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Featured Atheism and the Big Bang

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Hubert Farnsworth, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Though I reject all religions and named man-made gods, I don't consider myself to be an atheist, and recently have been increasingly inclined toward deistic beliefs, though I don't believe in a "God" in the sense that most people think of "God." The purpose of this post is to express my issue with atheism, particularly strong atheism, and how it is difficult to reconcile a fully atheistic position with Big Bang cosmology. I recognize that many people who describe themselves as atheists will probably agree with most of what I say here, so I hope I'm not straw-manning the atheist position here.

    In any case, strong atheism, at least the way I understand it, asserts that there are no intelligent or creative forces in the universe beyond the natural universe as we see it. Additionally, most atheists believe that the universe began as an inconceivably small particle that exploded and rapidly expanded to produce the universe that we know today. I believe this as well, however I find it problematic to assert with confidence that there was no intelligent or supernatural agent involved in this process. Think about it this way: Have you ever seen an explosion produce order? Every example of an explosion that I can think of produces chaos, not order. Yet somehow, according to atheists, this infinitely tiny particle exploded in such a way as to produce an orderly universe (more or less) built upon fundamental particles whose interactions are dictated by specific physical laws. All of the matter and energy in this tiny particle that exploded somehow just re-arranged itself to form galaxies, stars, planets, and the conditions for life, and then life evolved and here we are, along with everything we know and love. Ultimately, according to this perspective, everything and everyone we know and love are ultimately the product of an entirely un-directed explosion that just happened to produce these conditions that would give rise to everything and everyone in existence, and ultimately, it's all meaningless, and the big bang was just a convenient accident that just happened to produce all the necessary conditions for the physical laws of the universe to cause atoms to re-arrange in such a way as to produce the universe as we know it, and to produce all of the wonders and beauties of it all. This is hard for me to believe. Bear in mind that if the initial conditions of the universe were even slightly different, there is no way that life, or even physical structures like galaxies, would exist.

    Of course I'm not asserting that any specific god of any religion orchestrated the whole process, nor am I trying to create my own magic genie-god of the gaps to deal with this problem. It's even more ridiculous to believe a magical anthropomorphic immortal genie created it all with an incantation spell. My purpose for this post is just to encourage atheists to keep an open mind. Maybe there's something greater than us out there that is behind the whole thing. Maybe we'll never know what it is, or if it exists. In any case, it's interesting to speculate about, though many (though certainly not all) atheists tend to pooh-pooh any suggestion of a possible intelligent agent or creative force involved in the origin of the universe. Some of them also mock the idea that there could possibly be a purpose for all of this. I think that's a closed-minded mistake.
     
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  2. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    Most religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam are considered dualist religions. Dualist=God and Creation are Two

    Are you familiar with non-dual religions (God and creation are not-two)?

    I am a non-dualist now myself (advaita) but it took some time to wrap my head around what non-dualism is trying to say.
     
    #2 George-ananda, Jun 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  3. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    Actually the universe could still have been infinitely large at the time of the Big Bang. The observable universe would have been within a very small volume, perhaps as small as a soccer ball, but since the universe itself is much larger then that volume could also have been much larger.

    Here is an article that explains how small our observable universe could have been:

    How big was the Universe at the moment of its creation?

    One does not have to down to a point to reach the singularity. That is merely when all laws "break down".
     
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  4. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree, and that's an interesting article. And as I said, I'm not criticizing all atheists. From what I've seen of your posts, you seem to be very reasonable and open-minded. This post is aimed more at the obnoxious new atheist types that you'll find in YouTube comments. You know, those folks (especially young people) who think they're suddenly intellectually superior to the rest of us because they've read a few chapters of The God Delusion or some such book.
     
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  5. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    I'm familiar with pantheism but have no interest in any man-made religion or god.
     
  6. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    Any thoughts on pantheism?
     
  7. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    I think it's interesting. Basically it's a belief that the universe is a god, as I understand it. Is that how you understand it?
     
  8. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Anyone here study Baruch Spinoza's concept of God? Einstein said he believed in "Spinoza's God", which is more of a pantheistic/panentheistic approach.
     
  9. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

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    Do you feel that positing something like a "creative intelligence" answers more questions than it raises?

    I don't believe in "The Big Bang" as the very beginning of all. I believe it was just one in a grand, eternally-spanning series. I believe that gravity always has been and always is at work - that given literal eternity, gravity eventually slows the things down that explode outward, and the largest masses that have gathered pull everything back. Gravity is one of the main forces that bring the "order" you spoke of. As others have stated, I believe the laws break down, or reach some kind of "critical mass" as more and more mass coalesces into the thing referred to as the "singularity." At some point, this break down forces another explosion when things can no longer be contained by gravitation alone. I also believe that "life" (like chemical reaction, like gravitation of mass to mass, like entropy) is a fundamental striving of matter and energy (or at least a by-product of such) to reach the most stable configurations possible. When the base conditions are right, and given enough time for occurrences of specific types to occur, I believe life is imminent. No intervention needed. No guiding hand required.

    I admit these are only meandering beliefs, based on the presentation of reality as I know it - but this idea will always be more plausible to me than that there is some "creative intelligence." If nothing else, the idea is just too "sci-fi" for my liking.
     
  10. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    I read that as "Atheists and the Big Bong". I think I prefer it like that.
     
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  11. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    So how do you think creation works?

    Bottom up? Top down?
     
  12. Synene

    Synene Member

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    I really appreciate the great article you have brought up here, I understand how courageous you must be feeling deep inside when you stand to speak up your own true feelings against the blind belief that claims our beutifull universe(that proves it self to be an outcome of supper intelligent designer) is a result of a sudden uncontrolled explosion that occured in time.

    I am sure they truly cry "Oh my lord save me from this...." when they are alone and in trouble.

    Also, I can see from the first lines of your note, that you are highly influenced by those men who just follow the real myth of evolution and darwinism.....

    Why reject some thing that you didn't really see simply because others say it like that. I would encourage you to read Quran so that you decide what ever you like or wish for yourself by what you have seen it your self. Surely you will get there what is inside your deeper heart!!
    quran.com
     
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  13. stvdv

    stvdv Well-Known Member

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    I have not. Although when I throw a stone in the water it does give a nice pattern.

    And I also do not believe in a Perpetuum Mobile
    And I also do not believe that "Big Bang" started by itself
    [All science formula's tell: Energy = Mass * Speed]

    But that's all too big for me to understand, I rather stick to "Who Am I".
     
  14. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    @Hubert Farnsworth

    One thing I thought about when reading your OP was around the assertion that the universe is orderly (more or less).

    I wonder if the perception of order results to our limited time frame on a universal scale.
    Consider our sun...it was born and will die, and the ripple effect of both ends of it's life are enormous. Look at it quickly enough and I'm not convinced the universe IS orderly.

    Just a half-thought though. Not overly set in my beliefs.
     
  15. Kangaroo Feathers

    Kangaroo Feathers Hardline moderate

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    You're falling for a creationist ploy. Despite the name's implication, the "Big Bang" was not an explosion, so your initial premis is wrong. Explosions, by definition, are a rapid release of energy from a high energy state into a lower one. That is in no way what occured in the "Big Bang".

    By all means, continue to believe the BB was defiically designed or caused if you want, many people do, along various lines. But thinking that the BB was a violation of thermodynamics is to misunderstand it.

    Also, the weak anthropic principal does adequately address the sort of questions you're asking.
     
  16. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Well-Known Member

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    The big bang wasn't a literal explosion, it was an expansion. But in any case, we're not talking about the big bang producing "order", since "order" is a somewhat nebulous term. What was instead set in motion were a set the early conditions of the Universe, physical laws and space. There is no reason to assume that such a process couldn't eventually lead to the Universe as we know it today forming over time and under the conditions generated.

    If I may extend the analogy of the explosion, however, I think you'll find that even that is flawed. For example, if you set off a stick of dynamite in the middle of nowhere, it certainly wouldn't result in something we would consider "order" - but the important thing to remember is to insert the word "immediately". Over time, you would see some form of "order" assert itself, whether it be plants growing through the cracks or moss developing over the residue left by the dynamite, or something as simple as the crater it left behind being filled by more earth. The key factor you're leaving out is time coupled with natural, physical laws.

    Why?

    Can you demonstrate this to be the case? How can you be certain that life or the Universe wouldn't still have eventually formed, but in an entirely different way? What makes you think that life is a specific, intended result of a Universe which is 99.99999999% absolutely deadly to it? How is that easier to believe than the idea that life is merely an uncommon phenomenon in an indifferent Universe that arises from a given set of criteria that happens to include the situation this particular planet has?
     
    #16 ImmortalFlame, Jun 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  17. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    Ironically atheism and humanism were classified as religions and rightly so since they have many faith principles. Then toward the second half of the 20th century they started making themselves a not a religion.... but really... they are

    I don't think the big bang is a slam dunk and there are numerous issues and problems with it ... but it;s a not very good grasp at explaining the world without a creator and so it appeals to someone not wanting a creator to be accountable to. There also are theistic big bang views... as there are theistic evolutionists... and I think those have issues as well
     
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  18. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    There are a couple of basic mistakes made here.

    First, the Big Bang represents an *expansion* of space, not an explosion of material *through* space.

    Second, the 'singularity' represents the failure of certain physical laws, namely general relativity. We know that at some point quantum effects become relevant, but we do not have a tested theory of quantum gravity. But we have several proposals. In ALL of them, the singularity gets 'smoothed out' in some way and 'time' of some sort goes infinitely far into the past with matter and energy at all times. So, the BB represents a specific transition stage and not necessarily a beginning.

    Third, the order that appears from the Bang happens because of physical laws that are not generally relevant to explosions. In particular, the generation of the nuclei of light elements in the first few minutes is from the action of the strong nuclear force bringing neutrons and protons together. The formation of stars, galaxies, etc happened *much* later and was primarily the work of gravity. On these scales, gravity is the main force determining the motion of matter and it tends to exacerbate the differences: making more dense areas even more dense and less dense areas even less dense. So the development of *large* structures is primarily due to this property of gravity.

    As far as how this relates to atheism and deities... it is *possible* that the whole thing got started by some intentional act. It is also *possible* that some multi-dimensional teenager made our spacetime in an art project. That only leads to the question of what 'laws of physics' allow for such manipulations and how the intelligence(s?) involved came into being. In other words, it only opens questions that are unanswerable while giving no explanatory power over what we already have.
     
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  19. Audie

    Audie Well-Known Member

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    "Ironically" you are trying to tar others with your own brush.
    Atheism has nothing to do with "faith" in any sense that applies to religious superstitions. It is moldy old bit of self deception you guys play on yourselves, this equivocation on the word "faith". Dont you ever even try to give it some
    thought?

    "atheism is a religion". Can anyone really say that with a straight face?

    It is a truly weird bit of unrefined illogic to make
    the lack of something into the thing it specifically is not.

    As for the BB and "slam dunk", science does not do slam dunks, and I greatly doubt you do enough science to remotely have a qualified opinion about theoretical
    astrophysics or evolution. I know I dont have, regarding
    physics. But then I am an not into self deception.

    so it appeals to someone not wanting a creator to be accountable to.

    This bit of insulting nonsense is widely pedaled by your
    preachers.

    Basically is is saying atheists are bad people who fool
    themselves into thinking there is no god, so that they ca
    get away with being bad.

    Is that actually what you believe?
     
    #19 Audie, Jun 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
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  20. Thermos aquaticus

    Thermos aquaticus Well-Known Member

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    I think it is fine to use the phrase "strong atheism" to denote those who claim that no gods exist. As long as there is an acknowledgement that atheism does not require a belief that no gods exist it should be fine.

    Most scientists conclude that the universe started out very small and dense and then expanded outward, and this conclusion is based on mountains of evidence. Atheists tend to accept this finding because it is supported by mountains of evidence.

    As an atheist, I fully agree. We simply don't know how the universe got started. Period. I don't see how you can make any statement about what was involved or not involved. I also don't see how anyone can make the claim that deities were required or not required.

    At the same time, looking for natural causes has been a very fruitful line of inquiry over the last 400 years, so I tend to think this is the best way to look for answers. However, I am quite open to being proven wrong.

    It wasn't an explosion. An explosion is the movement of material through space. In the case of the Big Bang it was an expansion of space itself, so it wasn't an explosion.

    Also, we do see order arise out of condensation all of the time, and this is the process that gave order to our universe. In the world we are familiar with, we see ordered crystals form from condensation all of the time. Emeralds are formed from minerals in hot water that cool and then condense into solids. Ordered ice crystals form from the condensation of liquid water molecules. The same for our universe. As space expanded the universe cooled and we got hydrogen, helium, and a little bit of lithium that formed. From their, gravity takes over and starts to form galaxies, stars, and planets.

    The Sun is an ongoing nuclear explosion, and it seems to be quite ordered.
     
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