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Author Topic:   Questions for Atheists
lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2890 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 16 of 110 (481170)
09-09-2008 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 3:52 PM


Atheist Defamation League Alert
Between asking black folks about the finer points of watermelon eatin' and Indians about pumping gas, I've read several of the other posts you've submitted. You use the term "Atheist would say…" or some such a lot. As you seem to be an expert, shouldn't we be asking you what atheist would say?

I need some information if I am to make my point.

Would you not want to develop the point after you gathered the information?

Make your point and see if anyone bites. After all, atheists a known for their gullibility if nothing else.


Kindly

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

When I was young I loved everything about cigarettes: the smell, the taste, the feel … everything. Now that I’m older I’ve had a change of heart. Want to see the scar?


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Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5393
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 17 of 110 (481171)
09-09-2008 6:56 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by cavediver
09-09-2008 6:15 PM


Sure. Start a thread and I'll show up.
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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 18 of 110 (481176)
09-09-2008 7:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 1:50 PM


So, now what?
Open Mind (but appears to be anything but) writes:

What is the cause of the difference between the six types of quarks and their corresponding anti-quarks?

Symmetry breaking.

What is the nature of Dark Energy, and how did it evolve?

A world geometry described by an Einstein tensor with a cosmological constant. Or colliding m-branes. Or any one (or none) of several other proposed mechanisms. Not enough evidence yet to sort them out.

What would happen if a quark would knock into another quark?

They would exchange a gluon.

Would it be cut in half?

No. Quarks are elementary.

If quarks can be cut in half, what would you call a half of a quark?

A non-sequitur.

If the whole universe could theoretically be broken down into the most elementary thing (force, energy, matter, anti-matter, wave, particle, time, space, or concept) how would this simple thing possibly do anything without interacting with another thing

Because this 'thing' would have enough complex structure to interact with itself. Vaguely (very vaguely) like the ocean surface interacting with itself to produce a propagating wave

Why do laws of physics breakdown during the Big Bang?

They really don't break down. They just don't have enough inputs to describe the event. This 'break-down' is not limited to modern relativistic descriptions. In the Newtonian description of gravitationally attracted bodies, if you start with two point masses of one kilogram each separated by one meter, they will collide within an finite amount of time. At the instant of collision they will be traveling at infinite velocity and have infinite energy. What happens? We don't know because there is not enough information presented about the nature of the particles. (E. g., they might just bounce off of each other or pass through each other or break each other up. We would need to know something about their material properties to address this.) Their are many attempts to elaborate the details of our understanding of the early universe to produce laws of physics that can describe the actual occurrence of the big bang. I could mention several books written for the general population that describe this ongoing research, but it is my impression that reading is not one of your major interests.

And finally, how does gravity really work?

Really quite well, thank god.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3496
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 19 of 110 (481177)
09-09-2008 8:25 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 3:59 PM


Re: My Motive
I did not ask theists these question because a theist would admit that the world cannot be understood completely by human beings.

As would anyone who has given the matter any thought, atheists and theists alike. I mean, is there anyone who actually believes that the world can be completely understood by humans?

It would seem that you are proceeding from a decidedly false premise.

{NOTE: Formal logic analyzes which types of true premises lead to true conclusions. Which means that false premises produce bogus conclusions. Since you proceed from a false premise, the conclusions you draw from that false premise are bogus. }

Was there an underlying reason for you chosing to abandon the Christian faith (assuming you were once a Christian)?

Yes. I found that I couldn't believe it, so I left.

More specifically, at around the age of 11 I decided that I should learn what I was supposed to believe, so, proceeding from the premise that I was supposed to believe what was in the Bible, I started reading it, admittedly in a naïvely literalist manner (I can't even tell you whether our church required such an interpretation, nor even what denomination it was except "Protestant"). I quickly found that I couldn't believe any of what I was reading. And since I couldn't believe what I was supposed to, it was time to leave.

Turned out to be the right decision, even if it was for the wrong reasons.

How long did you ponder before chosing atheism?

Not long. Only as long as it took me to realize that I couldn't believe any of that stuff. But then, unlike many others, I hadn't been as heavily indoctrinated.

If you're really interested in that question, why don't you go where a lot of ex-Christians are, such as at http://ex-christian.net? You can gather a lot just by reading through the testimonials.

..., have you ever considered a different religion than Christianity?

Why? Yes, I've studied about many religions, but what reason would I have to join one?

Actually, after 30 years, I discovered that, like so many others, I'd been a Unitarian-Universalist all along.

I just want to let you know that I am not and have never been a Christian.

Well, since you clearly indicate that you consider atheists to be "others", that would mean that you are some stripe of theist. As Carol Burnett asked the prism in her song, "What kind of -ISM is you?"


{When you search for God, y}ou can't go to the people who believe already. They've made up their minds and want to convince you of their own personal heresy.
("The Jehovah Contract", AKA "Der Jehova-Vertrag", by Viktor Koman, 1984)

Humans wrote the Bible; God wrote the world.
(from filk song "Word of God" by Dr. Catherine Faber, http://www.echoschildren.org/CDlyrics/WORDGOD.HTML)

Of course, if Dr. Mortimer's surmise should be correct and we are dealing with forces outside the ordinary laws of Nature, there is an end of our investigation. But we are bound to exhaust all other hypotheses before falling back upon this one.
(Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles)

Gentry's case depends upon his halos remaining a mystery. Once a naturalistic explanation is discovered, his claim of a supernatural origin is washed up. So he will not give aid or support to suggestions that might resolve the mystery. Science works toward an increase in knowledge; creationism depends upon a lack of it. Science promotes the open-ended search; creationism supports giving up and looking no further. It is clear which method Gentry advocates.
("Gentry's Tiny Mystery -- Unsupported by Geology" by J. Richard Wakefield, Creation/Evolution Issue XXII, Winter 1987-1988, pp 31-32)

It is a well-known fact that reality has a definite liberal bias.
Robert Colbert on NPR


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Open MInd
Member (Idle past 3835 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 20 of 110 (481178)
09-09-2008 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by bluegenes
09-09-2008 4:46 PM


Re: Tenses, guys!
Thank you for pointing this out. I am sorry for any misuse of tenses, but I was refering to the "can" aspect, not the "does" aspect.
It is obvious from reading an elementary textbook in physics that there are still some problems with the current ideas. What I meant to question was whether it is possible to put all the laws of nature into something understandable to the human brain. I tried to make this point by showing how an explanation for every aspect of the universe is not possible. To start, I show that everything can be broken into smaller things. And, any two things with different properties must have a cause for the difference in property. Then I show how it is not possible to break everything down into a most elementary thing that would be understood by humans. I also want to show that if it is not possible to explain the entire universe in terms of physical properties, a force, not comprehendable to human logic must be used to explain it. This lends itself to the theistic point of view. Theism does not attempt to explain the universe. Rather, it uses logic to conclude that an all powerfull Being, not comprehendable to humans, must exist.
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Open MInd
Member (Idle past 3835 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 21 of 110 (481180)
09-09-2008 8:48 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by bluescat48
09-09-2008 4:56 PM


Re: My Motive
So if your particular religion does not make sense to you, you will reject the existence of any true religion? I suggest you start to search through other religions.
This message is a reply to:
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Open MInd
Member (Idle past 3835 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 22 of 110 (481181)
09-09-2008 9:01 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by NosyNed
09-09-2008 4:47 PM


Re: Your Mistake
I actually have a very clever understanding of how G-d can control every aspect of the world today, even if science can theoretically explain the entire universe today. All you have to say is that G-d initiated the Big Bang. I don't think science can ever understand the cause of the Big Bang. Assuming the cause of the Big Bang was the all-powerful G-d, it can be assumed that G-d set forth the Big Bang with precise calculations. G-d would be able to know exactly what the out come of the Big Bang will be. Since G-d wanted life to exist, He would have set the Big Bang in precisely the exact parameters that would cause life to eventually form. In fact, G-d could set the Big Bang to exactly the correct parameters in order for anything to happen that He so desires. All you need is for G-d to know all of the possible outcomes of the Big Bang, and G-d is actually controlling the entire world from its beginning. Also, since G-d must not be in the realm of time (since He was the cause of time), G-d controlling the world from the beginning is the equivalent of G-d controlling the world right now.
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Open MInd
Member (Idle past 3835 days)
Posts: 261
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 23 of 110 (481182)
09-09-2008 9:08 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by AnswersInGenitals
09-09-2008 7:55 PM


Re: So, now what?
AnswersInGenitals writes:

Because this 'thing' would have enough complex structure to interact with itself. Vaguely (very vaguely) like the ocean surface interacting with itself to produce a propagating wave

I am sorry but did you even read what you wrote. You are saying that the most elementary partical in the universe is a "complex structure." You are obviously missing my point.


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dwise1
Member
Posts: 3496
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 5.0


Message 24 of 110 (481183)
09-09-2008 9:10 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 3:59 PM


Re: My Motive
I did not ask theists these question because a theist would admit that the world cannot be understood completely by human beings. Is this not why the first humans believed in a god.

There's a 20 dollar bill lying in the middle of an intersection (assume no cars travelling on the two streets involved). You're standing on one corner, Santa Claus on the second, the Easter Bunny on the third, and on the fourth corner stands an atheist who believes that the world can be completely understood by humans. Who gets to the money first? You do, because the other three don't exist.

As for your second sentence there, yes, that is indeed why we invented the gods, to try to make some sense of and try to explain the natural universe. It didn't work very well, but at least it made us feel better as it gave us the illusion of knowing what was going on. Kind of like the exchange in the pub as the world was about to end:

quote:

Barman: Are you serious, sir? I mean, do you reallythin the world's going to end this afternoon?
Ford: Yes, in just over one minute and thirty-five seconds.
Barman: Well, isn't there anything we can do?
Ford: No, nothing.
Barman: I always thought we were meant to lie down or put a paper bag over our head or something.
Ford: If you like, yes.
Barman: Will that help?
Ford: No. Excuse me, I've got to find my friend.
Barman: Oh well then, last orders please!


As I recall, in the movie when they cut back to the pub they're all lying on the floor with paper bags over their heads.

One of the benefits of science is that it has enabled us to work out infinitely better how the natural universe works. An inevitable side-effect has been the elimination of the need to invent gods to explain the natural universe. This has led to an opposing reaction from those gods' fan clubs, kind of like cancelling Star Trek after the second season.

That opposing reaction includes your apparent inclination: "The God of the Gaps". The Wikipedia article is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps. It's an interesting read, mainly because according to the article the people who coined the term did so in order criticize the idea and to dissuade believers from falling into its trap. From the end of the article:

quote:
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: "...how wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know."

In other words, it is wrong and counter-productive to use God as rags and caulking to stop up the gaps in our knowledge.

But if you want to trivialize your god and doom it to extinction, then by all means go ahead. Just don't blame us for its demise.


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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 25 of 110 (481184)
09-09-2008 9:13 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 9:01 PM


long term planning
Sure. G-d could very well have done it that way. We may never know enough to refute such an idea. This is, as I understand it, the majority view among Christians today.

Most of us here at EvC are just fine with such an idea. It doesn't conflict with what is known today so there is nothing wrong with someone wanting to believe it. It has zero impact on any of the sciences or the teaching of them.

However what has been shown to be wrong is a long list of other ideas about how G-d was supposed to have been the only way something could have occurred.

With this long history in mind one shouldn't be too sure of what may or may not be known in the future. But there is always room to push G-d one step back into a different gap so His existance will never be disproven.


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bluegenes
Member (Idle past 650 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 26 of 110 (481186)
09-09-2008 9:29 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 8:33 PM


Re: Tenses, guys!
Open Mind writes:

It is obvious from reading an elementary textbook in physics that there are still some problems with the current ideas. What I meant to question was whether it is possible to put all the laws of nature into something understandable to the human brain.

As I've pointed out, what we understand now, and what we might be capable of understanding in the future, are two very different things. We cannot know how thorough our future understanding of the universe can be. Nosy Ned, further up the thread, already pointed out that you were headed for a God of the Gaps argument.

These are boringly common and profoundly irrational arguments, so common that that's the second time I've put that link in today. They're brought up by theists desperately attempting to justify their faith and desires. Basically, the "gaps" are gaps in human knowledge where you can, with sweet and naive wishful thinking, attempt to insert the God of your choice.

If it will ever be possible to understand everything in the long distant future, our distant descendents will be spared from these daft arguments at last. Heaven on earth it'll be! ;)


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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2890 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


Message 27 of 110 (481190)
09-09-2008 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 8:33 PM


You Sure of That?
To start, I show that everything can be broken into smaller things. And, any two things with different properties must have a cause for the difference in property. Then I show how it is not possible to break everything down into a most elementary thing that would be understood by humans.

When did you show that? Or is this something you intend to do now? I'd like to see that.

I also want to show that if it is not possible to explain the entire universe in terms of physical properties, a force, not comprehendable to human logic must be used to explain it. This lends itself to the theistic point of view.

No it doesn't. It leads one to realizing that the Universe isn't working however it does by ones understanding of its workings. God of the gaps writ large.


Kindly

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

When I was young I loved everything about cigarettes: the smell, the taste, the feel … everything. Now that I’m older I’ve had a change of heart. Want to see the scar?


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2363 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 28 of 110 (481198)
09-09-2008 10:57 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 8:48 PM


Re: My Motive
So if your particular religion does not make sense to you, you will reject the existence of any true religion? I suggest you start to search through other religions.

I rejected religion long before I became an atheist. Too many denominations all claiming to be the right one. Pure BS. I spent 10 years as an agnostic before becoming an atheist.

Edited by bluescat48, : spelling


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2363 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 29 of 110 (481201)
09-09-2008 11:03 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 9:01 PM


Re: Your Mistake
All you have to say is that G-d initiated the Big Bang.

ok which of the thousands of gods that various people believe in or in which version of Yahveh, Jehovah or Allah do you mean?


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Deftil
Member (Idle past 2629 days)
Posts: 128
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 04-19-2008


Message 30 of 110 (481207)
09-09-2008 11:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Open MInd
09-09-2008 1:50 PM


These questions are probably not what you are expecting. I am trying to make you think a little.

A "little"? Normally I think a lot, so thinking a little would have me thinking less. hehe

I hope all the atheists out there can help me out.

Sure, I'd be glad to. You're actually needing a "physicist", preferably a "theoretical physicist" and not an "atheist" as you said. You've got your terms mixed up.

Not all your questions have very solid answers yet, so you it would be best if you could get a hold of a physicist from the future.

But I suppose you mean to imply that because all of your questions haven't been answered completely by science, then there must be a god? It's already been metioned I'm sure, but the history of science has already shown the god of the gaps to be vulnerable. Are you saying that if science can one day answer all of those questions, then the non-existence of a god has been proven? Would you stop believing in God yourself if science answered all those questions in your lifetime?


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