NOTE: If this is your first time here, it is very important to keep in mind that many of the ideas expressed in this blog represent older versions of myself, and not necessarily my current self. After all, we evolve, and sometimes change our minds. In the meantime, enjoy lurking around, and watch the video trailer for my upcoming book here.

The Universe Is In Us: Deep, Deep Down Where Religion and Science Profoundly Connect

by Drima on November 5, 2009

N

o, this isn’t some New Age pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo. No I haven’t been converted into a believer in The Law of Attraction after watching that hit film, The Secret. And no, I don’t buy into everything New Age guru, Deepak Chopra says, although he does have many cool and pretty valid ideas.

I’m talking about something very different here – how science and religion connect together at their deepest level.

Neil Tyson says it better in this video.

What Happened Before the Beginning?

Here’s something that pretty much sums up what was said in the video.

Read it all, every word of it.

“What happened before the beginning?”

Astrophysicists have no idea. Or, rather, our most creative ideas have little or no grounding in experimental science. Yet certain type of religious person tends to assert, with a tinge of smugness, that something must have started it all: a force greater than all others, a source from which everything issues. A prime-mover. In the mind of such a person, that something is, of course, God.

But what if the universe was always there, in a state or condition we have yet to identify–a multiverse, for instance? Or what if the universe, like its particles, just popped into existence from nothing?

Such replies usually satisfy nobody. Nonetheless, they remind us that ignorance is the natural state of mind for a research scientist on the ever-shifting frontier. People who believe they are ignorant of nothing have neither looked for, nor stumbled upon, the boundary between what is known and unknown in the cosmos. And therein lies a fascinating dichotomy. “The universe always was” goes unrecognized as a legitimate answer to “What was around before the beginning?” But for many religious people, the answer “God always was” is the obvious and pleasing answer to “What was around before God?”

No matter who you are, engaging in the quest to discover where and how things began tends to induce emotional fervor–as if knowing the beginning bestows upon you some form of fellowship with, or perhaps governance over, all that comes later. So what is true for life itself is no less true for the universe: knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going. ~ Neil Tyson

Right on Neil.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is where science and religion connect – at their deepest questions.

So, whether you’re an atheist, pantheist, theist, mystic or just plain agnostic, next time somebody starts going on a rant about how it all began, keep in mind that to a certain extent, the two of you are merely engaging in a game of semantics.

At the deepest level, “The universe always was” Vs “God always was” aren’t such different answers after all.

Unless of course, you take the discussion to a higher level and begin discussing the qualities and properties of those two entities.

Either way, it’s something I personally find pretty damn fascinating and I love Neil’s approach to the issue.



Click on the Cover Below & Learn More About My Upcoming Book


{ 1 trackback }

The Universe Is In Us: Deep, Deep Down Where Religion and Science … | Drakz News Station
11.13.09 at 12:41 pm

{ 135 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Atheist Jew 11.05.09 at 1:51 pm

There is a difference when mentioning God. The fact that there is no evidence for a God.

Our ancestors couldn’t explain lightning. Since they had no explanation, they must have believed it was supernatural, and they even probably thought the Gods were pissed at something. Because they had no other explanation, it didn’t prove God’s existence as we know today why lightning happens, and God has nothing to do with it.

Until I witness a supernatural event, or see overwhelming evidence that a supernatural event occurred, I’m going to keep believing that the supernatural does not exist.

Many will say, what is a supernatural event. Could be lots of things. A talking dog, a talking sky, a chair that moves from my kitchen to my den by itself, etc.

2 His Latest Words 11.05.09 at 1:52 pm

The world is slowly awakening to this fact indeed.

Amazing, thanks for bringing this up Drima.

With this I also want to share 3 blog posts along the same line of understanding:
http://www.hislatestwords.com/720/47/
http://www.hislatestwords.com/801/50-the-answer/
http://www.hislatestwords.com/883/52-how-to-know-the-truth-achieve-happiness-part-1/

More and more people will come to understand this.

After all, we’re connected by the same source.

The moment we clear our minds, we can let ‘knowing’ do things other than let our minds chatter things we learned, were conditioned by & told by others in our lifetime.

Thank you, once again.

3 Ryan 11.05.09 at 6:04 pm

My religion/science take: I see it when I believe it. Faith is thought which has many religious undertones. All religions talk about the power of faith.

Spirit is substance, or the energy that quantum physicists proves exists throughout the universe. Seers were on to what science has discovered: there is One Force, one energy, which appears as different forms.

Do I debate this? No. I just tell it like I see it and confide in my own little quiet spot of the universe, having faith in God and creating the life of my dreams :)

4 God created the universe and everything in it 11.05.09 at 8:05 pm

Atheist Jew the bible says you haft to believe without seeing. A talking dog, a talking sky, a chair that moves from your kitchen to your den by itself. This kind of crap isn’t needed to prove or believe there is a God. He can make these type of things happen if He wanted to though. I doubt he will because God don’t haft to prove anything to anybody especially people like you that don’t even believe in his name because no matter what He does it’ll never be enough for the non believers like yourself. Trust Him. In Jesus name Amen.

So Neil is saying or asking did God come before the universe or did the universe come before God? The universe wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for God. This man is a scientist and he studies the planets why is he involved with religion not only that, questioning the timing of God’s existance? He’s a African American he should know better than to do this. He stated “knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going”. Talking like this I’m not sure he knows where he comes from. When he go to the black church on Sunday and start talking this mess, which i doubt he’ll do, he’ll know where he’s going when they finish with him.

Dr. Neil Tyson, stick to the cosmos and black holes.

5 Craig 11.06.09 at 1:44 am

He is just stating the obvious: neither science nor religion can answer the big questions with any certainty. Religion offers faith to fill in those huge gaps. Science offers nothing.

My very existence as a thinking human being with a unique “soul” is proof to me that there is a God. Someday science will be able to create a synthetic human being, but they won’t ever be able to make it a person. It will be a mere organic computer. Scientists can’t even begin to explain what it is that makes us “us”. And that *is* one of the biggest spiritual questions there is, and one that should be easily answered if the explanation was based on science. Unlike the “where do we I come from/where am I going” question, it’s quite easy to put people in a lab and examine them to your heart’s content. Yet, they have no clue.

6 Craig 11.06.09 at 1:56 am

By the way, why does it seem like the intersection of God and Science is only a matter of critical importance for atheists? I’ve yet to meet a Christian (and I’ve met a lot!) who thinks scripture answers all (or any for that matter) of the big questions, or who thinks science is bogus. Why do some scientists have so much trouble admitting they have no clue, even about things they have no clue about? Why does there always have to be a theory to explain things, even on matters where there’s no evidence to base a theory on? If you have to construct harebrained theories based on nothing but speculation just because you can’t handle the idea of not being able to explain things, how is that different than (blind)faith? And isn’t that a type of religion in and of itself?

7 Craig 11.06.09 at 2:01 am

By the way, I’m planning on writing a book about this called “The Science Delusion”. I figure my lack of any kind of scientific credential makes me well qualified to author such a work. I hope you’ll all buy it! I’m sure it will be very controversial since controversy is one thing I know a lot about! I know a lot about having such a big ego that you think you’re smarter than everyone else too, being a computer programmer!

8 Zoxuf 11.06.09 at 2:24 am

@Craig

You say religion offers faith but what does faith offer? And how is it different from the spiritual feeling Neil Tyson and others such as myself get from simply thinking about our connection to the universe? Even if science offered nothing it would not make your position any more likely to be true.

I do not see how your existence or the fact that science has not explained every single thing about the universe is supposed to prove God. Also there is a difference between claiming to know for an absolute fact what is true and trying to use science to better understand the universe. Most scientists will admit that there is nothing they know for 100% certain.

9 Drima 11.06.09 at 2:27 am

Ryan,

“Spirit is substance, or the energy that quantum physicists proves exists throughout the universe.”

That’s partially true. Linking Spirit and Quantum Physics is making a jump, but it depends on what you mean by “Spirit” which I do believe in by the way.

Although usually, those who link the two, offer nothing more than New Age mumbo jumbo pseudo-scientific explanations.

Would love to hear more thoughts from you though.

“Religion offers faith to fill in those huge gaps. Science offers nothing.”

Craig,

Yeah, religion does offer faith to fill in the gaps, but such faith is useless as a means of knowledge.

You’re still choosing to believe without any evidence, and if you’re honest with yourself, the appropriate answer should be “I don’t know, I’m not sure.”

Now, here’s comes an important distinction. For some, their faith evolves as science evolves and discovers more. I find that okay, and not necessarily troublesome.

The really troublesome type of faith though, is one that’s dogmatic and refuses to budge even in the face of mounting empirical evidence as if it’s some kind of virtue. It can also be dangerous because it tends to get very divisive (my God is cooler than your non-existent evil God, and you’re going to hell, bitch).

I think that type of faith ought to be torn down and wiped off the face of the earth.

I’m not an atheist, and not an agnostic either. If anything, I consider myself a staunch broad empiricist now. And mysticism, stripped of its dominant mythic understanding, is in essence empirical.

All forms of mysticism practiced by valid religious traditions for thousands of years: Buddhism, Christian gnosis, Sufism in Islam, Kabbalah etc.

More here on that:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wX_W1BB_0M

“Scientists can’t even begin to explain what it is that makes us “us”. And that *is* one of the biggest spiritual questions there is”

You’re right, and there’s a mounting body of research that’s starting a really heated debate within the scientific community – hardly a homogeneous one as most people think – about these questions.

For the first time, science is making great advances in studying the nature of Consciousness., and it’s absolutely fascinating to see what’s being uncovered.

The point is, if we don’t know something, let’s admit it. Faith – the kind that evolves as more evidence comes into the picture – is generally okay. But not the dogmatic unfortunate wide-spread kind.

10 Drima 11.06.09 at 2:35 am

And here’s a neuro-scientific explanation on what many mystics experience and call Oneness.

Super cool TED video I highly encourage everyone to watch.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html

:)

11 Drima 11.06.09 at 2:58 am

Another thing Craig is that faith doesn’t fill the gaps as much as we think it does.

For example, can you tell me exactly what happens after you die according to Christianity and be sure of it? What about the Free Will VS Predestination questions?

Even religion has its own in-built gaps, ones that cannot be filled.

12 The Atheist Jew 11.06.09 at 4:25 am

Atheist Jew the bible says you haft to believe without seeing. A talking dog, a talking sky, a chair that moves from your kitchen to your den by itself. This kind of crap isn’t needed to prove or believe there is a God. He can make these type of things happen if He wanted to though. I doubt he will because God don’t haft to prove anything to anybody especially people like you that don’t even believe in his name because no matter what He does it’ll never be enough for the non believers like yourself. Trust Him. In Jesus name Amen.
************************************
There is absolutely no evidence that God has done anything. Quoting God through the bible is like me quoting a talking hat from Cat In The Hat.

God has done nothing.

Miracles? God has never made the limb of a human amputee victim grow back, but he uses his powers to make certain football teams win certain games, he helps one in a job interview, or helps them catch a bus on time, and of course, he sometimes cures cancer, but most of the time doesn’t.

As for Jesus. There is absolutely no contemporary evidence Jesus existed, and there should be tons. The first time Jesus is even mentioned in the secular world is by Josephus 50 years after he supposedly went Zombie. All Josephus observed were Christians, who by then were giving Jesus a real story…before that, Christians were gnostics….they believed that Jesus was only a spirit.

Over time, the myths of the day were added to the mythical Jesus story and then the New Testament was written. His story is almost a carbon copy of Dionysus.

Moses was another fabrication by the Jews in the 6th or 7th Century BC who usurped Hammurabi text amongst other things.

If there is a God, he has been in hiding for 13.9 billion years.

13 Craig 11.06.09 at 9:28 am

TAJ,

If there is a God, he has been in hiding for 13.9 billion years.

I wonder what a pie would say after it had been in the oven 5 minutes? Something like this? – “If there is a cook, he has been hiding for 300 seconds.”

Another thing Craig is that faith doesn’t fill the gaps as much as we think it does.

Faith offers reassurance that there is a purpose behind the things we don’t understand. Science attempts to do the same thing, only it uses theories instead of faith. Although, it still isn’t clear to me what the difference between faith and a theory that is based entirely upon speculation and opinion is!

Personally I don’t have a problem reconciling science with faith. Works fine for me, and I’m a big fan of scientific research. I’m just offering the observation that the people who have problems thinking faith and science can coexist are generally atheists, who seem to think science is supposed to debunk faith. I don’t even think there’s a discussion there that’s worthy of engaging in, myself. But then, my ideology does not require that either faith or science has to be declared a dead end! And I like it that way! :)

14 Craig 11.06.09 at 9:29 am

Drima, the second part was directed to you! Sorry I forgot to note that.

15 Drima 11.06.09 at 11:10 am

Hi Craig,

If the scientific theory is still new and hasn’t been validated, then yes, I agree with you, it’s largely speculation floating on thin air, and has lots of faith built into it.

However, Einstein’s theory of relativity for example, is one that has been validated by an increasing number of findings and can’t be treated in the same way.

In short, it depends.

Plus, in matters like answers about life after death, angels, I tend to agree with you about faith and the lack of answers from science.

Yes, science hasn’t answered such questions, and as Neil Tyson demonstrates in the video, science will probably never find satisfying answers to some other very persistent basic questions.

Still Craig…

You haven’t tackled the importance of available solid evidence and empiricism in your reply.

Since you’re a believing Christian who values science, do you strongly and without a doubt believe that Jesus was literally born of a biological virgin?

Based on your comments elsewhere in the blogosphere, I’m guessing your answer is yes, and if that’s the case, how can you still claim to value science and evidence?

Moreover, what’s the moral value of believing the claim that Jesus was indeed born of a biological virgin? None it seems.

On the other hand, believing in numerous Christian moral principles can and does often however have great moral value. Same goes for the value of Christian gnosis and spiritual teachings.

16 Drima 11.06.09 at 12:04 pm

Atheist Jew,

“There is a difference when mentioning God. The fact that there is no evidence for a God.”

You seem to be tackling the traditionalist understanding of God, one that is very mythical and anthropomorphic in nature, and there, I largely agree with you.

However do you believe in “Spirit” or in any form of non-material reality to humanity?

Do you believe that we are our physical brains and nothing more?

Or are you open to the idea that the very nature of consciousness and human awareness is not solely material and can’t simply be reduced to mechanistic aspects of the human brain?

Too many atheists have a very materialist view of the world. If you can’t touch it or smell it, it doesn’t exist etc.

Don’t know to which camp you belong. Kinda curious to know. :)

17 Craig 11.06.09 at 6:24 pm

Based on your comments elsewhere in the blogosphere, I’m guessing your answer is yes, and if that’s the case, how can you still claim to value science and evidence?

Hmmm… not sure what comments you’ve seen me make on the blogosphere that led you to that assumption! No, I don’t take scripture as literal truth. I don’t even believe scripture is meant to be interpreted literally. I think the bulk of it when it speaks of supernatural matters is symbolic. It’s on spiritual matters that scripture doesn’t mince words. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think human beings are capable of understanding the nature of God, so how could scripture that is written by human beings adequately explain the nature of God?

In short, it depends.

Yes, it depends. Evolution is only treated as a theory rather than a fact because it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to prove evolution in a lab. Other theories (particularly the ones that try to tackle the big questions) are pure speculation.

You haven’t tackled the importance of available solid evidence and empiricism in your reply.

That’s irrelevant to my reply, because its irrelevant to my beliefs. If and when science ever comes up with an explanation for some of the things that weigh on me (spiritually speaking that is) I’ll be happy to review the evidence. So far, science hasn’t come up with anything. What questions would be answered if scientists could prove the existence of alternate dimensions, for instance? Seems like that would answer nothing, and just bring up even more questions!

18 Zoxuf 11.06.09 at 8:12 pm

@Craig

Yes, it depends. Evolution is only treated as a theory rather than a fact because it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to prove evolution in a lab.

I think you misunderstand the term theory as it applies to science. A theory is not a guess or a hunch and regardless of how much proof there is for said theory it will always be called a theory. A good theory (such as evolution) provides an explanation that fits all the observations and can be used to make predictions. Evolution has been observed in the lab though not on the large scale you are probably looking for.

19 Zoxuf 11.06.09 at 8:39 pm

@Drima

I am not sure the term material is even relevant to a modern scientific description of the universe. Matter may just be condensed energy and it seems the universe is mostly if not entirely made up of empty space.

20 Craig 11.06.09 at 9:04 pm

Zoxuf, I think its you who doesn’t understand the word “theory”, as it applies to science or to anything else. If it can be proven, in science it is referred to as a “law”. Anything designated as theory cannot be proven (or has not yet been proven). And many theories are little more than speculation. You don’t get to editorialize your opinions about scientific methods around me and get away with it. If you have something of merit to contribute, feel free to do so. Please keep your incorrect defintions to yourself. They aren’t helpful.

21 Craig 11.06.09 at 9:08 pm

PS, Zoxuf: Yyou seem quite willing to accept anything a scientist says based on his own analysis as undisputable fact, whether there’s any substantial amount of evidence to back it or not. And you seem quite upset that anyone could possible argue with that. How are you different than a devoutly religious person who ridicules anyone who challenges their doctrine?

22 Zoxuf 11.06.09 at 9:33 pm

@Craig

Zoxuf, I think its you who doesn’t understand the word “theory”, as it applies to science or to anything else. If it can be proven, in science it is referred to as a “law”.

I am sorry but you are wrong. Laws describe observable facts and theories explain them. A proven theory does not become a “law”.

PS, Zoxuf: Yyou seem quite willing to accept anything a scientist says based on his own analysis as undisputable fact, whether there’s any substantial amount of evidence to back it or not. And you seem quite upset that anyone could possible argue with that.

On what do you base this statement? There is very little if anything I accept as undisputable fact. I am not at all upset and if came across that way I apologize.

23 Howie 11.07.09 at 2:12 am

Drima…

Read “The God Code” by Muni something or other…some Bengali dude…breaks God down into theories in physics and such.

Sucker went from so shit bucket place in Bengal to banging one of the Gabor sister’s in Malibu to going back to his Hindu roots. Good book.

Hey…I want to bang hot Hollywood bitches and then get religion too…

I wanna, I wanna….Wha….Wha wha whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

24 Howie 11.07.09 at 2:16 am

Zox…

You should read the same book…dude is a physicist and gets into quotom (spelling shit) physics and how actually…the universe is one totally connected unit and how anything that happens in one place has an effect on the entire universe etc.

Very good book…and aside from the God stuff…it is a very interesting life story to say the least.

I just get it mixed up…there is The God Code and another called Code Name God…but the one written by some Indian dude named Muni or some such thing..that is the one I am talking about.

25 Howie 11.07.09 at 2:21 am

Drima…

http://archanaraghuram.wordpress.com/2007/01/31/book-review-%E2%80%93-code-name-god-by-mani-bhaumic/

That is the book…it was excellent. I have bought about 4-5 copies for friends.

26 Craig 11.07.09 at 7:26 am

Zoxuf,

Laws describe observable facts and theories explain them.

No, theories attempt to interpret them. Or, you could say, *attempt* to explain them. A theory is an analysis of the available evidence. No more and no less. If there isn’t much evidence available, then there isn’t much substance to the theory. I don’t want to argue semantics here with you, but it does seem to me that you are promoting some pretty sketchy stuff and claiming there’s some scientific basis for considering it to be factual. Or did you have some other reason for saying this:

A theory is not a guess or a hunch and regardless of how much proof there is for said theory it will always be called a theory.

Is that not a statement that any publicized scientific theory must be considered to have substance?

And lastly:

Evolution has been observed in the lab though not on the large scale you are probably looking for.

I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement! Natural selection cannot be tested in a lab! It’s more likely that anyone who attempted to do so would be observing some form of selective breeding, rather than evolution!

And no, I don’t want to argue about this either! Stop making baseless claims. Is there a topic we are supposed to be discussing? Because I’d rather do that than argue about the differences between valid scientific methods and “bad” science.

27 Don Cox 11.07.09 at 1:32 pm

“Matter may just be condensed energy and it seems the universe is mostly if not entirely made up of empty space.”

The observed universe is matter/energy and information. Current concepts of cosmology are beginning to describe the universe in terms of information.

People often say “Science cannot explain” this or that, and this is often true. But it does not logically follow that if science cannot explain something, some sacred book or the opinions of a cleric can. It is more likely that nobody can explain the phenomenon, at least not yet.

I se little use in arguing about the existence of God unless there is a clear, agreed definition of the words “exist” and “God”. I don’t know what either of these words means. Do you?

28 Don Cox 11.07.09 at 1:40 pm

“Natural selection cannot be tested in a lab! ”

Certainly selection can be observed and measured experimentally. It is also logically inevitable if you accept genetics. Most people expect offspring to nresemble their parents.

Do not confuse natural selection and adaptation with large-scale, long term changes in the anatomy of a group of organisms. This may happen, but the effect of selection on many organisms is that they stay much the same for long periods. Cockroaches are an example.

Only if a species moves into a new ecological niche would you expect to see changes in anatomy, biochemistry or inherited behavior. Often (in animals) such a move starts with learned behavior, such as trying a new food.

29 Zoxuf 11.07.09 at 6:06 pm

@Craig

There are plenty of theories that are likely to be wrong but generally they do not conflict with observable evidence and do have at least a little bit of substance to them.

If there isn’t much evidence available, then there isn’t much substance to the theory

I fully agree with this but my earlier point still stands. A theory is still a theory regardless of how much evidence it gains. It does not become a law when proven. So saying something is “just a theory” makes no sense in the scientific usage of the term.

I don’t want to argue semantics here with you, but it does seem to me that you are promoting some pretty sketchy stuff and claiming there’s some scientific basis for considering it to be factual.

What sketchy stuff am I promoting? My only intention was to clear up a common misconception about the term theory as used in science. In no way am I implying that you must accept every theory. Will you at least concede the point about a theory not being something that becomes a law when proven?

30 HalalHippie 11.07.09 at 9:16 pm

“New Age pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo” do I sense some religious intolerance here ? New Age pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo is just as entitled to ridicule as any old school mumbo-jumbo out there.

31 The Atheist Jew 11.08.09 at 11:56 am

Craig, evolution is evolution is evolution. There are three major ways it happens, and all three have been witnessed. The process has been proven, and the evidence of fossils etc. strongly show how life evolved on this planet.

Drima, we are made up of atoms. There is no evidence at all that we have a spirit or that we have any consciousness after death. Just as I wasn’t around before 1961, when I die, I won’t be around anymore in any way except my atoms will be part of the universe still.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish there was something more and that I could exist consciously for eternity, but the idea just doesn’t make any sense, and has no evidence whatsoever that backs it up.

I look at chimps or my dog or even a mosquito before I crush it and think why would a mosquito exist after death? Would you want to be a mosquito for eternity? Just because we as humans are aware of mortality and the probable consequences doesn’t mean that we are afforded any special privileges over a chimp, dog or mosquito, all of whom eventually trace back to the same common ancestor.

32 Howie 11.08.09 at 3:56 pm

A. Jew

And I see little evidence that oxygen exists and if a “tree makes a noise when it falls if nobody is there to experience it” etc. etc.

Because we don’t have evidence is not proof of anything. I certainly hear your arguments and this is an old debate…an interesting debate, but one that has no end…it is, ultimately, one belief system against another.

I believe in God and had absolutely no proof that God exists and you have no proof that God does not exist. And are you so arrogant to think that being a mosquito is such a bad gig? You eat and screw and get to fly around. You don’t work, no bills and you don’t have to worry about God. Eating, flying and screwing for eternity…I like that…kind of like being an airline stewardess.

33 Don Cox 11.08.09 at 4:50 pm

“I believe in God and had absolutely no proof that God exists and you have no proof that God does not exist.”

So what do you mean by “exist”? You use the word confidently, so I suppose it must mean something to you.

34 Zoxuf 11.08.09 at 8:08 pm

@Howie

I believe in God and had absolutely no proof that God exists and you have no proof that God does not exist.

If there is no proof either way would it not make more sense to withhold judgment on the matter? There are an infinite number of possible things so it is not really practical to believe in everything until disproven. I describe myself as an atheist but I do not claim any sort of definitive knowledge that God does not exist. I just do not hold a belief in something in which there is no evidence for.

35 Zoxuf 11.08.09 at 8:43 pm

@Don Cox

You make a great point about the importance of defining the terms under discussion. I suppose I would define God as a conscious willful being responsible for the creation of the universe. Hmm, exist is going to be a tricky one. I guess to exist is to be a part of reality but that is not really any clearer is it? I am curious how others would define them.

36 Zoxuf 11.08.09 at 9:09 pm

@Drima

However do you believe in “Spirit” or in any form of non-material reality to humanity?

What is your definition of spirit? As I mentioned earlier I don’t think anything in this universe is really material at its core.

Do you believe that we are our physical brains and nothing more?

I am of the view that we are what our brain does. Our consciousness is not separate from the physical universe (our brain functions) but merely a difference face of the same coin. In a very real sense our consciousness is the universe analyzing itself. Of course I could be completely wrong but that’s how I currently see things.

37 Howie 11.08.09 at 10:26 pm

I believe there is a “higher power”… a creative and creating energy. I believe there is something that ultimately gives life meaning/purpose. I believe in something that has to do with an essential moral order…

But can I define God…of course not you sillies. Just like you really cannot define nothingness because by defining it you like give it existence…

But I do use the word “belief” and freely admit to have no empirical evidence…

We are talking about our beliefs here…that is what makes this challenging and interesting and quite essential. I don’t believe in atheists…just people that don’t except a classic concept of God. But you get under the thoughts of most atheists…and most have some kind of belief in a cause and effect universe, luck, karma, astrology or whatever…but that is another subject.

But I still cannot understand where an “atheist” gets their system of morals and ethics. I have always held that without “God”…all becomes relative…as I have discussed with the Russian Jew bastard, drug addicted, wannabe but can’t be alcoholic; Raccoon.

38 Zoxuf 11.09.09 at 12:39 am

But I still cannot understand where an “atheist” gets their system of morals and ethics.

I can not speak for all atheists but as I said in an earlier topic I get mine from a feeling of empathy. When those around me are sad or in pain it makes me feel sad. This may not be some objective truth but it is an attribute most humans posses to at least some degree.

39 Judd 11.09.09 at 6:28 am

The one and only fact that everybody is missing, is love! That is what makes up the universe and the universe is heaven. Love is something that you cant see, feel, hear, touch, smell , but its there in everyone of us , and has been here for eternity. If there is one thing to believe in , that is Jesus!

40 Don Cox 11.09.09 at 11:06 am

“But I still cannot understand where an “atheist” gets their system of morals and ethics.”

These come from our instincts as social mammals. These instincts are just as much part of our nature as are legs or arms.

A normal person wants to behave according to his/her nature – we do not chop our arms off, nor do we go against our instinct to live with and relate to others. This can even be extended to a love for a horse, a dog, or a threatened species.

I see no evidence that non-social animals love each other as we do, but it does look as though wolves, meerkats, etc have much the same emotions.

I think that to suppose that stars, asteroids or cosmic rays have anything like love is absurd. Love does not permeate the whole universe, it is a feature of social animals.

It is a mistake to project our feelings outward onto the whole universe. However, one might argue that love is a particular case of information transmission (and so is hatred). Information flow in general does apply to the whole observable universe.

41 Don Cox 11.09.09 at 11:11 am

“I guess to exist is to be a part of reality but that is not really any clearer is it?”

Nope. Is God part of reality, or is reality part of God?

42 The Atheist Jew 11.09.09 at 1:57 pm

Morality mainly comes from our innate sense of empathy and guilt to begin with, and societal and parental rules also contribute and this explains why what is moral in one location may not be considered moral in another society.

Chimps and other social animals also have morality and guilt going for them, maybe to a lesser degree than humans, but it is innate and it allows for social animals to make it to the next generation which is key to evolution theory. Chimps, humans, etc. are driven internally to keep our species going, and if we felt no remorse stealing, murdering, etc. our chances to be part of a productive society lessens, and would be counterproductive to our species.

As for considering whether God exists without proof, I guess I should consider a lot of things then, like Leprechauns, or an invisible man who lives under my be and does absolutely nothing as well.

43 Howie 11.09.09 at 5:06 pm

Interesting…

Atheists can believe in “instincts” and “innate” features which are merely constructs and cannot be proven…

And the instincts originate from????

44 Judd 11.09.09 at 6:36 pm

In my opinion, you can’t have Light without Love . The universe is made up of this Love. We have to understand that Love is Light! You could assume that a tree or a flower has no Love but whats the one thing that makes it grow? Of course it must be fed like all things in this dimension , but I believe when the body of anything living is at its end , it goes into the very dimension of Pure Love and Light, The purest you could never imagine. Everything is interconnected and that way is Love and Light! Can you imagine a Universe with no light and total darkness! Love and Light are the same thing and you could assume there was a big bang or whatever you wanted to. Light has been here for eternity , God Love Light are the same thing or how ever you want to put it. The one thing that is so important is to understand that the Bible is real and is showing us to love and except Love, this will make you grow and understand your purpose in this life! It turns on the Light with in your spirit!

45 Judd 11.09.09 at 7:06 pm

John 5:26 “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself;John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”John 9:5 “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies,John 12:46 “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me

46 Don Cox 11.09.09 at 7:36 pm

“And the instincts originate from?”

In some niches, there is a selective advantage for animals to have social instincts.

As to how exactly instincts are coded in DNA, that is not yet known. But only a couple of decades ago, nobody understood how anatomy was encoded: now, this is a well researched field.

It is clear, for example from breeds of dog, that behavior can be both inherited and selected.

47 Don Cox 11.09.09 at 7:42 pm

“In my opinion, you can’t have Light without Love.”

Nuclear weapons give off a lot of light, but they are not very loving.

” The universe is made up of this Love.”

The universe is made up of matter/energy (interchangeable), dark matter and energy (not well understood) and information. Love is an example of the flow of information.

“We have to understand that Love is Light! ”

No, it is not. They are as different as paper and poetry.

And when you say “Light”, do you mean all electromagnetic radiation (light, x-rays, gamma rays, microwaves, infra-red, etc), or just the wavelengths visible to humans?

48 Don Cox 11.09.09 at 7:47 pm

More seriously, the quotes from the mystical work known as John’s Gospel are using “Light” as a metaphor. The same applies to the expression “The Enlightenment”.

You are trying to apply a metaphor literally, and mixing up the meanings of words.

49 Judd 11.09.09 at 8:49 pm

The whole of everything is light, without light nothing would exist ! I like hearing others opinions and have asked questions most of my life, I have come to find out that this is what makes me at ease! I used to have a hard time believing in God and tried to run different routes, believing in reincarnation,and things of that sort. I finally seen the light ! It was here the whole time right in front of me.

50 The Atheist Jew 11.10.09 at 4:59 am

Without oxygen life would not exist.

Howie, instincts can’t be proven? Have you ever seen a crocodile mother carry its young from land to water and back again in its mouth? How does the mother know not to eat the young? Try putting a chicken in its mouth and see what happens.

You see, if crocodiles chowed down on their young, there would be no crocodiles on this planet after a couple of generations.

All animals have survival instincts which have evolved over time which sometimes are instincts which help the individual, and others which help the species.

Many bird species do everything they can for their young, but if resources are limited, they allow their weakest young to starve and sometimes kill them outright. This isn’t learned behavior, but innate behavior that has been selected through evolution.

51 Judd 11.10.09 at 7:19 am
52 Don Cox 11.10.09 at 10:59 am

Judd: “The whole of everything is light,”

This is simply not true in any realistic sense, although you might find it a powerful metaphor. I guess a dog would say “The whole of everything is smells”.

Incidentally, I think Drima’s headline is worth thinking about.

AJ: “Without oxygen life would not exist.”

Actually there are many anaerobic bacteria which cannot survive in the presence of oxygen, and the earliest forms of life were all anaerobic, until photosynthetic cells that split water into H2 and O evolved. Which took a very long time.

I agree with you on instincts. You can see many in action in the Attenbrough wildlife films. The puzzle is, how are the crocodile’s instincts encoded in its DNA?

How much of our perception of a universe around us is encoded in our DNA, and how? Obviously the science, history and so on that we have to learn in school are not in the DNA, but what about our basic sense of 3D space and time? Our belief that the world is made up of objects? Our belief in causation?

53 Craig 11.10.09 at 12:41 pm

Atheist Jew (oxymoron is it not?),

Craig, evolution is evolution is evolution.

Meaningless statement. Why make it? For impact?

There are three major ways it happens, and all three have been witnessed.

False statement.

The process has been proven…

False statement,

… and the evidence of fossils etc. strongly show how life evolved on this planet.

True statement! Finally! Yes, the only evidence to prove evolution is fact is in the fossil records. And it is VERY GOOD evidence. indisputable, in fact. However, we still don’t understand how all the pieces fit together… the exact transitions from one species to another, and then to another yet. We can can determine only that some species were very closely related and had another species in common at some point in the past, but that’s about it. We don’t even understand our own human origins, and we’ve studied that more than everything else combined.

There is no evidence at all that we have a spirit…

Yes. No scientific evidence. And yet, we all know that we have a spirit. That’s quite a problem. For science :)

54 The Atheist Jew 11.10.09 at 4:11 pm

Atheist Jew (oxymoron is it not?)
*******************
Not according to Websters, Israel, my family, friends, neighbors, and Hitler.

Because you say I’ve made false statements, doesn’t make them false:
http://rudd-o.com/en/archives/evolution-witnessed-for-the-nth-time-on-lizards
http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2008/07/language_evolution_witnessed_in_lab_experiments.php

As for “we all know we have a spirit,” that is a false statement. I don’t believe we have a a spirit.

55 The Atheist Jew 11.10.09 at 4:14 pm

Oops. Disregard the second link: I meant to post this after a quick internet search:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=39f_1236778725

And Don, thanks for correcting me on all life forms needing oxygen. I read that before and forgot it.

56 Howie 11.10.09 at 4:40 pm

A. Jew:

This isn’t learned behavior, but innate behavior that has been selected through evolution.

Or through God…

57 Howie 11.10.09 at 5:30 pm

I don’t agree that morality comes from nature…nature is really utterly ruthless in most cases and pretty amoral. Besides cute stories of porpoise saving the drowning sailor…it is most eat, be eaten, mate…poop, roll around in the dirt and then die.

You get your morals from empathy…hmmm and where does the sense of empathy come from…instincts? and down the slippery slope we go…

Again…I can respect atheists…used to be one, was raised as one and heard all these arguments…I it does typically appear that God is not terribly involved in our lives…well Judd…I mean there IS the pure light and love of the occasional tsunami, earthquake or plague that wipes out a random 100,00 or so…Or go visit a young kid with leukemia on chemo.THERE is some pure love for you.

But I have yet to hear a reasonable argument from an atheist on way people should be behave decently and/or morally…Bullshit like “the instinct to sustain society”…that’s poppycock…Poppycock I tell you. If I were truly an atheist…I would be an full on Epicurean to the best of my ability and then die and nothing means nothing…nothing ever was or ever will be…Without God…no matter how you spin it…live means nothing, there are no rules…everything becomes fully relative.

58 The Atheist Jew 11.10.09 at 6:50 pm

Howie, how do chimps manage without God, or do they secretly read bibles when nobody is around filming them?

Watching chimps is sort of like watching man before we invented God.

Yes, much of nature is cruel, but much of it isn’t. If it were purely cruel, the next generation wouldn’t make it.

As for your view on what atheists should do and should think makes me believe you were never an atheist of any substance. There are over 600 million of us on the planet, and I don’t know many who live life as if there were no innate rules. We, like chimps, have empathy and guilt and that prevents us as well as believers from raping, murdering and stealing. No God is needed.

59 Zoxuf 11.10.09 at 7:57 pm

@Howie

You get your morals from empathy…hmmm and where does the sense of empathy come from…instincts? and down the slippery slope we go…

Why do you place so much importance on the origin of empathy? Would the knowledge that it and other emotional responses came about naturally make these experiences any less significant?

But I have yet to hear a reasonable argument from an atheist on way people should be behave decently and/or morally…Bullshit

Because some people (atheists included) feel empathy, love, and compassion for their fellow man. It is not about being right or wrong it is purely emotional.

nothing means nothing…nothing ever was or ever will be…Without God…no matter how you spin it…live means nothing,

Without God life is what you choose to make of it. It is possible to find your own purpose and meaning in life.

60 Judd 11.10.09 at 8:10 pm

I see most people on here have the question, How could there be a God when all this bad stuff happens? It takes a loss for people to open there eyes to Love! No matter the circumstances, relationships, death, ect. Without this a lot of beings would have a hard time reaching the level of love they need to be at, and that is the higher source of Love ! Knowing there is a higher Source ! A lot of us just take love for granted, and fall back into the hatred of this world, and end up asking this question , How could there be a God? I’m sure it is in all of us to know there is a higher dimension of Light, but there is only one way to get to this dimension and that is through love.! Scientist could never pinpoint Love through any test they did! Its just there>like magic!

61 Howie 11.10.09 at 9:55 pm

Zox…

Hmm…you sound like Jean Paul Sarte now or one of the psychologists from the Victor Frankl bent.

And yes…that is one huge problem I have with existentialists and atheists….LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT…i.e. there are no rules. With no rules…a few people behave…most don’t.

A Jew…600 million atheists…

I don’t believe it…

Hhehehehe…get it…”I don’t believe it?”

It is like the guy that asked me to join the Club for Apathetics…I told him: “I don’t care”.

62 Howie 11.10.09 at 9:57 pm

Judd…

The argument that you can’t know joy unless you suffered etc. doesn’t carry an ounce of weight with me…

So you limit God? That He could not figure out a way for the world to be a bit less horrific and we still can experience LOVE?

Try again dude.

63 Zoxuf 11.10.09 at 11:18 pm

@Howie

And yes…that is one huge problem I have with existentialists and atheists….LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT…i.e. there are no rules. With no rules…a few people behave…most don’t.

If you were to discover a lost crying little girl on your doorstep would you really need a “rule” to compel you to help her? I think most people would help without having to stop and think about what God would want first. Yes there is a dark side to humanity but it seems to me that you take our better side for granted. And even if people were incapable of behaving without believing in God it would not make his existence any more likely to be true.

64 Howie 11.11.09 at 12:27 am

Zox….

Zox my friend…there is where we very much part ways. Throughout history man has proven that basically he would NOT help that girl…and I believe it is people with a belief in God that would be more likely to help her.

Look dude…I am enormously cynical about religious people…I am rather cynical about God a lot of the time. As I have been saying…atheists make some very strong points. In terms of God’s apparent behavior or lack of…I think the atheists have a MUCH stronger argument than the believers.

But…I still believe in God…I still believe that the universe has design and is not random…I do not believe good and bad are relative…which they would HAVE to be if there is no God…seriously where would the measure then come from?

Things have occurred in my life that have led me to a very strong belief in God and yes…even AFTER I started my medication

65 Judd 11.11.09 at 1:12 am

Watch all 6 of these, it is very fascinating what all of these people have in common. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I9-XxBAEsQ

66 Zoxuf 11.11.09 at 2:10 am

@Howie

Zox my friend…there is where we very much part ways. Throughout history man has proven that basically he would NOT help that girl

They may not make it into the news or the history books but there are plenty of kind people out there. It pains me to see that you have such a grim outlook on humanity.

and I believe it is people with a belief in God that would be more likely to help her.

You said you were an atheist once correct? Do you think you would have refused to help her when you were still an atheist? And if you think you would have helped her then please explain why.

67 Howie 11.11.09 at 2:44 am

“Zouf

When I was an atheist…I stole, cheated in school, and other things. I was not without a conscience…but that conscience was much more highly developed when I began to believe in God…MUCH more.

My view of man is not that grim…and, BTW…my experience is that the most decent people on the planet are kind of modestly religious…there is a point where highly religious people become downright evil…but that is no surprise…

I have been a therapist for many years…I know for a fact what some people do to others that cannot protect themselves…

I also know that religious people do very bad thing and atheists do some very good things.

Again…I am not extreme in my views at all…really quite balanced.

But at 3:00 AM…leaving the ATM…I would rather have a group of guys walking behind me that just left a Bible study than a group of Hell’s Angels…who typically don’t believe in God.

68 Zoxuf 11.11.09 at 3:00 am

@Howie

I was not without a conscience…but that conscience was much more highly developed when I began to believe in God…MUCH more.

Even as underdeveloped as it might have been, what do you suppose was the source of the conscience you had as an atheist? Did you not still feel for others? I am glad that your belief in God helped you to develop a stronger conscience but there are other ways of achieving that.

69 Howie 11.11.09 at 3:23 am

Zoxuf…

You won’t like my answer…

Partially it was taught…though my parents were atheists…

But I think there was something in me that sensed, intuited a higher power…though that also could have been the high tension wires behind my house.

70 Zoxuf 11.11.09 at 3:46 am

@Howie

Partially it was taught…though my parents were atheists…

But surely you still felt some degree of emotion for those around you? At the very least did you not love your parents and care about your friends? You didn’t need a rule to care about what happened to them did you?

71 Craig 11.11.09 at 6:00 am

Atheist Jew,

You are not only asserting that what some scientist believes he is observing in a lab qualifies as indisputable scientific proof, you are providing links to Live Leak for me? :D

I refuse to argue with silly people. No matter how seriously they take themselves.

72 Howie 11.11.09 at 6:12 am

Zoxuf…

It is a circular argument here…and I could attribute all you are referring to as God-instilled. I think a pretty basic argument of the big 3 monotheistic religions is that God gave Man both good and bad “instincts” and the ability to choose…

But I keep my basic position…without God…good and bad are rendered fully relative…there is no True point of reference. I think folks here just don’t get this idea…

Without some type of Supreme or Ultimate truth…why would murder, or child molestation, or theft, or rape or whatever be bad? What makes that bad? What makes charity and kindness good? How could even DEFINE kindness with all points be relative with no static or objective point of reference? It would just be values that people decided on and called them good and bad…

73 Craig 11.11.09 at 6:21 am

PS Atheist Jew,
The main and most obvious reason that natural selection cannot be observed in a lab is that a lab connot recreate a natural environment. In fact, a lab is specifically designed to create an artificially controlled environment in which scientists can control all the random factors so that their test results are repeatable and reliable.

As I said a few days ago, any changes in organisms over generations that scientists observe in a lab is some form of artificially induced selective breeding, not an evolutionary process. And besides that, the heart and soul of evolution is mutation caused primarily by cosmic radiation. Scientists can have no control over what mutations occur in organisms in a lab, nor can they determine whether the fact their lab conditions are favorable to one mutation rather than another is proof of natural selection, since their labs are not a natural environment. And then there’s the whole “genetic drift” thing, which is not natural selection at all and is likely to be observed in the type of small population of organisms that would be used in a lab.

Anyway, why are you so heavily invested in this proving the validity of bad scientific methods thing? That’s not the topic. Are there some really outlandish scientific theories that you rely on for your world view that you try to vicariously validate by using the relatively non-controversial evolutionary theory? Why don’t you spit them out and lets discuss. You aren’t afraid of being ridiculed for your beliefs, are you? A soulless automaton like you claim to be shouldn’t be capable of embarrassment.

74 Zoxuf 11.11.09 at 7:30 am

@Howie

It is a circular argument here…and I could attribute all you are referring to as God-instilled. I think a pretty basic argument of the big 3 monotheistic religions is that God gave Man both good and bad “instincts” and the ability to choose…

So we agree that people have an innate ability to care about others then do we not? We just seem to disagree about where this ability within us came from. Even if God put this within us would people who for whatever reason do not believe lose this ability? If not then does this answer you question about where an atheist can find a sort of morality?

But I keep my basic position…without God…good and bad are rendered fully relative…there is no True point of reference. I think folks here just don’t get this idea…

I do not dispute that good and bad are relative without God. We can however define these terms by our common humanity. Most humans generally consider murder, child molestation, theft, and rape to be bad because it is not something they would want done to them. While charity and kindness are considered good because it is something we would appreciate receiving ourselves.

75 Andrew Brehm 11.11.09 at 9:37 am

“As I said a few days ago, any changes in organisms over generations that scientists observe in a lab is some form of artificially induced selective breeding, not an evolutionary process.”

The evolutionary process is not the process by which the environment is defined but the process by which organisms adapt to changes in the environment regardless of what causes those changes.

In order to test the evolutionary process, scientists can create and change the environment. It doesn’t matter whether they do it or whether nature does it.

You can also test gravity by dropping a rock off an artificial mountain. The environment is artificial but the gravity tested is the same.

Selective breeding is the same as evolution. The “selective” refers to who controls the environment, not to the process by which the organisms develop.

76 Andrew Brehm 11.11.09 at 9:38 am

“Most humans generally consider murder, child molestation, theft, and rape to be bad because it is not something they would want done to them.”

Most perhaps, but not all.

I have personally met people who do think that murder would be bad if it were done to them but is acceptable or even good when done to certain other people.

Did you read the Hamas charter?

77 Drima 11.11.09 at 10:07 am

“Drima, we are made up of atoms. There is no evidence at all that we have a spirit or that we have any consciousness after death.

… the idea just doesn’t make any sense, and has no evidence whatsoever that backs it up.”

Atheist Jew,

True, there is no solid evidence for Spirit (at least the usual traditional understanding of “Spirit” that’s espoused by religion).

However, there’s no evidence disproving Spirit either.

I know, we can probably bring in Russel’s teapot as an analogy and discuss that.

Still, you and everyone else may not be ware that there’s a mounting body of research on Near Death Experiences, that lends some merit to the idea that “Spirit” (or consciousness) is non-material and can exist without a functioning brain.

In fact, lots of neuroscientists are increasingly getting vocal in countering the idea that we are our brain:

http://www.salon.com/news/environment/atoms_eden/2009/03/25/alva_noe/print.html

78 The Atheist Jew 11.11.09 at 1:53 pm

Drima, the possibility for a spirit, God, Leprechauns, and an invisible man under my bed all exist, but since there is no evidence for any of it, I’m not living my life as if any of them exist.
Like I said, I would be all for an eternal spirit, but it just doesn’t make any sense that it exists as well as the lack of proof.

Craig, you are moving the goalposts. I said that all three types of evolution have been witnessed, not necessarily in the lab, though it was pointed out that it has been observed in the lab.

I suggest you read about the evolution of cane toads:
http://www.canetoadsinoz.com/toadevolution.html

It is natural selection right before our eyes.

79 The Atheist Jew 11.11.09 at 2:03 pm

Also, as for atheists and morals. If my claim that there are 600 million atheists worldwide doesn’t jive with someone, lets say the number is lower, lets say 100 million (Canada where I live has an atheist population of over 20%).
Why aren’t these 100 million in jail? In fact, atheists are under represented in prison. Does this mean that we are smart with our “immoral” ways so that we don’t get caught, or does it mean we commit less crimes? I think it is the latter.
Not only do we have the empathy and guilt of believers, but we don’t want to waste our only life in prison:)
I’ve written a lot about morality and atheists. Here is a funny post about it:
http://baconeatingatheistjew.blogspot.com/2008/04/another-question-for-fundies-where-does.html

80 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 2:32 pm

“I see most people on here have the question, How could there be a God when all this bad stuff happens?”

No. The question is “How could there be a benevolent, all-powerful God when all this bad stuff happens?”

It is perfectly possible to have evil in the world if God is either amoral, malevolent, or not completely in control. As it is, people have invented Satan to explain the problem; but they don’t say why God created Satan in the first place.

81 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 2:36 pm

Some people are missing Darwin’s central point about evolutionary change, which is that artificial and natural selection are the same thing. “Nature” (ie the environment in which a population lives) acts just like a human dog- or horse-breeder.

82 Howie 11.11.09 at 3:21 pm

Don…

Your theology is a bit fuzzy in some areas. I agree in part…but the argument is clearly that God gave man choice…and people can decide between good and evil. Some folks cop out that “the devil made me do it”…

If you look at evil in the world…I say there are 3 types

1. Crap you decide to do that causes trouble
2. Crap others do to YOU that causes trouble

1 and 2 can be MOSTLY attributed to free will…though there are endless problems with free will

3. This is the kicker…sometimes God does it: little babies with tumors and horrific diseases, diseases that are not part of man’s poor or selfish decisions, earthquake, drought, flood, animal attacks etc.

There is also the tricky business of, from a Biblical perspective, when God CAUSES somebody to do something…like God hardening Pharaoh’s heart when he had earlier let the people go so they could take over Palestine and the rights of the Palestinians.

83 Howie 11.11.09 at 3:22 pm

Oh…and many folks would cop out that #3 is attributable to Satan…but you are right…God made him, gave him great power, and even makes bets on games with him (refer to the beginning of the story of Job).

This is complex stuff

84 Howie 11.11.09 at 3:29 pm

A. Jew….

I never said atheists have no morals. My parents were not criminals…but even you yourself admit that fear of punishment is a big part of why atheists behave and, ironically, much of law in the West has its basis in the Bible…not from atheists.

What I am saying is that atheists make up their own rules FAR more than religious people do (who also make shit up and cherry pick like crazy). I am just saying that without God…morals are fully relative, there is no reference point…and life is rendered utterly meaningless.

But some of y’all seem to think I see this as an utterly polarized issue…the good religious and the bad atheists. That is not what I believe and not what I have experienced. In fact, I have spoke before of the “counter-intutive” experience of noting I don’t see a real big difference between the behavior of an Average Joe atheist and an Average Joe religious person…which is quite sad really.

85 Craig 11.11.09 at 4:03 pm

Andrew,

The evolutionary process is not the process by which the environment is defined but the process by which organisms adapt to changes in the environment regardless of what causes those changes.

Over-simplification. If it’s not a natural environment then you really have no idea what causes those organisms to adapt. You don’t even know if there was a cause at all… hence the tendency of “genetic drift” in small populations, which is basically a random process. And also its important to note that evolution only involved GENETIC adaptations. Learned behavior which is transmitted from one generation to the next is not an evolutionary process, and I think scientists would have a great deal of difficulty differentiating between the two, as they can’t possibly know whether a change of behavior is caused by genetics or by other factors.

You can also test gravity by dropping a rock off an artificial mountain. The environment is artificial but the gravity tested is the same.

Now we are talking about gravity? lol. Not the same thing, at all! Physics versus biology, eh? Of course, teh laws of physics are very easy to test, once they are understood.

Selective breeding is the same as evolution. The “selective” refers to who controls the environment, not to the process by which the organisms develop.

No, sorry. It’s not the same thing at all. Selective breeding is an artificial process, from the get-go. The change in genetics is achieved by artificially choosing one trait as preferable to another, and ensuring that only that trait is passed on to succeeding generations. No mutation involved – the trait was already present – and no natural selection involved.

86 Craig 11.11.09 at 4:16 pm

Atheist,

Craig, you are moving the goalposts. I said that all three types of evolution have been witnessed…

I’m arguing with somebody who doesn’t even know there are only two types of evolution… let me guess, the “three types” is some other fringe science you subscribe to?

…not necessarily in the lab, though it was pointed out that it has been observed in the lab.

If you are trying to weasel out of the “proven in the lab” comment you made earlier, it isn’t me who is moving the goal posts.

87 Andrew Brehm 11.11.09 at 4:38 pm

“If it’s not a natural environment then you really have no idea what causes those organisms to adapt. ”

Yes we do. They adapt to any changes in the environment regardless of what causes those changes.

It’s like a rock falling off a church tower. The environment is not natural but I have a pretty good idea that it was gravity that caused the rock to fall (rather than float in the air).

“And also its important to note that evolution only involved GENETIC adaptations. Learned behavior which is transmitted from one generation to the next is not an evolutionary process, and I think scientists would have a great deal of difficulty differentiating between the two, as they can’t possibly know whether a change of behavior is caused by genetics or by other factors.”

Actually learned behaviour is an evolutionary process too. If different animals learn different things, those that learned the right thing will survive to teach it to their offspring.

You are confusing evolution with genetics. But evolution also happens with knowledge.

88 Andrew Brehm 11.11.09 at 4:42 pm

“I’m arguing with somebody who doesn’t even know there are only two types of evolution…”

Which one of the three do you reject?

89 The Atheist Jew 11.11.09 at 4:54 pm

Craig, I said that evolution has been observed (it doesn’t matter if it is in a lab or not). I pointed you to proof of natural selection with the cane toad article. A) Did you read it? B) Did you try to understand it?
It has to one of the two, because I’m sure you would rather see evolution happen outside the lab.

There are three mechanisms of evolution. Genetic drift, natural selection, and mutation caused by viruses (though this is mostly harmful). The third is a fairly recent discovery.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viral_evolution

90 Craig 11.11.09 at 4:54 pm

Andrew,

Yes we do. They adapt to any changes in the environment regardless of what causes those changes.

You are confusing evolution with genetics. But evolution also happens with knowledge.

The theory of Evolution is reliant on a change in genetics over a period of many generations. Learned behavior has no place in that theory. You’re wrong.

Which one of the three do you reject?

List the three, and I will tell you :)

91 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 4:56 pm

“If you look at evil in the world – I say there are 3 types”

It was your third type that I was mainly thinking of.

92 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 4:58 pm

“I don’t see a real big difference between the behavior of an Average Joe atheist and an Average Joe religious person – which is quite sad really.”

I would say it is quite hopeful. It means we can look forward to the fading away of organised religions without fear of chaos.

93 Craig 11.11.09 at 4:58 pm

Whoa! You said three TYPES of evolution! There are two TYPES of evolution! Direct and Indirect!

There are three mechanisms of evolution. Genetic drift, natural selection, and mutation caused by viruses (though this is mostly harmful). The third is a fairly recent discovery.

That’s only two mechanisms, buddy! Natural selection is dependent on genetic mutation anyway, so a viral mutation belongs in there with natural selection! It doesn’t matter what causes the genetic mutation, it only matters that the mutation occurs!

This is what happens when people spend too much time reading stuff on the internet and not enough time in class!

94 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 5:01 pm

“When I was an atheist I stole, cheated in school, and other things. ”

Or, “When I stole, cheated in school, and other things, I was an atheist too.”

In other words, you were just being a bad lad, and the atheism was a part of it.

95 Craig 11.11.09 at 5:07 pm

I pointed you to proof of natural selection with the cane toad article. A) Did you read it? B) Did you try to understand it?

I did read it, yes. I did not find any claim that a new genetic trait that was the result of a mutation resulted in faster toads being selected over slower toads. We could “prove” the same thing by picking our fastest Olympic athletes and selectively breeding them with eachother, and culling any offspring who didn’t have the traits that made them faster. Over time (generation) we would have created superhumanly fast athletes. But they would not have any genetic traits that were not already present in their ancestors. We would have just arranged to have those traits combined in the most beneficial possible way.

96 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 5:09 pm

“Selective breeding is an artificial process, from the get-go. The change in genetics is achieved by artificially choosing one trait as preferable to another, and ensuring that only that trait is passed on to succeeding generations. No mutation involved – the trait was already present – and no natural selection involved.”

Human preferences are just as much part of the environment of a population of animals and plants as, for instance, the hunting methods of predators or the escape tactics of prey. In every case, organisms containing one version of a gene have more fertile offspring than do those containing other versions.

Mutation is certainly an essential part of animal and plant breeding. Just consider the different fur colours of breeds of cat or hamster. These all start as mutations.

Remember that the same mutation can happen many times in a population.

97 Craig 11.11.09 at 5:16 pm

Don,

Mutation is certainly an essential part of animal and plant breeding. Just consider the different fur colours of breeds of cat or hamster. These all start as mutations.

That’s right. And without mutation, none of those traits would have ever existed in the first place. Furthermore, without mutation the only type of life on this planet right now would be a single celled organism. That’s why mutation is THE essential element in Evolutionary Theory.

98 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 5:18 pm

Craig, I don’t think you quite understand the concept of alleles of genes. Most genes exist in several variants. A mutation can change the gene from one variant to another. Very occasionally, it may give a completely new variant.

If you want to breed all-white hamsters, you wait until an all-white one turns up, and then breed from it. There has been a mutation in some gene controlling an enzyme in the synthesis of melanin.

That doesn’t mean it is a completely new mutation: the same fault will have popped up regularly since long before hamsters were hamsters. But suddenly, because a human likes the effect, there is a big advantage to this allele of the gene, instead of a disadvantage. So the white hamster has lots of descendants, instead of being eaten by a hawk.

The environment has changed, but selection is the same.

99 The Atheist Jew 11.11.09 at 5:18 pm

Here you go Craig,
3. Has Evolution Ever Been Observed?

Yes. Besides the examples given above, evolution has been observed to the point of new species emerging. Butterflies have evolved resistance to a parasite. New species of cichlid fish have evolved(another article on the cichlids is here). A scientist bred E. Coli in a lab for 40,000 generations. The bacteria are now twice as big and reproduce 70% faster. Cane Toads were brought to Australia, and have since evolved smaller body size. The native fauna has evolved in response: the mouths of some snake species are getting smaller, for instance, because so many of the snakes with big mouths were eating the poisonous cane toads and dying off.

Speciation in Sea Birds:

“Using DNA samples retrieved from birds breeding in the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde and the Galapagos, the researchers determined that petrels breeding in different seasons but from the same burrows did indeed differ genetically. They also learned that the seasonal species had not bred with each other for periods ranging from around 1,000 to 180,000 years, providing a series of “time shots” of divergence, Dr. Friesen explains.”

For More, see the Talk Origins’ Observed Instances of Speciation. Also, see University of Texas’ page on Speciation, as well as the PBS page on Allopatric Speciation and the Berkeley page on speciation.

Other Examples:

Arizona Fruit Fly Speciation
London Mosquito Speciation
Salamanders and Songbirds
http://aigbusted.blogspot.com/2007/11/evolution-for-creationists-part-four.html

100 Craig 11.11.09 at 5:26 pm

Craig, I don’t think you quite understand the concept of alleles of genes.

We aren’t talking about the allelles of genes. We are talking about Evolutionary Theory. I admit I have trouble understanding why so many people here have trouble understanding it. It seems pretty simple to me. But then again, in my whole school career there was only one time I wasn’t the smartest kid in the class so I guess I shouldn’t be shocked by that :)

Anyway, I’m done with this discussion on evolution. I think I understand it quite well, and I certainly don’t have anything to learn from people who confuse evolutionary types with evolutionary mechanisms, and then go on to mistakenly confuse one of the variations of *one* mechanism as a completely different and unrelated mechanism.

I tried! That’s all I can do.

101 The Atheist Jew 11.11.09 at 5:46 pm

Since you are done Craig, you are leaving with a trail of statements that were proven wrong here:

There are three major ways it happens, and all three have been witnessed.

“False statement.”
*****************************
Again, natural selection, genetic drift and viral evolution have all been witnessed whether you believe that is a false statement or not.

The process has been proven…

“False statement,”
****************************
Again, from the nylon bacteria to the cane toad to the smaller jaws of snakes that are attracted to cane toads, the process has been witness and proven.

Thanks for playing though.

102 Craig 11.11.09 at 6:07 pm

Atheist Jew, you are of course free to interpret your… worthy… contributions to this discussion anyway you like. I’m sure you are quite used to doing that :)

I’d rather talk about how you think you have no soul, since that’s at least relevant to the posted topic. Would you like to expand on that notion a bit? I assume you at least admit to being self-aware, right? So describe for us what your notion of ‘self” is, and where it comes from? I for one would like to hear it, because I’ve never met anyone before who denied that humans have a spiritual existence.

103 Zoxuf 11.11.09 at 6:41 pm

@Howie

But I still cannot understand where an “atheist” gets their system of morals and ethics.

Was I able to answer this question for you? You may consider these emotions God given but an atheist (or a theist) can develop a moral system based on the empathy, love, and compassion within them.

104 Zoxuf 11.11.09 at 7:08 pm

@Drima

Still, you and everyone else may not be ware that there’s a mounting body of research on Near Death Experiences, that lends some merit to the idea that “Spirit” (or consciousness) is non-material and can exist without a functioning brain.

What about the evidence that brain damage can cause drastic changes to ones personality? How can something with an independent existence be damaged in such a way?

105 Don Cox 11.11.09 at 7:18 pm

“We aren’t talking about the allelles of genes. We are talking about Evolutionary Theory.”

THe basis of evolutionary change is a change in the proportions of alleles in a population. That is how the whole thing works.

106 Craig 11.11.09 at 7:26 pm

THe basis of evolutionary change is a change in the proportions of alleles in a population. That is how the whole thing works.

You are mistaking cause and effect. Mutation is “how the whole thing works”. Natural selection merely determines which mutated genes are selected for transmission to offspring, and which are de-selected as not conducive to “survival of the fittest”.

Now, seriously, can we leave off of this now? The only thing I’ve learned in this discussion is that people enjoy talking about subjects they don’t understand very well, but I learned that a long time ago. Can we please get back on topic?

107 The Atheist Jew 11.11.09 at 8:33 pm

Craig, I’m going to make things simple for you on the idea of spirit or soul. Until around late April 1960 when one of dad’s sperm latched onto one of my mother’s eggs, I did not exist at all. 13.9 billion years without me. I have to be one egotistical maniac to believe I will exist when my brain dies.
Chimps are self aware, so are elephants. They aren’t bright enough to worry about living forever though or whether they have souls.

108 Howie 11.11.09 at 8:40 pm

Zouf..

He brings up a key point I was too lazy to get into…it is a huge problem with the free will hardcore types. Z…I have worked for YEARS with Post Traumatic Brain Injury…if you know these guys..a lot of the free will stuff goes right out the window…

So…I still believe in God…but that does not mean I don’t have a WHOLE lot of problems with various theologies, practice etc. Please don’t get me wrong there…

Once again…great discussion between some sharp guys…
BTW…where are the bitches?….ah I mean women.

109 Andrew Brehm 11.11.09 at 10:31 pm

“List the three, and I will tell you”

You mean that you know that there are only two types of evolution but you don’t know what the three types are of which you only recognise two?

I saw “direct” and “indirect” somewhere… that’s not two types of evolution.

I recommend you look up “evolution” in Wikipedia so you will know what we are talking about it. You’ll also find the three types there.

110 Judd 11.12.09 at 2:37 am

Enlightenment equals love. Love means that you except yourself for who you are. “I am a being of love … and I live for no other reason… than to extend the love I am. I am in love with everyone… and everything… because love is all there is! Healing happens when we truly open our hearts and breathe in the love and wisdom that we are.

111 Howie 11.12.09 at 3:02 am

Dudes…

Whatever Judd is smoking…give me a DOUBLE…

Love you Judd :)

112 Judd 11.12.09 at 6:17 am

You are loved!!!

113 Craig 11.12.09 at 7:22 pm

Atheist Jew,

I have to be one egotistical maniac to believe I will exist when my brain dies.

I didn’t ask if you exist when the brain dies. I asked if you exist now. Define “you”. Is it such a difficult question?

I notice the atheists in this thread are busily pointing out all the things that cannot be proven by science, but not offering any alternate explanations. Or any guesses, even. Pretty futile (and sad) discussion, if you ask me. We don’t even understand how the human brain functions to any significant degree, and yet some people in this thread are willing to assume that what science can currently explain is all there is. Seems like an idiotic position to take, to me. I like to think real scientists are more open minded than that, because if they aren’t than there doesn’t seem like there’s much hope of ever delving very deeply into the unknown in the future.

114 Howie 11.12.09 at 10:30 pm

Craig…

GOD …you are harsh.

Well it all comes from a Big Bang does it not? Very simple…then the entire complexity of the universe…of the human body…just kind of haphazardly stumble together from nothing.

But you are right…that is one very weak spot for atheists…give me an alternative theory for creation and the complexity of the universe and it all came from a Big Bang that exploded from stuff that didn’t exist or something like that.

And there are lots of top quality scientist who belief in a God…even a very anthropomorphic God.

But I disagree with you that this is a lame discussion…I think folk made some very good points…

Judd…you too are loved. Here’s a big kiss….mmmmmmWHA!

115 Howie 11.12.09 at 10:33 pm

Judd:

“Healing happens when we truly open our hearts and breathe in the love and wisdom that we are.”

Come on dude…what ELSE have you been breathing in?

http://www.ricenpeas.com/Images/Americas/smoking%20ganja.jpg

116 Zoxuf 11.13.09 at 12:19 am

@Craig

Pretty futile (and sad) discussion, if you ask me.

Please do not take this the wrong way but the discussion might be a little more fruitful if you checked your ego a bit. I hope you can believe me when I say this is meant as honest criticism and not a personal jab.

Define “you”. Is it such a difficult question?

Indeed it is. I often ponder the nature of my own existence.

We don’t even understand how the human brain functions to any significant degree, and yet some people in this thread are willing to assume that what science can currently explain is all there is.

I do not assume that science can currently (or ever for that matter) explain all there is. I simply follow what evidence there is and acknowledge my ignorance about the rest.

117 Craig 11.13.09 at 4:10 am

Zoxuf,

Please do not take this the wrong way but the discussion might be a little more fruitful if you checked your ego a bit.

My ego is doing fine. How is yours? I tried to be patient with people in this thread who were preaching ignorance, but when they started trying to imply they had the facts on their side and I didn’t, I put my foot down.

I hope you can believe me when I say this is meant as honest criticism and not a personal jab.

Of course it’s a personal jab, with the monumental egos of Drima’s readers. He’s got more people with “smartest guy in the room” syndrome than any other blogger I know. Why is it only MY ego that’s an issue? Because I disagreed with everyone else? lol.

…Define “you”. Is it such a difficult question?…

Indeed it is. I often ponder the nature of my own existence.

Of course its a difficult question, but I was just trying to get the Atheist Jew to admit he didn’t know the answer to that one, since he was arguing with Drima and claiming he doesn’t believe he has any spiritual existence, and he thinks lack of scientific evidence of a human soul means humans don’t have a soul.

I do not assume that science can currently (or ever for that matter) explain all there is. I simply follow what evidence there is and acknowledge my ignorance about the rest.

I haven’t seen much evidence of anyone in this thread acknowledging their ignorance about ANYTHING. I suppose its not too late to start though! Maybe we can get Drima to delete all the comments so we can try again? :)

118 Don Cox 11.13.09 at 8:55 am

“You are mistaking cause and effect. Mutation is “how the whole thing works”. ”

It is true that mutations provide the variety of alleles (and other genetic variations) in a population upon which selection acts. But the average properties of the animals or plants can change markedly without any new mutations occurring, simply by a change in the relative frequencies of alleles. I am thinking about adaptations such as the size of a widespread bird being greater in colder parts of its range, or the plumage colouring being more sandy in desert regions.

Mutations give the variation, selection determines the proportions of the varieties in the population.

119 Don Cox 11.13.09 at 9:07 am

“busily pointing out all the things that cannot be proven by science, but not offering any alternate explanations. Or any guesses, even. ”
This seems the most reasonable thing top do. I see no point in making wild guesses about things we have no clue about, and then defending your guesses as sacred.

If you have a guess that could be tested by experiment, then it gets interesting.

120 Bangs 11.13.09 at 7:15 pm

Drima,

You seem very intelligent, it’s quiet a turn on if I may say so myself. I’d like you to take me to the movies :)

Your biggest fan,

Baby Gill

121 Zoxuf 11.13.09 at 7:29 pm

Why is it only MY ego that’s an issue? Because I disagreed with everyone else? lol.

Fair point, everyone has some degree of ego and being outnumbered in this thread you are kind of getting ganged up on. It’s just that you seem a little needlessly combative and quick to belittle.

since he was arguing with Drima and claiming he doesn’t believe he has any spiritual existence

If by spiritual existence you mean something that lives on after you die then I agree with Atheist Jew.

thinks lack of scientific evidence of a human soul means humans don’t have a soul.

I agree that the lack of evidence for a soul does not disprove one. However, I do not see a reason to believe in something for which there is little to no evidence. I think our differing standards of evidence and belief is at the heart of the dispute.

I haven’t seen much evidence of anyone in this thread acknowledging their ignorance about ANYTHING.

I will admit right now that there is nothing I know for absolute certain, nor do I even have the faintest clue about the fundamental nature of reality.

122 Craig 11.13.09 at 11:21 pm

If by spiritual existence you mean something that lives on after you die then I agree with Atheist Jew.

I think he denied having a spirit. I’m not going to bother with going back and checking, though.

I agree that the lack of evidence for a soul does not disprove one. However, I do not see a reason to believe in something for which there is little to no evidence. I think our differing standards of evidence and belief is at the heart of the dispute.

I tend to think it’s more your atheism that causes you not to want to believe in things that science cannot explain. The existence of a human soul is one of the big questions that people have been trying to answer for as long as we’ve been sentient. It is the very foundation of religion. Where does our sense of “self” come from? What makes me “me”? Where was I before I was born? What is going to happen to “me” when I die? People ask themselves these questions, and the fact that science doesn’t even have a plausible best-guess doesn’t cause people to stop asking the questions.

I just found it bizarre that Atheist Jew dismissed that whole batch of questions as irrelevant.

Now at least we are back on topic :)

123 Craig 11.13.09 at 11:24 pm

PS- Claiming we are just gone forever when we die is not a scientifically valid claim, since nobody has any clue what makes us “alive” in the first place they can hardly explain what happens to that force (whatever it is) when our corporeal bodies expire, can they?

Do you agree with me that science cannot say with any degree of certainty what happens when people die, except that their bodies die?

124 Howie 11.14.09 at 12:20 am

My shoes have a soul…so why not my body?

Or do they have soles? Or is sole a fish?

We know black people got soul

We know we have soul music…

My fourth grade teacher told me I was the soul idiot in the class…

Soul is a Jewish guy I used to hang out with…or was that Sol?

Is not all this scientific proof of the existence of soul?

Debate settled…

125 Judd 11.14.09 at 3:34 am

Drima, I got to say that video, was awSOME!!!!! , I did not watch it till now. LIFE IS BEATIFUL!!! Thanks!!

126 Zoxuf 11.14.09 at 4:48 am

@Craig

I tend to think it’s more your atheism that causes you not to want to believe in things that science cannot explain.

I am an atheist because of the way I look at things not the other way around. I was raised as a Christian so my skeptical outlook developed before I became an atheist. For me my atheism is nothing more than the lack of a belief in God.

Where does our sense of “self” come from? What makes me “me”?

These questions in particular are very good ones and I must admit that I do not have an answer to them.

Do you agree with me that science cannot say with any degree of certainty what happens when people die, except that their bodies die?

Yes, but the question remains of whether or not the mind exists independent of that body. I find it unlikely because changes to the brain (drugs, brain trauma, Alzheimer’s etc) are known to cause changes in the mind (altered personality, memory loss). Does that not suggest that the spirit is not responsible for these things? And what use would a spirit be without memory or a personal identity?

127 Craig 11.14.09 at 7:04 am

Zoxuf,

Does that not suggest that the spirit is not responsible for these things? And what use would a spirit be without memory or a personal identity?

Well, I also don’t know the answers to that, but the way I think of it the body (including the brain) is a host for the spirit. So according to my way of thinking the spirit has to conform to the material limitations of the body. But I’ve never been able to get past the “it’s a pretty fuzzy concept for me” phase on the whole thing :)

128 ellhn 11.14.09 at 1:24 pm

G.H.REES Second most urgent message of planet security

http://hellenandchaos.blogspot.com/2009/11/ghrees-second-most-urgent-message-of.html

129 Jana Trestikova 11.15.09 at 7:12 pm

Thank you Drima for your blog… I was just surfing in the internet trying to get some texts on Sudanese identity (being Arab or African)…. I have heard even of a phenomenon called “Sudanism” which made me think of the role which identity plays in my life, in the life of my friends, and also think of the potential danger this word has. And of course, God, religion, believe (all thinks has to be separated and in the end connected, right?) is one of the important column of so called identity. Being a believer means to accept the metaphysical explanation for phenomena which we cannot explain rationally and further, it is something which shouldn’t be put above or below the “physical world”. Then we live in it, we integrate it into our lives, it guides us… and if we don’t want to accept it, it is just our choice how to deal with world, power, soul… etc.
Anyways I am thankful to find this home page. Go ahead.

Jana

130 Howie 11.16.09 at 4:47 pm

Just had a thought this morning…

Atheists really have no reasonable explanation for creation and “believers” really have no reasonable explanation for God’s behavior.

131 Andrew Brehm 11.16.09 at 5:06 pm

Howie,

That’s a good one. You should rephrase it something bigger.

132 Howie 11.16.09 at 9:43 pm

AB…

I should give it a whirl I guess…

Atheists just can convince most folk with the idea that all this came from an explosion of “stuff” that came from…came from…ah came from???

But the world frequently appears as if there is no God. I have explained before my view of the three types of bad;
Man’s free will decisions that hurt himself
Man’s free will decisions to hurt others

But then there is the stuff that comes from God. AB…have you ever been in a children’s hospital before? I am not talking crack babies that suffer because Mom was horrible…but little tiny kids dying, screaming, bald heads, needles, tubes…parents fainting and falling to the ground. Something like this happened to me…it happened to my rabbi…a very religious man who could only say “there is NO explanation”. And then there are snake bites, and crazy diseases..ever seen anybody with Elephantitis? I have!!! Earthquakes, drought, AB…you are Irish…how about the good old potato blight? Hurricanes, flood, famine, etc etc.

Atheists explain this much better than believers can…except MAYBE the “Theists”…

And why does not God intervene to protect the innocent? If you argue he allows man his free will…than why do we have prayer of petition? If God does not work miracles and/or help us…and the Bible is full of stories where God hearkens to prayer, then what is His job?

The atheists are WAY ahead of us here…simply…”there is no God”…And the world DOES appear random…this guy hits a jackpot and that guy gets hit by lightening. The atheists appear to be correct…I don’t agree with them…but they APPEAR TO BE CORRECT.

Oh…I could go on and on…Free Will and genetics or disease or accident. What about accident of birth? AB…would you be a good man if Saddam was your dad? “Ah sorry Dad…but I just don’t feel like going out and killing and torturing with you this afternoon?”

Right!!!

But…those are just a few ideas I struggle with.

133 Zoxuf 11.16.09 at 11:48 pm

Atheists really have no reasonable explanation for creation

I would argue that neither side has a reasonable explanation for existence. You could say God created everything but then where did God come from? Did he always exist? What makes that any more likely then the possibility of natural forces always existing in some form or another? The only real difference is whether or not a conscious force is behind it.

Atheists just can convince most folk with the idea that all this came from an explosion of “stuff” that came from…came from…ah came from???

I think the big bang theory is more a model of the evolution of the universe than it is an explanation of its existence. It does not explain the source of the original “singularity” or what caused it to expand. But then I am not an expert on the big bang so I might have some of this wrong.

134 tell the truth 11.18.09 at 2:54 am

The word God does not exist in the Torah or the old testament bible which is a translation. The letters for God in the iberu(hebrew)are as follows.
alef—lamed-hei-mem, which is ALHM, also, in the Torah is the word
alef-lamed-hei, which means ALH. Alef-Lamed-Hei-Mem are names of the letters, then you have to take each name and use the firt letter, thus alef becomes an A, lamed becomes an L, Hei becomes an H. Mem becomes an M
Alef cannot become a G-lamed cannot become a o, Hei- cannot become a D. Thus, there is no God, but there is ab ALHM and a ALH in the Torah, There is also an Alef-Lamed which is AL. Thus, God does not exist, but ALHM AND ALH AND AL exist according to the TORAH AND QURAAN.
This God is a danish word meaning Guth, and Guth was a man, the leader of a Tuetonic race of people. While ALHM. ALH, AL is Ruach. Ruach has no flesh and blood. but Guth has flesh and blood, because Guth is a man, the leader of a Teutanic race of people. Now alhm. alh, al, blew the breath of life into Adam, Adam needed this in order to breath, this breath of life is in every man and women, thats why when a person drowns you have to pump their heart and put your mouth on their mouth when it is opened and breath the breath of life into them, so that they can live. you can feel this breath of life if you blow on your hand, you cannot see it but you can feel it, because it is ruach, you cannot see Ruach, but if this Ruach is not in you, you will die. When we go outside we are breathing in this breath of life, you running around looking for it, spending billions of dollars sending men in spaceships looking for life on other planets in searh of aliens wasting money, when what you are looking for has been with you all the time, the breath of life, you can’t see it , but its there, its not a man called jesus, its alhm, alh, al and alhm. alh; al just is, you can’t see it it just is. This is the breath of life, the Ruach.

135 Howie 11.18.09 at 2:36 pm

Truth…

You sound like a yoga dude

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>