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Old 12-19-2007, 06:08 PM   #81
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-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?

Of course, I wonder the reverse. Some people have no trouble accepting the universe as having always been here, but cannot accept an everpresent Creator!

Another thing bothers me. As to the universe having always been here, the latest I have heard from science, is they are "dating"--giving ages to--all the things they have observed in the universe. That is, the various parts of the universe have finite ages. That is, they were not always there.

So, if the age of all the parts of the universe scientists have observed so far can be determined, then at some point in the past "nothing" was there. And I am right back at my question, where did the first matter come from?
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:11 PM   #82
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Early in the thread, I talked about living in a Big Box.

The universe is a closed system. We can't know how it got here. We can't know what's outside. We can't know if there are other universes.

If you want to call everything that we can't know "God," that's cool with me, but I don't see how it helps.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:15 PM   #83
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Another thing bothers me. As to the universe having always been here, the latest I have heard from science, is they are "dating"--giving ages to--all the things they have observed in the universe. That is, the various parts of the universe have finite ages. That is, they were not always there.

So, if the age of all the parts of the universe scientists have observed so far can be determined, then at some point in the past "nothing" was there. And I am right back at my question, where did the first matter come from?
When an age is assigned to a thing, it denotes the date that thing came into being, not the age of its components. If a galaxy s dated as 20Billion years old, then that's when it became a galaxy, but does not indicate the age of the stuff of which it is made. That's the only logical way of doing things--otherwise all of us (our component elements) are approx 5 billion years old. Hey, maybe I should visit the Social Security office for my back pay.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:21 PM   #84
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Are you saying that answers based on natural processes are incompatible with answers based on the Christian faith?
.
No. The questions that can be answered by science or by religion are not always congruent.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:26 PM   #85
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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
Addendum: C. S. Lewis was a British professor who was an athiest into adulthood. He became a devout Christian as an adult, and a most prolific author of books explaining Christianity.
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Old 12-19-2007, 06:28 PM   #86
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......-otherwise all of us (our component elements) are approx 5 billion years old. Hey, maybe I should visit the Social Security office for my back pay.
Last I heard, the SS office was just now processing claims from 5 billion years ago!
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:01 PM   #87
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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
I agree about the "proud" part.

And that kind of segways (for me at least) to "belief", and "choice", and "free will". Different words one can associate with the act of using one's brain to contemplate.

I think a "belief" is nothing more than a "choice" an individual has made about how to think of something, using his own "free will".

To say I "believe" in Christianity is to say I "choose" that explanation over another as my way of interpreting reality. And I believe God gave us free will to make such choices. And I believe the reason God gave us free will is because I believe God is about relationship, God is love, and God wants us to love him with a real love--a real choice. A necessary component of love is free will. I believe God did not want puppets on strings, unable to make choices, unable to give real love in return.

Our choices are really all we have to give to God.

The God who has given us everything, not the least of which is our very existence.

This is where my "contemplation and use of my brain" has taken me.
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:11 PM   #88
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I agree about the "proud" part.

And that kind of segways (for me at least) to "belief", and "choice", and "free will". Different words one can associate with the act of using one's brain to contemplate.

I think a "belief" is nothing more than a "choice" an individual has made about how to think of something, using his own "free will".

To say I "believe" in Christianity is to say I "choose" that explanation over another as my way of interpreting reality. And I believe God gave us free will to make such choices. And I believe the reason God gave us free will is because I believe God is about relationship, God is love, and God wants us to love him with a real love--a real choice. A necessary component of love is free will. I believe God did not want puppets on strings, unable to make choices, unable to give real love in return.

Our choices are really all we have to give to God.

The God who has given us everything, not the least of which is our very existence.

This is where my "contemplation and use of my brain" has taken me.
Great Post!

GOD BLESS
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:20 PM   #89
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As long as you love atheists, I love your belief system. Especially the hymns.
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:06 PM   #90
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To say I "believe" in Christianity is to say I "choose" that explanation over another as my way of interpreting reality.
And I respect that. It mirrors what I said earlier - this is a mystery to us, whatever works for each of us to deal with that mystery should be fine. Well, as long as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others obviously, but no one is going there.

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Of course, I wonder the reverse. Some people have no trouble accepting the universe as having always been here, but cannot accept an everpresent Creator!
Let me explain (not argue or debate) - The Occam's Razor approach that "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity" does not prove or disprove anything, it is just a rule of thumb (but a powerful one). Else, it would say 'are not multiplied', rather than 'should not be'. Some interesting notes on it at wiki:

Occam's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, while I find it easier and more logical to accept a 'simpler' everpresent universe over a more complex everpresent Creator with the power to create a universe, it in no way rules out the second possibility. Anyone who thinks it does is probably showing a bias. They might say it indicates a preference for the first, but it does not exclude the second.

-ERD50

Agreed on the 'hymns' too - Bach, Handel, Praetorius - all good 'church people'!

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Old 12-19-2007, 10:35 PM   #91
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Of course, I wonder the reverse. Some people have no trouble accepting the universe as having always been here, but cannot accept an everpresent Creator!

Another thing bothers me. As to the universe having always been here, the latest I have heard from science, is they are "dating"--giving ages to--all the things they have observed in the universe. That is, the various parts of the universe have finite ages. That is, they were not always there.

So, if the age of all the parts of the universe scientists have observed so far can be determined, then at some point in the past "nothing" was there. And I am right back at my question, where did the first matter come from?
I don't think scientists are saying that the universe has always been here, since they've assigned it a finite age. However, as for something coming from nothing, it seems that the actual energy of the universe is zero anyway, so it isn't as much a matter of getting something from nothing as a matter of something being part of nothing. Which I'm sure makes perfect sense to physicists.

ASP: A Universe from Nothing
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:36 PM   #92
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I don't think scientists are saying that the universe has always been here, since they've assigned it a finite age. However, as for something coming from nothing, it seems that the actual energy of the universe is zero anyway, so it isn't as much a matter of getting something from nothing as a matter of something being part of nothing. Which I'm sure makes perfect sense to physicists.

ASP: A Universe from Nothing
It would be so cool to be smart enough to have even an inkling of what these guys are talking about.

To me it might as well be a nursery rhyme.

Ha
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:55 PM   #93
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Yep, those articles don't do anything for me, either. It's like those articles in Discover or Pop Science where they try to dumb-down string theory enough for the common reader. I've read several of those articles and thought--"Scientists get paid for this C**p? It means nothing! " So, I felt vindicated as string theory has fallen into disfavor lately. Though I sure couldn't tell you why . . .
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Old 12-20-2007, 12:35 AM   #94
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.......Occam's razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, while I find it easier and more logical to accept a 'simpler' everpresent universe over a more complex everpresent Creator with the power to create a universe, it in no way rules out the second possibility.........
-ERD50
I have kind of always favored a KISS approach to things myself---keep it simple stupid. Which may be just another way of putting the Occam's Razor idea.

On the idea of facing a universe which came from nothing, and from which matter and life maybe just kind of appeared and spontaneously ignited (for reasons unknown!), I guess I just find it far simpler to "choose" to believe in an everpresent God.
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Old 12-20-2007, 01:20 AM   #95
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I don't think scientists are saying that the universe has always been here, since they've assigned it a finite age. However, as for something coming from nothing, it seems that the actual energy of the universe is zero anyway, so it isn't as much a matter of getting something from nothing as a matter of something being part of nothing. Which I'm sure makes perfect sense to physicists.

ASP: A Universe from Nothing
I noted especially the summation thought in this article that the "universe from nothing" was the "ultimate free lunch".

I don't know if Occam had anything to say on this subject, but another of my personal beliefs is: there is no such thing as a free lunch!
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:05 AM   #96
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It would be so cool to be smart enough to have even an inkling of what these guys are talking about.

To me it might as well be a nursery rhyme.

Ha
I was listening to some guy on Science Friday - he was talking about all this 'stuff', beginning of the universe, contemplated time travel, etc.

Then he started talking about how there are an INFINITE number of 'pasts' that lead up to our 'present'. And they all 'exist' in parallel? So, if you talk about time travel, you need to talk about which 'past' you choose to follow. Or something like that - I can't even begin to get my head around any of that.

It makes me wonder whether I am the idiot, or that guy.

Like samclem, I kind of wonder about the value of intelligent people investing their time this way. But then I think about some scientists spending time with a loop of wire connected to some energy source they didn't understand, and noticing a compass needle jumping. It didn't seem like a very useful thing to do. Not too many generations later, we were sending communications at near the speed of light, and lighting people's homes without fire.

Down deep though, I still think it's just a scam to get another research grant Just like those guys studying particle physics. Every time they find what they were looking for, they say it indicates an even smaller particle exists, and they need more money to study that!

-ERD50
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Old 12-20-2007, 08:22 AM   #97
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I have kind of always favored a KISS approach to things myself---keep it simple stupid. Which may be just another way of putting the Occam's Razor idea.

On the idea of facing a universe which came from nothing, and from which matter and life maybe just kind of appeared and spontaneously ignited (for reasons unknown!), I guess I just find it far simpler to "choose" to believe in an everpresent God.
Well I fail to see how that is simpler, but I will agree with you on one thing - you do "choose" your belief. So, I'll leave it at that.

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I noted especially the summation thought in this article that the "universe from nothing" was the "ultimate free lunch".

I don't know if Occam had anything to say on this subject, but another of my personal beliefs is: there is no such thing as a free lunch!
I think, in this context, you are just substituting one 'free lunch' for another. But it's your lunch - enjoy!

-ERD50

PS - I was going to follow up on that C. S. Lewis reference you provided, but then I thought - I've never been struck with the impression that the truly religious people I know (not the phony kind) are overall leading any better lives than the agnostic/atheists I know, so I probably just won't bother. I just personally don't see any value in it. But for any one who does, and feels it helps them to live a better life, I think it's great. We each find our own paths.
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:36 AM   #98
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to the religious: when scientists are able to create out of chemistry (& you know they will) egg & sperm and to create completely in a test tube a baby and to raise that baby to become an adult...

to the scientist: when you are able to create an adult with a positronic brain (as you suspect you might) fully aware of the self, endowed with consciousness & love...

will you consider that being as human as you?
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:04 AM   #99
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to the scientist: when you are able to create an adult with a positronic brain (as you suspect you might) fully aware of the self, endowed with consciousness & love...

will you consider that being as human as you?
Human? No. Living? No. Smart? Yes.

The brain is a cool organ, but life is even cooler. We have rich sensory input. We have the ability to self replicate. Self repair. Self recharge.

Life is really amazing. I'm not sure we're smart enough to match wits with evolution, but I think it'd be fun to try.

I used to play around with neural networks when I was younger. You can produce pretty complex behavior with relatively simple networks. You can make robots that seem to have "preferences" and "seeking" behavior.

I don't think there's any theoretical hurdle to producing a robot that appears to have free will, but we can't even make one with a good vision system yet....
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:11 AM   #100
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to the scientist: when you are able to create an adult with a positronic brain (as you suspect you might) fully aware of the self, endowed with consciousness & love...

will you consider that being as human as you?
Ah, shades of Bladerunner or the story from whence it sprang; "Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep". Phillip K Dick came up with some great stories and titles to go with them. Isn't "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" a better title than "Total Recall"?
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