaxies missing each other, but the bounce would occur at a much higher density. However, I think that this is not what happens: quantum effects do not remove the singularity, and allow time to be continued back indefinitely. But it seems that quantum effects can remove the most objectionable feature, of singularities in classical General Relativity. This is that the classical theory, does not enable one to calculate what would come out of a singularity, because all the Laws of Physics would break down there. This would mean that science could not predict how the universe would have begun. Instead, one would have to appeal to an agency outside the universe. This may be why many religious leaders, were ready to accept the Big Bang, and the singularity theorems."

He then further goes on to propose the theory which Paul Davies refers to, a theory of having imaginary time. If that theory is correct it would mean, according to him, that it is not necessary that the laws of physics would break down at a singularity. He goes on to further say that this theory is still only a hypothesis which requires testing.

In another of his lectures, titled "The Origin of the Universe", written 2005 he brings new progress. Continued on next post…

Abdullah said...

In another of his lectures, titled "The Origin of the Universe", written 2005 he brings new progress:
"Although the singularity theorems of Penrose and myself, predicted that the universe had a beginning, they didn't say how it had begun. The equations of General Relativity would break down at the singularity. Thus Einstein's theory cannot predict how the universe will begin, but only how it will evolve once it has begun. There are two attitudes one can take to the results of Penrose and myself. One is to that God chose how the universe began for reasons we could not understand...
The other interpretation of our results, which is favored by most scientists, is that it indicates that the General Theory of Relativity breaks down in the very strong gravitational fields in the early universe. It has to be replaced by a more complete theory."

That theory he goes on to explain is the combining of the General Theory of Relativity with quantum theory.

After a lot of impressive theory and explanation, he concludes,
"The picture Jim Hartle and I developed of the spontaneous quantum creation of the universe would be a bit like the formation of bubbles of steam in boiling water. "

So he and Jim Hartle have come up with an alternative explanation that our Universe, and perhaps others, are one (or some) of many potential universes. Our universe is a successful attempt at the emergence of a universe, many other universes begin to emerge but fail.

So they are indeed making much progress to understanding how the universe began. Much of it is still untested, unconfirmed theory, but time will tell. However, even if his theory is correct about the spontaneous quantum creation of the universe, it still would not explain why the quantum laws existed to begin with. You see, when it comes to science, no matter what humans do there will always be another question, an uncertainty. Unless one is able to remove themselves from the Universe and look at it from the outside in, science will never be able to tell us how and why it all began. Of course that does not mean that we shouldn't investigate, sure we can investigate, but don't expect any discoveries where you will go, "ahaaaaa, now I understand." You will always get more questions with every answer. As a friend of mine, who is non-religious puts it quite simply, "God exists, because there are uncertainties."

You can find Stephen Hawking’s research and lectures on his website:
http://www.hawking.org.uk/

Feki said...

Abdullah, I’ve read your posts and respect your argumentation.

I think that based on our current knowledge/understanding of the universe, physics etc, it is likely that a case for a “creator” (singular? Could there be more than one?) sounded logical to people since it somehow fills a void and brings a comforting idea or even the much-sought-after purpose of life: to reunite with this(these) creator(s).

You know very well how religions have historically argued on behalf of the existence of a god/creator out of willful wishing, fear of the unknown or simply control of the masses. This god/creator has been made responsible for pretty much anything that awed our ancestors: thunder, rain, floods, fertility etc.

Yet now we can explain all biological, physical and chemical processes that occur on earth without referring to supernatural forces.

So you see, in the last two hundred years science has steadily cornered this invisible and highly elusive creator into a place you call “outside of the universe”. Well, if the creator couldn’t be found up in the clouds or inside a volcano then inductive reasoning leads me to logically conclude it won’t be found where you are suggesting either.

Would you believe in the Yeti just because the Himalayas sound like the perfect place for a 12-foot high furry monkey to hide?

Admin said...

Abdullah, I stopped reading in your first post, right here:

"If you want to disprove my argument you need to provide an alternative explanation, that is more logical..."

No. You know the reason why I'm producing these "red-herrings" as you refer to them? You know why I asked a question like, "Why not?" Because you are making statements for which you have no evidence to support them. You are making a claim. It needs support. You claim a super-being is necessary. The burden of proof is on YOU. So, "Why not?" is a completely valid response. Your rejection of it is very interesting.

I DO NOT need to disprove your argument. You need to prove it. That's how it works when somebody makes a claim. I DO NOT need to find a "more logical" scenario in order to reject yours. You don't have a case, so it can be rejected regardless of whether or not I have any alternative ready.

I'm going to rest my case on these points:

1. I explained that the laws of physics did not exist in the very early Universe.
2. I explained that cause and effect can be suspended at extremes. We have proof of this. Without cause and effect, the Universe needs no cause.
3. These things would allow the Universe to create itself.
4. You do not understand where the burden of proof lies. This is EXTREMELY common among religious people.
5. If you still think you're right, then here's what you need to do. You need to get off of this blog, which is a very inappropriate place to be having a cosmological debate. You then need to present your idea to the cosmological community for publication. They will no doubt thank you profusely and accept your idea if it is as simple and correct as you claim. But something tells me you will not do that.

OK, I skimmed a bit more of your post and found this:

"You disagreed about the fact that the universe is finite."

NO, I DEFINITELY DID NOT! I don't know where you got that from.

Admin said...

"The first being that we do not know of the nature of anything beyond our universe (space/time)..."

And yet, as a Muslim, you claim to know a whole lot about this creature beyond space and time. Gotta love religions! They claim it is beyond understanding or beyond the reach of science, yet claim to know a whole lot about it!

Admin said...

"As a friend of mine, who is non-religious puts it quite simply, God exists, because there are uncertainties."

Why? I know you think it's a red herring, but it needs a whole lot of explanation, which you have not provided. I also notice your bias is extreme. You have decided that this force, which you claim to not be able to know anything about, is a god, your god, to be exact.

But seriously, if you want to debate cosmology and causes, you're going to have to get off of this blog and step into the ring with the big boys of cosmology. I should warn you though, expect a whole lot of what you call "red herrings", such as "Why?", "Why not?", and "Prove it."

Abdullah said...

Feki,
I think you're missing the point of my argument. I agree that people in the past, and even to this day, oversimplify things and use God as an answer for everything which they are ignorant of how it works. However, i do not think they were wrong in the fact that yes, the creator is ultimately behind everything. What I've said earlier is that science, allows us to understand the mechanisms which this creator has put into place to govern the world. Science allows us to observe the "how" of everything. Yet even when we understand how things happen, what things are composed of, what chemical reactions are taking place, etc. etc. there's still the question of why does all of this exist in the first place, and how did it come into existence. I'll also point out that science is in no way perfect. All scientific explanations are flawed and contain uncertainty. I'm not suggesting they are incorrect, not at all. I'm just saying that no matter what a scientist does he can never have a 100% correct answer. This is something to think about.
Notice, i used the word ultimately, when describing that a creator is behind everything. To demonstrate what I mean consider the following. No matter how much science understands the way things happen, it will never be able to produce something like it. Example, if all the greatest minds in the world with all the finance they require in the world, got together to study something as simple as a fly, no matter what they do they will not be able to produce another fly like it. They will not be able to create anything, as a matter of fact. The only thing they will be able to do is to observe in amazement, how different parts of the fly function, and analyze the elements which compose, etc. Basically they will end up describing the fly in different ways and at different levels, but will not be able to create another fly. This is why, all of existence in itself is a miraculous event, and proof of the existence of a creator. The basis of my entire argument, "every creation needs a creator."

You've said: "Well, if the creator couldn’t be found up in the clouds or inside a volcano then inductive reasoning leads me to logically conclude it won’t be found where you are suggesting either."

What I'm suggesting is that the creator lies beyond the Universe. Science will never be able to know anything that is beyond the universe, so science will never be able to determine god's existence in that way. But we don't need science to determine a creator's existence, as I've argued. Evidence of a creator is everything in this entire universe.

Think of it like this: Humans invented computers. We are able to program them to behave any way we like, but can we physically enter into the computer? No we can't. We can only remain outside it, manipulate it through our programming, do whatever we want with it. Can the little icons or programs inside the program of the computer see us humans who designed it? No, they can't, does that mean we don't exist? Of course not, we do exist, and so does our creator.

You are right now reading my post. Do you have any physical evidence that I am a person who exists? Can you prove it scientifically? No, you can't, however these words you are reading, are proof of my existence. They couldn't have wrote themselves. Think of this entire universe as a letter (or post), which the creator wrote to us. And our observation and experiencing of this universe is us reading the creator's letter. In my original post, i wrote a short story about the "primitve" me who finds a watch in the middle of the jungle. That story was to explain what i'm now again saying.

Abdullah said...

Admin
The burden of proof is not upon me. Reason being, I already provided evidence in the form of a logical deduction to my claim. Whereas you are simply rejecting my arguments without explaining the reasons for rejection. You know, my 3 year old nephew is going through this phase that all children go through, where they keep asking, why? why? why? to no ends. Let's not be like children.

How can you present a counter-argument to my argument, and claim that I did not proved evidence to my claims, when you "stopped reading" my post at its very beginning? I'm sorry but I'm not willing to spoon feed you my arguments. If you can't even take the effort to read them then you're not a person worth having a discussion with, nor do your counter-arguments hold any grounds.

The only real argument you've made (finally) in your response is : the universe can create itself. This is an argument which I've already proved to be illogical but I'll prove it again for your sake.
For the universe to have created itself it requires that the universe be in existence and not be in existence at the same time. This is illogical and does not make sense. That's no different then Christian's claiming that God is a trinity of 3 in one.

Regarding your comment number 5, I do not need to take my cosmological argument to the cosmological community, because i took the information behind my argument from them. Cosmologists already acknowledge that there is a possibility of an external creator, and I quoted Stephen Hawking, which you would know had you read my comment. They do not necessarily believe that an external creator exists, they are trying to find out if there is a way to explain the coming of creation without relying on an external creator, and I commend their efforts. Yet, they do acknowledge the possibility of that creator, and based on the progress they have made so far, they can not explain the universe existing without the presence of a creator.

Again you went back to the fact that i'm Muslim. As a Muslim I know a lot more things about God, but my argument is not one from religion. I'm keeping my argument strictly logical and philosophical my Muslim beliefs are irrelevant. It seems you have a problem with the term god. I'm using the word God in my argument for convenience, without referring to any particular concept of god. In this argument, by using the terms god or God, i just mean, a creator.

Admin said...

"This is why, all of existence in itself is a miraculous event, and proof of the existence of a creator. The basis of my entire argument, 'every creation needs a creator.'"

It IS Ray Comfort's "paintings have painters".

"What I'm suggesting is that the creator lies beyond the Universe."

Huh.... let's get this straight:

1. The creator does not reside in this universe, and therefore conveniently does not have to obey its laws, nor could it ever be detected (unfalsifiable statement, perfect to protect a religion with no evidence).

2. Mohammed knew about the creator.

3. Therefore the creator must reside in this universe.

Admin said...

"The burden of proof is not upon me. Reason being, I already provided evidence in the form of a logical deduction to my claim."

You have no idea how science truly works. Also, you use the word 'logical' with shocking frequency, considering that we already KNOW and can PROVE that logic need not apply to all of the Universe's processes.

Burden of proof always lies on the person making the claim. You are making a claim. We know this from science, and the justice system in Western countries.

"This is an argument which I've already proved to be illogical but I'll prove it again for your sake."

"This is illogical and does not make sense."

Logic, logic everywhere.

"That's no different then Christian's claiming that God is a trinity of 3 in one."

Ah, the inter-faith warfare begins!

Abdullah, I you lose this debate. You lose because the experts, the ones who know the most about cosmology, do not agree with you. The 'external force' is by no means necessary, and if it does exist, it not necessarily a god.

Do you think you have proof? GET IT PUBLISHED in a scholarly journal.

Admin said...

You claim to know what proof is. Do scientists look at all of their current explanations, choose the most 'logical' and claim to have 'proven it'? NO, THEY DON'T, because they understand what 'burden of proof' is. You do not. They know that you must prove a case by supporting it, not by seemingly eliminating its closest rivals with 'logic'.

Admin said...

I stopped reading your post becuase it's clear you have no idea what evidence is or what it takes to prove something. I'm also frustrated by your repeated refusal to ignore that logic need not apply.

So given those two things in the beginning, and the fact that you're here on my little blog instead of publishing in a scholarly journal, why would I think you have anything to support your argument at all?

Admin said...

"That's no different then Christian's claiming that God is a trinity of 3 in one."

Now now, Abdullah.... The Christian god resides outside of the Universe, and is not bound by your logic. That's your rule, isn't it?

Do you know what 'special pleading' is? You're making special exemptions for your version of facts, without supporting why such a distinction is justified.

Abdullah said...

Admin
You make an interesting point that, "logic need not apply." I guess it's true that conventional logic fails in areas such as the quantum level. That's definitely a thought I'll carry with me and ponder over for a while.

Your joke about "special pleading" is invalid however, because yes its true that god, residing outside the universe, does not need to follow our normal laws or logic, but a part of the so-called trinity is Jesus in flesh and within the universe. Therefore, that part of the trinity is in fact, 'bound' by the logic of my argument. Nonetheless, christian beliefs are not the subject of our discussion.

You've made many empty, and some incorrect claims. The most significant being:
"You are making a claim. It needs support. You claim a super-being is necessary."
I never claimed this, what I claimed is that a creator is the conclusion that a logical thinking process comes to, and that it is also the most logical conclusion. I provided a logical thinking process to come to that conclusion, and you've made empty claims, especially the claim that my argument is not logical, yet you haven't pointed out any flaws in the logic. Or at least, nothing that I hadn't previously explained or covered.

The only real good point is the one about conventional logic not applying to extremes such as quantum. That still does not change that, as of yet, an external creator is the most logical explanation. I know you've already said that I haven't presented a logical argument to support that claim, but I believe that I have, you're just ignoring my arguments. Any 3rd party who reads our discussion will be able to see it as well. I think that unfortunately, that's as far as our discussion can go.

I have to honestly say, I never would have expected an atheist to go so far to deny the existence of God, that he would resort to an argument that logic is unnecessary, I quote, "logic need not apply," to form conclusions. Seriously, i shall treasure this memory. Especially when that atheist has posted a prayer a part of which is, "deliver us from denial of logic."

Anyhow, the world sure is an interesting place, and so are people. Thanks for the time and thoughts

Admin said...

"I provided a logical thinking process to come to that conclusion, and you've made empty claims, especially the claim that my argument is not logical, yet you haven't pointed out any flaws in the logic."

"...an external creator is the most logical explanation."

STILL using that word, logical. This boggles my mind. I'll tell you what is illogical. Continuing to insist that logic is useful/required in a situation where we both seem to have agreed that logic may not be useful/required, is illogical.

And even further, in the last string of comments, you said you were proving it. Sorry, you don't prove anything because you feel it is the most logical explanation.

Here's the thing. The cosmological community does not accept your argument. The scientific community as a whole does not accept your argument. so what do you do? Go to an atheism blog and try to hoodwink some laymen. The problem is, here you found not a total layman, but somebody who at least understands how science works.

Every year, there are scientific conferences on astronomy and cosmology. Those conferences issue a call for abstracts. I URGE you, because you have what is the most logical, and therefore the most valid hypothesis, to submit your abstract to one of these conferences and present your ideas. When they reject your abstract, give a good hard think as to why they'd reject something that is so logically true.

You're also being dishonest to yourself and to me. When you need to claim that the creator is outside of the Universe and that we can't learn anything about it, you do. But in your life as a Muslim, you claim that you do know things about it. This kind of contradiction, which you are hiding from me, is the reason why it is so vitally important that I know who I am debating. It tells me that your own arguments contradict themselves, which of course, is not logical.

"...you're just ignoring my arguments."

I did? I thought I addressed everything you said. I call bullshit!

"I have to honestly say, I never would have expected an atheist to go so far to deny the existence of God, that he would resort to an argument that logic is unnecessary, I quote, "logic need not apply," to form conclusions. Seriously, i shall treasure this memory."

Unfortunately, we already have PROOF that cause and effect and basic other 'logical principles' do not apply at all times. Are YOU ignoring THAT? So your intended humourous response falls flat.

Admin said...

"I never would have expected an atheist to go so far to deny the existence of God, that he would resort to an argument that logic is unnecessary..."

You need to look up what an argument from ignorance is. Because when you say that you have an explanation, and the scientific community does not, therefore yours is most logical and therefore true, that is an argument from ignorance. Classic. It's a logical fallacy and real truths don't need logical fallacies in their defence.

And for the record, I think any third party reading this will see that you ignored my point, not the other way around. Why continue to argue what is 'logical', when the other side informs you that we have proof that nature is not logical? I think they'll also see how your life as a Muslim is in direct contradiction to your argument here, and that you are therefore being dishonest with yourself and with us. They will no doubt also see that you don't have a valid point, and that is why you are presenting your 'results' here, and not in front of the community of cosmologists. It will be easily seen what an intellectual coward you are.

Admin said...

"I never would have expected an atheist to go so far to deny the existence of God..."


It took me a few hours to realise that there are far more things wrong with this statement than I first thought.

The first thing wrong is that I am not denying the existence of anything. I am saying that you have failed to demonstrate that an external force was necessary for the Universe to begin. The Universe did not need a cause. That says nothing about whether or not there WAS such a cause, but if you are going to come here and claim that you have proven with "logical deduction" that there was, then you're going to have to make a better case. Your claim is not convincing.

The second thing wrong with it is that we began talking about an "external force" causing the Universe to be created. Even if your claim from your "logical deduction" is correct, it would only show that the Universe had a definite external cause, which you formerly referred to as a "force". But in this, your departing statement, you claimed that I'm denying the existence of (capital 'G', ie. your) god. How did you get to that god from "external force"? Don't you think you skipped a few steps? Why couldn't it have been a non-conscious external force, like an all-encompassing gravity? Why does it have to be your god? When did we agree on that? We've had these kinds of jumps quite a lot on this blog, and I have labeled it as the single most intellectually dishonest thing a believer can say.

Your thought process is:

Universe -> creator -> god -> god of Islam

but you have failed to properly demonstrate any of those connections. Then you claim that I am denying the existence of your god. Absolutely ridiculous!

Jim said...

I'm going to step in here for a second (Thanks, Admin, for directing me here) and explain a bit about the universe and its size.

First, we have to agree on what the 'universe' is for this discussion. Now, we can define it one of three ways, each with its own distinct border and size.

1. The universe consists of everything we can see, including the black nothingness.
2. The universe only consists of matter.
3. The universe only consists of everything made up of matter and everything in between.

The first definition would make the universe infinite in size.

The second would make the universe finite, and only consisting of matter, which means no empty space is considered.

The third is the standard definition. It includes all matter and empty space right up to the boarders of the universe. All the empty space beyond (the black nothingness) is just that. Empty space. It would not be part of our universe.

By using the third definition, we can start to answer some basic questions. We now know that the universe does indeed have an edge, or border. While it is increasing constantly, the border remains. This is the present.

When the universe was a single point in empty space, it was not the universe. It was a single point in empty space. (Disproving the attempt to claim that the universe both existed and did not exist)

Attempting to use logic here, Abdullah, is a losing proposition. By definition, logic breaks down at the moments before and immediately after the Big Bang.

The point was very very small (some scientists claim the size of an atom, whereas some claim the size of a thimble), and the singularity was infinitely dense and had an infinite temperature. Both of these facts defy any and all logic. When the singularity exploded, it expanded faster than the speed of light, another logically impossible event.

So, right there we have three logically impossible events. But it happened. It happened because, like the Admin pointed out, the laws of physics were not yet written by the universe.

I hope this clears up the 'universe' debate line.

Jim said...

As for claiming that a creator must LOGICALLY exist, I have to point out the flaws in your argument.

Abdullah writes "I think it is only logical to reach the conclusion that a Creator exists".

Really? Okay. Let's use some simple logic here.

First, I'm going to strip a god down to creator. We need to remove a lot of nonsense that makes the creator a god.

1. It has no supernatural powers.
2. It can not interfere with our plain of existence.
3. It is not an immortal being.
4. It is not perfect.
5. It does not know everything.

I think we can agree that our "creator" can not logically posses any of these characteristics? If anyone would like, I would be more than happy to go line by line and logically disprove every one.

So, our stripped down creator is somehow existing in another plain of existence, and it decides to create our universe. Since he can not possible be in its own universe (because that would require another creator to create that), i guess we can just say its sitting around the ether.

Now, to create a universe, this creator would need a process. It would have to break one of it's own rules of existence to do so. It would have to interfere with our plain of existence.

Besides the obvious fact that in order to create our universe the creator would have to break its own rule, thus logically rendering the creator to not exist, I will allow it to this one time. For the sake of argument.

So, the creator breaks its own logical rule (and disproving its existence) and interferes in our plain of existence. Since it has no supernatural powers, it must create our universe using technology.

Now we have to wonder how the creator came about this technology. Since it has no universe itself (because, that would require another creator), it had to get the raw materials from somewhere. Not to mention that it would require the knowledge needed to invent and use the technology.

Now, after all this, I could continue with what else is need to create the technology, use the technology, invent the idea of the technology, what made the creator, etc.

I hope you see my point Abdullah.

While you say it is logical that a creator created this universe, you MUST be able to logically explain HOW the creator created this universe. That is the point of the whole discussion. The 'how',

You used logic very well to get to the point of a creator having to exist. But your flaw was when you stopped. Which is surprising, given your nice 'watch' logic line. The creator is like that watch. You have logically (although wrongly) traced existence to the 'creator'. Your task then should be to find out how this creator could have created the universe. And then figure out where it got the means to create the universe. How did it get the knowledge.? How did it get the idea? What did it do before it had the idea? How did it come to be? Who created it? Who created its creator, etc.

I enjoy that you are able to comprehend logic (unlike PG, among others), but you make the same fatal flaw that all other theist make. It's not your fault, I imagine that you have been taught not to question your god's origins. A lot of religions do this. And I know some Muslims myself who have told me about how strict their particular families and churches (mosques?) are with questioning god.

But if you really want to discuss it, we have to cross this line. You can not stop your logical line of reasoning until you come to the beginning. You stop when you came to the beginning of the universe, not the beginning of the creator, which is ultimately what this discussion is about.

Feki said...

Abdullah

With all due respect, I think it is very difficult for a theist to disassociate his/her beliefs from logic and, as a result, he/she would be more willing to do that leap of faith away from objective reasoning and therefore “claim that a creator is the logical answer for what’s ultimately behind everything”.

In my opinion, to think that this creator is hiding somewhere arises from our human condition: we feel small and alone. Religions thrive on and exploit these feelings, and that’s why I am also biased against taking that leap of faith: I personally see no need for a creator or organized delusional groups to exist.

Now, I am no logicician/scientist/theologian, but objective reasoning for a run-of-the-mill engineer like me goes as follows:

1) Science has disproved religious claims for the supernatural. Religion has yet to provide a demonstrable explanation for ANYTHING within our physical reality. Moreover, all religions have made and keep on making attempts at thwarting scientific progress out of fear that it will prove the non-existence of god. If one is to be objective about this, it is safe to conclude that science will find an “ultimate” explanation for the creation of the universe which does not require a creator. I’ll sum it up: science good, religion bad.

2) You talk about beings and things requiring a creator to exist, then you extrapolate that to the entire known universe. Yes, a watch sitting a jungle was definitely “created by something”. And yes, we can scientifically demonstrate the existence of something within our known universe whether it was a created through a natural process or consciously made. However I cannot assume that an entity residing outside time/space was consciously responsible for the creation of everything. How can you extrapolate a “clockmaker/watch in the jungle” example to a “universe created by a conscious being” scenario? Can you demonstrate scientifically the existence of a universe-maker? I’ll sum this up too: clockmakers can be found in the yellowpages.

3) Yes the fly needs a creator, scientific minds cannot “wish it into existence” (nothing is wished into existence). A fly is “created” out of genes from two genetically compatible individuals of the same or similar species. Scientific minds will surely be able to “construct” a fly out of raw elements at some point, if that serves any particular purpose. They are already able to construct bacteria (please look it up). This takes the “miracle” away, doesn’t it? Read: life is no miracle concocted by the invisible guy in the sky.

4) Computer icons looking for a creator outside their operating system. Your example is cute but beside the point: icons do not have consciousness. Do I have physical evidence that you are a real person? I think so, otherwise what would you be? An Artificial Intelligence arguing on behalf of a god? See, we are the only known species with a conscious mind and we are capable of perceiving reality through our senses and reasoning. Animals, computers can’t do that. Several evolutionary traits have shaped our minds into a cause-effect machine which gave us advantages over other animals. This also encouraged us into searching for a cause to our existence. Read: god is a leftover thought from our evolutionary process.


So we have that science can be 100% trusted over religion, universe creators are not plainly perceptible and, at this stage of human progress, we understand where we came from and are able to repeat complex natural processes, why would I logically conclude that a hidden creator is leaving us a message written along the Milky Way? Why do you think you, through your particular religious approach, are able to read through this alleged message?

Abdullah said...

Jim,
I'm glad you decided to join the discussion, and i really appreciate your clear and to-the-point writing.

When you say the universe was a single point in empty space, it was not the universe. What exactly does that mean? It sounds like a very convenient way of explaining things, just as convenient as explaining the atom as a marble-like proton attached to a marble-like neutron, with a marble-like electron circulating them. What I mean, is that although it's convenient for picturing and imagining, it's not really a true depiction of what it is.

So what exactly is a "point?" My understanding is that it was a singularity. Meaning one, homogenous, amount of mass. It is assumed that this singularity had infinite density and, you've added, infinite temperature.

I understand the part about conventional logic not applying to this singularity because the governing physical laws were not present yet, but I do not understand how you conclude that this singularity, is not our universe. Sure, it's not the same as the current universe as we know it, but that does not mean it's not our universe.

I gave an example of how a lump of dead mass, eventually turns into a human being. That lump of mass was the human being, but at an earlier phase. Or perhaps it's not quite that simple since we also have to take in the account of that dead mass coming to life.

Regarding your response to my argument, that logic leads us to conclude that a creator exists. You pointed out some things which according to you, is stripping down a god, to simply a creator. Then, based on your set of rules for the creator, you gave an argument to try and prove that a creator is a contradiction of itself.

So before I move on to any further explanation regarding the creator, and as you've asked, 'how' this creator created this universe, I need to get something straight. So, thus far, following my "watch" logic, you agree that a creator exists, but at this point we are trying to logically prove certain attributes to this creator, which allow us to explain how he/it created the universe? You see, i'm not sure, because you have placed in brackets "although wrongly" about how i traced existence to the creator. If I have wrongly traced existence to the creator, you need to point out where my error was. Otherwise, there's no point developing the argument further if it can already be proven incorrect.

Please share your thoughts, and then hopefully we can move forward.
Feki, I would like to reply to your comment, but at the moment I'd like to focus on Jim's argument first. To try and keep my mind in one place, and to keep things neat.

Jim said...

Abdullah, you sir, are a fresh of breath air on this blog. You are very adept at arguing your points and asking questions. Compared to all the other theists who come here and just blindly spout nonsense, you are attempting to learn, which I must commend you for.

Give me some time, and I will answer all your questions more thoroughly. I want to present my response in a way as to not seem like I'm trying to just gloss over things. You will have my response. Sit tight.

Abdullah said...

Jim,
I shall look forward to your response. Yes I have no problem with learning whatsoever. I'm confident in my ability to scrutinize my own ideas and the ideas of others, and then make my own decisions. Obviously though, a person is sometimes blind to his own faults, and that is why discussions like these can be very useful.

I have complete faith that truth shall prevail. I also believe that the only tool which can measure truth, is logic, since logic is the only human possession which can go unbiased. 1 + 1 = 2, no matter where you go in the world. Therefore, if the truth is that there is no God, or creator, then so be it. The truth can sometimes be bitter. But so far, as you can see, my thinking process leads me to believe that a creator exists.

Admin said...

Abdullah, Jim absolutely did not agree that there is a creator. I do agree with him that you are the most competent and intelligent religious person we've possibly ever had here. You should have seen the last guy!

I'd like to ask some sets of true and false questions.

Set 1:

a) T/F Some of the Universe's extreme processes are already known to not need a cause.

b) T/F The creation of the Universe occurred under extreme conditions.

Set 2:

a) T/F Scientists prove things by laying out their best ideas, then choosing which of them makes the most sense.

b) T/F It is impossible that all of their best ideas are incorrect.

c) T/F It is possible that an idea which makes the least sense could be correct (ie. aether vs. relativity)

d) T/F The existence of entities is proven in science by people sitting around and thinking.

Set 3:

a) T/F The scientific community agrees that a creator is logically required.

b) T/F This blog is not the place to debate the origins of the Universe, as current knowledge is way too complicated for everybody here, and the experts do not post here.

c) T/F You have submitted your proof for publication in a scholarly journal.

Admin said...

"Yes I have no problem with learning whatsoever. I'm confident in my ability to scrutinize my own ideas and the ideas of others, and then make my own decisions."

The problem is that you are in no position at all to scrutinise ideas about the Big Bang and origins of the Universe. None of us here are. We are not knowledgeable enough to comment on the mathematics of the extremes of physics, nor on the evidence currently known. Even the scientists are not ready to present their findings yet. All we can do is to follow the research as it is published.

By the way, I was dead serious when I suggested you get a degree and research this. We need more curious minds on this particular job. I don't know your age, but if you find this interesting, it could be a career path for you.

Admin said...

If your logic tells you that everything has a cause, or that a particle cannot be spontaneously created out of empty space, or that a particle cannot be in two places at the same time, then your logic has already failed you when it comes to extreme processes. All three of these points are already known to not be correct.

Admin said...

"Therefore, if the truth is that there is no God, or creator, then so be it."

That is not going to be the outcome of this discussion. The point of this discussion is that no god/external force is NECESSARILY REQUIRED. It may very well exist (have existed before), but it doesn't appear to be a necessary factor.

However, as you have already departed from your holy book on the matters of origins of the Universe and life (ie. you're not a young-Earth creationist), I suspect that any point such as this could be the last straw for you.

Admin said...

"I also believe that the only tool which can measure truth, is logic, since logic is the only human possession which can go unbiased. 1 + 1 = 2, no matter where you go in the world."

I want to clarify something I thought was clear, but now appears not to be. The problem is not with the 'logic' itself, but with the rules that logic is based on.

For example, if we knew that numbers could spontaneously change their properties, then 1+1=2 would logically not always be correct. If we knew that large objects could appear spontaneously, then we'd know that logically, that soccer ball over there could have been spontaneously created from nothing.

Now what we do know, is that cause and effect seems to be suspended under extreme conditions, and we know that the Big Bang was an extreme condition. Therefore, we can logically say that the Big Bang didn't need/require a cause.

And in all of this, a question I'd be asking myself is, "Why, in order for my proof of the existence of a god to work, do I have to propose a realm in which logic does not exist?" If there are other planes/realms/universes, then isn't it logical to assume that they must have some kind of logical structure, too? The existence of such a realm would require extraordinary evidence to justify.

Jim said...

All right Abdullah, Here we go.

The Universe:

I describe the universe as a point and not a singularity for one reason. When astronomers and physicists use the term 'singularity', they are most often referring to a black hole. This is the term I use as well, so for me personally, singularity is not the term I would use to describe the moment before the big bang.

As to why the 'singularity' is not the universe, it's a little more complicated. I would argue (as I imagine many other scientist would) that the universe is what the 'singularity' became. Before it expanded, it was a point in space, an infinitely dense and hot 'ball' of matter. Technically you could call it a universe because it contained everything that exists today, but this definition seems a bit broad. Technically, an ant farm is a universe to an ant.

The best analogy I can use is a book with empty pages with a pen sitting on top. All the ingredients are there, but you would not yet call this a novel. However, I don't particularly like my own analogy because one would argue that to write the novel, you need a writer, and then go on to assume that to create the universe you need a creator. It's close, but not there yet.

How you were wrong about tracing things back to a creator:

I knew this would come up, and this is where I wanted to be clear. As you know, you traced the universe back to a creator, and I stated that your logic was wrong. Here's why.

Regardless of your intent to remain unbiased, I believe that you originally believed that there is/was a creator. And because of this, your logic naturally led you back to where you wanted it to. It may have been an unconscious effort, but it happened. It might not have been your fault entirely. Many people who believe in a god assume that it must exist when making any argument. And that was exactly your flaw.

You see, when you approach a theory without bias, you must assume the simplest of set of rules before you can begin. This is true for any scientific research. It is only when faced with a dead-end that you should input a new parameter.

I'll explain.

Jim said...

Let's start where you started.

I exist.

Now, how do we know you exist? Or anyone exists? This might seem like a silly question, as you and I can just say that we exist. I see my hands typing, therefore I must exist. But you cannot see me and I cannot see you. So there must be something else.

What can we use to determine that you or I, or anything for that matter, exists? There is the famous phrase "I think, therefore I am", which, yes proves to me that I do indeed exist. But you can't see my thoughts, and you can't prove that I am thinking. So while this is good for proving that you exist for yourself, it does little good proving to others that you exist.

There must be another way. And, lucky for us, there is.

Observation.

Very simple. I can literally see your thoughts as I read what you have written, just as you can see my thoughts by reading what I wrote. Not only that, but if I were standing next to you, I could see you with my own eyes, and you could do the same. Agreed?

So, observation must be the only and most reliable means to determine that something exists.

Now we can conclude and agree upon your first step in your logical reasoning: I exist.

Let's continue down the line.

We can agree through observation that this world (along with the universe) exists. Fantastic. We are moving at quite a clip now.

But there's a snag. We can only observe so much. And using technology like space telescopes and the WMAP, we can only see into the past just 300,000 years after the big bang. Our observation begins to break down.

Before we move on, let's review a little, and see what we can extrapolate from our conclusions.

1. Through observation, we can prove that we, along with the universe, exist.
2. Everything that does exist must have been created. You were created, I was created, the universe was created.

But how do we know the universe was created? Simple, our observations prove that if we were to rewind the time line of the universe, everything in existence would coalesce at a single point. All the observations and facts we know prove this.

So, now we have a number three.

3. The universe was once confined to a single point in empty space.

This is what we know.

Jim said...

Now here is where your logic failed. You assume the universe is like a watch. That a conscious mind must have created it. We know that conscious minds create watches, because this has been observed. Your fault is using a man-made object as your analogy to the universe. The universe is a natural object.

If I were to show you a full grown tree growing next to where you found your watch, would you conclude that a creator created it? Of course not. We can directly trace a time line back to the seeds for the tree being fertilized by natural means, and the seed then falling onto the ground, starting to sprout, taking roots on its own, and then growing into a tree. This process never requires outside motivation to happen.

This is a major problem with theists. They look at an airplane, a watch, a building, and say "These things required a conscious mind". They never look at a tree, a mountain, a bird, and say, "These things require a conscious mind". And there is a reason. Because no one ever has witnessed a naturally occurring event and been able to prove, through observation, that a creator was necessary. (I know people have planted seeds, or mated birds, but this is not natural, so please refrain from pointing this out)

To assume that the universe required anything other than a natural moment of creation is an illogical conclusion, because nothing in nature requires it.

More simply, it's as if you are trying to say, "That tree is natural. It was grown on this naturally occurring world, in this naturally occurring galaxy. But it all comes from an unnaturally occurring universe."

Why would you argue that everything is natural except the initial moment of creation? Nothing anyone has ever observed can even remotely support this claim.

Logically, we have to assume that the moment of creation was natural, because everything that occurred after it was natural.

Jim said...

Also, I thought I would address the five points I stated that we cannot apply to your definition of a 'creator'.

1. It has no supernatural powers.

Why? Well, because there is no proof that supernatural powers exist. Any plain of existence would require a set of physical laws. The term 'supernatural' implies that the 'powers' would have to break these laws. Any abilities this creator would have would have to conform to the laws of wherever it exists.

2. It can not interfere with our plain of existence.

This is simply because if something outside our plain of existence did interfere with our plain, then that effect would be measurable. No measurement of this type has ever occurred.

3. It is not an immortal being.

Everything is a victim of entropy. Everything dies or is destroyed or rendered inert. From galaxies to individual protons and neutrons. Everything has an end.

4. It is not perfect.

If the creator was perfect, it, by definition, would have no need to create something imperfect. In fact, it would be impossible.

5. It does not know everything.

Not only do the laws of physics prevent this, but it also creates a paradox. If you knew everything, your existence would be pointless. You would have no free will, and no purpose.

I point this out for the sake of differentiating the term 'creator' and 'god'. If this creator had any one of these attributes, it would change it into a god. And since these attributes (as I've shown) cannot possibly be attributed to any being, there can be no gods.

And that, is a logical conclusion.

Abdullah said...

Jim,
I think things are getting more interesting. You raise a most interesting point. One which, thankfully, I have thought of before. I say thankfully because it means that our discussion can carry on, and hopefully venture into even more interesting areas.

First I shall deal with the easier, less interesting argument, where you attempted to logically disprove 5 things (attributes) of a creator. The most important attribute is that of supernatural powers. If the creator has supernatural powers, then that alone is enough to logically allow the other 4 attributes you mentioned. So I will point out to you the error in your logic when referring to this.

You stated: "The term 'supernatural' implies that the 'powers' would have to break these laws. Any abilities this creator would have would have to conform to the laws of wherever it exists."

Here is your error. You have misplaced your reference point. Of course, a creator, relative to itself is not supernatural. However, that's not how we define supernatural. We define supernatural with relevance to us and our universe.

If by supernatural powers, we mean that it is supernatural with relevance to us and nature, then a creator, by definition, MUST have supernatural powers. The definition of a creator, is someone (or thing) which brings something else into existence. This, in our universe, is something impossible.


On to the more interesting and challenging argument. You've pointed out that I've used a man-made object as an analogy to the universe, whereas the universe is a "natural" object. Although I have an argument regarding this matter, the way you've presented your idea allows me to tackle it from a different way. In other words, I shall use your terms against you. But I'm not petty, if I've misunderstood your terms, or if your wording has presented something different from what you intended, then by all means do clarify and I shall withdraw this counter-argument. The only problem, is that you have not defined what you mean by "natural."

The way you've explained it seems to imply that man-made things are unnatural. If this is the case, then it also means that nature, something natural, was able to produce something unnatural. Either, the production of intelligent human-beings, is an unnatural event, since we are the only known species with intelligence (with relevance to us). Or, the production of intelligent humans is a natural event, perhaps by evolution, which in turn went on to produce unnatural elements. But for a natural system/process to produce something unnatural is a contradiction. One which would require the existence of an external force to resolve.

Either way, according to your argument, something unnatural was produced from something natural. Therefore it is fair to assume that things could have happened in vice-versa. Something unnatural, like an external creator, created a universe with its own natural laws.

Like I said, I do have another argument when it comes to making logical conclusions based on actions of men vs actions of nature, but I'll stop here for now and await your response.

Jim said...

I should clarify what I meant by supernatural powers.

Super natural is defined as :

"of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena"

Now let me break it down and explain why no being can be supernatural.

1. By definition, the being would have to break, or work outside of, the laws of nature.
2. It would have to work free of these natural laws in its own plain of existence, as well as our own. This is impossible, as my second point clearly shows that nothing can interfere with another plain of existence.

You see, if there was another plain of existence, and there was a being who could naturally think things into being (which breaks our laws of physics), the being would only be allowed to work in their own plain. It is impossible for that being to be able to interact with our universe in any way. Again, if this were possible, and they were able to interact with our plain, we would have measured this interaction.

Now, you might wish to ask "How would we know?" Good question. We would know because any interaction from another plain of existence into our own would have to break our laws of physics, simply because our laws do not allow interactions such as these.

Jim said...

Now, I think you had a decent argument for the man-made things, and unnatural things, but I also think you are misinterpreting the point.

I'll explain.

A tree can only have a tree as an offspring. A squirrel can only give birth to a squirrel. Etc. etc.

Why is this?

Well, the answer is quite simple, these plants and animals are not intelligent. Non-intelligent things cannot produce intelligent things.

Oh, but where do humans come from?

Humans are a by-product of a very long and complicated process of our ancestors slowly removing themselves from the process of natural selection.

In short, our evolution was slowly integrated with unnatural processes.

I'll explain.

Let's go back to our most distant ancestor. According to the scientist and archeologists who study our ancestry, the moment they consider our distant ancestors to start on the path to humanity was when they stopped living in trees.

Not too unnatural. They believe it was a severe drought, lasting many years that forced them to seek water and food somewhere besides the trees. Perfectly natural. Weather played a role, as did vegetation and the natural drive for food and water.

The second milestone, according to researchers, was when we discovered crude tools could be used to kill or prepare a kill to eat. A little less natural. Before this, they only used their bare hands to kill. But the rock itself was naturally occurring, so it's not that big of a step. It's not the fact that they used the rock (many primates use crude tools in the same way), it was the fact that they recognized that they could make their own tools for specific purposes.

Ah, the first signs of intelligence.

Jim said...

The next milestone came when our ancestors decided that they can increase their survival rate if they stayed in one place and brought food to them. This decreased the chance of being injured while traveling, or perhaps ambushed by unknown predators. Living in one spot, the group would more easily be able to protect itself. This has never been done before. Every other land animal migrates in some way during different times of the year, either to move to warmer weather in the winter, or to different food sources, or perhaps to occasionally change their "homes" to keep on the move from predators.

Now, our ancestors have started on the path from natural instinct, to unnatural instinct. No longer do they have to rely on their ability to constantly move and hunt. Now they can start to focus on raising their young, passing down their knowledge. And now we move into the biggest milestone.

Farming. Somewhere along the line our ancestors gained the knowledge that planting seeds would yield crops. This gave them several unnatural advantages. They could increase their population past what each person could provide for themselves. They could start to spread their people across distances and set up different communities. And they could define a class system.

This is a major break with natural selection. Before this, every animal had to get it's own food, follow the pack, and there was never an abundance. Animals only kill what they need, or eat whatever plants they need to survive. Humans could now grow enough to have reserves of food. They no longer had to kill as much to survive. There was less effort to survive.

Everywhere you turn in nature their is a natural balance between nature and a food source. This is the way the Earth survived. But when humans broke through the natural selection process, the balance was broken, and humans were no longer subject to natural selection. Weak children had a higher survival rate than before. People who would have normally been lost to starvation in large populations now had food to eat. Our numbers began to grow because life was being sustained in an unnatural way.

Now, let's cut through some other milestones, such as improved weaponry, building materials, the use of bronze and iron, and later steel, medicines, refrigeration, etc.

If you follow the path you see that in order to have intelligent life, the process itself must be unnatural in accordance with the system it lives in.

Earth's system strives for a balance between food sources, and things that live off the food. Humans broke that system in an unnatural way when we learned how to control natural processes.

The moment we gained the knowledge to control a natural process, we were no longer part of the natural process. Nature may have created our ancestors, but nature did not create us. Does that make sense?

So I believe my argument still stands that something natural cannot create something unnatural. And something unnatural cannot create something natural. A human can plant a tree, but it cannot make a tree. A tree cannot create a watch.

Nature could give us the pieces for intelligent life, but we had to put them together.

Abdullah said...

Again, going back to the super-natural conflict. You are making assumptions to support your argument but haven't provided a base for those assumptions. You've assumed:

1. that nothing can interfere with another plain of existence. Namely, a creator if it existed, can not interfere or interact with our own plain of existence, the universe.
2. By stating that if this creator were to interfere with our plain of existence we'd be able to observe and measure this interference, you've assumed that the creator continues to interfere with our plain of existence.

I hope you can identify, that with this argument you are walking on thin ice, or rather on very hot embers.
First, you must explain, what makes you assume that the creator is unable to interact/interfere with the universe. I can imagine this task to be a very difficult one, because one can argue that we do in fact have different plains of existence interacting all the time. Our conscious thoughts constantly interact with our physical being. Another example which I gave earlier, is us being able to interfere/interact with the "world" inside a computer.

This brings me to another interesting analogy. This is not part of any argument, just an interesting thought. In computers, the programming is done via codes. The most basic of which is the binary code of 1's and 0's. Yet this code of seemingly meaningless numbers is able to present something of an entirely different nature. These codes present images, which do not resemble the code whatsoever. Perhaps the relation between the quantum level of the world, and the physical one is something similar.

Back to the argument. The second assumption you made is that the creator continues to constantly practice his supernatural abilities on to our universe. If that were the case we could detect it today. However, since we can't detect it, I agree, that the creator, if it exists, is not interfering with our world at this point in time.

Perhaps the creator interfered only when initially starting the universe. Perhaps the creator has already programmed the universe to follow certain laws and everything since the establishment of those laws, is a result of those laws. Perhaps, further back in history the creator did interfere with the universe, and caused some "miracles" to have happened during times of prophets, as is suggested in religious texts, and witnessed in historical records.


As for your response regarding unnatural things produced by natural. For the moment, I'll disregard my opinion towards the fantasies of archaeologists. I'll also ignore, the massive conflict in opinion between scientists and archaeologists when it comes to evidence (or rather the absence of it) that current human beings evolved from previously tree-living species. I'll also ignore the major battle currently going since the discovery of Ardi.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume that it's true; humans evolved from those ancient primates due to whatever circumstances. You ended your explanation with, "does that make sense?" Frankly, not really. The process of developing knowledge makes sense, but your summary of events doesn't tackle the argument. Let me analyze:

Abdullah said...

To begin with, the entire process you've described, of covering different milestones, from inventing the first tools, to eventually, farming, to technology and so on, still raises the same point i made previously, which is that something natural produced eventually, something unnatural. The fact that this production process happened over a long time and perhaps in a gradual manner does not change the final outcome. So, even if it was through natural selection, and an evolution of knowledge, we still have something unnatural produced from something natural.

The second point, is that you've failed to identify the difference between intelligence, and knowledge. In the process that you've described, it is knowledge that went through an evolution process. Or more accurately, it kept being developed. Knowledge can be passed from generation to generation, and the newer generations pick up in knowledge where the previous one left off.

However, intelligence, does not go through an evolutionary or development process. Intelligence is a potential, that may or may not be fully realized. Humans today, are no more intelligent then the cave men were. The difference, is that we have carried on a legacy of knowledge, and so we have a massive head-start over the cave men.

So, as soon as the earliest primates acquired the potential for intelligence, (that is, if those primates ever did) then at that precise moment, they became unnatural. The development of technology which you went on to describe is irrelevant.

The two points i've raised regarding the development process of intelligent beings are the reason why I say that, no, your explanation does not quite make sense when responding to my argument.

Jim said...

Well, if you want to disregard all of the evidence in support of the evolution of mankind, I can hardly think I could describe to you in a reasonable manner that which I am trying to explain. You state that you will "disregard my opinion towards the fantasies of archaeologists". This raises two conflicts. One, you are interjecting your personal opinion into a fact-based argument, which you should never do ever. Your opinion doesn't matter, and neither does mine. The Catholic church believed the Earth was the center of everything but that was their opinion. It doesn't change the facts. Second, you describe "the fantasies of archaeologists". Now, I would love to hear the evidence against evolution. I am sure you have mountains of it. By all means, let me know.

Also, you missed completely the point of my statement. Which is that nature did not create an intelligent species. Nature created early man, before man was considered intelligent. The point where we started to break from the natural selection and live through unnatural means, that is when we became intelligent. It's like nature created trees, but it by no means built a log cabin.

As for your argument that cave-men were as intelligent as modern man, that is straight wrong. For one, cave-man had a smaller brain capacity. They were, simply put, dumber than we are. If you were to take a cave-man and bring him to life today, no matter how much you attempted to teach him, or how early you started, he would never be able to grasp the level of knowledge we have today. Sperm whales have giant brains, but they are incapable of learning what we know. Evolution, over time, increases our capacity for knowledge. So a cave-man was nowhere near as intelligent as modern man.

Jim said...

I hope you don't mind, but I'm not going to waste everyone's time deconstructing your theory about binary code. Binary code was created by man and so were it's definitions. It hardly fits as an analogy to anything as it is a man-made thing.

As for the interacting with other plains of existence.

Your analogy to a computer program to our world, and our minds, well, these all exist in the same plain of existence. Unless you want to argue that this 'creator' only exists in your mind?

Allow me to explain.

First we have to define the parameters for 'plain of existence'. You seem to want to define this as anywhere that is not the physical world you can see. While technically fine, that definition will not work for our argument. If we tried to apply it here, then I would argue that your creator could not exist because at the moment of the Big Bang there were no other plains of existence. The only thing that existed was the 'singularity' that spawned the Big Bang. There was nothing else. In fact, this 'singularity' existed in an infinite nothingness.

So we have to broaden our definition, since, as I've shown, the only thing to exist at the moment was the "singularity" and nothingness. So let's try out dimensions as a definition.

Sounds like science fiction, but you know of, and interact with, four dimensions everyday. The first three are the dimensions sometimes described as "Up and down, front and back, left and right". The fourth dimension is time.

There are at least 7 other dimensions in existence, but they exist at the sub-subatomic level. Perhaps your creator exists in one of these dimensions?

Well no. It doesn't. Why not? Well, because the existence of every dimension was created by the Big Bang. The explosion was so incredibly powerful that it ripped space-time at the subatomic level and created these other dimensions.

So, let's review so far. We know that at the moment of the Big Bang, there was nothingness and our "singularity". We know that the Big Bang created these other dimensions (or plains of existence). And we know that since every "plain of existence" was created AFTER the Big Bang, then none of them could have possibly interfered, or cause the Big Bang.

But how can I prove that nothing can interfere with other "plains of existence"? Well, if you want to define these plains as simply 'our thoughts' or a 'computer world', well I would agree that we can interfere. But these are not the plains your creator exists in. Your creator was not in someone's mind during the Big Bang, or inside their computer. But if your creator were to exist in another dimension, I've already shown the the creator could not have existed until the universe came into existence. So that is a pointless venture.

So I'll attempt to explain why we cannot interfere with other plains of existence.

Jim said...

Imagine you are a 2-dimensional being, and you live on a flat world. There only exists left and right and forwards and backwards. There is no up and down. In fact, the concept of 'up and down' doesn't even exist. Now let's say your flat world consists of a single sheet of paper. And let's say that I lay another sheet of paper on top of yours. You would not know that this other piece of paper exists, because you have no ability to recognize it. For you, there is no up or down, and you cannot comprehend something being put on top of you. In fact, you have no top.

No imagine you were told to interact with this other piece of paper. How would you? The physical laws of your world (piece of paper) prevent you from reaching up and touching it. Your physical laws prevent you from even seeing it. It would be utterly and hopelessly impossible for you to do anything that involves this other 'world' because the laws prohibit it.

Now imagine you are yourself sitting at your desk. And I ask you to interfere with another plain of existence. Another 3-dimensional world on top of ours. What would you do? You cannot reach out and touch it. In fact, you, like your 2-dimensional counterpart, cannot even see this other 'world'. You cannot tell it exists. This would hold true for anyone existing in the other world. It would be impossible for them to see or interact with our world.

This is why your 'creator' cannot exist in another 'plain of existence' and interfere with ours. It would be impossible by the very laws of physics for the 'creator' to even know our plain was here, let alone try to interact with it.

Abdullah said...

Okay, it seems i've made a mistake by referring to cave men. What I should have said to get my point across, is that humans today are no more intelligent than humans of the same species a few thousand years ago. It is only inheritance of knowledge and technology that allows us to advance.

I'm not missing the point of your argument about nature creating early man, but then man started living through unnatural means and thus became intelligent. I completely understand. I think I've failed in clearly delivering the flaw in your argument. So I'll attempt again to express it:

Intelligence, is a potential. All unintelligent beings, for example dogs, whales, and monkeys do not even have the potential to do something intelligent. Obviously I'm referring to intelligence with relevance to that of humans. You are saying that the early humans became intelligent when they decided to take up unnatural means.

What I'm saying, is that's not exactly the case. Humans became intelligent as soon as they had the potential for intelligence. What you are referring to is not them suddenly becoming intelligent, rather it is them, realizing their potential for the intelligence which they already have. In other words, they started using their intelligence, but they were intelligent even before they started using it.

An example, is like the school boy who has the potential to pass school with top marks, but he is uninterested, or lazy, and not using his intelligence to do so. That does not make him an unintelligent being, it simply means he's not using his intelligence. Certainly, harsh conditions like a drought, for example, could have served as a great motivator for early humans to start using their intelligence. Hence the saying, "necessity is the mother of invention."

Abdullah said...

Now for your argument regarding different plains of existence, and the creator being unable to interact with other plains of existence.
First of all, you're doing the exact same thing which you've accused me of doing: applying human concepts to non-human things. Your example of the sheets of paper being different plains of existence, and us being on one of them would not even be able to identify the second one is an invalid example. Reason being, the two sheets of paper co-exist, and we, humans are within one of these sheets of paper. This is not what I'm implying about a creator. A creator would be outside of both sheets of paper and able to see both of them. I'm saying a creator has itself created our plain of existence, and because it created it, it is able to interact with it. Sort of like me drawing a drawing on two separate sheets of paper, and am able to then see both drawings and manipulate both drawings.

Hence my example of man, creating binary code, and therefore is able to interact and interfere with it. You seem to understand my analogy perfectly, but are not connecting it to that of a creator correctly. In your own words:
"Binary code was created by man and so were it's definitions." Exactly!
Similarly, I'm arguing that the entire universe, even the singularity, was created by a creator, and so were its laws and definitions and anything else which exists within this universe. Therefore the creator is able to interact/interfere with with our universe.

You've mentioned the the singularity, and that all plains of existence only began to exist after the time of the big bang, and said, therefore the plains of existence could not have interfered with or caused, the big bang. But that's not what I'm arguing. I agree, that all plains of existence, within the universe, only started existing after the big bang.

What I'm saying, is for the big-bang to have even happened, and for the singularity to have even existed, it requires something to bring it into existence. This why, I'm lead to believe that a creator exists, and it must have existed in a plain of existence other than that of the universe. This creator brought our universe into existence. Since this creator is able to bring something into existence, by default that creator must:
1. Have supernatural powers (with relevance to us)
2. Exist in a different plain of existence from that of our universe
3. Be able to interact with our plain of existence.

You see, these assumptions are backed up by reasoning and a thinking process; based on what we know. Your argument on the other hand, is based on what we don't know. It would be meaningless to argue things based on a lack of knowledge; I believe there's something called an argument from ignorance? Or something along those lines, basically, if you're to argue based on what you don't know, you could assume pretty much anything you wanted!

Abdullah said...

Dear fellow intellectuals,
from here on, you may sense a lag in any responses from me as I will be very occupied over the next 2 weeks. But I'm in no way running away, and will try to keep our discussion going and put in replies when I find the time.

Jim said...

I'll make this pretty simple for the time being.

You claim:

"You see, these assumptions are backed up by reasoning and a thinking process; based on what we know. Your argument on the other hand, is based on what we don't know. It would be meaningless to argue things based on a lack of knowledge; I believe there's something called an argument from ignorance? Or something along those lines, basically, if you're to argue based on what you don't know, you could assume pretty much anything you wanted!"

Seems to me this is exactly what you are doing. You don't know there is another plain of existence. You don't know there is a creator. You don't know that anything was created by this creator. You don't know anything.

In fact, there is nothing, not one single, solitary, remote piece of evidence to support any of your claims of a creator or plain of existence beyond our own from which this creator can work. My statements, however, are backed by scientific research, along with tangible proof and observation.

I can show you physical proof that there was a Big Bang. I can supply you with mountains of data and evidence for human evolution. I can point you to images of the universe over 13 billion years old which corroborate the Big Bang theory. I can show you a rock which is 4.5 billion years old.

All of my arguments are based in solid scientific fact. I haven't made up anything. I haven't interjected my own personal opinions or views. I haven't hypothesized. I have only presented a scientific stand point supported by facts and research.

You, on the other hand, supply religious dogma, made-up creators with no tangible proof. You make up fantasy worlds where some creator is making universes out of nothingness.

So I pose a challenge. If you can provide me with one, that's right, one piece of evidence which supports any of your claims for a creator, the creator's home plain of existence, or a creator having had anything to do with the creation of the universe, I will give up the argument and agree with you and every non-atheist in the world.

I do not want hearsay or conjecture. I do not want hypothesizes or riddles. I don't want questions that can't be answered. I want measurable or physical scientific proof.

Oh, and an apology for claiming I made an argument from ignorance.

Admin said...

"Therefore it is fair to assume that things could have happened in vice-versa. Something unnatural, like an external creator, created a universe with its own natural laws."

Yes, it is possible. I for one, never said it wasn't possible. But you're arguing that it is NECESSARY, which is a big difference. You even claimed to have proven it.

"...plain of existence..."

Plane, Jim, plane!

"...that nothing can interfere with another plain of existence..."

Plane, Abdullah, plane!

"What I'm saying, is for the big-bang to have even happened, and for the singularity to have even existed, it requires something to bring it into existence......You see, these assumptions are backed up by reasoning and a thinking process; based on what we know."

Except that we know that extreme processes of the Universe do not require causes. Abdullah, I notice you're ignoring me and only talking to Jim, because I totally backed you into a corner. You keep coming back to your 'everyday logical' assumption that all things must have a cause, and we already know that to not be true. Do you acknowledge this, or not? Do you FINALLY acknowledge that the Universe needs no cause, as it was brought about by some kind of extreme event in physics, when the rules of everything as we know it break down? Or do you still cling to this notion that all things have causes, DESPITE what we know about quantum mechanics?

Jim, if you'd press for an answer to these questions, it would be appreciated. You've allowed Abdullah to skip over it entirely, and instead begin to fabricate qualities of his creator.

Abdullah, if I do not read a headline in the next year which says, "Cosmologists agree that Big Bang must logically have had supernatural cause", then I'll know that we've won and you have failed to make your case.


"You don't know there is another plane of existence. You don't know there is a creator. You don't know that anything was created by this creator. You don't know anything. In fact, there is nothing, not one single, solitary, remote piece of evidence to support any of your claims of a creator or plane of existence beyond our own from which this creator can work."

This is true, by the way.

Admin said...

Abdullah I have just one question, true or false. Please answer it.

T/F Some of nature's more exotic (better word than 'extreme') processes do not require a cause.

If your answer is false, then you are in huge conflict with quantum mechanics. If your answer is true, then the case is closed. If you do answer 'true', then we can fully move on.

Jim said...

To Admin, sorry about the use of 'plain' instead of 'plane'. In the back of my mind this looked wrong, but I was researching on another site, where I read the misspelled word, and for some reason it stuck in my head.

And I'm sorry for not pressing him harder. I should have. But I did get something worthwhile from not pressing him. And I think it might have been worth it.

I am pretty sure I got him to show his true colors. You'll notice in his last statement, especially the paragraph I quoted from it, that he really believes that a 'creator' must exist. He parades himself as an open-minded person, but in the end (as I'm sure we all knew) he is just another theist attempting to persuade us into believing he is right. But what was great about the way he did it, compared to how it would have come out if he were pressed for answers, was that I don't think he realized what he had done.

He claims that I made an argument from ignorance, when I used nothing but scientific fact and reasoning. He also claims that "if you're to argue based on what you don't know, you could assume pretty much anything you wanted".

This is quite interesting. Either he doesn't realize that he's has just reduced every argument in favor of religion or gods, or supernatural processes to nothing, or he honestly believes that scientific facts are worthless.

I don't think he has realized the logical paradox he has set himself up for. Either he has proven that all his arguments must be made up, or he has argued that any of his supporting facts are worthless.

Either way, he was a damn sight better than PG.

Abdullah said...

Oh dear, it seems i've been ambushed over a misunderstanding. Though it is at least partially my fault for not clarifying. This is going to be a long post. I'll attempt to cover several of many issues you've been pressing me for. Bear with me.

The argument from ignorance i was referring to, was your baseless claims regarding a creator. That he/it would not have supernatural powers, would not be able to interact with another plane (thanks for correcting the spelling) of existence, etc. I've already explained how those claims are baseless.

Sure, science can prove certain things about the universe and about the history of our universe I'm not denying that. What science is unable to do, and most scientists believe, will never be able to do, is to observe events before the big bang, and to explain how the singularity itself came into existence. I agree with them, there are things that science will never be able to prove, and never be able to disprove.

It seems you somehow came to understand that I've been trying to scientifically prove the existence of a creator? No, of course that's not what I'm trying to do. Science can not prove a creator exists, neither can it disprove it. Therefore to attempt to scientifically do either is foolish.

This is why, I think it would be a very close-minded thing to do, for one to rely on only science as an explanation for everything. It's been proven that there are certain things science is unable to explain. Another example of something science has no explanation for is that of the conscience. It can explain how commands are sent from the brain as signals through a complex nervous system, but it can not explain the existence of an aware "being" which is observing everything. It has no physical presence.

My entire argument was one based on logic. I've used scientific discovery only to get a better picture of what we already know about the universe. I know you've been persistently going back to your argument of, "logic need not apply," and backing it up with things occurring at the quantum level. I will comment on that a bit later.

Yes, you can provide scientific evidence of the universe expanding, from what seems to be a single point. When they trace the light of the cosmos back to its origins they find that it seems to all be coming from one original point. Based on that, scientists have assumed that the entire Universe was once in the form of a singularity, and they've assumed certain properties of that singularity.

It's my understanding that the singularity itself can not actually be observed, and scientifically proven. That conclusion was formed because it was the most likely conclusion. There have been attempts at explaining the origins of the Big Bang from things other than a singularity, but based on what scientists know for sure, the other theories are all less likely. Therefore, singularity is the most widely accepted one, and with time became the official explanation.

I'm following the exact same method, to arrive at a conclusion for where our universe comes from. Using what we know, and from there coming to the most logical conclusion. I'll elaborate but not before making something clear, again.

Admin, you seem to continuously misunderstand my argument. You:
"Yes, it is possible. I for one, never said it wasn't possible. But you're arguing that it is NECESSARY, which is a big difference."

THAT IS NOT MY ARGUMENT. Please after I explain do not go back to this point. My argument is NOT that it is necessary. My argument is that a creator is the most logical conclusion. My argument is fairly simple, and follows a very simple logic, i don't understand what all the commotion is about.

Abdullah said...

Here's what we know:
1. We exist, and our universe exists
2. In attempt to figuring out how our universe came into existence, science has found that, the universe has a beginning
3. The Big Bang, marked the beginning of what we call our current universe, in other words, the universe as we know it.
4. The Big Bang, came from, most probably, a singularity.
5. A singularity existed.
6. Science has no clue about anything before that singularity, and most scientists believe science will never be able to discover anything before the singularity since it is unobservable.

Okay, so as far as we know, the universe came into existence, full stop. Science stops there. The rest can only be based on logic. Since it came into existence, something must have brought it into existence. By definition, that is a creator. Therefore, a creator exists.

Issues raised regarding this theory:
1. The universe could have created itself.
No, that doesn't make sense. That would require for the universe to have existed and not existed at the same time.

2. If every creation needs a creator, then who created the creator?
Frankly, we don't know, and it doesn't matter. If I don't know who my grandparents were, it doesn't mean my parents do not exist. Furthermore, based on our conventional logic, which is the only thing that we do know, the creator, lying beyond our own universe, who brought our universe into existence, can not have a creator. I've proven this using the "soldiers in a line" argument.

Therefore, the most logical argument is that a creator exists.

"got him to show his true colors," What are you talking about? I've never claimed to be anything but a muslim. It's not like i was pretending otherwise. But like I said, my arguments are completely non-religious, purely based on logic.

The only potential flaw you've pointed out regarding my argument, is that at levels like the quantum level, conventional logic does not necessarily apply. To answer your T/F question, at this point in time it is impossible to answer True, or False. Especially since you've somehow replaced the term "conventional logic" with "cause."

In no way has science proven that at the quantum level things pop into existence without a cause. Science has been able to observe things suddenly appearing and also disappearing at the quantum level, sure. Just because they haven't yet understood how these things are happening does not mean there is no cause.

The quantum field of science is one that is not even close to being fully understood. I'm surprised that a scientist like yourself would allow himself to believe in superstition like something "popping into existence." It was always scientists who investigated to clear up superstition. There was a story of people apparently sighting lights, which appeared and then disappeared from the night sky, and mistook them for UFO's. After some investigation it was discovered they were merely car head lights, traveling along a road which circled around a mountain.

Quantum physics are very complex and very much not understood as of yet. There are things like Entanglement theory, where every particle is "sync'd" with a twin. If something happens to one, it immediately happens to the other. So for them to be seeing things, which appear to be popping into existence, and NOT understanding how this is happening, does not in any way prove that things can come into existence without a cause.

That being said, I must agree to the point that conventional logic may not necessarily apply to quantum theory. But again, that's only based on what we currently know about quantum, which is very little. After more investigation and understanding it might prove to be simpler than we currently think. So, does that falsify or disprove my argument about a creator being the most logical conclusion? No, continued...

Abdullah said...

Even if conventional logic does not work at the quantum level, at the moment, since we do not fully understand quantum, it is all we have that we can go with. My argument remains the most logical argument, unless you can provide a more logical explanation.

Another major flaw in having faith in quantum physics is as follows: Even if it turns out to be true, things under quantum laws literally pop into existence, it still means that the quantum laws came into existence and something must have brought those laws into existence. This is something a lot of people seem to overlook. They take for granted that the laws are the way they are, and using those laws are able to determine how things happen. Yet no one questions, okay, but why are those laws there in the first place?

Atheists are keen on telling religious people that they should question their faith and beliefs, but it seems that atheists themselves are afraid of questioning theirs. If everything is due to evolution, and the laws of the universe, how did those laws themselves get determined? That's something we need to question.

As far as I know, laws exist to facilitate a process/system, or to protect things from not following a certain process/system. In my opinion, the existence of any set of laws signifies intelligence. For that, I argue, that the existence of laws in itself also leads us to believe that a creator, or at least, a designer, has set those laws into place.

Abdullah said...

You've asked for scientific evidence of a creator. Well, the closest thing to physical evidence which I can provide would have to be evidence from religion. I was hoping that we could leave religion out of our discussion, but in the case of evidence, I think religious texts, namely Islamic, are the only thing close to physical, tangible evidence I can offer.

As far as Islam goes, the divine text, the Qur'an itself can be argued to be a miracle, requiring divine intervention for it to come into existence. There are many ways to determine that the Qur'an must have come from a divine, supernatural source, the major method is an argument of linguistic superiority. Linguistic properties of the Qur'an which make it a miracle.

However, since we are talking science, there are plenty of "scientific miracles" in the Qur'an explaining things about different parts of the universe which no one could have possibly known without modern science. There are testimonies from western authorities in fields of science, testifying for this.

One of the most profound testimonies is that of Professor Keith Moore, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at University of Toronto. His scholarly credentials are many, you can look him up. When he was presented the information that the Qur'an presents regarding human embryology, he testified, after examining it, that the information is too accurate and too detailed for anyone to have known without modern scientific equipment.

You say, you want scientific scholars to agree to divine intervention, well here it is. There's many other scientific scholars who have testified to the information in the Qur'an regarding different matters. Dr. Moore, and embryology is only one example. You can find his testimony and many others here:
http://www.scienceislam.com/scientists_quran.php
Then if you go to the link titled, "Miracles" you can examine other information which has come to be known as 'scientific miracles.' I know, this might be painful and even insulting to your atheistic beliefs, but if you're open-minded, then you won't mind.

Although I don't like the way they've translated some of the Qur'anic verses, in my opinion the wording they chose is not the most accurate, it still gets the point across.

As for your statement:
"However, as you have already departed from your holy book on the matters of origins of the Universe and life (ie. you're not a young-Earth creationist), I suspect that any point such as this could be the last straw for you."

I do not need to depart from my book. Islam does not support the young-Universe theory, where the creator suddenly caused Earth to pop into existence.
The Qur'an clearly says that the entire universe used to be a single unit which broke apart, and then things happened gradually from there, and it continues to expand, similar to what science has discovered.

Now, I know that I've brought my religion into the discussion but don't misunderstand. I'm not using my religion in my original argument. I've used Islam as the only thing I can offer which is close to physical evidence of divine intervention. You can choose to accept that or not, your choice. It is irrelevant to my original argument.

Jim said...

I'm still going to have to ask you for proof. I'm not going to discuss quantum mechanics with you right now because you have broken the rules I set out for you to provide proof of a 'creator or god'.

Here are the rules again:

I do not want hearsay or conjecture. I do not want hypothesizes or riddles. I don't want questions that can't be answered. I want measurable or physical scientific proof.

Any Holy Book in the world was written by man. That is a fact. To call it a miracle or anything other than that falls into the hearsay and conjecture part of the rules. Perhaps I should have been more clear and stated "don't use religious texts written by man". If you wanted to play that game, I could shove 'Dianetics' in your face and tell you that Scientology was the real world religion because it has a book.

And don't parade around these scientists. They are merely asserting their opinions (I would assume each one is a Muslim, or had their research funded by a Muslim?) and are not proving scientific fact. Again, these are hypothesize, not facts. And that breaks another section of my rules.

I want tangible, concrete evidence. Nothing more, nothing less. I know, this might be painful and even insulting to your theistic beliefs, but if you're open-minded, then you won't mind.

Admin said...

"Another example of something science has no explanation for is that of the conscience."

Even if this is true, it doesn't mean there won't be an explanation tomorrow. Argument from ignorance.

"I'm following the exact same method, to arrive at a conclusion for where our universe comes from. Using what we know, and from there coming to the most logical conclusion."

Your logic is based on everyday rules of physics which do not apply here.

"Please after I explain do not go back to this point. My argument is NOT that it is necessary. My argument is that a creator is the most logical conclusion."

Yes, your "logical conclusion" is that a creator is necessary. You said the Universe MUST have had a cause, and that cause must be some kind of external force. We're playing word games now. You then wrote that I have to accept it if I cannot come up with a valid counter, claiming that the burden of proof is on me. If the creator is not NECESSARY, then why should I believe it's real or that you even have a point? You WANT to believe in it, and that's all.

You have even proposed a plane where causation is not necessary, for which you have no evidence of, yet refuse to admit that this plane might be such a place as well.

So let me ask you, if your argument was not that a creator must logically exist, why did you come here? And why did you challenge me to disprove it?

"My argument is fairly simple, and follows a very simple logic, i don't understand what all the commotion is about."

You don't? How about the fact that your creator is NOT the most logical explanation? The fact that it is not logically necessary for a creator to exist, therefore making your entire argument invalid? The fact that you are arguing Big Bang cosmology on a tiny atheism blog, too cowardly to go to the experts for real answers?

Admin said...

"Science has no clue about anything before that singularity, and most scientists believe science will never be able to discover anything before the singularity since it is unobservable."

Again, nothing was "before the singularity", because there was no time. Time didn't exist. I'm sorry if that doesn't appear "logical" to you, but it appears to be true.

"Since it came into existence, something must have brought it into existence."

You are not arguing that a creator is necessary? Are you sure? Do you know the meaning of the word, 'must'? No! Nothing needs to bring it into existence!

"The rest can only be based on logic."

No! Your logic is based on flawed assumptions about cause and effect which do not apply, and therefore your entire logical argument is invalidated!

This is ridiculous, dude. Fact: The Universe does not have to be understood by you. You are a byproduct of it, not its purpose, and it doesn't care whether or not it is simple enough for you to understand.

"Therefore, the most logical argument is that a creator exists."

Maybe to YOU, but not to people who have better understanding of cosmology than you do. I'm still waiting for the publication of your idea, by the way.

"In no way has science proven that at the quantum level things pop into existence without a cause. Science has been able to observe things suddenly appearing and also disappearing at the quantum level, sure. Just because they haven't yet understood how these things are happening does not mean there is no cause."

Ah, unfalsifiability again.Just because we don't see a cause, doesn't mean a god isn't pulling the strongs! This argument could be used for EVERYTHING in the Universe. You cannot prove that a god didn't cause me to go to bed at exactly 10:30 last night. It wasn't my choice, a god did it. And a god controls all of the tiny particles in the Universe, too. It interferes with them, even though it doesn't reside in this realm.

Admin said...

"Atheists are keen on telling religious people that they should question their faith and beliefs, but it seems that atheists themselves are afraid of questioning theirs."

An external force does not equal theism. Your bias is showing again. The external force does not have to be a god.

"Well, the closest thing to physical evidence which I can provide would have to be evidence from religion."

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha! Extreme bias and a good laugh. The discussion of the Koran was especially great.

So Abdullah, it appears that you have no real evidence for any of this, and that your logic is based on (probably) false assumptions about the way the Universe works. You even have to postulate a place in which the same rules do not apply in order for your explanation to work. You fail to realise that this might just be such a place. Then you use words like "most logical", "must have a creator", etc. I see no reason at all why I should believe you on any level. Your ideas are pure mental masturbation (pardon the expression). I don't want AN answer, I want THE answer. As in, the CORRECT answer, and you have given me no reason to suspect that you have it.

I also disagree with your assumptions that the external force must have been a god, especially your god.

Admin said...

Cause and effect says that this Universe must have a creator, but in order for that to work, there must be a place where cause and effect doesn't hold, so that I can claim that any question about what created it is "illogical". The fact that we may have observed lack of cause and effect in this Universe is irrelevant.

This fails Occam. We know this Universe exists. We know quantum physics exist. We have observed lack of cause and effect (apparently). You want to replace it with an unseen realm, with an unseen being, which is all-powerful, which cannot be detected but still interacts by giving knowledge to Mohammed, who you claim knew about this god, even though you claimed we can know nothing about the god, because it lives in the unseen realm, which does not have cause and effect and therefore required no creator.

Sorry Abdullah. I'm sorry for you that you cannot break the last barrier you have to truly having an open mind. You cannot see how many excuses you've made, how many unfalsifiable arguments you've made, how many unproven concepts would have to be true in order for your religion to be true. Think about the tangled mess you've made, and maybe you'll be able to make the final leap.

As for right now, I have no reason at all to believe you, nor to even suspect that you may be on to something. I suspect you're completely wrong.

Admin said...

Our assumptions:

The Universe (which is known to exist) came into being through some kind of quantum fluctuation (which we have observed similar things to) and the Big Bang (which we have observed evidence for).

Your explanation is much more complicated, because even if you think you've established that a creator exists, you have not explained HOW it created the Universe (which is an enormous problem), WHY it exists, WHERE it resides, WHY it created the Universe, etc.

You want to know every detail from us, and from science, but you cannot provide the basic analogous details from your own ideas.

Admin said...

We accept evidence for claims. The person making the claim (you) is responsible for providing evidence for that claim. You have argued that it is merely most logical (to you) of the current explanations. One of my questions to you before was if people should just sit around and try to find the "most logical" explanation of their current ideas. I was hinting that the answer is no, because none of the ideas may be correct. That's why we require positive evidence supporting a claim, not the elimination of seemingly all other options. Because the real answer might not be among the proposed possibilities.

Anyway, you have not supplied any positive evidence at all for your idea, you merely believe it's the only idea that makes sense. Therefore we are completely justified in not believing you, and you're going to have to do better if you're going to go out (I didn't find you, you found me) and argue your case while expecting people to give your ideas consideration or acceptance.

Admin said...

I just have to write more.

I'd also argue that the aether was much more logical than relativity. Aren't we lucky that physicists went out and tried to observe the aether before deciding if it was real? I mean come on, how can it be logical for there to be no inertial reference frame? How can all of the rules be dependent on your relative speeds? How can light be the same speed in any reference frame? That's just illogical. I'm serious, by the way. It IS illogical. But it's completely true.

Me: The Universe needs no cause
You: Why?
Me: (attempted explanation of known physics)

You: The creator needs no cause
Me: Why?
You: That's an illogical question.

Perhaps I should just begin answering you with your own reply. It is illogical to ask me what created the Universe. And until you can provide a verifiable reason why cause and effect is always necessary here, but not in your proposed alternate realm, you're going to get nowhere.

Admin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Admin said...

You know what? I'm pretty tired of this discussion. It's taking way too much of my time for what it's worth. It was maybe interesting at first, but it is now painfully, awfully clear that Abdullah has no evidence for his claim besides what he feels is the "most logical" answer based on flawed understanding of the physics of the Universe, an assumption that the exotic processes of the Universe must be logical to him, and no explanation at all for any of the foundations of his explanation, while unjustifiably assuming that the result is the god of the Koran.

I am not likely to find this convincing any time soon. Have fun, Jim!

Admin said...

I've got to get one more comment in, and it's about your Islam and your Koran. I deleted such a comment before, because it's off topic, but as I'm leaving the conversation, I don't really care where it goes anymore. I find it highly illogical that an all-powerful creator being which is capable of communicating with each of us would choose to communicate a book to one person, then rely on its message to be spread to the rest of the world by incompetents, frauds and murderers. And that goes for the Bible, too. Completely illogical. More logical would be to tell each of us about it, a task which would require an infinitely small amount of exertion for an all-powerful being. The most logical answer is that the Koran, like the Bible, was written by barbaric men with no real insight into anything, and a few passages in each which when interpreted in just the right way, seem to be hinting at scientific knowledge, but can only be used for that purpose in hindsight, never as the basis for a real investigation. And that is completely logical, because it relies on no beings or processes which we do not know to exist, as we already know that people are liars and have imaginations.

Jim, I hand this over to you for as long as you can stand it.

Jim said...

Thanks.

Abdullah said...

This will most likely be my last post on this thread,

I'm afraid I have nothing more to offer this discussion than what I've already proposed. My goal was not to convince you of anything, just to see what different people would think of my arguments and to have an interesting conversation.

I believe I've achieved much more than what I was was initially aiming for. It did prove to be a very interesting conversation, most of the time.

As for tangible evidence of a creator, I do not have anything more than what I've offered. For me, existence on its own is enough evidence, but you obviously disagree, and fairly so.

Admin, you've gone back to the point that things, perhaps, do not require a cause at levels such as the quantum. Yet you seem to have skipped across a major point I raised. The quantum laws, and any other laws of this universe, are all part of this universe. I think we should not take these laws for granted, and should question, why those laws are there in the first place. And why do they remain there? Why don't those laws suddenly break down? What holds them in place? What determines them?

Frankly, as far as I know, nobody knows the answer to those laws, but I for one, am very thankful and glad for the way these laws conveniently work. They truly make the Universe a beautiful and interesting place.

I came across an article, about a physics workshop which got held recently, thought I'd link it you might be interested:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=deep-in-thought-what-is-a-law-of-ph-2010-06-04

It raises similar questions to the one I've just raised, and even there, in that workshop they are open-minded enough to discuss things like monotheism or polytheism alongside of blackholes and other topics.

Regarding the Qur'an, it seems you do not know much about it, I'll just say this. Please do not even compare it to other religious texts. The Qur'an is the only one that has been preserved in its original language, and original presentation. Not a single letter has been changed since it was first received. Another point, is that it does not have any false information regarding anything. This has been heavily and thoroughly tested.

About scholarly consensus for the Qur'an, I imagine that would be difficult. Not because I doubt the information in the Qur'an, just because most scientists are not interested, and would have a similar reaction to yours. Which was to not even consider it. It would be like trying to get a scientist's opinion on a football match. If they're not interested, they're not interested.

As for those who did take time to consider it, it seems many of them have agreed that it most likely required some divine intervention.

You do raise a fair argument about if a creator were to send teachings, he could've sent them to each person directly. I hadn't really thought about that before, and currently haven't the time. But it is a good, valid point which I do not know the answer to. That's something else I can think about in time.

Oh, by the way, I only found your blog by "coincidence". it was one of the first search results when I was searching for Atheist's Riddle. I explored your blog a little bit here or there, found you were a very clever person, and decided that a discussion with you was bound to be interesting. And it was.

All in all, thanks for hosting our discussion, and to Jim and Feki too, for your time and thoughts.

Jim said...

If you're going to leave, then I will make this short.

Your Qur'an is just a book. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's right. There is no solid proof that it was divinely inspired. Just as there is no proof the Bible, or any of the hundreds of other religious texts had any divinity inspire them.

They were all written by man for the purpose of power, subjugating the masses, and money. Nothing more. Show me solid proof any god had anything to do with them, and I'll convert.

Abdullah said...

Jim, you're very successfully provoking me into an entire new discussion. But i honestly have no time at the moment. I've got exams to deal with, if you really want to, you could leave me your email and I'll get back to you, then we can have the religion discussion.

I'll just make an equally brief response. You've made a generalization. You obviously don't know much about the Qur'an or Islam. You clearly don't know what you're talking about. I agree that people have at times used the name of religion for their own personal gains, but religion itself was not invented for power, money, controlling the masses, etc. They even went so far in the case of Christianity, and Judaism to modify the religious texts, and add to it, yet claim it is from God.

In the case of the Qur'an, it's as pure and original as it came, even if people misuse it, fail to implement, etc. A seeker of truth can go back to the original text and see what it really has to say and what it teaches. Obviously the most accurate way would be to do so in Arabic, but there are some good translations of the meanings out there.

Also, from your response after I offered testimonies of scientists (you immediately jumped to a conspiracy theory of muslims funding those scientists), it's clear that you're in a state of deliberate denial without the will to even consider religion.

Tell you what, show me proof that your mother gave birth to you, and I'll believe you didn't evolve from a monkey. (I'm desperately crossing my fingers that your parents didn't video tape your birth!).

Jim said...

So you want to see the video tape of my mother giving birth to me?

Also, show me where in the theory of evolution it says I evolved from a monkey. I still don't know where that rumor started. Clearly, you don't know anything about evolution.

Also, I used to be a Christian, so there goes your whole theory about me being able to even consider religion. In fact, I almost became a priest.

Again, like I have said before, and will continue to say, just because your book is old doesn't mean it is correct. And you were not there when it was written, so I fail to see how you can be so sure that it wasn't written by people trying to gain wealth and power. If you want to see the video of me being born to prove that I came from my mother, I would ask that you show me any proof that your holy book was either 1)Divinely inspired, or 2)Not written by men for the purpose of power and/or wealth.

Oh, and I should note that I will only accept solid, concrete, scientifically admissible evidence. I do not accept scientist's (or anyone's, for that matter) personal opinions. I do not accept hearsay or conjecture. I do not accept the age of the text or whether or not it has been altered. All that proves is that the book is old and hasn't been altered.

Also, I should note, that I do know a bit about Islam. But that doesn't matter, because I know a fair amount about most religions, and each one of those also fails to provide any real proof of anything. Islam is the same in this regard.

Abdullah said...

I'll have to get back to you about this later. Say, in two weeks.

So tell me, give me an example of something you would consider as valid proof that the Qur'an is from a divine source.

Jim said...

A picture of Allah writing or hanging out with the authors. Or, better yet, how about if he came down here and told me himself?

The fact of the matter here is that it is not my burden to provide your proof. You are making the claim that your holy book was inspired by divinity, so you need to prove it. People voicing their opinions and saying what they believe is hardly proof.

This is what science does. We make a hypothesis, like say, black holes exist. And then we find the proof. If there is none, we drop the idea and/or readjust our hypothesis. Lucky for us, black holes do exist, and our proof is solid.

Religions make claims, like there is a god, and leave it at that. They tend to argue that the more people who believe, the better their proof of god. They don't actually bother to look for god, or try to see if it actually exists. It's the "50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong" argument.

Abdullah said...

Alright then I'll prove it. Or rather I'll give you the opportunity to prove it to yourself. Even if you're not convinced by the end of it, you'll at least recognize that I have very good reasons to believe in God, and that it's not just blind faith.

As for religion being invented for power or other such reasons, that will be very easy to disprove in the case of Islam. The point I was trying to make when I joked about you showing me proof that your mum gave birth to you, was exactly in response to your wanting me to show you a picture of God speaking to a prophet. I hope you can understand my point.
For now, Just sit tight.

Jim said...

Again. I only want solid scientific proof. None of this "I'll give you the opportunity to prove it to yourself" nonsense.

I have the feeling you're going to tell me to read your holy book, or show me some miracle that has never been scientifically examined, or some other nonsense that is not actual proof. You have no chance of converting me or making me a skeptic without anything other than solid, factual, proof.

I would love to see the proof against Islam not being used for power at all. If you can prove conclusively that there are no Islamic extremists trying to kill infidels, nobody of the Islamic faith holding a seat of power in any country simply because they are Islamic, or that Islamic terrorists do not partake in a Jihad, I will admit that Islam has no quest for power.

Also, you brought up proof of my mother giving birth to me before I asked for a picture. You should get your facts straight.

Jim said...

Still waiting for my proof.

Feki said...

Jim, you are waiting for your proof

Admin is waiting for Stampy

I am waiting for a magical solution to the oil spill

Christians have waited 2000 years to see either jesus or judgement day


I think I see a connection here...

Admin said...

Didn't I tell you? I got my elephant. I've converted to the Church of Eillix, and will be shutting this site down in the next week.

Feki said...

Oh goodie, you've been blessed by His Eillixness.

How I envy you...


:D

Abdullah said...

Dear Jim,
I've been extremely busy over the past 2 weeks or so and had no chance to even think about continuing this discussion. Had exams, after which I went and attended a series of debates which I will highly recommend you see. Videos of these debates should be coming out on the internet within 2 weeks time. They were: www.thebigdebates.com
And after that i was traveling, finally now I'm a bit more settled. Now I think, we have two directions to choose from:
1) how can we prove that the Qur'an comes from a divine source, and is not man-made.
2) was Islam created to facilitate power for it's leadership?

I'm fine to take either path, but I think the one regarding control and power is a shorter discussion and hence should be talked about first. But I believe that Admin does not want us to discuss said topics on his blog, and if so then we should have an email discussion. Is this correct Admin?
If that is the case, please give me your email and I'll send you my first explanation, and if Feki is interested, if you give me your email as well, I can include you as a recepient.

Jim said...

How about you post your reply here, as Admin has already stated that he wants nothing to do with your nonsense.

I thought you were going to prove that your holy book was inspired by divinity? I know there are Muslims in power and trying to spread their religion by force, so you cannot disprove that. Otherwise you would have to argue that 9/11 did not happen.

And good luck getting my email. Not gonna happen here.

Feki said...

Hi Abdullah

Thanks! I will definitely watch those debates as well as the previous ones.

I was reading a critics review of recent books on Islamist intellectuals. You can find the online version here:
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2010/06/07/100607crat_atlarge_mishra

This review highlights a book by Paul Berman which hints the idea that "the Muslim world produced a modern totalitarian ideology called “Islamism”. Moreover, Berman suggests that Islamism shares some similarities with other totalitarian movements like Fascism, Nazism and Communism: a purifying impulse (ideological, religious or racial) and nihilism (for Islamism, in the form of "suicide bombers").

Given my limited understanding of Islam and the Middle East, the apparent simplicity of these ideas is appealing and all too inviting to take a stand on this subject.

However, without singling out Islam, I think ALL religions can produce a totalitarian ideology/regime where leadership can easily accumulate power and control on entirely fictional grounds (moral superiority, divine appointment, better "spirituality", etc).

We see it in tribes, where shamans exert great political influence, and we've seen it in all main cults.

I think religion was invented out of ignorance and grew to become a system of exploiting said ignorance. It's just that nowadays we know what causes thunder, so we don't need shamans :)

best,

Feki

Admin said...

Abdullah, you're free to discuss the issues on this site. That's not a problem, but I may or may not participate. If it gets interesting, I might make a special thread for you to debate in.

The problem I had before, asking why you're coming to this blog to debate, is on the finer points of the Big Bang, which nobody here is even qualified to debate. There are real experts out there and real articles to read if any of us want more information on the BB. In addition, many of the details are the topics of current research, and so debating at this point would do nothing.

Jim said...

Again, Abdullah. I'm just waiting for that proof.

It seems to me that if you had concrete proof of anything divine, you would want to share that with the world.

Jim said...

I know I've said this before, but seeing as how Abdullah has concrete proof that there is a god, I think I need to restate it.

Abdullah, I am STILL waiting for the proof you claim to have.

Admin said...

If there was concrete proof of the existence of gods, I'd probably see it in Scientific American next month.

Jim said...

Yeah, but he seemed so sure of himself. I guess I want to know his reasoning out of curiosity more than anything. I mean, he has to know that no one has ever had concrete proof ever. So he must also know that his argument must be original. And if he's got an original argument to prove there is a god, that would be fun to take down. Like a breath of fresh (hot)air.

It gets boring, this constant disproving of the same old song and dance. And who knows, maybe Abdullah actually had something better than all the crazy theists that come in here.

Feki said...

Admin, do you keep a list of how many "ultimate proofs for god" have been offered since you opened this site?

Like Jim said, Abdullah's sounded like he could actually offer something less mundane/silly than god-revealed-himself-to-me.

Nevertheless, a real "ultimate proof" would have unimaginable implications for society... what do you think would happen if Abdullah's proof did appear in next month's Scientific American?

(it's just a thought experiment, that's the same chance as finding a unicorn or you getting an elephant from Eillix).

Admin said...

Mr friend is working at a day-camp, and last week he told me that elephants showed up at the camp. They were being housed there temporarily for some reason. I guess Eillix will just have to try harder, because his god missed the target.

Feki said...

I think I found the explanation for all this sloppiness:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/god-hinting-at-retirement,17747/