I haven't participated in the list in a while, but I try to keep up with
the discussion here and there as time permits. I personally was raised
a fundamentalist Baptist, but lost most of my interest in that religion
when I was taught at 9 years old that all the little kids in Africa that
are never told about Jesus Christ go to Hell. Even at 9, I knew that
wasn't something I was going to be buying. Who wants to believe in a
God that cruel? Even without the problematic cruel creator, I have
always been to oriented toward logic and proof to just accept stuff on
I started redeveloping religious belief, ironically, when I picked up a
book on quantum physics 6 or so years ago. I was at a legal seminar and
needed something to read during the boring sessions, and the author ran
through a number of experiments of QM and concluded that the MWI was the
most logical interpretation of these experiments. I had read all the
Sci Fi strories of alternate realities and whatnot, but this was my
first exposure to the concept that reality is created in such a way to
allow all things to exist (that also actually appeared to be supported
by some real science). I still remember my excitement in contemplating
this explanation, in that it seems to explain so many questions.
I guess I could go into a long explanation as to why I now believe
intelligence plays a key role in understanding the nature of our reality
and how it came to be, but I probably wouldn't be able to say much that
almost anyone on this board has not already heard. For me it boils down
to this: I see absolutely no reason to believe our experiences are not
emulable. I strongly suspect it is possible to create a quantum
computer. I strongly suspect technology will continue to evolve and
computer processing will get more and more powerful. Finally, even if
we are somehow precluded from creating new universes in the future (i.e.
universes implented on the same level of reality as our universe,
virtual universes are obviously possible), the one we are in will last
for trillions of years. Final conclusion? Well, I'll let you do the
Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
Bruno Marchal writes:
Le 08-janv.-06, à 12:22, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :
We can argue about the precise definition of words, but I think a
fundamental point is missed if religion and atheism are put on a
par. It is like the Christian fundamentalists' demand that "creation
science" be taught in schools alongside evolutionary biology,
because nobody can reasonably claim that evolutionary biology is
*certainly* true and "creation science" *certainly* false.
There is a clear difference between, on the one hand, believing x
despite the lack of any supporting evidence and, on the other hand,
not believing x because of the lack of any supporting evidence -
especially if x is something inherently bizarre or incredible.
Here you make a point. But this is because "creation science" is just
not a science. Those who pretend it is a science are just doing
Perhaps one day "creation science" will appear. This would be the
case if "creation science" (the doctrine that the best explanation
for the existence of the universe is that God has made it recently in
less than 7 days) is made enough precise to not only be tested but to
provide a best overview of reality, etc. But of course today this is
not the case, and "creation science", *as* a science is much more a
like a fuzzy speculation predicting and actually explaining nothing.
Their proponents just are no playing the game.
Yes, but this is the problem with belief in a personal God versus
non-belief. Theism would be an empirical, or equivalently scientific,
belief if its proponents were consistent: if God intervenes in the
world, then by definition he must leave some evidence of this
intervention. (The alternative believers' position is deism, the idea
that God made the world but then refrained from any further
interventions in its affairs. Deism has never really inspired
religious devotion like theism has.) The reality is, however, that
there is less evidence for religious beliefs than there is for most
bizarre secular beliefs, such as the belief that Elvis is alive, or
that aliens regularly abduct humans to experiment on them.
It is worth stressing that what normally counts for religious belief
(in the Western tradition) is *not* a vague deism, but very specific
beliefs about a Personal God: for example, that he caused one third of
himself to be born of a virgin so that he could live as a human and,
though immortal and destined to rise again, die a horrible death in
order to save humans from being punished for Adam and Eve's original
transgression against God in the Garden of Eden at the instigation of
a snake which told Eve she and Adam would lose their ignorance if they
ate the fruit of a certain forbidden (by God) tree; and that anyone
who believes this and admits he is a miserable sinner will go to
Heaven, while non-believers will suffer eternal torment in Hell. I
mean, give me Elvis and aliens with anal probes any time...
Now, most people who says "I don't believe in God", in general
believe in a "physical or material" universe; and that is still a
sort of religious belief. Atheist are not just believer because they
believe in 0 God, as George put it, but also because they replace God
by something else, without really explaining what it is and how it
helps us to figure what exist, etc.
In my state of ignorance I would even say that for me GOD and
UNIVERSE are both enough fuzzy that distinguishing them at the start
could be a 1004 fallacy.
But, perhaps unlike some of you, I did not get any religious
education, and all what I know in "theology" comes from study and
experience, and all what I do appreciate in the Monism of the Jewish,
Muslim and Christian theologies (but present also in some Chinese and
Indian philosophical systems) seems to be the parts they have kept
from the pre-Christian and pre-Muslim neo-Platonician theology.
Today's catholic theologians who insist too much on the quality in
rigour of that type of theology get trouble with the Roman Authority.
If GOD and UNIVERSE are fuzzy and difficult to distinguish, you're
very far from talking about the God of people who are religious.
Buy now @ Tradingpost.com.au