A Wide Variety of Arguments

From a comment on “A Wide Variety of Arguments”:

I still don’t have any clear answer from you about the creation of this universe and how we and other living bodies have Consciousness…..why elements and metal don’t have life and we or other animals have life.And how the genetic code came ( some say Aliens did it but how aliens came in this universe). You have said in one of the previous arguments that the Big Bang may be the cause of natural process ….but can you say from where did this natural process started I mean it must have some source (ask any Astronomer).Do you believe that the universe came into existence through the big bang before that there was nothing no gases no mass nor any living being suddenly every thing happened why ? how ? you still need to find out these answers you cannot just simply deny all facts and make your own conclusions.Have you ever heard miracles happening in medical science where a patient died and again came into life ask those doctors how did it happened…..

You’re asking for further clarification, so I’ll try and make my responses as clear as possible.

“I still don’t have any clear answer from you about the creation of this universe and how we and other living bodies have Consciousness”

I don’t believe the universe was created. I believe our universe came into existence at the Big Bang, and that the Big Bang was likely the result of some natural process taking place in a universe outside (or containing) our own.

I don’t think that all living beings necessarily have consciousness (plants, for example, clearly don’t). I think that consciousness is a result of a significantly complex brain.

“why elements and metal don’t have life and we or other animals have life.”

Some elements and metal do have life — you and I, for example, are largely elements and metal. I’d say that life is purely a mechanical process. Asking why some things have life and some do not is sort of like asking why some things are on fire and some are not.

“And how the genetic code came”

What do you mean by “the genetic code”? Do you mean the basic elements that make up DNA, or do you mean the specific sets of instructions for forming living things? If the former, then I’d say that’s a matter of chemistry, the details of which are still being researched. If the latter, then there is a rather enormous pile of evidence that it evolved over time.

“You have said in one of the previous arguments that the Big Bang may be the cause of natural process”

I don’t think I said that, largely because I’m not sure what you mean. I agree that the Big Bang set our universe in motion, if that’s what you mean.

“but can you say from where did this natural process started I mean it must have some source (ask any Astronomer).”

I agree that the Big Bang likely had a cause. I cannot say specifically what that cause was because we don’t have enough information, but there are many theories. A creator god is one of those theories, but I think it’s not a very good one (for many reasons).

“Do you believe that the universe came into existence through the big bang before that there was nothing no gases no mass nor any living being suddenly every thing happened why ? how ?”

I don’t believe that there was nothing before the Big Bang. Was there gas, mass, or living beings before the Big Bang? I’d guess there was likely mass at least, but aside from that we don’t have enough information to answer the question.

“you still need to find out these answers you cannot just simply deny all facts and make your own conclusions.”

Agreed. The same advice applies to you, of course.

“Have you ever heard miracles happening in medical science where a patient died and again came into life ask those doctors how did it happened…..”

I’ve heard of such things. From what I’ve read, they’re generally the result of a poor definition (or poor diagnosis) of “dead.” Plenty of doctors have written about how such things happen, and (if I understand your intended implication) no miracles are necessary.

Posted on May 25, 2010 at 6:01 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Discussion, Evolution

8 Responses

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  1. Written by Middlemet
    on May 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm
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    The comment about asking any astronomer reminded me of a conversation I was in with a physicist at a dinner party. A gentleman asked her to explain what happened before the big bang with anything other than a religious explanation. She got a very frustrated look on her face and tried to explain that it was quite difficult to do more than speculate. Considering science primarily relies on observable phenomena, and considering that space/time as we understand it came into existence at the time of the big bang means there’s not a lot of ‘before’ one can study. Even if one were to create laboratory conditions that provided one completely feasible explanation of the creation of the universe, it would not necessarily explain how the particular universe we inhabit came into existence. She did not consider this to be a failure on the part of science, merely a boundary point for what science as it stands now has any ability to define.

    A lot of conversations I’ve had about the nature of the universe and the discussion between the alleged conflict between science and faith often comes to the creation of the universe. It’s almost a ‘gotcha’ moment to see that science has no ready answer for which religion has one well mapped out.

    As has been pointed out by many writers, the odds of the conditions for life existing are astronomical. That is precisely, however, what we are talking about; the astronomical. We have no information as to why the fundamental forces of the universe work the way they do. We have no information and no possible way to obtain information about what other universes there may or may not have existed. We don’t know what life is capable of, because we’ve only seen the life optimized for existence on one small rocky planet orbiting an unremarkable sun. All we have to reason with is the data we have available.

    For many atheists, the fact that chance is a feasible explanation for the genesis of life and the evolution of consciousness is enough. If there was a creator being, he has produced insufficient evidence for some people to believe in his existence. If a non-supernatural model of reality is plausible, and there is no compelling evidence for a supernatural model, it seems reasonable to some to use a non-supernatural model of reality.

    When the physicist I mentioned before was pressed that she ‘had’ to provide an answer about the creation of the universe, she responded with just one word, “Why?” Science doesn’t have to ‘beat’ religion. Religion doesn’t have to prove superiority over science. To paraphrase a rational atheist from fiction, it’s not that everyone who is an atheist is opposed to the idea of God. If they were presented with a compelling proof they would say ‘Nice proof’ and start believing in God.

    Something we can all do is use the reason that we were granted, or evolved, or stole, or whatever. We may all come to many different conclusions, but it’s arguably the best tool at our disposal to understanding each other and ourselves.

  2. Written by Joakim Rosqvist
    on May 26, 2010 at 12:44 am
    Reply · Permalink

    > It’s almost a ‘gotcha’ moment to see that science has no ready answer for which religion has one well mapped out.

    How was the universe created?

    Scientist’s answer:
    – I don’t know, I suppose there just happened to exist some sort of natural process that produced our universe.

    Religious answer:
    – I don’t know, I suppose there just happened to exist a god who somehow built our universe.

    I wouldn’t say the religious answer is that much more “mapped out” :-)

    • Written by ideclare
      on May 26, 2010 at 8:26 am
      Reply · Permalink

      “I wouldn’t say the religious answer is that much more “mapped out” :-)”

      I’d say that the scientist’s answer is actually better mapped out, because it is supposing that a natural process led to the Big Bang just as a natural process has led to everything else we’ve been able to investigate sufficiently. The religious person is proposing something scientifically unprecedented.

  3. Written by JCR
    on May 26, 2010 at 6:17 am
    Reply · Permalink

    It is interesting how you describe the discussion with an astronomer and the moments before the big bang. Particularly this line, “It’s almost a ‘gotcha’ moment to see that science has no ready answer for which religion has one well mapped out.”

    What you seem to be ignoring is that the answer that religion has mapped out fails on almost every level. First, there is no evidence what so ever. Not a drop. Which means that the astronomer could have answered with “a giant astral kitten hit a ball of yarn, which started it all” and her answer would have been EXACTLY as accurate and provable as the answers from religion.

    The difference is that science follows the scientific method. It requires testable criteria, mathematical support (in this case) and a slew of other data. But, somehow, religious folks seem to think that any answer arbitrarily constructed does something science cannot. Instead, look at it as religion doing what science WILL NOT do – posit an answer in the absolute absence of proof, data, and testable criteria.

  4. Written by Middlemet
    on May 26, 2010 at 12:01 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    I am sorry, I seem to have failed to communicate my point. What I was suggesting was not that religion had a mapped out answer that would be satisfying to a scientist, but that religion had an answer which has for the most part been accepted by the religious. Science is willing to accept that particular question as unanswerable for the time being, while religion feels that since it has in fact been answered (by whatever the religious feels to be the answer) science has somehow lost out.

    What I was trying to point out was that to the people who pose the ‘big bang’ questions, there is a perception that science ‘arrogantly’ supposes it has all the answers, but as far as the creation of the universe goes, science has a great big question mark. Since religion has a developed answer to that question (however irrational it may appear to those outside of that religion), ergo religion ‘wins’. The way the original commentor pressed the blogger on the point of the big bang had the sense of a combatant trying to take advantage of a ‘weakness’ The fact that ‘I don’t know’ is a perfectly reasonable answer scientifically is lost on the questioner, who may go off feeling that they have struck a blow for faith, which merely reinforces the divide.

    In the comparison between the scientific and the religious answers, the scientist’s answer is accurate, but the religious answer would not be “I don’t know”, but instead be whatever creation story is described in its cosmology, delivered with a degree of considerable confidence.

    I would certainly agree that the scientist’s answer is better mapped out for consistency with what we have observed in the universe, but it is insufficient especially to those who view science as a religion in competition with other faiths.

    It was part of my greater point that there is a misunderstanding creating a conflict between a conflation of science and reason being somehow against religion and faith. I am not saying that this is rational, far from it. I am merely pointing out that it’s part of the baggage preventing people from talking to each other productively.

    Some (certainly not all) religious people who have this misunderstanding of what science and reason are and are for won’t understand what we are trying to say unless we communicate it better, and will continue to ask questions like this or things like the ’10 Questions Atheists Can’t Answer’.

    Please note I am not saying that any religious cosmology is in any way substantiated, nor am I saying that science has all the answers about everything. I’m just saying that if our goal is a dialogue then it is something to consider.

  5. Written by J.C. Samuelson
    on May 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    I’ve noticed that when I’ve said no in response to questions concerning whether I believe this or that, my interlocutor almost invariably asks something substantially like what you’ve just written about.

    Of course, it often sounds rather more like a demand than a question, but why quibble?

  6. Written by benito
    on May 27, 2010 at 5:19 am
    Reply · Permalink

    the problem with religion is that it tries to explain “why” in the first place. assigning meaning to everything seems to be a very common human trait which can be quite limiting.

    the universe just is. what we’re trying to (and are always getting closer to) understand is how it behaves and how it came into existence, as well as how and when it is likely to end. to me that seems like a much more productive pursuit than repeating the same creation story over and over again, every now and then modernising it to fit the undeniable evidence to the contrary.

    also, regarding patients coming back to life and outer body experiences… well, i suggest you read up on dmt.

  7. Written by Shel
    on June 6, 2010 at 8:40 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    As for medical miracles, I’d like the whole question of “Why does god never heal amputees?”

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