just another, "IDNNS" ______ ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <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 interesting. I'm not complaining, just explaining why none of this interests me terribly much... From: salyavin808 <no_re...@yahoogroups.com> ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <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 FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <anartaxius@...> wrote : ---In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, <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.