Chris Hallquist's First Live Debate

Chris Hallquist just had his first public debate. Here's the link. I did find it somewhat amusing that Chris refers to me as a "philosopher," but refers to William Lane Craig as "a Christian writer."

I liked how Chris started. *ahem* I liked it when he startled his audience by saying he was talking to a group full of atheists. Then he explained that they don't believe in the other gods of the religions of the world. I also really liked his suggestion in his closing statement that people should read the Bible because of his confidence that the Bible itself can lead people to disbelieve. Julia Sweeney tells how reading the Bible led her away from God too. Enjoy. Nice job Chris. Thanks for thinking something I wrote was worthy to use as a springboard for your argument.

91 comments:

One Wave said...

Very interesting.

Chris, you did a great job of presenting your side, Mr. Leisz was at a definite disadvantage...it seems he was not really aquainted with his opponent, but I thought you were well prepared.

Recording miracles: How would you propose going about this? Would God need to call the media in order to perform a miracle?

Greek gods vs. God: How many followers of Zeus are walking around claiming that Zeus changed their life? What major belief system has survived the centuries stemming from Greek mythology?

Here's a joke for you, very corny, it's for kids really:

As the thunder god, Thor, was riding his favorite filly across the sky, he was heard exclaiming, "I am Thor!"
His filly answered, "You forgot your thaddle, thilly."
I'm a mom ;)

Reliance on psychology: Using psychology as a measuring tool is a lot like me saying that God exists because the Bible tells me about God. Circular reasoning. Psychology must be true because my mind tells me it is and it originates in the mind of man therefore it must be true????

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave!

Greek gods vs. God: How many followers of Zeus are walking around claiming that Zeus changed their life? What major belief system has survived the centuries stemming from Greek mythology?
Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu are still around. They predate Yahweh.

Reliance on psychology: Using psychology as a measuring tool is a lot like me saying that God exists because the Bible tells me about God. Circular reasoning. Psychology must be true because my mind tells me it is and it originates in the mind of man therefore it must be true????
Maybe it is circular, I don't have to time to figure out if it is or isn't but I do know that if it is, it has no bearing on the bibles circularity.
But I'm glad you admit that the reasoning of the validity of god is circular. That’s the first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem. ;-)

Psychology is a field of science. They come up with theories that step on each other all the time but some survive scrutiny to become workable theories. If you want to say this method doesn't work, then you are going to have discredit a lot of other fields as well as the field that developed your computer.
The closest thing I can think of that compares is theology, and as far as I can tell, they don't come up with anything useful or workable.

calvin said...

I think psychiatry is good for the real bad schizophrinic psychotic type people. Even here I'm cautious though. I've been arround people who get diagnosed with all kinds of things they don't have. People in AA tell stories all the time how they were diagnosed with bipolar and everything else. They stop taking their medicine and everything seems to be working fine for them. A good psychiatrist like the one my mom worked for see the importance of believing in God for some people. They're more open to the idea. As far a psychology is concerned it's all theory. Theology is what has helped me. There are countless people who have been helped by it. There are people who have been helped by AA. And there are people who have been helped with psychology. Everybody has their own story about how the church didn't work for them and how the twelve steps changed their lives. Then there are the others who say true recovery is in therapy groups and AA isn't the way to go. Then there are those who say medicine is what finally got them better. Then there are those who say church is where it is truely at. I even went to a Dr. Phil seminar back before he was popular and guess what? It's the best thing to ever happen to people. People finally find what they are looking for. People from this group say medication is crap, people from this group say AA is crap, people from this group say counceling is crap, people from this group say church is crap. I personally like John Piper myself. He makes the most sense to me anyway.

One Wave said...

Hi Lee,

Lee: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu are still around. They predate Yahweh.

Are you saying these gods originate with the mythological Zeus?

Lee: Maybe it is circular, I don't have to time to figure out if it is or isn't but I do know that if it is, it has no bearing on the bibles circularity.
But I'm glad you admit that the reasoning of the validity of god is circular. That’s the first step to recovery is admitting there's a problem. ;-)


Nice try Lee ;) I think you've misunderstood my point in regard to this from previous posts.

Lee: Psychology is a field of science. They come up with theories that step on each other all the time but some survive scrutiny to become workable theories. If you want to say this method doesn't work, then you are going to have discredit a lot of other fields as well as the field that developed your computer.
The closest thing I can think of that compares is theology, and as far as I can tell, they don't come up with anything useful or workable.

I do not agree. Psychology as a science can be useful and helpful if it is viewed as a science, but it has become an entity. "Psychology can explain why..yada yada", "Psychology tells us.."

The same is true of science itself. Science has become a replacement for God in the minds of many. Science should be a tool, a way of looking at what is in front of us and learning about/from it. Instead, people go from God to Science and cling to scienctific discoveries to keep their faith going. Hmmm..sounds like a religion.

I'm not sure why you all can't see that you have really just replaced or begun a faith in another entity. You have all formed an organized system for thinking a particular way with your own Atheist/Agnostic Ease. It's no different from any other religion save you follow each other instead of a deity.

A belief system is a belief system is a belief system no matter what you call it and a system of belief cannot be termed free thinking.

live-n-grace said...

Good post one wave. That is why so many people are religious is because we were made to believe in God, and made for God.

"God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself." - C.S. Lewis

When people don't believe in God, they fill that gap, that need, with something else, also known as idolatry. This can be sports, knowledge, money, or, even science.

calvin said...

A point that was brought up was why is there something rather than nothing? Well, why is there a God rather than nothing? The universe with everything in it is confined to one dimension of time. Everything confined to one dimension of time runs in one direction along that line. Whatever exists has a starting point along that dimension. Cause and effect operations operate in time (no time - no motion). The origin of the universe is an effect that includes our time dimension. Since the cause of the universe transcends our time dimension then it must operate in at LEAST two dimensions of time. In two dimensions of time there are an infinite number of timelines that run in an infinite number of directions. So, the cause would have no beginning and would not be created. Atheism (the belief that there is not any type of God by the way) just doesn't square with the established scientific facts.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
About bhahma, shiva and vishnu,
they are gods that predate all known gods. Hinduism (last time I looked) was the oldest known religion, and it is still around.
on another note,
I can't say as I disagree with you. But I caution you to separate the science of psychology with the popular crap that passes for it, used by its sycophants and opportunists. I am aware of terrible abuses of psychology (such as the 'recovered memory' fiasco of a few years ago). I think whether an atheist has traded one religion for another is a matter of semantics. I think a major difference in religion and 'humanism', 'naturalism', 'agnosticism', 'atheism', 'insert-your-own-ism' is that my (and maybe atheists) belief system in more demanding of the evidence. Would you agree? No tricks, honest. Chris and I ( I think) have come to this conclusion together.

Hi Calvin,
I agree mostly with what you said first, then I have to say that I consider your second post to be an interesting opinion. I would be interested to see you think that through and publish it in a peer reviewed journal. Then I'd like your autograph, please. ;-)

HI Live-in-grace,
Your statement presumes that god exists and it could just as well apply to the Hindu gods. If not, please show me why.

I am a little indisposed recently so if I don't respond in a timely manner, it is because I have stuff going on that prevents it.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all,
oops, got careless with my wording. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu can probably be shown not to predate all other gods, but my point was that hinduism (as far as I know) is the oldest religion still in existence.

calvin said...

Lee,
It follows logicaly. Without time there's no cause and effect. The universe is an effect so it has a cause. Since the cause transcends our one dimension of time it must exist in at least two dimensions of time. We are left with an infinite personal Creator.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Calvin,
why can't it be another aspect of the same thing? Why must it proceed simultaneously rather than as the result of a local event that changes the state of the pre-existing object? Like a butterfly, cancer or a bad copy of a gene.

You seem to be assuming that the cause could not have been a result of a property of the initial object.
I'd like to see your proof in laymans terms of course because I probably couldn't follow the math.

But if the initial object had a cause, then is the cause the sort of thing that doesn't need a cause? If thats the case then why can't the universe be that sort of thing that doesn't need a cause?
or was the cause of the universe the sort of thing that needed a cause?

I think that these sorts of questions demonstrate the plausibility that humans have noted the phenomena of the universe and have given it a label and added some anthropomorphic characteristics to make it more identifiable and comprehensible.
what do you think?

live-n-grace said...

Lee:

That was my point. That we were created FOR God. That is why there are so many religions, religous people, and spirtiual people. We have that need, that gap, that hole in us that only God can fill. Now others may be just off or wrong (another discussion) but they are all in search of that need that satisfies them. Even those who don't believe in God, fill up that hole, and try to replace God with other things in their life.

"God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself." - C.S. Lewis

Lee Randolph said...

Hi live-in-grace,
you still have assumed that god exists.
but on the other hand,
so are you saying that the playing field is level? We are justified to fill this need with whatever is handy and anything will do? Is there something 'proper' to fill this need with? Would Brahma do?

on a different note,
I plugged your argument into the BRS
and the results follow.

Conclusion: That we were created FOR God.
Premise1: there are so many religions, religous people, and spirtiual people.
Warrant1: Because god created us with the need for god.
Backing1: The Bible tells us this.
{Conclusion1.a (support for Backing1): The Bible is valid
Warrant1.a: because the bible is the word of god
Data1.a: The bible says it is the word of God.}
Data1: Scripture in the Bible

At the risk of a charge of a 'straw man' argument I say
It looks like a flawed argument to me because you are little short on evidence for your support.

One Wave said...

Lee:
Hi all,
oops, got careless with my wording. Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu can probably be shown not to predate all other gods, but my point was that hinduism (as far as I know) is the oldest religion still in existence.

Me:
OK

Lee:
I think a major difference in religion and 'humanism', 'naturalism', 'agnosticism', 'atheism', 'insert-your-own-ism' is that my (and maybe atheists) belief system in more demanding of the evidence. Would you agree?

Me:
Physical evidence yes, but I don't think it is as demanding of what I call heart evidence. You would call it psychological evidence. I think all of the isms you mentioned turn a blind eye to the challenges presented in the universe and biology, and to the condition of the human heart or psyche. While faith cannot be tested using the scientific method, neither can matters of the heart and from what I see the world that we can touch and the world we can't are interconnected.


Lee:
But if the initial object had a cause, then is the cause the sort of thing that doesn't need a cause? If thats the case then why can't the universe be that sort of thing that doesn't need a cause?
or was the cause of the universe the sort of thing that needed a cause?

Me:
Why would we see cause and effect in a universe with no cause?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,

I think all of the isms you mentioned turn a blind eye to the challenges presented in the universe and biology, and to the condition of the human heart or psyche.
I think that punting to God is doing exactly what you are accusing the ismists of doing. At least the scientific method is demonstrably effective in acquiring knowledge where none existed before.

Why would we see cause and effect in a universe with no cause?
Those were rhetorical, critical questions intended to undermine his presumption.
I don't have an answer for that and I'm looking to see how Calvin answers.

Benny said...

One Wave,

Why would we NOT see cause and effect in a universe with no cause? Now, as far as I know, whether the universe had a cause is still an open question in science, because no one knows what happened (or if anything happened at all) prior to the Big Bang. But there is no law or principle* that says cause and effect cannot exist in an un-caused universe. Without a complete model of how an un-caused universe comes into being, any such claim is meaningless. The best one could say is that such a notion is counter-intuitive. But then, there are many counter-intuitive things which we know to be true, such as the bending of light in water.

* Calvin will probably start talking about his mythical Law of Cause and Effect again.

live-n-grace said...

Lee, it is through the bible AND experience that we find nothing else is more perfect for us than God.

I don't see the argument "if God exists" has anything to do with it. People wouldn't need Gods if everything was perfect and we had all we need.

calvin said...

The reason why is because the universe is an effect and therefore it requires a cause. The first cause doesn't require a cause because it is not confined to our linear dimension of time. It transcends our dimension of time and therefore must operate in the equivilent of at least two dimensions of time. Once again benny wants to bring in his magic wand and deny the fundamental principle of science and say there is no cause. The principle holds firm. Science holds firm. Atheists want to deny it because they know what it means. Deny it and you forfeit the right to believe anything that is based on it which includes all scientific investigation.

Btsai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benny said...

calvin,

So the universe requires a cause because you have defined it as an effect, which requires a cause? But you haven't proved that the universe is an effect! Well, two can play this word game. I define "calvin" as someone who is wrong, and because your name is calvin, you must be wrong! Hey, this is fun :)

You're right, there is a principle of cause and effect, otherwise known as the principle of causality. But it is not a fundamental principle of science. In fact, it is science that has undermined the principle of causality, beginning with relativity, then quantum mechanics, and even string theory. The deeper science digs into the fundamental workings of the universe, the less adherence we see to the principle of cause and effect. You've confused causes with explanations, which is what science actually looks for. Science doesn't say the universe must have a cause, you just wish it did.

All I see here is a Christian making up pseudo-science and distorting real science, trying to "prove" his theistic worldview. I beg you, please refrain from repeating more of the same falsehoods and distortions from before. Maybe some false claims about Big Bang, or quantum mechanics? Repeating something doesn't make it true, and it's all too easy to google and find earlier exchanges where Shygetz and others showed you wrong. You look foolish, I get weary, nobody wins.

Tim Leisz said...

Regarding the first form of the cosmological argument found in the debate, the key premise is that if it's possible that something has an explanation then it does have an explanation. It's possible that the universe has an explanation, so it does in fact have an explanation. Fill in the details, and God is the best explanation for the existence of the universe.

Atheists always respond by asking why God is any better of an explanation than just the universe existing as the ultimate brute fact. Well, if God has logically necessary existence, then God most definitely is a superior explanation. But let's say that God exists contingently if at all. Is God still a better explanation for the existence of the universe than the universe itself?

Yes, most definitely. God cannot possibly depend on another thing for his existence. If he did, he wouldn't be omnipotent, and no being is God if he's not omnipotent. The universe does not have this property. To object that God fares no better as an explanation is a red herring.

Explanations come to an end at some point. There is no scientific explanation for the existence of the universe. Science assumes a universe to begin with. The real issue is with the premise of the argument that says that if it's possible that something has an explanation then it does. To deny this, as an atheist must, comes at a high cost. No one denies this premise in common experience, and no one denies it in science. Arguably it is a principle of rationality.

Regarding the second version of the cosmological argument presented, the one you're discussing, it's better formulated by saying that if something begins to exist, then it has a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore the universe has a cause. From there it's an empirical and philosophical question about whether the universe began and whether it is logically possible to have an actually infinite series of things.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi live-in-grace,

I don't see the argument "if God exists" has anything to do with it. People wouldn't need Gods if everything was perfect and we had all we need.

If god exists, then he created people with a need for him? If god doesn't exist, yet we still have this 'need to worship idols' as you seem to have characterized it, then it would seem to follow that we would dream up the ultimate ideal to worship and worship it. And in any case, your argument, as I understand it, depends on gods existence, unless you agree with me that god is a creation of human beings to try to mentally handle the world which is a handy place conceptually to throw anything that you can't comprehend into.

Hi Tim,
so how is it you know god exists? and how is it that you know he's omnipotent, etc?
Do you have first hand or even second hand knowledge of this? Or
Could it be you "know" this from a collection of texts of unknown origin that have been handed down with stories in it that are similar to canaanite myths of which one of the later texts says they are divinely inspired?
You know the one I'm talking about? The one that says that the world only had one language until god got nervous about a tower they were building out of stone and mortar and struck it down, etc? Yea, that omnipotent one.

calvin said...

Well, science operates on logic. Beny assumes the law every time he tries to argue against the law. He wants to give an argument (cause) to try to convince those who believe in it that it doesnt exisit (effect). Why give the argument? The principle is being assumed in the very denial of it and in the attempt to get others to disbelieve in it. Indeed, it is a principle of rationality itself. We gather ideas (causes) to form conclusions (effect). So all you have to do when benny denies the principle is simply ask him "What CAUSED you to come to that conclusion? For these reasons it is self-defeating.

calvin said...

Also, there are some recent inflationary models that say you can have an actual infinite. But they all still have a beginning. So, the actual infinite might not be correct. It really amazes me how someone like benny can deny a principle of rationality that is assumed by scientists and turn arround and accuse me of psudoscience.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Calvin,
The claim that the universe must have a creator is not warranted by your logic.
there are no reasons to attribute the creation of the Universe to a god. Even if you are right in everything you say, there is no warrant to get to a god.
If you can show me a god, get him to smack me cross my mouth for being a jerk, or something else convincing, then I might take you seriously, up until then, you are just speculating, no matter how much you insist it is logic.

calvin said...

Listen to the psudoscientist Steven Hawking:

It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us. "A Brief History of Time" 1988. p. 127.

How about the retarded Albert Einstein:

I believe in a God who reveals Himself in what exists, not in a God who concerns Himself with fates and actions of human beings.

That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a Superior Reasoning Power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Calvin,
Nice Try, but you still have not explained the backing for your presumption that it took a god to create the universe.

and your appeal to experts is fallacious because....

"It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us. "A Brief History of Time" 1988. p. 127.
It doesn't take a genius to see that this is a confusion of cause. It is just as likely that because the universe is as it is we arose from it to become intelligent to make up a god through natural processes.
And it seems that a little further down the page we have this little sentence which you neglected to mention.
"So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?"

I assume you've read the whole thing. And since Hawkings position seems to be that the universe is self-contained, and caused itself through natural processes, and has no beginning and no end, which is what I was alluding to earlier, isn't that a little misleading on your part to say something like that?

Here's a more recent quote.
But Hawking questioned whether an almighty power was needed to create the universe.

"Does it require a creator to decree how the universe began? Or is the initial state of the universe determined by a law of science?'' he asked."

This sounds pretty agnostic to me.
http://www.space.com/news/060615_ap_hawking_news.html


And while we are on the topic of misleading statements
This is what Einstein said about himself.
“My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 216.
http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/quotes_einstein.html

Were these intentional attempts at deception?
What's up with that calvin?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi live-in-grace,
I forgot to address the "experience' thing.
- schizophrenia
- socioopothy
- psychopothy
- synesthesia
- paranoia
- depression
- panic attacks
- deja vu
- fallible memory
- brain linked hearing aids
- brain linked visual aids
- brain stimulation to experience the shadow person phenomena

ever thought you heard someone call your name but no one did? Ever remember something incorrectly? Ever hear the phone ring but it didn't really? Ever see something out of the corner of your eye but there was nothing there? Ever feel cold or hot but no one else did? Ever feel something on your skin but nothing was there? Were you ever sure of something but discovered you were wrong?

You trust your experience to validate the bible? Why should I trust your experience when I can't even trust my own? You shouldn't either.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Calvin,
here is the real quote about "Einsteins God"
“I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”

Albert Einstein, upon being asked if he believed in God by Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue, New York, April 24, 1921, published in the New York Times, April 25, 1929; from Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, New York: World Publishing Co., 1971, p. 413; also cited as a telegram to a Jewish newspaper, 1929, Einstein Archive 33-272, from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 204.

Spinoza is generally regarded as a pantheist.
Did you know you were justifying your faith using pantheistic advocacy? What would your church think?

live-n-grace said...

Lee

It doesn't come down to the existence of God. Like I said, if God didn't exist, people wouldn't need God or idols. But no, people do, and thus God exists.

Experience: Sinning is not a delusion, I am not crazy. When I lie or sin, I always feel worse, never better. When I fill my life with other things then God, I feel empty, that there should be more than this. This has nothing to do with being psychotic, but rather I know that what gives me the greatest pleasure is putting God in the center of my life, living for him and not myself, and being free from sin and given eternal life with him. There is nothing better, period.

calvin said...

Lee,

I'm quite aware that Einstein didn't believe in a personal God. Hawkings proposal only applies to imaginary time. He has left God's existence open. As he says it is perfectly consistent with all we know about the laws of physics. Some scientists don't like the idea of God so they rely on the quantum gravity era 10-43 seconds after the big bang to get arround the beginning and therefore a beginner. It's on the same level as the young earth creationists who try to get arround the evidence for on old universe. Science offers practical proof not absolute proof.

Benny said...

Tim Leisz,

Regarding the first form of the cosmological argument found in the debate, the key premise is that if it's possible that something has an explanation then it does have an explanation.

If that's one of key premises for the cosmological argument, then I'm afraid the argument rests upon awfully shaky ground! By your logic, if it's possible that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, then it must exist! You say denying this "logic" comes at a high cost to atheists? Show me how this is so. You say this is a principle of rationality? Show me where this was established. Otherwise you're just making things up, as Calvin is so fond of doing.

God cannot possibly depend on another thing for his existence. If he did, he wouldn't be omnipotent, and no being is God if he's not omnipotent. The universe does not have this property. To object that God fares no better as an explanation is a red herring.

Sorry, but the red herring is you playing the same definitional game that Calvin tried to engage in. God does not depend on another for his existence only because you defined him as one who does not depend on another for his existence. If I define the Flying Spaghetti Monster as that which does not depend on another for his existence, hey, that makes It just as good an explanation as God! But this game does nothing to establish the FSM's existence, just as it does nothing to establish God's existence.

The universe must depend on another for its existence? Don't just assert it. Prove it.

Regarding the second version of the cosmological argument presented, the one you're discussing, it's better formulated by saying that if something begins to exist, then it has a cause. The universe began to exist. Therefore the universe has a cause.

If something begins to exist, then it has a cause? Prove it. The universe began to exist? Prove it. Science holds that the *current* universe began at the Big Bang. But no one knows if that was the absolute beginning. Indeed, a cyclic model of the universe, in which the universe undergoes multiple cycles of Big Bang and Big Crunch/Rip, has begun gaining acceptance in the field, because of its ability to explain the cosmological constant we observe in our universe. In short, no one has proven that our universe has an absolute beginning, let alone a cause. I look forward to reading your proofs of these claims!

Benny said...

Calvin,

I've figured out what your problem is! You're conflating rules of logic with laws of physics. Logical causes are not the same thing as physical causes. The fact that sound logical arguments proceed from necessary and sufficient causes to conclusions in no way implies that all physical events must have causes. Nice try, though.

Also, there are some recent inflationary models that say you can have an actual infinite. But they all still have a beginning. So, the actual infinite might not be correct. It really amazes me how someone like benny can deny a principle of rationality that is assumed by scientists and turn arround and accuse me of psudoscience.

By actual infinite, do you mean a cyclic universe? You've managed to prove that such a universe still has an absolute beginning? That's amazing, since no scientist or mathematician has managed to do so. I see that you're once again making bald assertions with no proof. This is exactly what I meant when I said you were spouting pseudo-science.

I'm quite aware that Einstein didn't believe in a personal God.

That must be why you mis-represented his belief, then, because you know he doesn't actually share your belief.

Hawkings proposal only applies to imaginary time. He has left God's existence open. As he says it is perfectly consistent with all we know about the laws of physics.

Even assuming that you're correctly representing Hawkings' view, something being consistent with laws of physics just means that it's *possible* that something exists. It's possible that there is a toaster in orbit around the Moon, this being perfectly consistent with the laws of physics, but this doesn't mean there's actually a toaster orbiting the Moon. Even the Flying Spaghetti Monster is consistent with the laws of physics, being super-natural and not subject to them, but I'm sure you'll be the first to object to its existence anyway.

Some scientists don't like the idea of God so they rely on the quantum gravity era 10-43 seconds after the big bang to get arround the beginning and therefore a beginner.

Right, darn that conspiracy of scientists, working so hard to deny the unproven beginning and unproven beginner!

*rolls eyes*

Timothy said...

hi Lee,
I don't see any reason to reject the idea that something is not God if it is not omnipotent. That seems to be true if anything is true.

I didn't talk about how I know God exists, but this can be done the roundabout way. What if I said that I know God exists because of the argument I gave? What would you say then? And can you say it without sarcasm?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Timothy,
I don't see another posting for timothy. Did you post as Tim Leisz earlier?

I'm pretty sure that the christian god is supposed to be omniopotent as characterized by the bible. Am I wrong?

Hi Timothy and live-in-grace,
Generally speaking, one can make any argument one wants, and defend it any way one wants. The sticking point in a persuasion dialogue is trying to get the other side or the audience to accept your evidence as backing for your argument.

Claiming you know something from a feeling is pretty weak evidence don't you think? I'm sure this 'feeling as evidence for something' is not how you lead the major portion of your life, so why do it at all?

I don't think you'd trust a professional (ie lawyer or doctor) if they relied heavily on their feelings. Can you accept reasoning on a feeling from people you work for or that work for you?

You shouldn't.

Timothy said...

By your logic, if it's possible that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, then it must exist!

No, wrong argument. By my logic, if the FSM exists and it's possible it has an explanation for its existence then it does have an explanation for its existence.

Sorry, but the red herring is you playing the same definitional game that Calvin tried to engage in.

I guess you're claiming that something can be God and not be omnipotent. That's silly. It's like saying something can be a person and lack consciousness and the potential for consciousness.

In any event, the argument is an argument to an omnipotent being. If you admit the argument proves the existence of an omnipotent being, I'll take that as a W for theism. Call the being the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you wish.

I'll write more tomorrow, but this is exactly the kind of response I was looking for.

Timothy said...

A quick response before bed. I did post as "Tim Leisz" before. Whoops!

The Christian god is supposed to be omnipotent according to the Bible, but the argument I gave obviously doesn't get you all the way there. And any type of theist could offer it.

If the goal on here is to persuade the other side, then we're probably all going to be miserable failures. But regarding how we know things, when you get down to it, we basically know everything from feelings of some sort. How do you know 2+2=4? Probably it just seems (feels) undeniably true. Obviously no one is talking about their feelings as in their emotions. There are things that are so simple that it doesn't make sense to ask for proof of them. I'm not claiming that God's existence is like this. Maybe it is to some. However, you can't provide evidence for everything. I mean, what evidence can you provide to show that you need evidence for all your beliefs? Take that for what it's worth.

At the end of the day, I'm not going to care that much (from a certain perspective) if I fail to persuade you to believe in God. It would be nice, but the rationality of my beliefs doesn't necessarily rely on the content of yours.

Timothy said...

One other quick note, I meant that Benny's response was exactly the kind I was looking for, not the response I was writing myself. That sounded a bit odd.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Timothy,
I totally respect the view that we are not going to convince each other. My goal for my participation in this blog is critical discussion for the benefit of an audience.

But regarding how we know things, when you get down to it, we basically know everything from feelings of some sort. How do you know 2+2=4? Probably it just seems (feels) undeniably true. Obviously no one is talking about their feelings as in their emotions. There are things that are so simple that it doesn't make sense to ask for proof of them.
I disagree with this in a big way. we have the number system, we can count and know how the logic works in numbers, we have the language (and its logic) that labels the objects we are working with. These things are built on reasons, data, algorithms that have been shown to work time and time again. Without getting into epistemology in a practical sense, this feeling of being comfortable with a truth comes from an acceptance of the evidence and our prior understanding of the concepts that have a relation to what we are considering. It is not that some things are so simple it would be silly to ask for proof. I'll grant that some things are 'self-evident' when you look at them because of a prior understanding but when you extrapolate that 'self-evident' beyond 2+2=4, you are on thin ice.

If we presume the universe had a cause, why must we then presume it was caused by a god?

This is what I don't understand.

If you want to say that you don't really know and its just a hypothesis, fine. In any case to make it plausible, hypotheses need some reasons, some link between the claim and the data.

I'll come right out and say it. I don't know if there is a god or not, so show us what you've got.

I am very sure the Bible does not give me any reliable knowledge about a god, because I buy into the evidence supporting the biblical texts as derivitives of near eastern myths. It makes more sense when I compare it to what I know about the world.

Calvin said...

You see Lee, in 1970 Steven Hawking and Roger Penrose published a paper on the first of the space-time theorems. Buried in the paper is the implication that if the universe contains mass and general relativity acurately describes the dynamics of the universe then not only does the universe have a beginning but so does space and time. Also, there must be a Causal Agent that brings the universe into existence independent of space, time, matter, and energy. So, what Hawking is doing is he is trying to get arround the beginning by searching for a loophole where general relativity breaks down. Relativity has been proven accurate to .0000001 percent percision. So no basis remains for doubting the space-time theorem or it's corollary that a Causal Agetnt must have brought the universe into existence independent of space, time, matter, and energy. That's where Hawkings imaginary time comes in and his famous quote.

Benny said...

Timothy,

No, wrong argument. By my logic, if the FSM exists and it's possible it has an explanation for its existence then it does have an explanation for its existence.

Your logic is still "if X is possible, X must exist." Subsituting "explanation" for X does not change the logic. If what you're trying to say is that the existence of the universe has an explanation, I agree 100%. No need to use this flawed logic. But what I hope you realize is that an explanation is not the same as an external cause. A universe that came into being on its own, should that turn out to be the case, is a perfectly valid explanation. A cyclic universe that has always existed is also a perfectly valid explanation. Explanations do not necessarily involve external causes.

I guess you're claiming that something can be God and not be omnipotent. That's silly. It's like saying something can be a person and lack consciousness and the potential for consciousness.

No, that's not what I was claiming at all. Can you show me where I claimed this? My point was that you can define any number of things to be self-caused, not just God.

In any event, the argument is an argument to an omnipotent being. If you admit the argument proves the existence of an omnipotent being, I'll take that as a W for theism. Call the being the Flying Spaghetti Monster if you wish.

Don't chalk up that W just yet! Where did I admit the argument proving the existence of anything? If you refer back to my post, I said:

But this game does nothing to establish the FSM's existence, just as it does nothing to establish God's existence.

The cosmological argument is not an argument for an omnipotent being. It is an argument for a un-caused first cause. For now, I will concede that IF something is omnipotent, THEN it can be un-caused. But the implication does not work in the other direction. Being un-caused does not necessarily entail omnipotence. Nor does it entail omniscience or omnibenevolence. The argument falls far short of arguing for God or any other omnipotent being, let alone establishing their existence.

I look forward to your next post, where I hope you will prove the following:

1. The universe had an absolute beginning.
2. Something that begins to exist must have an external cause.
3. God is the *only* possible un-caused being, by disproving the existence of every other possible un-caused being, including but not limited to the gods of all other religions.

I'm not trying to be unfair. I recognize that these are incredibly large burdens of proof. But this is the corner you've backed yourself into with your statements. Even if your goal is not to convince others, with all due respect, I think you owe it to yourself to either prove these assumptions or re-examine your current beliefs. Without patching these gaps, claiming your beliefs are rational renders the term "rational" meaningless.

Benny said...

calvin said...

Also, there must be a Causal Agent that brings the universe into existence independent of space, time, matter, and energy.

Lie: no such corollary exists.

So, what Hawking is doing is he is trying to get arround the beginning by searching for a loophole where general relativity breaks down.

No need to search; general relativity is known to break down in the vicinity of black holes.

So no basis remains for doubting the space-time theorem or it's corollary that a Causal Agetnt must have brought the universe into existence independent of space, time, matter, and energy.

Same ol' lie.

Sorry Calvin, but science doesn't prove God. Making up laws, principles, and corrolaries doesn't change this fact. And repeating the same lies over and over doesn't make them true.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Calvin,
I have the same question for you that I have for Tim.

If we presume the universe had a cause, why must we then presume it was caused by a god?

calvin said...

You see Lee, we have scientific proof for a Causal Agent existing independent of the universe. Again, what we are witnessing is a no-god of the gaps argument. Atheists want to rely on tiny little gaps in our knowledge (10-43 seconds after the beginning) to try and get arround the beginning. They label believers in God as superstious crazy people and then they claim there is no evidence for His existence. So, what you end up with is people like benny who is indistinguishable from a young earth creationist that go arround calling good science psudoscience. They are afraid that "religious" people are trying to force ideology into the school systems and that it violates the separation of church and state.

Benny said...

calvin sez...

You see Lee, we have scientific proof for a Causal Agent existing independent of the universe.

Same tired lie again...

So, what you end up with is people like benny who is indistinguishable from a young earth creationist that go arround calling good science psudoscience.

This statement, in combination with your previous one, is simply comedic gold :) After all, I'm not the one making up laws, principles, and corollaries. Nor do I make up proofs, as you just tried to do.

They are afraid that "religious" people are trying to force ideology into the school systems and that it violates the separation of church and state.

Finally, a true statement!

calvin said...

You see Lee, at the beginning of the 20th century, the leading Cosmological theory was that the universe was infinitely old, infinitely large, and chemicaly static. This model endorsed one ideology - atheistic naturalism - to the exclusion of all others. When Einsteins general theory of relativity arrived in 1916 and telescopes 100 inches in diameter in 1917 scientists discovered that the universe is not static and had a beginning in finite time. During the last 30 years of the 20th century mathematical theorems based on general relativity confirmed that even space and time had a beginning coincident with the beginning of the universe. The evidence contradicts Hindu-Buddist-New Age doctrine that cycles through an infinite or many number of cycles of beginnings and endings. At least for the hard sciences, legislative and judicial leaders have acknowledged that while the First Amendment cannot be used to protect bad science, neither can it be used to banish good science, whatever it's theological implications.

Benny said...

calvin,

Are you talking to me? I assure you, I'm not Lee :) Or are you dismissing me by addressing what seem to be replies to my comments to Lee?

During the last 30 years of the 20th century mathematical theorems based on general relativity confirmed that even space and time had a beginning coincident with the beginning of the universe. The evidence contradicts Hindu-Buddist-New Age doctrine that cycles through an infinite or many number of cycles of beginnings and endings.

First, a beginning does not imply a beginner, so the Big Bang does not imply your Causal Agent. Second, the Big Bang marks the beginning of *this* universe, but science does not claim it was the absolute beginning. It's science that gave rise to the cyclic model of the universe, so it's definitely not just a Hindu-Buddhist-New Age doctrine (whatever that means). The model was proposed by physicists and is gaining acceptance due to its ability to explain the value we observe for the cosmological constant, which is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model. You have evidence that disproves a cyclic model of the universe? Cite it. Time to put up or shut up.

At least for the hard sciences, legislative and judicial leaders have acknowledged that while the First Amendment cannot be used to protect bad science, neither can it be used to banish good science, whatever it's theological implications.

Should this be true, that would be too bad for you and your bad science, eh?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Benny,
I'm glad I'm on your team.

Hi Calvin,
You see Lee, we have scientific proof for a Causal Agent existing independent of the universe.

If that's true it supports the presumption that the universe has a cause, but support for the presumption that the universe was caused by god is still missing.

if we take what we know to be laws of nature and extrapolate them backwards (is that a proper phrase?) then a natural beginning to the universe is plausible. But since there is no data for a god save the bible and individual personal experience it is hard to extrapolate that backwards to anything plausible. I could just as well substitute god with Billy Meiers Pleiadeans.

live-n-grace said...

You see Lee, this "feeling" is not human, it is not something that can be measured by humans. It is from God. I don't trust pschyciatrists or even some doctors
because it is human, and human feelings.

I also think, out of pure logic, just for you guys, that God creating the universe makes much more sense than it coming by its own, or naturally. The amazing intracicies of the human body, and the vastness of the universe all working together in harmony, is just impossible from chance, or even wierder, always being there. If you know science, the universe tends toward entropy, in other words, everything tends toward chaos, not order. I personally think that the big bang theory is a lame excuse for trying to find a way to prove the making of the universe without God. I also see NO flaws in God creating the universe, unlike the big bang theory and evolution.

Benny said...

Lee,

The feeling's mutual :)

Benny said...

live-n-grace sez...

I also think, out of pure logic, just for you guys, that God creating the universe makes much more sense than it coming by its own, or naturally.

You start by promising us logic, but end on nothing more than an appeal to intuition. Sorry, the argument that something "just makes more sense" is not logic at all. I'd love to see you provide an actual logical argument that God is the best explanation for the universe, maybe starting by proving his existence.

The amazing intracicies of the human body, and the vastness of the universe all working together in harmony, is just impossible from chance, or even wierder, always being there.

I've got just the reading for you: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#chance

If you know science, the universe tends toward entropy, in other words, everything tends toward chaos, not order.

Another reading assignment: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#thermo

I personally think that the big bang theory is a lame excuse for trying to find a way to prove the making of the universe without God.

This, from someone who claims we don't understand science? The Big Bang theory has made multiple predictions verified by observations, such as the existence of the cosmic background radiation. There are few scientific theories that rests on foundation as firm as that enjoyed by Big Bang.

I also see NO flaws in God creating the universe, unlike the big bang theory and evolution.

Sure, no flaw at all, except that we have no evidence of God's existence. If you don't think invoking an imaginary being is a flaw, well, ok. But then I can hardly imagine how you find flaws in Big Bang and evolution; please enlighten me, after you do the requested readings.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Calvin: I have made this point repeatedly, and every time you have ducked it. Let's grant your 'causal agent' for the moment. All this proves is the existence of a Deistic God.

ALL major religions currently existing began at a time when the Geocentric Universe was accepted, when the Universe was considered to be nothing more than this world -- in fact, a portion of it -- surrounded by a set of crystalline spheres in which the religion's god had inserted a number of lights, for no other reason than to give man a day and a night.

Given this perspective, it made sense to consider man the 'reason' for and center of the Universe.
In fact, many of the arguments for a theistic God have this concept as an inherent part of their line of reasoning.

But this is not correct. We live in a Universe consisting of a 'billion galaxies each containing a billion stars.' And while our instruments are not quite precise enough to demonstrate the existence of possible earth-like planets -- they should be within the decade -- we have already discovered that many stars do have planets. (And, of course, we know how life evolved on Earth, but we do not know that this is the only possible form of life or intelligent, self-aware life.)

Given these facts, can you give an argument that
a) your 'causal agent' is a THEISTIC god and
b) that this theistic God should have as his particular area of interest this planet, one of perhaps trillions of planets in the Universe, an unknown number -- but most probably high -- of which have planets which may contain intelligent life.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

And, for both Calvin and live-n-grace, what seems to be a 'schoolboy's question' but which is quite profound:
"If god created the Universe, what created god?"

Think about it, seriously. SOMETHING must be 'self-existent,; whether it is the Universe, a putative Creator, or something which created the Creator (or a Universe the Creator inhabits). Occam's Razor argues for the Universe as being such, but it is not infallible. But do you have any coherent argument in favor of God and against the universe as being self-existent? (And don't use the old chestnut of "God is existence itself' until you can explain what that is supposed to mean.

(Oh, to Benny and Lee, hope I qualify for my 'letter jacket' from your team as well.)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Prup,
you get my vote!

Benny said...

I second the motion :)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi live-in-grace, Calvin, Tim

I can't do any better than Benny and Prup, but I would suggest that you read Stephen Toulmins "The Uses of Argument" and "An Introduction to Reasoning" so you can see how the logic in an argument works.

one makes a claim, or one has a presumption,
one has some data,
one has a relationship (warrant) between the data and the claim or presumption.

This makes a sound argument.

I also think, out of pure logic, just for you guys, that God creating the universe makes much more sense than it coming by its own, or naturally.
the above is not an argument, it is wishful thinking

You see Lee, this "feeling" is not human, it is not something that can be measured by humans. It is from God.
Where is your data and warrant for this? It doesn't have to be definitive, just something strong enough to challenge a reasonable doubt.

It seems we can measure everything else in the universe that was supposedly made by god, why not god or things that come from god? The precedent is that if there is a god, he seems to make things measurable if we use our noggins to figure it out. I would think if god wanted a relationship with us, he would have some way we could 'measure' it or give us some reasonably credible feedback. Then, we make the choice whether we want to be with him or not. Since 'godly experience' doesn't fit the precedent, i am suspicious of it, especially when I didn't experience it as a christian, or I have to take the word of a stranger about it.

One Wave said...

Prup:
Given this perspective, it made sense to consider man the 'reason' for and center of the Universe.
In fact, many of the arguments for a theistic God have this concept as an inherent part of their line of reasoning.

Me:
What do you think about the quantization of red-shifts? Apparently we ARE at the center of the universe, or at least our planet has a very influencial postition in the universe.

Here is where my problem with this whole conversation....

The starting point determines the means but not the end. Scientists on both sides can look at the same data and be left asking the same questions and admitting they don't understand the same things. There isn't a winner.

Benny asked why there would not be cause and effect in a universe without a cause and my answer is; because if there is no cause then matter is random. If matter is random how can there be an orbit of electrons around the nucleus of an atom? How can these electrons "find" each other in order to combine with others to make a molecule? That is not random. There is a system there that provides the building material for all matter. The action of electrons itself demonstrates cause and effect. Can you really grasp that the universe had no cause? If you can accept that for the universe, why not consider that if God is real He may not have had a cause? Really, why not consider it? If the universe does not need to have a cause then it should be acceptable to you that God did not need one.

Prup,

As a Christian, I look at the world and wonder how God made it. You look at the world and wonder how it came to be. We both begin with the same question.

I look at the cosmos and wonder what mechanism, if there is one, keeps the fabric of space together. You say dark matter is keeping it together. You give it a name and now it's a fact. No one has seen dark matter, no one has seen the orbit of electrons around the nucleus of an atom...or maybe someone has by now, I'm not sure about that.

The other day we as a family watched a Nova show about the evolution of whales. It literally left me dumbfounded that it was all presented as fact. That is not science, it's dogma.

Prup, can you really say that we know for sure how life evolved on earth? With so few transitional fossils, that could very possibly just be birth defects or another form of the same species that didn't survive, is there really evidence?

There are so many unknowns. If only we could live for another 1,000 years and see what answers are discovered. It wouldn't matter in the faith vs. no faith debates though, if I begin with God and you begin without Him, the end belief will not change, only the information will.

Lee,
You said:
I think that punting to God is doing exactly what you are accusing the ismists of doing. At least the scientific method is demonstrably effective in acquiring knowledge where none existed before.

I am not punting to God, I am beginning with Him. You assume the universe is like a blank book that we write on to ascribe meaning to, or it seems to be what you are saying anyway. I assume the universe is a full story waiting to be read. All the answers are there, it's just a matter of time and application. The jury isn't in. I agree that the scientific method is very useful but not as a measure of love or affection or morality.

Stephen Hawking, whose material I enjoy, is thinking in the realm of the possibilities involved with quantum gravity. It seems to me that if God is infinite, the universe may be as well, which quantum gravity suggests at least in part.

Benny,
I haven't looked up the links you provided but I'm pretty sure I know what the one about entropy will say. I agree with Henry T. Morris when he observes that there are no closed systems, only degrees of open systems.

Here you said:
This, from someone who claims we don't understand science? The Big Bang theory has made multiple predictions verified by observations, such as the existence of the cosmic background radiation. There are few scientific theories that rests on foundation as firm as that enjoyed by Big Bang.

Me: How does cosmic background radiation put God out of the picture? What about reverse spiral galaxies? Do they help support the Big Bang theory? Can we really say that dark matter has been verified by observation?

I'm asking a lot of questions not to trap you, but to draw out how you can be so sure about your postion when there are challenges. There are scholarly challenges to the Bible that have not been reconciled completely but does that mean the Bible is invalid as an historical document or an account of God's dealings with people? If that's the case I think the same could be said of challenges to the Big Bang theory.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
Glad you're back!
Can you really grasp that the universe had no cause? If you can accept that for the universe, why not consider that if God is real He may not have had a cause?

How do you get from the universe which you can measure, to God, which you can't? This is the same question I have posed to the other three.

If we presume the Universe had a cause, why must we presume the cause was a god?

There is no data to support that presumption. There is data to support many other presumptions. Using Occams razor, then the God hypothesis is the least likely.

If you see your trash strewn across the ground tomorrow morning, what are the possibilities for how it got that way?
- Kids
- Dogs
- Car
- Big foot

Which of these is less likely?
Big foot I'd say. Why? Because there is no data to show that Big Foot is more likely than the others.
Which is most likely? It depends on factors that either better fit the kid, dog, or car hypothesis. If your trash is not next to the road, rule out the car.
If the trash has tears in it from sharp objects, like teeth or paws, then rule out kids.

As far as I can tell, as long as there are only pictures, movies and anecdotes of Big Foot, then there is no reason to commit to a belief in it. Until you can rule out fraud, then Big Foot could be fraud. If you spend your resources trying to figure out how to keep Big Foot out of your garbage, then you are wasting your resources.

I think you can see how to relate this to the universe question. Some hypotheses are more credible than others for reasons of data and backing. As far as I can tell, as long as the only way to know that god exists and is capable of doing the universe is through the bible and personal experience, then that evidence is weaker than the rest and makes it less likely.

You assume the universe is like a blank book that we write on to ascribe meaning to, or it seems to be what you are saying anyway. I assume the universe is a full story waiting to be read. All the answers are there, it's just a matter of time and application. The jury isn't in. I agree that the scientific method is very useful but not as a measure of love or affection or morality.

I’m sorry I led you to that conclusion. I agree the universe is an full story waiting to be read.
Sound application of the scientific method may be a ‘decent’ measure of love, affection or morality. Don’t forget that the ‘scientific method’ is really a sort of common sense formalized. Common sense is a decent measure of love, affection and morality isn’t it? I can tell most of that stuff through observation and comparing to what I know and standards of behavior or law. I bet you can too. You know when someone loves you don’t you? How do you know?

Timothy said...

Ok, I'm going to try to answer in a relatively short amount of time I have here (and I have none over the next 3-4 days).

PSR If it's possible that something has an explanation for its existence then it does have an explanation for its existence.

The cost in denying this premise is that anything you might have had an explanation for its existence but in fact doesn't is a brute fact. It's not good to posit too many brute facts. The fact is, we don't ordinarily assume that anything is a brute fact. We take it as part of rationality that things have explanations.

I can probably guess how you're going to respond. This argument isn't conclusive. I think someone down there at least implicitly accused me of not knowing how to structure an argument. Well, here's how this one is structured.

You have to either accept or reject PSR. I accept it. I don't think there's anything more basic from which it follows. I can't provide an argument for it, because any argument would require a premise more plainly true than it.

It doesn't do simply to complain that there's no evidence for it. If you're going to deny it, then you're affirming that at least one actual brute fact that might have had an explanation in fact doesn't. This is a claim just as much as my claim that PSR is true, and I might well ask you to provide evidence for it. It makes no difference who started the discussion. You're claiming something's true just as much as I am.

If you're saying that you don't know whether PSR is true or false, then I'll let you know what the costs of denying it are. There's the one I mentioned above. There's also the entirely inexplicable fact that the universe is and continues to be orderly and predictable. This is as much a brute fact as its existence. There's no reason things don't now pop into existence rather than not (though this argument doesn't require that the universe had a beginning). All these things are possibilities on that view. (If you object that this is no different on my view, if you think about it charitably for a while you'll see that this is frivolous.)

If something begins to exist, then it has a cause? Prove it.

The response is pretty much the same, mutatis mutandis.

If we presume the universe had a cause, why must we then presume it was caused by a god?

I don't have long to discuss this. What other candidates are there? Any respectable argument with this premise is going to rule out anything physical as the cause. What's left? If you grant everything else in the argument except for this, you've granted everything important to the theist, really. I really would discuss this more, but I have to bow out entirely at this point.

Benny, maybe I'll get back to reading and discussing your post from 11:09 AM, May 02, 2007. I'll try.

One Wave said...

Thanks Lee! I really shouldn't be back, I intended to stay away, but it's so fun to discuss on here that I'm trying hard to keep my time limited so I can keep my priorites straight.

Anyway...
Lee: "If we presume the Universe had a cause, why must we presume the cause was a god?"

I'm not saying we must presume the cause was a god, but I think that possibility should not be ruled out. I think it is interesting that children naturally believe in an ultimate good and have ideas about God even when thier parents don't. Your analogy is good, but I think the analogy of the watch might fit better.
If we had never seen a watch before and we stumbled across one would a person assume it was made or it randomly formed? If we studied the molecular structure and came up with theories as to how that watch could have evolved using random processes I'm sure we could do it. In fact it would be much more likely than random processes coming to form life. Because we can form a theory does not mean that the watch was not made and I think it's very plausible that it had a creator.


Lee:
"I’m sorry I led you to that conclusion. I agree the universe is an full story waiting to be read."

Oops, I jumped to a conclusio...I'll ask next time. If it is a full story, what do you think you will find at the end? I'm really curious to know what ideas are floating around about this.

Yes, I do agree that common sense is a decent measure and that the scientific method is common sense. Maybe a better way to frame my point is to say that it seems the human heart does not conform to testing. There are many variables that seem to make it impossible to predict a person's actions.
I think relationships are fluid and even though I can measure outward behavior, I can't see into the motives behind the behavior unless I take a person at thier word. If all I relied upon to know if someone loved me was thier observable behavior, I could be wrong. This is a hard point to make because it's about unseen realities inside a person. It's starting to make my mind wobble! What is love if it is more than a feeling but also more than actions. I don't think we can really explain it well. Is this even making sense?? I'd better quit.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave, Tim,
I would like to comment more but I don't have time.

Tim.
I'm not familiar with PSR, but at the risk of committing to something you might trap me with, I think it is reasonable to presume
PSR If it's possible that something has an explanation for its existence then it does have an explanation for its existence.
with the qualification that you have to know it exists, or at least have no reasonable doubts about it before you go about explaining it.

One Wave,
there is a nice stock rebuttal to the watchmaker analogy, something like the analogy doesn't apply because life and organisms took millions (Billions?) of years to develop. It looks like it started with RNA replication and grew from there, check out RNAworld. It was trial and error of possibilities of all combinations of configurations.
The stuff that didn't break the replication properties stuck and the stuff that did died off. etc, etc, etc.

and about love, morality etc and the scientific method, this is not a rebuttal.
I'm reading a really dry book now called "Commitment in Dialog" by Douglas Walton and Erik C.W. Krabbe. Its common sense, but it forces me to look in excruciating detail at signs and algorithms of personal commitments. I think that a persons inner thoughts can be deduced by their commitments, you know actions speak louder than words, yada yada.

I just thought you might be interested in it or the subject matter.

Ya'll have a good now, y'hear?

Lee Randolph said...

That was supposed to be 'y'all have a good DAY now, y'hear', but I mucked it up.

this is the rna world that I was talking about link

Benny said...

One Wave,

What do you think about the quantization of red-shifts? Apparently we ARE at the center of the universe, or at least our planet has a very influencial postition in the universe.

I know you didn't addres this to me, but I couldn't help looking briefly into this out of curiosity, since I've never heard of this before. To para-phrase The Princess Bride, I do not think this idea implies what you think it implies. Red shift quantization only claims that red shift values of cosmologically distant objects cluster around multiples of some particular value. It says nothing about Earth being at the center of the universe or having any other uniqueness. It is also a dis-credited idea: all the studies that reported red shift quantization were performed prior to the end of 1990's. This is significant because at the end of the 1990's, many advances were made in redshift cataloging, giving scientists much more data to work with. Multiple studies done since then has shown no evidence of red shift quantization.

Benny asked why there would not be cause and effect in a universe without a cause and my answer is; because if there is no cause then matter is random.

You say this like it is self-evident, but it is not. What evidence is there to prove that without a cause, matter would necessarily be random? We can easily observe instances of order coming into being on its own. The link I provided on entropy, which you declined to read, provides these examples: snowflakes, stalactites, graded river beds. Even your example of electrons serve as an example of order coming into being on its own, since we detect no cause or organizer responsible for the order. You might say that it is God or some other hidden/undetectable being that made these systems possible, but then you're caught in circular reasoning, assuming the very conclusion you're trying to prove in the first place.

Can you really grasp that the universe had no cause? If you can accept that for the universe, why not consider that if God is real He may not have had a cause? Really, why not consider it? If the universe does not need to have a cause then it should be acceptable to you that God did not need one.

Yes, I can grasp a universe with no cause. Yes, I accept that *if* God exists, he does not require a cause. I accept both because they are equally valid. As should you, since you have not proved why the universe must have a cause. Given that the universe does not require a cause, there is no need to assume God's existence.

How does cosmic background radiation put God out of the picture?

My spiel about Big Bang and CBR was in response to live-n-grace's claim that Big Bang is lame. I cited CBR to demonstrate the soundness of Big Bang, not to disprove God. My apologies for the confusion.

What about reverse spiral galaxies? Do they help support the Big Bang theory?

What about them? This is another topic I'm new to, and I'm unable to find any literature on the subject. Could you please provide some sources?

Can we really say that dark matter has been verified by observation?

Not directly, no. Same way we have not (as far as I know) directly observed electrons. But the theory of electrons explains what we do observe so well, and makes so many predictions borne out by experiments, that we can say with a high degree of confidence that electrons exist and we know a great deal about their behavior. This is how science works.

While dark matter does not have as much observational support as electrons do, we do have multiple observations that support its existence. Its existence was first inferred from the observation that galaxies have much more mass than are detected. We now also have evidence from measurements of the cosmic microwave background and gravitational lensing of light that indicate the existence of dark matter. Furthermore, models incorporating dark matter make predictions that closely match observed structure formation in the universe.

I'm asking a lot of questions not to trap you, but to draw out how you can be so sure about your postion when there are challenges.

I'm "sure" about a theory to the extent that it matches what we observe.

There are scholarly challenges to the Bible that have not been reconciled completely but does that mean the Bible is invalid as an historical document or an account of God's dealings with people? If that's the case I think the same could be said of challenges to the Big Bang theory.

I don't think we're not talking about the Bible as a historical document or account of God here, but I'll bite. There are challenges, and then there are challenges. Making claims unsupported or outright contradictory to known history is what makes the Bible difficult to accept as a historical document. The fact that there is no evidence for God is what makes people skeptical that the Bible is an account of God's dealings with people. Me writing a book that claims it records the dealings of the FSM with people is not evidence of the FSM.

The problem faced by scientific cosmologies we've talked about, like the Big Bang or the cyclic model of the universe, is merely that they are works-in-progress. They do not explain everything, and there are ideas that are not fully supported by observations. But science is a method, not any specific theory. It is always working to confirm theories with further observations, and if theories don't fit, science is happy to discard them for better ones. If you can prove to me that it's impossible for the scientific method to find the explanation for the universe, then I'll consider appealing to the supernatural.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Tim,
I found some more time.
What other candidates are there? Any respectable argument with this premise is going to rule out anything physical as the cause. What's left?
I'll grant you that a god is a possibility (as is Q from star trek, because we thought him up therefore his existence is a possibility....just kidding) for creating the universe if it was created, or caused, but you really are giving up too soon on physical means. Physical forces are the only forces there is any data to make any presumptions from.
What data is there to build a presumption that a god created the universe? An argument from ignorance doesn't get it until you've exhausted all other possibilities. Then it becomes an argument from knowledge.

One Wave said...

Benny,
I'll have to get back to you on the reverse spiral galaxies...I haven't looked at it in a while. From what I remember, the B.B. theory assumes that there was a fixed point that was spinning. The direction of the spin is the same direction of our universe, supposedly. Everything being "flung" outward in the same direction which sets galaxies in the same spiral direction. But, some galaxies do not spin in the same direction.

Here is one article about the Q.R.. It is copyrighted in 1994 so it is older.
http://www.npl.washington.edu/av/altvw68.html

It would seem that these galaxies are an equal distance from the earth which would seem to put the earth at the center.
Here's another very interesting dialogue, but it takes some time to read. Dated 2005.

More later!

One Wave said...

It would help to actually post the link eh?!

http://metaresearch.org/msgboard/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=630

Benny said...

Timothy,

First, I'd like to point out that the PSR seems to be shakier ground than you realize:

http://cogprints.org/390/00/psrcogprt.htm

Second, I'm afraid that your defense of that flawed argument, while impressive, was unnecessary. If you read my post from 11:09 AM, May 02, 2007, I stated that I too believe that the universe's existence has an explanation. If you read the link I just provided, you might ask how I can reject the PSR based on the link's arguments and still believe the universe has an explanation, when the link concludes by saying that a final explainer, if it exists, can have no explanation. My answer would be that we don't know if the universe is the final explainer. So until someone proves that there is no explanation for the universe, we are justified in searching for an explanation.

But an explanation does not necessarily involve an external cause. A simple example is the motion of gas molecules. This motion is caused by the molecules' kinetic energy, an intrinsic property of the molecules themselves, rather than any external cause. This disproves the idea that an explanation must involve an external cause. So an explanation for the universe does not necessarily require an external cause.

I do hope you will find the time at some point to read my post from 11:09 AM, May 02, 2007 and respond to it. But I understand that life is not always as generous with free time as we wish it to be. See you around :)

live-n-grace said...

Colossians 1, on Jesus.

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

There is without doubt that I know God is there, just as I breathe in air. You all want physical evidence for existence when the best evidence is spiritual. I know that God is there because of my relationship with him, that I have the Holy Spirit within me, and am able to turn to him for comfort. You can go ahead and say this "feeling is false" but if you haven't experienced it, you have nothing to say of it. That is why I will never leave the faith because once you have felt true love, and the relationship with Christ Jesus, there is no going back to the old ways.

8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

It is so simple and clear. I just ask you to wake up and look at the love of God, the hope and reality that is in him, and not proclaiming self knowledge and self righteousness.

Benny said...

One Wave,

From your description, the reverse spiral galaxies "problem" seems to be the same as the flawed "why don't all planets spin in the same direction?" argument, addressed here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE260_1.html

I have to say I'm skeptical about the two sources you provided w.r.t. redshift quantization. One is a column in Analog, a science fiction magazine, and the other is a forum dedicated to "alternative science." This doesn't disprove the idea immediately, of course, but you should take everything you read there with large grains of salt.

The first link is indeed dated, as you said, and so are the two studies it cites (the 1978 and 1983 Tifft studies). As I mentioned before, more recent studies done in 2002, 2005, and 2006 on larger data sets obtained since the end of the 1990's show no evidence of redshift quantization. Please see this wikipedia article for links to the relevant studies and more information on this topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redshift_quantization

It would seem that these galaxies are an equal distance from the earth which would seem to put the earth at the center.

Ironically, the second post in your second link puts the lie to this claim right away. It's one of the bits that gets the Big Bang theory right. In brief, the expansion of the universe is not an explosion of matter flung out into existing space. Instead, it is space itself that is expanding. Think of the universe as a balloon, where each point is stationary and it is the space in between the points that is expanding. Because of this, the rate of expansion is the same between any pair of points of equal distance. *That* is why we see the same redshift value for objects at the same distance from us. It's only a mis-understanding of the expansion of the universe that leads people to believe this proves the Earth to be at the center of the universe.

Some more information on why red shift quantization is discredited:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astronomy/bigbang.html#tifft

I also invite you to read the rest of the page, which contains a very good explanation of Big Bang theory and addresses common objections and mis-conceptions. I realize that I'm citing talkorigins.org quite frequently; it's because I have found it to be an invaluable source of information. If you find evidence* that proves talkorigins.org wrong on some point, I'd be happy to take it into account.

*By evidence, I mean things like published, peer-reviewed scientific papers or articles that cite such papers, not sci-fi magazine columns or forum postings by unknown users. Not trying to be snarky, just trying to clarify. I hope you understand.

Benny said...

live-n-grace,

The only thing that is simple and clear is that you're out of even semi-coherent arguments and desperate. Your conviction of feeling the Holy Spirit does not show the existence of the Holy Spirit, only the existence of your feeling. Citing the Bible to prove the God of the Bible is circular and wholly unconvincing. You would not believe a Muslim were he to employ the same arguments, so why should we believe these arguments from you?

Did you read the links I gave you at 11:27 PM, May 02, 2007? I hope you did. There might be a quiz later :p

live-n-grace said...

Correct, I wouldn't believe a muslim because when I read the Koran, I see a MAJOR difference between it and the bible.

His love through other people and the bible is UNBELIEVABLY apparent and you are blinded by yourself and satan. The story and truth of the gospel is AMAZING and brings to reality life and purpose. If you deny it then that is your choice, for God has given you free will.

The simplicity of the gospel is also amazing. The holy spirit is within me and many others, and since you are of little faith, you won't take it for an answer.

I ask you to actually read the verses in my post, and dwell on the idea that the Omnipotent God loves you so much to not only send his own son to die for you, but also to forgive you of your sins and to grant you eternal life.

There is more to this life. We were made for more than this. This is not as good as it gets.

Benny said...

live-n-grace,

If preaching is all you've got left, you need not bother. After all, this is a site formed by ex-Christians (or did you not get the memo?) who are quite familiar with preaching, and have undoubtedly heard it from voices better than yours. Me, I'm an agnostic who is similarly unmoved by mere preaching. Believe we are blinded by satan if you like, as long as you stop spamming and leave the discussion to those who are actually interested in rational exchanges. Ciao :)

One Wave said...

Benny,
I can't devote any more time to this, I'm sorry. I really would love to spend years at a true university where we discuss from morning till night, that's my nerdy brain!

Anyway, here is a quote I am leaving you with that sums up exactly what I think....think of the recent discovery and upset over the T-Rex tissue.

" It is never good science to ignore anomalous data or to eliminate a conclusion because of some presupposition. Sir Henry Dale, one-time President of the Royal Society of London, made an important comment in his retirement speech: "Science should not tolerate any lapse of precision, or neglect any anomaly, but give Nature's answers to the world humbly and with courage." To do so may not place one in the mainstream of modern science, but at least we will be searching for truth and moving ahead rather than maintaining the scientific status quo."--Barry Setterfield, March 7, 2002

I think if you read the discussion from the alternative science site, you may see that it is not resolved, only those who believe they already have all the answers are dogmatic enough to claim something is irrelevant in science.

Benny said...

One Wave,

I wholeheartedly agree with the quote you provided. However, I seriously resent, am in fact angered by your insinuation that scientific cosmologists are ignoring anomalous data or eliminating a conclusion from presupposition! You have raised numerous creationist objections to scientific cosmology. I have pointed you to various sources explaining why science does not consider those objections to be valid, due to incorrect assumptions, faulty logic, or mis-understanding/outright distortion of scientific claims. If you have arguments against any of the responses, I would be happy to hear and discuss them. But you depart without raising any valid objections, while insinuating that scientists are brushing inconvenient facts under the carpet. This is insulting both to me and to the scientific community at large.

Scientists do more to test their theories than people seem to realize, and challenge their own theories more severely than anything creationists could offer, since creationists are hamstrung by their ignorance of science. All this is done in the name of advancing human understanding, because scientists understand better than anyone else how few answers we have and how far we still have to go. So I would appreciate it if you did not baselessly accuse scientists of being dogmatic or arrogantly believing they already have all the answers.

I think if you read the discussion from the alternative science site, you will see people speculating at great length, nothing more. Science is not built on top of empty speculations, but evidence. If you can find papers offering conclusive evidence of redshift quantization, then we can talk about its implications for Big Bang.

I'm sorry to see you go from the discussion. It has been an enlightening exchange :) I do have a favor to ask of you: next time you read a creationist claim, do some research on your own (insert plug for talkorigins.org) to see what the scientific response is. Then you'll have more data with which to judge the validity of the claim. Take care.

One Wave said...

Benny,
I'm sorry to leave you hanging. We are moving soon, a lot to do and I've got to be a mom to my kids or I would spend enormous amounts of time on here getting into more detail.

My intention is not to slam all cosmologists. I know there are many, many scientists who are honest and open to whatever they find. My overall dissatisfaction with present popular science is that there is not enough being said about how much we don't know and the public gets only part of the picture. I know it can't be helped because we live in a world of sound bites, but it is frustrating.

On your creationist points...I have read quite a bit at talkorigins. I do read outside of creationist perspective, actually I seek out all the information I can from both sides. I see dogma on both sides and it's dissapointing. Do you think that all scientists who believe in ID or YEC are not real scientists?

Benny said...

One Wave,

You owe me no apology. I've always found moving to be a stressful ordeal myself. And from I hear, parenting is a full-time job and a half!

I agree, it's hard for the public to get the full picture about what's going on in science, because there seems to be a scarcity of good sources of scientific information for the laymen. If you wish to delve deeper, I can ask friends of mine who do research in various scientific fields for recommended sources for people like you and me. On the subjects of astronomy and cosmology, I heartily recommend the forum linked below. As I said, earlier, I don't believe forums to be definitive sources of information. But this forum happens to be frequented by JPL engineers, physicists, NASA researchers, professors of astronomy, physics, cosmology, astro-biology, etc., who are happy to field questions/challenges and point seekers to relevant papers and studies.

http://www.bautforum.com/

Who are the scientists that believe in ID or YEC? I might be wrong, but I don't think you'll find any, because ID and YEC are not scientific theories. This page describes the many failings of ID as *scientific* theory, which also applies to YEC:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design#Defining_intelligent_design_as_science

These are just the methodological problems faced by ID and YEC. When you have time, I'd be happy to go into detail about the other problems of ID and YEC, such as faulty premises and contradictory evidence. Just say when.

Best of luck with the move!

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

One Wave: As you know, my best wishes go to you for the move -- and sorry I am late with the letter you are due.
But as to your question, while there is a slim chance that someone could take a scientific approach to ID -- though no one has as yet -- there is absolutely NO posiibility that someone could -- today -- be a YEC and a scientist. (Any more than someone could believe in a pre-Keplerian geocentric model of the Universe or -- the cliche -- a flat earth' and be a scientist.)

It is not just that there is not one piece of evidence that supports this, but that evidence from almost every field of science disproves it. (As does history and archaeology, which demonstrates the existence of peoples before the Earth is supposed to have been created.)

To use the legal terminology, it is not just that YEC is shown to be false by the 'preponderance of the evidence,' it is guilty of being fradulent 'beyond all reasonable doubt.'

calvin said...

There is about as much evidence for a young earth as there is for a flat earth. Benny seems to have joined the camp.

Benny said...

Yes, Calvin, which is why I don't believe in either. Not sure how you got the idea that I subscribed to either. Read my post again.

One Wave said...

Benny,
Look up this galaxy: NGC 4622
It's been a while since learning about the reverse spiral, I do think even a planet spinning in a different direction is just as puzzling due to momentum issues...I said I would say more about the RSG and that's the best I can do for now.
Thanks for understanding, I would like to come back to you and discuss these things in more depth and look into them again with the latest information.

Prup,
Thank you for the good wishes, I really appreciate them. I can be patient for your letter, maybe I'll write first.

I strongly disagree that there is no possibility that someone could believe in YEC. No one knows for sure. If the funding available to scientist who research macro-evolution were available to ID scientists, there might be more information.

I am not touting this site as the end all of creation science, but I think it's a good place to visit.

While many theories set forth are found to be false or at least lacking, that has been true of science throughout time and many people not in the mainstream of science have been right after being treated as fools.

No one can prove the age of the earth, there are too many variables. When I read a study or an article, I look for words and phrases such as, "as far as we know", "it looks like", "the best answer seems to be..", "observed" etc... that gives credibility to science. Unless it is something in front of our eyes that the average person can observe and draw a reasonable conclusion to, it cannot be proven...on either side.

Do you disagree? Where is the overwhelming evidence for an old earth and macro-evolution? Is it possible that in another 1,000 years new information could be produced that would support a younger earth or ID?

I'll read your comment but I've gotta stop here, I'll be looking forward to hearing from you, hope all is well with you.

One Wave said...

Once again I forgot the link to the site...ugh..

http://nwcreation.net/

Benny said...

One Wave,

I thought you said you were familiar with talkorigins? If so, why do you persist in bringing up creationist arguments that are already addressed by the site, without providing anything that refutes the scientific responses? Once again, I ask you to read this page, which explains that the creationist argument about retrograde planets (and by the same token, reverse spin galaxies) are built on nothing more than ignorance of what conservation of angular momentum actually means:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CE/CE260_1.html

Prup, I hope you don't mind if I do a bit of poaching...

No one knows for sure... Unless it is something in front of our eyes that the average person can observe and draw a reasonable conclusion to, it cannot be proven...on either side.

This is probably the single most common creationist/ID utterance, used to try to give credibility to their pseudo-science. It shows an utmost ignorance of science. Yes, it is true that few things, if any, can be proven definitively. But science is not about proving theories definitively; it is about picking the best explanation. A explanation is better than the alternatives if it can do a better job of explaining observed evidence and make better predictions. This is the case for Big Bang, old Earth, and evolution. If you want to challenge an established theory, then the burden of proof is on you to show that your alternative does a better job of explaining and predicting. YEC and ID utterly fail to do so.

A concrete example: when oil companies want to figure out where to drill for oil, they do so using old Earth science, they don't turn to YEC theories. Why? Because the old Earth science works, and works extremely well. On the other hand, YEC is useless, because its predictions simply don't work. This is the true measure of a scientific theory: how well it fits the real world.

Where is the overwhelming evidence for an old earth and macro-evolution?

Old Earth: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html
Macro-evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc

Is it possible that in another 1,000 years new information could be produced that would support a younger earth or ID?

The validity of scientific theories is not judged on what evidence we *might* eventually obtain, but what we have now. *If* we have evidence in support of them (meaning evidence that is better explained by YEC or ID than all other alternatives), *then* they might be considered, but the current evidence simply does not support either YEC or ID, so there is no reason to consider them valid now. In the case of YEC, proponents have to first discredit all contradictory evidence, of which we have plenty, as demonstrated by the "Old Earth" link I gave above.

Calvin said...

An incomplete list of evidence for the age of the universe.

Deuterium abundance and mass density - 19 billion

Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect - 18 billion

Nucleochronology - 17 billion

Anthropic principles - 17 billion

Star color luminosity fitting - 14 billion

Expansion of the universe (WMAP) - 13.7 billion

Galaxy lenses time delay - 13.5 billion

Spectral line of uranium-238 - 12.5 billion

Supernova standard candles - 12 billion

Globular Clusters - 12 billion

Gravitational lensing - 11 billion

Light travel-time based on quasar-light source - 10 billion

Cepheids - 9 billion

Expanding photosphere - 9 billion

Star stream interactions in galaxies - 8 billion

Geometric measurement to the quasar 3C 279 - 5.9 billion

Age of moon rocks - 4.5 billion

Age of meteorites - 4.5 billion

Accumulation of space dust on the moon - 4.5 billion

Relaxation times of star clusters - 4 billion

Erosion on mercury, mars, and moon - 4 billion

Age of earth rocks - 4 billion

Length of days of coral fossils - 370 million

Accumulation of sodium in the oceans - 260 million

Rate of continental drift to form the Atlantic ocean - 200 million

Reversal of earth's magnetic pole recorded in the Atlantic sea bottom - 80 million

Erosion of the Grand Canyon - 25 million

Geometric measurement to the galaxy NGC4258 - 23.5 million

Carbonate deposits - 12.4 million

Sedimentary rock formations on Mars - 10 million

Ooids (small spheroidal bodies - > 7 million

The green river annual layers - 4 million

Geometric measurement to the galaxy M33 - 2.4 million

Evaporites - > 3 million

Length of time that surface rocks have been exposed to cosmic rays - 830,000

Huge stalacites, stalagmites, and columns in the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico - 500,000

Vastok ice core in Antartica - 420,000

Thickness of coral reefs - 130,000

Also most of the design in the universe is connected to it's age.

Benny said...

Talk about unexpected... Calvin, that's an admirably extensive list. Although some of it seems irrelevant, since YEC, as far as I know, makes no claims about the age of the universe, only the age of the Earth and life on Earth.

Also most of the design in the universe is connected to it's age.

What does this mean?

Benny said...

A page on the scientific method, evidence, and the definition of scientific hypotheses, theories, and facts:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/sciproof.html

Lee Randolph said...

Hi One Wave,
I really wish you the best.

Hi All,
I agree with Prup and Benny, (surprised?). The characteristic of predictability strongly supports a presumption. When we can't know for sure something is true, a strong presumption goes a long way in acquiring knowledge about it.

Since Calvin is a Christian, and he believes in an Old Earth, and I know that there is dissension in the Christian ranks over this issue, in my mind that is enough to discredit Young Earth Creation. Why should I believe it when a Christian doesn't?

One Wave has pretty much advanced the 'slippery slope' charge against the Big Bang. The Big Bang is built on presumptions, not irrefutable evidence, but the key characteristics that give it strong support, as benny said, are those that allow us to make predictions about our universe. The big bang is built on presumptions that allow us to make predictions about the Universe. Therefore, it is more likely than any other. That was my point in the analogy of the trash earlier. Big Foot could have pawed and chewed on the trash, but there is more evidence to support a presumption for the Dog Hypothesis.

Scientists get grants for successful outcomes. An opponent can argue that they produce what they are told to produce and the money keeps coming. Undoubtedly that goes on, but to a smaller degree than the rest. We can't deny or get away from a small percentage of corruption in any case Christian, scientific, agnostic or whatever.

But a successful outcome last longer if it is built on solid science. Businesses profit, markets are strengthened industries are built. There is a strong influence for scientists to do their job. Some of the science is suspect, some of it changes the world.

So if we decide that the world and universe is old, and whether or not we can more or less agree on the mechanisms at work, how does one show these mechanisms are likely to be influenced by a God?

One Wave said...

Benny,
I do have to address this because it is important.

Have you taken the time to look at both sides? If all you are doing is reading the responses of evolutionists to the claims of creationists then you will not get a correct view of creationists.

I read the links you gave and I can't go into the misconceptions involved in the argument given but I can say that it was the big bang scientists that started the idea of an explosion and creationists were responding to that orignal theory.

If you would spend time really looking into what creation scientists actually have to say, you might be surprised.

One Wave said...

...and Calvin,
What dating method was used to come up with those numbers? Look into dating methods for yourself. Don't read prepackaged ideology, read the forums of the scientists who use science and not dogma to discuss these methods.

One Wave said...

OK, I'm losing credibility by the second by continuing to post after saying I would not....one last point.

I think the break down in communication comes from why I am posting what I have.

I don't know if the earth is young or old and I don't know if the universe had a beginning as we understand beginning to be.

My point is not to prove anything but to encourage anyone reading to look for themselves. Don't read one side or from one source and think you have all the answers. I am not claiming to have all the answers and would be skeptical, to the point of dismissing opinions, of anyone who claims they do.

My hope is that if there is anyone truly interested in searching for God and knowing Him that they would kick off their preconceptions, religious or otherwise and seek Him.

How do you seek Him?
Make it your first priority. Quit your job and go into the hills where nothing but what He has created will "speak" to you, or come home from work and devote time alone in a room when you ask Him to come to you.

Throw stones in the air when you get mad at Him and remind Him He promised to answer those who seek with all their heart. Yell and be angry, cry and be in despair until He answers. That's what I did and it wasn't until then, until I could not try another day and was ready to not believe and get on with life that He revealed Himself to me in such a powerful way that I cannot doubt His existence.

Until you've done that, I have no sympathy for those who claim they can't find Him. Until you are willing to lose everything for the sake of finding Him you may not get an answer.

I have confidence when I say that those who go beyond religion to seek the I Am, find Him and would say the same thing.

"I Am" being the best way I can think to describe the Being I know as God...there are no words to adequately describe Him. He just exists as He is.

What is it in all of us, especially children, that makes us experience wonder? Endorphines? Give me a break. Endorphines are released in response to a thought process or belief, not the other way around. Why stifle that sense of wonder? Press through to find out where that sense of wonder comes from...what are the plausible answers? If one be macro-evolution then explain your hypothesis for where that evolution is taking us. If we experience hope and wonder, there must be a goal. Yes, I can hear you say, "Why does there need to be a goal?" My response would be, it's absurd to think that developing reason, problem solving and the ability to create would be purely natural processes. The probability of a single bacteria forming by natural processes is astronomical let alone the ability to reason. The fact that we are able to reason beyond the obvious tells us, or at least me, that there is something more than the obvious.

That is really it, I have nothing else to say.

calvin said...

One Wave you're starting to sound like Benny and the other's who want to get arround the scientific facts just to support your pre-conceived bizzare ideology.

Benny said...

One Wave,

Have you taken the time to look at both sides?

Every time someone brings up a creationist argument, I have taken the time to examine the argument, and how it's refuted. I have not examined creationism beyond that level. And I don't plan to. Why? Because I don't have an infinite amount of time. I could devote my entire life to learning science, and die leaving with the majority of it still unexplored. I certainly don't have the time to also explore every proposed alternative. If someone thinks they have a valid challenge to a scientific theory, it's up to them to make their case. Don't expect me to spend the time to try to make their case for them. Proponents of ID and YEC have tried to make their case, and have been found wanting.

Btw, there isn't just two sides. For every scientific theory, there's an infinite number of alternatives that can be proposed. My advice to you, if I may offer it, is to spend more time learning about current scientific theories. Focus on science because it's the champ, because it has thus far produced the best explanations. Then you'll be better equipped to judge the validity of proposed criticisms and alternatives.

Poaching from calvin now...

What dating method was used to come up with those numbers? Look into dating methods for yourself. Don't read prepackaged ideology, read the forums of the scientists who use science and not dogma to discuss these methods.

How about you, One Wave? Do you know what dating methods were used to come up with those numbers? Calvin was quite specific with the items on their list, so it shouldn't be very hard to find information on each number. Know thy enemy, learn what dating method(s) was used to come up with each. Then tell us what your objections are.

I don't know if the earth is young or old...

It's practically impossible to prove something, but it's certainly possible to disprove something. Scientists have disproved the idea of a young Earth, using evidence including but not limited to what I have already linked. If you can't invalidate those findings, there's no reason to believe in a young Earth.

and I don't know if the universe had a beginning as we understand beginning to be.

And science doesn't claim to know either; I invite you to watch along with the rest of us as science continues to work at the problem.

My point is not to prove anything but to encourage anyone reading to look for themselves. Don't read one side or from one source and think you have all the answers.

Again the insinuation that science is blithely ignoring challenges and arrogantly claiming to have all the answers! Science doesn't claim to have all the answers. It does claim confidence in ideas that are supported by evidence. That is not arrogance. Arrogance is creationists trying to claim scientific status for proposals wholly unsupported, and often contradicted, by evidence.

My hope is that if there is anyone truly interested in searching for God and knowing Him that they would kick off their preconceptions, religious or otherwise and seek Him.

Imagine a Muslim making the same request. He has found Allah, and believes you should do the same. Give up everything you have and devote your life to this quest. Oh, and if you can't find Allah, just keep looking, and look harder. Because this Muslim is certain that He is there to be found, you just aren't trying hard enough. How does this sound to you? Would you accept this request? Why should we?

What is it in all of us, especially children, that makes us experience wonder? Endorphines? Give me a break.

What scientists claims this, or is this another creationist strawman?

If one be macro-evolution then explain your hypothesis for where that evolution is taking us. If we experience hope and wonder, there must be a goal.

Evolution simply describes how a population's inherited traits change from one generation to another. Through natural selection, a population generally becomes better adapted to its environment. If you're looking for a goal, there you have it: evolution is taking us to be better adapted to our environment.

...it's absurd to think that developing reason, problem solving and the ability to create would be purely natural processes. The probability of a single bacteria forming by natural processes is astronomical let alone the ability to reason.

It's absurd to claim the odds of reason, problem-solving, etc. coming about by purely natural processes are astronomical without showing us how you estimated these odds. Don't forget to take into account that these traits seem to have propelled us to become the dominant species on the planet, and natural selection favors advantageous traits. So what are the odds?

The general argument that if something is improbable, then it couldn't have happened, is absurd. What are the odds of someone getting a particular bridge hand (hint: it's astronomical)? Using your argument, a person can't get dealt ANY hand, because any particular hand is so unlikely. So we're left with a person getting dealt a bridge hand, and then all the cards poofing into nothing; now that's absurd :)

I wish you well, and look forward to our next exchange.

Benny said...

calvin,

That's another really funny comment, since you are the one making up science as you go along (law of cause and effect, corollary of causal agent, disproof of cyclic universe).