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Is there a God?
Yes 33%  33%  [ 29 ]
No 49%  49%  [ 43 ]
Don't Know 17%  17%  [ 15 ]
Total votes : 87
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:50 am 
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Straker wrote:
or... shit, i didn't even need those two paragraphs. we don't need to understand something before we can know anything in particular about it, based either on observation, or logical consequences of other rules, as the case may be.
sorry for tangents, three hours of sleep makes me rambly

You have shown how it might be possible to know a certain thing about something you do not fully understand. But how does Trip know that God is "above time and space"? How does he know that God exists at all?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:22 pm 
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It's really sad that so many people are atheists here. How can you think that there is no goal for life apart from what what we can experience? That there is no absolute good which judges our lives? How can you have no sense that there is something that we are required to be and are not?

Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:27 pm 
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somebody wrote:
For example, if God is all powerful and good, then evil should not exist. But evil does exist. Therefore God does not exist.

If God is good therefore we are good? What sort of argument is that?
In fact evil in the world demonstrates the existence of God, because if you know that the world is evil you know that there is a standard of good in the light of which it is evil, and this standard is God.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:57 pm 
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croddie wrote:
It's really sad that so many people are atheists here. How can you think that there is no goal for life apart from what what we can experience? That there is no absolute good which judges our lives? How can you have no sense that there is something that we are required to be and are not?

Well, to be honest, it's a lot easier to focus on goals in this life without having to worry about whether or not we'll make it in the next life.

After all, do you wonder if your next action pleases God? And how do/would you know that God is pleased? If he isn't pleased, does that mean you'll go to hell and be damned? Unless He forgives you because you ________ in his name, of course. Well how are you certain that He has forgiven you? Because the Bible/Torah/Qu'ran/Priest/Minister/Rabbi/Imam tells you so. How do you know they are right?

There are too many questions and too many wrong answers. I've long since decided that if God exists and wants my attention, he knows where I am and he can get in touch with me. I'll choose not to believe in him until he shows himself to me and not to the friend of a friend of an ancestor. Presumtuous on my part? Maybe, but He's the one wanting something from me, not the other way around.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:27 pm 
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I have some understanding of what is right and wrong, but not a complete understanding. Innate, or learned, or understood. I don't fret constantly about whether particular actions are good or bad because I know that my intentions are selfish and I have no desire to do what is right for its own sake. Therefore I rely on forgiveness; this is not a certainty that is aquired by logic or authority but something that comes from God.
It's not as if God physical and shows himself via the senses. Just from looking at the human condition you can know God. It's only because of a concern with goals in this life i.e. evil that one will ignore God to avoid criticism.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:32 pm 
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croddie wrote:
somebody wrote:
For example, if God is all powerful and good, then evil should not exist. But evil does exist. Therefore God does not exist.

If God is good therefore we are good? What sort of argument is that?
In fact evil in the world demonstrates the existence of God, because if you know that the world is evil you know that there is a standard of good in the light of which it is evil, and this standard is God.

I did not say what you claim.

Let me explain it in another way. If God exists and he is good, then he would want to end suffering. If he is omnipotent, he would be able to end suffering. But there is suffering. Therefore God does not exist.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:36 pm 
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croddie wrote:
It's really sad that so many people are atheists here. How can you think that there is no goal for life apart from what what we can experience? That there is no absolute good which judges our lives? How can you have no sense that there is something that we are required to be and are not?

All you have done is appeal to emotion. Please prove logically that God exists.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:02 pm 
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somebody wrote:
Let me explain it in another way. If God exists and he is good, then he would want to end suffering. If he is omnipotent, he would be able to end suffering. But there is suffering. Therefore God does not exist.


most certainly not, this only means that it cannot be the case that God exists, AND he is good, AND he is omnipotent.

and you're also assuming all sorts of stuff, like the definition of good/evil/suffering, for starters


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:12 pm 
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Rory B. wrote:
Instead, he had to come to us, revealing himself and parts of His plan to people a long time ago. Those people were commanded to write what they were given, and it is from those writings that the Bible was assembled as a library of useful writings for knowing who God is, discerning things about His nature and His will as it applies to mankind.


circular reasoning aka begging the question - this exact argument is even used all the time as a textbook example ("i believe in god because the bible says he exists" "the bible is right because it was written by god"), you can do better than that. :P

somebody wrote:
You have shown how it might be possible to know a certain thing about something you do not fully understand. But how does Trip know that God is "above time and space"? How does he know that God exists at all?


well, that was the point of the two paragraphs above... i just thought of an easier way to phrase my reasoning generally after writing all that. one doesn't need to know whether God exists or not to know that if he does and if he's responsible for anything much that has been ascribed to him, he can't possibly be subject to physics ("time and space") as we know it.

but for that matter, faith is above time and space too. :P


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:07 am 
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Straker wrote:
somebody wrote:
Let me explain it in another way. If God exists and he is good, then he would want to end suffering. If he is omnipotent, he would be able to end suffering. But there is suffering. Therefore God does not exist.


most certainly not, this only means that it cannot be the case that God exists, AND he is good, AND he is omnipotent.

and you're also assuming all sorts of stuff, like the definition of good/evil/suffering, for starters

Yes, I am assuming those things. Hence the "if". If someone defines God as such, then he cannot exist. Someone may define God as a pile of crap. My argument would then be invalid.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:13 am 
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Straker wrote:
but for that matter, faith is above time and space too. :P

By above, do you mean that it is not related to time and space? Faith is something that some humans possess. Humans are held within time and space. Why isn't faith within time and space?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:22 am 
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Too much research and evidence is being brought to light, even in scientific fields that shows a higher being exists other than ourselves. At the same time utterly dismiss our existence and place a random operator on it, we just happen to evolve is as inconceivable as the notion because evil exists and people starve in Africa then God does not.

Is He truly omni-potent or is their a hindrance to his path, why does he need earthbound workers/ministers, why did angels need to report to Him to say how wicked Sodom and Gomorrah was, (an example here, no gay bashing. K?) or to report some other issue. Did he not already know how things were. How does he not hear the prayers of evil men, does He plug his audio out or are their prayers simply a null field? Why was Daniel's prayers held up 21 days before they reached heaven?

Somewhere we, humankind went sour, maybe we were sweet apples at first, then something just went wrong in our genetic code, = evil. I have only been in a church once in the last 20 or so yrs and that was just to look at artwork, but I still believe in Him. Just not in the traditional approach in America. (Most) of the Chrisitians I have met are some of the most overbearing, obnoxious, vengeful, pigheaded and evil people I have ever known.

Another reason for embracing athiest thought process is it voids your conscience of thinking you have to do any common good or help out your fellow man, even some that don't deserve it. Well I have said too much already......


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 9:32 am 
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somebody wrote:
Let me explain it in another way. If God exists and he is good, then he would want to end suffering.

Why?
If I would guess that your argument is: we are supposed to end suffering as much as possible, and therefore God must be supposed to too.
This misrepresents human morality as about reducing suffering, but more importanly misrepresents God as if He were under morality. God acts in a way which is just, but He is not subject to any morality. Morality comes from Him to us, by definition. It is different to say that God is good (He is the criterion of good) and to say that we are good (we obey God).


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 11:03 am 
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Straker, perhaps you were missing the point of what I said. I was explaining how I can know certain things about God's nature. Some things are explicitly stated in the Bible, and others can simply be observed, and we can reason through to a conclusion about them. But without the Bible to give us revelation, we would have no idea about those things that are revealed to us.

By being above time and space, I meant to say that since those are conditions of the universe God created, He is not limited by time, nor is He limited by space. We, however, still have those limitations. As for faith being above time and space, faith is not a physical thing. It is an idea. I don't know if ideas transcent time and space, but I wouldn't expect that they'd be forced to conform to any of the limitations placed on physical entities. Instead, ideas as they apply to us as individuals are probably only limited by our ability to comprehend them.

As far as proving the validity of the Bible, at the moment I don't have much time to prepare. But give me a few hours and I'll be back, and then I will be able to bust out some things here. Things are getting busy in my schedule, and I have several tests coming up, so I won't have much time for this but I'll see what I can do. I don't intend to just leave you hanging.

The whole argument:

A. If God exists and He is good, then he would want to end suffering.
B. God is omnipotent
C. God is capable of ending suffering by virtue of his omnipotence.
D. Therefore God cannot be good

is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and it does not fly. Here's why. God has blessed us with free will, which He has promised not to violate. God has given us free will so that we are able to choose to go His way freely. The fact that suffering and evil exist is not because God wants them to. But in order for a true choice to exist, there must be an alternative, or free will is still infringed. You have neglected a premise in this argument, and that is why, though it may still seem pefectly logical, it does not arrive at a true conclusion. If we hadn't neglected the premise, the argument would look like this:

A. If God exists and He is good, then he would want to end suffering.
B. God is omnipotent
C. God has granted free will to humans, which He will not infringe.
D. Humans may choose to do good things or evil things.
(Sidenote: The possibility of evil is inherent in the choice. For a choice to exist, there must exist the possibility of evil.)
E. God has given us the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and understand how each option affects others.
F. Therefore, if evil is being practiced, it's our own fault.

Of course, since the premise I added, that humans inded have free will, is inconvenient to your arguments against the God of the Bible, I'm not surprised you left it out.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:38 pm 
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Rory B. wrote:
Of course, since the premise I added, that humans inded have free will, is inconvenient to your arguments against the God of the Bible, I'm not surprised you left it out.


well, it may or may not be inconvenient to my own arguments, but i didn't leave it out at all because i haven't been responsible for any of the God is good->we suffer->there is no god arguments in this thread. :P the free will thing was like a thread within a thread that took over for a week or so.
i did think of that a couple days ago, though; one would think that with that sort of knowledge, any God would be able to set the ball rolling and the next ten billion years or so would play out as intended, with no intervention whatsoever... like the most elaborate trick shot ever.
not sure what the Zoroastrians would think of that though. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:38 pm 
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The argument doesn't work if humans don't have free will either.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:40 pm 
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Okay, as far as the Bible goes: You can blast me for taking the easy way out, but all you need to do is take a look at this page, and the wealth of information, and answers to challenges to the validity of the contents of the Bible, and I think that forms a powerful argument to its overall validity:

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/hway.html

The Christian Think Tank and Tekton Apologetics Ministries are just two such web sites that contain hundreds or even thousands of articles refuting false claims made by detractors of Christianity about the contents of the Bible and the circumstances surrounding the writing of the original books and the assembly of the Bible as we know it today, and also articles about other things like the validity (or lack thereof) of Calvinism, Mormonism, the Church of Jesus Christ, Scientist, and other things.

http://www.christian-thinktank.com
http://www.tektonics.org

By the way, regarding whether God in any way "created" evil, here you are, from the Christian Think Tank:

--------------------------
(1) Evil is...intentions and intentional acts (both being 'acts' or 'personally directed events' and not 'things') of intelligent agents, that violate the God-derived principles of love, fairness, or loyalty.

(2) No, 'acts' and 'events' are not 'made'--they are 'done'. God made and created 'things' and 'agents', not their 'acts' or 'events'...He 'did' His own 'acts' (of course), but other agents 'do' their own 'acts'. So God did not 'make evil' (the phrase is meaningless and nonsensical)
--------------------------

But back to the trustworthiness of the Bible. It's tough to fully address this one without writing a book on it, but I'm going to pull the old cut-and-paste again, this time from an article called "Thumnails" from the Christian Think Tank. The original article can be found here: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/thumbs.html

===============

5. What makes you so confident that the Bible is true? It has so many authors, so many translations, and was written over so many years--there MUST be some mistakes!

"At first blush, you would certainly EXPECT there to be mistakes--there certainly seems to be mistakes in all OTHER such literature. But, we have to keep coming back to the question of God--IF the God described in the Bible DOES exist, and IF He cares enough about us to get a message to us of His love and efforts for us in the person of Jesus Christ, THEN it is CERTAINLY POSSIBLE that He COULD produce such a book that WAS completely trustworthy. So, we are probably not entitled to ASSUME it is untrustworthy--we will have to TEST IT to see if it does measure up to a very high standard of reliability.

"We actually DO have indications that there is something 'supernatural' about this book--in the area of fulfilled predictions of the future. In that portion of the Bible written before the times of Jesus Christ--the Old Testament--there are numerous situations where men and women of God made detailed predictions about the future. To the best of our historical knowledge, ALL of these came true--a VERY 'odd' success rate for foretelling the future! These cases of accurate (and detailed) predictions of the future support the claim that a supernatural influence is involved in this Book.

"As far as modern historical methods, the curious thing about this book is that the farther away in history we get from the actual events it portrays, the higher our confidence grows that the record is correct! In other words, in generations past, scholars would have a list of passages in the Bible that they thought contained errors. But as time went by, and we learned more about ancient civilizations and cultures, and as we did more archeological excavations, the more those passages were found to be true. For example, for the longest time we believed that camels were not domesticated in the times of Abraham. But in the early 20th century, we discovered archeological remains that clearly demonstrated that the Bible record was historically accurate. So, as we learn more about history, the more our confidence in the historical accuracy of the Bible increases.

" Your question about the translations is a natural one, for if the bible we had today was a translation of a translation of a translation (and so on), we COULD have a problem. Fortunately for us, archeology works FOR us again. Each year we find more and more copies of the original manuscripts, from earlier and earlier dates. We even have manuscript fragments that date to the time of the apostles' deaths--LONG before we got into the 'translation business'! So each year provides us with better data about what the original authors wrote (and a way to check the modern translations for accuracy).

"And, even though this is going to sound strange, the very WEIRDNESS and DIFFICULTY of the Bible's content is a witness to the reliability and trustworthiness of the record. Let me explain. There are many passages in the Bible that are difficult to understand, easy to be offended at, or an embarrassment to the early church leaders. But these passages were NOT altered, omitted, or diluted! The emphasis on faithful recording and reporting was ETHICALLY HIGH, with the result that the Bible that we end up with is a trustworthy account.

"In fact, academic historians point out that, compared to the OTHER historical documents of the times, the Bible is incredibly more reliable, non-mythological, and historically testable.

So, by all the modern historical standards, we are justified in placing our confidence in the Bible.

===============

And if you're going to take issue with the fact that I cut-and-pasted from another web site, even though I gave the proper credit, then I have to wonder if the real reason you're in this is just to pick a fight. The only reason I'm participating in this debate is to help people have greater assurance of God's realness and awesomeness, so that the onslaught of people who love to sling mud won't be a stumbling block for those who already believe. If these materials tear down your intellectual obstacles to believing, then that's cool too. As it happens, #6 from the same article provides a good explanation of how we know God exists. Keep in mind, there is enough information about this to fill volumes and volumes, so this is really, really condensed stuff. But here it is, just the same.

===============
6. How do you know God exists?

"Actually, the only way we really KNOW that God exists is that He has broken into history and made Himself known. He revealed Himself in a pattern of events, over a span of thousands of years, and the record of this 'disclosure' is in the Judeo-Christian scriptures. He gave us a 'book' in which He told us about Himself, His likes and dislikes, what the universe is like, what would made us happy, and how to have a wonderful relationship with Him. He even went so far as to surround this Book with 'special evidences' of its supernatural origin--largely fulfilled prophecy and miracles that accompanied the early messengers He used.

"Indeed, He actually went beyond simply sending purely human messengers--He came to earth Himself in the person of Jesus Christ! He literally sent His Son (the identical image of the Father's character and commitments) to earth for us to see what He was REALLY like. God the Father proved the supernatural character of His Son by raising him from the dead (after being dead 3 days). Those around this person Jesus Christ recorded his words, deeds, character, miracles, resurrection--so that we might know what God the Father was like. And THEIR message was likewise vindicated by miraculous events.

"These are the really strong evidences we have--historical events right in front of our eyes. But there are other arguments that generally support the idea of God's existence, that we can glean from the fact and nature of the universe.

"We know from both science and philosophy that the universe had a beginning. And we generally know that anything that has a beginning ALSO has a 'cause' of its coming into existence. [And this cause has to be 'different' from the universe so IT doesn't need a cause itself.] So we generally can understand that something like 'God' must exist.

"In addition to the simple fact of the universe, the nature of the universe also makes more sense if it were created by a God. We naturally believe that behind every work of art is an artist, that behind every invention is an inventor, that behind every building is an architect. When we see evidence of intelligent design (even imperfect or incomplete) we suspect that there was an intelligent designer. And the same applies to the universe in all its incredible complexity and inter-connectedness. The delicate balances in physical and biological laws can be seen as strong evidence for an Intelligent Designer--God.

"In fact, if you take this argument one step farther, we end up with important data about this "God's" character. As scientists in the last 50 years examined the fine balance in the universe, they were shocked to discover that the universe has somehow been 'fine tuned' to produce humanity. The slightest variances in the initial conditions of the birth of the universe would have precluded humanity's existence. This seems like an important clue that God has a special purpose for humanity, and perhaps even that He 'cares' for us and our well-being.

"This evidence in both history and nature argues pretty strongly that God exists, that He is active in our History, and that He cares for us. But, to be honest, in addition to these evidences, I personally have an additional source of data--God has changed my life and has answered prayer beyond the boundary of statistical probability.
===============

The rest of this article is so good that I suggest that you all take the time to read it. It's relatively short, but among the best I've found in such concise terms. Speaking of statistical probability, let's look back to a debate between Dr. William Lane Craig, who I've mentioned here before, and one Massimo Pigliucci. Here's an excerpt I particularly like, about how whether by instantaneous creation or by evolution, the existence of life can be considered a miracle. Check that exponent:

===============
(insert big open-quote marks here) In fact, that leads me to his other argument, concerning biological evolution. And I'm going to suggest that the idea that evolution could have occurred without an intelligent Designer is so improbable as to be fantastic. This has been demonstrated by Barrowand Tipler in their book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. In this book, they list ten steps in the course of human evolution, each of which is so improbable that before it would have occurred the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have burned up the earth.{1} They estimate the odds of the evolution of the human genome by chance to be on the order of 4-360 (110,000), a number which is so huge that to call it astronomical would be a wild understatement. In other words, if evolution did occur, it would have been a miracle, so that evolution is actually evidence for the existence of God! And here the Christian can be much more open to where the evidence leads. He could say, "Well, God could have used evolution; He could have used special creation. I'm open to the evidence." But, you see, for the naturalist evolution is the only game in town! No matter how fantastic the odds, no matter how improbable the evidence, he's stuck with it because he hasn't got an intelligent Designer. So it seems to me that the Christian can be far more objective on this point. After all, if you were to find watch lying on the ground, and, say, it didn't function exactly perfectly, it lost one minute per hour, would you therefore conclude that the watch was not designed properly? (insert big end-quote marks here)
=======================

Yeah, I think that about does it.

ADDENDUM: Here's a link to the Craig-Pigliucci debate: http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcrai ... ucci0.html


Last edited by Rory B. on Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:44 pm 
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frosty wrote:
Too much research and evidence is being brought to light, even in scientific fields that shows a higher being exists other than ourselves.

What research are you refering to? Without citing a source, your claim is useless.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:54 pm 
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Somebody - I will let Rory carry the banner from here on, I think I ran out of fuel. : )


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frosty wrote:
Somebody - I will let Rory carry the banner from here on, I think I ran out of fuel. : )

Are you saying this because your claim about the research was false?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 1:57 pm 
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Didn't you even read? I didn't even write that passage. I got it from another website. I also warned you that the passage was really condensed down. You can't ask for everything from a concise explanation like that. You sound like the sort of person who sould really benefit from reading those Dr. William Lane Craig debates, which I linked to quite a while back. I'm sorry if Glen Miller (writer of the Christian Think Tank stuff) felt he couldn't elaborate further on the wealth of research, but again, Mr. Miller was limited by space. The article is called "thumbnails", after all.

BTW, here's a "source" for you... http://www.godandscience.org/

Addendum: Oops, this thread is really moving. I thought Somebody was referring to my earlier post but he was referring to someone else's. Check out that stacked exponent on the number Dr. Craig gave in the excerpt from his debate that refers to the likelihood of the human genome "evolving" the way it did. I thought that was pretty cool. As for the rest of you, if you feel there's something you'd like to add, go ahead and say it.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:00 pm 
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Rory B. wrote:
Didn't you even read? I didn't even write that passage. I got it from another website. I also warned you that the passage was really condensed down. You can't ask for everything from a concise explanation like that. You sound like the sort of person who sould really benefit from reading those Dr. William Lane Craig debates, which I linked to quite a while back. I'm sorry if Glen Miller (writer of the Christian Think Tank stuff) felt he couldn't elaborate further on the wealth of research, but again, Mr. Miller was limited by space. The article is called "thumbnails", after all.

BTW, here's a "source" for you... http://www.godandscience.org/

I was talking to frosty. He claimed that there is scientific research that shows that there exists a "higher being". I was asking frosty to cite a source for his extraordinary cliam.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:09 pm 
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Well, there's your source now. If you would read some of the stuff on the links I've provided, you could really gain a lot, I think. As for me, debating atheists isn't my favorite thing to do, because debating doesn't change hearts, though it may throw down some intellectual barriers to assurance of God's existence and his interest in us. Also, I'm really not that good at it. Anyway, that's all the time I think I want to spend on this, this week. The fact that 64% of the poll's respondents have indicated no belief in God doesn't indicate that God is in any way "dead", as Nietszche put it, but rather it provides a way to measure just how destructive atheism has been in recent years. Also, I don't know how good of a sample it is. It shouldn't be a stumbling block to any of the faithful here.


Last edited by Rory B. on Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Rory B. wrote:
Well, there's your source now. If you would read some of the stuff on the links I've provided, you could really gain a lot, I think. As for me, debating atheists isn't my favorite thing to do, because debating doesn't change hearts, though it may throw down some intellectual barriers to assurance of God's existence and his interest in us. Also, I'm really not that good at it. Anyway, that's all the time I think I want to spend on this, this week. The fact that 64% of the poll's respondents have indicated no belief in God doesn't indicate that God is in any way "dead", as Nietszche put it, but rather it provides a way to measure just how destructive atheism has been in recent years. It shouldn't be a stumbling block to any of the faithful here.

Your source is not scientific at all. I asked frosty about the scientific source he was refering to. Science is a methodology in which falsifiable hypotheses must be tested through experiments in order to deduce a conclusion. The source you refer to does not fall within this definition.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:50 pm 
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Firstly I apologise, i havent the time to read all of this thread, but i will give you my views, preceded by the reasons i formed them.

Number one - the concept of infinity.

Firstly, i do not believe in limitations. I have always been of the mindset that i can achieve whatever i want, with enough time and effort. Extrapolating this to it's furthest extreme reveals a being, a soul, an existance, a SOMETHING of infinite capability and potential. Most religions base their god upon some specific, slightly more specialised version of this concept.

Secondly, i tried placing my current mindset into that of this being of infinite potential and power. I came to the conclusion that infinite power was the more important of the two. Eventually, one would "run out" of things to do, despite exisitig outside of any kind of timescale.
The reasoning is simple. When you have nothing to do, you have no challenges to overcome. Playing your favourite computer game on easy is no satisfaction.

God, if he/she exists, is bored. To amuse oneself, one must limit ones abilities in some way or another.

Earth is, imo, one such example of such a folly.


I hope that explains things enough for you to grasp the basic concept, now down to the nitty gritty.

People often ask whether people on earth have one soul each, whether plants or animals have feelings etc. Well, everything on earth is an aspect of god, or godliness if you prefer. This is hinted at in the christian bible, god created the earth, and is part of all things around it, flowing though it. People often see this as a supernatural power that flows through the molecules that make up the universe. Well no, it is the molecules themselves

Secondly, on the individuality of a soul. Well, may i offer this illustation of inifinity. If one were to draw a dot on a really big piece of paper, in the centre of a huge circle. The dot represents the lower reach of infinity, the circle the outer limit. You could then zoom in on this dot, until it was as big as the outer circle, and draw that circle. There would still be a dot in the middle. If one were to shrink the outer circle, the outer edge of inifinty, to the size of the dot, one could still draw another circle representing the outer reach.

On this scale, what is the difference between one and 6 billion? What's the point of asking if souls are independant or not? it is enough for me to know that this life isnt the only chance i'll get.

Onto animals and plants - do they have souls and feelings?
Again, this is a silly question. A human contrast is irrelevant, because we live very limited lives. A tree would have a very different and very limited opinion of the world compared to a mobile and educated human. It has no need to show or feel emotion, but still experiences life, because that is the idea, to exist in a non-infinite form.
Now if one assumes that i am correct, it is a lot easier to elevate the limited human mindset up to that of an unlimited god, and then transfer that into that of an amoeba. They're both equally insignificant from a godly view.


Next up, life after death, the long way.
There is no proof that the earth exists, all we have is a shared common perception, one that most of us believe quite vehemently. As such it goes to say that things only exist because we agree they do - Einsteins theories only exist because science agreed they worked. I hope you accept this as reasonable, even if you dont believe it.

Therefore, christian heavan may well exist, as there are a great number of people who beleive it does, and a number who say it may. Very few have SINCERE and DEEP beliefs (not opinions) that it does not exist, and frankly, it cannot be destroyed by disbelief. Equally, hindu nirvana (have i got that right?) jewish heaven, buddhist paradise etc may all exist independently of each other, because none of these are at the top of a system, they are merely steps in a larger system.
Equally, if one is absolutely sure of death after death, that aspect of god will die along with.


I'm tired of typing this, dont want to bore people. Please note that these arent truly deeply held beliefs, i am still quite sceptical, but my faith grows every day in all this. I hope i'm not the first person to come up with such an idea, i expect i'm just expounding upon other peoples concepts, such as game theory and agnosticism.

griff


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:23 pm 
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greeef wrote:
Therefore, christian heavan may well exist, as there are a great number of people who beleive it does, and a number who say it may. Very few have SINCERE and DEEP beliefs (not opinions) that it does not exist, and frankly, it cannot be destroyed by disbelief.

How is this relevant? Belief does not equal reality. One can believe that a piece of metal is actually a piece of jello. That does not mean that it is true. If the person tries take a bite of it, his teeth will break, showing that it is not jello.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 4:32 pm 
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just read the craig-pigliucci debate, not one of Craig's better performances, i read most of the others earlier. i wonder who Pigliucci is and what his specific field is; he mentions near the end that he's a biologist and he mentioned some things i've already said (but i'm not using crib notes :D ), but makes a few silly mistakes and comes off as more of an artist than a scientist. that first analogy he used was way over the mark, the odds of all those specific people being there should be more like one in 5000000000^1000, so his number has uh... almost 5 trillion extra zeros in the denominator, whoops.

as for the number Craig gives, i'm not sure if that was transcribed wrong, really awkward way for him to word it. anyways, yes, the chances of throwing a bucket of nucleotides into a pool of sugar water and getting a human out are probably somewhere around there. now that i think about it, it looks like that was the scenario - there are about 3 billion base pairs in the human genome, and 4 different bases. that should give a probability of one in 4^3000000000 or so, so Craig's source was "only" off by a couple orders of magnitude (i assume that exponent he used meant something other than "4 to the power of (-360*110000)"). i started listing the ways that approaching the "odds" of evolving a human in this manner were wrong and why noone using the above numbers has any business ever being published, but it made me look like a pedantic asshole so i stopped, it would take about a thousand words to give the barest of summaries. :P suffice it to say no second or even first year student would use that method. by their logic, onions and corn are even more incomprehensibly amazing than humans.

and imho "objective value" = rule utilitarianism, just replace your stone tablets with a human dictator (or a philosopher-king). but further, you don't need any God to show that certain things are "always" wrong, as long as it's not two or three people on a deserted island - you'd only need the dictator for telling people that yellow jelly beans must never be eaten, and such.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 6:54 pm 
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Somebody: Must a hypothesis be testable to be valid?

Also, I have not really taken a long time to look at the Godandscience.org web site. I guess one problem here is that God can't be measured, or physically sensed. This doesn't mean that it can't be observed whether something looks like it was designed, but it does recognize that through our own five physical senses, we can't detect Him, and thus empirical means, on which science relies completely, are useless to detect God's presence or God's hand in a natural process, etc., so that for those who want to reduce Him to a law of nature, he will remain invisible.

I suppose, Straker, that an important difference is that while a dictator is no different from an ordinary man, God has the authority by His very power to make whatever rules he wants. I guess this would be a good time to be thankful that God doesn't seek to condemn us, but instead to save us from our inability to control our flesh. If you don't like it, fine. But your arguments become arguments from outrage, which are of about as much use as appeals to emotion. (I guess the two are actually pretty closely related.)

Enough for tonight. I've got homework to do.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:28 pm 
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I'll throw something in:

Since many lifetimes pass between amazing events such as those recorded in the Bible, those who do not experience them must trust the recorded memories of their family, culture, and nation. For Christians, the Bible makes up a very significant part of this recorded memory. Like an individual memory, it's perhaps not fully accurate and a bit fuzzy.


On why we should believe in a God, perhaps its just a natural tendency to see the supernatural and greatness in things that aren't fully understood, but for whatever reason, I do believe in a creator. For now that and the fact that the universe appears to be created are the only reasons I'm aware of right now.

I may not be Christian, but I am intrigued by old religions.


Last edited by Trip on Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:39 pm 
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Rory B.

What you've written/quoted doesn't actually describe said sources. But here's a list of all the internal errors in the Bible. Where the Bible is inconsistent with itself.

I thus do not consider the bible to be a credible source for the proof of God, which greatly weakens the evidence that he has made himself known historically (obviously there are far more historical 'sources' for God like the Torah or the Qu'ran, but I'm not as familiar with them and thus can't accept or refute them as proof).

BTW, Intelligent Design is a cop-out argument. It's not even a theory since theories can be disproven with evidence, yet there is no possible way to disprove Intelligent Design.

As for the infinite variables point, I'll quote an interesting up and coming skeptic, Jacob Spinney:
Jacob Spinney wrote:
Imagine having 6 different dice in your hand and giving them a roll. Let’s say you get 325413. What are the odds of you getting that number? I’m not a statistician, but my calculations say 46,656 to 1. That’s quite an improbability! One would think you’re insane if you got 325413 on your very first roll, especially if the odds of that are 46,656 to 1! But you did get that number on your first roll nonetheless. What’s the trick? All that matters is that the dice have been rolled, not what numbers they happened to land on, because there’s just as much significance to 325413 as there is to 254135. What does this analogy have to do with the universe? There’s no way of knowing that the possibility the laws of physics came to would have anymore significance than any other possibility they may have come to in the formation of this universe (if this universe was ever formed in the first place), even these other supposed possibilities are unknown and at least incalculable for finding a probability with. Thus, trying to measure the improbability of a certain law of physics happening by chance is no different than trying to measure the great improbability of the number you get when rolling 5,000 dice. The fact is that the dice have been rolled. What number they landed on has no known significance when compared to any other number it may have landed on.

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