Theism and astronomy
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19-07-2016, 02:25 AM
Theism and astronomy
Hi,

This is a very basic question, not much beyond third grade, but it has puzzled me for many years. What do theists have to say about astronomy?

When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison, resembling little more than a lifeboat in a deeply inhospitable sea of vacuum and physical extremes instantly fatal to organic life. So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

D.
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19-07-2016, 02:46 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  Hi,

This is a very basic question, not much beyond third grade, but it has puzzled me for many years. What do theists have to say about astronomy?

When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison, resembling little more than a lifeboat in a deeply inhospitable sea of vacuum and physical extremes instantly fatal to organic life. So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

D.

On the scale where the observable universe is at the big end, and the Planck length is at the small end, humans are right in the middle and the earth is on the large side.

To say we are very small is wrong. Human existence is the center on size scale bounded by the largest size we can know about and the smallest size we can know about.

Why do you think that is?
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19-07-2016, 06:29 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
In the Bible, I think "the world" refers to a 100 mile radius around Jerusalem.

Never any talk about China or South America.

That 100 mile radius is fairly flat and the authors fairly ignorant about rest of the world, let alone the cosmos.

I doubt the average theist even cares about what the universe is really like. They only care about the people around them. (Within 100 miles)

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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19-07-2016, 07:04 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:46 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  Hi,

This is a very basic question, not much beyond third grade, but it has puzzled me for many years. What do theists have to say about astronomy?

When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison, resembling little more than a lifeboat in a deeply inhospitable sea of vacuum and physical extremes instantly fatal to organic life. So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

D.

On the scale where the observable universe is at the big end, and the Planck length is at the small end, humans are right in the middle and the earth is on the large side.

To say we are very small is wrong. Human existence is the center on size scale bounded by the largest size we can know about and the smallest size we can know about.

Why do you think that is?

Utter tripe response.

"humans are right in the middle" - what? Other than your judgment please help me understand how you have ANY justification for the "middle"

"earth is on the large side" - see first comment and justify

"To say we are very small is wrong" - I'll be fair and say that I agree with you on this point but only because I think the concept of scale is wonky here and dependent on perspective.

"Human existence is the center on size scale bounded by the largest size we can know about and the smallest size we can know about." Again please describe your "center" comment. I find it without any basis. Oh and captain obvious, thanks for saying there are things larger and smaller around us.

"Why do you think that is?" - You are so utterly transparent with this baseless question. You are a simpleton. It is best that you type less so that you don't exhibit it for all to see. For starters, why don't you look up the definition for Confirmation bias.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored- Aldous Huxley
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19-07-2016, 07:47 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:46 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  Hi,

This is a very basic question, not much beyond third grade, but it has puzzled me for many years. What do theists have to say about astronomy?

When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison, resembling little more than a lifeboat in a deeply inhospitable sea of vacuum and physical extremes instantly fatal to organic life. So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

D.

On the scale where the observable universe is at the big end, and the Planck length is at the small end, humans are right in the middle and the earth is on the large side.

To say we are very small is wrong. Human existence is the center on size scale bounded by the largest size we can know about and the smallest size we can know about.

Why do you think that is?

That is only true from a human perspective.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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19-07-2016, 07:55 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  What do theists have to say about astronomy?

It would be best to ask individual theists what they believe.

You question is a good one, as it illustrates our modern knowledge that conflicts with ancient beliefs.

(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

This varies between religions and interpretations of religions.

(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison...

I agree with you here. Look at the area of the universe that humans can inhabit and compare that to the universe itself. It seems fairly incomprehensible to claim it was all made for us.

(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

Yep. Almost like it all sorted itself out on its own. Yes

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19-07-2016, 08:00 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:46 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  On the scale where the observable universe is at the big end, and the Planck length is at the small end, humans are right in the middle and the earth is on the large side.

To say we are very small is wrong. Human existence is the center on size scale bounded by the largest size we can know about and the smallest size we can know about.

Why do you think that is?

And once again, this mental midget illustrates hi total lack of understanding of... um... well... everyfuckingthing LOL.

I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the term Planck Length—considering that the Blowjobber is as thick as two short planks. Big Grin

/ me laughs at own joke

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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19-07-2016, 08:48 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:46 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  the earth is on the large side.

Earth is on the large side? There are planets and stars that make us looking like a spec of dust.

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19-07-2016, 08:48 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  Hi,

This is a very basic question, not much beyond third grade, but it has puzzled me for many years. What do theists have to say about astronomy?

When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison, resembling little more than a lifeboat in a deeply inhospitable sea of vacuum and physical extremes instantly fatal to organic life. So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

D.

Depends on the theism.

The Abrahamic religions have been somewhat flexible over the years... by which I mean they have a track record of first persecuting astronomers, and then modifying their views to match, with a few old-school holdouts.

Originally they had a three-fold view of cosmology. In the center was a flat earth, with hell below and heaven above. (Actually, the concept of hell took some time to develop and many forms in the process, but that's another story.) Fixed stars were literally lights set in the firmament -- a crystalline sphere or dome topping the world. God and the angels had either given the sun and the moon and the visible planets their own crystal settings, to move independently from the fixed stars, or simply maneuvered them through the sky on a daily basis through active divine agency. Above the firmament was the "water above" (because, you know, a blue sky means there's water up there). It was separated from the water below (oceans and lakes and the like) by the firmament. Rain happened when windows were opened in the firmament, letting water through. Oh, and the Bible LITERALLY states that the lights -- sun, moon, planets, and stars, yes the moon is a light -- were set in the sky to provide signs. Astrology.

The first change was the discovery that the Earth was round. It wasn't a big change. Rather than a dome, the firmament became sphere(s) encapsulating it.

The second big change was Galileo's discovery and publication of the existence of Jupiter's moons. For this he was questioned by the Inquisition against Heresy (though not vigorously... think more extended police interview than a torture chamber), tried, and spent the rest of his days under house arrest. It was a very convoluted situation with a lot of complicating factors. First, moons orbiting Jupiter flew in the face of a model of geocentric spheres as endorsed by Aristotle. The Catholic Church of the time was thoroughly enamored with Aristotle, partially because they still bought into that "knowledge of the ancients" jazz (and really, isn't that what the whole religion is based on?) and partly because they were in love with his apologetics and sociological philosophy. If anything, the ideological rift between Renaissance men making new discoveries versus entrenched powers who liked the old discoveries just fine would have been on display in full force. The Church had a process by which doctrine could be called into question in light of observed reality, one a little bit like peer review but not really. Galileo didn't follow it. Instead, he published for public consumption (not in Latin but in the vernacular, which was another hot-button issue of the time), and in such a manner as could be taken as slyly mocking the Pope.

Newton identified gravitation as what kept the planets moving, largely putting the model of spheres to rest. Most of Christianity adopted the changes, eventually, deciding they'd slightly misinterpreted the parts of Genesis that disagreed with what could actually be seen of Creation. If you read an older translation of the Bible, like KJV, you'll see it referring to lights being placed in the firmament, but newer translations might say "in the sphere of the heavens" or something like that, making it less literally a solid object. Notably, Newton endorsed the existence of a higher power in his work, because he couldn't figure out how stable equilibrium worked (not his fault, since calculus had JUST been invented) and so concluded it must be God. Laplace would later show that the system was self-correcting and no god was required for the steady cycles that Newton couldn't explain.

For a while there was sort of a philosophical war about God's role in all this. Was He a grand engineer that had set the heavens in motion following specific rules, or was he actively making the stars and sun and moon move Himself? The first view of God was the sort of thing we hear about in a lot of teleological and predestination apologetics and was very popular among the educated class, but a God that actively worked small miracles every day to make things move was a bit more literal to the Bible and much more populist. The second view -- Providence, where God literally had to will the sun to rise every day (and a billion other things) -- didn't have much impact on astronomy, but did help alienate everyday believers from science.

With the spheres removed, there was no theological limit on how big the skies could be. Stars could be light years distant and be balls of fire many times the size of the Earth, and it would just be a testament to God's power and the majesty of His Creation. Again, this was a time when scientists could be Christian and churches could accept science. (Which is still true today, just.... not as much.) Minor details, like asking how all the stars could fall to Earth in Revelations if they were light-years distant and several thousand times Earth's size could be hand-waved away as metaphor or some miracle God would work in the future.

Similarly, the Big Bang did not create any huge theological ripples. It did defy a literal reading of the Genesis narrative on multiple levels, but that debate had already happened with Darwin and evolution. Those branches of Christianity prepared to accept Genesis as metaphorical or a code had already done so, and those prepared to ignore science in favor of literalism had also already done so, and the discovery of the Big Bang didn't really change any of that. If anything, more scientifically-minded churches hailed it as proof that the universe was created. The scientific presumption up until then was that the universe existed in a sort of perpetual steady-state, at least on the grand scale, with an infinite history. A definite beginning of the universe in the Big Bang brought scientific cosmology slightly closer to a Christian view, and gave a role (albeit an undemonstrated one) to God as the person who "lit the Big Bang's fuse". Yes, I know, that's not how the Big Bang works, but it's close enough to sell snake oil.

At present, you'll find a vast swathe of people who accept (to the degree they know them) the science of astronomy while still identifying themselves as Christian, either unfamiliar with the contradictions between Bible and science or willing to accept that those parts of the Bible are errant or metaphorical. You'll also have some hardcore literalists who reject science because the Bible says otherwise. They're vocal and very, very, very, very irritating and more than a little bit obstructionist, but not a majority of Christians worldwide. And you'll also have people who still believe in the spheres, or providence, or astrology, or even a flat earth, because bad ideas never really die.
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19-07-2016, 09:05 AM
RE: Theism and astronomy
(19-07-2016 02:46 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  
(19-07-2016 02:25 AM)Dworkin Wrote:  Hi,

This is a very basic question, not much beyond third grade, but it has puzzled me for many years. What do theists have to say about astronomy?

When a theist tells us that God created the world, what does the word ‘world’ denote? Are they talking about the planet Earth or the entire universe?

It would seem fairly obvious to me that the universe exists and is very large, maybe infinite. The Earth OTOH is very small in comparison, resembling little more than a lifeboat in a deeply inhospitable sea of vacuum and physical extremes instantly fatal to organic life. So, if God created the ‘world’ for the soul purpose of giving life to humanity, why all this other stuff?

D.

On the scale where the observable universe is at the big end, and the Planck length is at the small end, humans are right in the middle and the earth is on the large side.

To say we are very small is wrong. Human existence is the center on size scale bounded by the largest size we can know about and the smallest size we can know about.

Why do you think that is?

......

I can't think of what scale you're talking about.

If it's an absolute scale, then definitely no.

If it's a logarithmic scale.... STILL no. Planck length is on the order of 10^-36 meters and the diameter of the universe is only around 10^27 or 10^28 meters. The "center" would be on the order of 10^-5 or 10^-4 meters, about the size of a largish dust mite. That's the observable universe, btw. The present universe (the one that might hypothetically be observable if we could see it in real time, without worrying about speed-of-light delay or inverse-square problems) may well be infinite, in which case the scale wouldn't HAVE a center.

Also, Planck length is not variable and the size of the universe has been increasing since the beginning. If the human scale was ever in the middle, that would just be a passing moment, and EVERY scale would be in the middle at some point. Making a big deal about this is like dropping a penny off a skyscraper and saying the 32nd floor is special because the penny passed it at one point.

Seriously. Stop trying to use math to prove metaphysics. It's like watching a five-year-old try to drive a backhoe. You're clumsy, you don't know what you're doing, you don't have a good grip on the implements, and you don't know what it can be used for. Either do the hard work to actually learn the material, or stop pretending to a skillset that you do not have.
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