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We who believe there is a God need to see point of view of those who do not believe

1. Putting myself in the shoes of one who does not believe there is a God: 2. Suppose: A = a hypothetical God 3. Suppose: B = observable and unobservable reality 4. Consider scenario 1: A created B but is separate from B. 5. Consider scenario 2: A created B and is connected to B (e.g., by a non-bounded spirit) 6. Under either scenario, only one thing/being exists. Let's call it C. 7. In scenario 1, A + B = C. 8. In scenario 2, A and B are connected. If two things are connected, the combination is one thing/being. 9. The word, 'God' is a comparative word. 10. It requires having two things to compare; in this case, a being and a higher being. 11. If only one being exists, there is no higher being. 12. The only case in which there would be two things to compare (to find a higher being) is to compare two hypotheticals. 13. One hypothetical is C. 14. The other hypothetical is 'nothingness' (nothing exists). 15. Then 'nothingness' would be the being (statement 10), and C would be the higher being. 16. The concept in statement 14 is not true, since we exist.

Alan, you are being too logical here. Logic fails when it comes to faith. Beliefs seem to be subconscious. Some stuff that we believe and take for granted, we cannot even express with words E.g. try to explain how our mind determines that one small object is heavier than another small object by picking both with two fingers - we are not aware how this judgment happens in our brain. This is not a speculation. I've read of psychological research that leads to this conclusion.

"Nothing exists" is an oxymoron. It's neither false nor true. How can "nothing" "exist"? If it "exists" or "existed", it's always "something". We cannot even imaging "nothing". Every time we try, we imagine "something". Even "emptiness" or "vacuum" is not "nothing" - they have definitions and require existence of space and time. I wouldn't attempt any logical constructs on your #14.

I'd like to know myself, what's going on in atheist's mind when they say that "universe appeared from nothing". I don't expect any logical explanation, though.

I'd like to know myself, what's going on in atheist's mind when they say that "universe appeared from nothing". I don't expect any logical explanation, though.

AG, Let's not say atheist here. Let's say scientist or astrophysicist. If you would get an articulate and honest answer from a scientist (many of whom are atheists) then the universe came from something before. This leaves open the possibility that the something before was so different that the scientist hesitates to call it the universe. But if you define universe to include everything, past present and future, then the universe was always here. It just is mysterious and inscrutible when you try to follow it backwards very far. It is a ggod idea for scientists along with everybody else to not pretend to know things that they really don't know. It is just a trick of the language to declare that the universe was not always in existence. Of course it existed. But if you were to travel backwards in time far enough, the universe might not be at all recognizable. People have their limitations.

"It is a good idea for scientists along with everybody else to not pretend to know things that they really don't know. It is just a trick of the language to declare that the universe was not always in existence. Of course it existed. But if you were to travel backwards in time far enough, the universe might not be at all recognizable. People have their limitations."

Golden words, Chuck. I just wish all atheists shared your view. I'd say, most of what we say is a "trick of the language" (as if language can play "tricks"), if you "see" what I mean. Whoever advocates literal interpretation of the Bible, perhaps, did not give much thought to the meaning of their own words, much like those who advocate "nothing" as a starting point for the universe.

Chuck Johnson said, "It is a ggod idea for scientists along with everybody else to not pretend to know things that they really don't know."

Is that a Freudian slip of the tongue (It is a ggod idea)?

Chuck Johnson said, "It is just a trick of the language to declare that the universe was not always in existence. Of course it existed. But if you were to travel backwards in time far enough, the universe might not be at all recognizable. People have their limitations."

What you are promoting is the 'cosmological argument' that something couldn't come from nothing. A Creator is needed to overcome these problems since if something can't come from nothing there has to be a 'first cause'? What 'caused' God? It's a circular argument that doesn't answer any questions and it's not evidence of anything. The Universe exists because of laws of physics. laws of physics allow a universe to be created from nothing. Laws of physics keep us on the ground. laws of biology and chemistry allow life. There was no time before time. The big bang was the beginning of time itself; any discussion about before the big bang is meaningless. The big bang was a sudden, explosive origin of space, time, and matter. Time did not always exist. Time emerged out of space in a continuous process. Continuous meaning time-like quality of a dimension, as opposed to space-like quality, it is not all space or all time; there are shades in between. This can be made as a precise mathematical statement. Time does not exist independently of our universe; so it makes no sense to ask what happened before the Big Bang.

There is no space outside of the universe; there is no "nothingness" that the universe exists inside of. Everything is inside the singularity. We are inside the singularity. The universe is completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself.

The Big Bang Theory is the basis for all scientific research because it has stood up to every test. The Big Bang theory is the theory that the universe started with a huge and rapid expansion of a singular zero size condensed point about fourteen billion years ago. At the Big Bang (time is zero) and (mass had to be zero.) The singularity had to be mass less. If there is no time beyond Planck time (the smallest amount of time possible) mass does not exist. If space did not exist in singularity and mass was not the origin of the universe we have to consider its energy equivalent as the initiator. According to the Big Bang Theory, the notion of time does not exist in singularity. Time is a property of space-time universe. In the energy-time version time is a computable element that cannot exist in singularity. Singularity is not time-bound.

Steven Hawking (the renowned astrophysicist) George Ellis, and Roger Penrose (the mathematician) worked on the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding the notion of time. According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy. The singularity didn't appear in space; space began inside of the singularity. Singularity by definition is zero size. There are many evidences that zero point contains energy. Casimir force and Lamb shift are proof for the presence of energy in point zero. According to the Big Bang Theory the simplest form of matter (quarks) first appeared after cosmic inflation. The vacuum energy transformed itself into particles and anti-particles of matter in equal number. There is no evidence that at the beginning of time mass was present. With the ultra-dense mass model the matter would turn to pure energy before the reformation of mass particles. The universe started with a burst of energy and that was the source of the expansion of space. The starting point does not have to contain matter. In such a scenario, we do not have a positive gravity force for the singularity. If mass is removed from the singularity. Zero is representing the singularity. The real value of matter has to disappear at the singularity; Singularity does not contain matter (with common definition of matter.) If there are no dimension in singularity space is not a property of singularity. Space and time are bendable and play a very active rule in the universe Einstein mentions that singularity cannot contain topological space. It means there is no spatial dimension in singularity. In other words, singularity is a mathematical point. If space did not exist in singularity and mass was not the origin of the universe then its energy equivalent is the initiator.

The singularity is a point of energy. Energy and matter can not be created or destroyed. It can only change form. One evidence of the Big Bang is the Cosmic Microwave Background. In quantum theory, particles can be created out of energy from particle/antiparticle pairs. But that just raises the question of where the energy came from. The answer is that the total energy of the universe is exactly zero. The matter in the universe is made out of positive energy. However, the matter is all attracting itself by gravity. Two pieces of matter that are close to each other have less energy than the same two pieces a long way apart, because you have to spend energy to separate them against the gravitational force that is pulling them together. So, in a sense, the gravitational field has negative energy. In the case of a universe that is approximately uniform in space, this shows that this negative gravitational energy exactly cancels the positive energy represented by the matter. So the total energy of the universe is exactly zero.

The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) is incontrovertible evidence that the Universe experienced a "Big Bang." Everything in the universe evolved from the Big Bang. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. Our universe sprang into existence around 13.7 billion years ago. After its initial appearance (a tiny speck) it started to inflate, expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe. It continues to expand and cool to this day and we are inside of it: space didn't exist prior to the Big Bang. Space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy. The singularity didn't appear in space; space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing.

The beginning of time is defined by the Big Bang itself; you cannot talk about before the Big Bang, because there was no before. Nothing before the Big Bang would have any bearing on the Universe after the Big Bang. The Big Bang theory is based on numerous observations, and measurements. Nothing has replaced the Big Bang theory as of right now. The Big Bang theory has been revised and refined and scientifically established to a point that it would be very difficult to establish another theory, and every single Big Bang model shows the existence of a singularity.

In the 1920's astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the galaxies where moving away, and that at some time in the past they were closer together and if you looked back in time, to the beginning, they would come together so tightly compact that it formed a single point. The galaxies themselves aren't moving but it's space that's expanding and therefore moving the galaxies.

A branch of scientific inquiry called quantum physics deals with events that occur at the atomic level. On the scale of atoms and molecules, the usual rules of cause and effect are suspended. The rule of law is replaced by a sort of pandemonium, and things happen spontaneously for no particular reason. Particles of matter may simply pop into existence without warning, and then equally abruptly disappear again. Or a particle in one place may suddenly materialize in another place, or reverse its direction of motion. Again, these are real effects occurring on an atomic scale, and they can be demonstrated experimentally. What has been learned from quantum physics is this: Sometimes things happen (without a cause) spontaneously and this does not violate the laws of physics. The abrupt and un-caused appearance of something can occur within the scope of scientific law, once quantum laws have been taken into account. Nature has the capacity for genuine spontaneity. The spontaneous appearance of the singularity (universe) from nothing need not break scientific laws or be unnatural or unscientific, and it was not a supernatural event.

The relationship between nothing and something: Quantum physics studies quanta, the smallest particles that make up matter. This form of physics made a discovery, which has since been confirmed time and time again. Particles are particles, but then they are not; they are waves. Because particles are and are not particles, if we know where one is now we cannot know where it will be in the next moment. One of the amazing consequences of this uncertainty principle is that ephemeral pairs of particles, virtual particles, at times pop up from nothing, from out of the cosmic void.

Over the last 25 years theorists have offered plausible explanations of both how the singularity came to be and how it then became an expanding universe. The uncertainty principle implies that the energy level of any region fluctuates haphazardly and without reason. It is because of this fluctuation that even in a complete vacuum with an energy level of zero, tiny fields of gravity at random pop into existence from nothing, then vanish from being as suddenly as they appeared. These events do not violate the laws of conservation because the fleeting fields of gravity are ephemeral, virtual fields.

Inflationary theory shows how a tiny, ephemeral speck emerge from "nothingness" could be boosted into permanence by a period of accelerating expansion and then continue expanding to become "something" the vast universe we know. According to the theory, in the expanding field matter is created out of the growing energy of gravity itself. The matter is considered positive energy, and the gravity is considered negative. The two mathematically cancel each other out, so that the total energy of the growing universe is zero. So the laws of conservation are not violated.

The first cause argument falls because the laws of reality allow matter and energy to pop into existence, given small enough time frames and small enough distances. Self-consistent understanding of physics demands that universes can and will be spontaneously created from nothing. Gravity makes it possible for the universe to spontaneously come into existence, as a necessary outcome of the way physics operates. Time did not exist before the universe. Time came into existence at the Big Bang, so nothing came 'before' the universe - before is meaningless.

If you don't read this and discuss the answers that obviously disputes your claims it's because you either didn't read it or you don't understand it.

Linda Said: The Universe exists because of laws of physics.

Linda, This is absolutely backwards. The laws of physics exist because of the human mind. That mind is a function of the human brain. That brain came into being after billions of years of evolutionary development here on planet Earth. Earth is a subpart of the Universe.

Laws of physics exist because of the Universe.

I am not trying for debater's points here. This are important concepts. I am not being frivolous. The Universe was able to proceed the way it does long before humans invented the laws of physics. The Universe did its thing in a uniform, repeating, and consistent manner for billions of years. This is good, because if the habits of the Universe jumped all around, the long, slow process of biological evolution would have been shattered and we wouldn't be here.

The Universe has long known how to stick four atoms of hydrogen onto a carbon atom and thus create a molecule of Methane. Our human textbooks did not teach the Universe this trick, nor did we give the Universe permission to do this.

These habits and ways of the Universe have persisted unchanged for a very long time. Newton's laws of mechanics and the periodic table of elements are relative newcomers.

So what's the difference between the Universe at large, and life on Earth (and especially, human life on Earth)?

The difference is dramatic. The biology and chemistry of human life is astonishingly complex. That complexity is not random, but it is guided, informed, purposed by a particular habit of the Universe itself, in the same way that the Universe insists that lead should melt at 621 degrees F.

Charles Darwin described Natural Selection. He was very clever. The Universe was even more clever to invent this particular habit of terrestrial chemistry. Except that we shouldn't say "invent". The Universe has no mind or brain. So the Universe has the habit of engaging in Natural Selection. A spectacular habit, especially here on Earth.

The difference is also dramatic in another way, velocity and acceleration. The rate of our cultural adaptive evolution is spectacular, and it continues to accelerate. I think that the rate of acceleration is also increasing. This is crazy! - - - Where are we headed next? This is a very nonlinear function, to say the least!

Chuck Johnson said, "Linda Said: The Universe exists because of laws of physics. Linda, This is absolutely backwards. The laws of physics exist because of the human mind. That mind is a function of the human brain. That brain came into being after billions of years of evolutionary development here on planet Earth. Earth is a subpart of the Universe."

Then Chuck Johnson said, "Laws of physics exist because of the Universe."

Do you think that the universe wouldn't exist without the human mind or an observer? Because it did. "The universe began with the Big Bang, which simply followed the inevitable law of physics, because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. The universe didn't need a God to begin; it was quite capable of launching its existence on its own," as physicist Stephen Hawking explains in his book, The Grand Design. "God did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics" Stephen Hawking

Then Chuck Johnson said, "I am not trying for debater's points here."

Oh! You aren't trying to create a cause celebre by saying "Linda Said: The Universe exists because of laws of physics. Linda, This is absolutely backwards." How so?

Chuck Johnson said, "the laws of physics exist because of the human mind."

No, the laws of physics existed first. "The universe began with the Big Bang, which simply followed the inevitable law of physics, because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Then Chuck Johnson said, "This are important concepts. I am not being frivolous. The Universe was able to proceed the way it does long before humans invented the laws of physics."

There's obviously a correlation between the laws of the universe and the laws we know and observe. We didn't make up (or create) the laws of physics we discovered and observe them. You must think that the universe didn't need laws of physics until man invented them (just for no reason) since you have already claimed that the laws of physics were non-existent until humans invented them? Wow!

Then Chuck Johnson said, "The Universe did its thing in a uniform, repeating, and consistent manner for billions of years. This is good, because if the habits of the Universe jumped all around, the long, slow process of biological evolution would have been shattered and we wouldn't be here."

Georges-Henri Lemaitre's new cosmology predicted "a day without yesterday" in 1929, that means nothing existed before that moment in time. Einstein's theory of General relativity implies that our expanding universe began from a singularity.

A singularity marks a point where the curvature of space-time is infinite, or, in other words, it possesses zero volume and infinite density. The universe was neither made for us nor dictated by our intelligence or stupidity. In quantum theory things still exist whether or not we measure them. The only difference is that unmeasured things have the option of being in more than one state at once.

If the laws of physics were dependent on the human mind to exist why were some very popular theories discarded and extremely unpopular theories proven to work throughout history and haven't changed.

Chuck Johnson said, "The Universe has long known how to stick four atoms of hydrogen onto a carbon atom and thus create a molecule of Methane. Our human textbooks did not teach the Universe this trick, nor did we give the Universe permission to do this."

No, but this sounds like something a "god-did-it" fanatic would tell someone. What do scientists or human textbooks know - you need to get your science from the bible thumping fundamentalist.

We discover things with our brain we don't create them with our brain. With the exception of those people who promote a make-believe science known as Creation science.

Chuck Johnson, "These habits and ways of the Universe have persisted unchanged for a very long time. Newton's laws of mechanics and the periodic table of elements are relative newcomers."

Isaac Newton believed God created and conserved order in the universe. He believed that a creator designed it specifically for the existence of human life. The discovery of other solar systems outside our own, in 1992, proved that our world was not so uniquely designed and that human life could exist throughout the universe.

As many as 1/4 of all the sun-like stars in the Milky Way may have Earth-like worlds. One of astronomy's goals is to find 'eta-Earth,' the fraction of sun-like stars that have an earth. The number could be one in eight. But it's not one in 100, which was previously estimated. There could be even more Earth-size planets at greater distances, including within the habitable zone (or Goldilocks zone) located at a distance from the star where conditions are not too hot or too cold to allow the presence of liquid water. These are things we know exist.

Stephen Hawking: (cosmological inflation) "thought this a problem for the Big Bang theory before cosmological inflation is taken into account. When it is, the fine-tuning problem of the expansion rate goes away." The expansion rate of the universe and the mass density of the universe values are set by cosmological physics and do not need to be fine-tuned.

Scientists don't make up laws or assume theories and then work backwards to try and prove them, as Creation science assumes a Creator exists that created the world, and then works backwards to prove it. That's why Creation science is still waiting to get any of the answers. The explosive beginning of our universe, the Big Bang marks the earliest time we can probe with current physical theory. Theory have guided our understanding of many things that couldn't be recreate. However, It is a $4 billion instrument that scientists at the European Center of Nuclear Research, or CERN, hope to use to re-create the Big Bang - the event that caused the beginning of the universe - by crashing protons together at high speed. What theory tells us is that from an initial state in which matter and radiation are both in an extremely hot and dense form, the universe expands and the matter cools. At that time, it is believed that all four of the fundamental forces of nature - gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces - were unified. it is known that by the end of the first second of time, the building blocks of matter had formed. By the end of the first three minutes, helium and other light nuclei (like deuterium) had formed but for a long time, temperatures remained too high for the formation of most atoms. At around one million years following the Big Bang, nuclei and electrons were at low enough temperatures to coalesce to form atoms. But the universe didn't start to look like it does today until small perturbations in the matter distribution were able to condense to form the stars and galaxies we know today.

Chuck Johnson said, "So what's the difference between the Universe at large, and life on Earth (and especially, human life on Earth)?

Some intelligent designers have theorized that only universes with laws of physics that are "fine tuned" could support life. If things were even a fraction different from our universe there would be no intelligent life. That would mean that our physical laws might be explained "anthropically," meaning if they were not as they are there would be no life otherwise to observe them. But MIT physics professor Robert Jaffe and his collaborators decided to test this anthropic explanation. So, they tested whether universes with different physical laws could support life. The MIT physicists have showed that universes quite different from ours still have elements similar to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and could therefore evolve life forms quite similar to us, even when the masses of elementary particles called quarks are dramatically altered.

Chuck Johnson said, "The difference is dramatic. The biology and chemistry of human life is astonishingly complex. That complexity is not random, but it is guided, informed, purposed by a particular habit of the Universe itself, in the same way that the Universe insists that lead should melt at 621 degrees F."

We know that Creationists or Intelligent designer's claim that a complex system can only arise out of something with high intelligence. So, the universe and life can only have arisen out of something even more intelligent and complex; it's not science. There is no reason why the physical universe cannot be it's own first cause. As we know from both everyday experience and highly structured scientific observations, complex systems develop from simpler systems all the time in nature (with not even low intelligence required.) Life can evolve from bacteria. And our relatively complex universe could have arisen out of the entity that is the simplest and most mindless of all, the void.

Chuck Johnson said, "Charles Darwin described Natural Selection. He was very clever. The Universe was even more clever to invent this particular habit of terrestrial chemistry. Except that we shouldn't say "invent". The Universe has no mind or brain. So the Universe has the habit of engaging in Natural Selection. A spectacular habit, especially here on Earth.

That's right Chuck, the universe hasn't got a brain, but that comment doesn't mean that someone doesn't think a supernatural brain was behind the creation of the universe?

Scientists have discovered and observe evolution-taking place. Scientists have observed replicating chemical chains forming from non-replicating chains. Scientists have found the answers that have unlocked many of the mysteries of the universe and life in the universe. "God-did-it" has answered nothing.

Chuck Johnson said, "The difference is also dramatic in another way, velocity and acceleration. The rate of our cultural adaptive evolution is spectacular, and it continues to accelerate. I think that the rate of acceleration is also increasing.

You betcha! The universe is expanding. The majority of the objects in the universe are moving away from the Earth. The farther away an object is from the Earth, the faster it is moving away from the Earth. If we keep looking back in time, consequently further collapsing the universe, we eventually reach a time in which the universe has been so thoroughly collapsed that it no longer exists. At this point in (time and space) will be the singularity.

Chuck Johnson said, "This is crazy! - - - Where are we headed next? This is a very nonlinear function, to say the least!"

The universe evolved and continues to evolve."We are star stuff, which has taken its destiny into its own hands. The loom of time and space works the most astonishing transformations of matter." Carl Sagan

Chuck Johnson said, "the laws of physics exist because of the human mind." Linda said, "No, the laws of physics existed first. The universe began with the Big Bang, which simply followed the inevitable law of physics, because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Linda, (A) The Natural Universe has its own ways of doing things. (B) Human scientists have created laws to help them understand the Natural Universe and to make predictions.

So, to make your statements and my statements understandable to each other, we need to have a common terminology. Here is the way that I will now describe the difference between the (A) and the (B):

Whenever I have posted on this subject, I have used Laws of Nature, Laws of physics, Law of Gravity, Newton's Third Law of Motion (or any other phrase beginning with the word "Law") all to mean concepts thought up by humans to help in understanding the Natural Universe, to organize data and knowledge, and to make predictions. This is part (B) above.

Whenever I have referred to what naturally happens in the Universe, I have said such things as: "The natural ways of the Universe" or "The habits of the Universe" or "The way that the Universe does things" This is part (A) above.

So that is the point of confusion. Please understand that I use "Law" to indicate a man-made idea. I leave out the word "Law" when I refer to the natural way that the universe does things.

Many Laws are yet to be discovered. The Natural Universe has been able to accomplish her many and various operations even when humans don't understand those operations, and have no law to refer to.

And now, Linda, don't accuse me of saying "God did it" I am not saying that now, and I didn't say "God did it" previously.

Am I trying to create a theology or a Universe dependent upon a god, but I simply leave out the word God in order to fool people? No, not at all. Not even a little bit. No god is needed to create the Universe or to operate the mechanisms of the Universe. None at all.

So if you now read my August 14th and 15th messages, and you use the definitions that I give in this message, you will understand what I was trying to communicate in those messages.

Reply to: Chuck Johnson (Posted Aug 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm)

Chuck Johnson said, "the laws of physics exist because of the human mind."

Linda said, "No, the laws of physics existed first. The universe began with the Big Bang, which simply followed the inevitable law of physics, because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Chuck Johnson said, "Linda, (A) The Natural Universe has its own ways of doing things. (B) Human scientists have created laws to help them understand the Natural Universe and to make predictions."

I separated these statements up because yours made it look like Linda made some of those idiotic comments.

You think that Isaac Newton created the three laws of motion? He didn't just discover them? The only thing scientists created are the names describing certain phenomenon but they didn't create the phenomenon - unless you think scientists are creators.

Chuck Johnson said, "So, to make your statements and my statements understandable to each other, we need to have a common terminology. Here is the way that I will now describe the difference between the (A) and the (B):

No shit Sherlock! This is what's known as "natural law" and it's not science under any circumstances. You have your own terminology just like you have your own science and alphabet. And guess what? You still can't admit it when you are just flat wrong.

Chuck Johnson said, "Whenever I have posted on this subject, I have used Laws of Nature, Laws of physics, Law of Gravity, Newton's Third Law of Motion (or any other phrase beginning with the word "Law") all to mean concepts thought up by humans to help in understanding the Natural Universe, to organize data and knowledge, and to make predictions. This is part (B) above.

You clearly stated that the "the laws of physics exist because of the human mind." Linda said, "No, the laws of physics existed first. The universe began with the Big Bang, which simply followed the inevitable law of physics, because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Newton didn't create the three laws of motion, he discovered them. The human mind didn't create the laws of Nature, laws of physics or the Law of Gravity humans discovered them.

Chucky Johnson said, "Whenever I have referred to what naturally happens in the Universe, I have said such things as: "The natural ways of the Universe" or "The habits of the Universe" or "The way that the Universe does things" This is part (A) above."

What you are referring to is "natural law" or metaphysics, which is a branch of philosophy that was used to explain everything in the cosmos but they couldn't come up with any proof that there was a reason for this concept. It wasn't answering any questions. It was an unscientific way of thinking. Natural law is not dependent on knowledge or science. It is based on metaphysical philosophical ideas, which was a philosophy concerned with explaining the universe and life in the universe before modern science. Before the scientific method questions were answered by metaphysics or natural philosophy. The scientific method replaced "natural law" or metaphysical philosophy, which was the beginning of the scientific approach that relied on an empirical activity deriving from experiment unlike a philosophy. By the 18th century science was not thought of as a philosophy or metaphysics. On the other hand, "natural law" is a philosophy that doesn't rely on empirical activity or experiments.

Discovering the laws of nature were important activity in science but they were discover through science. Natural laws in science are descriptions not rules. In science an example of a "natural law" is the law of gravity, natural laws are precise descriptions of a force or phenomenon.

Just calling your own prejudices natural law is not science and what you have said doesn't have a thing to do with the fact that scientists didn't create the natural laws of physics they discovered them. Everything is natural because nothing was created in the universe including life in the universe because everything evolved by natural processes.

Chucky Johnson said, "So that is the point of confusion. Please understand that I use "Law" to indicate a man-made idea. I leave out the word "Law" when I refer to the natural way that the universe does things."

You really think scientists created gravity! Or do you think that they discovered it?

Chucky Johnson said, "Many Laws are yet to be discovered. The Natural Universe has been able to accomplish her many and various operations even when humans don't understand those operations, and have no law to refer to."

Everyone knows that there will always be things that science will discover. Science has discovered everything we know about the universe and life in the universe up to right now, and yet, they have not created anything or discovered anything that was created. The universe is just following the natural process or evolution set in motion by the big bang.

Chucky Johnson said, "And now, Linda, don't accuse me of saying "God did it" I am not saying that now, and I didn't say "God did it" previously.

My answer: Chuck Johnson said, "It is a ggod idea for scientists along with everybody else to not pretend to know things that they really don't know." Is that a Freudian slip of the tongue (It is a ggod idea)? Chuck Johnson said, "It is just a trick of the language to declare that the universe was not always in existence. Of course it existed. But if you were to travel backwards in time far enough, the universe might not be at all recognizable. People have their limitations."

Some people have a lot of limitations - fortunately scientists do not. Laws of physics keep us on the ground. laws of biology and chemistry allow life. There was no time before time. The big bang was the beginning of time itself; any discussion about before the big bang is meaningless. The big bang was a sudden, explosive origin of space, time, and matter. Time did not always exist. Time emerged out of space in a continuous process. Continuous meaning time-like quality of a dimension, as opposed to space-like quality, it is not all space or all time; there are shades in between. This can be made as a precise mathematical statement. Time does not exist independently of our universe; so it makes no sense to ask what happened before the Big Bang. You are saying that something is going on besides what the scientists have called the laws of physics because I wrote that the universe would created itself from nothing because of the laws of physics. I know what was said.

Chucky Johnson said, "Am I trying to create a theology or a Universe dependent upon a god, but I simply leave out the word God in order to fool people? No, not at all. Not even a little bit. No god is needed to create the Universe or to operate the mechanisms of the Universe. None at all."

If that were true then what's the problem with the laws of physics allows the universe emerge without any need of a creator?

Chucky Johnson said, "I'd like to know myself, what's going on in atheist's mind when they say that "universe appeared from nothing". I don't expect any logical explanation, though."

You are promoting the 'cosmological argument' that something couldn't come from nothing. A Creator is needed to overcome these problems since if something can't come from nothing there has to be a 'first cause'? What 'caused' God? It's a circular argument that doesn't answer any questions and it's not evidence of anything. The Universe exists because of laws of physics. laws of physics allow a universe to be created from nothing.

Chucky Johnson said, "So if you now read my August 14th and 15th messages, and you use the definitions that I give in this message, you will understand what I was trying to communicate in those messages."

What you're describing is the obsolete philosophy called naturalism or "natural law" and is usually referred to as metaphysics. Natural Law or metaphysics was a philosophy that was prevalent before the scientific method took it's place because science answers questions. The scientific method evolved over time as a method of answering questions. The scientific method allows experiments to be duplicated and scientists can perform experiments and communicate their results to other scientists all over the world. The philosophy of "natural law" does none of these things and isn't science.

The argument was over the fact that I pointed out that the laws of physics existed before the evolution of mankind - since you seem to think man invented the laws of physics (and as I stated) because of the laws of physics the universe can and will create itself (and you argued that no scientist would support that theory) when all of the leading theoretical physicists do support the theory and some have written books about how the universe came from nothing.

Linda, You have made the assertion that present-day scientists working with the Big Bang theory have made calculations that confidently and positively describe what existed prior to 13.7 billion years ago.

You claim that their observations, calculations, and theory assert that prior to 13.7 billion years ago, no matter, no energy, no time, and no gravity existed. Scientists could only know these facts if their theory would cover times previous to 13.7 billion years ago.

They could not and they would not make such an assertion. This is because a singularity occurred, and that singularity is opaque. It is not transparent to our present day observations, calculations, and theories. To describe what lies on the other side of the 13.7 billion year time marker as you have, is contrary to the power and the scope of present cosmological theory. They cannot calculate back past that time, so any previous time is necessarily beyond their power to describe using the same understandings that show us that a singularity occurred 13.7 billion years ago.

The Universe (Human Construct)

This is the Universe of cosmological theory. This construct is the product of human minds. Anything can happen here that suits the needs of the inventors of this theory. They observe, they calculate, and they theorize. And when their theories and calculations show some limitation, the corresponding Universe has exactly that same limitation. There is not a clue about anything prior to 13.7 billion years ago.

The Universe (Natural)

This is the Universe that existed long before the mind of man had any notion of how big the sky was above his head. This Universe will do whatever it wants to do. It needs no permission from any human being, ever. This Universe will be whatever it wants to be forever into the past, everywhere in the present, and forever into the future. It is as big as it wants to be. It has no mind to boggle.

Linda, my August 3rd comment refers to the natural universe, not the Big Bang theory Universe.

To: AG

You've gotten the answers to this rhetorical questions many times but I guess you don't understand them. We can't fix that!

The fact that nothing existed before the Big Bang is not the same as "proving nothing exist". Carl Sagan said, "The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be". George Lemaitre believed the Big Bang was the beginning of time, taking place on "a day without yesterday." In 1998, two separate teams of astronomers in Berkeley, California made a discovery. They were both observing supernovae (exploding stars visible over great distances) to see how fast the universe is expanding. In accordance with prevailing scientific wisdom, the astronomers expected to find the rate of expansion to be decreasing, Instead they found it to be increasing (a discovery which has since "shaken astronomy to its core") Astronomy, October 1999. The observations made in Berkeley supported Lemaitre's contention that the Big Bang was in fact "a day without yesterday."

AG, I hope (this time) you understand that this discredits the claims that you are posting? Do you ever read the replies?

Linda, you may be surprised, but I do read your replies. I even read the books that you quote as time permits.

Have you read Roger Penrose's "The Cycles of Time" or Andrei Linde's article that I quoted before? [http://www.stanford.edu/~alinde/1032226.pdf] or "On the physical basis of cosmic time" by S.E. Rugh and H. Zinkernagel [http://arxiv.org/pdf/0805.1947v1.pdf]

Scientists can only state observable facts. CMB takes us back to fraction of a second "after the big bang". That's as far back in time as we can go. Before then, concepts of time, space, energy, etc. "melt down" (see Rugh and Zinkernagel paper). Any statements as to what was "before" are speculations. It takes a lot of blind faith to think otherwise.

Linda, even if something came from nothing, it is impossible to know, because "nothing" cannot be observed. And even if we know that the universe appeared from nothing, there is still this nasty question "why?" By the way, I've heard atheists say that "God created nothing". Where is the contradiction? :) I hope you understand the humor. I don't mean it as any serious creationist argument. I'm just trying to show that this discussion makes no sense. It's OK to speculate and make conjectures. You may believe what you believe, just don't pretend that your beliefs are based on observations and represent the final truth. That's what Chuck (an atheist) and I (a theist) both agree on. We should cherish this moment of agreement.

Is that right! Chuck who claims to be an atheist and AG a theist agree on darn near everything (what ever Linda writes it's wrong) Gee Whiz! I know someone cares, but who's that stupid?

There is plenty of proof that confirms the afore mentioned scientific theories about the origin of the universe and nothing to date has contrdicted them. Besides all of the supporting information and observations we have from space missions like Voyger 1&2 the LHC is conducting tests now.

Let us know when they come up with actual proof of a Creator that made the universe and man, so that man could make the laws of physics. Wait a minute that's still doesn't work! Sorry Chucky but it just couldn't happen that way!

With an atheist like Chuck who needs theists!

AG said, "Linda, even if something came from nothing, it is impossible to know, because "nothing" cannot be observed.

Inflationary theory shows how a tiny, ephemeral speck emerge from "nothingness" could be boosted into permanence by a period of accelerating expansion and then continue expanding to become "something" the vast universe we know. According to the theory, in the expanding field matter is created out of the growing energy of gravity itself. The matter is considered positive energy, and the gravity is considered negative. The two mathematically cancel each other out, so that the total energy of the growing universe is zero. So the laws of conservation are not violated. Prove it's not true little dandy!

You don't understand how science works or how scientists develop theories. There are many things that we have figured out without being there when it happened. Scientists experiment with many different possible explanations to figure out what something is (or how something happened) the best explanation supported by the evidence becomes a theory. After we develop a theory (figured it out) then we have to find evidence; if there is no evidence there is no theory. The theory of evolution nor the Big Bang theory would have ever become theories if we hadn't found evidence; or if we found something that disproved them, we haven't. We found transitional fossils before we found DNA. The discovery of DNA could have disproved evolution, but DNA supported evolution.That is how scientists develop a theory I have given the details about the evidence and observations that support the Big Bang theory below. Remember the Big Bang theory is "a day without yesterday".

AG said, "And even if we know that the universe appeared from nothing, there is still this nasty question "why?"

What was or was not the "first cause" or initiator? Not a Creator who constantly fine tunes the universe. Before the big bang there was nothing, after the big bang there was everything there ever was are will be. With quantum mechanics things happen spontaneously. If the point of energy that started the expansion was (spontaneous) the cause doesn't need to be considered. "The universe began with the Big Bang, which simply followed the inevitable law of physics, because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

AG said, "By the way, I've heard atheists say that "God created nothing". Where is the contradiction? :)

You must mean the "atheists" who quote bible babble and obviously don't understand that "nothing" is the absence of everything, just like the absence of light is what makes it dark.

Before the Big Bang nothing existed (nothing) meaning the complete absence of everything an infinite void. The Big Bang model is supported by observation and evidence. The Big Bang is the leading theory that almost all astrophysicists believe explains the origin of the universe. The Big Bang theory is the only one that comprehensively lays down a framework for the eventual evolution of the universe that we observe. The Big Bang theory is the basis for other theories about the cosmos. The reason God was created was to fill in the knowledge gaps, but science has taken away the need for that. Creation hasn't offered a useful theory that explains anything about the origin of the universe or life in the universe.

AG said, "I hope you understand the humor. I don't mean it as any serious creationist argument. I'm just trying to show that this discussion makes no sense."

Nincom-fuck'n-poop! We're all giggles!

AG said, " It's OK to speculate and make conjectures. You may believe what you believe, just don't pretend that your beliefs are based on observations and represent the final truth. That's what Chuck (an atheist) and I (a theist) both agree on. We should cherish this moment of agreement."

We have observations that say that the radius of curvature of the Universe is bigger than 70 billion light years. Everything that we measure is within the Universe, and we see no edge or boundary or center of expansion. So, we can't see that there is anything that the Universe could be expanding into. The point is that there is nothing outside the Universe. Now do understand why Georges Lemaître 's Big Bang model "was the beginning of time, taking place on "a day without yesterday." In 1929 Edwin Hubble's systematic observations of other galaxies confirmed the red shift. In England the Royal Astronomical Society gathered to consider this seeming contradiction between visual observation and the theory of relativity. Sir Arthur Eddington volunteered to work out a solution. When Lemaitre read of these proceedings, he sent Eddington a copy of his 1927 paper. The British astronomer realized that Lemaitre had bridged the gap between observation and theory. If the universe was expanding (and it was and still is) the implication of that observation is the universe had a beginning. Time had not gone on forever. Boundless millions of years had passed before the universe came into existence. Big Bang theorists made several predictions that have eventually supported the theory. The first is Hubble's observation of the redshift-distance relationship. This relationship enables us to approximate the age of the universe with the help of three separate celestial bodies that all arrive at the same relative result. Hubble used what is known as "standard candles" to build a "cosmic distance ladder." By knowing the distance of certain celestial bodies he would be able to incrementally construct an age for the Universe. These standard candles were: Cepheid variables in neighborhood galaxies; bright stars in more distant galaxies and in galaxies millions of parsecs away, the brightness of the galaxy itself was used as a standard candle.

An aspect of the Big Bang theory is quantum vacuum fluctuations - virtual particles are particle-antiparticle pairs that come into existence in otherwise empty space for very brief periods of time, in agreement with the Heisenberg uncertainty relations.

Physicists have known for a long time that some fundamental particles have mass, but the mathematics underlying the standard model predicts that they should be mass less. Without the zero mass assumption the (Big Bang) model doesn't work. Peter Higgs presented a possible solution to this problem. He hypothesized at an early time after the Big Bang all particle became liquid. But as the Universe cooled down, one the Higgs field started to condense and become thick. Other particles, interacting with the Higgs field, were dragged back. Particles which experience this drag effect are experiencing inertia, one has to push them with a force to get them to move. According to Newton, any particle with inertia also has mass. Higgs' mechanism tells us how the particles of the standard model were mass less, as the mathematics tell us may have acquired non-zero masses. The amount of mass each particle feels is proportional to the strength with which it feels the effect of the Higgs thick fluid. The Higgs Boson is what the LHC was looking for among other things, and they have recently announced that think they have found the Higgs Boson.

"I think we have it," Rolf-Dieter Heuer, the director general of CERN, said in an interview from his office outside Geneva, calling the discovery "a historic milestone."

This probably the end of the longest, most expensive searches in the history of science; a discovery that could lead to the answers and evidence of how the universe began.

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." There is no logical theory about the existence of God, if there was they would present it like Darwin did with the theory of evolution, and then let the experts examine the evidence. There is no evidence of "design" or that anything was "created", but there is plenty of evidence of evolution and the Big Bang.

Scientists first evaluate the plausibility of an explanation for some phenomena before they apply it to a theory. Scientists can't just say something is possible without evidence or demonstrations that prove something is possible. So, your little rant is just more of the same; because what you know about this topic you can put in your eye, this is just more spouting off (without giving any actual data) to interrupt something. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad" - Aldous Huxley

Obviously logic has nothing to do with belief in fairy tales.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" Epicurus.

I think this paradox proves that it defies reason to believe in an all good, omnipresent, Omnipotent God. Nobody has solved this paradox. Some Christians claim they have but their solutions were very faulty like everything else they come up with. Why would God not only create but perpetuate evil? Even if your god exists, he is undeserving of worship.

AG said, "I'd like to know myself, what's going on in atheist's mind when they say that "universe appeared from nothing". I don't expect any logical explanation, though."

Just keep reading and you & chuck will get all of those answers again - for the I don't know how manyth times.

Linda, I love paradoxes. Often, there is wisdom in them. "I know I know nothing" is a phrase ascribed to Socrates which was considered to be a sign of his wisdom. Shakespeare seconds that: "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." which resonates with Judeo-Christian idea of humility and the Borowski's video that Chuck quoted in "selling atheism" thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqOfqBoafTc from Jacob Bronowski's The Ascent of Man: Knowledge or Certainty. I know many of these paradoxes concerning almighty and omniscient God. I don't think they prove anything. They just prove that there are things that we cannot understand with reason. A useful exercise to show the limits of our reasoning ability.

Reply to From: AG (Posted Aug 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm)

AG said, "Linda, I love paradoxes. Often, there is wisdom in them. "I know I know nothing" is a phrase ascribed to Socrates which was considered to be a sign of his wisdom."

The Epicurean paradox about the problem of evil is about belief in something that isn't logical; it's not about how much you know, it's about what you can figure out. You can find this saying cited in Seneca. Sometimes it is even pleasant to go mad, but neither that nor I Know I know nothing have a thing to do with the Epicurean paradox about the problem of evil. Nothing!

AG said, "Shakespeare seconds that: "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." which resonates with Judeo-Christian idea of humility."

We know religion depends on the stupidity and gullibility of it's victims, but don't call it humility. Call it what it is stupidity.

AG said, "I know many of these paradoxes concerning almighty and omniscient God. I don't think they prove anything. They just prove that there are things that we cannot understand with reason. A useful exercise to show the limits of our reasoning ability."

Yes, if I were spreading senseless irrational beliefs that's what I would tell everyone. "You just can't understand this stuff with reason." Don't use logic or reason just believe.

Speak for yourself when you are commenting on what anyone can figure out! It actually shows your inability to accept the irrationality of what you were indoctrinated to believe. Probably from birth.

The "Epicurean paradox" disproves the existence of the biblical god. If an omnipotent, omniscient, good and perfect god existed then how can evil exist? If god is perfect, then god would want to do away with evil; if god is omnipotent He has the power to rid the world of evil, and if god is omniscient (knows everything) He knows how to do it. So if evil exists the god of the bible babble doesn't.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" Epicurus.

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" Epicurus.

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Linda, Thanks - - - I had not seen this logical analysis before, stating the various logical conclusions based upon the premise of omnipotence.

I came up with logical conclusions years ago based upon the assertions of various Christian sects concerning who and what God is.

Christians (especially fundamentalist and catholic Christians) assert that God is both omnipotent and omniscient.

Omniscient means that God knows everything. Such Christians also assert that God created everything and everyone.

At the moment that God creates each human being, God already knows the answer to the question "Will this human being accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior?"

Knowing THAT answer as God is in the process of creating each one of us is all of the proof needed that it is God, and God alone who decides that a particular human being should and must spend an eternity suffering in hell as proper punishment for the willful disobedience of refusing to accept Jesus Christ as the lord and savior.

Because God creates each one of us, and because God knows (in complete detail) the outcome of each person's life as he is doing so, we know all that we need to know to see the smug holier-than-thou I'M SAVED ! mentality in perspective. These people build themselves up by tearing others down. This is their way of emulating the God of the old testament.

What the hell kind of god is this ?

More and more human beings are willing to stand in judgment of this god, and to cast him, his Chick Tracts, and some of the cheesier kitchen gadgets from Ron Popeil into the fiery furnace.

Some stuff that we believe and take for granted, we cannot even express with words E.g. try to explain how our mind determines that one small object is heavier than another small object by picking both with two fingers - we are not aware how this judgment happens in our brain.

AG, I know how our mind determines the weight of small objects. I only know a little about it. If money were applied to finding out more, we would learn more. If curiosity and diligence were applied, we would find out more. Some researchers may already know a great deal about this phenomenon, but I haven't looked for any published information.

Here's what I want you to do: In a quiet environment, plug up one of your ears with a finger or with your thumb. Press gently. Now listen. You will hear a low-pitched rumbling sound. Next, bring your head down onto a desk or table such that the finger is lightly pressed into the ear, not by the force of finger muscles, but by the weight of your head. The rumbling sound stops.

When finger muscle tension supplies the force, rumbling occurs. When weight supplies the force, silence.

Go ahead, do a little science. Get curious. Tell me what you find. Then I want you to tell me why this is. If you can't tell me, then I will tell you. It is related to the problem of sensing weight by the use of your muscles.

Chuck, cool test with the ear. I love this kind of things. You should read the Jaynes's book. It has a few tests with discovering our "blind spot" (you know, the place in the eye retina where the nerves are attached). It's interesting that we are not aware that we see "nothing" in that spot. We don't see "emptiness", we see "nothing" and we are totally unaware of it! The brain is quite sure, there are no gaps in our vision. Brings some allegories to mind. I do think that studying ourselves, how our brains, emotions, reflexes work is far more useful and practical than studying the surface of Mars or distant supernova.

Science is cool. What's wrong with believing "God did it" as long as we are willing to go ahead and find out how he did it? I don't see a principal contradiction in such approach.

AG, I would like to know what kind of God you believe in.

I believe that God is a fictional character, the same as Tom Sawyer or Daffy Duck. I have a great deal of admiration for the wit and wisdom of Tom and Daffy, but they are mere puppets who say and do what the authors and scriptwriters tell them. I see the Pope and many other religious leaders as scriptwriters and ventriloquists who push people around by saying "You had better obey because it is the word of God."

I would love to see a performance where the ventriloquist comes out dressed as the Pope, and then puts a little Jesus on his knee. Sinead would probably like it, too.

Do you believe in a self-conscious God? Does God have thoughts and desires? Is he a jealous and angry God? Does he create things and destroy things? Am I risking one of God's lightning bolts by typing these insolent questions?

What do you believe?

Chuck,

I appreciate your interest. I've seen a lot of condemnation and criticism in atheist forums, I have not seen much interest to understand.

I believe, there is a force that "makes things happen" - in physical world, but, most importantly, in our minds. There is "something" that drives us towards better life - justice, love, etc. I think, it's a simple human belief, and many atheists may believe the same thing. For me, it is hard to imagine the possibility of any social progress without such belief. I believe that we should seek to understand this force and submit to it. Christians may call it "the Holy Spirit", Linda may say, it's "genetic code", but those are just words, placeholders for the concept. We are talking about the same thing, whether we want it or not.

We only understand what we can visualize. Some people visualize God as an old man with a beard in the sky. Some visualize the Holy Spirit as a dove, light, or water. I don't think, any of those are correct visualizations. I may agree that "God" of the OT who writes with a finger on stone tablets and walls and speaks from a cloud or Jesus of the NT are fictional characters - attempts to visualize the concepts. You know wisdom when you see it. It may come from Tom Sawyer, Daffy Duck, Winnie the Pooh, Cat in the Hat, or Jesus. God is wisdom, not Daffy Duck. As for Jesus, even Christians believe, he was a man. If I think of Jesus in a sense that I described, it does not matter to me if he is fictional. I view the virgin birth and physical resurrection as symbols. The Bible is full of such symbols and metaphors. Such views do not contradict the idea that Jesus can save us (where "Jesus" is a visualization of the "force" driving us towards good).

You said, "I see the Pope and many other religious leaders as scriptwriters and ventriloquists who push people around by saying "You had better obey because it is the word of God." I agree. I do not like this tone either. In a church where I go, there were several sermons on this very issue with the main thought "do not put your own words in God's mouth, put God's words into your mouth". In NT, this was frequently an issue between Jesus and the Pharisees. They were trying to push their agenda on him using the letter of the law. So, your attitude is not "anti-Christian". In fact, I find it Christian. We don't need a performance of a ventriloquist. Frequently, it's enough to step into a church to see such performance.

"Do you believe in a self-conscious God?" -- I don't think, I can make a coherent speech on this subject. Just to show the nonsense of this question, I will try. He is supposed to be conscious of everything. That includes himself, doesn't it? Also, without self-consciousness, how can one feel compassion? Or how can one feel compassion without the ability of being hurt or harmed or feel pain? Hmm... On the other hand, I'm not sure if being conscious of everything is different than being conscious of nothing. Both concepts are nonsense. It only makes sense to be conscious of something in particular. Once we say "I'm conscious of X", we must be conscious of our consciousness. Being conscious of my consciousness makes as much sense as knowledge of knowledge, beliefs about beliefs, and reasoning about reason. This does not make much sense, does it? As I said above, such questions are only useful to show the limits of our reasoning abilities. They simply short-circuit our logic machine. We have to step outside this logic machine to comprehend the issue.

"Does God have thoughts and desires? Is he a jealous and angry God?" Can a force have thoughts and desires or be jealous and angry or be conscious of itself? We give these attributes to the forces with our metaphoric language (furious storm, calm weather). And we have to understand these forces to survive.

"Does he create things and destroy things?" You can say, "things appear and disappear", or "being created and destroyed". It's linguistics which reflects how we think about things. These two phrases say the same thing.

"Am I risking one of God's lightning bolts by typing these insolent questions?" -- We all are risking to die the next minute, regardless of what we do. We'd better do something good while we can :).

AG said, God is wisdom, not Daffy Duck.

Ag, Would you be confident in telling some (or all) of your church friends that you do not believe in a human-like god who makes plans and then executes those plans with a resulting effect here on Earth? Would some of them consider this to be a scandalous and atheistic admission?

Do you and your church friends contemplate and discuss the possibility that God is a fictional character, and does not really have the biblical attributes of a super wise and powerful human being? Would they discuss the possibility that God might be just plain wisdom, without a king-of-kings mind and body attached to it?

Come to think of it, why are you posting on an atheist forum, anyway? Do you also post comments on religion-sponsored forums?

And finally, I can supply you with an Atheist license. I got it in a Cracker Jack box, and I can sell it to you cheap. - - - All I want is your Immortal Soul.

--------------------- Chuck.

Chuck,

As you noted, and I agreed, confidence in one's opinion is a form of pride. I have no confidence whatsoever that my understanding of what God is, what he looks like and what his plans are is accurate. This is why I do not try to impose my beliefs on others. I am more interested to learn what others believe.

Look at the reaction to your posts. Atheists may say they are open-minded, but try to agree with a theist in an atheist forum, and the limits of this "tolerance" and "open-mindedness" will immediately materialize. Atheists say, there is no agreement between Christians on what they believe. Strangely enough, there is as much disagreement between atheists on what they disbelieve. Admitting that 1 Corinthians 13 makes sense, as you may have seen, is considered by some atheists a fairly scandalous and religious admission deserving "excommunication".

Christians do have questions and doubts about Bible and they are very much discussed in various settings. Bible studies are not just memorizing sessions. And they are not focused on debunking atheist views.

Why I post in an atheist forum? Read Popper. Theories are confirmed by systematic attempts to falsify them. When all attempts to obtain evidence that contradicts a theory end up confirming it, the theory becomes more credible. This is what is happening to my beliefs here. Besides, I learn a lot. Replying to a challenging posts motivates me to read books on physics, philosophy, biology, psychology, ethics, etc. I'm trying to see if science truly debunks religious beliefs.

AG Said: Look at the reaction to your posts. Atheists may say they are open-minded, but try to agree with a theist in an atheist forum, and the limits of this "tolerance" and "open-mindedness" will immediately materialize.

Yes. - - - I am an Enemy of The People.

Ag, The rumble test with your ear shows that muscle tension is a dynamic thing, changing repeatedly within the space of a second. That is the origin of the rumble. Your brain constantly delivers signals to your muscles. Your muscle tension is regulated because your brain wants various muscles to have a particular tension at a particular time to accomplish a particular goal. Some is regulated consciously, some is not noticed by you.

When you start an exercise program, you may overdo it and get sore muscles. Your muscles are full of pain sensors. I didn't look it up, but there are likely other types of nerve endings in your muscles, not just pain sensors.

In addition to these two starting points, we have Darwin's insights, that whenever some useful system is needed in a biological system, it tends to develop over time in response to selection pressure. Animals need to be able to sense weight, strain, and tension in their body parts.

So, already we have three avenues to explore. You could do library and internet research, or you could do laboratory research. Then you would know more.

Exploring lots of little mysteries, and then sharing your results with the world has been a very successful way for scientists to gain big knowledge. It starts with curiosity.

When science wants the big answers, it usually comes by way of combining lots of small answers.

Chuck,

Would you agree that our brain detects changes in gravity without any consciousness involved? We can learn these mechanisms, but the process will still be subconscious. My point is that humans make lots of judgments without realizing it (consider optical illusions, for example, with circles that seem to be spinning or parallel lines that seem to be warped).

Claiming that humans are rational beings is a far stretch. I know, you understand this, but I have seen many atheists who claim that logic and reason are the only way we should make judgments. If we did, we would not go very far. It's important to understand when our mind tricks us and in what way. Logic and reason are expensive and slow ways to learn. Besides, if our senses and equipment trick us, logic and reason will produce erroneous judgments. I would not be very harsh on people who believe something without much evidence. Every human is full of such beliefs.

"Errare humanum est perseverare diabolicum." -- Seneca (Cicero and St. Augistine have similar quotes).

I like this one too:

"Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join; To err is human, to forgive divine." -- Alexander Pope

All of this, of course, resonates with 1 Corinthians 13 that you quoted.

AG, Your message of August 17th is full of fluff and filler material. This is a low quality message from you. "Claiming that humans are rational beings is a far stretch."

AG, When any human does simple arithmetic and is competent at it, that person is using their mind in a way that is almost purely rational. When a person has a seizure, that person is experiencing a process of the brain which is almost entirely irrational.

Processes of the mind have varying degrees of rationality. Your "far stretch" statement is itself a far stretch. What were you trying to do? To prove that humans are irrational and therefore we should believe in God? Do not try to bamboozle me. Be more respectful to yourself and to me.

"Logic and reason are expensive and slow ways to learn."

Yes, and when the learning and decision-making are important, these ways to learn are worth every penny.

If these slow, difficult processes had been widely and honestly applied to the questions of Master Race, the human race would have greatly benefited. Look again at the Jacob Bronowski video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkgkook5jro

Chuck said, "Your "far stretch" statement is itself a far stretch." -- perhaps.

Chuck said, " What were you trying to do? To prove that humans are irrational and therefore we should believe in God?" -- no. We shouldn't believe in God because we are irrational. But it helps to understand the limits of our rationality and not pretend that we are rational when we are not.

Chuck said, "Logic and reason are expensive and slow ways to learn." Yes, and when the learning and decision-making are important, these ways to learn are worth every penny."

I agree. This is why I am being skeptical of my own beliefs and challenging some views of the atheists. As you may have noticed, skepticism of many atheists is very selective. Declaring atheism and scientific method to be the only true, acceptable, and ethical points of view is as dangerous as accepting a state religion. I grew up in the Soviet Union. I've seen it.

"I would not be very harsh on people who believe something without much evidence."

AG, The concept of being either harsh or lenient on these people doesn't make much sense. The question is: Will I be informative and educational on these people?

The answer depends upon how competent those people as students, and it depends upon how competent I am as a teacher. Some educational attempts make sense, other attempts might be a waste of time. Choose your students wisely. Always work to increase your talents a teacher.

Harshness develops when the educational process is not being successful.

Chuck, you say, "The question is: Will I be informative and educational on these people? The answer depends upon how competent those people as students, and it depends upon how competent I am as a teacher. Some educational attempts make sense, other attempts might be a waste of time. Choose your students wisely. Always work to increase your talents a teacher."

This sounds like a good advice. And I agree with you. But in practice this is immensely difficult. How do you judge that you are in a position to teach without assuming that your knowledge is superior? Isn't it for the student to make this judgment? Students should chose their teachers, not the other way around.

How do you judge that a student is capable of learning or yourself is competent as a teacher without trying to teach the student? And how do you become competent as a teacher?

Even the Bible is fuzzy on this subject. These two proverbs are next to each other: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself." and "Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." When I read this, I closed the book and thought there is a typo or mistranslation. Then I compared different version. There is no error in the text. Go figure... (I don't mean to call anyone a "fool" here. I'd be one if I do).

I also have hard time to make sense of these two passages: "When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the "sinners" and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: "Why does he eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2)

Compare that to Paul in 1 Cor. 5: "But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat."

and "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." in Matthew 7:6.

Where is truth? Strangely as it seems, perhaps, there is wisdom in all of these statements, depending on a situation. I don't think, we can make the right decision in this matter by reason alone.

AG said, Chuck, you say, "The question is: Will I be informative and educational on these people? The answer depends upon how competent those people as students, and it depends upon how competent I am as a teacher. Some educational attempts make sense, other attempts might be a waste of time. Choose your students wisely. Always work to increase your talents a teacher." This sounds like a good advice. And I agree with you. But in practice this is immensely difficult. How do you judge that you are in a position to teach without assuming that your knowledge is superior? Isn't it for the student to make this judgment? Students should chose their teachers, not the other way around. How do you judge that a student is capable of learning or yourself is competent as a teacher without trying to teach the student? And how do you become competent as a teacher? -------------------------------------------------------------------

Why should students and teachers not both be competent and careful when choosing ? - - - Sounds like you were more interested in the rhetoric than in the thought.

Being able to engage effectively with the mind of another is the business of being a good student and a good teacher.

Gasoline engines power automobiles, and those engines put out a certain amount of torque and a certain amount of RPMs. At low speeds, your wheels need plenty of torque but low RPMs. At turnpike speeds, high RPMs are needed, but then the car has to make do with reduced torque.

Such cars use a gearbox to shift gears. The gear that you choose determines the ratio between the torque output and the RPMs output. If you try to drive in the wrong gear, the process of transferring power to the wheels becomes inefficient.

Human minds must have something in common, too in order to make the transfer of ideas efficient (or even possible).

If those minds agree on nearly everything, then you have a mutual admiration society, and not much learning or teaching gets done.

If those minds are disrespectful to each other, or if they are incomprehensible to each other, then not much learning or teaching gets done.

I have noticed that this is true in music. Good music includes things that are familiar, common, and well understood. Good music must also have things which are original and surprising.

Be contentious when needed, be in agreement when you think that you understand.

The very best kind of teaching occurs when the teacher is simultaneously the student. When this does not happen, the educational system is not much more than a textbook or a video presentation, complete with true-false and multiple choice questions at the end to validate the "quality" of the learning experience. In science, some of the best teaching occurs not in the classroom, but in the laboratory. When nature becomes your teacher, you might become a student of a lesson never taught before.

Teach subjects that are exciting to you. Keep learning more about the subject. Choose students who are or who can become excited about the subject under study.

Teaching so that your students earn a degree and make money is ok, but we can do better than just making money.

This dialog from "The Breakfast Club", 1985

"When you grow up, your heart dies" "So, who cares" "I care"

Chuck said: " Human minds must have something in common, too in order to make the transfer of ideas efficient (or even possible).

If those minds agree on nearly everything, then you have a mutual admiration society, and not much learning or teaching gets done.

If those minds are disrespectful to each other, or if they are incomprehensible to each other, then not much learning or teaching gets done. "

These are good points. Thanks.

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly" Do not let your mind fall prey to the same untruth and illogic as the fool. If you do, you can not teach him things that are true and logical.

"Answer a fool according to his folly" Do not try to straighten out the untruth and illogic of a fool until you go to the trouble of understanding the subject matter in the same way that the fool understands it. When you thoroughly understand both the incorrect logic and the correct logic, you then have a chance of handing the fool the correct logic, and having him actually make use of his new knowledge.

"Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners" Remember that this was Jesus who was eating with the sinners. Jesus was not interested in preaching to the choir. In addition, Jesus did not need to worry about being corrupted or tempted to collect taxes or to sin. Jesus was not susceptible to such debasement. He was special.

"You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother" Apparently, Saint Paul was giving advice to some just plain folk who did not have the incorruptibility of the son of God. Apparently, Saint Paul thought that socially isolating these two-faced sinners would send a message of disapproval to the sinners, and to other people who were watching what was going on. In addition, Saint Paul was probably concerned that bad habits of the sinners could rub off onto people who might associate with them.

"Do not throw your pearls before swine" Here, Saint Matthew was contrasting the beauty and perfection of a pearl with the filth, stupidity, and coarseness of swine. The pearl is a stand-in for the best that you have to offer (especially wisdom) and the swine is a stand-in for people who are not ready to accept, understand, or to believe the wisdom that you offer them.

In other words, Saint Matthew was offering his advice that teachers should choose their students wisely.

Chuck, you accuse me of saying things for the sake of rhetoric. Then you proceed to say that one should understand the issue thoroughly to have a chance of handing the fool the correct knowledge. You seem quite confident that your knowledge and interpretation is correct (despite the video that you quoted so many times). Then you say:

"Remember that this was Jesus who was eating with the sinners. Jesus was not interested in preaching to the choir. In addition, Jesus did not need to worry about being corrupted or tempted to collect taxes or to sin. Jesus was not susceptible to such debasement. He was special."

Following this logic, we should not do anything that Jesus did or said. Don't they teach that Jesus was fully human - susceptible to doubt, fear, pain, etc.? (see the agony in the garden of Gethsemane).

I don't want to turn an atheist forum into a Bible study session. This stuff can be debated for hours with no conclusion. That's the thing with the Bible. It creates questions and leaves them open forever. And our mind goes around in circles approaching some truth with every iteration. It also has the ability to take our own words and the blood we spill and turn them back on our own heads. No wonder, people find it depressing.

AG Said: Chuck, you accuse me of saying things for the sake of rhetoric. AG Said: Students should choose their teachers, not the other way around.

AG, Now I have two rhetorical items to take you to task for. - - - One is your pluralizing "things for the sake of rhetoric" It isn't plural. It's just one line, the line about "students choosing their teachers." Turning one item into more than one item amplifies the accusation, or makes it more dramatic. Don't use this rhetorical tool. - - - Leave it singular, or just one item.

The other piece of rhetoric, or debater's technique, or illogical logic, is the implication that when you assert that students should choose their teachers, this then implies that teachers should not choose their students. I responded that both students and teachers should choose wisely.

The paragraph above points out a type of low quality, defective thinking that I see everywhere. It is almost standard operating procedure in human discourse. I am talking about the logic that says (for example), that when you offer evidence that "Religion Causes Harm" that evidence refutes the evidence that "Religion Provides Benefits" I get annoyed as I read that Religion-Causes-Harm thread and I see that people assert proposition A intending to refute proposition B.

This is crazy.

There is a huge body of evidence that religion causes harm. I don't doubt the harmfulness for a second. There is a huge body of evidence that religion provides benefits. I don't doubt that religion provides benefits for a second. The true evidence exists on both sides. I pick and choose, looking for truth, not trying to assert a political point by sweeping contrary evidence under the rug. Evidence is evidence. We look at the sum total, and then we can declare our perceptions of truth. Evidence can change. We can change our mind. The effort to reduce bias and prejudice in the gathering and examining of evidence is a very important goal in the search for truth. This effort is well understood by scientists and by skeptics.

Republican or Democrat, Communist or Capitalist, Up Or Down, Left or Right, strongly identifying yourself with a political position and then picking and choosing evidence according to which side that you prefer to "win" the argument blinds a person to the truth. The thought process gets seriously compromised. Truth gets trampled.

Just because I believe that God is a fictional character, does not mean that all of the ideas in the bible should be rejected. I reject or accept things based upon evidence of their truthfulness and their usefulness. You know that. You have seen me do that. My assessment of truth and utility are subject to change. This is the logical, reasonable, skeptical way to do things.

Becoming a zealous partisan of a particular proposition appeals to many people. They use their identification with a cause as a shortcut to belonging to a group of people. It gives them confidence, and it reduces confusion. They use it (they think) as a shortcut to truth. Instead, it generally turns out to be a detour to erroneous thinking, to arrogant thinking, to smug thinking.

AG Said: I don't want to turn an atheist forum into a Bible study session. This stuff can be debated for hours with no conclusion.

AG, It's much simpler than that. You asked, and I answered. You gave me examples of bible quotations that you asserted were confusing or contradictory to you, and you said "Go figure." I went and figured, and I gave you simple, clear explanations which would reduce confusion. We can't ask the authors, they are long since dead. You took offence at my explanations.

You obviously used your emotions to reply. I am used to better quality comments from you than this.

When people use their emotions as a thinking tool, they become stupid. Emotions cannot be eliminated, and an attempt to eliminate them would make no sense. But to think clearly, emotions must be reduced to a low level. The only emotion (if this can be called an emotion) which enhances clear thinking and the search for truth is curiosity. Having plenty of curiosity is beneficial to the work of scientists and skeptics.

You seem to prize the awe and mystery of the paradoxes found in the bible. I see the bible as just a book written by people. You have said the same thing, but you sure don't act as if the bible is just a (non-supernatural) book.

Archeologists are constantly digging up pottery, tools, bones, etc. associated with ancient civilizations. We don't use those clay pots for cooking, and we don't try to feed ourselves by harvesting game using ancient arrowheads. But religions all over the world (christianity, too) are doing a very similar thing. I value the useful knowledge in 1 Corinthians 13, but to me most of the information in the Bible cannot and must not be used as a road map to guide someone's life. The information in the Bible is so ancient that it has become like tea leaves or a crystal ball.

When people say that the Bible guides their life, they are in many cases being arrogant and deceitful. Those people do what they please, and then they point to a divine mandate in the bible that legitimizes the sometimes crazy, selfish, malicious things that they do. You can take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, or you can turn the other cheek. Anything and everything is divinely approved for you. Just indulge in wishful or prayerful thinking as you read the bible.

To me, the greatest value of the bible is as an archaeological artifact. Used that way, it can be very informative.

So in lieu of obedience to ancient scriptures, what roadmap for one's life can I recommend? Here it is:

When you want or need something for yourself, think of others. When you attempt to get something for yourself, do it in a way that helps other people get something for themselves, something that they want or need.

That is easily stated, but to get proficient at it takes thought, learning, and practice. Gaining that proficiency will be time and effort well spent.

Ag, In my previous message: " When you want or need something for yourself - - - "

I should have included this:

Spend time developing your brainpower. Your best thoughts and the actions that you take based upon your best thoughts are your gift to the world.

Encourage others (children included) to learn, and to make use of their knowledge. Help people to express their intellectual talents. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. (As the UNCF continues to remind us).

Alan, The story of God is much simpler than you indicate. God is a lie that is thousands of years old. God was invented by curious scientists and philosophers to help explain where things come from and why things happen the way that they do. God was then co-opted by people at the top of the Pyramid of Authority. God then became a weapon of terror, and a promise of infinte joy in the afterlife.

If you think that the crazy stories told by church people make sense, then you need to seriously improve the way that you think. Learning how to figure things out is a very important talent for human beings as they grow and try to gain truthful knowledge.

When you were a child, you spoke as a child, and you understood as a child. Now that you are a man, you should put away childish things.

--------------------------------- Chuck.

Chuck, those are your beliefs about the origins of religion. You might be interested to read Julian Jaynes "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind". Jaynes suggests that religion has its origins in neurological evolution of humankind (that's my wording) and seems to be a precursor for development of consciousness. The theory is controversial, but the arguments are very compelling and have influenced a lot of thoughts and research in modern philosophy and psychology.

AG, Are you telling me that Jaynes says that religion came first, and then consciousness ?

If so, I am properly warned to not bother reading anything by Jaynes. - - - -Preposterous is the word that comes to mind.

If, on the other hand, Janes points to religion and consciousness developing at the same time and each enhancing the development of the other, then we would then have a logical theory or conjecture to think about.

"If, on the other hand, Janes points to religion and consciousness developing at the same time and each enhancing the development of the other, then we would then have a logical theory or conjecture to think about."

Yes, that's the idea in a nutshell. Jaynes's theory is controversial and a bit old. I've heard opinions that he defines consciousness too narrowly. I'd like to finish reading his book and then read some more up-to-date research. However, he has a few interesting ideas. He argues that most of our activities do not require consciousness. Simplest examples are walking, driving a car or riding a bicycle - we are not aware (conscious) of every action. He argues that early men went about their lives without much consciousness, and when a non-standard situation arose, they were at loss on what to do and looked up for some authority. Often the voice of authority came subconsciously in a form of hallucinations of the same nature as hallucinations of schizophrenics today. These hallucinations were (and still are), sometimes, more vivid than reality and compelled people to obey immediately. He backs up his theory by works of ancient literature, today's neuro-psychological research, and observations of various cultures. In a sense, he argues that religion was an evolutionary step in development of consciousness. Dawkins said about his theory "It is one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between ..."

Anyway, my point is that we, sometimes, form our opinions on certain things without knowing what they really are, where they came from, etc. I agree with you that we need to draw a clear line between known facts and assumptions/beliefs/conjectures. Not many people can do that, and atheists are no different in this respect. Examples of such unjustified statements, in my opinion, include statements like "the universe appeared from nothing", "all religion is toxic", etc. These are beliefs, attitudes, and conjectures, not facts. I am advocating more humility and less judgment for atheists and believers alike. I think, this is an important component of making our society better and it happens to be an important part of Christianity, whatever it is based on. The existence of God, factual basis of Bible stories, and the actual behavior of Christians are irrelevant to this point.

Anyone interested in where this came from look at ...'ATHEIST COMMUNITY OF AUSTIN' UNDER THE TOPIC 'SCIENCE OF GOD'

Where Linda discussed "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind"- Julian Jaynes

While writing The Origin of Consciousness, Jaynes consulted with scholars who were experts in many of the areas he discussed.

Jaynes theory is that gradual evolution over a long period of time is not the only method of evolution. I found this (Saltation is macromutation) major changes occur in a single mutation not via the accumulation of many small changes called micro-mutation. If consciousness was a more recent development, then it could have been a mutation.

The neuroscientist Antonio Damasio is a researcher whose ideas are consistent with those of Jaynes. He explicitly refers to Jaynes in his 1999 book entitled The Feeling of What Happens (chapter 6, pages 187-188).

Neuroscientist Michael Persinger: "Within the last five years science has found that single point mutations on genes can produce permanent changes in speech production. There is now evidence that point mutations, whose mechanisms must still be discerned, can diffuse within decades throughout entire populations.

The geneticist Bruce Lahn's team has found new variants of brain development genes: One, ASPM (abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated) appears to have risen to high frequency in Europe and the Middle East in about six thousand years. We don't yet know what this new variant does, but it certainly could affect the human psyche. This concept opens strange doors. If true, it means that the people of Sumeria and Egypt's Old Kingdom were probably fundamentally different from us:

New research continues to shed new light on each of Jaynes's hypotheses, for example brain imaging studies of auditory hallucinations and the ongoing debate over the role of language in consciousness. There have been very few published, substantive criticisms of Jaynes's theory. An early criticism by philosopher Ned Block (that Jaynes confused the emergence of consciousness with the emergence of the concept of consciousness) was effectively countered by Jaynes as well as Daniel Dennett (1986). More recently, the Dutch philosopher Jan Sleutels (2007) meticulously countered Block's arguments.

The brain and consciousness are area that were not studied extensively - scientifically until recent times. The reason for all the sudden interest in (consciousness) and the brain and how it works is because they are developing artificial intelligence or artificial life - and it's very close - if not already here. This will be artificial intelligence that is far superior to human intelligence. It will be able to learn and make decisions. It could conceivably destroy the human race if it deemed that the world would be better off without it.

The scientists know that we have to find a real way of dealing with the evolution of morality (not ancient myths) because that won't work in the future.

Linda, I have not read all posts on this thread since 2010, and I did not find Jaynes' book from that particular post. But I have to give to you the credit for pointing me to it. I was curious where this quote of yours came from:

From: Linda (Posted Jul 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm) in General Discussion Disbelief as the default position

"Man is not hardwired for belief in things without evidence (aka god) but there has been approximately 15 million changes in our species' genome since our common ancestor with the chimpanzee. Humans do have accelerated regions in the genome with genes known to be involved in transcriptional regulation and neuro-development. Related genes, attributed to religious beliefs, are found on the same chromosome (for example, chromosome 10) as propensities for specific forms of epilepsy (partial, with auditory features) and schizophrenia. There are many examples of hearing Gods voice in the OT and NT. Religions, gods, and fortune telling are remains of the earlier stage of pre-consciousness thought. Man's mind before he was fully-conscious. Early man did not make decisions on his own. The concept of independence and self-reliant, did not exist. Whenever a decision had to be made, early man looked for a sign from an outside authority, such as a king or a god, to tell him what to do. Beliefs are on faith not knowledge, and these beliefs come from being told something is true without any way of testing the theory. It really comes from indoctrination, and the belief that one has depends on their culture or surroundings."

I wondered where this phrase came from "Early man did not make decisions on his own" and I found it on some obscure web site which cited Jaynes' book. So, thank you. I always appreciate when you cite your sources and I try to read them when I have time.

Jaynes' book is quite interesting, isn't it? By the way, I think, it just proves what I was trying to say in that thread that religious beliefs are based in neurology (or, using metaphoric language that Jaynes describes, "hardwired for it"). So, ancient people saw and heard gods as hallucinations. Cool. What caused these hallucinations, then? Jaynes claims that in this way people came up with solutions for non-standard situations. This wasn't done by reason or science. The solutions were just "given". People just saw or heard them as a command. Jaynes also shows that this is how most decisions come to us as well. Solutions to theorems just occur to mathematicians in random places. They cannot explain how, really. It's always nice to know how God does stuff :).

You see, no amount of science can disprove existence of God. What I just said is not a statement that God exists. It's just a figure of speech. We can say "things appear and disappear" or "things are created and destroyed" - the meaning of these two sentences is identical.

AG said, "So, ancient people saw and heard gods as hallucinations. Cool. What caused these hallucinations, then?"

Although there's not a snowballs chance in hell you will grasp any scientific theory - we can try, try again.

Jaynes theorizes that the right hemisphere of the brain was specialized to recall long-term information, as the left was (and still is, in most people) specialized for language. Pre-conscious people, he contends, hallucinated instructions of a super-ego-like nature generated in the right brain. In the simplest, small scale, early societies, these hallucinations were attributed to ancestors, chiefs, or kings. Eventually they were attributed to gods.

It's not too difficult to believe that crazy people wrote the Bible. It's sure not hard to believe that they saw things and heard voices since they say it right there in the Good Book. As a mater of fact they thought it was desirable to see things and hear voices, and even kill people if God told you to do it. I think it is just a matter of why they were nuts - not that they were nuts.

That means before humans were fully conscious (self-aware) they hallucinated instructions that came from their own right brain (but they thought it was their own personal god) that's where bible babble and ancient fables came from. Many stories in the Bible are about people who literally say they heard Gods voice telling them what to do.

The idea that language is a necessary component of subjective consciousness and more abstract forms of thinking has been gaining acceptance in recent years, with proponents such as Daniel Dennett, William H. Calvin, Merlin Donald, John Limber, Howard Margolis, Peter Carruthers and Jose Luis Bermudez.

Cognitive neuroscience researcher and university professor, Michael Persinger: "Within the last five years science has found that single point mutations on genes can produce permanent changes in speech production. There is now evidence that point mutations, whose mechanisms must still be discerned, can diffuse within decades throughout entire populations. There have been approximately 15 million changes in our species' genome since our common ancestor with the chimpanzee.

There are human accelerated regions in the genome with genes known to be involved in transcriptional regulation and neuro-development. They are expressed within brain structures that would have allowed precisely the types of phenomena that Jaynes predicted had occurred around 3,500 years ago. Related genes, attributed to religious beliefs, are found on the same chromosome (for example, chromosome 10) as propensities for specific forms of epilepsy (partial, with auditory features) and schizophrenia."

AG said, "Jaynes claims that in this way people came up with solutions for non-standard situations. This wasn't done by reason or science. The solutions were just "given". " No the answer wasn't just "given" out of thin air. If you had ever read anything written by Julian Jaynes you would know in a heartbeat that is as stupid as hell. It was done by their own (subconscious reasoning) but they had no self-awareness and didn't realize the voices were in their own heads.

AG said, "People just saw or heard them as a command."

Schizophrenics say that they hear voices (sometimes it's God's voice) telling them what to do. Is it really God's voice? That does not prove the existence of any supernatural being. It proves some people's brains are defective (nutty-as a-fruit cake) in the OT Abraham hears God's voice that convinces him to kill his own son. Abraham would be facing serious prison time today for putting a child through that kind of terror - no matter whether God provided a sacrifice or not.

AG said, "Jaynes also shows that this is how most decisions come to us as well."

You couldn't be further from the facts or distort Jaynes theory more if you were pre-conscious. Julian Jaynes' theory is that ancient consciousness was radically different from modern consciousness. See it's not that way with modern man because our brains have evolved. We know where the answers come from and how we figure something out. We don't think we hear a voice that tells us where to go and what to do - I mean some of us don't.

Jaynes suggests that the left and right brain was not integrated the way it is today. The ancient brain was "bicameral," with the two sides of the brain working essentially independently of each other. Jaynes theory was that consciousness is a learned process based on language. To the transition from bicameral to consciousness was a change in the brain. There was also a genetic change and new research in genetics shows that humans are still evolving and that genetic changes can move through a population much more rapidly than was previously believed. Consciousness arose only relatively late in human development, appearing first in the Middle East at the end of the second millenium BCE, and this consciousness was dependent on language. Jaynes theorizes that the right hemisphere of the brain was specialized to recall long-term information, as the left was (and still is, in most people) specialized for language. Pre-conscious people, he contends, hallucinated instructions of a super-ego-like nature generated in the right brain. In the simplest, small scale, early societies, these hallucinations were attributed to ancestors, chiefs, or kings. Eventually they were attributed to gods.

"Who then were these gods who pushed men about like robots and sang epics through their lips? They were voices whose speech and directions could be as distinctly heard by the Iliadic heroes as voices are heard by certain epileptic and schizophrenic patients. The gods were organizations of the central nervous system." Julian Jaynes

Jaynes hypothesis was an explanation about where the concept of a god came from. Jaynes idea was that everyone had their own god because they were not conscious the way modern man is today. The ancient mans brain had a lower level of consciousness that caused an inability to be self-aware. They hallucinated and heard things - something outside of them told them what to do. This can be found in much of ancient literature including the OT - the OT mentions gods plural. This comes from an ancient belief in gods, the cuneiform texts confirms that there was a belief in gods. Jaynes says that societies understood the voices in their heads as being those of gods, spirit, demons, and kings. Jaynes thought that the fact that the voice of the king continued after the king's death gave people the idea that kings and gods were one and the same. The concept of the divine authority of kings may have started this way. Religions came from hearing the voices of the gods, spirits and demons.

Jaynes thought that the pre-conscious bicameral mind changed during the Bronze Age when the world was undergoing huge upheaval and changes in temperatures that caused evolutionary changes to speed up for humans to adapt. It was during this period that humans achieved consciousness, making self-awareness possible. Jaynes says that religions, gods, and fortune telling are the remains of the earlier stage of pre-consciousness thought. Man's mind before he developed self-consciousness.

AG said, "Solutions to theorems just occur to mathematicians in random places. They cannot explain how, really. It's always nice to know how God does stuff :)."

That's probably why there are questions in mathematics that haven't been resolved for 100 years and more. These mathematicians must just be staring out into space waiting for an answer. Good luck with that one! Early man (pre-conscious) did not make any decisions on their own. The concept of self, of being independent and self-reliant, did not exist. Whenever a decision had to be made, early man looked for a sign from an outside authority, such as a king or a god, to tell him what to do. But ultimately the answer came from his own defective brain. That does not mean that these primitive people made good decisions. They sacrificed their children by fire to their god Moloch - and many other nightmares came from their religions too numerous to mention.

When we have random memories pop into our head it's because we have information stored in our sub-conscious mind that our conscious mind isn't necessarily aware of. We have information stored in our brain and it's always there - in our sub-conscious mind.

AG said, "You see, no amount of science can disprove existence of God."

Science doesn't try to prove anything about god/gods, fairy god-mothers or Peter Cottontail. Scientists deal with reality. But there is no proof of the existence of any god/gods. The Bible saying that god/gods exists is not proof.

New research continues to shed new light on each of Jaynes's hypotheses, for example brain imaging studies of auditory hallucinations and the ongoing debate over the role of language in consciousness. There have been very few published, substantive criticisms of Jaynes's theory. An early criticism by philosopher Ned Block (that Jaynes confused the emergence of consciousness with the emergence of the concept of consciousness) was effectively countered by Jaynes as well as Daniel Dennett (1986). More recently, the Dutch philosopher Jan Sleutels (2007) meticulously countered Block's arguments.

The geneticist Bruce Lahn's team has found new variants of brain development genes: One, ASPM (abnormal spindle-like microcephaly associated) appears to have risen to high frequency in Europe and the Middle East in about six thousand years. We don't yet know what this new variant does, but it certainly could affect the human psyche. This concept opens strange doors. If true, it means that the people of Sumeria and Egypt's Old Kingdom were probably fundamentally different from us:

Neuroscientist Michael Persinger: "Within the last five years science has found that single point mutations on genes can produce permanent changes in speech production. There is now evidence that point mutations, whose mechanisms must still be discerned, can diffuse within decades throughout entire populations.

AG said, "What I just said is not a statement that God exists. It's just a figure of speech. We can say "things appear and disappear" or "things are created and destroyed" - the meaning of these two sentences is identical."

No it's not! You're trying to distort any scientific theory (including the one about primitive man's brain) into something that will prove your lord and master exists.

Quantum Fluctuations are the random nature of matter's state of existence or non-existence. At these incredibly small sub-atomic scales, the state of reality is changing from nanosecond to nanosecond. By detecting and measuring the density fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background using the WMAP space mission we are learning about the early universe; and we begin to understand the basic ingredients that make life possible. In the future we will enhance these efforts with other missions, such as NASA's Einstein Inflation Probe, which would strive to detect the gravity disturbances from the era when the universe originally inflated. We know that the universe and life in the universe came from natural processes. Stephen Hawking, James Hartle, John Wheeler, and others, say quantum cosmology implies that "in principle, one can predict everything in the universe solely from physical laws. Consequently, the long-standing 'first cause' problem intrinsic in cosmology has been finally dispelled." this cosmology has eliminated the need to postulate (or even the possibility of postulating) a first cause (originating cause) of the universe's beginning. Stephen Hawking has famously said "there is no place for a Creator."

When is it enough? - - - When will we all wake up?

To: Alan

God does not exist - the value of that is 0. If there is no proof given then we choose nothing by default.

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From the officers:

The audio and video from Steve Bratteng's July 13th lecture are now available.