Dr. Gene Scott comparison of Jesus and Spiderman?
Shit. Y'all are mean.
Hence the superstition module. What it does is make the link between cause and effect powerful, even if there is no link in reality.
Thorg is dead. What did Thorg do before he died? He ate that red fruit. The red fruit killed Thorg. Nobody else eat the red fruit. Why? Because, it killed Thorg.
This works even if the red fruit DIDN'T kill Thorg. Better safe than sorry, and nature proves this with astounding regularity, and not just with humans. The color red is assumed to be poison for most species by now. Other species mimic the danger colors and are left alone. And human culture does funny things with superstition because we are ALSO wired for logic...
... Thorg's grandchildren say, "Don't eat the red fruit". Other kids say they don't know who Thorg was, and they will eat the red fruit if they want. Thorg's kids say that if they eat the red fruit, the demon land will swallow them and kill everyone in the tribe. The kids leave the red fruit the fuck alone.
A common mistake is to assume that religious reasoning is absurd, but that is only the case NOW. Back then, it was logical to assume that gods were controlling everything. These theories were based on the only agents of causality we were familiar with. Humans did shit. Those rocks don't move unless humans move them. Those animals were killed and eaten because humans killed them and ate them. It must rain because other BIG humans somewhere are making it rain. But, WE can't make it rain, so they are more powerful than we are. We'll call them gods.
100% reasonable and rational. If you told them how weather was created from varying surface temperatures, which caused high and low zones of pressure, which caused wind, as it rushed from H to L, and grand currents were formed due to the Coriolis effect due to the Earth spinning at an enormous rate, but nothing falls off because of gravity, which pulls everything to the center... WELL FUCK! Gods make complete sense compared to this bullshit.
Except now, we know better. Our ontological perspective has had a massive shift. But only for the sane amongst us. Some dolts still think that the "big human" theories make more sense than physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc...
It hasn't changed my beliefs at all, but it HAS given me a greater understanding of how atheists structure their lives. I always thought before, that atheists had no belief in anything - but now I know that to be incorrect. I know that Swivel, and Kathy, and Lizard, all have a very carefully constructed set of beliefs - they simply do not include the faith that I base my belief structure on.
I almost feel as if I have stepped into another dimension by attempting to simultaneously explain a faith which has no logical explanation, and understand a structure of beliefs (non-belief?) which are the basis of atheism/agnosticism. I have spent my entire life with the belief that non-believers were at best, ignorant, and at worst, completely evil. Having known and spent time with everyone here on D'D, I now know that not only was I wrong, but I was the one displaying the trait of ignorance - and intolerance.
I am not now, nor will I ever be, willing to concede that my faith is baseless, and that my beliefs are wrong. However, I now must entertain the idea that alternate views on this subject may also have merit, albeit insignificant when I compare them to my religion. Before any of you get upset with that last remark, I did not say that your views were insignificant, I said that they were insignificant within the belief structure that I subscribe to. Basically, that my beliefs are in such sharp contrast to those views that their meaning for me is purely circumstantial.
I look forward to learning more about these views and how they relate to or contrast with my own. Regardless, I now have a new understanding of the real difference in our two perceptions, instead of simply the "I'm good, you're bad - I'm right, you're wrong" philosophy I have relied on my entire life.
I have to admit, I have never questioned my belief system. I don't intend to begin now, either. But now I am willing to ask questions which may or may not provide answers to other aspects of religious theory. Thanks are in order for all who are willing to put up with me as I begin my journey.
Angel, your last post is one of the best that I have ever read on DreaminDemon in any of its incarnations over the past 4+ years. I loved every word of it.
Please consider this thread yours to use as you continue this journey. Ask questions here that your church does not provide easy answers for. Like, how did the universe begin? How did life get started? Why is there "evil" on the planet? What happens to us after we die? Who was Jesus, really, and what did he stand for? There are many answers to these questions, and some of them are better than others. It would behoove you to sample as many as you can, to choose the ones that resonate with you the most.
The great limiting force in your ability to grow as a person is the fact that you will have the religion and customs that you were born into. You didn't choose them, and it is very difficult to let go of them, and have the freedom to decide who YOU want to be. So much of who you are is determined by geography alone. There is no shame in setting aside all of your prejudices and starting from scratch. In fact, I think there is great shame in NOT doing this. Allowing fear of the unknown, or the wrath of an angry God, to prevent you from exploring yourself and your universe is just depressing. The truth might be that you only have one life to live, and it is wasted on the superstition you were handed at birth. You can't know until you make the brave choice to decide for yourself.
If, after the end of this journey of discovery, you end up right back where you started, your faith will be stronger, and it will be your own. And no just deity would blame you for using the tools that you were "given", nor begrudge you the exploration of all avenues of reason, and the myriad encounters with other people that broadened your horizon. Who should love such a cruel god, anyway?
And why limit your moral growth to the dogmas of 2,000 years ago? Why hate gay people just because of old religious intolerance? Why celebrate the birth of ANY child, even if it is going to suffer and find no loving home? Why concentrate on preventing the teaching of science, instead of using that energy to teach morals and ethics to our young? And why promote a system that teaches very young children such grandiose things that should be left for when they are old enough to decide for themselves? Are we really that insecure with our insane beliefs that we KNOW our kids will reject them if we don't plant the seeds of fear in them at birth? Such intellectual rape is child abuse of the worst kind.
These are all questions to pose as you attempt to expand your growth as a human being. Hopefully you can see one thing: The front page is littered with religious people and nary an atheist. And the resident atheist here on DreaminDemon is the only one active in the thread devoted to an Objective Moral Truth. More evil has been done in the name of the Christian God than ever perpetrated in the name of non-belief.
Slice vs. Dice
An in-depth look at our disproof of Angel's god also gives insight into Zeno's paradox, the nature of time, the infinitesimal, and the building-blocks of space (distance, length, and size).
Zeno's paradox (there were actually many that all dealt with the same scenario) goes like this: A rabbit and a turtle are to race. The turtle is given a half-way head-start. Now, no matter how fast the rabbit runs, it can never catch the turtle. The reason is this: After a certain period of time, the rabbit will have covered half the distance to the turtle, and the turtle will have covered some distance towards the finish. Another period of time goes by, and the rabbit has covered half of what is left. The problem is, the rabbit will always have half the distance between the two to cover, and during this time, the turtle will have moved towards the finish line.
The paradox is that we know the rabbit will catch and pass the turtle and win the race, but how can it cover the infinite points of space between it and the turtle when it can keep halving the lead indefinitely?
Another way to pose the same problem: How thinly can you theoretically slice space? We know that between any two points along a line, there are an infinite number of points within that small segment. We we run our finger across a ruler, we just ran our finger through an infinite number of points! In a very finite period of time! How is this possible, and doesn't this show that God could have quickly progressed through an infinite number of "states" in a finite period of time?
And here is where the Slice meets the Dice. Points along a line have zero size. That is how an infinite number of them can exist in a segment. These are the "Slices". What they do is indicate a POSITION along the line, the aren't really "part" of the line, because they are without size. You could stack an infinite number of them and still have a segment with ZERO THICKNESS. And this is the crux of all of Zeno's paradoxes (and a reality that most mathematicians don't understand. If you wrap your brain around this post, you will understand these concepts more fully than 99% of the mathematicians alive today). Zeno confuses a Slice for a Dice.
So, what is a Dice? A Dice is a segment of time or space which does have thickness. Let's imagine a line segment of any length. Cut it in half and you have two Dices. Cut them in half again, and you have four Dices. Each division will halve the size of your Dice, and double the number that you have in your segment. You can do this FOREVER, slicing your Dice in half, doubling the number of them, and reducing their size. And this is the important fact: You will NEVER turn your Dice into a Slice. You can do this forever and you will always have a non-zero measurement for the size of your Dice, and a countable number of them in your segment.
Now, when I say you can do this forever, that doesn't mean you can do it an infinite number of times. Think about the difference between these two statements. To say you can do it forever demonstrates the POTENTIAL. You will always have one more slice you can make, and two more Dices will result. To say you DID it an infinite number of times would suggest that you are now finished, and you are left with two Dices of size zero. Obviously this is a fulfilled infinite set, which you can never reach.
What Zeno was doing, when he confused his Slices for Dices was to mix the properties of the two. He was giving his Slice some length, which is what you talk about when you speak of TRAVEL along a line segment. (You could also say he was giving his Dices infinite number, but few people think of Dices, and only Slices, so this would confuse the issue) Which means we need to look at why Dices are the unit of movement, while Slices are just a reference point for location. This is best demonstrated by looking at the notion of time with the understanding of Slices and Dices.
What is a slice of time? If Slices have zero width or duration, then a Slice of time would be a photograph. A representation of ONE state of a system. It is an indicator of WHEN. A frozen moment. But obviously, real Time cannot be built up of such slices. Just as we could stack infinite slices of a line segment, and never get any length whatsoever, so too can we stack an infinite number of slices of time, and get no duration. Because each slice has duration = 0, and no amount of addition will change this. We never think about this (I don't know if anyone thinks the following but myself), but once you do, you know it to be true: A moment of time, the building blocks of time, must be made of DICES, not Slices. That is, if we were to take a very small piece of time, it would have a bit of motion to it. It would NOT be a frozen image, but a small bit of change. A small piece of motion or qualitative change. You could think of it as a loop of video, or even a short film that is played once, but could be played over and over to represent that small chunk.
We do not think of bits of time having motion, but they must. Just as bits of space must have length in order to create something else with length. Imagine dividing up a piece of time by cutting it in half. You can do this forever, and you will always have a bit of motion left over. Each division would halve the duration, and double the number of Dices within the total unit of time. These numbers would never get to zero and infinity because you would never get to a point where Zero + Zero gave you the prior length of Zero.
This leads us to the nature of the infinitesimal. The idea of the infinitesimal is that it is a non-zero number that cannot be divided again. It is the "smallest non-zero number" possible. It is a theoretical construct which has no basis in reality, because any non-zero number can be halved, and no non-zero number can have the properties of Zero. But that is just what mathematicians attempt to do with the infinitesimal. They define it with properties that defy their mathematical constructs, and then use that tool back in the systems that render such a definition impossible. For instance, they give the infinitesimal non-zero length, but suggest that an infinite number of them can exist within a finite line segment. I think they do this without being fully aware of how transparently impossible this is. It all boils down to them confusing a Slice for a Dice.
The idea of an infinitesimal should serve some theoretical purposes (such as the foundation of the Calculus), but it does not describe reality. In reality, we MUST stop halving our Dices at some point and say "Enough". This is the smallest unit we will use to describe reality. This is our Avagadro's number. This is our Plank Constant. And if we want to discuss something even smaller, we will do it in terms of this "smallest Dice".
And here is why an eternal God cannot create the universe: It would have to traverse an infinite number of DICES of time, not Slices of time, to get to the creation point. There aren't just an infinite number of states inherent in eternity, but an infinite number of CHANGES in state, which means a countless number of SEGMENTS of time, all of which must have some non-zero duration.
God's task is to create the universe AFTER he watches an infinite number of video clips. He will always have at least one more clip to watch (but in reality an infinite number). This is according to the features that Angel (and every religious thinker) imparts on their Gods. And in this way, the paradoxes of Zeno can be explained away with the same idea that poses problems for a universe-creating, eternal, deity. How ironic. By understanding the difference between a Slice and a Dice, we can see how the rabbit catches the turtle (there is NOT an infinite number of segments to traverse, just an infinite number of Zero-Length INDICATORS of position) and we can also see how God can never create the universe, because he DOES have an infinite number of SEGMENTS to traverse, or his duration of existence in the direction of the past is NOT eternal.
That's it. I'm gonna go build a tesseract in my bedroom, L'Engle style.
Last edited by impqueen; April 5th, 2008 at 07:07 PM.
I would like to hear from Angel just why she does not believe in Buddhism. Why she is not a member of the Islamic religion. I want to know why she rejects the Jewish faith and the Aztec gods. There is just as much evidence for the veracity of these faiths as there is for Christianity. And there are/were millions or billions of believers in these systems. How can she reject these other faiths?
There are hundreds of thousands of religions with long histories, ancient texts, documented miracles, detailed ontologies, and strings of prophets... what decision-making process did she undertake to reject these thousands of faiths? Why is she an atheist to all of these other religions, yet a complete believer to just one of them?
What is the difference between her not accepting 99,999 religions and the fact that I reject 100,000 of them? Are we not more alike than we are different? Am I nothing but slightly more consistent?
With the same lack of care and respect, she rejects the soulful allegiance of billions of individuals to the gods of their choice. How can she comprehend the lunacy of the Greeks and remain blind to her own superstition? How can someone be sane in the face of 99,999, yet duped by the con pulled by their parents? Is the fear of an angry, jealous god really so powerful? Do we really pay homage to a mighty lord who will punish us for eternity by not supplicating ourselves before their whim?
Would anyone pull for this character in a novel or film? Who applauds the sniveling coward that kneels before the tyrant? Don't we honor and promote the noble man who fights for what is just in the face of overwhelming odds? Then why do we honor the religious fool who does evil in the name of cowardice and chide the hero that champions morality in the name of skepticism?
The idea of infinite itself is a paradox. Nature abhors it.
Even with a "cold death" there will still be time. Individual atoms will never get cold enough to stop vibrating, even at 0K. And space will always be expanding, even if very slightly. Otherwise it would have to succumb to gravity's infinite reach and the subsequent contraction would mean no cold death.
I think the "death" in cold death refers to the inability of life to exist, as all solar furnaces will die out, or every galaxy will turn into a massive black hole. But I don't think that will mean the end of life. Extremophiles can grow and evolve in the heat created by large masses, and the tireless force of gravity acting on them. Even in a "cold death", that heat will never go away, as the friction of matter resisting the eternal force of gravity to compress it, will always be enough for life to persist.
The popular readings of cold deaths in books comes from physicists not knowing any biology or geothermology. They are thinking too macro to understand the micro.
We are the macro, so of course that's what we really care about. Or are we the extremophiles? It's really just perspective, but I agree, I don't see a total seizure of motion.
I have no answer to your question at this point. I believe in God for many reasons, all of which you have 'scientifically' proven false. And yet I still believe - I guess this is called faith. I am interested in hearing from others on this subject, too, in order to have more information to work with while trying to understand my own beliefs insofar as they coincide with and/or differ from your own. I am not willing, at this point, to offer anything less than a well thought out argument - but since I am still mulling over your previous posts at this time, and have still failed to reach any conclusions, I cannot produce anything at this point other than my faith.
While your scientific arguments are compelling, and have merit on an intellectual level, I still find them to be insufficient to destroy my faith and my belief system.
As far as scientific explanations go, and the assertion that because science contradicts my beliefs, then they must be false, I feel compelled to mention the bumblebee. According to science, and the laws of gravity vs. flight, the bumblebee is scientifically incapable of flight. And yet, still they manage to get their asses in the air, and do what bumblebees do. Which means that there are scientific anomalies, OR science is sometimes wrong.
I have had many experiences in my life when something greater than myself has intervened in order to improve my life. For lack of a better description, I call this higher power God. I could tell you many different stories which confirm (for me, but probably not for you) the existence of God.
I could tell you about the time I was in a wreck, and the entire driver's side of the car was crushed (I was driving), and I walked away with only a couple of cuts to my face. I was buckled in, and from the damage to the car, my legs should have been destroyed, but they weren't.
Or I could tell you about a miscarriage I had at 17. I didn't seek treatment immediately (a long story), and the severity of the miscarriage caused extensive scarring inside my uterus, completely blocking the fallopian tubes. I was told then that I would never conceive..... Or when I got pregnant with my oldest daughter, and was told I could not physically carry her to term, or it would cause such severe hemorrhaging at delivery that I would die. And yet I am still alive, and now have six children.
Or I could tell you about the time I actually SAW an angel. One who kept me from leaving my house, with my children, just long enough to avoid a multi-vehicle accident that killed several people.
But, I know that you probably have explanations for these occurrences too, and they are probably better reasons than I have to keep believing. I know that you think that we should all take the credit for everything that happens, good or bad, instead of assigning praise or blame to some 'invisible, intangible, improbable' God. But I cannot.
I do want to continue learning about your views, and hope to be able to discuss differing opinions intelligently, and in a mature manner. Let me state again, that I know you find my beliefs to be silly and without any basis in reality. But, in order for me to understand your views, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from calling names or casting aspersions, and instead give me your views from a completely impartial and intellectual standpoint. You are by far one of the most intelligent individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, which is another reason I am truly interested in exploring this topic, and understanding different views.
As to your question in this paragraph:
"I would like to hear from Angel just why she does not believe in Buddhism. Why she is not a member of the Islamic religion. I want to know why she rejects the Jewish faith and the Aztec gods. There is just as much evidence for the veracity of these faiths as there is for Christianity. And there are/were millions or billions of believers in these systems. How can she reject these other faiths?"
I don't really have an answer to that one yet either. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I was raised with theses beliefs (what you like to affectionately refer to as 'brainwashing'). For all I know, my particular brand of 'religion' may be flawed. I actually believe that there is no one 'absolute and true' religious denomination. There are certain aspects in each religion that I agree with, and many aspects in most religions that I most emphatically do not agree with. I believe that there will be Christians, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, and many other denominations represented in Heaven. And I believe there will be an equal number of people claiming affiliation with each in Hell, as well.
I hope I haven't raised your blood pressure too much with this response, and I look forward to hearing back from you, soon. Try to be nice.....:p
It is a MYTH that we don't understand how a Bumblebee flies. That refers to the inability of equations in the 70's to compute the lift characteristics of Bumblebee wings. If you want the nitty-gritty:
SourceThe old bumblebee myth simply reflected our poor understanding of unsteady viscous fluid dynamics. Unlike fixed-wing aircraft with their steady, almost inviscid (without viscosity) flow dynamics, insects fly in a sea of vortices, surrounded by tiny eddies and whirlwinds that are created when they move their wings (as quoted in Segelken, 2000, parenthetical item in orig.).
Don't worry, they figured out what the problem was:
The article goes on to say that they haven't figured out every facet and detail, but the original problems are gone. There are very few things we have every single detail for, but in science, this doesn't frighten us the way it does the superstitious. The point is, you can stop using this line in your future conversations regarding the mystery of the universe, since you will now go from being wrong to being a liar.In addition to delayed stall, Dickinson discovered that the wings generated short-lived strong forces at the beginning and end of each stroke that could not be explained by the stall. These force peaks occurred during stroke reversal, when the wing decelerates and rapidly rotates, suggesting that the rotation itself might be responsible. Dickinson illustrated the idea of rotational circulation by using a tennis ball. A tennis ball hit with backspin pulls air faster over the top, causing the ball to rise, whereas a topspin will pull air faster underneath, causing the ball to sink. Dickinson concluded that flapping wings develop significant lift by rotational circulation.
Finally, Dickinson discovered that wake capture—the collision of the wing with the swirling wake of the previous wing stroke—assists in the flight of insects. Each stroke of the wing leaves behind a complex of vortices. When the wing reverses direction, it passes back through this churning air. A wake contains energy lost from the insect to the air, so wake capture provides a way for the insect to recover energy.
Which is more noble? To act immorally in order to avoid a whipping or to get a cookie, or to be a GOOD person for that reason alone?
I argue that the latter is so much better that we can reject the idea of any higher being. If it is a being that thinks the former is more noble, I want no part of it. If it is a being that thinks the latter is more noble, I don't worry about it either. I'm doing what is right for its own sake, without any delusion of immortality or hope for treasure. I am doing it because I KNOW something for a fact. My actions TAKE PLACE. They have TAKEN PLACE. The universe expands, Earth moves on, our local cluster contracts, but somewhere out in the vacuum of space there was a moment in time when I did something RIGHT. And the death of the universe can not take that away. Nobody needs to remember it, nobody needs to have seen it, I don't need any applause or reward. I did the right thing, every single time that I was given the opportunity and was strong enough, and I KNOW IT.
I have not stopped looking, but so far, I have not discovered a better way to live. What need have I for gods? What need any of us of them? I would rather burn for an eternity for being good than get a cookie for hating gays, or celebrating an unwanted birth, or feeling satisfaction when a criminal is electrocuted, or justifying slavery, or torturing a heretic, or killing a grown woman who wants to be alone with a man. What fire could burn worse than CHOOSING to be evil because of fear or greed?!
As for holding beliefs simply because I was raised with them, that is only partially true. I actually grew up in an extreme Southern Baptist environment. The 'hellfire and damnation' sermon was an every Sunday occurrence. Until I was about twelve years old, I was convinced that I would never make it to heaven, because anything that could even remotely be considered fun was a sin that would have me burning in hell. It wasn't until after I started reading and understanding the Bible that I discovered the love that was offered by God, and the grace made possible by His Son's death. I have been to many different types of churches in my life. Other than Baptist, I have visited Methodist and Catholic churches, and been to Synagogue once. I have been to Episcopal churches, as well as a few more fundamentalist denominations such as Church of God of Prophesy, and Church of Christ. And as I said in my prior post, I do not believe that there is any one 'true and complete' religious denomination out there. I have learned a lot in my life, and I apply those lessons to my beliefs and my everyday activities.
I also agree with your assessment of the reason we should do 'good'. I don't weigh my every action against other people's views or the church's laws. I do what I believe to be right, and don't worry about what anyone else may think or say about my actions or motives. I do good, because it is the right thing to do. I have formed my own beliefs - not just accepted my parents' or grandparents' notion of what religion should be. But there are still too many times in my life that, regardless of what SHOULD have happened, events were altered to save my life or the life of someone I loved. I cannot and will not discount these events as coincidence. To do that would put me in the realm of fantasy, in my opinion. I believe the things I do, because events in my life have led me to believe them. Not other people - my own experiences. I don't know how else to explain it to you. I know that you disagree, but there are too many unexplainable 'miracles' in my life for me NOT to believe.
No part of you thinks that the universe rests on the back of a turtle, which is caught in the beak of a hawk. You think that a solitary god created the universe, in 6 metaphorical days, sent his son to be butchered for our sins, after already trying the gambit of drowning his creation, that we could be forgiven for being ourselves. You look to 10 commandments, only a few of which are objectively good. You think Sundays are for church, that Jesus rose again, that people live forever in an idealized state, and so on.
When I look at my dog, I see more similarities with humans than differences. Both physiologically and behaviorally, they are almost identical to us. If you go to a cellular level, it is hard to discern between the two. Compare us to a starfish, and you get an idea of how two things can be different in more ways than they are similar (but only barely, even with the starfish). Moving from Baptist to Catholicism, or even Mormonism or Islam, isn't much of a move at all.
I guarantee that I have had more "miracles" in my lifetime than the vast majority of people. But I have also had entire days where not much spectacular happened, despite the BILLIONS of opportunities for extreme coincidences to occur. Part of being a skeptic is that I notice how many times I predict something, or think something, and NOTHING happens. And this occurs 100:1 against the coincidental "miracle".
I was on a boat, halfway between Cuba and Panama (a very, very long stretch of open, empty water ~1,200 miles or 7-10 full days of constant running) when I looked at my mate and mused aloud, "You know, if we lost the Sat Phone, the Watermaker, the Generator, and the Main, we would be fucked." Over the next 24 hours, we lost all four, in that order, and barely scrambled into an island we had no chart for in the middle of nowhere. We were stranded there for 3 months, possibly the best three months of my life.
And 1,000 other times I have said something just like that, and nothing happened. But I don't remember those times, do I? None of us do. We look at our digital clock hundreds of times a day, and it merely reads the time. But twice a week it reads 1:23 or 12:34, and now it doesn't just tell us the time, it SPEAKS to us. It screams a pattern. And before long, we feel that we see these numbers every time we look at the clock. Because the hundreds of other times we just process the time of day and get back to driving or working or sleeping.
Or brains are designed to note patterns, even where there are none. It is the "Superstition Module" in each of us. When you are aware of it, you see the mistakes you are making, and they disappear. When you are blind to it, you allow the shift from "correlation" to "causation" which can make a bright person insane.
Look around you. There are NO MIRACLES. Nobody is turning water into wine. Everything obeys physical laws. We have to eat and shit to stay alive. Gravity is upheld everywhere. Nobody lives past 120. People don't fly. Gods and angels do not descend down from the clouds with pronouncements. Everything is so ordinary and dull in our universe that if we find our keys under the sofa, after asking our god to deliver them, we pronounce that coincidence to be a miracle. 99/100 times our calls go unheeded, and we forget them or feign unworthiness of the moment. It is a ratchet of ridiculousness that only spins in one direction.
Holy Shit. You cant be gone for even a few days here.....I mean....holy shit. Im feeling a bit overwhelmed. :D It's going to take me awhile to read this, and itll be frustrating, so Ill do it at my leisure, and get back.
Just wanted to be certain.
I am glad I continued reading as I came across swivel's post about the fallacy of the "half-way forever" mental exercise.
But there are some other things which I feel need to be brought to mind. Swivel already showed the fallacy with the use of "infinite" as this is basically a term used to describe a quantity (large or small) for which we have no way of measuring at this time. "Eternal" is also a word like infinite as it describes time for which we have no way of measuring.
Other words which describe things we have no current way of defining are also god, devil, magic, and miracles. Swivel postulates that these things cannot exist while Angel believes in them, both using reasoning involving our ability to measure/understand. Angel uses them to explain things for which she has no explanation, Swivel says they cannot exist because they cannot be explained.
One of Swivel's arguments is that god cannot be eternal because an infinite amount of time needs to pass before god can act. I find fallacy in this because I do not see anywhere it states that an infinite amount of time came before "now". There was the "before time" and then will come the "after time."
And that is the issue with time. A wise man once wrote: "Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so." Another wise man stated that time is a matter of perception, "Sit next to a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. Sit on a red-hot stove for a minute, it seems like an hour." Think back to when you were a child, didn't time pass so slowly it was agony waiting for the end of school, the weekend, summer vacation? As an adult, we perceive a faster progression of time: "Where has it all gone?" While time passes at the rate at which it is defined to pass, it is perceived to pass differently.
So, for us we perceive it to be finite. We can measure a "second," a "fortnight," a "millennium." We also perceive it to be linear, things progress with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But what if sometime they can determine that time is not linear, but circular. Then we have an eternity as there is no beginning and no end. And if there are entities that can exist within this circular time, would they not be perceived by us as "gods" as we do not have better means by which to explain them?
Want some interesting info on religion watch ZeitGeit. It has a bunch of other stuff too like 9-11 theroies. I take in everything with a grain of salt, still there was some good info in it.
Checkout Zeitgeit. Interesting religious info. I don't believe everything in the film still its informative.
Circular time does not avoid the paradox. God still has an infinite number of discrete states with duration != 0 to travel through before he gets to the moment of creation. This is the same as saying that a current god must drink an infinite number of cups of coffee before he will need to urinate. When will god urinate? The answer is "Never". There will always be an infinite number of cups to drink.
Go to an "early" moment in our infinite/creator god and pose this problem: There is an infinite number of states (let's call them "cups of coffee") that god must go through before he creates the universe. When will he create the universe?
The answer is "Never".
If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which he has inflicted on men, he would kill himself.
Alexandre Dumas fils (1824-95)
I realize I have not added any "scientific" or "faith" based comments here. Shit I just started reading this today. I need time to compute. I have already mentioned "Zeitgeit" and now "WTF, Down the Rabbit Hole" comes to mind.
Most religious beliefs originate from pagan society thousands of years older than christianity, islam, etc... A creation story, stories passed down through the centuries adopted to explain the unexplainable to fearful humans who needed an answer.
When those in political power understood the power "GOD" had over its society it was used to control and condemn. Let's look into history and rememer the many times inhumane acts were used to destroy others in the name of "GOD". Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, etc... so many more... wars, genocide. I could go on and on. But won't! In my opinion religion is another form of control over society. Many need that control. Religion has its place. I was brought up southern baptist and now consider myself a human being. I do what is right because I am empathetic and loving. I have researched different religions. In the words of the Dali Lama "you don't have to claim Buddhism, start by living more Buddha like." I say you don't have to be a christian to be more christ like. John Travolta in "Michael" "All you need is love!"
Damn that was sappy.
Swivel, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Swivel, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Swivel, there is a God. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no God. It would be as dreary as if there were no Swivels. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in God! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the churches on Christmas Eve to catch God, but even if they did not see God coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees God, but that is no sign that there is no God. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Swivel, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
By appealing to faith and faith alone you are appealing to a lack of reason. You are shutting out common sense. Not everyone is inclined, nor ever should be inclined to do so. Where skeptics talk about the paradox of god, the lack of proof, the approximation of reality, the faithful appeal to gaps of understanding to try wiggling some supernatural into a very natural world, this way there is room for baseless conjecture where you can fit whatever you were brought up to believe into the "X" variable, no matter how ridiculious it may seem to rational people. Meanwhile nobody is claiming to know it all, to have unraveled all of reality, but then again nobody should be expected to betray logic to cater to fantasy. Haven't we seen the danger of this attitude enough?
I don't see anything spectacular about believing in ever lasting life. It cheapens what we have now and is short sighted. I don't see anything cherishable about a god that allows evil to persist the way it does, many times under his own name. I don't see why the universe can't be rationalized and its mysteries discovered, and how the discovery makes it less beautiful or awesome. I don't see any reason to staple a god figure into the equation when there is no proof of it, when it makes more sense without him, when its very existence is a paradox. Faith to me is just synonymous with abandoning reason.