My biggest question about atheism
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15-01-2014, 03:53 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 02:43 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  it seems to defy logic to dismiss the idea of a creator outright while not being able to offer an alternative that is any more provable.
Occum's Razor.
Quote:That goes along with my own personal view of a God who set everything in motion, but doesn't micromanage day to day activities of human kind.
Why assume God exists ?

Dreams/Hallucinations/delusions are not evidence
Wishful thinking is not evidence
Disproved statements&Illogical conclusions are not evidence
Logical fallacies&Unsubstantiated claims are not evidence
Vague prophecies is not evidence
Data that requires a certain belief is not evidence
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15-01-2014, 04:03 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
Your biggest question about atheism seems to have nothing to do with atheism.

Your biggest question seems to be about cosmology and what we know about the universe.
Take some astronomy courses at your local college or university.
Take a physics course or three.
Study cosmology for 30 years and you might come close to answering your questions.
More than likely you'll simply make new discoveries about the nature of the universe.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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15-01-2014, 04:05 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 10:06 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Is there any evidence in science for anything (ie. an effect) that does not require a cause?

Nothing requires cause.

Cause is a human concept, something that humans interpret into things and something that is not inherent in nature itself.

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15-01-2014, 04:47 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 03:48 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I'm curious about the mass-energy idea. Like I said, I'm definitely no scientist. I'm educated, but in entirely different areas. You may have to explain a bit to me what you mean by it, ideally in layman's terms.

I think I understand a little about mass energy being the energy of a body at rest.

Your definition is in error. That would explain why you're having trouble with it. So let me try to take it slowly because, frankly, I'm no expert either. If someone has a better explanation, feel free to chime in.

It's generally true that matter cannot be created or destroyed. It explains a lot of what we see in science, but it fails to explain some observations.

The same was said about energy: it cannot be created or destroyed. Again, useful in many instances, but not entirely true either.

Ultimately, it was recognized that mass and energy were related. Einstein told us how they were related: E = mc^2. Relativity binds mass and energy so that we can say with greater confidence that mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed. The sum total of mass-energy in the universe is constant, always has been and always will be. This holds true even at the Big Bang. The "elements," for lack of a better word, were all there, compacted into one infinitely dense, obscenely hot point.

Time begins when that point of mass energy expands. It makes no sense to even think of what came "before" that expansion began. Time was meaningless then. It only took on meaning afterward. Your failure (and mine) to be able to conceptualize this does not make it untrue. It makes it difficult to fathom, but not untrue. Two books that have helped me with this subject recently are A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Ahteist Universe by David Mills. Mills is not a scientist, so while he's easier to understand, he's not someone to cite as an authority. I'm only citing him as someone who explained what I'm explaining, better than I'm explaining it.

Quote: I'm having a bit of difficulty wrapping my head around the concept that you are trying to convey (not your fault, just my lack of education in the area), but I'm not sure how mass-energy closes the loop here. It really seems like more of a concept. Like saying math or numbers can't be created or destroyed.

This is equivocating: changing the definitions of words in mid-conversation. It's like the old joke: "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana." See how the definitions of "flies" and "like" changed in the middle of that sentence?

Mass-energy is a real thing. Math is an abstraction. God is a figment of a primitive imagination. We cannot say of all three that they cannot be created or destroyed and mean the same thing each time.

So how does mass-energy close the loop? Simply because it undermines the premise of your question: Can an effect take place without a cause? Generally, no. But you're assuming mass-energy's existence is an effect. It is not. Mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed. Many physical laws recognize that they break down at the Big Bang, but the conservation of mass-energy is one that holds up even then.

If the existence of mass-energy is not an effect, then it did not have a cause.

Quote:You also mention that it expands. Is this like the way that the universe expands?
Synonymous. The expansion of mass-energy coincides with the expansion of the universe. They are part and parcel of the same thing: the Big Bang.

Quote:Is there more today than there was at the big bang?

No. No no no no no no no.

There is more MATTER now than there was at the Big Bang. But there is the exact same amount of mass-energy.

Matter (equal to mass for the purpose of this discussion) came into being after the Big Bang. [By my understanding, this means that the universe, and the Big Bang, started as pure energy. It's vital here to point out that I am a layman and WAY out of my league in discussing this stuff. The idea that mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed, and this principle holds even at the Big Bang, is the easy part. The finer details are beyond my intellectual capacity].

The bottom line is that when you take the sum of the mass-energy in the universe at the start of the Big Bang and compare it to what we have today, you will get the same number. 42. That's a joke.

Quote:You also used the term "assumed", as in it is "assumed" to have existed at the big bang. Is it an assumption or a provable fact?

It is not provable. It is merely consistent with what we know. It is the best explanation for the condition of the universe "before" the Big Bang (there was no before the Big Bang: that's when time started. But I have no better way to say what I'm thinking). If mass-energy cannot be created or destroyed, then it was not created. There was never a time mass-energy did not exist. And there was no such thing as time before the Big Bang. It all starts there. The universe did not pop into existence from "nothing" in the way philosophers define that word. The mass-energy of the universe began to expand with the Big Bang. It is not something from nothing. It is everything from everything.

Nothing doesn't exist. Never did.

Quote:Anyways, just a bunch of questions that come to mind. Definitely would be intrigued by an explanation.

To the extent that I have succeeded in explaining myself, you're welcome. To the extent that I can be corrected by minds greater than my own (or more educated than my own), have at it.
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15-01-2014, 05:16 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 02:43 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I'm curious about the mass-energy idea. Like I said, I'm definitely no scientist. I'm educated, but in entirely different areas. You may have to explain a bit to me what you mean by it, ideally in layman's terms.

Right there is the problem with your whole line of reasoning; there are no layman's terms.

When you're dealing with something as complicated and baffling as quantum physics, you can't boil it down to some simple explanation that's accessible to someone who doesn't understand quantum physics. If you try to make something that only the greatest minds of our time understand understandable to those who have none of that knowledge already, what you're going to end up with is something that's wrong.

It's like trying to explain the hidden themes in The Dark Knight Rises to an ant; it simply doesn't have the knowledge of the world or even the conceptual tools to grasp it.

For instance, you insist on saying that the universe must have begun at some point, but you are using a model simplified to such a degree that it is incorrect. Your model doesn't account for any of the harder to understand concepts, like time being affected by mass and velocity, which are vital to understanding something like the so called 'Big Bang'.

I strongly urge you not to base your understanding of the workings of the universe on extremely limited knowledge.

Now, I'm not pretending like I know any better. I don't understand quantum physics either. And that's why I'm not trying to draw conclusions about the existence of god from my own ant's perspective.

I leave that to the physicists.
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15-01-2014, 05:38 PM (This post was last modified: 15-01-2014 07:04 PM by Reltzik.)
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 03:15 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  
(15-01-2014 02:13 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  My first question is, how do you define spiritual? When you use it, I mean. Every time I manage to pin someone down on what they mean when they use the word spiritual, it seems their definition is different. I'm not looking for some officially correct concept of the word, just what you mean by it. You're trying to communicate a concept about yourself when you use the word... could you expand on that, please?


(Also, for the record, what's your definition of atheism? There's half a dozen or so different definitions floating around out there, and what one person means when they use the word isn't the same as what other people mean.)

Hey Reltzik, I think you posted while I was writing my last message, but I figured I would respond to a couple of your queries.

By spiritual, I really mean that I believe in the presence of a God, but I'm not a big fan of a lot of organized religion. I think spiritual is the general term to use for someone who believes in the presence of a God (whether through a specific religion or otherwise). It is the umbrella term, in my mind.

As for me personally, I refer to myself as spiritual because I grew up in a Christian household, but I disagree with a substantial amount of the beliefs promoted by the organized religion. For the most part, I prefer to try to figure out my answers to things such as morality using reason. My general view is that God gave us reason and intelligence so that we could use it. My biggest issue with the church is the idea of blind faith and the dangerous consequences it can lead to. So, I just like using the term spiritual because it doesn't pigeon-hole me into a specific religious world view. Like I say, not trying to convert anyone, just trying to respond to Reltzik's question.

As for atheism, my understanding of the meaning of an atheist is someone that believes that there is no God of any sort (ie. no greater creator being). Agnosticism being the middle ground of "there may be a God or there may not", either through a belief that the answer is unknowable or through a lack of caring about the issue. Definitely let me know if you disagree with the above.

Okay, yeah. Time for the full-on definition conversation.

First, I want to make clear that I am not going to tell you what the right or wrong definition for theism, atheism, agnosticism, or a deity is. To be clear, I don't like to argue semantics. Semantics and language are not questions of absolute truth, but rather social convention. (Some social conventions, such as those laid out by L'Academie Francaise, are stronger than others, such as the total lack of any official body governing the English language.) Arguing over semantics as if they're absolute truth is like arguing about whether knitting is an appropriate pastime for a man. That's ultimately a cultural judgement. However, UNDERSTANDING semantics is important, because we use them to communicate, and if we don't understand what people mean when they use words then we can't communicate. So I'll start by laying out the underlying logic that seems to be behind the words in question, and then some frequent common usages, and also some suggestions about why using one definition is better than another.

Let's start with the definition for the word god. A god can be pretty much anything that has special authority and power over the world, or aspect of the world, that violates or supersedes the normal laws of nature, or who established some aspect of the natural world, or who at least is believed to meet these requirements. Call this supernatural power. For example, in the Hindu religion, Shiva is the god of destructive forces, and in some Native American belief systems (Pacific Northwest, if memory serves), Raven stole the sun and put it up in the sky for everyone to benefit. And, of course, the traditional Abrahamic God is supposed to have authority over everything. There's a bit of grey area here between natural beings and deities. Would aliens with weapons to lay waste to entire continents be counted as gods? In the abstract, probably not, not if their weapons used physics that we just couldn't understand. In practice, I'd be surprised if someone didn't worship them. A similar question might be raised about how someone from the Bronze Age, transposed forward in time to the modern era, might regard us and our technological wonders. For another grey area, many historical rulers have been worshiped as gods by their society, often regarded as possessing supernatural power even if they were only human. Particular faiths will usually establish further requirements for something to be considered a deity, but this is the best I can offer for a generic definition. Still, it's not that bad a definition.

Next up, theism/theist. There's a lot more question about what this one means, and it's going to be the stickiest of the bunch. Defined most broadly, a theist is anyone who believes that some sort of deity/god exists. However, when that word is used by people to describe themselves, they typically mean something much more specific. The problem is figuring out what, but most of the differences revolve around the nature of the god(s) or one's relationship with him/her/it/them. Here are some common distinctions to be drawn.

To be a theist, it might be required to believe in a personal, intervening god or gods. (This is the traditional definition, though its common usage has expanded far beyond it.) Here personal means that it has a mind roughly like a person's, including memory, personality, decision-making ability, desires, separate identity, and emotions. "Intervening" means that the deity uses its supernatural power fairly frequently or all the time to change the world, even if it's in small ways. This can include everything from laying waste to offensive cities, to whispering answers into someone's mind in response to prayers. Some contrasts with this notion of theism are pantheism (which holds that the entire universe is God, keeping God from having a separate identity from anything else and thus from being personal) and Deism (which holds that God essentially created the universe, set it spinning, and has not intervened since). Similarly, Oprah's notion of "whatever inspires awe and wonder" doesn't fit the bill of being personal, and may be entirely passive.

One might require that the deity be the creator of the universe, as you do. This applies to the Abrahamic God, certainly. However, it would not apply to a single god in the Greek pantheon. In their mythology, time began with the heavens and earth already existing, in the form of the gods Uranus and Gaea. The Greek gods later changed and added to the universe, but did not create it.

It might be a requirement that a SPECIFIC god or pantheon must be believed, rather than any old notion of a god. For example, in ancient Greece, Jews might not have been regarded as theists, because they didn't believe in the Greek gods. (I'll get into atheism in a bit.)

A common restriction is that the theist must actually worship, obey, submit to, petition, or honor the god(s) in question, rather than just believe they exist. Certain deeds or rituals (such as salvation prayer or baptism) may be required.

Atheism/atheist. Atheism is defined as one of two contrary positions to theism. However, it is dependent on the definition of theism being used, so you could say that for every definition of theism, there are two definitions of atheism. Either one believes that the theistic position in question is false, or one does not believe (rejects) that the theistic position is true. The distinction is how one categorizes reserved judgement or uncertainty. If an atheist is someone who outright believes that (some particular) theism is false, then someone who is uncertain is not an atheist. If an atheist is someone who just does not believe it is true, then they can still be uncertain, so long as they haven't crossed the line into credence. I'll call these two definitions "strong" and "weak" atheism, respectively.

Agnosticism is then defined in terms of whichever definition of theism and atheism one is using. In regard to any theistic position, if one is talking about strong atheism, then agnosticism represents a middle ground between theism and atheism. If one is talking about weak atheism, then agnosticism becomes a qualifier (saying "I'm uncertain") to both atheism and theism. So we can have "agnostic atheists" and "agnostic theists". Both believe, but have a degree of uncertainty. As a qualifier, agnostic is usually contrasted with gnostic (which is not to be confused with Gnostic Christianity). Another curlicue is what degree of uncertainty is required to be agnostic. Does anything short of total, absolute certainty count as agnosticism? If not, what's the cutoff? 90% certainty? 50%? One can also declare not only that the answer is not known to them, but CAN'T be known at all. This latter position is called strong agnosticism, as opposed to the weak agnostic position of "I don't know (but maybe it's possible for me to find out)".

So that's the logic behind the words. Which versions are in common usage in our society? (I'm going to assume that "our" is something Anglophone, because, well, you're writing in English.)

In most of the English-speaking world, either the Abrahamic god is the default to be considered, or it at least has strong representation. The only definitions of atheism in common usage that refers to a specific god, in the Anglophone world, refers to that one. In particular, the definition of theism in question is that one not only believe that god exists, but commit oneself to Him and follow his rules and so on. Often, knowledge of God is assumed under this definition, even if the supposed atheist denies that knowledge. This definition is typically used by Christians as a pejorative synonymous with "ungodly". It's either applied to others, or to one's past self (describing the debauchery and unwholesome living of one's early years). Few people who identify as an atheist in the present use this definition, and hearing the religious use it typically provokes offense and harsh disagreement.

Most people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics are defining this in terms of belief/disbelief of the Abrahamic god, certain broad categories of god, or any god. Creators and/or personal interventionalists, are most common restrictions to be placed on what would count as a god. For people who identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, obedience, worship, etc are nonissues. Only belief and degree of certainty are required for these definitions.

The other big distinction is between the strong definition of atheism, versus the weak definition of atheism. People who identify as agnostics (just agnostic, not as a qualifier to theism/atheism) typically ascribe the strong definition to the word atheism and assume absolute certainty as their threshold, whereas most atheists would allow the weak definition and a lower threshold for agnosticism. This leads to laughable debates between agnostics and atheists, where agnostics argue that atheists are just as rigidly and unreasonably dogmatic as theists, while atheists argue that the agnostics are actually atheists. The problem is that they're too caught up on which word is used, and not enough on what the people mean by that word.

Also of note is ignosticism, which basicly says "I don't have a clear enough notion of what you mean by God in order to answer whether I believe in it". It's typically observed either in cultures so isolated that they have no notion of a god at all, or in cosmopolitan cultures where someone has been exposed to so many notions of gods that simply hearing the word conveys no meaning until the ignostic can identify which particular notion of a god the speaker is referring to. Ignostics tend to be obsessed with definitions. (You've probably guessed that I'm ignostic.)

The definitions most commonly in use on this forum are "any sort of god" or "personal god", "intervening god" or "Christian God", with a sprinkling of ignostic-"please define first". Most people here define atheism in the weak manner, meaning that it has overlap with agnosticism.

In addition to being an ignostic, I am an atheist in respect to pretty much every notion of god that I have so far encountered. I am a strong atheist and a weak agnostic in regard to the personal, intervening notion of a god, including the Abrahamic god. (EDIT: Correction, not actually agnostic, but I do regard the matter as knowable.) For the other forms of god, I am a weak atheist and a somewhat-strong agnostic, at least until we get into the grey area of super-advanced alien species and the like. (Actually, I'm agnostic towards those too.)

Your own definition of yourself suggests that you are a theist in the creator-god sense, and in particular are either a deist or believe that the creator intervenes in creation. (You haven't said anything about whether that creator god is personal, though). You come across as weakly agnostic, if we use agnosticism as a qualifier rather than a separate position.

I won't argue with your definitions. But I will ask you to be aware that others are using different definitions. Which, if you've read up to this point, you are.

So why pick one definition over another, if none of them are absolutely true? One is clear communication, which is usually best facilitated by picking the most common definitions in use. However, sometimes we need a different definition to convey some fine distinctions that the common usage definitions do not. Another goal is an aid to analysis. Sometimes the first step to answering a question is framing it appropriately. A third goal is group identification. I'm more likely to identify as an atheist than any other single word, simply as a way of saying "I'm with those people". (Personally, I think this is what's behind the atheist/agnostic debate, more than any other disagreement.) Finally, it can be a useful strategic choice in rhetoric, culture wars, and debates -- witness how some Christians use that first definition to cast outsiders as hedonistic, perverted addicts, for example.
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15-01-2014, 08:12 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 10:06 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Is there any evidence in science for anything (ie. an effect) that does not require a cause?

The answer is that your question has nothing whatsoever to do with atheism.

It seems obvious that you are trying to set up a bit of self-serving question-begging, by using science as a strawman to pit against your beliefs in fairy tales, but again, that has NOTHING to do with atheism.

Even the Village Idiot can tell that The Emperor Has No Clothes. And he doesn't need science to tell it; he just needs his own two eyes.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!

Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77

You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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15-01-2014, 08:30 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 10:06 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  I can understand a lot of aspects of atheism. I can understand evolution, I can even follow as far as the big bang, but my question with it has always arisen at that point.

Those are NOT intrinsic aspects of atheism. See above.

Quote:Disclaimer #2: Like I say, I know this is an atheist website, I'm not trying to provoke anyone, I'm just a genuinely curious person looking for an answer or at least a constructive discussion, so don't take this post the wrong way.

Your line of questioning suggests otherwise.

Quote:When it comes to the big bang, the atheists I have discussed this with seem to treat the big bang itself as the answer, but I've always looked at it as just another question. Where did the big bang come from? What came before the big bang? etc.

Of course, Big Bang theory having nothing intrinsically to do with atheism, but let's hear where your gawd-thing supposedly came from? What came before your gawd-thing?

Quote:When it comes down to the bare bones of it, everything in the universe of which I am aware has a cause.

Except you claim that your gawd-thing doesn't have a cause. Can you say, "Special Pleading Fallacy"?

Quote:Science is entirely based around this concept.

Thatnk you for demonstrating that you know nothing at all of science.

Quote: The scientific method is simply a method for finding facts through repeatable cause and effect experiments. There doesn't seem to be anything in it that would explain the start of the cause and effect chain that resulted in our existence.

Nothing intrinsic to the Scientific METHOD, as you say, but you are asking apples to squeeze out orange juice. And of course your claims of a gawd-thing/creator are nothing more than totally unsupported superstitious fairy tales.

Quote:The problem is that if there is nothing in this universe that can exist without a cause, then where did everything come from?

The problem is, where do you claim your gawd-thing came from?

And AGAIN: You are using science as a strawman in place of atheism.

And gee, for someone with "just a question", you sure are hammering hard on your snake oil sales pitch.

Quote:To me, the existence of anything at all (the big bang, humanity, the universe, or anything else) seems to require something that does not require a cause...

Oh, for crying out fucking loud. Now you come around to your real reason for being here -- to pander that tired old dogshit Kalam argument. Are you aware that it was invented to "prove" the MUSLIM deity?

AND your claim that your fairytale gawd-thing doesn't have a cause is a Special Pleading Fallacy.


Quote:something that we call God.

No. Fucking. Way. No, you aren't going to sneak that shit through the back door. If you think you have EVIDENCE that this fairy tale creature exists, then show it. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

Quote: Now, don't get bogged down on what this means,


[Image: snakeoil.jpg]

Quote: I use the term in the broadest philosophical sense

Look, let's spare yourself and everyone here a bunch of roundy-round bullshit. Shove Bill Craig up your ass: hes full of shit and so is his snake-oil argument. Just go the fuck away. You don't know what you are talking about.
Quote: ie. just a creator that exists without being created (eg. not necessarily a God who gives a crap about what happens on earth or how humans live their lives).

Do you have any idea how many fucking idiots just like you have shown up here with that same line of shit? Can you really be that stupid as to think you are fooling anyone here?

Quote:But, of course, I came on here to see if the atheist community has an explanation for how reality could exist without the existence of that sort of God.

We are under no obligation whatsoever to explain that "how reality can exist". All there is to being atheist is being able to see that The Emperor Has No Clothes. Your addition of "without the existence" of your fairytale monster-figure makes your inquiry a "Loaded Question" -- yet another fallacy.

Quote:Essentially, I am looking for an explanation of how the cause and effect chain starts in the absence of such a God.

You can't explain -- you REFUSE TO EXPLAIN -- how your mythical gawd-thing supposedly came into being. Special Pleading Fallacy.

Now go the fuck away.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!

Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77

You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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15-01-2014, 08:51 PM (This post was last modified: 15-01-2014 09:05 PM by viole.)
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 10:06 AM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  Hey, I'm new on the forums and I wanted to pose a question here that no atheist has ever been able to satisfactorily answer for me.

First, just a couple of disclaimers, I am not here to bash anyone's beliefs. In general, I consider myself spiritual, but disagree with many of the beliefs of organized religions. More than anything, I consider myself a rational person who tries to make sure I can justify everything I believe with evidence. I'm currently looking into atheism and in general I am just a person who is looking for answers.

Anyways, I would love to get an educated atheist perspective on this question:

Well, this is not necessarily a metaphysical question but a genuinely scientific one. I am actually surprised when it is used as argument for the existence of god, since it is pretty easy to knock down.

People have already addressed the problem that causality faces when dealing with quantum effects.

Another way to attack it is to invoke the composition fallacy: things that apply to a set, do not necessarily apply to the set itself. Causality might make sense in the Universe, but it does not follow that it makes sense for the Universe as a whole. For instance, the set of all integer numbers is not an integer number.

Another way is to invoke eternalism, or 4-dimensionalism. Our universe consists of spacetime, mainly. Causality makes sense when time is defined. Evolution, expansion, birth, death of a spacetime surface is meaningless without external clocks which might measure its alleged dynamics. Ergo, causality for said surface is meaningless, too.

Yet another way to attack it is that if indeed such a cause exists, it does not follow that it is supernatural. The Universe could be a bubble inside a pre-existing universe wich is a bubble of .., etc.

Another way to attack it is to invoke the time symmetry of the laws of Nature at microscopic level. If I show you a movie involving a photon generating two antiparticles, you will have no way to say in which dirction I played the movie. It could be that the two antiparticles generated the photon. Cause/effect relationships are arbitrary at fundamental level.

So, if the universe "was" microscopic and you say that something have caused it, I am perfectly entitled to retort that it is the other way round. The universe caused that something.

But if you already arbitrarily classify one as the cause and the other as the effect, you are just begging the question.


- viole
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15-01-2014, 09:00 PM
RE: My biggest question about atheism
(15-01-2014 02:43 PM)lookingforanswers Wrote:  "God did it"...a bit of a cop-out...

Glad you have that figured out. So what the fuck are you doing here pushing precisely that cop-out?

Quote:I've heard the argument before, but it doesn't seem to jive with all the other evidence. I like to consider myself a smart guy, but I'm definitely no scientist. That having been said, my understanding is that the same evidence that causes scientists to take the big bang theory as accurate (ie. the expansion of the universe) also provides strong evidence to the fact that there was a start to everything (ie. when the universe started expanding).

What part of SCIENCE IS NOT ATHEISM AND ATHEISM IS NOT SCIENCE do you refuse to understand here?

Quote:Moreover, the theory of an ever-existing universe also strikes me as unsatisfying because it doesn't seem to accord with everything else in that universe. Planets have a life cycle, stars have a life cycle, and of course, the smaller things down on earth all do as well. I'm sure you can understand why it would strike me as odd to have an ever-existing universe when everything within it seems to have life cycles (even if some of those life cycles are extremely long).

Who cares. Theories of the origin of the universe are not the reasons I reject your superstitious fairy tales.

Quote:I'll certainly take a look at some of the material that the posts have referred me to, maybe there is some sort of answer in there, but the ever-existent universe idea just seems fundamentally flawed to me. Taking a universe full of things with life cycles and trying to take the whole as being ever-existent feels to me like trying to add finite numbers together to get infinity. It feels like the gap has to be solved by something of a different nature. But, for all I know, that may just be the limits of science at present. I suppose I could just have "faith" that science will figure it out eventually, although that definitely presents it's own irony.

Or you could give up the "science vs creationism" strawman charade entirely,

Quote:My issue that has always bothered me with atheism, as opposed to agnosticism, is that it seems to defy logic to dismiss the idea of a creator outright while not being able to offer an alternative that is any more provable.

We are under no obligation whatsoever to provide an alternative to your superstitious fairy tales, "provable" or not. That isn't how logic or reasoning work. You make a fucking claim, you back it up with sufficient evidence or we reject it, end of story.

Quote: I understand that it is doesn't make sense to automatically attribute any unknown to God (the "God Gap Argument"), but I do not think that applies to creation.

Yes, it does. You are employing a fallacious Appeal to Personal Incredulity (a variation of Argumentum Ad Ignoratiam (Appeal to Ignorance).

Quote: My impression (maybe because of human kind's current scientific limitations) is that the question of creation is not simply unknown, but unknowable.

And here comes the straight-up Appeal to Ignorance Fallacy. You don't KNOW< therefore Gawddiddit. Bullshit.

Your claim is no better than Buddhadiddit, Allahdiddit, Thordiddit, Baaldiddit, theFlyingSpaghettiMonsterdiddit, etc, etc, etc.

Quote: That goes along with my own personal view of a God who set everything in motion, but doesn't micromanage day to day activities of human kind.

Which if you had been born in Pakistan, "your personal view" would be that Allahdiddit, and if you were born in India "your personal view" would be that Vishnudiddit (or any other of their pantheon of mythical deities), etc, etc, etc.

It's not "your personal view" at all. It's what you have been told to believe.

Quote:Anyways, this post is not meant to be argumentative, just sharing my perspective,

You have laid out a bunch of "arguments", so don't piss on our backs and tell us it's raining.

Quote:and maybe giving a bit of insight into why some inquisitive minds still have difficulty with the idea of atheism.

Not inquisitive at all. Set in your delusions and attempting to pander long-debunked arguments while simultaneously dodging your obligation to support any claims you make with evidence.

Quote:I very much appreciate the thoughtful responses to my query. I have found the discussion very mentally stimulating and I have been provided with some more reading/watching material that I'm sure I will enjoy.

Try reading The Emperor's New Clothes.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!

Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77

You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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