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"There's no evidence for God"

Benshapiro
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5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

4) No objective right and wrong exists

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

---

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.
Keltron
Posts: 161
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5/20/2014 11:18:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

True.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

There has never been absolute nothingness.

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Intelligence is an accumulation of knowledge.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

True.

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

True.

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

The highest level of stability is utter chaos.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

True.

---

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

Wishful thinking.
Benshapiro
Posts: 3,928
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5/20/2014 11:28:33 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:18:54 PM, Keltron wrote:
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

True.

Do you think that human beings have worth at all? If so, you must agree that this worth is extrinsic, correct?

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

There has never been absolute nothingness.

So something existing eternally, just like God, is not inconceivable to you? What force has existed eternally from which everything came?

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Intelligence is an accumulation of knowledge.

Can rocks accumulate knowledge? When did something non-living begin accumulate knowledge?

4) No objective right and wrong exists

True.

So rape against someone's will or murder for pleasure is not really wrong, it's just based on our interpretations of it being wrong? So serial rapists and murderers are just as justified claiming their actions aren't wrong as us claiming that they are?

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

True.

So if nothing is wrong, humans have no intrinsic worth, and we have a purposeless existence why do humans assign and recognize inalienable rights to human beings despite our worthlessness?

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

The highest level of stability is utter chaos.

So natural laws are the epitome of chaos?

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

True.

So logic and reason exists to discover truthlessness?

---

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

Wishful thinking.
bulproof
Posts: 25,171
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5/21/2014 1:28:20 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Damn how lucky could we have been? This whole is EXACTLY the right shape for our puddle.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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5/21/2014 5:33:56 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 1:28:20 AM, bulproof wrote:
Damn how lucky could we have been? This whole is EXACTLY the right shape for our puddle.

Could never had rained. Pretty lucky.
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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5/21/2014 5:42:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

No problem.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

Untrue.

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

No problem.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

No problem.

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

No problem.

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

No problem and also a false objection.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

False objection; mathematics does not require god.

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

Given that none of them present problems and several of them are indicative of significant ignorance on your part, I think you should probably go an study the stubjet a little more rather than just repeating what your parents tell you. Five of your seven 'pieces of evidence' are not evidence for god because you haven't proved them to be the case in the first place. The others require fundamental misrepresentations of the case (nothing in the universe had to come from nothing, there was no violation of thermodynamics because that is part of the system, the fine-tuning argument is full of holes and objective moral values are not required for there to be objective non-moral truths) which suggests you're either being dishonest or haven't studied the topic at all properly.
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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5/21/2014 6:11:16 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 5:42:44 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

No problem.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

Untrue.

Untrue? Do not some atheists claim that "stuff" has just always existed? Hydrogen is an element in the physical world. It came from somewhere, didn't it? Where'd it come from? Just curious. I've never asked an atheist that.

(The few times I did ask something similar, I got what appeared to be a "faith-based" answer, something along the lines of "I just believe it was always here.")
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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5/21/2014 6:41:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 6:11:16 AM, annanicole wrote:
Untrue? Do not some atheists claim that "stuff" has just always existed? Hydrogen is an element in the physical world. It came from somewhere, didn't it? Where'd it come from? Just curious. I've never asked an atheist that.

It formed in the early universe as cooling took place. It didn't come from nowhere. All the evidence available to us points very strongly away from the idea that anything has just always existed, as otherwise we'd be in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium and nothing would be happening anywhere.

For hydrogen it was in the very early stages of the universe's development, during the period of nucleosynthesis, where the temperature of the universe had dropped enough to allow sub-atomic particles to bind into atomic nuclei. At this point that basically amounted to hydrogen, helium and a few isotopes of each.

For about the first 10 seconds of the universe's existence it was too hot for anything as complex and relatively stable as an atom (or, at various stages, even the precursors of such - until the hadrons and leptons had formed, the parts to make an atom weren't available anyway) to survive.
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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5/21/2014 6:48:07 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 6:41:42 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/21/2014 6:11:16 AM, annanicole wrote:
Untrue? Do not some atheists claim that "stuff" has just always existed? Hydrogen is an element in the physical world. It came from somewhere, didn't it? Where'd it come from? Just curious. I've never asked an atheist that.

It formed in the early universe as cooling took place. It didn't come from nowhere. All the evidence available to us points very strongly away from the idea that anything has just always existed, as otherwise we'd be in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium and nothing would be happening anywhere.

Cooling of what? And what heated it in the first place?

For hydrogen it was in the very early stages of the universe's development, during the period of nucleosynthesis, where the temperature of the universe had dropped enough to allow sub-atomic particles to bind into atomic nuclei. At this point that basically amounted to hydrogen, helium and a few isotopes of each.

Again, HOW could the temperature rise without hydrogen in the first place?

For about the first 10 seconds of the universe's existence it was too hot for anything as complex and relatively stable as an atom (or, at various stages, even the precursors of such - until the hadrons and leptons had formed, the parts to make an atom weren't available anyway) to survive.

Still curious. Go back 20 seconds from the point to which you are referring. What existed at that point? I HAVE had people attempt explanations (not very good ones), but it seems that they all include an immense, immeasurable amount of energy from no known source.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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5/21/2014 6:56:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 6:48:07 AM, annanicole wrote:
Cooling of what? And what heated it in the first place?

The contents of the universe and the expansion of the universe, respectively.

Again, HOW could the temperature rise without hydrogen in the first place?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Why would hydrogen be required to raise the temperature?

Still curious. Go back 20 seconds from the point to which you are referring.

There isn't a 20 seconds prior to the point to which I'm referring.

What existed at that point?

As far as we know, nothing. Or rather, nothing recognisable or meaningful; our descriptive and comprehensive abilities are predicated on elements internal to the system we exist within.

I HAVE had people attempt explanations (not very good ones), but it seems that they all include an immense, immeasurable amount of energy from no known source.

I don't think necessarily 'immeasurable', but certainly immense and currently from no known source. It is entirely possible that the concept of 'source' isn't meaningful in this context though, since it is once again something that is predicated on internal processes that we cannot reliably extrapolate to or assume for anything not of the system within which that meaning is grounded.
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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5/21/2014 7:49:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 6:56:50 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/21/2014 6:48:07 AM, annanicole wrote:
Cooling of what? And what heated it in the first place?

The contents of the universe and the expansion of the universe, respectively.

I know the "contents of the universe", but I was specifically asking what these were (and where they came from)

Again, HOW could the temperature rise without hydrogen in the first place?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Why would hydrogen be required to raise the temperature?

You said it "cooled". I presume it was warm prior to cooling. I was under the impression that hydrogen was the source, the energy source, for these warming "events". But no, hydrogen would not be "necessary" for warming.

Still curious. Go back 20 seconds from the point to which you are referring.

There isn't a 20 seconds prior to the point to which I'm referring.

Why not? There was a 10 seconds prior, but not a 20?

What existed at that point?

As far as we know, nothing. Or rather, nothing recognisable or meaningful; our descriptive and comprehensive abilities are predicated on elements internal to the system we exist within.

Thus you are saying that - as far as you know, and based upon your comprehensive abilities - something came from nothing? Would that be correct?

I HAVE had people attempt explanations (not very good ones), but it seems that they all include an immense, immeasurable amount of energy from no known source.

I don't think necessarily 'immeasurable', but certainly immense and currently from no known source. It is entirely possible that the concept of 'source' isn't meaningful in this context though, since it is once again something that is predicated on internal processes that we cannot reliably extrapolate to or assume for anything not of the system within which that meaning is grounded.

"Source" .. "origin" ... there's got to be something .... energy does not just come from nowhere, and although people quibble endlessly over the words, something does not come from nothing.

Anyway, scratch the word "immeasurable". I'm sure someone could somehow devise a theory for "measuring" it, but you understand what I'm saying. Is the current theory that a huge explosion of nothing occurred, from which something was created?
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
irreverent_god
Posts: 1,378
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5/21/2014 8:10:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

This comment is simply ignorant. To make this statement demonstrates an huge self-esteem deficiency.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

Not necessarily. Setting up only two possibilities, when more exist is one of the most common fallacies used, in debates. Congratulations... You run with the herd...

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Incorrect. Intelligence evolved.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

Even if your gawd did exist, no objective morality exists. This argument is boring and ignorant, even when educated people make it. I will never under fathom people's lack of understanding that the only purpose for driving toward "objective" morality is to remove the validation from the hands of humans. If humans are not the arbiters, then the religious believe the only option left is their gawd. This, by default, leave the decision in the very human hands of those who claim to speak on his behalf.

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

Human beings have even less "objective" purpose, if your gawd exists. You would all be subject to his will, and have abject joy thrust upon you.

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

Nothing was "finely tuned." You've been listening to too much William Lane Craig (of course, any WLC is too much WLC).

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

Everything is relative? Of course there are absolute truths. Religions simply make the absurd claim that they all come from gawd.


Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

You may accept what you wish, as the beginning of the universe. We have no way of proving otherwise, in a definite manner. But clinging to religious beliefs is among the laziest ways available to define creation. If the source you use is the bible, it's also among the most hideous.
Logic and Reason are the precursor to Justice.
Faith and zealotry are the precursor to Folly.
bulproof
Posts: 25,171
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5/21/2014 8:15:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 7:49:11 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 5/21/2014 6:56:50 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/21/2014 6:48:07 AM, annanicole wrote:
Cooling of what? And what heated it in the first place?

The contents of the universe and the expansion of the universe, respectively.

I know the "contents of the universe", but I was specifically asking what these were (and where they came from)

Again, HOW could the temperature rise without hydrogen in the first place?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Why would hydrogen be required to raise the temperature?

You said it "cooled". I presume it was warm prior to cooling. I was under the impression that hydrogen was the source, the energy source, for these warming "events". But no, hydrogen would not be "necessary" for warming.

Still curious. Go back 20 seconds from the point to which you are referring.

There isn't a 20 seconds prior to the point to which I'm referring.

Why not? There was a 10 seconds prior, but not a 20?

What existed at that point?

As far as we know, nothing. Or rather, nothing recognisable or meaningful; our descriptive and comprehensive abilities are predicated on elements internal to the system we exist within.

Thus you are saying that - as far as you know, and based upon your comprehensive abilities - something came from nothing? Would that be correct?

I HAVE had people attempt explanations (not very good ones), but it seems that they all include an immense, immeasurable amount of energy from no known source.

I don't think necessarily 'immeasurable', but certainly immense and currently from no known source. It is entirely possible that the concept of 'source' isn't meaningful in this context though, since it is once again something that is predicated on internal processes that we cannot reliably extrapolate to or assume for anything not of the system within which that meaning is grounded.

"Source" .. "origin" ... there's got to be something .... energy does not just come from nowhere, and although people quibble endlessly over the words, something does not come from nothing.

Anyway, scratch the word "immeasurable". I'm sure someone could somehow devise a theory for "measuring" it, but you understand what I'm saying. Is the current theory that a huge explosion of nothing occurred, from which something was created?

No
There was no explosion
Something from nothing is the god hypothesis.
Grain explained this quite well in non scientific language that should be simple for a person as intelligent as you are to understand and you would if it didn't conflict with
your god belief.
Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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5/21/2014 8:17:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 7:49:11 AM, annanicole wrote:
I know the "contents of the universe", but I was specifically asking what these were (and where they came from)

The contents of the universe varied in their nature depending on which point you were asking it about; as I said, there was a lot of hot sub-atomic 'stuff' floating about (hadrons, leptons etc.) at the time hydrogen formed.

You said it "cooled". I presume it was warm prior to cooling. I was under the impression that hydrogen was the source, the energy source, for these warming "events". But no, hydrogen would not be "necessary" for warming.

I said the universe cooled and as a result hydrogen was able to form. The hydrogen itself then continued to cool.

Why not? There was a 10 seconds prior, but not a 20?

How fast is a runner going before the start of a race? How much of the ruler is before the 0cm point? What notes do you play before a piece of music has started?

Thus you are saying that - as far as you know, and based upon your comprehensive abilities - something came from nothing? Would that be correct?

No, it wouldn't. At least, not in any meaningful sense as "nothing" is not a reference point from which something can come; it is a lack of reference points and therefore cannot be discussed.

"Source" .. "origin" ... there's got to be something .... energy does not just come from nowhere, and although people quibble endlessly over the words, something does not come from nothing.

You are trying to play chess using the rules of badminton and reaching erroneous conclusions because of it.

Anyway, scratch the word "immeasurable". I'm sure someone could somehow devise a theory for "measuring" it, but you understand what I'm saying. Is the current theory that a huge explosion of nothing occurred, from which something was created?

No.
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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5/21/2014 8:32:27 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 8:17:10 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/21/2014 7:49:11 AM, annanicole wrote:
I know the "contents of the universe", but I was specifically asking what these were (and where they came from)

The contents of the universe varied in their nature depending on which point you were asking it about; as I said, there was a lot of hot sub-atomic 'stuff' floating about (hadrons, leptons etc.) at the time hydrogen formed.

I am talking about the point just prior to the big explosion.

You said it "cooled". I presume it was warm prior to cooling. I was under the impression that hydrogen was the source, the energy source, for these warming "events". But no, hydrogen would not be "necessary" for warming.

I said the universe cooled and as a result hydrogen was able to form. The hydrogen itself then continued to cool.

Why not? There was a 10 seconds prior, but not a 20?

How fast is a runner going before the start of a race? How much of the ruler is before the 0cm point? What notes do you play before a piece of music has started?

None. The music exists merely in the mind of the composer.

Thus you are saying that - as far as you know, and based upon your comprehensive abilities - something came from nothing? Would that be correct?

No, it wouldn't. At least, not in any meaningful sense as "nothing" is not a reference point from which something can come; it is a lack of reference points and therefore cannot be discussed.

Well, you do realize that you cannot be allowed to just "begin" at a certain point, under certain conditions, and dismiss all questions prior to that point with a "lack of reference points"? We are trying to figure out where all this stuff came from, and when you get back to a certain point ... POOF. I'm merely asking for a guess. After all, I presume a "hadron" came from somewhere, and it's all just a guess anyhow.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Graincruncher
Posts: 2,799
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5/21/2014 8:40:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 8:32:27 AM, annanicole wrote:
I am talking about the point just prior to the big explosion.

There wasn't one.

The music exists merely in the mind of the composer.

As delightful a soundbite as that is, I feel you've rather dishonestly cherry-picked from the questions I asked, ignoring the point they were making, simply in order to repeat it.

Well, you do realize that you cannot be allowed to just "begin" at a certain point, under certain conditions, and dismiss all questions prior to that point with a "lack of reference points"?

You do realise that it is impossible to discuss something that lacks meaning and you can't just demand answers for it even if none can be provided?

We are trying to figure out where all this stuff came from, and when you get back to a certain point ... POOF.

As that seems to be what the evidence at this stage suggests. If other evidence comes up to indicate otherwise then another explanation may be needed.

I'm merely asking for a guess. After all, I presume a "hadron" came from somewhere, and it's all just a guess anyhow.

My guess is "our capacity for meaningful discourse is limited by the rules that govern our world". If you wish to learn where hadrons came from - rather than, as increasingly seems to be the case, make snide remarks from a position of ignorance - then it's very easy to find the information on this. If you are relegating science to just 'guesswork' then I don't really see how you can expect anyone to take your arguments seriously, as it suggests you don't understand concepts such as evidence, reason and other key components to a fruitful discussion.
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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5/21/2014 8:44:18 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 8:15:40 AM, bulproof wrote:
At 5/21/2014 7:49:11 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 5/21/2014 6:56:50 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/21/2014 6:48:07 AM, annanicole wrote:
Cooling of what? And what heated it in the first place?

The contents of the universe and the expansion of the universe, respectively.

I know the "contents of the universe", but I was specifically asking what these were (and where they came from)

Again, HOW could the temperature rise without hydrogen in the first place?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Why would hydrogen be required to raise the temperature?

You said it "cooled". I presume it was warm prior to cooling. I was under the impression that hydrogen was the source, the energy source, for these warming "events". But no, hydrogen would not be "necessary" for warming.

Still curious. Go back 20 seconds from the point to which you are referring.

There isn't a 20 seconds prior to the point to which I'm referring.

Why not? There was a 10 seconds prior, but not a 20?

What existed at that point?

As far as we know, nothing. Or rather, nothing recognisable or meaningful; our descriptive and comprehensive abilities are predicated on elements internal to the system we exist within.

Thus you are saying that - as far as you know, and based upon your comprehensive abilities - something came from nothing? Would that be correct?

I HAVE had people attempt explanations (not very good ones), but it seems that they all include an immense, immeasurable amount of energy from no known source.

I don't think necessarily 'immeasurable', but certainly immense and currently from no known source. It is entirely possible that the concept of 'source' isn't meaningful in this context though, since it is once again something that is predicated on internal processes that we cannot reliably extrapolate to or assume for anything not of the system within which that meaning is grounded.

"Source" .. "origin" ... there's got to be something .... energy does not just come from nowhere, and although people quibble endlessly over the words, something does not come from nothing.

Anyway, scratch the word "immeasurable". I'm sure someone could somehow devise a theory for "measuring" it, but you understand what I'm saying. Is the current theory that a huge explosion of nothing occurred, from which something was created?

No
There was no explosion

Play on words. What do you want to call it? An expansion?

Something from nothing is the god hypothesis.
Grain explained this quite well in non scientific language that should be simple for a person as intelligent as you are to understand and you would if it didn't conflict with
your god belief.

He can't explain it, nor can I, nor can you because what he didn't say is that all laws break down at extremes. For all I know, there was another universe prior to this one. And another one prior to that. I know one thing: time itself does not just "start" magically. Time as we know it might start, but then again we probably have a one-sided conception of it.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
annanicole
Posts: 19,782
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5/21/2014 8:53:10 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 8:40:37 AM, Graincruncher wrote:
At 5/21/2014 8:32:27 AM, annanicole wrote:
I am talking about the point just prior to the big explosion.

There wasn't one.

How do you know that? How do you know there wasn't another universe prior to this one?

The music exists merely in the mind of the composer.

As delightful a soundbite as that is, I feel you've rather dishonestly cherry-picked from the questions I asked, ignoring the point they were making, simply in order to repeat it.

That's because I felt the questions were based upon a rather limited perception of the concept of time.

Well, you do realize that you cannot be allowed to just "begin" at a certain point, under certain conditions, and dismiss all questions prior to that point with a "lack of reference points"?

You do realise that it is impossible to discuss something that lacks meaning and you can't just demand answers for it even if none can be provided?

It doesn't "lack meaning". It searches for the origin or matter/energy. Your theory is thus far merely assuming it.

We are trying to figure out where all this stuff came from, and when you get back to a certain point ... POOF.

As that seems to be what the evidence at this stage suggests. If other evidence comes up to indicate otherwise then another explanation may be needed.

I'm merely asking for a guess. After all, I presume a "hadron" came from somewhere, and it's all just a guess anyhow.

My guess is "our capacity for meaningful discourse is limited by the rules that govern our world". If you wish to learn where hadrons came from - rather than, as increasingly seems to be the case, make snide remarks from a position of ignorance - then it's very easy to find the information on this. If you are relegating science to just 'guesswork' then I don't really see how you can expect anyone to take your arguments seriously, as it suggests you don't understand concepts such as evidence, reason and other key components to a fruitful discussion.

"The Big Bang was not the beginning of space and time. There was a before, and before matters because it leaves an imprint on what happens in the next cycle." - Paul Steinhardt, Professor of Physics, Princeton

"You do realise that it is impossible to discuss something that lacks meaning" - Graincruncher

Dr. Steinhardt says that the "before" does matter. Graincruncher has decided that it doesn't. Now I'm not sure who we should side with on this subject.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Graincruncher
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5/21/2014 9:09:16 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 8:53:10 AM, annanicole wrote:
How do you know that? How do you know there wasn't another universe prior to this one?

It's a semantic point, in that the referential criteria for meaning is our world. When we talk of 'before' we are doing so within a framework and trying to talk 'outside' of that framework - including with regards to time - will result in nonsense. Therefore there was, by definition, no 'before' to the universe as the universe includes our conception of time.

That's because I felt the questions were based upon a rather limited perception of the concept of time.

The rather limited in what sense; that time is as much a part of the universe as space and therefore talking about 'before' it is meaningless? That the language we use to discuss and understand things is one internal to a system and therefore ill-equipped to discuss 'outside' of that system?

It doesn't "lack meaning". It searches for the origin or matter/energy. Your theory is thus far merely assuming it.

Badminton and chess again. It lacks meaning. It is unknowable because it is unfathomable. All we can know is that what applies 'inside' may not apply 'outside', including the concepts of 'inside' and 'outside'.

"The Big Bang was not the beginning of space and time.

You have evidence for this?

There was a before, and before matters because it leaves an imprint on what happens in the next cycle." - Paul Steinhardt, Professor of Physics, Princeton

Ah yes, Steinhardt. He and Turok are interesting guys, but somewhat lacking in evidence for many of their claims. I know the CMB maps have been interpreted by them as having this imprint, but as I understand it that is far from being an established case. Additionally, their position fell apart somewhat recently with evidence found for B-polarisation, which I believe to be incompatible with their Ekpyrotic version of M-theory, which itself is as yet unsubstantiated by any evidence.


"You do realise that it is impossible to discuss something that lacks meaning" - Graincruncher

Dr. Steinhardt says that the "before" does matter. Graincruncher has decided that it doesn't. Now I'm not sure who we should side with on this subject.

If it helps, I'm siding with the majority of the scientific community - including many experts in cosmology, M-theory and associated fields - who disagree with Steinhardt and Turok. So if you're going to resort to an appeal to authority (in the wrong fields, no less; the semantic point is a philosophical, not cosmological, one) then I'm afraid that's backfired somewhat because the majority of experts disagree with Steinhardt.
Graincruncher
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5/21/2014 9:27:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Ooops, two points that need clarifying:

1) I didn't mean ekpyrotic, as that is not the current theory. I should have gone with the broader 'cyclic'. I actually quite like the idea, but the evidence is scant and questionable at best at this point.

2) A cyclic universe theory still doesn't necessarily suppose anything 'outside' of the universe.
SNP1
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5/21/2014 10:10:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

No, we give ourselves our own worth.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

If there is a Quantum Theory of Gravity, which there almost certainly is, then that is scientifically possible.

Imaginary Time -> Quantum Gravity Fluctuation to create spacetime -> Quantum Vacuum Fluctuation large enough to create a massive amount of energy (with a net energy still at zero) -> Rapid expansion/Big Bang -> Universe.

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Yes? Your point? It also depends on what you define intelligence as, but it is very possible.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

Correct, morals are subjective. They are based on empathy and knowledge. That is why humans, being social beings, work more off of ethics than morals.

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

All life has a biological purpose of reproducing, but we have gained a high enough form of self-awareness and the ability to gain knowledge that we can ignore this biological purpose and implement our own subjective purpose. My current personal purpose is to find out the most truths that I can in my life.

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

Why couldn't they be eternal? Or why can't they just be aspects of a multiverse? Besides, if we go by your logic we can also say that the laws of logic didn't exist at that time either, meaning that what you say is possible, it can also mean that the reason that these laws arose and the universe arose was because of pudding.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

Why do you say that? An absolute truth is whatever is always valid, regardless of parameters or context. Even without a God there can be "absolute truths". If the Big Bang happened, which all evidence points to, it is an absolute truth that the Big Bang happened. If the universe came from nothing without a creator then it is then an absolute truth that it happened. Does this mean that we can accurately determine if something is an absolute truth? No. We can also take a look at mathematics if you want, mathematics does not require a God.

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence,

Let us review what you have said to see if they defy real world evidence or not.

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

What evidence says that we do?

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

Really? There is evidence that says this is impossible? Where is it?

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Science allows for this, so what evidence is there that says it cannot? Granted, there must be certain conditions for it to happen, but it is still possible. You also have to define intelligence as intelligence is subjective because in order to define it you must compare what you say is intelligent to something that is not intelligent.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

There is no evidence to say that any do exist, so what is the problem?

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

Wait, there is evidence to say that we do? Well, then what is our objective purpose and what evidence supports that?

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

There is no evidence to refute this, we just do not know for sure where they come from. That does not mean God, because that would be a God of the Gaps.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

Where is your evidence? If an event is a true event it is an absolute truth, but that does not require a God. Even if everything is relative events still happen.

So, looks like it was a baseless claim to say that evidence refutes these points, and it is also baseless to say they are a must if God does not exist.

a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

No, a universe that would allow life to come into existence and survive is more likely to produce life than a universe that would not allow it.

There is nothing that says that a spontaneous universe that was not created by a God could not meet the requirements.

Given an infinite amount of time anything that could happen, no matter how unlikely, will happen. Before the Big Bang there existed an infinite amount of Imaginary Time, meaning that this universe could arise from nothing without a God regardless of the probability.

The multiverse theory is also more supported than God. Why?
1. We know that there exists at least 1 universe.
2. We have no evidence or reason to believe there is even 1 God.
3. We have evidence that there could be at least 1 more universe (http://www.dailymail.co.uk...)
4. We do not have evidence that even 1 God exists.

So, let us use Occam's Razor.
Is it more likely that there is more than the one universe we know exists, which there is evidence for?
Or is it more likely that even one God exists, which there is no evidence for?

Occam's Razor would support the multiverse.
#TheApatheticNihilistPartyofAmerica
#WarOnDDO
Benshapiro
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5/21/2014 4:40:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 10:10:19 AM, SNP1 wrote:
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

No, we give ourselves our own worth.

So it must follow that if human beings are valuable, extrinsic criteria must be given to ourselves or others if we regard human beings as valuable. Worth can only be intrinsic or extrinsic, correct? So why do we regard human beings as having value without extrinsic value judgements? People will save a dying baby on the side of the road without an evaluation of that baby's worth, the controversy over abortion rests on whether or not a fetus is considered human, and people donate to charity without any expectation of reimbursement, but there exists criteria for which we must see these human beings as valuable first?

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

If there is a Quantum Theory of Gravity, which there almost certainly is, then that is scientifically possible.

Imaginary Time -> Quantum Gravity Fluctuation to create spacetime -> Quantum Vacuum Fluctuation large enough to create a massive amount of energy (with a net energy still at zero) -> Rapid expansion/Big Bang -> Universe.

Imaginary time is a vertical plane that can only exist on the horizontal linear progression of real time. Given that space and time were created in the Big Bang, imaginary time could not have existed before it occurred.

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Yes? Your point? It also depends on what you define intelligence as, but it is very possible.

Agents capable of specified-complexity. Nothing has ever shown to produce specified-complexity without a prior agent capable of of specified-complexity. For example, a newspaper story about the stock market would never randomly write itself by unintelligent forces of nature even in trillions of years. It required an intelligent agent to produce it. Properly functioning cells are only capable of recreation if the data is transmitted from a prior cell containing that intelligence.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

Correct, morals are subjective. They are based on empathy and knowledge. That is why humans, being social beings, work more off of ethics than morals.

If ethics are the foundation or morality, what are ethics founded on? The purpose to procreate and propagate the human species? Doesn't that presuppose an objective purpose among an objectively purposeless species?

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

All life has a biological purpose of reproducing, but we have gained a high enough form of self-awareness and the ability to gain knowledge that we can ignore this biological purpose and implement our own subjective purpose. My current personal purpose is to find out the most truths that I can in my life.

We also have a natural biological process of dying. Why derive purpose from the natural process of natural selection resulting in propagation of life when death as just as natural of a process resulting in extinction to derive purpose from?

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

Why couldn't they be eternal? Or why can't they just be aspects of a multiverse? Besides, if we go by your logic we can also say that the laws of logic didn't exist at that time either, meaning that what you say is possible, it can also mean that the reason that these laws arose and the universe arose was because of pudding.

Because something existing eternally when it was created in a temporal moment in time after the expansion of the Big Bang doesn't make any logical sense. Mainstream scientific evidence supports the Big Bang theory.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

Why do you say that? An absolute truth is whatever is always valid, regardless of parameters or context. Even without a God there can be "absolute truths". If the Big Bang happened, which all evidence points to, it is an absolute truth that the Big Bang happened. If the universe came from nothing without a creator then it is then an absolute truth that it happened. Does this mean that we can accurately determine if something is an absolute truth? No. We can also take a look at mathematics if you want, mathematics does not require a God.

Because mathematics would be just as true as they are not true if everything is relative. You are saying absolutes exist because they're real, but reality isn't real if consciousness is the result of non-consciousness.

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence,

Let us review what you have said to see if they defy real world evidence or not.

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

What evidence says that we do?

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

Really? There is evidence that says this is impossible? Where is it?

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

Science allows for this, so what evidence is there that says it cannot? Granted, there must be certain conditions for it to happen, but it is still possible. You also have to define intelligence as intelligence is subjective because in order to define it you must compare what you say is intelligent to something that is not intelligent.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

There is no evidence to say that any do exist, so what is the problem?

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

Wait, there is evidence to say that we do? Well, then what is our objective purpose and what evidence supports that?

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

There is no evidence to refute this, we just do not know for sure where they come from. That does not mean God, because that would be a God of the Gaps.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

Where is your evidence? If an event is a true event it is an absolute truth, but that does not require a God. Even if everything is relative events still happen.


So, looks like it was a baseless claim to say that evidence refutes these points, and it is also baseless to say they are a must if God does not exist.

a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

No, a universe that would allow life to come into existence and survive is more likely to produce life than a universe that would not allow it.

There is nothing that says that a spontaneous universe that was not created by a God could not meet the requirements.

Given an infinite amount of time anything that could happen, no matter how unlikely, will happen. Before the Big Bang there existed an infinite amount of Imaginary Time, meaning that this universe could arise from nothing without a God regardless of the probability.

The multiverse theory is also more supported than God. Why?
1. We know that there exists at least 1 universe.
2. We have no evidence or reason to believe there is even 1 God.
3. We have evidence that there could be at least 1 more universe (http://www.dailymail.co.uk...)
4. We do not have evidence that even 1 God exists.

So, let us use Occam's Razor.
Is it more likely that there is more than the one universe we know exists, which there is evidence for?
Or is it more likely that even one God exists, which there is no eviden
Envisage
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5/21/2014 6:49:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

Although I find your arguments weak, they are a breath if fresh air from the other stuff I read.

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

Not necessarily, since this presupposes that life can only have intrinsic worth if God exists. There are other ways this is possible, but I don't see a problem in accepting this statement anyway... So what if humans have no intrinsic worth? And why do you take special consideration to humans? Seems extraordinarily arrogant to assume that humans should have worth and other species, like the chimpanzees, should not.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

Not necessarily either, but then we already debated this. I daresay the only thing that needs assuming is the universe came from something that was not conscious to positively believe there is no god. And given the evidence, I see no reason to think this assumption is false. It is an assumption favoured by Occums razor too.

Moreover it seems also plausible that the universe really did come ex nihilo, but that's an extra unnecessary step that needs to be taken to disfavor a god.

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence

So what? Define intelligence, and ask yourself, is intelligence reducible? Then look at the various mental conditions in humans, and intelligence exhibited by other animals. It seems very, very plausible that intelligence is far more reducible and plastic than you give it credit for.

4) No objective right and wrong exists

We already discussed this, but in either case I don't see this as a sustainable objection even if it were required to be true.

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

Same as #1

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

Seems like an appeal to ignorance, since we just don't know all the variables that would allow for life (not necessarily ours). And these laws are descriptive and not proscriptive, which seem to be very much noisy and chaotic at the fundamental level.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

Why?

---

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.
intellectuallyprimitive
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5/21/2014 7:03:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:

I will willingly address the criteria below whereby you assert are imperative to confirm the invalidation or nullification of God's existence.

1) humans have no intrinsic worth

Agreed. Human value is subjective and varies between individuals.

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness

To consider the inverse, something originated from something, infinite regress is the prominent plausible argument (something came from something and that something came from something), unless you assume that a creator exists beyond space and time (preexisted before matter(universe)).

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence
Intelligent life evolved. A conscious mind is a result of an evolutionary process that wherein, developed over a span of millions of years.
4) No objective right and wrong exists

Morality is a concept that individuals apply to values they consider to be right or wrong. An individual does not require God, religion, and or the Bible to derive a sense of morality.

5) Human beings have no objective purpose

Agreed. Purpose is a human evoked concept. Life does not contain a purpose. However, functions that we perform in life provide us with results. Those results coerce an incentive, or a reason, to repeat those functions. Procreation is the most relative function that resembles a purpose because that is an inherent process that humans possess.

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously

An accidental universe is conceivable.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist

That is a semantic trap wherein you employed the word absolute as if the word defines something that cannot be for certain. Truth, facts, and knowledge exists. We can know this for certain. There are numerous methods of establishing something as verifiable. Is it demonstrable? Is it tangible? Can it be supported empirically? Are we able to utilize our sensory apparatus to confirm or successfully experience something? Your usage of the word absolute is a semantic decoy, and It has been deployed time after time.


Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.

How does a non-objective morality defy real world evidence? How does not containing an inherent worth defy real world evidence? How does not possessing an objective purpose defy real world evidence? Your speculation regarding the other criteria is merely your perception of why the universe operates or exists as it does.
Beastt
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5/21/2014 8:02:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:06:57 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
To the contrary! The necessary conditions that must be met if God DOES NOT exist:
1) humans have no intrinsic worth
Why do you feel that you should be automatically endowed with some special value? Try making yourself valuable through what you do. (Thinking would be a good start.)

2) something in the physical world literally came from absolute nothingness
Absolutely untrue. 1. Matter/energy can be neither created nor destroyed. 2. Matter/energy exists. 3. Do the math.

3) intelligence was created from non-intelligence
Makes far more sense than omniscience creating feeble intellect.

4) No objective right and wrong exists
Because right and wrong are matters of perspective. Even if God were to exist, right and wrong would just be God's perspective. Who's to say he would be right?

5) Human beings have no objective purpose
Yeah, sorry. Is it too much to ask that you find your own purpose? What if you don't like the purpose assigned to you without your consent? Is that fair?

6) finely tuned constants allowing universal order like laws of physics, thermodynamics, were created chaotically and spontaneously
Learn about chaos theory. And nothing about the universe is finely tuned. It's one precise set of values from a nearly infinite set of potential values, each leading to a different universe. Any one you pick is just as unlikely as any other.

7) given that everything is relative, no absolute truths exist
Did you feel the need to repeat #4?

Given the absurdity of these conditions that defy real world evidence, a universe exhibiting intelligence and incredibly finely tuned order and complexity is more likely the product of an intelligent mind and not from anything spontaneous and unconscious.
There's nothing absurd about any of these conditions. Each makes sense unless you just can't manage to crawl past the belief that the universe needs you, and that you are special above all other constituent parts of the universe. Sorry, you're not special.

The fine-tuning argument is the epitome of feeble understanding. If you pull one card at random from a deck of 200-trillion cards, was your selection "fine-tuned"? The odds of any specific card being draw are 200-trillion to one. The odds of pulling a card, are 1 to 1. And no matter which card you pick, it was a 200-trillion to one shot. Seriously, what are the odds you would live exactly where you do, out of all of the possible dwellings on the planet? "Amazing!" Being befuddled by large numbers only demonstrates how feeble the supposed intellect created via omniscience actually is.

The only one of your conditions that defies real world evidence is the absurd conclusion that because matter/energy exists, there must have been a time when it didn't. That's absurdly contrary to the evidence. How did you manage to just poof away everything, simply so that you could poof up a non-physical master controller (who doesn't exist), to poof everything back into existence? Absurd!
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
Beastt
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5/21/2014 8:27:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/20/2014 11:28:33 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Can rocks accumulate knowledge? When did something non-living begin accumulate knowledge?
Define "knowledge". If it's simply the collection of information, everything physical is a record of information. Do you see a dust speck on your monitor? Measure it's height, width and length in microns. How many different elements does it contain and in what proportions? How many molecules does it contain? What level of charge is holding it against your monitor? What was its source? How long has it been in its present state? Everything physical is a rich store of information. Crack open a rock and count the fossils. Does each fossil not represent a rich store of information? Life likely began using information when it began storing information in cellular physiology.

So rape against someone's will or murder for pleasure is not really wrong, it's just based on our interpretations of it being wrong? So serial rapists and murderers are just as justified claiming their actions aren't wrong as us claiming that they are?
The word "rape" already indicates that it's not consensual. These things are based on the benefits to be obtained from living in social groups. Such behaviors do not accommodate living socially. Additionally, you should note that in U.S. prisons, the ratio of rapists and murderers who are Christians per capita is more than 35 to 1 compared to atheists. In other words, Christians are more than 35-times as likely (per capita), to commit a serious criminal offense, landing them in prison, as are atheists. Your belief in absolute morality doesn't seem to improve your conduct.

So if nothing is wrong, humans have no intrinsic worth, and we have a purposeless existence why do humans assign and recognize inalienable rights to human beings despite our worthlessness?
You're trying to place humans (or a human invention - AKA: God) as the seat of authority. There is no seat of authority. What is beneficial to one thing may be harmful to another. Your existence isn't "purposeless" if you seek to give yourself purpose. Why do you think purpose is owed you?

The highest level of stability is utter chaos.

So natural laws are the epitome of chaos?
Explain to me how a universe would exist without natural laws. Would it be unstable? And would an unstable universe not collapse and re-coagulate? And wouldn't the result likely be different than the unstable universe leading to it? Natural laws are simply the result of physicality, interacting.

So logic and reason exists to discover truthlessness?
Logic and reason are relative to the nature of the physical laws in which you exist. Change the laws, and you change both logic and reason. And what's logical about creating a mental construct for a all-powerful intelligent creator when you have no evidence for one?

The conclusions you have drawn are a mix of stunned incredulousness at the thought that you might not be ultra-special relative to the rest of the universe, and the apparent inability to understand one simple premise; When all potential outcomes are extremely unlikely, an extremely unlikely outcome becomes a certainty.

Try repeating that to yourself until you understand it.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
Beastt
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5/21/2014 8:30:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 5:33:56 AM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 5/21/2014 1:28:20 AM, bulproof wrote:
Damn how lucky could we have been? This whole is EXACTLY the right shape for our puddle.

Could never had rained. Pretty lucky.

"Rain" doesn't always indicate water. There are moons in our solar system where it rains liquid hydrogen. On other bodies in our solar system it rains liquid mercury. You can form puddles from either. In every instance, the liquid conforms to the shape of the puddle. In the mind of the theist, his environment was designed specifically to fit him, because he is the reason the entire universe exists.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
Beastt
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5/21/2014 8:45:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 6:11:16 AM, annanicole wrote:
Untrue? Do not some atheists claim that "stuff" has just always existed? Hydrogen is an element in the physical world. It came from somewhere, didn't it? Where'd it come from? Just curious. I've never asked an atheist that.

How are you equating the fact that science leans to the idea that the base components of the universe have always existed, with the OP's claim that science/atheists claim it all came from nothing? Always existing doesn't equal coming from nothing.

(The few times I did ask something similar, I got what appeared to be a "faith-based" answer, something along the lines of "I just believe it was always here.")

If you want an evidenced answer, look to one of the most fundamental laws of physics - the First Law of Thermodynamics. This law is titled "The Law of Conservation of Energy", because it shows that energy remains always stable. It tells us that matter/energy can be neither created nor destroyed.

Now, if we start with a default state of nothingness, and we know that matter/energy can't be created, how do we get to the universe today which contains a significant amount of matter/energy? Do you see the problem? Theists create this problem by assuming a beginning state of nothingness. But all of the evidence... EVERY SHRED OF IT, supports the idea that matter/energy has always existed. This is further understood if one remembers that matter and energy are simply two states of the same thing. So the entire universe may have existed as only energy, requiring no space. That doesn't mean the universe didn't exist. It just means it existed in a different state, which had no physical mass.

So the claim that anything came from nothing is purely one proposed by the theist in attempting to support their belief that God (or a god), created everything, despite the fact that the First Law of Thermodynamics shows that it can't be created. That's not a limitation placed upon God, but a fundamental property of matter/energy itself.

So the claim in the OP is false, and is based upon a creationist strawman. While the reality is that the fundamental base components of the universe must have always existed.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
Beastt
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5/21/2014 8:49:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 5/21/2014 6:41:42 AM, Graincruncher wrote:

It formed in the early universe as cooling took place. It didn't come from nowhere. All the evidence available to us points very strongly away from the idea that anything has just always existed, as otherwise we'd be in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium and nothing would be happening anywhere.

Excuse my boldness but that is incorrect. The problem of thermodynamic equilibrium or "heat death" is intrinsic to matter'/energy in the matter state. it is not a problem applicable to matter/energy in the energy state. it is likely that prior to big-bang, the universe existed in a purely energy state.

So while matter has not always existed, its alter-ego (energy), likely has.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire