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Thread: Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept?

  1. #1 Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept? 
    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    If God's existence was theoretical then would it be more palatable for non-believers? For myself that's exactly what God is...just another theory and so far no one has been able to disprove it. I put it right alongside relativity and until proven wrong it remains only a theory. Believers are then only staunch supporters of it. They have a book(s), so what, every theory has a few.

    All theories usually start with a thought and this is where we run into trouble, we don't know for certain if God was spawned from the mind of a human. Since no one was around to take credit, religions assume that no man could ever have dreamed it and God's not telling.

    If it was a theory then I think the burden of disproving it would fall upon the non-believers. Einstein's famous theories were formed in the mind, not in the lab. Non-believers almost to a person believe God is a product of people's imaginations. So if presented as a product of human thought then God is merely theoretical and proving it is not a requirement for the believers.

    But the believers do not theorize about God's existence so the burden of proof is on them. I'd like to see them rethink that so we can have something different to rant about.


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    A very big question here is prayer. This is where we can talk to god.

    So have you ever had to pray to god to save your life?

    Prayer is personal and maybe it cant be proved from one person to another.

    But take this point to mind...

    There are "few athiests in fox holes." Basicly when trouble flares in wars most soldiers will pray to their chosen god or simply just to god. There is something to that, an inner need for god.

    In reality we are small and almost insignificant . We feel this because we have senses and one of those sense tells us there is indeed a god.


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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    There are few athiests in fox holes. Basicly when trouble flares in wars most soldiers will pray to their chosen god or simply just to god. There is something to that, an inner need for god.
    You make it sound like every soldier that ever lived was an atheist. Pull your head out of your rear end and look around, you're suffering from tunnel vision. Stay on topic.

    You're right, there are few atheists in fox holes just as there are in a JW meeting.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  5. #4  
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atheists_in_foxholes

    Once again, truth, it's proven via wiki that you have no damn clue what you are talking about.
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    Zin wrote...

    You make it sound like every soldier that ever lived was an atheist.
    I wrote...

    There are few athiests in fox holes.
    Having said there were few athiests in fox holes, you have claimed i said every soldier was an athiest. I think you need to re read my post.

    As for jeremy, im not sure why youve edited my post. Please dont edit post, this is seen as admin abuse.

    If you misunderstood my point. Here ill help.

    The term "there are few athiests in fox holes" is a famous saying. This doesnt mean before war began most soldiers were athiest or religious. As a jehovahs witness we wouldnt fight in wars.

    As my post stated"when trouble flares" people who may be religious or not will pray. All soldiers and people in times of trouble start praying. Even athiests.

    A link to help you not misunderstand my "no athiest in fox holes" comment... [this is an often used saying in the uk.]

    "There are no athiests in foxholes. "William T. Cummings

    http://www.cybernation.com/quotation...author&id=2203

    http://www.anvari.org/fortune/Quotations_2/188.html

    http://www.quotationsbook.com/quotes/3394/view
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    The statement there are "few" athiests in fox holes. Is therefore correct. There are some, but only a few.

    There are some people who no matter what dont pray to god. The statements doesnt say "no" athiests in fox holes.

    There are cases of people who dont go to any church on a regular basis who start praying in times of trouble, wars, persecution etc. This is a fact.

    What this shows is my point that prayer is something few do regularly, yet most would do in times of real danger is intersting.

    So this asks the question why in times of danger do most of us pray?

    Wikipedia is a website i use alot, but it has an agenda and isnt neutral.
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    Time Lord zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    Zin wrote...

    You make it sound like every soldier that ever lived was an atheist.
    I wrote...

    There are few athiests in fox holes.
    OK..99% of soldiers in foxholes believe in God. Wonderful. I won't argue.

    You obviously don't think of God as theoretical. Can you debate using a thought of your own? A thought free of JW influence, just one good statement without use of a prop.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    I accept god. This is important to me. So all my views are influenced by this.

    Just as athiest views are influenced by anti god views. We all make our choice. Ive made mine.
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    Truth, originally I edited it due to the fact it is considered a racist term against atheists to say "there are no atheists in fox holes." Also a very untrue one, since I've never heard one count of an atheist becoming a theist in a fox hole during war.

    Plus, if they do (which adds to the comment later about you being ignorant to psychology) it only proves they did so as a mental coping method. This is a sociological coping method, not some internal need for god.

    Because of this I thought editing it was required. However, I changed my mind and reversed the edit later. This is not moderator power abuse, this is me giving you some slack. If another moderator decides I was too lenient, and the might, it will be edited and the resulting discussion removed.

    Furthermore, it is only famous among ignorant people with no understanding of psychology. Which you appear to be.

    Also, you tread a *VERY* thin line and are trying my patience with your comments.
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    The theory of God will not pass scientific scrutiny. Dark matters are more credible than god. There is no logical explanation. There is no evidence to support the existence of god. There is no correct prediction coming out of the theory. How can it stand to be a theory?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Truth, originally I edited it due to the fact it is considered a racist term against atheists to say "there are no atheists in fox holes." Also a very untrue one, since I've never heard one count of an atheist becoming a theist in a fox hole during war.
    To be perfectly correct, you should not call it racist but religious intolerance or use the more general term, bigotry.
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    back to the prayer issue. there was a double blind test done on patients going for the same sorts of operations. All the prayers were done by religious people, on religious people. the patients didn't know who was being prayed for in two groups(the ones being prayed for and the ones who were not) and the third group were ones who knew they were being prayed for.

    The results checked on recovery time, amount of complications etc showed no difference between who was prayed for and who was not in terms of any of the measurable data. The interesting thing was that the group who knew they were being prayed for didn't do as well noticably. which was suprising as you would have thought that positive thinking would have helped. The doctors put this down to a form of proformance anxiety

    this test was paid for and ran by a religious organisation called the templeton foundation and cost $2.4million of their money



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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Truth, originally I edited it due to the fact it is considered a racist term against atheists to say "there are no atheists in fox holes." Also a very untrue one, since I've never heard one count of an atheist becoming a theist in a fox hole during war.
    To be perfectly correct, you should not call it racist but religious intolerance or use the more general term, bigotry.
    Ah, I see. Thanks for the correction. I was a leetle too annoyed to think properly at the moment. >.>
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    The theory of God will not pass scientific scrutiny. Dark matters are more credible than god. There is no logical explanation. There is no evidence to support the existence of god. There is no correct prediction coming out of the theory. How can it stand to be a theory?
    Well at least you are 'on topic' and discussing the original question, it can be considered a theory, even though there is no direct evidence to support it, the base theory would be a hypothesis that God created the universe, since the hypothesis cannot be 'tested' it can remain a theory.

    In the same way we have a 'theory' that aliens exist out there somewhere.

    I can accept God as a theory, I cannot accept God from all the mumbo jumbo of ancient scribblings presented as 'evidence'.

    I also accept the Big Bang as a theory, since although there is much evidence to support it, it is far from certain.
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    A note to admins.

    Explaining a fact is explaining a fact and not bigotry or racism. There are few athiests in fox holes, there are some but a few. This is a common statement made by ex soldiers. Journalists and historians.

    Some agree some dont. Only if the statement had said that there were NO athiests in fox holes would it be false or at worst a form of biogtry.

    Athiests are not a race, nor are vegitarians or pacifists. Cheap accusations of racism are not a mature debating tool.

    Back to the point i was making. Yes there seems to be common amongst people of all nations a need for prayer and a need to believe in god. There are athiests in all countries and probably throughout time. But those who believe in god are in the majority

    There is a reason to the common belief in a diety. The reason is that we all have a need for answers and a sense of our own futility. We need god in our lifes. Thats why religion is common in all cultures.

    PS. The main form of bigotry on this forum has been against jehovahs witnesses and secondly against religious people. If the admins arent the ones making those insults then maybe taking some action against those people would be nice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    A note to admins.

    Explaining a fact is explaining a fact and not bigotry or racism. There are few athiests in fox holes, there are some but a few. This is a common statement made by ex soldiers. Journalists and historians.
    If this statement was not bigotry in any way, then why mention it? The atheist population compared to theist population will definitely mean more theists will be in "fox holes."

    However, the statements basis means that atheists turn to god in a life or death situation. This is an untrue statement, not a fact, hence the bigotry of it.

    Some agree some dont. Only if the statement had said that there were NO athiests in fox holes would it be false or at worst a form of biogtry.

    Athiests are not a race, nor are vegitarians or pacifists. Cheap accusations of racism are not a mature debating tool.
    No, in a way it is "racist." and "racism" does not always mean ones race. However, my terminology was incorrect as mitch corrected. so this is not relevant.

    Back to the point i was making. Yes there seems to be common amongst people of all nations a need for prayer and a need to believe in god. There are athiests in all countries and probably throughout time. But those who believe in god are in the majority
    No, there is not. I can say that there is not within me, there is only an annoyed side which fumes every time someone fails to understand some basic psychology.

    If an atheist, per say, turned to god in a highly stressful situation as a form of escapism, that's a mental coping method. That is not some inner need for a god, as it's just as likely the atheist will take up smoking as a coping method.

    Your argument, as with the foxhole one, is invalid.

    PS. The main form of bigotry on this forum has been against jehovahs witnesses and secondly against religious people. If the admins arent the ones making those insults then maybe taking some action against those people would be nice.
    I have, repeatedly, calmed down the amount of flaming directed at you. I will tolerate it when half-hearted insults are tossed around playfully, but I will not tolerate baseless bigot opinions.

    Opinions on JW's psychological states have been addressed, sources provided, and you did nothing to prove or disprove them. This is not our faults, this is a fault of your own. If you were to provide sources for some possible psychological phenomenon where people (not through escapism) turn to god through some "inner need," then fine. But you have not.

    and as I have explained, there are atheists in fox holes, and there aren't very many that would turn to god. Upon my further explanation, those that do conform to escapism.
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    Truth1010, the existence of the idea of a God in different cultures in different times may indicate that it is a persistent thought, but it does not prove that people throughout time needed it. People throughout time have not needed hashish, yet it is with us still - and for some time.

    Moreover, your views on why people need God is also unproven by its existence.

    Of course, the fact that a large amount of people believes in one God or the other does not mean that any of them are right, or that that belief contributes to a happier life.

    Mr U
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    Jeremy you do run around contradicting yourself alot.

    If we accept that the existence of god is something common on people on earth. To simply say it illogical is not a good enough explanation is it?

    Its like saying that beacause most people on earth value having fun, yet having fun isnt essential to passing on genes [sexual intercourse apart] then having fun is illogical.

    Whereas god created fun and learning to fullfill our lives is a much more reasonable explanation.

    I often find evolution or aethiism is more illogical and unproveable than the traditional view that God created these needs with a reason.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    Jeremy you do run around contradicting yourself alot.
    Truth, you do run around claiming that a lot, but never prove it.
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    Claiming it once is not a "alot."

    Only when you do contradict yourself am i then proven right. If you didnt contradict yourself id be very much in the wrong.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    Claiming it once is not a "alot."

    Only when you do contradict yourself am i then proven right. If you didnt contradict yourself id be very much in the wrong.
    No, you do claim it a lot. Or do I confuse you with another poster...either way, you still never pointed out where I did.
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    Jeremy to accuse someone youll need some evidence.

    Ill stop you argueing with me by challenging you to a game of minesweeper via msn. Winner takes all.

    [the above is british humour, dont paste me your msn]
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  24. #23 Re: Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    If God's existence was theoretical then would it be more palatable for non-believers? For myself that's exactly what God is...just another theory and so far no one has been able to disprove it.

    I put it right alongside relativity and until proven wrong it remains only a theory. Believers are then only staunch supporters of it. They have a book(s), so what, every theory has a few.
    One of the main requirements for a scientific theory is that it must be falsifiable, meaning there must be some way to actually check whether or not it’s correct by making empirical observations in the real world. That’s the difference between any given religion and relativity; relativity makes predictions that we can check, while the “god theory” does not. That alone is enough to disqualify the existence of god as a valid theory.

    If it was a theory then I think the burden of disproving it would fall upon the non-believers.
    In that case you could have an infinite number of "theories" that are all equally "valid," becuse there's no way to disprove any of them.

    So if presented as a product of human thought then God is merely theoretical and proving it is not a requirement for the believers.
    The big difference here is that relativity was proven by experiments. Einstein didn't just throw it out there and say "Okay, can anybody disprove this?" He provided evidence to support it, rather than merely claiming it was true because there was no evidence against it.
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    There is a reason to the common belief in a diety. The reason is that we all have a need for answers and a sense of our own futility. We need god in our lifes. Thats why religion is common in all cultures.
    I agree, a lot of people probably do need God. But the need for something to be true doesn't make it true - and given there's no reason to actually believe that he DOES exist, that's why I'm an atheist.
    I've softened my stance a bit lately though. I'm definitely an atheist and I'd be surprised if that changes anytime soon, but I always come back to how/why is there anything at all, rather than nothing. a variation of the fine-tuned universe argument can also be persuasive to me.
    And when the universe winds down and dies a cold (or hot..) death, with all possibility of life gone, is there really then no life for the rest of eternity? Humans search for purpose in everything and it's hard to accept a reality where life can no longer be, for eternity. It makes me wonder a little and, like most people, it makes me want God to be real.
    But that's a very human line of thought which probably has little bearing on the reality of the universe. What we want to exist and what does exist are not the same things.
    That was a bit of a ramble, my apologies!
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    Jeremy to accuse someone youll need some evidence.

    Ill stop you argueing with me by challenging you to a game of minesweeper via msn. Winner takes all.

    [the above is british humour, dont paste me your msn]
    You still avoided telling me where I contradicted myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    Jeremy to accuse someone youll need some evidence.

    Ill stop you argueing with me by challenging you to a game of minesweeper via msn. Winner takes all.

    [the above is british humour, dont paste me your msn]
    Is it?

    I'm British and don't think it's remotely funny?

    I'd always assumed you lived in the US.......



    Erm.....and to keep the thread slightly on topic - there's no harm in the belief of god. In fact, if everybody thought the same way and had a bit more compassion for others the world would indeed probably be a better place. (Though belief in god isn't needed for that)
    But they don't. And no amount of preaching will change that.
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    Jeremy wrote...

    No, you do claim it a lot. Or do I confuse you with another poster
    Thats one of the contradictions. Claiming one thing then going straight back on it.

    Relative you clearly have no sense of humour. I probably shouldnt have added a joke into these fierce forums. I was merely trying to calm jeremy down as i fear hell explode everytime i post.

    Im not sure what you meant by "thought i was american". I have american friends who have a sense of humour.

    As jehovahs witnesses we have a good track record. So if all of mankind had the same belief as jehovahs people the world would indeed be better.

    If on top of that jesus was to govern the earth under the creator of the earth,god, then life would be even better.

    The reality is that serving the true god is certainly better than man doing things on his own whilst claiming god doesnt exist.
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  29. #28  
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    can we PLEASE get back on topic? or do I have to start deleting stuff again? :? (no, not a threat, more of a statement of annoyance)

    Edit: I said ON TOPIC. If you want to gripe about it, PM me.
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    ive written...

    The reality is that serving the true god is certainly better than man doing things on his own whilst claiming god doesnt exist.
    Clearly on the topic.


    Edited for being off topic (again). - Jeremyhfht
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    ive written...

    The reality is that serving the true god is certainly better than man doing things on his own whilst claiming god doesnt exist.
    Apologies, I should have only deleted the off topic content. Which I do here. :P

    I'll have to stop speed reading through your posts. Wont happen again.
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  32. #31 Re: Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    The big difference here is that relativity was proven by experiments. Einstein didn't just throw it out there and say "Okay, can anybody disprove this?" He provided evidence to support it, rather than merely claiming it was true because there was no evidence against it.
    You mean to say that every experiment conducted by his fellow scientists was done to prove Einstein right?

    Einstein's theories were probably some of the first that were ever conceived strictly by thought.

    To me a theory can be an idea with no hard evidence. If you don't believe any theory born from thought then prove it wrong.

    What I'm saying is that to simply state God exists without proof is not theory, and is basically what we have now. If instead people only theorized on His existence then that's all it would be...a theory. To say, 'in theory I believe God exists' is much easier to stomach then people claiming things to be true without any proof.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    One of the main requirements for a scientific theory is that it must be falsifiable, meaning there must be some way to actually check whether or not it’s correct by making empirical observations in the real world.
    I think Scifor Refugee hit on a huge point here. The only thing that makes me skeptical is that things like string theory still get the title of being a theory despite the fact that strings can't be empirically observed because of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It might be able to retain its title because we can see the effects of strings without seeing the strings themselves, just like how we can't actually see black holes but we know they're there based on how they change their surroundings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    The big difference here is that relativity was proven by experiments. Einstein didn't just throw it out there and say "Okay, can anybody disprove this?" He provided evidence to support it, rather than merely claiming it was true because there was no evidence against it.
    If we can take the influences on the observable world as evidence, I think there is plenty of evidence for God to be taken as a theory. To name a couple: the fact that the universe seems "fine-tuned" for life and the observation that there's "something, instead of nothing" as Neutrino mentioned. If one can prove natural explanations for these phenomena, the "God theory" is falsified.

    When I was an agnostic, I used to be frustrated by the theists who tried to fill the holes in science with God. It seemed to me that they were so desperate to have answers to the hard questions that they made them up instead of saying "I don't know." But things like the fine-tuned universe, the Kalam cosmological argument, and even the case for the Resurrection are really affirmative arguments for the existence of God, as long as you don't deny the existence of God from the start. All we have to go on is the evidence we have, and sometimes the best (and only) way to explain the evidence is to say that God exists. Scientifically, there's nothing wrong with that.
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  34. #33  
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    FRom answers.com (THe online dictionary)

    Theory:-
    "A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

    Based on this, 'God' can be accepted as a theory under the 'widely believed' category provided the theory of god "can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

    Now you decide, for my money 'God' is NOT a theory.

    Scifor wrote -
    "One of the main requirements for a scientific theory is that it must be falsifiable, meaning there must be some way to actually check whether or not it’s correct by making empirical observations in the real world."

    I strongly concur with this.

    Hypothesis:-
    "God created the world" is at best a hypothesis ie a tentative explanation of a phenomina awaiting scientific study or clarification by experiment.

    There is NO experiment known which can test the existence or otherwise of God, there is no observable phenoomina to be explained and therefore I move 'god' is not a hypothesis either.

    God is therefore relegated to speculation in scientific terms, so far all we can really say for sure is that he only 'exists' in the minds of those who believe. The bible and other religious works are no more proof of his 'existence' than the works of Dawin prove evolution. Darwin's books are theory, the proof [or otherwise] lay in the fossil and dna records.

    You may consider the bible as 'unsupported testimonial evidence' only.
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  35. #34  
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    Lucid wrote:
    I think there is plenty of evidence for God to be taken as a theory. To name a couple: the fact that the universe seems "fine-tuned" for life and the observation that there's "something, instead of nothing"
    You got it the other way around; life is fined-tune to live in the universe (environment), not the universe is made to support life. It is like you say the light is made so that the eyes can see.
    "something, instead of nothing" does not prove the existence of god. When something is incomprehensible it is usually contribute to a superbeing. Long time ago, when a volcano erupted, it was thought as the wrath of god. Now we are wiser. Someday we will figure out the natural law that govern "someting, instead of nothing"
    Good thought, though. help to keep the debate interesting. I would like to see more evidence that you think prove the existence of god.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    The only thing that makes me skeptical is that things like string theory still get the title of being a theory despite the fact that strings can't be empirically observed because of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. It might be able to retain its title because we can see the effects of strings without seeing the strings themselves, just like how we can't actually see black holes but we know they're there based on how they change their surroundings.
    Actually there is a lot of controversy within the physics community about whether or not string theory is a valid scientific theory, since at the moment there is no way to actually check any of its predictions. There are hypothetical experiments that could be done, but we can't build particle accelerators nearly powerful enough to do the experiments with our current technology. So, although we don't have the ability to experimentally check any of string theory's predictions at the moment, it is at least hypothetically possible to test it if you have sufficiently advanced technology. But if you're proposing the existence of an omnipotent being that exists outside our reality and isn't constrained by any physical laws, there seems to be absolutely no way that you could ever possibly check that experimentally.
    If we can take the influences on the observable world as evidence, I think there is plenty of evidence for God to be taken as a theory. To name a couple: the fact that the universe seems "fine-tuned" for life and the observation that there's "something, instead of nothing" as Neutrino mentioned. If one can prove natural explanations for these phenomena, the "God theory" is falsified.
    No offense, but this appears to be little more than a very sophisticated version of attributing lightening to bolts hurled down from heaven by the gods, or sickness being caused by evil spirits. It's just the same old "We can't explain this at the moment, so it must have been god!" argument. No one can currently explain why there is something rather than nothing; but that doesn't mean that we should immediately resort to supernatural explanations.

    Also, you still run into the problem of not being able to actually do any experiments to check your hypothesis. It's not enough for a theory to explain things that have already been observed- you also need to be able to make new predictions that can be checked. For example, relativity nicely explained the motion of the planets (which couldn't be explained with classical physics). But it didn't just stop at explain already-observed data - it went on to make new predictions like gravitational lensing, time dilation, and relativistic mass increase.
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    Gravitaional lensing of course now having been observed and documented. No other explanation being plausible with today's knowledge for what we see, which exactly matches the prediction - look [ironically enough] for 'Einstein's Cross' - which we [at least] do not think is a religious relic... :wink:

    As to the universe being 'fine tuned' if it was not, it would not have existed for more than an instant, it can be hypothesised that there are many universes which are formed, fail to 'stabilise' and dissappear - it needs at least a partially stable universe to exist long enough for intelligent life to evolve and realise the universe is 'fine tuned' - from this our own universe may actually be not as 'fine tuned' as we think, it could be that time is an illusion to us with the universe existing for only a brief moment, if viewed from another dimension.
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  38. #37 Re: Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    You mean to say that every experiment conducted by his fellow scientists was done to prove Einstein right?
    I'm not sure exactly what you mean here. What I'm saying is that relativity didn't just explain things that had already been observed - it also made new predictions that could be tested. The "god theory" doesn't do that. You have to be able to say "If this theory is right, then I would expect to see X when I do Y. So if I do Y and don't see X, then my theory is probably wrong. That's what science is all about - actually checking ideas with observations to see if you're correct. You can't do that with the god theory.
    Einstein's theories were probably some of the first that were ever conceived strictly by thought.
    What do you mean by "conceived strictly by thought"? Aren't all theories conceived by people who think about data until they come up with an idea to explain it?
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    All I'm saying is that Einstein's detractors would have probably loved to disprove it. I'm sure some experiments were conducted to prove hime wrong, that's all. It's just me trying to interpret what you said, no problem.

    I believe that before Einstein, theory had to be back up by experiment or hard evidence to be accepted whereas Einstein's thought experiments were so good that none of that was required.

    What about God can be proven to be false? What prediction about God can likewise be proven false? The answer is none. No one can prove God or His Bibles are false and if belief in God isn't theory then what is it, reality?

    I'm merely stating that if presented as theory then God is easier to accept. If there's another word better than theory then by all means, let's use it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Lucid wrote: Quote:
    I think there is plenty of evidence for God to be taken as a theory. To name a couple: the fact that the universe seems "fine-tuned" for life and the observation that there's "something, instead of nothing"

    You got it the other way around; life is fined-tune to live in the universe (environment), not the universe is made to support life. It is like you say the light is made so that the eyes can see.
    Actually, I meant what I said. I think what you're describing is evolution, and the fact that this theory doesn't immediately appeal to logic shows its strength. Our universe comes with a set of constants, like the strength of the force that holds the neutrons/protons of a nucleus together, the force of gravity, the rate of entropy, etc. Scientists have calculated that if these constants were different by marginal percentages, we wouldn't have many of the necessary conditions for life, like atomic diversity (Hydrogen would be the only stable atom in the universe if the nuclear force was 2% weaker), and the formation of stars and solar systems would be impossible. It's an interesting observation about our universe that's definitely worth some exploration if you've never heard of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    As to the universe being 'fine tuned' if it was not, it would not have existed for more than an instant, it can be hypothesised that there are many universes which are formed, fail to 'stabilise' and dissappear - it needs at least a partially stable universe to exist long enough for intelligent life to evolve and realise the universe is 'fine tuned'.
    This is known as the Multiverse theory, and it's the reason I present the fine-tuned universe theory as evidence and not proof. One of the problems though is that it is unfalsifiable, just like the God theory. In that sense, it puts them on a level playing field. Also, the practical applications of the Multiverse theory (like M-theory) have been taking a lot of criticism for their lack of mathematical verification.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    I would like to see more evidence that you think prove the existence of god.
    By no means should these be taken as proofs of God's existence. They are merely evidence. It's virtually impossible to draw a proof from anything even when it doesn't involve the supernatural. I bring up evidence in order to establish God as a theory, because theories require it.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    Long time ago, when a volcano erupted, it was thought as the wrath of god. Now we are wiser. Someday we will figure out the natural law that govern "someting, instead of nothing"
    In a previous post, I wrote about how I used to share your opinion that theists try to fill in the holes of science with God. The mistake I was making before though is that I was denying the existence of God from the start, so of course any natural explanation of events would be more probable than an act of God. I came to that realization after reading a debate about the Resurrection (http://www.holycross.edu/departments...transcript.pdf, I strongly suggest it). Bill Craig was saying that we have some pretty well-established facts about the time around Jesus' death, and in this case, it looks like the best explanation for those facts is that Jesus was really resurrected. Ehrman, his opponent, was trying to say that he couldn't draw that conclusion as a historian. But Craig was saying that you can draw that conclusion when you go home to your family, even if you can't professionally.

    In the same way, we can look at this evidence for the existence of God and try to come up with outlandish explanations for it, which will be more credible by scientific standards. Or if we accept the the possibility that God could actually exist (and not deny it from the get go), we might find that it fits far better than any other explanation, and not just as a last resort answer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    All I'm saying is that Einstein's detractors would have probably loved to disprove it.
    I suggest that you may not be a fully paid up member of the science community. Let me explaiin, scientists 'love' to discover the explanations for observable & possible phenomina.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I'm sure some experiments were conducted to prove hime wrong, that's all. It's just me trying to interpret what you said, no problem.
    Experiments are formulated only to find the truth or to test a theory, that's the word we use, to 'TEST'. If I saw an article entitled "Experiment to disprove Einstein" I'd know I was reading a newspaper or internet forum piece! This is why I and others can read the first two lines of a thread and think 'maybe' - 'nice one' - or 'bollocks', there is a 'style' a fingerprint if you like of 'education in the field' :wink:
    Many experiments have been formulated to test alternative theories to Einstein, the results being published either way. Where these succeed they do not disprove relativity, where they fail they do not prove relativity. Where two competing theories have supporting 'evidence' they may peacefully co-exist - Think of the mighty and impressive history of 'man's perception of light'.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I believe that before Einstein, theory had to be back up by experiment or hard evidence to be accepted whereas Einstein's thought experiments were so good that none of that was required.
    Err... NO - If einstein could have tested his theory with a lump of coal, a jar of morphine and two pieces of copper wire he would have. It took a while for scientists to formulate experiments to test his theory but they did and the results supported his work.

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    What about God can be proven to be false? What prediction about God can likewise be proven false? The answer is none. No one can prove God or His Bibles are false and if belief in God isn't theory then what is it, reality?
    The opposite of theory is NOT reality, [I have a theory that I cannot fly, it is supported by experimental data].
    There is no test to determine whether god does or dos not exist, science freely admits this and moves on....

    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    I'm merely stating that if presented as theory then God is easier to accept. If there's another word better than theory then by all means, let's use it.
    Conjecture, speculation, hope, wishful-thinking.. ?

    "Would God be easier to accept as a theory" - well that would depend upon what 'evidence' or data elevated it from conjecture to theory.
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  42. #41 Re: Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos
    If God's existence was theoretical then would it be more palatable for non-believers? For myself that's exactly what God is...just another theory and so far no one has been able to disprove it. I put it right alongside relativity and until proven wrong it remains only a theory. Believers are then only staunch supporters of it. They have a book(s), so what, every theory has a few.

    All theories usually start with a thought and this is where we run into trouble, we don't know for certain if God was spawned from the mind of a human. Since no one was around to take credit, religions assume that no man could ever have dreamed it and God's not telling.

    If it was a theory then I think the burden of disproving it would fall upon the non-believers. Einstein's famous theories were formed in the mind, not in the lab. Non-believers almost to a person believe God is a product of people's imaginations. So if presented as a product of human thought then God is merely theoretical and proving it is not a requirement for the believers.

    But the believers do not theorize about God's existence so the burden of proof is on them. I'd like to see them rethink that so we can have something different to rant about.
    I normally avoid religious discussion because in my experience they aren't very open and honest. But:

    Yes, I think a theory of God would be more acceptable to many. It would be good if religious folk took a logical rather than dogmatic approach. However I think the burden of proof for any theory must lie with the advocates and not the opponents. It's only logical.
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    Lucid wrote:
    if these constants were different by marginal percentages, we wouldn't have many of the necessary conditions for life, like atomic diversity (Hydrogen would be the only stable atom in the universe if the nuclear force was 2% weaker), and the formation of stars and solar systems would be impossible.
    1. It is another mystery, which you contribute to the work of Super Being, until someone works out why.
    2. Why do you think this Super Being is a Christian God, instead of an Islam God, or any other Religion's God?

    In the same way, we can look at this evidence for the existence of God and try to come up with outlandish explanations for it, which will be more credible by scientific standards.
    Outlandish, but more credible? That means other alternative theories are Outspace-ish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    In the same way, we can look at this evidence for the existence of God and try to come up with outlandish explanations for it, which will be more credible by scientific standards. Or if we accept the the possibility that God could actually exist (and not deny it from the get go), we might find that it fits far better than any other explanation, and not just as a last resort answer.
    Lucid that's just a God-of-the-Gaps argument that has been shown throughout history to be very weak. I haven't read every post in this thread so maybe you can do a short recap for me - what specific evidence do you believe fits in the category where God is the best conclusion, keeping in mind that "We don't know" is a perfectly valid conclusion as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    In a previous post, I wrote about how I used to share your opinion that theists try to fill in the holes of science with God. The mistake I was making before though is that I was denying the existence of God from the start, so of course any natural explanation of events would be more probable than an act of God.
    The problem here is that humanity has a loooooooong history of incorrectly attributing things that we couldn't explain to supernatural forces, only to find out later that there is a perfectly natural explanation. The "it must be supernatural" explanation has a terriable track record. The things that people have mistakenly attributed to supernatural forces are far too numerous to even try to list, but I'm sure that you are just as aware of them as I am. We have now reached the point where almost everything that was once attributed to the supernatural now has a natural explanation, and only a few of the most tremendously difficult question like "why is there anything rather than nothing" are left without reasonable non-supernatural answers. In using the "since we can't explain it, perhaps god did it" explanation, you are relying on an explanation that has been proven wrong almost every single time it has been used.
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    Megabrain wrote
    I suggest that you may not be a fully paid up member of the science community. Let me explaiin, scientists 'love' to discover the explanations for observable & possible phenomina.
    I did say his detractors didn't I? Am I to believe that everyone, the first time they heard Einstein's theory, accepted it? To even mention that I'm not some paid up member as you call it suggests to me that you have a very personal bias toward anyone who doesn't satisfy your criteria. This is the religion section is it not?

    Meabrain wrote
    If einstein could have tested his theory with a lump of coal, a jar of morphine and two pieces of copper wire he would have. It took a while for scientists to formulate experiments to test his theory but they did and the results supported his work.

    I did say his thoughts were more than adequate, didn't I? I sorry, I just cannot accept that all scientists can't wait to prove the other guy was right. That's too unrealistic in my mind.

    I hardly think all scientists are as you describe. A scientist isn't always someone who agrees with you. Just as there are dedicated people out there trying to prove events in Earth's long history there are those who are trying prove it wasn't that long ago. The latter group would not be scientific because they don't agree with you? Although I don't know for sure I find it hard to believe there are no deeply religious scientists working against the otherwise mainstream established scientific community.

    As for the God theory, I just put the idea out there. I know there's no evidence. Didn't say I was endorsing it. Just trying to get opinions, yet you seem to think I'm out of my mind for even suggesting it.

    I don't wish to start WWIII over this. It does appear as if people have differing views on what constitutes a theory. I think its great. I don't think there's one answer.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    You appear to be applying religious rules to science, that's a mistake, scientists will not automatically believe another scientist however smart, he is, they will ask for clarification and data etc.

    It is the religious community that follow their leaders without question.

    Einstein was lucky, there was a lot of loose stuff lying around, which he 'sorted in his mind' - drew a picture of what he saw and offered it to science, others could see a certain logic in it and decided to investigate.

    Einstein did not produce some whole new science out of nothing, his conclusions were brilliant, but if he had died before announcing it to the world it would have made no difference, as in many discoveries there were others not far behind - he was first, he got the credit, but there's a list of many hundreds of dedicated research scientists at the time who were working hard on real issues, not lying back dreaming of it!

    Science needs thinkers, doers and yes dreamers as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    You appear to be applying religious rules to science, that's a mistake,
    It's only a mistake if you know what those rules are. In no way shape or form do I consider myself religious and any association between myself and religion, its rules or otherwise are purely coincidental.

    I have no doubt someone other than Einstein would have picked up the torch had he fallen. Didn't his first paper just beat another person's(can't remember name) to the forefront?

    Science is a grind. What I like about it is, despite what its detractors say, is how the whole or maybe the majority of the community eventually comes to accept that which can be proven. But its not an overnite thing. A lot of painstaking work takes place by some of the greatest minds our species can deliver. Skepticism is met head-on with proof or disproof...no religion can deliver that.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    And probably more than one, if I hypothesised a theorun, yet before publishing it was 'pipped at the post' I would certainly not, belatedly announce it to the world, it may appear as 'sour grapes' - I would be in an excellent position to comment on the 'victor's' paper though at a very early stage, which within itself is another form of 'Qudos'.

    see you back in the Lab Monday morning...
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    that's just a God-of-the-Gaps argument that has been shown throughout history to be very weak. - Neutrino

    We have now reached the point where almost everything that was once attributed to the supernatural now has a natural explanation, and only a few of the most tremendously difficult question like "why is there anything rather than nothing" are left without reasonable non-supernatural answers. - Scifor Refugee

    1. It is another mystery, which you contribute to the work of Super Being, until someone works out why. - prasit
    I just want to point out that in order to make these arguments, you have to deny the existence of God from the start. You're saying that, no matter what, the existence of God could not be a solution. I think that's a lot more closed-minded than you intend to be (I hope). I understand that people have attributed God to almost everything in the past, but there's a big difference between attributing things like weather and illness to God, and other things that simply do not compute. Here are a couple of them that stick out in my mind particularly:

    1. There is something, instead of nothing. By any means of logic, it just doesn't compute that the universe would appear ex nihilo. Ockham's Razor would tell us that nothing existing would be much more simple than something existing. But yet there is something.

    2. The universe seems fine-tuned for life. We've been over this in other posts. The hypothesis that there are multiple universe has two unlikely postulates: 1) that there are multiple universes (this has no mathematical verification, though it's fun to think about), and 2) that those universes would have different universal constants than this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    2. Why do you think this Super Being is a Christian God, instead of an Islam God, or any other Religion's God?
    Nobody has actually made that distinction yet. But if you want to talk about the Christian God, I think there's even more evidence:

    3. People gave their lives for their belief in Jesus' resurrection when they would have known if they were wrong. 11 of the 12 disciples died torturous deaths, as did Jesus' originally skeptical brother James, and the Pharisee Paul (someone who used to persecute and kill Christians himself). Yes, people from other religions will die for their beliefs too, but they could not have known if they were wrong. For example, the Muslims might strap a bomb to themselves because they believe that Allah spoke to Mohammad who wrote the Qu'ran. But Mohammad received his prophecy by himself in a cave, and nobody could know if he was lying. The Christians witnesses their Savior die on a cross, and he either really appeared to them again, or they made the whole thing up. People just don't die (or completely reverse their beliefs in Paul's case) for what they know is not true. It doesn't compute.

    Again, if you want to keep saying that science (or history) just hasn't found the real answers, go ahead. But realize that by not leaving any room for conclusions other than yours, you've shielded yourself from ever being wrong. That makes you, in essence, unfalsifiable. And that's just going to kill discussions as bad as what Truth1010 was doing.
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    Lucid wrote:
    3. People gave their lives for their belief in Jesus' resurrection when they would have known if they were wrong. 11 of the 12 disciples died torturous deaths, as did Jesus' originally skeptical brother James, and the Pharisee Paul
    This is a very weak argument for linking the superbeing who created the whole universe by tinkering with physical constants 40 billion years ago with the god who revived a dead man as witnessed by 12 disciples, as recorded by some ancient people 2,000 years ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    3. People gave their lives for their belief in Jesus' resurrection when they would have known if they were wrong. 11 of the 12 disciples died torturous deaths.
    No big deal there then people have given their lives for just about anything you can imagine.

    From diving in the sea to recues a stranger, through countless lives lost in countless wars, suicide bombers - the protection of 'worthless' property.

    I do not belittle these, any of them merely state it is no more of a supreme sacrifice than any other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    No big deal there then people have given their lives for just about anything you can imagine.
    I agree with you, but please recognize the distinction I was making. People will not die for what they know is not true. People will only give their lives for something they believe in, like supporting your cause in a war, or wanting to save somebody's life. But if they knew the war was unjust, or the person you're saving was actually just a dummy, they wouldn't give their lives for it. In the same way, Paul would not have stopping killing Christians, become one of them, and then die because he was a Christian if he knew he made everything up. I think that's a pretty good reason to believe that Christ was actually resurrected. The same goes for the disciples and James.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    This is a very weak argument for linking the superbeing who created the whole universe by tinkering with physical constants 40 billion years ago with the god who revived a dead man as witnessed by 12 disciples, as recorded by some ancient people 2,000 years ago.
    prasit, please read for content. The only reason I brought up the Resurrection is because you asked about the Christian God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    2. Why do you think this Super Being is a Christian God, instead of an Islam God, or any other Religion's God?
    Nobody has actually made that distinction yet. But if you want to talk about the Christian God, I think there's even more evidence:
    My argument still stands even if we're only talking about a creator, but if we're talking about a Christian God, we could also talk about the Resurrection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    No big deal there then people have given their lives for just about anything you can imagine.
    I agree with you, but please recognize the distinction I was making. People will not die for what they know is not true.
    But people WILL die for what they've been TOLD is true.
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    In response to Jeremy:

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke 24:36-39
    While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.'
    Luke writes here that he saw Jesus in person after his crucifixion. There's no mistake in this passage that he's writing that he saw Jesus. This leaves only two options:

    1) Luke was lying. He made up that he saw the resurrected Christ.
    2) Luke was not lying. He really did see the resurrected Christ.

    Since people will not give their lives for what they know is a lie, #1 is eliminated. The only logical conclusion, then, is that Luke really did see the resurrected Christ. One might try to argue that he was just one person and we can't make a conclusion based on just one datum. But 11 of the 12 disciples did the same thing, as well a skeptic and a persecutor of Christians.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    But people WILL die for what they've been TOLD is true.
    Do you see how this doesn't apply? The disciples, James, and Paul weren't just "TOLD" about Christ. They saw him themselves, or they made it all up. There are only two options.
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    you've proven my point. You were TOLD those people even existed to begin with.
    You were also apparently TOLD that a logical fallacy constitutes evidence.

    I'll do exactly what you're doing:

    A random guy 5000 years ago said that a god exists and his name is "blob".

    This guy apparently isn't lying, since he claims he saw it and he wrote it down.

    Thus, he isn't lying, and we can safely follow "blob"

    Also, since people give their lives for what that one person wrote down about blob, blob exists.

    Plus, the problem with arguing with the bible is the *Fact* that no biblical character nor prophet has yet been proven to exist. Similarly, with jesus. Furthermore, you apparently only see in black and white (two options). Unfortunately, the world isn't so simplistic. They could have done it for a billion other reasons, not your simplistic two options.

    P.S: would you prefer I use the flying spaghetti monster rather than "blob" next time?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    But people WILL die for what they've been TOLD is true.

    you've proven my point. You were TOLD those people even existed to begin with.
    Jeremy, you're not even talking about the same thing here. The only similarity between them is that you capitalized the word TOLD in both. If you want to talk about the historicity of the Bible, that's a different issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    You were also apparently TOLD that a logical fallacy constitutes evidence.
    Nope, actually I gave two options then eliminated one because it was a logical fallacy. That leaves the other one as evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    I'll do exactly what you're doing:

    A random guy 5000 years ago said that a god exists and his name is "blob".

    This guy apparently isn't lying, since he claims he saw it and he wrote it down.

    Thus, he isn't lying, and we can safely follow "blob"

    Also, since people give their lives for what that one person wrote down about blob, blob exists.
    No, not quite the same. Your random guy didn't willingly give his own life because he refused to give up his belief in blob, and he doesn't claim to have ever encountered blob. I'm giving 13 examples of people who both experienced the resurrected Jesus and gave their lives for that belief, who would have also known if they were making it up. That's different than people who read the Bible (or listen to blob) and die for their belief. Are you even reading my posts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Plus, the problem with arguing with the bible is the *Fact* that no biblical character nor prophet has yet been proven to exist.
    Actually Paul's writings are accepted by historians to be extremely accurate. Look it up anywhere. His writings come at least 20 years before the synoptic gospel writers, and some historians put his writings within 10 years of Jesus' crucifixion. Not to mention archaeology has done nothing but continue to prove Paul's accuracy. For the sake of simplicity, I'd be willing to shift this debate to being about Paul, with the disciples and James as secondary evidence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Furthermore, you apparently only see in black and white (two options). Unfortunately, the world isn't so simplistic.
    I presented them as the only two logical options (i.e. "Since people will not give their lives for what they know is a lie, #1 is eliminated. The only logical conclusion, then, is that Luke really did see the resurrected Christ.") By all means, give us a third.
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  58. #57  
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    Lucid wrote:
    My argument still stands even if we're only talking about a creator, but if we're talking about a Christian God, we could also talk about the Resurrection.
    In summary, may I conclude that you believe:
    God exists because the constants of physical law are too good to be natural.
    And the Christian God exists because it was well-documented that 12 people insisted with their lives that a dead man who said he was the son of God came out from the tomb to stand before them, three days after. Later on 11 men who steadfastly believed in him and God died horribly. In their whole lives God never appeared before them.
    And these two Gods are not necessarily the same. Right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Jeremy, you're not even talking about the same thing here. The only similarity between them is that you capitalized the word TOLD in both. If you want to talk about the historicity of the Bible, that's a different issue.
    Uh...no. Same message here. People will believe what they are told, and act like it's true even if they've never done any research on it. It just depends on HOW you tell them and how lacking skepticism the person is.

    Nope, actually I gave two options then eliminated one because it was a logical fallacy. That leaves the other one as evidence.
    Logical fallacy? No, what that was, was an option you devised to prove your own antecedent (this being a logical fallacy, look it up). in doing so you make it SEEM like it's a valid argument when it's not.

    Lets go in-depth a bit: you didn't prove that was a logical fallacy. You only proved that you ASSUME that because people die for what they believe (based on faith not fact), that it's true.

    Okay in that case, Buddha exists, atheists beliefs are true, the Jehovah's witnesses are right and you all will die, the list goes on. Death for faith or belief does not constitute evidence.

    No, not quite the same. Your random guy didn't willingly give his own life because he refused to give up his belief in blob, and he doesn't claim to have ever encountered blob.
    ...okay, here's how you fix that: You reread it, and fill in the spots so that the guy does. Same result. You basically stated something that doesn't even matter.

    I'm giving 13 examples of people who both experienced the resurrected Jesus and gave their lives for that belief, who would have also known if they were making it up.
    Show me ONE historic document, other than the bible (that would be a fallacy to use in a case where you are proving the bible), which documents these people or jesus rising from the dead or jesus to begin with. Take note, that the supposed "historians" that have mentioned jesus were never referenced by the many well known (and credible) authors of the time. They never published the works which had jesus in them, they published other works sure, but not the ones with jesus in them.

    You are basically saying "oh well I have a handful of people here that may or may not exist and their claims may or may not have actually been stated. This book also may or may not have been written by a few people making shit up"

    That's different than people who read the Bible (or listen to blob) and die for their belief. Are you even reading my posts?
    Are you even reading mine? Fill in the blanks, the result is the same. would you prefer I write down the entire ideal bit by bit only to come to the exact same result?

    Actually Paul's writings are accepted by historians to be extremely accurate.
    Actually, this is the biggest lie ever told. Nobody can prove Paul exists, let alone the validity of his writings. The only thing historians do, is use evidence for references to culture or other things he wrote about.

    Furthermore, after checking wikipedia, I see no reference to anything non-biblical that he wrote about. Nor do I find any evidence for archeology that supports what he wrote about. I tried google, that only gives religious nonsense.

    Look it up anywhere. His writings come at least 20 years before the synoptic gospel writers, and some historians put his writings within 10 years of Jesus' crucifixion. Not to mention archaeology has done nothing but continue to prove Paul's accuracy. For the sake of simplicity, I'd be willing to shift this debate to being about Paul, with the disciples and James as secondary evidence.
    I did. What have I found? There is no archeology which proves paul's writings regarding jesus or his "faith". If there was, why wouldn't you point out a link?

    All I can find, sans religious nonsense, is that archeology can't prove anything either way.

    I presented them as the only two logical options (i.e. "Since people will not give their lives for what they know is a lie, #1 is eliminated. The only logical conclusion, then, is that Luke really did see the resurrected Christ.") By all means, give us a third.
    No no, a third wont be needed, I'll dash yours against the rocks:

    Suicidal people die for what they believe to be true. Does this mean it is true? No.

    Many cultists end up dying because their "leader" orders a mass suicide.
    Does this mean what they believe is true? No.

    And once again, many people have died for their beliefs true or not. WARS have started over who believes who is true. Does this make them true? No.

    as for your options, option #1 isn't eliminated. What's eliminated is any shred of credibility you may have had in that "logical" argument.
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  60. #59  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    I just want to point out that in order to make these arguments, you have to deny the existence of God from the start. You're saying that, no matter what, the existence of God could not be a solution.
    No, this is not true at all. I am simply pointing out that this explanation has been found to be wrong in the vast, overwhelming majority of the times it has been used. Of course it's a possible explanation - but it's an explanation with a very, very bad track record.
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    School has started back up, so my responses are going to come more slowly.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    And these two Gods are not necessarily the same. Right?
    I've made no argument to connect the two, though I do personally believe them to be the same. I can change "existence of God" to "existence of the supernatural" if it's easier for you to swallow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremyhfht
    But people WILL die for what they've been TOLD is true.

    you've proven my point. You were TOLD those people even existed to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Jeremy, you're not even talking about the same thing here. The only similarity between them is that you capitalized the word TOLD in both. If you want to talk about the historicity of the Bible, that's a different issue.
    Uh...no. Same message here. People will believe what they are told, and act like it's true even if they've never done any research on it. It just depends on HOW you tell them and how lacking skepticism the person is.
    Your first statement was about what the disciples would and wouldn't die for. Your second statement talks about people who only knew about Jesus because they heard about him from someplace else, like the people who read the Bible today. The key difference -- the one crititical to my argument -- is that the disciples lived during the time of Jesus, even if we didn't. Your point about people giving their lives for a bunch of different things is well-taken, but it's irrelevant because modern Christians will never know for sure if we're wrong about Jesus. The disciples, James, and Paul were in a position to know for sure if they were wrong about what they wrote, so their reactions are much more indicative than the average Christian. That's the difference.

    Let's be very clear about what we're disagreeing about. I'll set up a list of statements, and you respond to which ones you would contest. Feel free to add any others you think I'm leaving out.

    1. People tend not to give their lives for something they know is not true.
    2. According to the Bible, the disciples, James, and Paul claim to have seen Christ again after his crucifixion.
    3. Assuming that these are real accounts from real people, the disciples, James, and Paul would have known if they were fabricating their stories (i.e. Luke 24:36-39).
    4. According to the Bible, the disciples, James, and Paul gave their lives for their belief that Christ rose again.
    5. Some of these details are attested by non-biblical sources.
    6. The Bible is reliable as a historical document.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    I am simply pointing out that this explanation has been found to be wrong in the vast, overwhelming majority of the times it has been used. Of course it's a possible explanation - but it's an explanation with a very, very bad track record.
    Point well taken. When it comes at looking at evidence for or against God there are two extremes to avoid. One is the ultra-conservatives who won't listen to anything that doesn't fit in with their theological beliefs, and the other is the extreme atheism which denies the existence of God before even looking around. As a former skeptic myself, I fell into the latter category. All I ask is that people (all people, theist or not) look at the world with fresh eyes and decide from there.
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    Lucid wrote:
    I've made no argument to connect the two, though I do personally believe them to be the same. I can change "existence of God" to "existence of the supernatural" if it's easier for you to swallow.
    No, it is not the words that make them seem incompatible. It is the deed. One created the whole universe by tinkering with physical constants some 40 billiion years ago. Then one popped up and meddle with human affair two thousand years ago. There is no logial reason to think they are the same.

    It is also strange that you don't accept that the particular values of physicals can occur without supernatural intervention but you can accept that this supernatural being can exisit without further explanation.

    And using the finding that 12 disciples saw a man coming back from death as the proof of god's existence either. At most it can only prove that a dead man was found alive after being left in a cave for 3 days. You should not jump from a small miracle to a galactical one. I may postulate that he was not completely dead and was brought back to health by a doctor traveled back from the future thru a time machine. It is equally reasonable.
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  63. #62 Re: Is a Theory of God Easier to Accept? 
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    [quote="zinjanthropos"]If God's existence was theoretical then would it be more palatable for non-believers? For myself that's exactly what God is...just another theory and so far no one has been able to disprove it. I put it right alongside relativity and until proven wrong it remains only a theory.

    You seem to relegate "theory" to a low status! Actually, all our important knowledge is theory. What is left is the obvious. It is mundane and we do not have conversations about it, we do not teach it in school and write essays about it. Only theory is what is of concern to us and at the very fronteers of science.

    But if you are thinking instead of "The Truth" perhaps you are thinking of all the world's ancient scriptures and all the conflicting "TRUTH" they proclaim. If there were such a thing, we would not need science. We would know all that we need to know as 'TRUE".

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  64. #63  
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    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    No, it is not the words that make them seem incompatible. It is the deed. One created the whole universe by tinkering with physical constants some 40 billiion years ago. Then one popped up and meddle with human affair two thousand years ago. There is no logial reason to think they are the same.
    I think the only reason you're being so insistent on this is because I haven't been clear enough, and that's my fault. Here is a paraphrased version of how our conversation has progressed so far:

    Me: Here are a couple things about the universe I think validate the idea of God as a theory.
    You: So why do you think this God is the same as the Christian God; why not the God of Judaism or Islam?
    Me: Actually I haven't mentioned Christianity or Jesus, but if you want to define God as the Christian God, here is another piece of evidence.
    You: So those two Gods are necessarily the same, right?
    Me: That's irrelevant to my point. I'm trying to validate the idea of God as a theory. If you would prefer to call it the supernatural, that's ok with me too. I'm trying to validate the idea of the supernatural as a theory.
    You: There is no logical reason to think they are the same.

    So now my response to you is that if you want to talk about whether or not the creator God is the same thing as the Christians' God, I suggest you start another thread. It's an interesting topic, but it doesn't belong here. If you're going to respond, please respond to whether or not you think the supernatural should be treated as a theory.

    If you want a preview of my beliefs about the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you could read another post I just wrote. I'll just reference it here instead of restating it.

    http://thescienceforum.com/viewtopic...=5274&start=15
    - Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:26 pm
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    Lucid,

    You have only some of my responses right, and they are not in the right place.

    Following are my understanding:

    1. You believe there is a Super Being who fine tuned the physical constants so that the Uniververse can happen.

    2. You believe there is a Christian God because 12 disciples witnessed Jesus return after he had been dead for 3 days.

    3. You believe the Super Being (in 1.) and Christian God (in 2.) are one and the same, but give no reason. (You said "I've made no argument to connect the two, though I do personally believe them to be the same.")

    For these I counter that:

    1. If you don't believe the values of constants may happen to be there by themselves, it is also not logical to believe that the Super Being just be there by itself as well.

    2. Granted that the historical record of 12 disciples are correct, it just showed that a man has been found alive again after he was seen very dead 3 days before. But it is not a conclusion that God exists.

    3. As the Super Being in 1.) is so powerful (making the whole universe into existence by just fine-tuning constant and ancient (40 billion years old. He operated differently from the Christian God, who tends to do simple things like splitting water and just showed his influence around 2000 years ago. The styles are so different that they are probably not the same, it they exist.

    Hope it is more clearer now.
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    I'll respond to your first two points, but not the third. Start a new thread if you want to talk about that one because it's not relevant to this thread. Again, just to clarify, I'm trying to show some evidence in order to validate the supernatural as a theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    1. If you don't believe the values of constants may happen to be there by themselves, it is also not logical to believe that the Super Being just be there by itself as well.
    I think it is possible for the constants to be the way they are just by chance, but the odds are very much against it. If our two options are 1) God exists and created the constants to accomodate life and 2) God doesn't exist and it happened by chance, #1 is going to have a lot of support. It is extremely unlikely that all these things that are necessary in order for life to exist all exist by chance, but admittedly it is also possible that that's just the way the universe is. It's not proof, but it's evidence, and that's what is needed for a theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    2. Granted that the historical record of 12 disciples are correct, it just showed that a man has been found alive again after he was seen very dead 3 days before. But it is not a conclusion that God exists.
    So a guy was seen "very dead" but was still seen alive later? Dead people just don't do that, prasit. Dead people stay dead. That should be enough to point strongly to the supernatural, but what gets me is that he told the disciples that he was going to do it too. Even if something like that could happen by chance, people aren't likely to predict that they're going to do it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    I think it is possible for the constants to be the way they are just by chance, but the odds are very much against it.
    Since we have no idea why the constants are what they are, it doesn't follow that the odds are very much against it. Maybe the constants HAD to be that way. We don't know. I think I remember reading that string theory might provide some answers about why the constants take the specific values they do, but I'm not positive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Quote Originally Posted by prasit
    2. Granted that the historical record of 12 disciples are correct, it just showed that a man has been found alive again after he was seen very dead 3 days before. But it is not a conclusion that God exists.
    So a guy was seen "very dead" but was still seen alive later? Dead people just don't do that, prasit. Dead people stay dead. That should be enough to point strongly to the supernatural, but what gets me is that he told the disciples that he was going to do it too. Even if something like that could happen by chance, people aren't likely to predict that they're going to do it.
    If a guy was dead for 3 days and came back, and also foretold that this would happen, I think the supernatural would be a very strong possibility here. I'm not sure it's any more likely than extraterrestrials, but I'd definitely consider the supernatural here personally. Of course, there's no evidence this actually happened with Jesus so to me it's a moot point.
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  68. #67  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Since we have no idea why the constants are what they are, it doesn't follow that the odds are very much against it. Maybe the constants HAD to be that way. We don't know.
    There are about 30 universal constants that if we changed any of them by a very small percentage, the conditions for life would not exist. For example, let's say that every constant has a 5% window where it would be possible to create life. 5% = 1/20. 1/20^30 constants = 9.31^-40 = 1/9.31^40 or approximately .00000000000000000000000000000000000000172. A 5% window is probably even lenient, but you get my point. All we know is that the constants are the way they are, and they're all conducive to life. The odds that that happened by chance are practically non-existent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I think I remember reading that string theory might provide some answers about why the constants take the specific values they do, but I'm not positive.
    Yep, that's what is known as the Multiverse theory. It says that an infinite number of universes have been created all with different constants, so it's just a matter of time before one of them comes up with the exact constants necessary for life. However, this theory runs into three big problems: 1) scientists haven't been able to verify it mathematically, 2) there is no empirical evidence for it (in other words we can't observe these other universes), and 3) it makes the assumption that if there are other universes, they would have different universal constants than ours, and we have no reason to believe that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    If a guy was dead for 3 days and came back, and also foretold that this would happen, I think the supernatural would be a very strong possibility here. I'm not sure it's any more likely than extraterrestrials, but I'd definitely consider the supernatural here personally. Of course, there's no evidence this actually happened with Jesus so to me it's a moot point.
    We've actually been talking about this earlier in the thread. I've been representing the point that the disciples gave their lives for the belief that Jesus rose from the dead when they would have known if they were making the story up. I believe them when they say they saw him after his death because people don't give their lives for something they make up. Feel free to jump into that conversation too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    There are about 30 universal constants that if we changed any of them by a very small percentage, the conditions for life would not exist. For example, let's say that every constant has a 5% window where it would be possible to create life. 5% = 1/20. 1/20^30 constants = 9.31^-40 = 1/9.31^40 or approximately .00000000000000000000000000000000000000172. A 5% window is probably even lenient, but you get my point. All we know is that the constants are the way they are, and they're all conducive to life. The odds that that happened by chance are practically non-existent.
    Well you're basically just repeating your point here but I don't see how you can possibly claim to know the odds of any of this. Pick one constant, say the strength of gravity. Now, what are the odds of gravity being exactly as strong as it is? (And "1" is not the answer I'm looking for). There's no way to determine what the odds were gravity could have been strong...or weaker...or exactly what it is now, because we have no idea what determined this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    I've been representing the point that the disciples gave their lives for the belief that Jesus rose from the dead when they would have known if they were making the story up. I believe them when they say they saw him after his death because people don't give their lives for something they make up. Feel free to jump into that conversation too.
    Well by the same token, people don't quickly let go of beliefs they've given their lives to, even after they've been shown that they were wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Well you're basically just repeating your point here but I don't see how you can possibly claim to know the odds of any of this. Pick one constant, say the strength of gravity. Now, what are the odds of gravity being exactly as strong as it is? (And "1" is not the answer I'm looking for). There's no way to determine what the odds were gravity could have been strong...or weaker...or exactly what it is now, because we have no idea what determined this.
    Yeah, I wasn't sure if you had read the earlier posts so I repeated it. I see your point about gravity. If we take the range of the strengths of gravity that would accomodate life (A) compared to all possible strengths of gravity (B), then we wouldn't be able to derive a probability from it because the range of possible strengths for gravity is infinitely large. Therefore, A/B would be infinitely small, in other words zero. That is not the approach I was using.

    I was looking at the amount of deviation it would take in order for life not to exist compared to the actual strength of the constant. For example, let's say the Universal Gravitational Constant is 100 of some unit. (It is actually 6.67 × 10^-11 newton meters^2 per kilogram^2, but let's just say 100 of some unit for the sake of simplicity.) What I meant by a 5% window for life to exist would be saying that life can exist if the UGC is anywhere from 97.5 to 102.5. Since 5% = .05, I took .05^30 for the thirty constants and got the probability I gave in the last post. I think the confusion we had is that you thought I was using an infinite for the denominator, but I was really using the specific force of the constant which is known to us. This is an observation about the known universe that has nothing to do with its origins.

    Scientists use the same method I used to get probabilities too. For example, the maximum deviation for the expansion rate of the universe in order for life to exist is 1:10^55. You can change it to a decimal by doing 1/10^55, which is what I did in the last post. If you want to look into it, http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/designun.html is a website with good, objective information even though the conclusion they draw is their own. It gives some probabilities like the one I was giving, plus it goes through each of the constants and describes how life wouldn't be possible if the constant was too large or too small.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    We've actually been talking about this earlier in the thread. I've been representing the point that the disciples gave their lives for the belief that Jesus rose from the dead when they would have known if they were making the story up. I believe them when they say they saw him after his death because people don't give their lives for something they make up. Feel free to jump into that conversation too.
    Well by the same token, people don't quickly let go of beliefs they've given their lives to, even after they've been shown that they were wrong.
    Point well-taken. People won't quickly let go of beliefs, but think about the situation they were in. People expected them to let go of their beliefs because they were publicly "proven wrong." Jesus had just been crucified in front of everybody and they were being made a mockery of, and on top of that Christians were already being persecuted. By making it up, they were willingly choosing to be the objects of scorn and persecution. They weren't popular for saying that Jesus rose from the dead by any means. It would have been much easier just to admit they were wrong and get on with their lives.

    If Jesus wasn't really resurrected, it comes down to two conflicting emotions: pride in your beliefs that you know are wrong, versus having the opportunity to live a normal life by renouncing your beliefs. You might believe that their pride was strong enough to make them lie, but I would just have to disagree at that point. It's a possible answer, but it doesn't seem likely especially since none of the eleven remaining disciples renounced their beliefs, plus James and Paul. It would only take one the disciples saying it didn't happen to negate the whole thing.
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    Alot of people witnessed Jesus ascend to heaven a few days after he had died. Jesus's life death and ministry were prophesied long before he came to earth (over 350 prophecies written before Jesus, all which Jesus fulfilled)



    Lucid i believe the constants are a sign that God is the creator of the universe. And a sign that life on earth is unique (no aliens).



    Anthropic Constant 11: The Earth’s Crust.
    If the thickness of the earth’s crust were greater, too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life. If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life impossible.
    Anthropic Constant 12: The Earth’s Rotation.
    If the rotation of the earth took longer than 24 hours, temperature differences would be too great between night and day. If the rotation period were shorter, atmospheric wind velocities would be to great.
    Anthropic Constant 13: Axis Tilt.
    The 23-degree axis tilt of the earth is just right. If the tilt were altered slightly, surface temperatures would be too extreme on earth.

    Anthropic Constant 5: Gravity
    If the gravitational force were altered by 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001 percent, our sun would not exist, and, therefore neither would we. Talk about precision.
    Anthropic Constant 6: Centrifugal Force
    If the centrifugal force of planetary movements did not precisely balance the gravitational forces, nothing could be held in orbit around the sun.


    Anthropic Constant 8: Speed Of Light
    Any of the laws of physics can be described as a function of the velocity of light (now defined to be 299,792,458 meters per second). Even a slight variation in the speed of light would alter the other constants and preclude the possibility of life on earth.
    Anthropic Constant 9: Water Vapor Levels.
    If water vapor levels in the atmosphere were greater than they are now, a runaway greenhouse effect would cause temperatures to rise too high for human life. If they were less, an insufficient greenhouse effect would make the earth to cold to support human life.
    Anthropic Constant 10: Jupiter.
    If Jupiter were not in it’s current orbit, the earth would be bombarded with space material. Jupiter’s gravitational field acts as a cosmic vacuum cleaner, attracting asteroids and comets that might otherwise strike earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    If Jesus wasn't really resurrected, it comes down to two conflicting emotions: pride in your beliefs that you know are wrong, versus having the opportunity to live a normal life by renouncing your beliefs. You might believe that their pride was strong enough to make them lie, but I would just have to disagree at that point.
    I just think the point for me is that we don't know. Maybe one of the above is the case, or maybe they wanted to believe in something so bad they actually DID believe it and weren't lying. Or maybe the written accounts aren't accurate representations of their beliefs or what happened. Maybe enough liberties were taken in translations over the years to completely distort the meanings. Maybe the ressurection wasn't literal. Maybe the Church altered the stories in their more corrupt days. Maybe more stuff was written after the fact than we realized, and certain writers seeking vindication took a couple extra liberties in their storytelling. I'm not suggesting any of those things and I'm sure some of those possibilities have been discounted hy historians but my point again is that we simply don't know what the truth is. In my estimation, Jesus actually being God's Son and coming back from the dead is not at the top of my possibility list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Well you're basically just repeating your point here but I don't see how you can possibly claim to know the odds of any of this. Pick one constant, say the strength of gravity. Now, what are the odds of gravity being exactly as strong as it is? (And "1" is not the answer I'm looking for). There's no way to determine what the odds were gravity could have been strong...or weaker...or exactly what it is now, because we have no idea what determined this.
    Yeah, I wasn't sure if you had read the earlier posts so I repeated it. I see your point about gravity. If we take the range of the strengths of gravity that would accomodate life (A) compared to all possible strengths of gravity (B), then we wouldn't be able to derive a probability from it because the range of possible strengths for gravity is infinitely large. Therefore, A/B would be infinitely small, in other words zero. That is not the approach I was using.
    I don't think I'm being too clear, I'm having trouble finding the words to convey what I mean. Let me use an analogy. Instead of all possible values for gravity, let's discuss which grocery store I'll choose to buy milk from later. There are millions of grocery stores in the world - we don't claim that the odds of me having gone to the particular store I chose are 1 in 2 million. The vast majority of them are eliminated from the get-go because of my location, and in the end the odds of me having gone to the Kroger right next to my apartment are about 1/2. We are able to know these odds because we have some information about how the selection process occurs.
    We have no information about how the constant for gravity was "selected" or why it is what it is. You can't just take all possible values for it and say the odds were 1 out of 4 trillion, or whatever. We don't have enough information to make that claim, or even enough information to know that discussing odds is appropriate in the first place. It's not like all possible values were input into a computer and then a random number generator selected one of them - which is basically what you're saying happened if you are going to calculate odds in that fashion.
    Do you see what I mean now?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    Point well taken. When it comes at looking at evidence for or against God there are two extremes to avoid. One is the ultra-conservatives who won't listen to anything that doesn't fit in with their theological beliefs, and the other is the extreme atheism which denies the existence of God before even looking around. As a former skeptic myself, I fell into the latter category. All I ask is that people (all people, theist or not) look at the world with fresh eyes and decide from there.
    My main point here is that people shouldn't take the fact that god offers an "explanation" for a few things that we can't currently explain as evidence that there is a god. Yes, it's true that you can only say with certainty that "god did it" isn't the correct answer to questions like "why is there something rather than nothing?" if you take it for granted from the beginning that god does not exist.

    However, when considering the question "What reason is there to believe that god exists?" I don't think that saying "Well, if god existed it would explain a few things" is a credible argument, since our track record with attributing things to supernatural causes is so terrible.
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    Another explenation for Jesus' resurrection:
    Paul was drunk/in pain/halucinating(hey his beloved jesus had died 3 days ago!) so while walking in some forest he "saw" jesus and heard jesus talk to him. Later Paul met up with the other deciples and told him his story.

    Just go tell people about something interesting you saw and note how many will tell it on claiming they saw it for themselves.

    According to my hypothesis, all deciples would die because Paul told them it is true(same argument as sucide bombers) and Paul believed he actually saw Jesus(if he actually saw him or not doesn't make a difference here)

    And about the physical constants, they may be very well related, with some very natural connection between them. so if gravity gets x% stronger el strong atomic force gets weaker...etc. This way you get a much smaller range of possibilities than by just assuming that they are not related in any possible way. The fact is that we don't know IF they are related or not, or what determines them, makes it very impractical to use the fine tuned universe argument. I used to think g=9.8 N/KG was a fine tuned variable, until i learned that g=G*M/r^2... so now g of any given planet is no longer fine tuned, but G is...
    I think there is a good chance for us to discover that other things are related as well...
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    Agony wrote:

    Another explenation for Jesus' resurrection:
    Paul was drunk/in pain/halucinating(hey his beloved jesus had died 3 days ago!) so while walking in some forest he "saw" jesus and heard jesus talk to him. Later Paul met up with the other deciples and told him his story.

    Just go tell people about something interesting you saw and note how many will tell it on claiming they saw it for themselves.
    WHAT?

    Do you have any knowledge of the Bible at all? Paul, as far as is recorded, never did personally meet Jesus. At the time of your allegated situation of Paul's drunken hallucination, he was known as Saul of Tarsus and was persecuting those who were believing in Jesus as Messiah. The incident you apparently refer to (Saul's conversion) took place several months, maybe years, after the crusifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It was only after his conversion that Saul of Tarsus became known by the name Paul.

    Others were proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus long before Saul was converted on the road to Damascus and came to believe in it.

    However, I will give you credit. I have never heard such an explanation of an event which was so contrary to established understanding of the event. Is this idea something you heard or something you made up yourself?
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Agony wrote:

    Another explenation for Jesus' resurrection:
    Paul was drunk/in pain/halucinating(hey his beloved jesus had died 3 days ago!) so while walking in some forest he "saw" jesus and heard jesus talk to him. Later Paul met up with the other deciples and told him his story.

    Just go tell people about something interesting you saw and note how many will tell it on claiming they saw it for themselves.
    WHAT?

    Do you have any knowledge of the Bible at all? Paul, as far as is recorded, never did personally meet Jesus. At the time of your allegated situation of Paul's drunken hallucination, he was known as Saul of Tarsus and was persecuting those who were believing in Jesus as Messiah. The incident you apparently refer to (Saul's conversion) took place several months, maybe years, after the crusifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It was only after his conversion that Saul of Tarsus became known by the name Paul.

    Others were proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus long before Saul was converted on the road to Damascus and came to believe in it.

    However, I will give you credit. I have never heard such an explanation of an event which was so contrary to established understanding of the event. Is this idea something you heard or something you made up yourself?
    Hey cmon now - a lot of people claim to meet Jesus when they're hallucinating. Why should Paul be any different?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    Let me use an analogy. Instead of all possible values for gravity, let's discuss which grocery store I'll choose to buy milk from later. There are millions of grocery stores in the world - we don't claim that the odds of me having gone to the particular store I chose are 1 in 2 million. The vast majority of them are eliminated from the get-go because of my location, and in the end the odds of me having gone to the Kroger right next to my apartment are about 1/2. We are able to know these odds because we have some information about how the selection process occurs.
    That's a pretty good analogy, and I think I have a better understanding of what you're saying now. You're saying that it's possible that there is some unknown factor that ties all of the universal constants together and produces some sort of commonality between them (like how the factor in your example was the proximity of grocery stores to where you live). Your argument is valid and casts a little doubt on the theory, but I still think the fine-tuned universe theory is vastly overwhelming. Using your grocery store example, you said that the odds you'd go to Kroger is about 1/2. This is analogous to a single universal constant. However, there are about thirty-four constants in our universe that are fine-tuned for life and are unrelated to eachother (like the gravitational constant versus the mass ratio of protons to electrons). It'd be analagous to the probability that you'd go to the right combination of 34 stores. Even if the probability is as high as 1/2, it would still be 1:2^34, or 1:17,179,869,180. What makes me still convinced of this argument is that even though the universal constants are mostly unrelated to each other, all thirty-four of them accomodate life. If it was just one, I might be inclined to agree with you, but there are 34. Plus, if you think about it, what natural factor would take accomodation for life into consideration? The universe shouldn't care whether or not its matter becomes aware of itself, right? The fact that life is the commonality for the unknown natural factor might be evidence for a creator in itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    However, when considering the question "What reason is there to believe that god exists?" I don't think that saying "Well, if god existed it would explain a few things" is a credible argument, since our track record with attributing things to supernatural causes is so terrible.
    I'm not so sure that our track record of attributing things to supernatural causes is so terrible. From a theistic perspective, all we've done is identify some of the means by which God acts in the world. I read a good analogy once about a person who hung up a plant on a hook. I'll just quote it here instead of paraphrasing it:

    "Suppose that I told my wife I was going to hang a plant in the living room, and the following day we had this conversation:
    HER: I thought you said you were going to hang the plant.
    ME: Yes, and there it is on the hook.
    HER: But you said you were going to do it. You're not doing it the hook is, you liar.
    ME: But I put the hook there and hung the plant from it.
    HER: Thats not what you said you'd do. You said nothing about a hook, you said you would do it.
    ME: And I did, with a hook.
    HER: Which means that you lied when you said that you'd do it. Besides, how do I know that you put the hook in and did the hanging?
    ME: Its there isn't it? Did you do it?
    HER: I didn't, but maybe you made someone else do it. Maybe a burglar broke in last night, and seeing the plant in the middle of the floor decided to hang it instead of robbing us. Maybe a sudden change in the earth's magnetic field twisted the hook into the ceiling and a hugh gust of wind carried the plant up onto it. How do I know that you did it?
    ME: (exasperated) The plant is hanging, I did it, you just have to decide if you believe me."
    (http://www.charleswood.ca/reading/godofgap.php)

    I don't think scientific explanations for phenomena rule out the possibility of God's influence at all. It is for that reason that I think things like the cosmological arguments and the fine-tuned universe argument should be seriously taken into consideration. Also, there is a key difference between attributing weather to God and attributing the beginning of the universe to God. Weather still followed the basic physical laws like gravity and the like, but the existence of something in the universe completely defies what we know about physics. The appearance of something out of nothing has no parallel in our observable world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agony
    Another explenation for Jesus' resurrection:
    Paul was drunk/in pain/halucinating(hey his beloved jesus had died 3 days ago!) so while walking in some forest he "saw" jesus and heard jesus talk to him. Later Paul met up with the other deciples and told him his story.
    I'm willing to quietly dismiss your argument about Paul because I think you just didn't know the story. Paul was not a disciple, and Jesus was definitely not his beloved. However, I've heard people try to explain the encounters of Christ after his resurrection by hallucinations and that's a slightly more credible explanation... but not much. Hallucinations are by their very nature subjective, so even if one person hallucinated Jesus, the people around him would clearly be able to tell that he was crazy. What puts the nail in the coffin for the hallucination theory is that multiple people at a time encountered him, including the 11 disciples at the same and a crowd of 500 people later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Agony
    And about the physical constants, they may be very well related, with some very natural connection between them. so if gravity gets x% stronger el strong atomic force gets weaker...etc. This way you get a much smaller range of possibilities than by just assuming that they are not related in any possible way. The fact is that we don't know IF they are related or not, or what determines them, makes it very impractical to use the fine tuned universe argument. I used to think g=9.8 N/KG was a fine tuned variable, until i learned that g=G*M/r^2... so now g of any given planet is no longer fine tuned, but G is...
    Agony, if you're going to post on this forum, please, please, please do your homework. Nobody is trying to say that the force of gravity on earth (g=9.8 N/KG) is a universal constant. That you once made that error has nothing to do with the validity of the argument.

    Also, your idea that the universal constants are related fails on two counts: 1) they aren't related. For example, the rate of entropy has nothing to do with nuclear or gravitational forces. And 2) even if they were related, it would make the fine-tuned universe theory more credible. It would be much more unlikely that the constants would fall within their necessary ranges for life if they can't be changed independent of each other. You said that there would be a smaller range of possibilities, and I agree. In fact the smaller range of possibilities might exclude life altogether.
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    I have noticed that many Christians have a major tendency to act as through something supports the existence of god, when in fact all you can really say is that it’s not inconsistent with the existence of god.

    For example, let us assume for a moment that we are all convinced that the universe really was deliberately fine-tuned for life. That would not be inconsistent with the existence of god; but it doesn’t exactly support god’s existence either, because there are an almost infinite number of other explanations that are equally plausible but don’t lead to god’s existence. Perhaps god exited very briefly at the moment of creation and fine-tuned the universe for life, but then ceased to exist right after he was done tuning. Perhaps our universe was created by beings from another universe who discovered a way to create new universes with any properties that they desired. Perhaps there are an infinite number of universes created with all possible value of the physical constants, and we simply happen to live in one of the ones that allows life. Perhaps the universe was created by two gods, but they killed each other a billion years ago. None of those are any less plausible than the existence of god; they are all equally good explanations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    I have noticed that many Christians have a major tendency to act as through something supports the existence of god, when in fact all you can really say is that it’s not inconsistent with the existence of god.
    You're right. Christians do have a tendency to put forth something that is not inconsistent with the existence of God as evidence for God. But if you're trying to say that this invalidates something, you're also going to have to also say that the scientific method is invalid. Science advances when a hypothesis is falsified and a better-suited one takes it place. For example, back in the early 18th century oxidation processes like fire were explained by saying that there was a substance in every burnable thing called phlogiston. Once the phlogiston runs out, the fire stops. The funny thing is, this theory actually explains a lot of things very well, like rusting. It wasn't until 1753 that there was an experiment that falsified it, and we now know that fire burns because of oxygen, not phlogiston. My point is that if a certain theory explains our observations better than other theories, it is taken as scientific fact until there is something to prove it wrong. In the case of the fine-tuned universe argument, the best explanation for the facts is the existence of a creator.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Perhaps there are an infinite number of universes created with all possible value of the physical constants, and we simply happen to live in one of the ones that allows life. Perhaps the universe was created by two gods, but they killed each other a billion years ago. None of those are any less plausible than the existence of god; they are all equally good explanations.
    What makes a single creator more plausible is Occam's Razor. The Multiverse Theory fails on three counts: 1) there is no empirical evidence for other universes (they can't be observed), 2) physicists have yet to receive mathematical verification, and 3) it makes the assumption that if there are other universes, they would have constants other than ours, and frankly that's a lot to assume. Occam's Razor comes into play because if there is no evidence for several universes, it would be much more simple for there to exist just one universe, and Occam's Razor states "all things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the best one." The same goes for the battling gods theory. All explanations were not created equal. The literal translation for Occam's Razor is ironically "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity." That goes for universes too.
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    You can use the same arguments for the non-existence of God

    1) There is no empirical evidence for God (he can't be observed),
    2) Physicists have yet to receive mathematical verification.

    Etc.

    If you truly wish to equate to Occam's Razor, then God is the more complex of the scenarios as it adds another layer of complexity, ie his creation - ergo 'all things being equal choose the one with less unanswered questions! :wink:
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    Neutrino, I just realized I didn't respond to one of your points.

    Quote Originally Posted by Neutrino
    I'm not suggesting any of those things and I'm sure some of those possibilities have been discounted hy historians but my point again is that we simply don't know what the truth is. In my estimation, Jesus actually being God's Son and coming back from the dead is not at the top of my possibility list.
    Something I've said before is that it's hard to draw conclusions about history, even when it doesn't involve the supernatural. It's for that reason that we have to look at the evidence and decide from there, so I think you're absolutely right in saying we can't know for sure. With that said though, we also need to take an honest look at how historically credible the essential facts are, and please bear with me. I read a debate once between apologist Bill Craig and atheist Bart Ehrman. Bill was saying that there are four facts about the Resurrection that are generally taken by the historical community as true. The reaction of the disciples and the Christian community is just one of those facts. The conclusion we draw from those four well-established facts is our own to make, but one has to weigh the evidence fairly.

    If you want to continue with this part of our conversation, I'd suggest reading the debate yourself so we're on the same page. I don't want to have to keep representing Mr. Craig. Here's a link to the debate: http://www.holycross.edu/departments...surrdebate.htm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    If you truly wish to equate to Occam's Razor, then God is the more complex of the scenarios as it adds another layer of complexity, ie his creation - ergo 'all things being equal choose the one with less unanswered questions!
    Occam's Razor would be in favor of nothing existing at all, so since we know that something does in fact exist, it demands an explanation. Between the explanations of a creator or the Multiverse theory, a creator adds only one extra layer of complexity while the Multiverse theory adds an infinite number of layers of complexity. I'm sure right now you'd want to say, "But yes, God also adds an infinite number of layers because who created God, and the God before that, etc.?" This is a common misconception that defies logic. With the occurence of the Big Bang, time and space began. Since there was no time before the Big Bang, if God exists he would have to exist outside of time. The misconception is that cause and effect cannot exist outside of time, so to say that God must have a cause is fallacious.
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    Occam's razor merely states that where a phenominem is observed the simplest explanation should be given the most weight, You will have noticed I did not use the multiverse as the alternative to a God - my opinion is simply that if the choice [for the phenominem of the universe] is either:

    a) It sprang out of nothing.

    b) God sprang out of nothing and created the universe from nothing.

    c) The multiverse theory,

    Occam's Razor would select in the order of simplicity, A, B, and thirdly (the most complex) C.
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    I think it has more to do with turtles than most of us think.
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    Alright. And since science acknowledges the existence of cause and effect in time and space, A is scientifically invalid (while it still may be a possibility that science is wrong about cause and effect). Therefore, if one accepts science to be true, then B is the simplest remaining option.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I think it has more to do with turtles than most of us think.
    I stand corrected.
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    Now there you go again, if A is invalid, then so is B.
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    Nope, B can be valid without A being valid. You didn't disagree with my other post dealing with this, so I thought you agreed with me. Here it is again:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    With the occurence of the Big Bang, time and space began. Since there was no time before the Big Bang, if God exists he would have to exist outside of time. The misconception is that cause and effect cannot exist outside of time, so to say that God must have a cause is fallacious.
    So technically God doesn't "spring out of" anything because that would imply cause and effect, which would imply the existence of time, which is impossible before the Big Bang. The universe, though, does exist in time. That's why A is invalid. It's trying to say that the universe doesn't need a cause, and it does because cause and effect applies to it. B is still valid because cause and effect doesn't apply to anything before the Big Bang.
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    I thought that we just cannot speculate what happened before the Big Bang. Is it true that scientists confirm that time does not exist before the Big Bang, and cause and effect concept is not applicable before the Big Bang?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    But if you're trying to say that this invalidates something, you're also going to have to also say that the scientific method is invalid.
    Not at all. Rejecting a hypothesis that has many different, competing hypotheses that all explain the same thing, and are all empirically untestable, does not invalidate the scientific method.
    What makes a single creator more plausible is Occam's Razor.
    The existence of multiple universes does not seem any less plausible or "more complex" to me than the existence of a magical super-being that manipulates reality to suit his whim. At least in proposing the existence of multiple universes one is simply proposing the existence of multiple cases of something that is already known to have at least one existing example.

    If you really want to bring Occam's Razor into this, ask yourself which seems like the more "complex" explanation:
    1) The existence of the universe has a natural explanation that we haven't figured out yet.
    2) The universe was created by magic.

    There appears to be a natural explanation for virtually everything else except the existence of the universe; it's pretty much the only thing that we can't explain without resorting to "god did it". So which seems like a more complex explanation to you - that a natural explanation exists just like everything else, or that a magic being did it? Which one of those explanations involves introducing "new entities"?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucid
    "But yes, God also adds an infinite number of layers because who created God, and the God before that, etc.?"
    This is a common misconception that defies logic. With the occurence of the Big Bang, time and space began. Since there was no time before the Big Bang, if God exists he would have to exist outside of time. The misconception is that cause and effect cannot exist outside of time, so to say that God must have a cause is fallacious.

    So technically God doesn't "spring out of" anything because that would imply cause and effect, which would imply the existence of time, which is impossible before the Big Bang. The universe, though, does exist in time. That's why A is invalid. It's trying to say that the universe doesn't need a cause, and it does because cause and effect applies to it. B is still valid because cause and effect doesn't apply to anything before the Big Bang.
    I disagree with this. The Universe itself cannot be assumed to follow the same rules as things WITHIN the Universe (fallacy of composition). Space for example can expand at faster than the speed of light, though nothing IN the universe can propagate faster than light. For the same reason you cannot hold the existence of the Universe itself to the principle of causality.
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    [/quote]
    The assumtion that time started with the big bang should really be questioned.
    Consider this...
    What year is this... yes 2007
    So what year did they call it before JW was Born?
    The point is who says this all there is? The universe commonly refered to as the known universe, is so for good reason. Our percetion of time is very dependant of our position in time and space. We see our universe beging with the big bang and thats all we can see Physically so our perception is limited. In general time , the fourth dimension, is difficult to to truely understand so what hope do we have of even remotely understanding a 5th or 6th dimension. If for arguments sake these dimensions exsist then God may well exist but not necessarily how our mear human minds might percieve him/her/it/???.
    Don't think, know !
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    Jimmyfix wrote:
    So what year did they call it before JW was Born?
    They call it year 1 BJW.

    If for arguments sake these dimensions exsist then God may well exist but not necessarily how our mear human minds might percieve him/her/it/???.
    For argument's sake, I agree that God may well exist, alongside gozzilla, pinoochio and tooth fairy in the dimension inaccessible from ours.

    And your point is.....?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truth1010
    A very big question here is prayer. This is where we can talk to god.
    So they say tht God is loving and he's supposed to help people and all that. Imagine you have a war and one side prays that God help them defeat the enemy and the other side does the same. So who is God going to help? He cant make it so that both sides can win. And how often are prayers answered anyway? i suppose its different for everyone, so why does God help one person more than another. Arent we all supposed to be equal?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jellybird
    so why does God help one person more than another. Arent we all supposed to be equal?
    Brilliant!

    My devote, Southern Baptist father has told be recently that if I want to be "blessed by God", I needed to "tithe" (give 10% of your income to the church). Because I was not titheing... was the reason all was not going so well in my life.

    So let me get this straight...I give a large chuck of money to someone who is charge of things, and for this, I will receive special treatment. If I choose not to, "accidents" might happen. I could swear I saw this same scene in "Good Fellas"...they called it "protection money". If I did that with a Congressman, they'd call it "bribery" and "influence peddling" and would throw me in jail.

    Go figure...
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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    McGyver,

    I think it's called 'Ensurance' in this instance, God Ensures that is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    .....I think it's called 'Ensurance' in this instance, ....
    Are you sure that's not "indulgence"?

    I thought that was the whole reason 'ole Martin Luther got so steamed at the Catholic church anyway...selling influence with God for money. It seems to me the Protestant church he started is kinda doing the same thing.
    Fixin' shit that ain't broke.
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    880
    i though he was on about INsurance
    Come see some of my art work at http://nevyn-pendragon.deviantart.com/
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  99. #98  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
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    2,116
    Actually, God is in the business of life assurance.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

    If God DID do all of this, is He not the greatest scientist of all? -- dt, 2005
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  100. #99  
    Guest
    Well whatever he's sellin, I ain't buyin.
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  101. #100  
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Megabrain
    Well whatever he's sellin, I ain't buyin.
    god is lyin so don't be buyin! (that could be a rapper song...)
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