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Author Topic: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand  (Read 18159 times)

Chairman Bill

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #120 on: February 27, 2017, 03:41:13 AM »

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Not a mistake at all. There is no theory to date which provides a testable hypothesis outside of the big bang theory. I can easily find a handful of quotes from top contemporary physicists that will testify to this.
It is a mistake. Science offers a number of theories for what preceded the state that existed at the time of the massive expansion of spacetime. There is nothing to say that the universe began to exist at that point, therefore the claim that the universe began to exist is an assertion without evidence.

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Exactly. Science has limits. There are things science can never tell us. Heisenberg asserted the same (even though he often hedged on the significance of his theory).
Heisenberg was talking about quantum events, not limits on science. But yes, science is limited by the data. At the moment, we have no means of reaching back beyond the point of expansion known as the Big Bang. So scientists say, ďit might be this, it could be this, but we donít know.Ē What science doesnít do it make stuff up & introduce an entity for which there is no evidence. 

 
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But you have already said that is unknowable. Why speculate about the unknowable when science, your gold standard, can say nothing about it?
Are you being deliberately obtuse? The KCA makes an assertion that the universe began to exist, Iím pointing out that there are alternative explanations. We donít KNOW, so the claim that it began to exist can not stand.

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That is where you're argument falls apart on so many levels. You are now in the same realm as religion. Essentially you're assessment is that all of science points to a beginning, it can tell us no more, so we'll just assume that maybe there wasn't a beginning. That is not scientific. That is speculation based on nothing at all. It is supra-scientific so that point is utterly lost. You might as well claim that there might have been pixies, right?
My assessment is that science makes NO claims about what preceded the Big Bang, because it doesnít have any data on that event. The possibilities are numerous, but because we donít know, the second point of the KCA cannot stand. Unless you are claiming to know the universe began, in which case, whereís your evidence?


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Nope. You have not defeated point number two in any universe. Point 2 only falls if you assume things outside of science. If you can speculate without science then so can a theist, right?
This is daft. Point two falls as soon as you are unable to verify that point two is correct. I donít need to prove that it is incorrect, only show that WE DONĒT KNOW, and neither do you or William Lane Craig. The KCA therefore falls. It proves nothing whatsoever.

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Not even necessary since you cannot get past number two yourself with anything other than wild speculation unsupported by anything but imagination. So, sorry, start over with number two. And if you want to do so with credibility you'll have to do a lot better that "we can't know so anything goes".
I havenít said this, so nice straw man. Iíve said we donít know, therefore point two falls.

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At best we are at an impasse, your wild speculations (the universe always existed) verses a creator, which you will consider a wild speculation (and that's okay).
You really donít get it, do you? Iím not making a claim for what preceded the expansion of spacetime. Iím saying there are alternative explanations, explanations that have as much merit as the claim that the universe started then. Thatís not wild speculation, thatís pointing out alternative explanations. Theyíre different words, with very different meanings. Feel free to look them up & check.

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And so to the point, all the way back to your original response, you make fun of others for having a belief structure that is just as solid as yours.
Clearly not.

Otto Phocus

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #121 on: February 27, 2017, 08:14:39 AM »

I think that religion or spirituality or what ever term is used, is a personal matter and should remain personal.

I only get upset when people try to influence laws based on their religious beliefs.

The government should have no position or influence either for or against any religious beliefs.  Laws should be separate from religious beliefs.

I honestly don't understand the need, some  have, to convert people.  I don't try to convert people to my religious/spiritual beliefs, nor do I particularly want to. Acceptance that other's may not share a belief is an important part of maturity and in living in a society.

I do not have to agree with another's beliefs nor do I even need to understand them.  But, in society, I need to accept that others may have different beliefs and as long as they don't violate any laws recognize that they are all part of our society.

The world would be a bit better if we all paid a little less attention to what other choose to legally do.
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N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #122 on: February 27, 2017, 08:48:45 AM »

Divine fallacy / non sequitur.  There is no need to prove that something does not exist when no one can prove that it does.

That has nothing to do with the context of this thread. If you are correct then Bill and others have no basis for insulting people for their belief. Why insult someone over something that can't be proved?
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George

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N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #123 on: February 27, 2017, 09:03:21 AM »

It is a mistake. Science offers a number of theories for what preceded the state that existed at the time of the massive expansion of spacetime.

And not a single one of them rises above the status of idea and none of them can be tested which means they are outside of science just like religion.

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There is nothing to say that the universe began to exist at that point,

That is totally and thoroughly wrong. All of the science that is testable indicates just that very thing: a beginning. The actual science says nothing else.

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therefore the claim that the universe began to exist is an assertion without evidence.

It is so funny to see the tables reversed. Now I'm hitting you with the empiricism you so love to throw around and you are standing firmly in the realm of the fantastic and speculative. All current theory supported by math and proven by tests indicates a beginning. Period. End of story. Not even the militant atheists pursue this line of (unsupportable) reasoning. It is a dead end.


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What science doesnít do it make stuff up & introduce an entity for which there is no evidence.

And yet that is exactly what you are suggesting. This is rich. Even Hawking's self creating universe is an excellent example that "science" does just that. The multiverse is another example.

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Are you being deliberately obtuse? The KCA makes an assertion that the universe began to exist, Iím pointing out that there are alternative explanations.

And those alternate explanations are no more valid than the alternate explanations shared by theists since they fall outside the realm of science. How can you not get that?

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We donít KNOW, so the claim that it began to exist can not stand.

No logic in that statement at all. This means that we can throw out any evidence that lacks ultimate proof in which case science has no value at all. You're talking nonsense now Bill.

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My assessment is that science makes NO claims about what preceded the Big Bang, because it doesnít have any data on that event. The possibilities are numerous, but because we donít know, the second point of the KCA cannot stand. Unless you are claiming to know the universe began, in which case, whereís your evidence?

This is becoming surreal Bill. ALL current evidence indicates a beginning. ALL of it Bill. You can't get past that. And there is no evidence to support any thing other than a beginning. Only speculation. You are evoking pixies and tooth fairies and it is rich.

Edited to add:

Here you go Bill,

"It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

- Alexander Vilenkin

(And no, he's not just a junior professor at Billy Bob's Community College and Service Station)


« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 09:59:43 AM by N80 »
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George

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Alan Klein

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #124 on: February 27, 2017, 09:50:40 AM »

If you can prove God exists, what would be the point of faith?

But faith lives in everyone - religious, agnostic, and atheist.  The Godhead comes in different ways.  Some believe in a Supreme Being that is the answer to life's problems and who they depend on for guidance and security and Truth.  Others believe in science as the Godhead, and put their faith in it.  Most people tend to follow the former as it provides a purpose to life.  Science may explain how but not the why.  Science provides no direction to belief, no moral compass.  So it is hollow. Science has no soul or heart.  With God, man can leave his ego and instincts behind and find his way.   

Rob C

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #125 on: February 27, 2017, 10:57:39 AM »

Why do I have to respect all beliefs?

I don't respect the KKK, for example.


I think that's disingenuous. In this context I believe it's safe to assume that "belief" applies to religious beliefs. And if you can accept that, I'd suggest that respect is not much to do with believing those religious points of view, but simply choosing not to offend gratuitously anyone holding to those religious beliefs.

Should you wish to include the sciences in the term beliefs, then I think you have an open field and can insult whoever you choose to insult; they will simply ignore you, think you dumb, or argue their point. In all those science-related cases, it's not a spiritual offence you'd be committing, and I'm perfectly sure that each party would be delighted to keep at it until the power goes off.

Other than fellow members, I doubt that anyone respects the KKK. They may well fear them at some point, but fear isn't respect.

Rob C

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #126 on: February 27, 2017, 11:01:06 AM »

If you can prove God exists, what would be the point of faith?

But faith lives in everyone - religious, agnostic, and atheist.  The Godhead comes in different ways.  Some believe in a Supreme Being that is the answer to life's problems and who they depend on for guidance and security and Truth.  Others believe in science as the Godhead, and put their faith in it.  Most people tend to follow the former as it provides a purpose to life.  Science may explain how but not the why.  Science provides no direction to belief, no moral compass.  So it is hollow. Science has no soul or heart.  With God, man can leave his ego and instincts behind and find his way.


That misses any mark: if one could prove the existence of God, faith would be fulfilled. One could then continue following said faith but with certainty.

Rob

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #127 on: February 27, 2017, 11:12:16 AM »


 And if you can accept that, I'd suggest that respect is not much to do with believing those religious points of view, but simply choosing not to offend gratuitously anyone holding to those religious beliefs.

Exactly. Unfortunately there seems to be something driving the atheist or agnostic response to religious belief in the last 20 years. It used to be enough to say "you believe what you want, I'll believe what I want". That no longer seems to be the case. And oddly, the gratuitous belittling typically comes from people who would describe themselves as liberal thinking and tolerant. And I'm not just talking about social and political issues. This post is a perfect example. The OP simply got a feeling that something beyond the physical happened to him. He was belittled in several responses. Why?

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Should you wish to include the sciences in the term beliefs, then I think you have an open field and can insult whoever you choose to insult; they will simply ignore you, think you dumb, or argue their point. In all those science-related cases, it's not a spiritual offence you'd be committing,

But I think that is changing. The idea of the inviolable nature of scientific belief has become very prominent. If you question it you are ridiculed. Science cannot be questioned. Again, it is a belief structure that is steadily and popularly assuming religious qualities.

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George

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Chairman Bill

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #128 on: February 27, 2017, 12:21:12 PM »

This is becoming surreal Bill. ALL current evidence indicates a beginning. ALL of it Bill. You can't get past that. And there is no evidence to support any thing other than a beginning. Only speculation. You are evoking pixies and tooth fairies and it is rich.
The idea of cosmic inflation is very well supported by the evidence, but it says absolutely nothing about what (if anything) did or did not precede that expansion. We're still left with the KCA being absed on assertion & assumption, and so it proves nothing.

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Here you go Bill,

"It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning."

- Alexander Vilenkin

(And no, he's not just a junior professor at Billy Bob's Community College and Service Station)

You're quoting Vilenkin in support of the KCA? Really? You should read more Valenkin - http://inference-review.com/article/the-beginning-of-the-universe

"The cosmological argument for the existence of God consists of two parts. The first is straightforward:

everything that begins to exist has a cause;
the universe began to exist;
therefore, the universe has a cause.
The second part affirms that the cause must be God.

I would now like to take issue with the first part of the argument. Modern physics can describe the emergence of the universe as a physical process that does not require a cause.

Nothing can be created from nothing, says Lucretius, if only because the conservation of energy makes it impossible to create nothing from nothing. For any isolated system, energy is proportional to mass and must be positive. Any initial state, prior to the creation of the system, must have the same energy as the state after its creation.

There is a loophole in this reasoning. The energy of the gravitational field is negative; it is conceivable that this negative energy could compensate for the positive energy of matter, making the total energy of the cosmos equal to zero. In fact, this is precisely what happens in a closed universe, in which the space closes on itself, like the surface of a sphere. It follows from the laws of general relativity that the total energy of such a universe is necessarily equal to zero. Another conserved quantity is the electric charge, and once again it turns out that the total charge must vanish in a closed universe.

I will illustrate these statements for the case of an electric charge, using a two-dimensional analogy. Imagine a two-dimensional closed universe, which we can picture as a surface of a globe. Suppose we place a positive charge at the north pole of this universe. Then the lines of the electrical field emanating from the charge will wrap around the sphere and converge at the south pole. This means that a negative charge of equal magnitude should be present there. Thus, we cannot add a positive charge to a closed universe without adding an equal negative charge at the same time. The total charge of a closed universe must therefore be equal to zero.

If all the conserved numbers of a closed universe are equal to zero, then there is nothing to prevent such a universe from being spontaneously created out of nothing. And according to quantum mechanics, any process which is not strictly forbidden by the conservation laws will happen with some probability."

N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #129 on: February 27, 2017, 02:40:14 PM »

Quote from: Chairman Bill link=topic=116468.msg963360#msg963360 date=148821607

You're quoting Vilenkin in support of the KCA? Really? [/quote

He said it. I didn't.

Negative energy, etc etc etc is a specious argument. So many contemporary physicists try to skirt the issue with semantics. They twist the meaning of words like "nothing" and "beginning". Nothing=nothing. The current evidence of the big bang all proves, to the best of the ability of modern science, that there was nothing before it. Nothing "negative", nothing "dark". Nothing.

But don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with continuing to work this out. There is nothing wrong with ideas like "negative energy" of the "multiverse". We should explore whatever ideas we come up with. But the fact remains that these ideas are theoretical, have no basis in applied or experimental physics because they are concepts that cannot be tested. And no matter how good these ideas might be, if they cannot be tested (and as of now no one thinks they can and even the math used to support them is inconsistent), they exist only as ideas. And unproven and untestable ideas exist alongside all unproven and untestable ideas, like god.

So you're having to go to extreme lengths to defeat part number two of the KCA. Those lengths are carrying you outside the realm of science and into the realm of imagination. Again, I'm not knocking that aspect of how we process things. That, apparently, is your department. And that's exactly what makes your arguments so ironic.

And still, as I've said before, even if you are dead right, you still haven't proven yourself to be on a higher rational plain than someone who thinks they may have experienced something outside of nature. And as such, you have no reason for belittling them.
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George

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AnthonyM

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #130 on: February 27, 2017, 02:59:01 PM »

Exactly. Unfortunately there seems to be something driving the atheist or agnostic response to religious belief in the last 20 years. It used to be enough to say "you believe what you want, I'll believe what I want". That no longer seems to be the case. And oddly, the gratuitous belittling typically comes from people who would describe themselves as liberal thinking and tolerant. And I'm not just talking about social and political issues. This post is a perfect example. The OP simply got a feeling that something beyond the physical happened to him. He was belittled in several responses. Why?

But I think that is changing. The idea of the inviolable nature of scientific belief has become very prominent. If you question it you are ridiculed. Science cannot be questioned. Again, it is a belief structure that is steadily and popularly assuming religious qualities.


There are too many points in this debate for all to be answered, but, to pick up on some:

Religion has a history of trying to persuade non believers to believe.  That continues up to the present day.  It is not unreasonable for non-believers to want to persuade believers to the contrary.  We should all be seekers of greater understanding.  And as religion is a driver of behaviour, it is reasonable for non-believers to want to persuade believers to base their behaviour on rational grounds not on religious (i.e., as non-believers consider it, irrational grounds).

However, out of courtesy and human respect, people should seek to change others' views in a dignified and moderate manner.  For most of history, religions have failed miserably in that respect.  In more recent history, many non-believers have also failed miserably.

You are right that science is not infallible.  Science proceeds by testing hypotheses and trying to falsify them.  Long standing and widely accepted hypotheses are often disproved by subsequent knowledge and thinking.  Scientists should always be prepared to be challenged, but only on the basis of a valid scientific method (and scientific methods are liable to change as knowledge and thinking advance).  What is important is that we should try to base our thinking on reason, not on alleged revelation (sadly, being human, we often fail in this).

There is a huge amount that we do not know; so-called dark matter appears to constitute most of the universe, but nobody has a well tested hypothesis as to what it is.  Science must continue to enquire.

The KCA was developed by clever people working in the context of their understanding of cause and effect.  It now seems that cause and effect do not necessarily work in the conventional way;  quantum mechanics demonstrate this.  Quantum mechanics has also brought the theory of relativity into question, although there are some signs that these may be capable of being reconciled.

So the KCA is fundamentally flawed, because it is based on a misconception about the universality of the conventional understanding of cause and effect.  Hawking's theory is a hypothesis, but it is one based on a superior and deeply thought through rational process derived from what we know about nature.  Of course, it may be wrong.  So far nobody has found a way to test whether it is false.  But it does provide a rational alternative, and the certainty of the KCA is undermined, because it cannot be shown to be the only possible truth.  There may well be other hypotheses.

It is clear, however, that science has disproved many previous religious certainties.  Two and a half thousand years ago many intelligent people believed that the sun rose and set according the passage of the chariot of Apollo.  I doubt if anyone believes that today.   Even the Catholic Church, which has finally apologised to Galileo, has accepted the theory of evolution and the big bang.  So progress is possible.
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N80

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #131 on: February 27, 2017, 04:00:22 PM »


So the KCA is fundamentally flawed, because it is based on a misconception about the universality of the conventional understanding of cause and effect.

What is the misconception? My knowledge of physics is very limited and pretty much nonexistent when it comes to quantum mechanics but I'm not sure how it can possibly change our ideas about cause and effect. And since you've categorically stated that our current understanding of cause and effect (which is what the KCA relys on and is pretty basic to all understanding) is a misconception, maybe you'd be willing to offer an explanation? And if it challenges our current understanding of cause and effect it pretty much fundamentally changes our understanding of everything. When everything we can conceive of is broken down into probabilities that opens up a world of possibilities.

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Hawking's theory is a hypothesis, but it is one based on a superior and deeply thought through rational process derived from what we know about nature.

Yes, but most any idea has logical consequences. If matter and energy create themselves out of nothing then it is no stretch to call that creative force a Creator, right? Again, we come back to what "nothing" means, which seems to be a real stumbling block. And so far, all current evidence, suggests that at some point there was nothing. All other theories to that end, as I have mentioned are untestable.

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But it does provide a rational alternative, and the certainty of the KCA is undermined, because it cannot be shown to be the only possible truth.

No it doesn't. It only does so by abusing the meanings of words like 'cause', 'effect', 'beginning' and 'nothing' into words that share none of the meaning they are intended to carry. That is pure smoke and mirrors based on un-testable hypotheses. So you have concepts that lose their meaning in order to find theoretical evidence for an untestable hypothesis. That is a huge stretch to get around a simple statement based on properly basic understanding.

And to make that point stick here I think you will have to explain how 'cause and effect' no longer means 'cause and effect'. How nothing actually means something and how beginning means something besides the beginning. If quantum mechanics does this then you should be able to share it and not just state it. And even then, since science has not been able to join the concepts of quantum mechanics with other fields of physics we will still be left with valid questions as to its implications and applicability.

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George

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AnthonyM

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #132 on: February 27, 2017, 05:31:38 PM »

Thanks, George, I am certainly not going to pretend that I have any real understanding about quantum mechanics, other than that it seems to show that there are areas where the normal scientific rules do not always seem to apply.

1.  There are lots of discussions on the internet about this.  Here is a link to a discussion from the University of Vienna website which mentions some of the issues.  https://medienportal.univie.ac.at/presse/aktuelle-pressemeldungen/detailansicht/artikel/quantum-causal-relations-a-causes-b-causes-a/ 

The important point is that quantum mechanics has cast serious doubt over a lot of our understanding as to how the universe works. 

Even Einstein was entangled by this. https://phys.org/news/2014-06-einstein-quantum-mechanics-hed-today.html

Here is a recent newspaper article on the complexities of quantum mechanics and its semi-detached relationship to classical physics  https://www.theguardian.com/news/2015/nov/04/relativity-quantum-mechanics-universe-physicists

I am not capable of analysing and understanding much of this, and I certainly do not ask you to produce a rebuttal.  It is the domain of mega-experts.  The important point is that our classical understanding is challenged, just as Newton's work was shown to be inadequate to describe what happens at an atomic level.

Which in turn means that the simple causality assumed by the creators of the KCA has been left behind by developments in thinking and in particular science.

2.  One might call a self creating universe a Creator.  However, this would be very different from the traditional understanding of god as a supernatural sentient entity.  The self creating universe, if Hawking is correct, is simply the working out of nature, not supernatural and not sentient.  As such it does not qualify to be called god.

3.  It is not a matter of changing the meaning of "cause" and "effect".  It is about saying that our understandings of how they operate in "normal" life may not be relevant in certain circumstances.  And I agree with you that scientists are still struggling to link up quantum mechanics with the rest of physics.  There is a Nobel prize for the person, or team, that manages to do that, and I certainly won't be getting it.

4.  Apart from these issues, the KCA fails to prove a divine Creator, because that is only one of a range of possibilities.  Serious scientists are having serious debates, based on scientific research and thinking, about whether there is a multiverse, or whether there was another universe before the big bang (the big bang itself being a fairly recent theory).  The science is beyond me, and I retain a healthy but open minded scepticism.

5.  Even if the KCA worked, it would not prove that there is a divine entity which intervenes in our world. 

In summary, the KCA fails on the science, it fails to provide the only possible answer to the creation of the universe, and it fails to show that our current world is affected by the activities of a divine entity.
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Farmer

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #133 on: February 27, 2017, 06:20:18 PM »

That has nothing to do with the context of this thread. If you are correct then Bill and others have no basis for insulting people for their belief. Why insult someone over something that can't be proved?

It has everything to do with the thread because you keep using it to make an argument.  You feel insulted because they refer to your beliefs as being of fairies and pixies, but when you tell them that they are wrong "because God" you are insulting their intelligence in their view.  Really, anytime someone from another religion says you are wrong and they are right, you are insulting each other's beliefs (regardless of the "we're all people of faith" - that just doesn't work when you have different faiths all claiming to be the "one true God").
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Phil Brown

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #134 on: February 27, 2017, 06:22:24 PM »

I think that's disingenuous. In this context I believe it's safe to assume that "belief" applies to religious beliefs. And if you can accept that, I'd suggest that respect is not much to do with believing those religious points of view, but simply choosing not to offend gratuitously anyone holding to those religious beliefs.

Choosing not to offend someone doesn't require respect of their beliefs and yes, it certainly doesn't need to believe or accept the other view.  The point is, there is this general demand of "you must accept everyone's beliefs/opinions/etc. even if you disagree" but I would say no, you don't.  I don't need to attack them or punish them (so long as it doesn't directly interfere with me), but I don't need to respect it (even if I respect other things they do/say/think/are/etc).
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Phil Brown

Rand47

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #135 on: February 27, 2017, 06:35:59 PM »

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could offer more, but we'd be here all day. I could also give you quotes that show his hatred of atheism. The Nazis sent atheists to the concentration camps & the gas chambers, because of their atheism. Hardly 'secular' in any way.

I've been thinking about this.  I'm familiar with the early quotes cited here.  I think the disconnect is a product of at least two things.  The first and perhaps most important is this.  Should we make a distinction between someone who does something "in the name of a religion," but that is contrary to the plain (or normative understanding) of the claimed religion's teachings?  I think we should.  To say that Hitler was a "Christian" in any sense of that word, turns the very teachings of Jesus of Nazareth on their head.  I think we see the same thing with radical Islam (for the most part).  This is an important issue.  I think Hitler's "understanding" of Mere Christianity (as C.S. Lewis puts it) is hardly Christian at all.  If people were committing genocide in the name of Buckminster Fuller's philosophy, can that be squared with Fuller's actual positions on things?  Should it be?  We would see that as ridiculous, and we should.

I also think we need to add to this that Hitler's dark thinking continued to degenerate over a fairly short period of time, e.g. my quote in the previous post about raising a generation of cruel, relentless youth.  But the bottom line is that I don't (and many scholars don't) see Hitler as religious in any sense of the word at all, let alone Christian.  He borrowed from a lot of places to justify his reign of terror.  German national mythology, Darwinian survival mechanisms in nature, etc. to generate his "pure race" ideas. 

None of this changes (and I find it interesting that you didn't comment on) the concept that "the evil that men do" as the base problem and that the "banner" they do it under is mere artifact of cultural context.

Another issue is using "humanism" as a term describing a "consensus" of a philosophical position.  There are many forms of humanism, from a philosophical perspective.  My use of "secular humanism" intends to narrow the definition to "at least" saying that it is philosophical position where man is the measure of all things, and that is in the context of also saying that there is nothing transcendent signified in human existence.  I would be interested in your definition of humanism as you are using it in this discussion. 

Rand

« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:06:22 PM by Rand47 »
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Rand Scott Adams

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #136 on: February 27, 2017, 06:54:04 PM »

Thanks, George, I am certainly not going to pretend that I have any real understanding about quantum mechanics, other than that it seems to show that there are areas where the normal scientific rules do not always seem to apply.

Well yes. For us laymen that pretty much defines quantum mechanics.

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The important point is that quantum mechanics has cast serious doubt over a lot of our understanding as to how the universe works.

Agreed. And the implications of this are huge and in many ways move us toward a better understanding of what once seemed supernatural but might be quite "natural' after all.

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The important point is that our classical understanding is challenged,

I absolutely agree.

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just as Newton's work was shown to be inadequate to describe what happens at an atomic level.

After his work was shown to also be inadequate on the cosmic level as well.

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Which in turn means that the simple causality assumed by the creators of the KCA has been left behind by developments in thinking and in particular science.

I think you have stretched the significance of those developments. And again, it seems that I have to keep saying this over and over but these developments currently reside thoroughly in the speculative realm. Many of them have no math to support them and are acknowledged to have no hope of being testable. They are essentially thought experiments. And they are widely debated within the QM community. This puts such ideas on the fringe of what we can call science, if, as many here have said, science necessarily includes the prospect of testability. Unlike relativity, which had solid math and the prospect of testability and subsequent proof through measurement of the red-shift, these theories have no hope of such proof. That being the case, they do not represent a serious challenge to the KCA. They might. They could. But they can't as of yet.

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One might call a self creating universe a Creator.  However, this would be very different from the traditional understanding of god as a supernatural sentient entity.

Quite right, but I'm not here arguing for the existence of the God of Moses. Remember, the OP had a sensation, a feeling, that an event in his life might have been guided by things he could not readily explain from a materialist viewpoint. For this he was ridiculed.

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The self creating universe, if Hawking is correct, is simply the working out of nature,

I hope that you can hear how ridiculous this sounds? It is paramount to saying that something that exists created itself when neither it nor anything else existed. Granted, spoken/written language falls short in regard to expressing quantum mechanical potentials but at some point it begins to sound absurd. And sometimes what sounds absurd is absurd. And again, there are theoretical and philosophical ramifications if such absurdities are true. If something can create itself when itself wasn't a self, or anything at all, from a complete lack of anything at all.....then what can we possibly call impossible?

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not supernatural

QM seems to be erasing those boundaries.

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and not sentient.

Why not? If the universe created itself then it created. If it can create something out of nothing what science can say it isn't sentient. Again, maybe the terminology is insufficient for the concept........but still. And again, if this is possible we have no basis for saying anything is impossible.

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As such it does not qualify to be called god.

Thoroughly depends on your definition of god. Many god's throughout mythology were weak, stupid, vindictive, capricious. I'm not here to define what sort of influence the OP felt in his experience.

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It is not a matter of changing the meaning of "cause" and "effect".  It is about saying that our understandings of how they operate in "normal" life may not be relevant in certain circumstances.

I'm sorry but that sounds exactly like changing the meaning.

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Apart from these issues, the KCA fails to prove a divine Creator, because that is only one of a range of possibilities.

Agreed. I have not sought to use it that way. And if it even hints at the possibility of a creative force (The Force, if you will) then my point stands that no matter what level of science we understand it is not justifiable to belittle those who have a belief in the divine.

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Serious scientists are having serious debates, based on scientific research and thinking, about whether there is a multiverse, or whether there was another universe before the big bang (the big bang itself being a fairly recent theory).  The science is beyond me, and I retain a healthy but open minded scepticism.

The science is beyond you because it is not science. Again, this is another thought experiment conducted by scientists that falls well outside the realm of science. No only can it not be tested, not only is there no math to be applied to it, it opens up the possibility for ALL things to be possible. It is an interesting concept but has no scientific application whatsoever.

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Even if the KCA worked, it would not prove that there is a divine entity which intervenes in our world.

Totally agree. I did not use it as such. 

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In summary, the KCA fails on the science,

No. It only fails on speculation which is not testable, disprovable or reproducible. And that is not a failure or a defeater. The fact that some future science can alter the meaning of cause and effect does not prove anything at all.

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it fails to provide the only possible answer to the creation of the universe,

That is a straw man. I did not use it as such.

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and it fails to show that our current world is affected by the activities of a divine entity.

Another straw man, right? I did not use the KCA to make that argument. Even its creator does not go that far directly so that's beside the point of the KCA and this discussion.

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George

"What is truth?" Pontius  Pilate

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #137 on: February 27, 2017, 07:01:59 PM »

None of this changes (and I find it interested that you didn't comment on) the concept that "the evil that men do" as the base problem and that the "banner" they do it under is mere artifact of cultural context.

Right. But the point that often gets made is that religion is a source of evil in the world. This is undeniable. But the context in which this is said is that without religion things would be better. And that just doesn't work. Take Hitler out of the scenario (he was small change compared to Mao and Stalin). Take the words humanism and secularism out of the picture. The fact remains that the most horrible acts of genocide, torture and systematic murder (not to mention wars at all) were not committed in the name of or under the banner of religion and they were far, far more destructive than all of the cumulative evils done in the name of religion.

With the rise of Islamic extremism that may change one day. But it does not change the facts. Men do evil. Religious or not.
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"What is truth?" Pontius  Pilate

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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #138 on: February 27, 2017, 07:05:13 PM »

One of the things a theologian and philosopher said in his writings that I thought was a useful way to look at "the universe" is to characterize it like this:

The universe is either completely impersonal or it is in some way personal.  By impersonal he meant that everything that is, is a product of time, plus chance, plus nothing else.  If this view of the universe is true, our sense of "personality" is a mere artifice.  Much like Dawkins explanation that we're merely dancing to our DNA and there's no meaning behind it at all.  Our attaching meaning to things is therefore meaning-less in a universe literally devoid of meaning.

OR, the universe is in some way "personal."  This, of course, posits that there is an uncaused cause of some sort that got it all going, and that one of the attributes of "the cause" is, in fact, "personal-ness" (or mind, if you like).  This possibility not only has explanatory power for our personality and "mind" but provides a possibility that those most precious attributes of ours actually do have meaning as opposed to being evolutionary residue without the possibility of any meaning at all.

The OP's story can be seen as "echos" of that personality being still active in the universe.

Rand
« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 11:53:07 AM by Rand47 »
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Re: Just experienced an event that suggests there's a guiding hand
« Reply #139 on: February 27, 2017, 07:33:17 PM »

Right. But the point that often gets made is that religion is a source of evil in the world. This is undeniable. But the context in which this is said is that without religion things would be better. And that just doesn't work. Take Hitler out of the scenario (he was small change compared to Mao and Stalin). Take the words humanism and secularism out of the picture. The fact remains that the most horrible acts of genocide, torture and systematic murder (not to mention wars at all) were not committed in the name of or under the banner of religion and they were far, far more destructive than all of the cumulative evils done in the name of religion.

With the rise of Islamic extremism that may change one day. But it does not change the facts. Men do evil. Religious or not.

No disagreement from me here at all, except that I'd not call religion the "actual" source.  It appears to be the source because it was/is the banner being carried as evil is done.  I think it incumbent on people of faith (especially Christians) to be honest about the evil that has been done "in the name of" religion/Christianity.  But it is also important to point out that, in the case  of Christianity at least, the evil was "in spite of" the actual teachings of Jesus, and 180 degrees in opposition to what he taught.  The main point for me is that mankind, left to his own devices, does these kinds of things.  History is replete with this.  Dawkins' explanation that we're just dancing to our DNA is a good explanation if the universe is at bottom a product of time plus chance plus nothing.  All materialists should be equally willing to see the kind of evil perpetrated from secular ideology as being the banner (or source, if you like) of most of the 20th century's horrors of human evil.  Largely, they deny that, or ignore it or chalk it up to a "cult of personality" (what the heck is that as an explanation?) or some such that misses the point.  The BIG question is this, why does mankind do such evil?  The possible answers are: 1. There's something fundamentally wrong with mankind (that arguably needs fixing), or; 2. Mankind just dances to his DNA and what we do (whatever the banner it is under) is just the outworking of unguided evolutionary processes and nothing much to find odd.  If this is the case, then even talking about "good and evil" is pretty much irrelevant.

This is why I appreciate the likes of Dawkins, Sam Harris, the late Christopher Hitchens, etc.  They are/were honest enough to "just say it outright" as the logical outworking of their philosophical position on the nature of the universe.

Someone mentioned a while back in this tread (I think - or it may have been a similar one) the "golden rule."  Someone else mentioned the inverse of the golden rule that is common in many other cultures and religions, i.e., "DON'T do to anyone else what you wouldn't want done to you."  The difference is really profound.  Jesus' words were, "DO TO OTHERS, precisely what YOU WOULD WANT DONE TO YOU."  This is an active, affirmative "doing" rather than a passive "not doing."  The difference is too often seen as relatively unimportant - but that's not the case.  The difference is profound.  Really profound.  The Golden Rule calls mankind "higher."  The inverse is mere restraint on the status quo.

Rand

« Last Edit: February 28, 2017, 11:56:22 AM by Rand47 »
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