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How Old Is the World

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Pah, Sep 13, 2004.

  1. meogi

    meogi Well-Known Member

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    Why on earth does anything have to be 'counted against science'? That's not how science works, if something is wrong it's re-written with whatever other explanation is available, or it's just discarded and left as unanswered. Because something is wrong in science, does not make the whole foundation for which science stands, break down.

    That isn't the case for the Bible, it's got nothing to fall back on. If something is wrong, it's wrong. You say it's all dependant on interpretation, but at what point does it stop becomming an interpretation problem? When science can't say otherwise? How 'deep' and 'meaningful' is it gonna get? If it strays too far from the text, it can't really be considered the same thing. You have to set guidelines for this kind of stuff... otherwise it's all faith, no science.

    Sorry for the caps. NOTHING CAN BE PROVED BY THE "LONG PASSAGE OF TIME." This shows something to be accurate, not correct. There are no scientific properties that have been shown true because they've been here a long time...


    So what parts are we, as scientists, supposed to 'ignore'? Ignoring things doesn't help science at all...


    Well, how long ya got? Science doesn't work on time tables, so it could be during your lifetime, or it could be after. Stop assuming science has all the answers RIGHT NOW, OMG I MUST KNOW! This is how you advance knowledge, you don't require an immediate answer.


    No, it must not follow. It assumes god exists is true. It also assumes that every house has a builder is true. Every house might not have a builder... I know that people used to live in caves (caves can be houses). Nothing had to have made the cave, it could just have been there. Your logic is messed up. Note that you can assume something in a logical statement, but in order to get the desired result, you have to prove the latter statement follows, then you end up with an if x, then y, statement you can use. But then after that, you still have to show that x was actually true from outside the assumed box, in order to show y true. Everything gets a lot more complicated with the introduction of 'simple sentences' which you have here. I could draw this out for you, but I'm not going to, as I'm leaving for Tokyo in a while and don't want to bother. You can look it up for yourself, try "intro to logic" in a search engine.


    As to the 3500 year old thing, that comes from the dead sea scrolls/other ancient texts I believe. But you're right, they could just be copies of the origionals, and artficial dated, but not likely. They still say nothing of the new testiment, and only parts of the old. They just show how well people can copy something important to them.

    Oh, and HOGCALLER, I would like an answer as to why none of your quotes are from after 1990... I am really curious as to why there are none after that. It just seems strange.
     
  2. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    Second, we do need "to be truly objective". (ob·jec·tive (…b-jµk“t¹v) adj. 1. Of or having to do with a material object. 2. Having actual existence or reality. 3.a. Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices: an objective critic. See Synonyms at fair.b. Based on observable phenomena; presented factually: an objective appraisal.) Therefore, I pledge to consider, Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices, all fair arguments that are Based on observable phenomena, presentedfactually. I will even accept after effects or results as proofs as long as you, too, will.



    Now, will someone, please, show me where and how the godless atheistic/evolutionary "mythological creation story" is in any way superior to the Bible's account. Please, will someone "explain how it fits with the scientific evidence much more easily and without all the frustration of trying to make a square peg fit into a circular hole".



    “Every house has a builder, the Builder of all things being God.”—Hebrews 3:4, Weymouth. To convince me that I should not believe in God and in the Biblical creation account all you have to do is to convince me that the above statement, especially the first part, is not a statement of demonstrable fact. If everything we know and can demonstrate “scientifically” or otherwise all supports the validly of the first statement, then the second statement must follow. If that first statement can be disproved then the second will fall of its own unsupported weight.



    Let's not waste a lot of time. For the sake of expediency and to maintain some semblance of logical progression we should first prove or disprove the statement, "every house has a builder". We should establish that the demonstrable “facts” of known science do or do not require that a simple house must have a builder, and then we will know whether or not we need to move on to a discussion of who or what that Builder might be. In other words, all you devout atheist will have the opportunity to tout your religion in due time, so please be patient.

     
  3. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    First, I don't think "mythological creation story" as applied to science is a proper use of the word "myth".

    I don't think that that one reality is superior to another. Science belongs in the "here and now" reality; religion, in a separate spiritual reality. One of these, science, is much more objective and deviod of individual projection.

    Anybody can see that holes and pegs of different shape should not be forced to "mate" so why even try?

    -pah-
     
  4. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    I just want to say that as a religious person I personally have no problem with scientific theory... I am able to keep my faith in the creator without the need to hold on to endless dogma. The myths of my people are the cultural backbone of my people but I realize that is it... they arn't meant to be the end all and be all of reality, but lessons to be learned and celebrated.

    In the end I also have to agree with Mr Spinkles that belief in science does not have to exclude belief in 'god' or creator or what-have-you. if your faith in god is so fragile that something as simple as the idea that the world wasn't created 6000 years ago and in six days will shake that faith to the core, than you didn't realy have faith in the first place. IMHO.

    wa:do
     
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  5. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Then you shall remain unconvinced, not because of the power of your argument, but because of the poverty of the non sequitur and your willingness to promote it. In fact, (a) uncaused vacuum fluctuations are well established occurrences, while (b) a caused universe in no manner whatsoever confirms God(s), much less the Judeo-Christian God(s) - and no amount of tiresome font manipulation will transform an empty argument into a meaningful one.
     
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  6. meogi

    meogi Well-Known Member

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    Using your logic: How simple a house we talking about? A cave is a simple house... no one built it. Bam, god doesn`t follow. A tree is a simple house. Bam, god doesn`t follow. Oh, and for the record, it`s not possible to prove a negative, so you`ve led yourself to a pretty `convenient` end there, asking for proof of it.

    And I was incorrect in saying that the reason the argument wasn`t valid was the `belief god exits.` It`s the statement If x then y that is assumed true. And from that you can only get x or (not)y. So assumption of it means `every house has a builder` or `god is not the builder of all things.`

    And are you gonna address any of the points I`ve brought up, or are you just gonna quote yourself over and over as new posts? (Psst, that`s not how you debate something)
     
  7. Daystar

    Daystar New Member

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    Well, of course. Any scientist will tell you we don't know everything. We just make do with what information we have, and try to correct what's false and find what's true. That's what science is, after all.[/QUOTE]
    "Ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth..." (2 tim. 3:7):eek:
     
  8. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    Really, pah?


    myth (m¹th) n. 1.a. . . . 3. A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology. 4. A fictitious story, person, or thing: “German artillery superiority on the Western Front was a myth” (Leon Wolff). [New Latin mþthus, from Late Latin mþthos, from Greek muthos.]


    meogi once said, “There's a process for science, the first, and most important, one being observation


    Mr_Spinkles once said, “alchemy was never good science--good observation, testing, and exposing the frauds who claimed to be able to perform alchemy were the tools that finally exposed it for the myth that it was.”


    Show me a house that built itself! Show me a pocket watch that built itself! Show me the novel that wrote itself! Those things are infinitesimally simple when compared to a single living cell. Those things are infinitesimally simple when compared to the physical universe. Yet you want me to believe that those latter things just built themselves. OK, just show me a house that built itself!


    meogi, even the cave you talk about had a “cause”. Ask any geologist and he will tell you that. It may be true that the “cause” is not observable or readily apparent today, but there is no denying the fact that it did have a “cause”. We know it had a “cause” because nothing in reality happens without a “cause” and, therefore, when we can see the cave, the aftereffect or the result of the “cause”, we know there was, at one time, a “cause”. So that I can observe it, show me a house without a “cause”!


    Mr_Spinkles, “science” itself has already “exposed [evolution] for the myth that it” is. But the evolutionists refuse to accept that proof because they are devout atheist. The "true facts" of science support the Bible's account of creation (see my posts above) more than the theory of evolution, but that's not why I believe it. I believe it because I observe the order, the design and the intelligence in creation and I know it must have a “Cause”.


    Again, all you have to do is convince me that the "true facts" of science actually prove or even just support the notion that a house will build itself.

    .
     
  9. meogi

    meogi Well-Known Member

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    Better, `cause` doesn`t imply a creator. But that doesn`t help your argument... this is where you assume that since there was a `cause` higher being caused it. Things can have cause without some force pushing them to do so. Like the caves, caused by geological shifts, rock fall, whatever. What causes those? The earth. What caused the earth? OMG YOU`RE RIGHT, I SHALL BECOME A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE WE DON`T KNOW! Again, I`m not trying to disprove god, or change your view on god... I`m trying to get it into your head that IT IS NOT SCIENCE. I`m also trying to get it into your head that your logic, IS NOT LOGIC. You can believe your beliefs all you want, because they are yours to be believed in. Science and logic have rules you have to follow, and you are not following them.

    Logic:
    First, I`m gonna rephrase these as: Show me a house that exists by itself, pocket watch exists by itself, novel exists by itself. The only reason is the verbs you use imply something made them. You can reword them however you want, just use something that doesn`t imply the wanted (or unwanted in this case) conclusion. For that is circular logic. I guess I`ll go over this again as well... logical arguments are based of the idea that the beginning facts are true. Like, X is a cat. There exists a white cat. Y is god. If houses are built, then god is the builder of all things. These work for given facts (although it helps if there is supportive evidence as to why you think these things true (read truth, below)). The problem comes with the conclusion. In the case of the if then, the only time an if then is logically invalid, is if X is false, and Y is true. But since it is not a simple sentence, there are other rules it must follow (existential qulaifiers, and universal qualifiers). So we can get that god is the creator of all things, from the logic sentence (because yes, I would go as far to say as most every house has a builder. That doesn`t work logically (in order to show it, you technically have to show every house in existance was built) but for the sake of the next part, lets assume!)
    That gives us, God is the creator of all things (3x(x is the creator of all things)). From this, we need to prove there is a god, AND that the creator of all things is said god. So you work on showing those true, and then I`ll believe your statement is logically sound.

    Science:
    Evolution was made to support evolution, not a religion. If the religion `adopts` the evidence for evolution, but manipulates the meaning`s for it so they work around the rules of the religion, then yes, they`re gonna `fit and explain things better.` It`s like if I made a recepe for a sausage, that was really good, but just wasn`t quite right. Cooking malfunctions so to speak (I can`t cook). Now, you have a recepe for gumbo, needs something... so you take my sausage and use it in your gumbo. Makes your gumbo better. Doesn`t make the sausage any less tasty, but makes yours much better. That`s what creationism has done with evolution. (I think I`m hungy through...)

    Truths:
    And there are no truths. Only degrees of certainty (which can`t be 100%). Truths are relative to what one is explaining/showing. I don`t think that helps either argument, but science`s search for truth is limited to the degrees of certainty. Always because something `could` show differently. Yes, the 100% could be attributed to a god, and their omniscience. That would not apply to religions though, because something `could` always show differintly. But for what we try to understand as humans, that can`t happen, because none of us are omniscient.

    Again, I don`t care what you believe in, but stop believing in it for something it isn`t. What you are using is not science, and is not logic. Believe in it for what it`s ment to be believed in, yourself.

    Sorry if the post seems botched together, I had a bunch of stuff written out, and changed the way I worded some stuff, so had to reorder things.
     
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  10. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    KNOW THE FEELIN'! Been there done that.

    I started out talking about what I believe is a misrepresentation, a misinterpretation of what the Bible actually says about "How Old Is The World [Earth]?" and ended up "debating" logic. Not what I had intended. It is probably obvious to you but I grew up in a small, rural town and I have never been trained in or even been concerned with the "rules" of formal debate and the "finer points" of logic. Good 'ol fashioned' horse sense or common sense has always worked for me. But it is becoming obvious to me that my 'horse sence' is as foriegn to you as your points of "logic" are to me. And just as I have no wish to engage in 'formal debate' using "rules" of logic that make no sense to me, you, no doubt, do not wish to be swayed by 'ol fashioned common sense'. I do not see where this discussion can go from here.

    There are those who still insist that the moon landings were a "vast government hoax" and even others that claim the earth is flat or, at least, is a five-sided polygon and no amount of 'logic' or 'proof' can change their minds. To me those claims fly in the face of the "truth" and of 'common sense'. Unfortunately, I do not have the skills necessary to 'make' those people "see" the truth that is so obvious and that 'just makes sense' to me and most others but that they do not "want" to "see". And the same applies here, also.

    Once again, my point in all of this is: the Bible does not give a date for the creation of the "world" nor does it say that the "world" was created in 144 hours. Point made; enough said.
     
  11. Mr Spinkles

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    If this is supposed to support your claim that evolution is a myth....many fossils have been observed that cannot be placed into one taxonomic category or another; many modern species have been observed to have things on them that appear to have formed via evolution (whales and bats with finger bones); finally, we have observed, both in labs and in nature, new species branching off from old ones via methods predicted in the theory of evolution (natural selection, mutation, etc).

    The difference between a house a pocket watch or a novel, and the physical universe, is that the express purpose of the former items is for the benefit of human beings. The physical universe, on the other hand, is clearly not designed or tailored specifically for the sole benefit of human existence--if it was, we wouldn't have naturally occurring deadly diseases, apocalyptic asteroids, and famine. The pocket watch arose from the nature of humans, humans arose from the nature of the universe, and the nature of the universe....well, who knows? The universe could just "be", or it could have arose from "something". However, just as it makes no sense to assume that watchmakers have a minute hand, it also makes no sense to assume that the physical universe (or the "something" that made it) has consciousness or intelligence. Besides, if we follow those assumptions, we would have to assume that the something is indifferent to suffering anyway, since that very same "something" created parasitic wasps, and flesh eating bacteria.

    Still, one thing is for sure: if something made the universe, that "something" must either not be a compassionate being or it must not be very intelligent.

    Like I said, the universe is not a house specifically tailored for the interests of humankind. If you are trying to say "show me something that doesn't have a cause", refer to the random vacuum fluctuations Deut mentioned.

    [emphasis added] By your own reasoning: assuming if God exists, that he has no cause; then since nothing in reality happens without a "cause", God is not a part of reality. Therefore, God does not exist.

    No, Hogcaller, scientists of all cultures and religions accept evolution because it is one of the most proven theories in the history of science. As I've said in another thread--most religious people accept evolution just as they accept the scientific explanation for lightning. It's a minority of fundamentalists who spread propoganda about atheist/scientist conspiracies hiding the "proof" against evolution.

    Again, refer to Deut's comments on random vacuum fluctuations.
     
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  12. meogi

    meogi Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I knew we were getting a bit off topic, my appologies. I think this all stemmed from your 'Truth of Creation Vindicated' section, although, and is really the only problem I have with any of your posts.
    Never occurred to me at all actually... I grew up in a similar type area (outskirts of Billings, Montana... farm land and hills, thats it...) but I did have influence from the city (only 100k people, but thats still a metropolis) when I went to high school, and currently attend Montana State University in Bozeman (pop. 25k, 13k of which are college students). I know 'horse sence', but it gets pushed asside by logic (logic is just an elevated form of common sense). As to where we can go... hmm, I'm debating writing an article on 'An Introduction to Logic'... but not sure about it yet. I don't want to change your beliefs, but if you (or anyone else) want's me to do this, I'll work on it (For the sake of knowledge).
    I'd like to see... I'd love to be able to blindly believe in a religion/god/whatever. I can't though, my brain doesn't let me, and unless god comes out and slaps me in the face, I'm not gonna be able to any time soon. ;)
     
  13. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    Mr_Spinkles, there are life forms that are alive and well on earth at this very moment that do not fit neatly “into one taxonomic category or another”. Therefore, it should not be a surprise if fossils are occasionally hard to classify. What does that “prove”? Nothing.

    The biblical term "kind" does not have a scientific equivalent. The scientific term "species" certainly does not apply to "kind". Therefore, the large number of species we see and the fact that a species can become another species does not prove evolution or disprove the Bible’s statement regarding "kinds". The fact that species resemble or have characteristics of other species may only prove that they are of the same "kind", but does not necessarily “prove” evolution. For every “proof” presented by one the other will have a “counter-proof” or will take the same “proof” and will use it as a “proof” for his side of the argument. For example, as far as I know from all my reading, even in the lab, the best they have been able to do is produce another species, in other words, they have yet to make a bird turn into something that wasn’t a bird. But for the sake of argument, let’s say they do succeed someday. You will claim it to be “proof” of evolution and I will say it is proof of a Creator because it took highly trained specialists who knew exactly what they wanted to produce so very many tries in the highly controlled and very “unnatural” environment of a lab to come up with it, in other words, that they proved that “it” only happens when “caused” to happen. Again, nothing proved.

    You say: “The physical universe, on the other hand, is clearly not designed or tailored specifically for the sole benefit of human existence”. I look at the same universe and see where exactly the opposite is true. Even though most scientists now trace the universe back to a very small, dense beginning (a singularity), this key issue cannot be avoid: “If at some point in the past, the Universe was once close to a singular state of infinitely small size and infinite density, we have to ask what was there before and what was outside the Universe. . . . We have to face the problem of a Beginning.”—Sir Bernard Lovell.

    And what is more, this implies more than just a source of vast energy, the energy released at the ‘big bang’, and the explosive or chaotic, haphazard and uncontrolled release of that energy. Rather, foresight, intelligence and direction are also needed because the rate of expansion seems very finely tuned. “If the Universe had expanded one million millionth part faster, then all the material in the Universe would have dispersed by now. . . . And if it had been a million millionth part slower, then gravitational forces would have caused the Universe to collapse within the first thousand million years or so of its existence. Again, there would have been no long-lived stars and no life.”—Sir Bernard Lovell.

    Can experts now explain the origin of the universe? Many scientists, uncomfortable with the idea that the universe was created by a higher intelligence, speculate that by some mechanism it created itself out of nothing. Does that really sound reasonable to you? Such speculations usually involve some variation of a theory (inflationary universe model) conceived in 1979 by physicist Alan Guth. Yet, more recently, Dr. Guth admitted that his theory “does not explain how the universe arose from nothing.” Dr. Andrei Linde was more explicit in a Scientific American article: “Explaining this initial singularity—where and when it all began—still remains the most intractable problem of modern cosmology.”

    If experts cannot really explain either the origin or the early development of our universe, should we not look elsewhere for an explanation? Indeed, you have valid reasons to consider some evidence that many have overlooked but that may give you real insight on this issue. The evidence includes the precise measurements of four fundamental forces that are responsible for all properties and changes affecting matter.

    The four fundamental forces come into play both in the vastness of the cosmos and in the infinite smallness of atomic structures. In fact, everything we see around us is involved. Without the ultra-fine tuning of these forces, elements vital for our life (particularly carbon, oxygen, and iron) could not exist. Already mentioned is one force, gravity. Another is the electromagnetic force. If it were weaker, electrons would not be held around the nucleus of an atom and atoms could not combine to form molecules. Conversely, if this force were stronger, electrons would be trapped on the nucleus of an atom. There could be no chemical reactions between atoms—meaning no life. Even from this standpoint, it is clear that our existence and life depend on the fine-tuning of the electromagnetic force.

    And consider the cosmic scale: A slight difference in the electromagnetic force would affect the sun and thus alter the light reaching the earth, making photosynthesis in plants difficult or impossible. It could also rob water of its unique properties, which are vital for life. So again, the precise tuning of the electromagnetic force determines whether we live or not.

    Equally vital is the intensity of the electromagnetic force in relation to the other three. For example, some physicists figure this force to be 10,000,- 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1040) times that of gravity. It might seem a small change to that number to add one more zero (1041). Yet that would mean that gravity is proportionally weaker, and Dr. Reinhard Breuer comments on the resulting situation: “With lower gravity the stars would be smaller, and the pressure of gravity in their interiors would not drive the temperature high enough for nuclear fusion reactions to get under way: the sun would be unable to shine.” You can imagine what that would mean for us!

    What if gravity were stronger proportionately, so that the number had only 39 zeros (1039)? “With just this tiny adjustment,” continues Breuer, “a star like the sun would find its life expectancy sharply reduced.” And other scientists consider the fine-tuning to be even more precise.

    Indeed, two remarkable qualities of our sun and other stars are long-term efficiency and stability. Consider a simple illustration. We know that to run efficiently, an automobile engine needs a critical ratio between fuel and air; engineers design complex mechanical and computer systems to optimize performance. If that is so with a mere engine, what of the efficiently “burning” stars such as our sun? The key forces involved are precisely tuned, optimized for life. Did that precision just happen? The ancient man Job was asked: “Did you proclaim the rules that govern the heavens, or determine the laws of nature on earth?” (Job 38:33, The New English Bible) No human did. So from where does the precision come?

    Two other physical forces also relate to our life. These two forces operate in the nucleus of an atom, and they give ample evidence of forethought. Consider the strong nuclear force, which glues protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of the atom. Because of this bonding, various elements can form—light ones (such as helium and oxygen) and heavy ones (such as gold and lead). It seems that if this binding force were a mere 2-percent weaker, only hydrogen would exist. Conversely, if this force were slightly stronger, only heavier elements, but no hydrogen, could be found. Would our lives be affected? Well, if the universe lacked hydrogen, our sun would not have the fuel it needs to radiate life-giving energy. And, of course, we would have no water or food, since hydrogen is an essential ingredient of both.

    The fourth force is called the weak nuclear force and controls radioactive decay. It also affects thermonuclear activity in our sun. Mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson explains: “The weak [force] is millions of times weaker than the nuclear force. It is just weak enough so that the hydrogen in the sun burns at a slow and steady rate. If the weak [force] were much stronger or much weaker, any forms of life dependent on sunlike stars would again be in difficulties.” Yes, this precise rate of burning keeps our earth warm—but not incinerated—and keeps us alive.

    Furthermore, scientists believe that the weak force plays a role in supernova explosions, which they give as the mechanism for producing and distributing most elements. “If those nuclear forces were in any way slightly different from the way they actually are, the stars would be incapable of making the elements of which you and I are composed,” explains physicist John Polkinghorne.
     
  14. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    More, much more (such as the positioning of the moon and the large outer planets of our solar system so as to “sweep” the heavens of asteroids), could be said, but you likely understand the point. There is an amazing degree of fine-tuning in these four fundamental forces. “All around us, we seem to see evidence that nature got it just right,” wrote Professor Paul Davies. Yes, the precise tuning of the fundamental forces has made possible the existence and operation of our sun, our delightful planet with its life-sustaining water, our atmosphere so vital for life, and a vast array of precious chemical elements on earth. I am moved to ask myself, ‘Why such precise tuning, and from where?’ I doubt that information has that same effect on you.

    Again, what you claim as proof of your position, I see as proof of my position. And why will my proof have little to no effect on your thinking and your position? Could it be that it is because you just do not “want” to see my position? With some, I am sure that is the case.

    You say: “The pocket watch arose from the nature of humans, humans arose from the nature of the universe, and the nature of the universe....well, who knows?” See there, you, too, have things that must be “just believed” and that can not be explained. But with your beliefs it does not stop there. You not only must believe in that first “accident”, “chance happening” but you then have to “believe in” all the succeeding trillions of “accidents” and “chance happenings” that you claim got us from there to here. I only have one thing that I cannot explain and that must be believed strictly as a matter of faith, God.

    We all realize that it might be possible to flip a coin in the air enough times that on one occasion it lands on edge and stands there. But what you ask us to believe is that it remains standing even though the table is vibrating. And, even more than that, that it happens many times in a row. That is why I cannot “see” mere chance as the “cause” of anything. You, of course, see it differently.

    Below I have copied the beginning of a thread from another forum. As you will see in my reply, I do not agree with what it says. But I include it to set up my answer to you regarding “pain and suffering”.



    Does God Exist?






    A man went to a barbershop to have his hair cut and his beard trimmed. As the barber began to work, they began to have a good conversation. They talked about so many things and various subjects.

    When they eventually touched on the subject of God, the barber said: "I don't believe that God exists."

    "Why do you say that?" asked the customer.

    "Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God
    exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving a God who would allow all of these things."

    The customer thought for a moment, but didn't respond because he didn't want to start an argument. The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop.

    Just after he left the barbershop, he saw a man in the street with long, stringy, dirty hair and an untrimmed beard. He looked dirty and unkempt.

    The customer turned back and entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist."

    "How can you say that?" asked the surprised barber. "I am here, and I am a barber. And I just worked on you!"

    "No!" the customer exclaimed. "Barbers don't exist because if they did, there would be no people with dirty long hair and untrimmed beards, like that man outside."

    "Ah, but barbers DO exist! What happens is, people do not come to me."

    "Exactly!"- affirmed the customer. "That's the point! God, too, DOES exist! What happens, is, people don't go to Him and do not look for Him. That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."



    Here is the reply I posted:



     
  15. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    Here is the reply I posted:



    Sorry, but I am a bit confused. What exactly is the customer saying?



    Is the customer saying, "There's so much pain and suffering in the world" because God does exist and is punishing people for not "going and looking to" Him? And therefore, by extension, is also saying that "going and looking to" God results in not experiencing "pain and suffering"? Is that what the customer was saying?



    OR, is it that the customer is saying, “People who "go to" and "look to" God don't experience "pain and suffering" but are just so few while everybody else (who don't go and look to God) are so many and that is "why there's so much pain and suffering in the world"? It is not at all clear, to me, what the customer is actually trying to say to the barber.



    AND, no matter what the answers to the above questions are, if we look at this from the barber's point of view, the customer's answer is very unsatisfying. Why? Consider the reasons. First, the barber's complaint against God was the actual existence of pain and suffering, an undeniable fact. Is the customer saying to the barber, "If you and everyone else actually believed in and went to and looked for God there would be no pain and suffering, therefore, the lack of belief in and the lack of going to and the lack of looking for God on the part of you and your ilk are to blame for all the pain and suffering! I can certainly see the barber taking it that way. No doubt she would become even more convinced “that God doesn't exist”.



    Again, consider what the barber’s actual complaint against God is (again, in her mind, this is PROOF that God does not exist): "Well, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God doesn't exist. Tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can't imagine a loving a God who would allow all of these things." How are the barber’s concerns and resulting beliefs, backed up by the undeniable facts of the world surrounding her, acknowledged or addressed by the customer’s statement? Why doesn’t the customer actually answer the barber’s questions and address the legitimate concerns? Most likely it is because the customer does not know the answer himself.



    The barber's questions are thoughtful, “solid food” questions and the customer is trying to feed her pablum. How? At the very best, isn't the customer, in effect, saying, "If you believed in and went to and looked for God there would be no pain and suffering (remember this is the crux of the barber’s question) and then you could believe.” But where does that condition (no “pain and suffering”) actually exist? Nowhere! Therefore, the barber reasons within herself, “pain and suffering exists = proof of no God”, “to me, proof God does exist = no pain and suffering exists”, “no pain and suffering is not actually the case = God does not actually exist” and she, therefore, does not have to change what she “thinks she knows and believes about God”. OR, another way of looking at the customer’s answer is, “If you believed in and went to and looked for God there would be no pain and suffering and then you could believe in God on your terms (God does exist = no pain and suffering exists) rather than on God's terms (God Exists and pain and suffering also exist).” In other words, the well-meaning customer didn't really help the barber to understand the actual reasons why God does, in fact, allow "pain and suffering". That is pablum and not solid food.



    Finally, if the customer was meaning to say what is in the first paragraph ("There's so much pain and suffering in the world" because God does exist and is punishing people for not "going and looking to" Him and, by extension, that means "going and looking to" God results in not experiencing "pain and suffering"?) how would the barber reply? If the barber is well read then she might reply, “What about Job and the early Christians who were martyred by the thousands for ‘going to’ and ‘looking to’ and believing in God? I know what you are saying but I know that it didn’t help them and, to me, that is just another proof that God does not exist.” It does not seem to matter much how the customer meant what he said because his answer keeps coming up short and unsatisfying.



    I seriously doubt that anyone who is so genuinely upset by all the pain and suffering they see in the world that they have been moved to reject belief in God as a result is going to respond favorably to anything short of complete honesty and the absolute truth of the situation, something along this line: “Yes, Virginia, there is a Loving God who is allowing death, wickedness, pain and suffering. As is the case with all good parents, He suffers a right along with His children, and in a way, He suffers even more because He doesn’t cause it but His children insist on wrongly blaming Him for it. As a parent doesn’t it just break your heart when your child is suffering so much pain that they lash out at you? That is how God feels! Did you know that He has a very good reason for having to allow this situation and He explains it right here in a personal letter that He wrote to you, His Word the Bible. Would you like to know why?”



    I include the above because I do not know what your knowledge of the Bible is. If your knowledge is based on the pablum put forth by many who ‘claim’ to believe the Bible, you need to know there is something more to the Bible than you have been lead to believe. If my argumentation has had any effect, then you may want to know the answer to my final question. If so, just ask, otherwise, there is not much left to say.



    meogi, the same applies to you. You say: “unless god comes out and slaps me in the face”.



    My reply:

    The reason God does not come and lead each of us by the hand or ‘slap us in the face’ is also the same reason why there is “pain and suffering”.









     
  16. Mr Spinkles

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    It proves that our taxonomic categories are human-made descriptions of different groups of similar organisms designed for our own convenience, rather than impermeable divine barriers that seperate organisms into "kinds".

    No argument here. In fact, the ancient authors of the Old Testament were so ignorant they grouped bats as a member of the same "kind" as birds, which we know today is simply not accurate.

    The fact is that a species can not only become another species, it can branch and diverge into multiple new species. This fact alone doesn't prove abiogenesis, but yes, Hogcaller, it does prove evolution.

    There's a simple way we can test this. Please define these "kinds", what characteristics the members of each kind share, and what characteristics none of the members of a given kind should have. If I can find an example of an organism (living or nonliving) that does not fit any of your definitions then we can safely conclude that there is no divine barrier between different groups of organisms. Furthermore, that this notion of "kinds" was a man-made reference point based on limited scientific understanding.

    Making a new species is good enough. Given enough time, each of those species will diverge into even more species. After a long period of time, the two "species" we started with give rise to their own genus or family or class of many many new species. Therefore, the two original species, in millions of years, would be considered the ancestors of two seperate families (or genus or class or whatever). You need to forget about changing birds into a "non bird" and start thinking more abstractly about changing birds into "something slightly different" and repeating that a million times. After a while, it's "something really, really different" and we would no longer call it a "bird".

    Remember, Hogcaller, that the idea that all living things descended from a common unicellular ancestor is not so difficult to imagine--in fact, we can observe a single cell become a (nearly) fully developed human being in as little as nine months.

    Evolution and God are not mutually exclusive. This experiment would indeed prove evolution (again, that is ;) ) though it might lead to a debate over whether or not it happens naturally or at the instigation of a supernatural force. Either way, evolution is proved, no matter if God, natural interactions, or aliens make it happen.

    For what specific benefit did an intelligent entity "design" nipples on men? How is it that malaria-carrying mosquitoes are specifically tailored for the sole benefit of human existence?

    "Very finely tuned"? You mean someone or something tuned the universe just right so that babies would be born with deformities, cancerous cells would develop in brains and colons, hurricanes would form over dense population areas killing hundreds, unusually hot summers would destroy crops and starve entire villages, and certain parasites and infectious diseases would specialize in attacking humans (especially young children)? Excuse me, but I can't help but think that the universe was either "finely tuned" by someone/thing indifferent to suffering, or that not all of it was tuned quite so finely.

    And if some chemical or biological property were different, I am sure fewer people would die from freezing cold sudden blizzards or deadly tornadoes. Yes, if the universe was different, it would be different. This is hardly surprising. ;)

    First of all, when they say "nothing" I believe they mean a vacuum, and vacuums have been documented to have random virtual particles appear and disappear in them. Secondly, even if experts cannot explain the universe, that does not prove God created the universe. Thirdly, linear time is an illusion--time is relative. Without matter in motion to give time meaning, the theoretical "nothingness" that existed before the Big Bang lasted for zero seconds. So by that model the matter in our universe didn't "come from nothing" it has simply always been. Even if God does exist, He only existed for zero seconds before He created matter...in other words, God would have come into existence at the same time that He created the universe. So whether we are atheist or theist, we have to use our imaginations to escape the illusion of linear time and think of things in light of relativity.

    I read the rest of your post, but I won't quote it here. Yes, if fundamental laws of the universe were different, the universe would be fundamentally different. If some properties of the universe were different, life would be more difficult or impossible, and I daresay that if other properties were different, human life would be easier and happier. For example, if the Earth was tilted back on its axis 23.5 degrees so that its axis was perpendicular to its orbital plane, we wouldn't have seasons and Earth's climate would be much more moderate--no more deadly cold winters or scorching hot summers....crop harvests would be more consistent, there wouldn't be deadly flash flooding during the spring when the snow melts, etc.

    There are many ways in which the universe and Earth could better facilitate human life, and this casts doubt that it was designed solely for human benefit by an intelligent spirit. We aren't the center of the universe after all, Hogcaller...our proper place was discovered hundreds of years ago, far, far away from the center.

    At any rate, I don't think the rarity of an event means it was teleological in nature...
    --John Allen Paulos
     
  17. meogi

    meogi Well-Known Member

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    I'm only gonna respond to this right now, because I'm a bit drunk and tired atm... All I gotta say is that 'well, that sucks' if god is willing to send me to a place of eternal suffering just because I'm a good person, but unwilling to believe in his presence, if only for the reason that he gave me the brain to not-believe in him. Eh, whatever, if that's how he is, that's how he is, and i'm gonna end up where he figures I'm gonna end up.

    I'll try to respond to this (undrunkily) later, and Ill rpobably laugh at myself for this reply... oh well.
     
  18. Mr Spinkles

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    LOL, lay off the saki meogi.
     
  19. HOGCALLER

    HOGCALLER Active Member

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    meogi

    Your argument makes as much sense as blaming the death of a teenager, who chooses to get drunk (against his parent instructions and wishes) and then go driving on the highway at a very high rate of speed until he wraps himself around a tree, on the loving parents who bought him the car.

    First, "eternal suffering" is a lie told by God's enemies (even though these ones 'claim' to represent Him). Just as the "parents" above were loving and 'good providers', God is also. But headstrong and rebellious man "chooses" to ignore God's wishes and His warnings and instructions and suffer the consequences for their irresponsible actions in abusing God's loving provisions. How is that God's fault?

    Another claim made by God's enemies he is that He "predestines" all events, not true. This is also tied into the "reason" that there is "pain and suffering". Some of your comment sounds as though that is what you have been told about God. meogi, I respectfully submit that you have no idea "if that's how he is" and that you are 'judging' God based on lies and ignorance, but mostly ignorance. Is that fair? It is just as fair as blaming "the parents" above.
     
  20. Runt

    Runt Well-Known Member

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    Hogcaller, I respectfully submit that your opinions on spiritual matters have no more and no less claim to validity than do Meogi's, and therefore it is wrong for you to suggest that his opinions are based on ignorance and lies and your own are the "truth" and you are an authority on that truth.

    Furthermore, this thread addresses the question: "How old is the world". Please get back on topic.
     
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