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Old 12-18-2007, 04:52 PM   #61
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I think 'love' is just evolution. If a mammalian mother did not 'love' her offspring enough to share her milk, and keep them warm, they would die. So DNA w/o enough 'love' in it didn't get passed on as often. Pretty romantic stuff, huh?
-ERD50

One thing that leaves this type of explanation lacking for me is that it does not answer satisfyingly my question, "where did the *first* mammal come from". It had no "love" from its mother to get pased on to it.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:00 PM   #62
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More of a mystery to me is my 'love' of music, and how moved I can be by it. Another recent Science Friday interview discussed this. The guy said that music is universal to all human cultures, yet scientists can't really pin down what it's purpose is.-ERD50
Music Produces A Kind Of Pleasure Which Human Nature Cannot Do Without---Confucious
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:02 PM   #63
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Aren't the happy feelings purpose enough? Or does it help the scientist in you to say, the purpose of music is to "produce endorphins" which reduce stress, relieve anxiety and relax the heart rate? causes you to smile? Life can be challenging, the music, beautiful sunsets, etc help make it balanced.
Here's where I get a bit elitist.

Everybody can enjoy music or a film based on the emotions you experience.

Some people can also enjoy it by thinking about the artistic techniques or influences.

And I can enjoy it on another level: how my evolutionary strings are being plucked. To me, that may be the most satisfying enjoyment of all.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:04 PM   #64
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Aren't the happy feelings purpose enough?
For the most part - yes. But then I get thinking about the 'why' - not to the exclusion of the enjoyment, sometimes as part of it.

Yesterday I was XC skiing in the forest preserve. I found myself with those 'happy feelings' as I paused and looked at the sun shining through the snow and ice covered trees and looking at the frozen lake and the deer. Then I wondered, 'why would some frozen water on a tree branch evoke emotion in me?'. But I spent a lot more time just 'feeling happy'.

I also realized, that if I was back at work, I'd be stuck in some boring counter-productive meeting, ingesting as much caffeine as I could and propping up my eyelids with toothpicks to make it through the power point presentation. More 'happy feelings'. But no doubt as to the 'why'!


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One thing that leaves this type of explanation lacking for me is that it does not answer satisfyingly my question, "where did the *first* mammal come from". It had no "love" from its mother to get pased on to it.
There is much to evolution that I don't understand. Maybe someday I'll try to bone up on it. Maybe the first mammals survived w/o love, but just a few of them. Those *with* love flourished, and became dominant?

-ERD50
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:05 PM   #65
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One thing that leaves this type of explanation lacking for me is that it does not answer satisfyingly my question, "where did the *first* mammal come from". It had no "love" from its mother to get pased on to it.
You've noticed that all mammals are made from cells, so to me the more interesting question is how was the first cellular animal created and how did they get together to make more complex systems.

There are theories, but I won't spoil it for you since I get a big kick just thinking about such things.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:13 PM   #66
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both god belief and big bang acknowledge human endeavor but incapacity to comprehend infinity.

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Old 12-18-2007, 07:33 PM   #67
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You've noticed that all mammals are made from cells, so to me the more interesting question is how was the first cellular animal created and how did they get together to make more complex systems.

There are theories, but I won't spoil it for you since I get a big kick just thinking about such things.
Not a scientific tome, but a good layman's book on the origin of things (and how we came to know them, which is even more interesting to me) is Bill Bryson's book "A Short History of Nearly Everything." Bryson is not a scientist and it shows, but he is a good writer, and that shows. too.

Amazon.com: A Short History of Nearly Everything: Books: Bill Bryson
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:06 AM   #68
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There is much to evolution that I don't understand. Maybe someday I'll try to bone up on it. Maybe the first mammals survived w/o love, but just a few of them. Those *with* love flourished, and became dominant?-ERD50
Your last sentence with the question mark------in other words, one has to make a "leap of faith" to do away with the question mark and accept that explanation.

Confronted with "leaps of faith", I find the leap of faith in Christianity both more intellectually and emotionally satisfying than other "answers". At times I even find it raising the questions for me and then giving me the answers, all in one fell swoop. In short, it makes sense to me, on multiple levels.

Or, in the face of uncertainty, one can always consider Pascal's (no intellectual slouch by any means) thoughts on how to make a decision on what to believe. His proposition: If he believes in God and is wrong, what does he lose? Or if he does not believe in God and is right, what does he gain? If one finds no compelling reasons to believe one way or the other, the odds in this wager make it easier to decide.
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:55 AM   #69
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Your last sentence with the question mark------in other words, one has to make a "leap of faith" to do away with the question mark and accept that explanation.

Confronted with "leaps of faith", I find the leap of faith in Christianity both more intellectually and emotionally satisfying than other "answers". At times I even find it raising the questions for me and then giving me the answers, all in one fell swoop. In short, it makes sense to me, on multiple levels.
Are you saying that answers based on natural processes are incompatible with answers based on the Christian faith?

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Or, in the face of uncertainty, one can always consider Pascal's (no intellectual slouch by any means) thoughts on how to make a decision on what to believe. His proposition: If he believes in God and is wrong, what does he lose?
Depends if he picks the wrong god to believe in. Some of these gods are pretty unforgiving.

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Or if he does not believe in God and is right, what does he gain? If one finds no compelling reasons to believe one way or the other, the odds in this wager make it easier to decide.
God the insurance policy? Doesn't sound all that appealing. And from hearing some people's accounts of their deconversions, it seemed that they felt, looking back on their lives as Christians, that they'd lost a great deal by following that lifestyle.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:26 AM   #70
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One thing that leaves this type of explanation lacking for me is that it does not answer satisfyingly my question, "where did the *first* mammal come from". It had no "love" from its mother to get pased on to it.
And "Goddidit" is a satisfying answer?
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:01 AM   #71
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Your last sentence with the question mark------in other words, one has to make a "leap of faith" to do away with the question mark and accept that explanation.
Ummm, no. You took my reply way too literally.

Since I opened it by essentially saying 'I'm no expert', I just casually offered that up as a possible scenario. The definitive answer may be available with some googling, or maybe not. At the present time, I'm not motivated to research it, I've got enough on my plate for an old retired guy

LG4NB made a valid observation:

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both god belief and big bang acknowledge human endeavor but incapacity to comprehend infinity.
I don't think we can comprehend all of it at the present time, maybe never - like the song lyrics above - it is a mystery. So there will be a leap of faith somewhere along the line for all of us. Right now, scientists and the Big Bang story sounds better to me than the creator story, but as I said earlier - no debate from me, whatever works for you in dealing with this mystery is fine by me.

I will comment on the Pascal argument - I find it tough to accept that any creator with such powers would accept someone that said 'I believe', only because they thought it was a 'slam-dunk' over 'not believing'. That does not sound like 'true belief' to me, only fear.

If a slave is afraid of the consequences of killing his cruel master, because he might get 'caught', is it fair to say he 'loves' his master?

If there is a creator, I suspect they'd be able to see through that one. I also suspect that they would be 'proud' that I am trying to use the brain they gave me to contemplate this stuff.

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:10 AM   #72
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Your last sentence with the question mark------in other words, one has to make a "leap of faith" to do away with the question mark and accept that explanation.

Confronted with "leaps of faith", I find the leap of faith in Christianity both more intellectually and emotionally satisfying than other "answers".
I'll give you a much simpler example. When my wife turns on the TV, she has absolutely no clue how or why it works. She could not begin to explain electromagnetic wave energy, frequency spectrums, High-Q circuits, phosphorescence, digital comb filters etc.

So therefore, the most satisfying answer is 'genies make my TV work'?

-ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:40 AM   #73
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I'll give another simple example:

200 years ago, there were many, many things that humans did not understand (germs for example). So we could say the effects of these things are due to some 'force', 'creator', or whatever.

So later, as we learn, the 'force' and 'creator' theories fall by the wayside. They just were not correct. They get replaced with knowledge.

So how do we know that the things we don't understand today, that some people want to attribute to 'faith' are not simply... things we don't understand today?

ooooops, am I 'debating'? -ERD50
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:18 AM   #74
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FWIW, I never have the type of discussion we are having here in person, with people I know. It's because it isn't possible, and because I feel I shouldn't.

"Not Possible" because of the heat generated in an in-person discussion. It gets 'warm" here on the board, but things soon get emotional across a kitchen table or elsewhere.

"I shouldn't" because:
1) The schism in the relationship that can result from a discussion of this type can cut across other aspects of the relationship. My friendships are too important to put at risk for this one thing. Yes, I think it's very important, it impacts everything else in one's life, but it certainly is possible t just ignore this "thing" and have a wonderful friendship.

2) No one's mind gets changed. World views are so deeply rooted in adults that virtually no one re-examines the faith, even (or especially) if they just inherited from their parents.

3) Some people really lean on their faith a lot, and seem to get comfort from it. I'm not sure how they'd react to losing that faith, and I'm not sure it would be totally healthy. Okay, so I think it's delusional, what of it? Lots of people have delusions about lots of things, and it doesn't hurt anybody.

As long as they don't start proselytizing--if they do, then the gloves come off.

So, while I believe my friends would probably be happier if they were superstition-free, and I'm virtually certain that the world would be better off without the "certainty" and strife that spirit-belief brings, as a practical matter I don't have these discussions in person. It's nice that we have a board like this where even religion can be discussed as long as we all play nicely with each other.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:12 PM   #75
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Obviously, nobody will change their beliefs based on this thread, but I'm always curious about how others try to understand the universe.

I really have no idea what RR means what he talks about god. The love force, maybe?

So, let's assume that religions have good intentions. The idea is to create a framework that encourages us to get along better with our fellow man. Clearly that hasn't worked out perfectly, but the idea of brotherly love has helped some people in need.

What's sort of interesting to me is that science doesn't require one to accept anything as gospel. It's just a framework for understanding the universe, and scientific theories are constantly revised and improved.

But a side-effect of some of these theories is an understanding of human behavior and a deep appreciation for how connected we are to each other and to the rest of the universe. For me, the idea that we're all very similar is a powerful motivation to love my fellow man. He is motiviated by the same things I am, like providing for family. He shares the same fears and joys. That means I can largely understand him, regardless of cultural differences, and I certainly wouldn't want to harm him and will naturally treat him as I myself would want to be treated.

I've often said that the atheists I know are some of the most moral people I know. I don't think that's an accident.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:22 PM   #76
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interesting about big bang is that it only happens to be measurable now. as universe expands, eventually earthlings will not even see other lights in the sky. the phantom radio waves will be gone and no evidence will remain. big bang will become as elusive as god.

edit: "unlimited possibilities are not suited to man; if they existed, his life would only dissolve in the boundless"~~i ching
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:28 PM   #77
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What's sort of interesting to me is that science doesn't require one to accept anything as gospel. It's just a framework for understanding the universe, and scientific theories are constantly revised and improved.
Science---how does science, how "can" science, ever explain where the *first* matter, the first stuff of the universe, the first stuff that ended up being our world, ended up being us, came from? Or how can science ever expalin how that stuff was always there?

I am not really trying to debate, I am trying to explain the questions I have and why my thinking about them leads me to belief in the Creator. I am sure everyone else will form their own beliefs based on their own questioning, or ignore the subject entirely.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:36 PM   #78
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Science---how does science, how "can" science, ever explain where the *first* matter, the first stuff of the universe, the first stuff that ended up being our world, ended up being us, came from? Or how can science ever expalin how that stuff was always there?
The first thing you get from science is that we are not the center of the universe. That alone kind of blows the whole idea of an anthropomorphic god out of the water.

Then you get the laws of physics. The premise is that *nothing* can violate those laws. If we observe something that does, the laws must be revised.

So, then you try to extrapolate the laws and observations into theories that fit. That means that arbitrary explanations simply won't fly -- any theory has to be consistent with all that we know.

So far, the Big Bang fits what we know about the universe. And the theory of evolution fits all we know about life. Obviously, there are gaps in our knowledge, and scientists will always have jobs as long as there are gaps.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:38 PM   #79
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I'll give another simple example:

200 years ago, there were many, many things that humans did not understand (germs for example). So we could say the effects of these things are due to some 'force', 'creator', or whatever.


ooooops, am I 'debating'? -ERD50
Many would still say the *first* cause was, yes, a Creator.

Sort of like a debate. If I was debating, sorry. I thought I was explaining why I found some answers to these mysteries more satisfying than others. Perhaps I explained myself poorly. At any rate, discussion here can only lead each of us to think about questions, perhaps consider some questions we had not before thought of.

I am sure no one feels so endangered or forced by these anonymous discussions here to unwillingly change their own "beliefs". Anyone participating in this thread is really here any participating of their own free will. And I believe the Creator gave us free will. I believe free will is a necesssary ingredient for love.

Some wondered where am I coming from----perhaps to help explain were I am coming from, a good start would be C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:42 PM   #80
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Science---how does science, how "can" science, ever explain where the *first* matter, the first stuff of the universe, the first stuff that ended up being our world, ended up being us, came from? Or how can science ever expalin how that stuff was always there?
- There was a time when science couldn't explain how we get disease-now it can. Before that--we thought God was responsible (some still do)

- Therr was a time when we science couldn't eexplain where lightning and thunder came from-now it can. Before that, we thought God was responsible (some still do. When the lightning hits te whorehouse--it s God's damnation on the wicked. When it hits the church and burns it down-It's God's direction to build a new, bigger one!)

- There was a time when science couldn't explain where plants and animals came from. Now it can. Some people still think God was behind it.

- At the present time science can't fully describe where the universe came from. Perhaps it never will, bt we've made a lot of progress in understanding the universe so far. Even if science can't explain it, by Occam's Razor it seems best to use the simplest explanation. I'm more comfortable believing in everlasting dust than to believe in a creator of some type (take your pick-there are thousands). I don't know why people who cant accept the idea of a universe that has always been here have no problem accepting that this creator has always been here. Who made Him/her? That would be at least as troubling, I would think, as some everlasting matter.

The biggest problem with atheism--no hymns!
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