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Author Topic: God did not create the universe, says Hawking  (Read 3948 times)
Mofo Rising
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2010, 02:36:55 AM »

Seems like a lot of "blah blah blah" to me.

For Hawking to say, "It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going" does not say much about Hawking's ultimate view on the universe.

If you want to stay true to the scientific method, you can't come out with a definite answer to the "does he or doesn't he exist" God question.

Both atheism and belief are leaps of faith. You can't prove God exists through science, just as you can't prove he doesn't. The scientific method just does not work that way.

Scientists are concerned with the "hows." And for all the current gaps in our knowledge, I tend to agree with the idea that you don't need to invoke God to explain this endlessly spinning (or so we hope) top. The "whys" are a much trickier proposition.

Myself, I veer towards the atheistic end of the equation. But the only time it comes up is in my opposition to most organized religion's idea of a higher being. I don't believe them, and I think there's a lot of kluge involved with those belief systems. But I wouldn't be foolish enough to claim that one idea is right over the other.

It is entirely possible to follow scientific arguments and still remain true to your faith.

That being said, the science/religion dichotomy should be mostly false. It isn't, because people are still people. I do get defensive when people try to introduce their religious ideas as scientifically sound propositions, and the devil be damned!

But I have faith in people's reason. Let's argue propositions and come to an understanding.
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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2010, 06:39:23 AM »

I believe in Mr. Hawking's theorys...

IMO... I believe Boss Ross may have created the universe!



Search your feelings, you know it to be true.
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« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2010, 08:15:29 AM »

I believe in Mr. Hawking's theorys...

IMO... I believe Boss Ross may have created the universe!



Search your feelings, you know it to be true.



I don't know about that. I just can't quite see Bob Ross creating a happy little piranha to strip the flesh off of swimmers or a happy little scorpion hiding in the shoe of an unwary camper. Also, several trees in my yard no longer seem to be very happy. How could Bob allow such a thing?  Twirling
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Jim H
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« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2010, 03:32:08 PM »

I had meant to comment on this in my last post, but forgot.

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Even an atheist is taking something on faith

What would that be?  An atheist is defined entirely by a LACK of a belief.  I'm not sure how faith in anything enters into it, unless perhaps you mean the rather hard-line ("strong" or "positive" is sometimes the term used) atheists who declare there definitively is not a god.  In which case, I agree.

Personally, I'm a weak atheist in that I don't believe in a god.  But, I don't actually disbelieve.  I just find it an unlikely proposition, and never saw a reason to actually believe.  I'm not taking anything on faith to the best of my knowledge.
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2010, 04:04:19 PM »

I had meant to comment on this in my last post, but forgot.

Quote
Even an atheist is taking something on faith

What would that be?  An atheist is defined entirely by a LACK of a belief.  I'm not sure how faith in anything enters into it, unless perhaps you mean the rather hard-line ("strong" or "positive" is sometimes the term used) atheists who declare there definitively is not a god.  In which case, I agree.

Personally, I'm a weak atheist in that I don't believe in a god.  But, I don't actually disbelieve.  I just find it an unlikely proposition, and never saw a reason to actually believe.  I'm not taking anything on faith to the best of my knowledge.

EXCELLENT question; thank-you for asking it.  I'll give you my answer and I would love to see other responses to this as well.

The article of faith for an atheist comes into play when he answers the questions like "how did it all begin" (as but one example).  Suppose an atheist makes the claim that the matter, or the gravity (like Hawking is now asserting), or SOMETHING was always here and that something somehow triggered The Big Bang.  THAT is a matter of faith; he believes that, and structures the remainder of his 'belief system' around that.

Or, one could frame it within the context of the Origin of Life.  Spontaneous biogenesis is often the province of the atheist, but THAT is a matter faith.  It is not even known if it CAN occur, much less if it DID occur.   To accept it, even as merely a "comfortable explanation" is a matter of faith.

I suppose the atheist could completely ignore all philosophy and not care one whit about these larger questions of "existence," and simply deal with the pragmatics of here and now.  But I think it is human to wonder about these things in some fashion, and if I may return to Einstein for a moment, simple appreciation of beauty (in nature) is difficult to explain without SOME level of faith in SOMETHING (God, Evolutionary pressures, etc, take your pick).
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2010, 11:11:25 PM »


EXCELLENT question; thank-you for asking it.  I'll give you my answer and I would love to see other responses to this as well.


"Faith" is a rather nebulous term. What Ulthar said is true: since there were no witnesses at either the Big Bang or the origin of life moments, we "believe" that we know what happened. Either God created everything in some form or fashion, or else everything is a product of random forces. We have "faith" that there is a grain of truth in what resonates with us.

I used to ask my classes a simple question: "Is there a country called China?" They would answer with an enthusiastic "Yes!" (well, as enthusiastic as one is likely to get in an English class, anyway). I would then ask "how do you know that? Have you been there?" The answers would get slightly less certain, usually something about China appearing on maps or having things marked as being manufactured in China. I would then ask them who drew the maps, and, of course, they couldn't answer. I would then call them on placing blind faith in someone they didn't know, believing that the picture on a map was real. A few would object to this, but they usually couldn't formulate exactly why they were objecting, except that they have been taught for years that China was a real place. We exercise this type of faith all the time: faith in cartographers, faith in news reports (to a greater or lesser degree), faith in whatever or whoever it is that makes the most sense to us or seems the most believable. We have faith that the sofa we are about to sit on will hold us up. "Faith" isn't just belief; it is trust. You trust what or whom you deem trustworthy.

Therefore, yes, atheists have faith. They put trust in what others have told them, and they have faith that their view of reality is the correct one. Christians do the same, as do Muslims, Hindus, Rastafarians or whatever other group you might mention. We can't be eye witnesses of everything, so we have to trust what others say after judging the source of any information. That is faith. Just because some choose to capitalize it when it refers to trusting in a Higher Being, the definition remains the same.
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« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2010, 01:59:24 AM »

I believe in Mr. Hawking's theorys...

IMO... I believe Boss Ross may have created the universe!



Search your feelings, you know it to be true.



I don't know about that. I just can't quite see Bob Ross creating a happy little piranha to strip the flesh off of swimmers or a happy little scorpion hiding in the shoe of an unwary camper. Also, several trees in my yard no longer seem to be very happy. How could Bob allow such a thing?  Twirling


In other words, why does Bob Ross allow bad things to happen to good people? Maybe each species has its own Bob Ross. The piranha Bob Ross would be more than willing to paint a happy little helpless cow flailing about in the just-a-little-more-than-shallow portions of a happy little river.

Just to be a stickler on definitions, I would say that an atheist is defined by the positive belief that God does not exist. Hard-line atheism is something more than a simple lack of belief; that's usually categorized as agnosticism (but is more often found in simple apathy).
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« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2010, 02:05:25 AM »

Quote
Personally, I'm a weak atheist in that I don't believe in a god.  But, I don't actually disbelieve.  I just find it an unlikely proposition, and never saw a reason to actually believe.  I'm not taking anything on faith to the best of my knowledge.

That would sum me up, and...

Quote
I suppose the atheist could completely ignore all philosophy and not care one whit about these larger questions of "existence," and simply deal with the pragmaticts of here and now...

That would as well.  I don't reject any notion, but I'm not fully convinced by anything in the way of religion, mysticism, or spirituality.  I study alternate theories maybe for perspective, but at the end of the day the thing that matters the most to me is my future and providing for myself and my wife.  
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Jim H
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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2010, 02:51:05 AM »

Quote
Just to be a stickler on definitions, I would say that an atheist is defined by the positive belief that God does not exist. Hard-line atheism is something more than a simple lack of belief; that's usually categorized as agnosticism (but is more often found in simple apathy).

Agnosticism refers to knowledge.   Specifically, whether god is knowable.  An agnostic does not believe knowledge of god is knowable - that is, he or she doesn't believe anyone can truly know.  For this reason, you can be an agnostic atheist (the best definition for myself) or even an agnostic Christian.

Atheist, taken literally, means apart from god.  It is true that people often take atheist to mean a positive belief that God doesn't exist, that's probably the most commonly used definition, but in my experience atheists don't generally follow that definition.  Theism is literally of god.  I think it is best to define the two terms in contrast to each other.  Anyone who believes in any gods is a theist, anyone who doesn't is an atheist. 

Otherwise, there really aren't any appropriate umbrella terms for the two categories. 
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« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2010, 06:35:21 AM »


I think it is best to define the two terms in contrast to each other.  Anyone who believes in any gods is a theist, anyone who doesn't is an atheist. 
 

Do you agree then that the latter BELIEVES something (that God does NOT exist), and that belief is just as much a leap of faith as the belief of theists?
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« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2010, 07:51:06 AM »

I think Creation is so drastically complex and wonderful that it demands a Creator. Certain recurring themes in nature, like, for instance, "the Golden Ratio" - are His fingerprint.

I am a Christian because (a) I was raised as one, and (b) the historical evidences that support the central narrative of Christianity (the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ) are so strong as to be unassailable.

I find Hawking a fascinating person, and he is WAY smarter than most other humans, but in the end, any speculation about how the universe began remains speculation, no matter how educated it is.

This is a pretty fascinating thread.
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« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2010, 03:44:48 PM »


I think it is best to define the two terms in contrast to each other.  Anyone who believes in any gods is a theist, anyone who doesn't is an atheist. 
 

Do you agree then that the latter BELIEVES something (that God does NOT exist), and that belief is just as much a leap of faith as the belief of theists?

No, that was exactly my point.  Atheism is defined by a LACK of belief.  It might help to add that I was raised without religious instruction of any kind, in any direction - even when I was young enough to think maybe magic was real, I never believed in a god.  I certainly had no positive beliefs about the lack of one either - I didn't care enough.  I still don't particularly care honestly - the only god I think has a remote possibility of existence would be something like what Einstein believed in.  A god like that is unknowable, so I spend no time thinking about that.  I would certainly be prepared to make positive claims about the man made gods though.

In either case, I really don't see how NOT believing in a supernatual enty is this huge leap of faith.  To quote a rather insulting cliche, is it an equal leap of faith for you to believe there is NOT an undetectable invisible pink unicorn hovering over your head as it is for me to believe it is? 

Quote
the historical evidences that support the central narrative of Christianity (the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ) are so strong as to be unassailable.

I find this baffling in the extreme.  I've looked at this evidence, and there's certainly extant evidence (though I've never seen any actual evidence for the ressurection - only a lack thereof pointed to AS evidence), but to call it unassailable is just...  Silly.  Especially as so much of the evidence I always hear comes from the new testament itself. 

For comparison, look at the Book of Mormon, which has far superior evidence for its magical creation, including the sworn testimony of inarguably historical people - ones who have living descendants today, marked graves, photographs, the writings of, etc.  Not to mention much of the original Mormon testament is still in existence, unlike either of the first two testaments. 
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« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2010, 04:54:20 PM »

Sorry..maybe we are getting into arguing semantics, but believing something does NOT exist is still a belief.

Quote

is it an equal leap of faith for you to believe there is NOT an undetectable invisible pink unicorn hovering over your head as it is for me to believe it is? 


Yes.   Both of us are making a leap of faith because it is "undetectable" and "invisible."  Neither can prove his position with measurement, so to draw ANY conclusion is "belief in something that cannot be seen."  I'm perhaps using the phrase "belief in" differently than the vernacular.

Here, I mean "belief in your conclusion," not in God, the pink unicorn or the FSM or whatever.  I assert that your belief in the ABSENCE of God is just as much a "positive belief" as my belief that there IS God.  There is no difference from a philosophical, human thought perspective.

A lot of atheists (not saying YOU ... I am not trying to overgeneralize) DO try to take some moral high ground and claim that their absence of belief is the manifestation of superior human intellect; that's the premise I reject out right: they ARE making a leap of faith that there is no God.

You seem to be saying that a belief can only be that something exits, and denial of existence is not a belief.  Sorry, but in the absence of testing, both are beliefs that cannot be supported scientifically.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 05:17:32 PM by ulthar » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2010, 12:11:00 AM »

Quote
You seem to be saying that a belief can only be that something exits, and denial of existence is not a belief.  Sorry, but in the absence of testing, both are beliefs that cannot be supported scientifically.

I'm saying a lack of a belief isn't a belief.  It's like saying not collecting stamps is a hobby. 
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Joe the Destroyer
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« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2010, 12:53:04 AM »

I think this is the first internet discussion on religion I've ever seen that didn't turn into a total flame war.   Buggedout
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