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Old 10-24-2011, 02:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
If there is a burden of proof in this friendly debate, it must surely lie with you. I claim only to not know if the universe was planned, if that is even something that is knowable to begin with. Further, I don't claim to have a belief one way or the other about the issue.

This is contrasted with your position, which is that you don't know but you have a belief that the universe was not planned. That is an assertion and If this debate is about anything it is about you showing the reasonableness of your belief.

On the general issue of planning, you have demonstrated that we don't understand why the plan would have been created in such a way as nature reveals. You may have even shown that nature and the universe was poorly planned. But one could say the same about war in Iraq, and yet few would suggest that was not the result of a plan. I would suggest that most things in life you would call planned, you would also judge as imperfectly planned. Thus observed defects in nature or the universe do not support the idea of a planned or unplanned universe, they only suggest that we do not understand why a perfect plan would be made so, or that the plan is imperfect in our eyes.

Further, if such a plan exists, we can't be sure that human's play an important role in that plan. Perhaps there is a plan, but it isn't about "us", and we are an insignificant side-note to the plan. Maybe the plan was completed at the big bang, for purposes we don't understand. Maybe the plan had to do with the nature of the universe and galaxies, and the fact that humans reside in the milky-way is nor more relevant then rocks on Mars.

Bare in mind, our argument here is different then the creationist argument that there must be a plan and it deals with the exceptional-ism of human beings. Instead, or argument is whether there is good reason to believe the universe is not planned, regardless of why it was planned. This is a distinction between Deism and traditional theism. Deism requires a plan, but it doesn't say anything about how or why that plan came to be.

This distinction leaves open the possibility that it is not knowable if there was a plan, because we have no idea what the plan would have involved. So evidence that " life felt its way along in a bumbling unconscious way" perhaps shows that the plan didn't involve life appearing to have felt it's way along in a meaningful way, but not much more.

Your statements about materialism show how you believe, not what you believe. It only demonstrates that you believe things that are shown to be true, but of the things that are not shown to be true, it gives no insight about what is possible or impossible. It doesn't exclude the possibility of anything existing, it only shows that you will not believe it until it is shown to be true.

Anything that is discovered will be described as physical and material. You are aware that things will be discovered in the future that you will then describe as physical and material.

You can't use those words to describe what can not exist, only what you believe at this point to exist.

I'll explain later when I have more time.
Well, I wasn't supposing that humans would be a particular part of the plan. I used them, like everything else, as having examples of poor design.

While I suppose it is possible to say that a plan doesn't have to be a very good plan, I think one has to consider the Iraq analogy.

One might argue that a planning cosmic mind is behind everything, so it has to be behind Iraq, too (or one has to suppose that deistgod made everything and left it to jog along). So, if Iraq was poorly planned it was because evidentially only men were planning it, not a 'god'. For the same reason one looks at the poor planning in everything and suppose that, where we have natural forces (which are known) in place of military planners, the idea of a cosmic planning mind is redundant and unplanned natural processes is the default - theory.

While you can develop the theology as you go along rather as theists try to say that there is no Bible evidence for an evil god and when that won't stand up, stoutly opt for 'an evil god - well so what?', and opt for an incompetent god rather than try to maintain it all looks perfect, that is all rather like trying to keep a rather untenable theory on the table.

I sometimes use as a counter to the necessary conditions argument that while parameters having to be just so for life (even taking life adapting to conditions into account) is an argument with some validity, some accidents had to occur. The reptile extinction had to occur to give dinosaurs a chance. The dinosaur extinction had to occur to give mammals a chance. Perhaps the drought and ice age had to occur to give modern man an impetus. A planning mind surely wouldn't need to go round the houses like that any more than it would need to design a loop of nerve in the giraffe when a straight connection would do.

Poor planning won't answer old chum. It looks UNplanned, not poorly planned. That's my point. It looks as though unplanned natural processes, acting along lines dictated by the inherent properties of matter, is the best explanation for why we are here.

A planning mind would, reason says, start off with what it needed, rather than having to get there through a series of wipeouts. Like the story of the Flood, it should not have been necessary. Note that I just use human appearance as an example. Not because I'm countering human - focussed theist creation, but just because we know more about the world we have come to dominate than other worlds. I have only been able to say that there is evidence that stars collide and planets that could with a bit of management have produced life, didn't.

That stated, it is good enough reason, I'd say, to regard the natural theory as the preferable one. Supposing for sake of amity that I do accept that materialism has to make a case, I'd suggest that it is made, and I have to ask, as I do of creationists, where is the evidence FOR planning? Not excuses as to why a planned creation might look unplanned. That, my dear old mate, is too much like God making fossils to test our Faith. I'd say a sort of materialist/naturalist case is made and, if some some cogent evidence for a planned creation isn't forthcoming, it has to be taken as the best and default explanation at the present time.

If as you say, you don't know, then you ought not to have any strong theist belief - resistance to the case made here and you can impartially consider whether unplanned/natural material process seems the better theory.

In a way it's like the abiogenesis case. Sure we have no fossil evidence. No we don't see it going on now. But the evidence leading back to it through the fossil record and up to it through the geological record implies that (given that we have a feasible theory and have shown it possible in the lab) in the absence of any real evidence for a goddunnit creation, it has to be the better theory.

I might also mention in passing the proton - divergency experiment, sometimes cited by theists as an argument that science only gives scientists the results they want. Since the proton does not diverge when observed, it might be considered evidence that there is no observing cosmic mind or it would never diverge. That, like the incomprehensibility of human history and indeed natural disasters unless it is 'random', argues strongly that there is no observing, planning and intervening cosmic mind now. If there is not, I don't know where it went.

Of course. one cannot know about the unknowables and undisprovables. I only say that the knowables and provables (to a certain degree of proof) tends to support an unplanned cosmos. Thus it has to be the better theory. I'd say it deserves to be the given, the default and the existent theory mechanism and situation and, if nothing better than 'I don't know' is forthcoming. I'd say it deserves credence. Which is what I believe, why I believe and how I believe. I believe it is the better and indeed the only credible theory we have so far. That matter is unthinking, evolution is unthinking and our existence is unthinking in the sense of the absence of any forward - planing and controlling mind that might deserve the title 'a god' is what I consider deserves to be the a priori assumption rather than 'god'. To refer to a cosmos of natural forces - without good evidence of planning, prescience and design - as 'god' is not justified. That's why I reject the suggestion to label unplanned natural processes 'god'.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 10-24-2011 at 03:06 AM.. Reason: a few corrections and improvements.
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Old 10-24-2011, 05:22 AM
 
Location: OKC
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You seem to suggest that for a god to exist, he must necessarily be a perfect god. While I disagree with this assumption, I'll simply note this area of disagreement and proceed as if, for the purposes of this friendly debate, the only gods capable of existing are necessarily perfect.

You still don't deal with the problem of "which plan?" Without knowing the intended object of the plan, we have no idea whether or not the planning looks imperfect, (thus evidence for no god) or perfect, (thus evidence for a god.)

Imagine a God existed in a spaceless and timeless environment. He wanted to create an infinite universe that had space and time, which he will later use for his purposes. So he created one simple and elegant principle: that a vacuum would be unstable. From that one principle we got the big bang. The big bang not only created matter, it also created time and space, each pushing outward at an every increasing speed. In the future this will inevitably lead to the "Big Rip", where all all matter is ripped apart and dissolves, leaving nothing but an infinite universe with space and time.

Now who knows what phase two of his plan might be. Perhaps after the Big Rip he plans on creating an infinity large cosmic amusement park. But regardless, phase one of the plan is brilliant and flawless. From one simple force, he created a chain of events that will inevitably result in an infinitely large universe of space and time. Amazing plan, no?

In a blank universe or environment, nothing "must just be." No force or principle must necessarily exist, otherwise it would not be blank. Somehow a principle that led to the big bang became fundamental. You claim that it is more reasonable to believe that principle became fundamental for no particular purpose or plan, I claim it's not known or maybe even knowable whether the end result was planned at the beginning.

All of the above is one argument I give. It should be addressed separately from the second argument I give, below, which is semantic.

These is no real difference between a planned event and a naturally occurring event, because "thinking" is a naturally occurring event, and thus a planned event is a subset of naturally occurring events. We simply choose to describe some of the chains of cause and effects as a planned, and others we do not. Again I return to the sunflower analogy. Do we describing the sunflower as thinking?

Certainly, if there was a god he would not have a brain in the ordinary sense of the word. How would we determine if the physical chain of causes and effects are to be described as planning, like we do in the human mind, or unplanned, like we do for the sunflower? That is left for us to decide, with no objective boundary between simple cause and effects, on one hand, and cause and effects we describe as thinking on the other hand.

By your definitions of the words, if a god were shown to exist, it would be a natural god. This is simply due to the fact that the distinction between natural and unnatural, for you, rest upon whether it is shown to exist. Thus everything shown to exist is natural because of the circular way in which you make the statement. The way you use the term, the word "natural" is not meant to exclude any specific type of thing, it only indicates whether or not it has been observed to exist thus far.

Last edited by Boxcar Overkill; 10-24-2011 at 05:35 AM..
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:43 AM
 
Location: OKC
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Let me go one further my friend, in the form of logical syllogisms.

P1. An Omniscient being knows every fact, force and type of matter that exists, regardless of what they are.
P2. Arequipa is a being.
C1. If Arequipa were omniscient he would know every fact, force and type of matter that exists, regardless of what they are.
------------------
P3. Arequipa defines "natural" as every fact, force, or type of matter that is known to exist, regardless of what they are.
C1. If Arequipa were omniscient he would know every fact, force and type of matter that exists, regardless of what they are.
C.2 If Arequipa were omniscient he would define as "natural" every fact, force and type of matter that exists, regardless of what they are.
--------------------------
P4. The Big Bang was caused by a fact, force, or type of matter.
C.2 If Arequipa were omniscient he would define as "natural" every fact, force and type of matter that exists, regardless of what they are.
C.4 If Arequipa were omniscient he would define the cause of the Big Bang as "natural", regardless of what it was.
---------------
P5. If a God exists, he is fact, force, or type of matter, regardless of what type he is.
C.2 If Arequipa were omniscient he would define as "natural" every fact, force and type of matter that exists, regardless of what they are.
C.5 If a God exist, and Arequipa were omniscient, he would define God as "natural", regardless of what it was.
----------------
P6. Arequipa does not know every fact, force, or type of matter.
C6. If Arequipa knew a god exists, he would define it as natural, regardless of what it was.
C7. If Arequipa knew the cause of the big bang, he would describe it as natural, regardless of what the cause was.


------------------------------------------------------------------


So what did all this prove? It proved that your use of the term "natural" is spurious as it applies to speculation about what things may or may not exist, what the causes of the universe are, and whether of not there is a god.

If you know something exists, you describe it as natural, but you can't use the term natural to know what exists.

You appear to be making the argument as follows:
P.1 Only natural things exists.
P.2 God is not natural.
C.1 God does not exist.

But it could be rewritten to say"
P1. Only things that are observed to exists, exist.
P2. God is not observed to exists.
P3. God does not exists.

Which would be fine, if you didn't have to concede that there are things that exist that are not yet observed, which destroy P1.

You could try to solve that by saying: Natural things are observed or observable. But that leads to more of the same problems.
P1. The only things that exist are observable things.
P2. God is not observable
P3. God does not exist

That would also be fine, if you didn't have to concede that there are some things that we will be able to observe in the future that we can't observe right now. Thus again, P2. is called into question: By what reason do you claim that God is not just unobserved, but also unobserable?

Last edited by Boxcar Overkill; 10-24-2011 at 09:10 AM..
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Old 10-24-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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Yes. I'll have another look when t isn't the middle of the night, but my feeling is that given what you say, it's perhaps understandable that I don't see any reason to believe in anything one might call 'god' and I can't really understand why anyone would need to give it the sort of credence one would need to find some problem with taking the unplanned natural forces explanation as the more credible one with the 'god' idea needing to make its case.

Arequipa does this or Arequipa thinks that and Arequipa doesn't see any obvious reason why he shouldn't. The alternative seems to be looking at stuff and saying 'well, it may look unplanned but maybe there's still a god behind it.'

Well, maybe, but without something persuasive I only see it as an speculative undisprovable possibility. I'm unable to think of what might really look like evidence for a god or cosmic mind. If you can think of something, let me know.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:50 AM
 
Location: OKC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
Yes. I'll have another look when t isn't the middle of the night, but my feeling is that given what you say, it's perhaps understandable that I don't see any reason to believe in anything one might call 'god' and I can't really understand why anyone would need to give it the sort of credence one would need to find some problem with taking the unplanned natural forces explanation as the more credible one with the 'god' idea needing to make its case.

Arequipa does this or Arequipa thinks that and Arequipa doesn't see any obvious reason why he shouldn't. The alternative seems to be looking at stuff and saying 'well, it may look unplanned but maybe there's still a god behind it.'

Well, maybe, but without something persuasive I only see it as an speculative undisprovable possibility. I'm unable to think of what might really look like evidence for a god or cosmic mind. If you can think of something, let me know.

I agree with you, except I would add this: Not only do I not see a reason to believe it, I also don't see a reason to disbelieve it. Thus I'm agnostic. I can't bring myself to say I do believe in something, or I don't believe in something, if I have no evidence either way.

This is compared to standard theistic models, which I do think there is reason to disbelieve.

I will add this one bit:
For several years the prevailing models of the cause of the big bang included the idea that everything, time, the laws of physics, everything - started at the Big Bang. Prior to that, there was no time, and the laws of physics were inapplicable. Then, out of this nothing, there was some fundemental law that created everything.

In the last decade however, newer theories suggest that the big bang was actually just one of an infinite series of big bangs. Neither time nor the laws of physics started with the big bang - they always existed. Big Bangs however are simply the natural result of our universe in several trillion year cycles. Granted it's not yet proven, but it's a promising theory.

Let's suppose that the second theory, the cyclical models, become the predominate model of how the big bang occured.

Won't we fill a little silly for believing that time and the rules of physics could have ever not existed? How is that claim any less extravegant then the claims made by the deist? We say that extrordinary claims require extrordinary proof, but have we really lived by that maxim if we accept a theory that there was no time and all physics didn't apply, on such little evidene? How will we look theist in the eye knowing that we said with such certainty that we believed there was such a thing as non-time?

That is among the reasons I am agonstic about the cause of the big bang. In my mind, there is no theory that is supported by the evidence well enough to justify its extrordinary claims. This is as true with deism as it is with the scientific theories.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:50 AM
 
Location: Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post

In the last decade however, newer theories suggest that the big bang was actually just one of an infinite series of big bangs. Neither time nor the laws of physics started with the big bang - they always existed. Big Bangs however are simply the natural result of our universe in several trillion year cycles. Granted it's not yet proven, but it's a promising theory.

.
After reading so much on this board, I began to think I was the only one that thought this and that it seems so logical.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I agree with you, except I would add this: Not only do I not see a reason to believe it, I also don't see a reason to disbelieve it. Thus I'm agnostic. I can't bring myself to say I do believe in something, or I don't believe in something, if I have no evidence either way.
I also can't go as far as disbelief as who knows? While the ever - existing god theory looks as open to question (to me, not to the theists) as the something from nothing theory, I don't 'believe' either one until some better evidence is forthcoming. That's all that is needed to justify the agnostic atheist position. I'm not in disagreement with you about your views (except the materialist theory having the benefit of what evidence we do have) but about not being an atheist even with explanatory reservations.

Quote:
This is compared to standard theistic models, which I do think there is reason to disbelieve.

I will add this one bit:
For several years the prevailing models of the cause of the big bang included the idea that everything, time, the laws of physics, everything - started at the Big Bang. Prior to that, there was no time, and the laws of physics were inapplicable. Then, out of this nothing, there was some fundemental law that created everything.

In the last decade however, newer theories suggest that the big bang was actually just one of an infinite series of big bangs. Neither time nor the laws of physics started with the big bang - they always existed. Big Bangs however are simply the natural result of our universe in several trillion year cycles. Granted it's not yet proven, but it's a promising theory.

Let's suppose that the second theory, the cyclical models, become the predominate model of how the big bang occured.

Won't we fill a little silly for believing that time and the rules of physics could have ever not existed? How is that claim any less extravegant then the claims made by the deist? We say that extrordinary claims require extrordinary proof, but have we really lived by that maxim if we accept a theory that there was no time and all physics didn't apply, on such little evidene? How will we look theist in the eye knowing that we said with such certainty that we believed there was such a thing as non-time?
While the 'Big bang' is something of an icon, it is only theory (that is, hypothesis) to explain some observed facts, which are not hypothesis. In fact I have long since thought it likely that to place the 'big bang' as the origin of 'everything' (as distinct from being one rather minor event in an unimaginally big cosmos) is as wrong as the world being the centre of the universe. Succinctly, the Big bang is neither here nor there, in the cosmic origins debate, but what it is that the Big Bang occurred in and was (of course) there before it. We have no idea. I have to be totally agnostic about it and therefore cannot 'believe' anything (and am therefore a- theist, a -deist, a- materialist and a - everything -ist about that particular question. The same position as you, but not seeing 'atheist' as denial in this area as you seem to do. So I guess we agree about everything except the way we use the term atheist and the better claim of the materialist (the way I use the term) as the default theory. at least in the case of Gods a bit closer to home than somewhere out in the universe.

{quote]That is among the reasons I am agonstic about the cause of the big bang. In my mind, there is no theory that is supported by the evidence well enough to justify its extrordinary claims. This is as true with deism as it is with the scientific theories.[/quote]

"That is among the reasons I am agonstic" There's nothing to agonise about as it is all academically and is not going to affect our daily life much, as I rather suspect that your response to theists trying to urn you Deism into a personal god will hear 'prove it' from you. And they will have the same agnosticism from you about Faith healings, NED's voices in the head and miracles. They could have another explanation (and often do, under further scrutiny).
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:39 PM
 
Location: OKC
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That's true.

I try to align my "beliefs" with the ideas that have the strongest arguments for being true.

I've came to the position that the concept of agnosticism is the stronger argument then either atheism or theism, (as I have defined those words.) It's not that I like agnosticism more, I was perfectly comfortable calling myself an atheist. But I switched because I found that some of my arguments for atheism weren't well founded.

When I was a materialist, I had a better argument for atheism. But as I now think the distinction between material and immaterial is vacuous, I've abondon that position and switched to agnosticism.

To me agnosticism is a stronger argument because it recognizes that at the moment we shouldn't believe any god or non-god theory for the creation of the universe. Atheism, on the other hand, has a connotation that favors non-god theories - it implies that only the godly explainations are not credible, while there exist some reason to accept the non-godly explainations.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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Hmm.. well, maybe we are not very far apart. we just use different labels.
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Metromess
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If you don't see a reason to believe it, you don't need to disbelieve it. You simply don't believe it, which is the default position.
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