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Old 03-20-2010, 12:27 AM
 
366 posts, read 487,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizzly Friddle View Post
Matrix- I enjoy your posts, you always give me something to think about even though I rarely agree with you.

Why does there need to be an answer to "why is there something rather than nothing"? We will never know why.

I can only speak for myself, but this atheist feels that the world does ultimately make sense. But, what makes sense in this world is different for each person. I don't worry about things that are ultimately unknowable, which seems like a very sensible decision to me.

To most theists, the world only makes sense if that "necessary being" exists. They don't know the truth any more than I do.

All of these different points of view and versions of personal reality are compelling and intellectually stimulating for me. The world is an endlessly fascinating place.
Hi Sizzly! Thanks. Well, I tried to be careful not to say that there needs to be a reason for "why is there something rather than nothing?" If I had said that there must be a reason, I would then have been giving an argument for the existence of a metaphysically necessary being (God). That argument depends on (some version of) the Principle of Sufficient Reason. I actually started a thread on that a few years ago, where I tried to make this argument. Ultimately, while I think that the Principle of Sufficient Reason is necessarily true, I am not sure how to argue for it here--it will be a long, back-and-forth that I don't have time for, and I doubt I'll convince anyone! Alexander Pruss has recently come out with a significant defense of the PSR that I want to read when I get the chance.

So, I'm not giving an argument. I'm just pointing out that, for the atheist, there can be no answer to this question. The world must be taken as a brute fact; therefore, the existence of the world is ultimately unintelligible. If this is the case, then the world cannot ultimately make sense. Or can it? "It just is." It might not have been, but it "IS." Weird! As two people in awe of reality, maybe we can both agree that's odd stuff, right?

Maybe you're right that neither the theist nor the atheist knows the truth about reality. Let's say this is an open question. I don't see how we can begin with a default one way or the other. So the theistic model could be seen as just as viable as the atheistic model. This question, this really disturbing, deep question, opens up a big mystery for us. I agree with you, the world is endlessly fascinating.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:42 AM
 
3,115 posts, read 2,280,247 times
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YouTube - Spontaneous DNA, The Rapture, and The Rise to Fourth Density
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Old 03-20-2010, 08:51 AM
 
Location: alabama
200 posts, read 259,285 times
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Einstien taught us that all things are relative. This includes time and space. The age of the universe is relative to our time and place in it. I have been investigating the therory that Genisis may have been written in parable form. I have been listening to a CD by Dr. Gerald Schoeder.
Very interesting...He has a Phd. in physics.

The bible doesn't state that God created the universe from nothing...just from things that are not seen.
If he did, in fact "stretch the heavens", he could be using a different "clock".

I believe in the God of the bible but I can't ignore the science.

If thousands and thousands of books have been writter on cosmology and physics do you expect Genisis to explain the whole thing in a few sentances?
Maybe a total explanation of creation was not what God intended.

I find the thought of different clocks interesting.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
9,616 posts, read 11,093,294 times
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Default A solitary, self-dependent philosophy of life and responsibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
...for the atheist, there can be no answer to this question. The world must be taken as a brute fact; therefore, the existence of the world is ultimately unintelligible. If this is the case, then the world cannot ultimately make sense. Or can it? "It just is." It might not have been, but it "IS." Weird! As two people in awe of reality, maybe we can both agree that's odd stuff, right?
I'd think the larger question, Matrix, is: Does it have to "make sense"? What is "sense" anyhow, and why would we have to "make it" or better yet, "make it up"?

Just as I fully accept Evolution, I also accept that human existence on this planet is but a consequence of fate and chance, and if things had been slightly different, we'd perhaps not have been here at all to gaze so speculatively at our collective navels. Apparently we all have a lot of free time, huh?

Is that such an unlivable consequence? That perhaps we're just along for the ride of our lives, and may not be here at all in another few years, given an off-course meteorite or solar flare-up or evolved disease or nutball ME dictator?

That line I hear so often from Christians or those thinking of becoming one: "I asked myself: Why are you here? So what's the purpose of this life?"

Must that be answered? Can we not accept the answer may be "Who knows?" or "So what?"

I suppose it depends on whether one can truly make peace with oneself and one's community absent the lean-on total dependency concept of a godly Father-Figure.

I know I can. And have.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:18 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,626 posts, read 29,362,495 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham222 View Post
Hi All

First time post. I'm open minded and my philosophy is "above all else, common sense should prevail", I am on a personal journey to find answers. Physicists tell us that energy cannot be created only transferred. So let's start at the beginning...How can something come from nothing?
On an atomic level everything consists of neutrons, protons and electrons. Everything in the universe is comprise of these elements in different combinations. The universe has no end and no beginning (time, you know, is a man-made thing). Everything is everything. It's a pretty daunting concept, I'll admit.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:31 PM
 
3,614 posts, read 2,963,154 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
I'd think the larger question, Matrix, is: Does it have to "make sense"? What is "sense" anyhow, and why would we have to "make it" or better yet, "make it up"?

Just as I fully accept Evolution, I also accept that human existence on this planet is but a consequence of fate and chance, and if things had been slightly different, we'd perhaps not have been here at all to gaze so speculatively at our collective navels. Apparently we all have a lot of free time, huh?

Is that such an unlivable consequence? That perhaps we're just along for the ride of our lives, and may not be here at all in another few years, given an off-course meteorite or solar flare-up or evolved disease or nutball ME dictator?

That line I hear so often from Christians or those thinking of becoming one: "I asked myself: Why are you here? So what's the purpose of this life?"
that be answered? Can we not accept the answer may be "Who knows?" or "So what?"

I suppose it depends on whether one can truly make peace with oneself and one's community absent the lean-on total dependency concept of a godly Father-Figure.

I know I can. And have.
I have repeated claimed that purpose is a human (or rather, "intelligent") construct. There is nothing I have observed that suggests we are here for any purpose. Life as I understand it is a statistical inevitability.
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Old 03-22-2010, 01:29 AM
 
366 posts, read 487,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
I'd think the larger question, Matrix, is: Does it have to "make sense"? What is "sense" anyhow, and why would we have to "make it" or better yet, "make it up"?

Just as I fully accept Evolution, I also accept that human existence on this planet is but a consequence of fate and chance, and if things had been slightly different, we'd perhaps not have been here at all to gaze so speculatively at our collective navels. Apparently we all have a lot of free time, huh?

Is that such an unlivable consequence? That perhaps we're just along for the ride of our lives, and may not be here at all in another few years, given an off-course meteorite or solar flare-up or evolved disease or nutball ME dictator?

That line I hear so often from Christians or those thinking of becoming one: "I asked myself: Why are you here? So what's the purpose of this life?"

Must that be answered? Can we not accept the answer may be "Who knows?" or "So what?"

I suppose it depends on whether one can truly make peace with oneself and one's community absent the lean-on total dependency concept of a godly Father-Figure.

I know I can. And have.
Thank you for the comments, rifleman. I don't see why it comes down to who "can truly make peace with oneself," as you suggest. But I can appreciate your point of view, more than you know. What you're talking about is courage, a courage to "face the 'truth'" that reality may simply be unintelligible. That does take a particular kind of courage--you don't need an answer because you have courage to live without an answer. I can respect that. But it doesn't at all follow that faith is the coward's way out. Why can't it be said that faith takes courage? Kierkegaard is known for taking such a stand--he holds that the position you hold is resignation, giving up the meaning of the world and facing the loss of meaning courageously. But faith goes further; in faith a person sees this, sees the meaninglessness of the world, faces this, and makes an additional move of courage to trust in the divine. Faith takes courage. Faith is not an easy matter of hiding your head in the sand and pretending everything is going to be ok. It's quite the opposite, since it involves facing your fears, facing uncertainty, facing the possibility of being wrong, and still doing it. So, while I think you're position is courageous, I would say that faith, too, involves courage.

Your question, "does it have to make sense?" really seems to assume that there is no answer to the big question, "why is there something rather than nothing?" This is a pretty disturbing question. As I said, in the atheist universe, there is no answer--the world is ultimately unintelligible. But it is extremely odd to say of the world MIGHT NOT have existed, but DOES exist. How odd that is! How very strange that there could be something existing that really has NO REASON at all for existing! The world might not have existed: then why does it exist?? Curiouser and curiouser. I'm sure you can feel the impact of this (which is why you suggest the courageous response of not needing an answer).
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:52 AM
 
240 posts, read 337,523 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Why can't it be said that faith takes courage?
Faith absent any indication that one's belief is true and without some way of eventually verifying the object of one's faith as being true or false is insanity, not courageous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Matrix View Post
Your question, "does it have to make sense?" really seems to assume that there is no answer to the big question, "why is there something rather than nothing?" This is a pretty disturbing question. As I said, in the atheist universe, there is no answer--the world is ultimately unintelligible.
In the atheist universe, there probably isn't a god, but that doesn't mean we can't make sense of reality. From the standpoint of science, the universe, reality itself is eventually knowable, even if it is currently unknown; things that we don't currently know will probably eventually be known; some things are obviously more difficult to figure out than others - that doesn't mean an answer doesn't exist.

It is possible some things will always be unknowable, but you won't know until you try everything, until everything which can be known is known, and we haven't arrived at that point yet. Humans are continuing to learn new things and information is more easily accessible with the internet, so that which is true is more likely to quickly precipitate to the surface than it would of before the widespread exchange of ideas. Well that is how I see science, anyway.
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:16 AM
 
Location: missouri
1,179 posts, read 1,179,650 times
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It can't-that is the paradox. In the christian, it actually does not come from nothing, it is spoken. The reference to nothing is to separate the jew account from the surrounding accounts where it all comes about through sex; which makes a common sense approach seem correct as life comes from the womb. The christian is in the direction of "spirit" or mind. Words become more important and as modern thought has confirmed, our existence is really a product of our mental constructions distinct from "reality."
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:15 PM
 
366 posts, read 487,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JustNobody View Post
Faith absent any indication that one's belief is true and without some way of eventually verifying the object of one's faith as being true or false is insanity, not courageous.
Well I don't know about that. First, you're treating faith as if it were merely a belief. But it's not. There is an important existential aspect to faith--faith is essentially trust. Faith is NOT simply "belief." Second, courage and insanity are not incompatible--maybe the atheist is the one who is insane, yet courageous. Third, at times faith can certainly look like a form of insanity from the outside--Kierkegaard says as much in his mind-blowing account of the Abraham story. But that doesn't mean it IS insanity. Fourth, even if one does not have evidence for something they act for, and strive with all their being for, does NOT mean it is not admirable and awe-inspiring. Think of a soldier who valiantly and alone continues to fight against an overwhelming enemy. His death is a certainty. But he fights with the hope that he can still survive. He fights against the odds, against what "reason" tells him is inevitable. Or a person who is stranded alone fighting against the elements, struggling to make it back down the mountain, even though he has every reason to believe he will die. Why no give up if "reason" dictates you will die anyway? That is after all the "reasonable" thing to do. We can all admire people who do not give in, who continue to have courage in the face of overwhelming odds--I know I do. And faith can be similar to this. Faith isn't simply "belief," even though so many people on this forum, and elsewhere, equate it with belief. Faith is standing alone--and we all stand alone--to face the fear and despair of life and to hope for and act according to a higher meaning. Faith is deeply existential.

None of what I've said is meant to imply that faith has no evidence, as you seem to suggest. I think it's highly disingenuous for atheists to say that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for a god (I'm not saying that you're making this claim--from previous posts, you seem like you might not be so hard line). How can anyone make such a sweeping universal claim? It's silly. What the atheist should say is that THEY do not see any evidence that THEY find convincing. It's all about what one finds convincing. So much that "believers" claim as evidence is dismissed, because it can be explained "naturally." But either nature itself is the evidence, or it isn't. It really comes down to how we look at it, what our point of view is. Maybe it's because I'm really interested in philosophy, but I periodically seem to raise questions and look at things from different viewpoints that cause me to doubt my religious commitments. So I can "see" the world from the atheist perspective, that there is no evidence for God, that we read purpose into things and there is nothing out there, etc. And then I can also see it from the other side: that reality appears to be moving according to divine law. The meaning of everything is different in the theistic worldview--there is an ultimate reason for the existence of the world, and there is hope of true happiness, etc. But what you see depends on your point of view, and you can't see both a the same time. Moving from one view to another we undergo a gestalt shift. This is similar to the famous "rabbit duck" drawing. Here's a link to it:

http://www.thatreligiousstudieswebsi...uck_rabbit.JPG

We can look at the drawing and see a duck. But if we look at the drawing in a different way we see a rabbit. The meaning of the picture is completely different, depending on how we see it. And this is similar to the gestalt shift in seeing the world from the atheist perspective to the theistic perspective. The meaning of everything has changed. Evidence is abundant. Nature itself is evidence of God.

So, I don't really think there is anything to the atheist claim that "there is no absolutely no evidence for God." It all depends on how you look at things.
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