From: salyavin808 <>

---In, <turquoiseb@...> wrote :

This is fascinating, and helps me to clarify something I wrote before. I 
completely *understand* how this kind of speculation is interesting to some 
people, but for me it falls into the category of theoretical speculation that 
just holds no interest for me. 

For a scientist who wants to feel as if he or she has some kind of handle on 
what happened at the time of the theoretical creation of the universe, it all 
must be thrilling. But for me, I cannot get past, "WTF does this or *could* 
this have to do with anything in my real, everyday life?"
Big Bang, schmang. Why should I care? 

*By definition* (since no one will ever know for sure), any theory of what 
happened at the moment of the Big Bang will be just that -- a theory. Heck, I 
am not even convinced that there ever *was* a Big Bang (meaning a single 
"beginning" of the universe). So I leave speculations about such things to 
those who (like Salyavin and presumably s3raphita) are fascinated by the 
science of it all. 

Others (such as JohnR or other religionists) glom onto theories about the Big 
Bang as support for their medieval ideas about God, and I find that even less 
I'm not complaining, just explaining why none of this interests me terribly 

For me it's about answering the fundamental question, the greatest mystery: Why 
is there something rather than nothing? When I sit and ponder that it gets more 
amazing rather than less and just demands to be understood. Sure, it won't help 
pay the mortgage but there's a satisfaction in solving problems for their own 
sake. And they don;t come much bigger than why are we here?
This would seem to be the essential difference between thee and me. I am just 
not drawn that way. I have a more Buddhist approach (although I've always had 
it, and didn't get it *from* Buddhism, as a kind of dogma that I was taught or 
came to believe in). For me the Great Mystery is *not* the "Why?" of life, but 
the "What now?" of life. 

Why I found somewhat of a resonance with Buddhism is that they, too, don't 
really expend much energy trying to figure out why and how Here And Now 
happened. That is looked upon as a waste of time, because nothing you learn can 
actually *affect* Here And Now. The Buddhist approach (and mine, long before I 
ever heard of Buddhism) is more, "What is the nature of Here And Now, and how 
can I make the best of it?"

Consciousness is the other biggie. I'm not a woo woo believer, unless there's 
something we really haven't understood it's obviously something that happens in 
the brain and that's that.  But how? Bit of a puzzle how we have this vast 
inner space with feelings and colour and desires and a constant babble of ideas 
and questions. How does it work, and like the fine tuning problem, is it 
actually difficult or have we just not had the simple but bright idea that 
explains it yet? 
Again, for me this is more of a non-issue. Wondering "What is consciousness?" 
strikes me as akin to a fish wondering "What is water?" The answer -- if there 
ever is one -- doesn't help you swim or avoid sharks.  :-) 

I predict it will be simple because the greatest ideas that explain the most 
always are. How could it be any other way when everything else has got here 
under its own steam with no divine guidance? You just can't have complexity 
coming first. If anyone says you can then we may as well not bother trying to 
understand anything because everything we've got so far must make no sense and 
be completely wrong. And as it seems to make rather good sense the mystics must 
be mistaken. QED surely.
And that's my tea break over...
And my lunch break over...
  From: salyavin808 <>

---In, <s3raphita@...> wrote :

When I first looked into the question of whether something approximating to 
"God" existed, my intuition told me that the idea that conscious, intelligent, 
moral beings - like my good self - could arise as result of an accidental Big 
Bang was so obviously absurd I couldn't understand how supposedly bright people 
(scientists) could accept such a conclusion (even throwing natural selection 
into the mix).
In those days the "argument from design" for God's existence was pooh-poohed by 
philosophers. Since then we've been struck by the amount of "fine tuning" that 
must have existed at the time of the Big Bang to allow for the development of 
life as we know it. Check out the details: the ratio of the strengths of 
gravity to that of electromagnetism; the strength of the force binding nucleons 
into nuclei; the relative importance of gravity and expansion energy in the 
Universe; the cosmological constant; etc; etc. Any slight variation = no life.
Apparent fine tuning is interesting and needs an explanation but we don't know 
what sort of explanation, meaning that it could have been a pure coincidence 
first time or that there is a limit to the amount of possible universes that 
have to exist. We just happen to be in the right one for us. Currently, no one 
knows how much of a mystery it is.
And whether it will always be a mystery is unknown but it comes down to the 
amount of matter/anti-matter at the start of the universe and the speed of 
expansion. The trouble that the religious people have trying to fit god in at 
this point of creation is that there isn't any way anything complex enough to 
be called intelligent and creative could have existed. That is a vastly harder 
problem for them to explain than the apparent fine tuning is for us.
This has led defenders of atheism to postulate we inhabit a multiverse. If 
there were an infinite number of worlds then we don't need "God" as an 
hypothesis for why we find ourselves living in a human-friendly environment. 
That's true - but here's the thing: the idea of many worlds didn't come up back 
in the day when I had my "intuition" - everyone assumed we were living in a 
one-shot, one-off universe.
If the multiverse theory is correct (a big if) then, yes, it means we don't 
need God, but it also shows how gullible Dawkins and co were to have rejected 
the original design argument.
The multiverse is one idea among many and there are undoubtably loads of ideas 
about it no one has had yet. But it depends what multiverse theory we are 
talking about. The one you mention here sounds like the idea that there are a 
great many bubbles of universes that are physically seperate to ours, in a 
vaster space than our own, each of them slightly different with different start 
points of atomic weight etc. Some favoured this idea but it fails as science 
because it's untestable and is the same as saying that there have been and 
endless number of almost universes that arose one form the other until the 
"correct" one appeared. That really is just an idea to hopefully explain 
something even though it might even be true!
The most interesting multiverse ideas involve a vast amount of universes in the 
same place and using the same atoms. The so-called "many worlds" 
interpretations of quantum theory. But these don't explain the fine tuning at 
the big bang because the atoms that they are made of are structures that formed 
after the point of creation (you know I don;t use that word religiously right? 
yeah, course you do...)
I don't see how any of it means Dawkins was gullible not to go for the design 
argument. All design arguments are pointless because they require all the 
potential intelligence and complexity in the universe to have existed before 
the universe did because god must know what he wanted. But however you want to 
imagine that scenario it does involve an infinite regress because you are 
trying to explain complexity by relying on further pre-existing complexity 
which is pointless as it provides no answer. God theories are the same the same 
as refusing to think about it. 
Dawkins knows that ideas about god are stupid as explanations and grasped at 
the evolving universe idea to fit in with that. But he may still be right, 
what's needed is a fuller understanding of the initial state of everything 
which is what cosmologists are up to at the moment mapping the cosmic microwave 
background, the after glow of the big bang - still a few degrees hotter than 
absolute zero, 14 billion years later! - if you could look close enough at that 
you could see the first atoms in our universe form. Doubt we'll ever be that 
clever but fine tuning has to be solvable and that'll be the best way to go 
about it.

---In, <anartaxius@...> wrote :

---In, <jr_esq@...> wrote :

There appears to be a common misconception that science and religion cannot 
mix.  That's not necessarily true.  
But usually it is true because the mind set one needs for science and the one 
needed for religion are poles apart; science is sceptical, questioning, and the 
argument from authority simply is an impediment to finding out stuff. Religion 
is accepting often to the point of total gullibility. Science deals with facts, 
religion generally prefers to avoid them. Since the rise of scientific thought, 
religion has been backsliding against the onslaught of knowledge ever since. 
Things once thought exclusively in the realm of religion are now solidly in the 
realm of science.
Some call themselves atheists, but they don't know what it really means nor 
have they logically thought out the arguments for atheism.
Actually we do know what it means, and we have thought it out to the extent 
that logic is possible. But in the absence of evidence, logic has nothing to 
manipulate — all is airy speculation in the void where no facts exist. Atheism 
is really a matter of probability in comparing what we know about the world to 
what is stated in religious documents about the reality of the world, and most 
of the time, the probability that such and such is true seems slight. 
The non theist position is not absolute because in the absence of facts you 
cannot posit a definitive statement, only a sliding scale of probabilities, 
that leads the non theist, or the post theist to the conclusion that the 
religious arguments lack sufficient merit to spend time pursuing. If more 
substantial evidence shows up, then the matter can be reconsidered. If 
something is not known, a non theist does not have to make up something to 
explain it. If we do not know how the world came into being (assuming it came 
in to being) we can let it ride until more information is available.

On the other hand, there are some Christians who use the bible as a scientific 
proof for the history of mankind.  They fail to understand that the Bible is 
not a scientific document.  Rather, it is a book of wisdom which attempts to 
convey how Consciousness evolved in nature which resulted in the development of 
a consciousness being, which is embodied in the human mind and physiology.
There is a lot in the Bible that has some value, but there is also a lot of 
stuff that is pretty dumb; it is extraordinarily inconsistent because it is 
hobbled together from the writings and editing of many many writers, compilers, 
and revisers who had many different viewpoints. There is some nice poetry at 
least in English translations. 



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