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General Discussion
on Thomas Paine

Sup forum,

What are your thoughts about Thomas paine's stand and opinions about motion, universe and God? Here are quotes representing what I speak about. Till later, and thanks for answers whichever they may be. Peace.

"In the first place, admitting matter to have properties, as we see it has, the question still remains, how came matter by those properties? To this they will answer, that matter possessed those properties eternally. This is not solution, but assertion; and to deny it is as impossible of proof as to assert it.

"It is then necessary to go further; and therefore I say - if there exist a circumstance that is not a property of matter, and without which the universe, or to speak in a limited degree, the solar system composed of planets and a sun, could not exist a moment, all the arguments of atheism, drawn from properties of matter, and applied to account for the universe, will be overthrown, and the existence of a superior cause, or that which man calls God, becomes discoverable, as is before said, by natural philosophy.

"I go now to show that such a circumstance exists, and what it is.

"The universe is composed of matter, and, as a system, is sustained by motion. Motion is not a property of matter, and without this motion, the solar system could not exist. Were motion a property of matter, that undiscovered and undiscoverable thing called perpetual motion would establish itself.

"It is because motion is not a property of matter, that perpetual motion is an impossibility in the hand of every being but that of the Creator of motion. When the pretenders to atheism can produce perpetual motion, and not till then, they may expect to be credited.

"The natural state of matter, as to place, is a state of rest. Motion, or change of place, is the effect of an external cause acting upon matter. As to that faculty of matter that is called gravitation, it is the influence which two or more bodies have reciprocally on each other to unite and be at rest. Everything which has hitherto been discovered, with respect to the motion of the planets in the system, relates only to the laws by which motion acts, and not to the cause of motion.

"Gravitation, so far from being the cause of motion to the planets that compose the solar system, would be the destruction of the solar system, were revolutionary motion to cease; for as the action of spinning upholds a top, the revolutionary motion upholds the planets in their orbits, and prevents them from gravitating and forming one mass with the sun. In one sense of the word, philosophy knows, and atheism says, that matter is in perpetual motion.

"But the motion here meant refers to the state of matter, and that only on the surface of the Earth. It is either decomposition, which is continually destroying the form of bodies of matter, or recomposition, which renews that matter in the same or another form, as the decomposition of animal or vegetable substances enters into the composition of other bodies.

"But the motion that upholds the solar system, is of an entirely different kind, and is not a property of matter. It operates also to an entirely different effect. It operates to perpetual preservation, and to prevent any change in the state of the system.

"Giving then to matter all the properties which philosophy knows it has, or all that atheism ascribes to it, and can prove, and even supposing matter to be eternal, it will not account for the system of the universe, or of the solar system, because it will not account for motion, and it is motion that preserves it.

"When, therefore, we discover a circumstance of such immense importance, that without it the universe could not exist, and for which neither matter, nor any nor all the properties can account, we are by necessity forced into the rational conformable belief of the existence of a cause superior to matter, and that cause man calls GOD.

"As to that which is called nature, it is no other than the laws by which motion and action of every kind, with respect to unintelligible matter, are regulated. And when we speak of looking through nature up to nature's God, we speak philosophically the same rational language as when we speak of looking through human laws up to the power that ordained them.

"God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon."

My initial reaction? Bollocks! Ok let me rather say "God of the gaps". It is perfectly fine to die without having answers to some.. or many of your questions. Just saying "GODDIDIT" not only doesn't answer your question in reality, but for many people such way of thinking even kills the motivation to investigate further and find or wait for somebody else to find real answers, even if the answer is that "GODDIDIT", i want to be sure about it instead of just assuming it. But it would be better to see what my friend Neil has to say about that, he can put it better than me and explain that science and understanding often get cripled by "God". All due respect to Thomas Paine but I will rather quote people who don't resort to God when they don't have an answer, Bertrand Russel for instance: "When you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only: what are the facts, and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted by what you wish to believe, but look only and surely at what are the facts." Sam Harris: "You don't have to delude yourself with Iron age fairy tales." Carl Sagan: "If the general picture however of a Big Bang followed by an expanding universe is correct, what happened before that? Was the Universe devoid of all matter and then the matter suddenly somehow created? How did that happen? Many cultures' customary answer is that a god or gods created the universe out of nothing. If we wish to pursue this question courageously, we must of course ask the next question: Where did god come from? If we decide that this is an unanswerable question, why not save a step and conclude that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that god always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe always existed?" If you claim that God is the reason and the begin of anything, please also explain where he came from and "who set him/her/it/them in motion". Why name something "God" out of ignorance or plain stupidity? Some people say love is god? I will always call it love though. Some people call energy God, but we have a great word for that already, can you guess? The word is -energy-, why turn it into something else? If you don't know something and can't find it out, you should be honest to yourself and simply say "i don't know". I would only name something God because it IS God and not because I like to think that it is and because I don't know what it is. That is why atheism is perfectly rational and honest.

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