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When one is sceptical about Scepticality

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Description: Time to test my atheist believes
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Coenie777
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« on: March 21, 2010, 00:07:40 AM »

I became an atheist due to scepticism. Do I think it should be acceptable to be sceptic from time to time regarding my atheist believes.

I have this one dilemma playing out in my mind the past few days that I either does not have enough time on hand to think through or it may be something worth exploring. Here goes -

If god (not the christian one or any specific one for this argument) if a supreme being was responsible for creation of the universe would he/she/it not have liberty to do it in such a way that all systems work towards his/her/it's ultimate goal of the system created?

If god created this world with the intention that evolution would take over from him at a certain point and continue with the evolution of beings, would that make the creator not omnipotent, or just skillfull in creating a system that would be selfsustaining for as long as he planned.


If god created man with all his body's shortcomings, was it bad "intelligent design" or merely just a clever way to put something into a system that would not be immortal, but will result in a limited life span.


Since there will be a loop in the argument of what created the big bang. A big bang, well then what created that etc. Go back 100 billion big bangs, who created that? You get my point. Something had to set it off. Could this be a supreme being?

Your views please
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2010, 08:13:32 AM »

The thing that does not (or at least should not) sit comfortably with most people that ponder regression to the point of "Who set off the Big Bang?", is that you inevitably end up with a creator of higher complexity than the thing that he sets off. This clearly raises the even bigger problem of how the creator himself got started. This is the old Who-created-the-creator chestnut, but still a very valid question.

I think a possible (if not a tad sneaky) way of replying to this may be to claim that the physical laws governing the singularity prior to the BB is unknown and unknowable. This includes the property of "time" (which I understand only arose somewhere after the BB). So if there was no time, then the existence of the creator can conceivably be divorced from his need to be created. This is of course not testable at all, and pure speculation. Sceptics enjoy indulging in a bit of speculation and philosophy as must as the next person, but have the common sense not to take anything that is in principle untestable too seriously. This is because it is really easy to come up with any amount of clever sounding hypotheses, even contradictory ones. Without being able to test these ideas, one has no way of knowing which are genuine.

So long story short, if there is indeed a creator that is responsible for setting off the universe, we have no evidence for it as yet. Even worse, we have no idea of how to go about looking for this evidence either. This is grounds for placing the creator-idea, at best, in a lower probability-box than the no-creator idea.

What tickles me more, though, is where the creator lived prior to the BB - inside or outside the singularity? I mean, that's one dense piece of real estate...

Mintaka

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Coenie777
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2010, 10:07:27 AM »

If you depart from the point of saying that the creator (who ever of what ever) was responsible for the big bang, then does it not follow more logically that this creator may have been created by another form of creator? Surely this makes more sense to me or attempts to answer the question in more detail, than to say that the bb was set off by another sequence of bb's. It regress back to who set off the first bb does it not?

For anything to set off a bb that "it" would need to exist outside the singularity.

So far this opened a bigger can of worms for me as your answer appears to shy away from entertaining any alternatives (with respect Mintaka), besides the bb and since time before that did not exist we will never know. The same could be said 100 years ago about the first second after the bb. Yes present day physics still cannot explain anything prior to the bb, but we need to still work towards that. Else we will find ourselves just moving the decimal place further an further along the
first few moments after the bb".

If we therefore have no evidence for a creator, and we cannot tell what happened before the bb, surely we must then all be called agnostic rather than ateiistic? We cannot for certain say then that nothing could have created the universe?
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2010, 10:17:58 AM »

Sceptics enjoy indulging in a bit of speculation and philosophy as must as the next person, but have the common sense not to take anything that is in principle untestable too seriously.
What tickles me more, though, is where the creator lived prior to the BB - inside or outside the singularity? I mean, that's one dense piece of real estate...
Mintaka
Wow. Mintaka. This is probably the best and most concise argument for "origins" I have EVER seen. Nice post. Nothing new to add except, "What Mintaka said"  Smiley
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2010, 11:21:49 AM »

Not bad! Problem is the God you end up with is brilliant but rather lazy. Whilst I can totally relate to such an entity I think most would have a hard time worshipping it.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2010, 12:09:04 PM »

Whilst I can totally relate to such an entity I think most would have a hard time worshipping it.
Grin

If you depart from the point of saying that the creator (who ever of what ever) was responsible for the big bang, then does it not follow more logically that this creator may have been created by another form of creator?
Possibly. But on what grounds would we make the assumption that a creator was responsible for the Big Bang? Simply not understanding how something happened, does not grant us licence to fill in the gaps with fanciful explanations.

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For anything to set off a bb that "it" would need to exist outside the singularity.
The only problem is that there was no outside. Outside hadn't been invented yet.

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So far this opened a bigger can of worms for me as your answer appears to shy away from entertaining any alternatives
That's simple enough to explain: I just don't know. But I can assure you that I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for news from the physicists (after having been translated into English, of course). Waiting for the truth - even if it never comes - is far more worthwile than filling in the gaps in our knowledge with just anything. I mean, who is to say that my anything is any better than your anything? Knowledge is just far to valuable to rape in such a manner.

Was it not a mere few hundred years ago that people believed that gods were physically responsible for holding the planets in orbit? Today we can explain so much more about planetary motion, without the need for the supernatural, and God has been promoted to his next gap-project, the instigator of the BB.

Take life. To my mind, we can on only really claim to understand the wonder of life when we can reproduce it. And by reproduce, I mean starting off with a cylinder of nitrogen, some graphite, and a jar of oxygen. We are clearly not there yet. But we know what the ingredients of life are, and no mysterious life force has ever been isolated.

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If we therefore have no evidence for a creator, and we cannot tell what happened before the BB, surely we must then all be called agnostic rather than atheistic? We cannot for certain say then that nothing could have created the universe?

If you wish. There is another thread doing the rounds at the moment where definitions of atheism is being discussed. Have a look there as well. Although, I might add that atheism preceded the discovery of the Big Bang. Wink

Mintaka
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StevoMuso
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2010, 17:24:11 PM »

... atheism preceded the discovery of the Big Bang. Wink

While we are pulling theories out of thin air, why not also say that the gods were also formed during the BB? And if humans didn't exist (like pre-BB) then would atheism be possible? Hehe. Nice thread this. LOL  Grin

Jokes aside, here's my contribution: Ignorance is not evidence of the Divine. To say "The gods created life" is purely speculation, and not based on any more evidence than the ancient Greeks had for proclaiming "Thunder is the voice of Zeus".
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Coenie777
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2010, 22:10:40 PM »

Quote
Quote
For anything to set off a bb that "it" would need to exist outside the singularity.

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The only problem is that there was no outside. Outside hadn't been invented yet.

I disagree completely with you on this point Mantika. Within the constraints of a one universe bb event maybe. But we just cannot conclude that since string theory and multiverse models of the universe are only theories, that they do not exist until such time as we come up with physical experimental proof.

Quote
Quote from: Coenie777 on Today at 10:07:27
If you depart from the point of saying that the creator (who ever of what ever) was responsible for the big bang, then does it not follow more logically that this creator may have been created by another form of creator?

Quote
Possibly. But on what grounds would we make the assumption that a creator was responsible for the Big Bang? Simply not understanding how something happened, does not grant us licence to fill in the gaps with fanciful explanations.

I am not trying to argue so much for the bb to have been the work of a creator as I am trying to argue for the
possibility that - since we cannot be sure about the event and what led up to it - there may be enough evidence, just from that, that agnosticism should be the conclusion, not atheism.

Will check out the threat on definitions for atheism and agnosticism as per your suggestion.

Oh and by the way StevoMuso, is thin air not where we find all theories?  Huh?

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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2010, 09:08:15 AM »

Coenie, would you agree that "inside" and "outside" simply boils down to different positions in space? Now, since ALL of space used to be squeezed into this miniscule point, there could be no outside of the point. To claim that something existed outside of the singularity, is effectively the same as saying that something exists outside of the universe.

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But we just cannot conclude that since string theory and multiverse models of the universe are only theories, that they do not exist until such time as we come up with physical experimental proof.

Er ... how does string theory and multiverse models allow existance outside of singularities? Are you suggesting that God might have set off "our" BB remotely from a different bubble in the universe foam?
 
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2010, 10:09:17 AM »

This whole discussion about “cause” and “existence” of the universe is, from start to finish, fraught with common-sense appeals that are very likely wholly inapplicable because of some considerable gaps in our knowledge.  What does it mean to say of something that “it exists?”  What is a “cause” and which of the four Aristotelian causes is meant?

Thus, to say that we don’t know what caused the Big Bang assumes too much.  It may not have had a “cause” at all in any normal understanding of that word, and our best current physical theories are inadequate to address these deep questions.  At most, we can speculate against the background of our best current knowledge, but ultimately we are forced to admit that we don’t presently know.

More importantly, we are still entitled to infer atheism as a sustainable position despite our ignorance concerning origins (ours and our universe’s).  This for two reasons: first, the scientific approach demands rejection of unproven positive-claim hypotheses.  That is to say, we can keep an open mind about a hypothesis’s truth status, but the science that we do must be conducted as if the hypothesis is false until compelling evidence shows it to be true.

Second, the fact that we lack a satisfactory physical account doesn’t force us to posit a god as a cause.  We arrive at god-as-cause through common-sense reasoning that goes, “Everything has a cause.  Therefore, there must have been a first cause.”  The logical absurdity of saying that everything has a cause and then violating that principle by putting forward an uncaused first-cause god should be obvious: it is only defensible through special pleading.  It is far simpler and ontologically much more satisfying to suppose that the Big Bang was the uncaused first cause because we do know of certain physical processes that look entirely causeless, e.g. virtual particles, radioactive and particle decays.

'Luthon64
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Coenie777
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« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2010, 14:45:41 PM »

Quote
Coenie, would you agree that "inside" and "outside" simply boils down to different positions in space? Now, since ALL of space used to be squeezed into this miniscule point, there could be no outside of the point. To claim that something existed outside of the singularity, is effectively the same as saying that something exists outside of the universe.


Mantika, I hope this is not going to sound too "pseudo-science" like but to answer the above I would say; If there are something like a creator of the universe it would most definitely not be constraint by the limitations of our observable universe. Your referance to inside and outside is way too simplistic. I am thinking much bigger than the dimensions we can observe. That is why I brought something like string theory (of which I must admit I know very little), into play. If we can already postulate a theory that there are multiple universes potentialy, then I want to extend the idea of a potential creator to outside of our perceived universe and into this "new" realm. So inside outside now refers to say potentially 6 or seven multiverses. But once we grow our knowledge this envelope may expand further. If a creator exists, it would be outside all of know or theorised space and time.


Quote
Er ... how does string theory and multiverse models allow existance outside of singularities? Are you suggesting that God might have set off "our" BB remotely from a different bubble in the universe foam?

From the little info I have on string theory, I read that the potential other universes were not created from our big bang event. So I am suggesting existance outside of our bb event (or singularity). I stress again that I do not think that if the creator was responsible for it all, it would find itself in one of the potential universes. So in a sense I guess I am suggesting that a creator would be in a seperate reality/dimension.

Can I close this reponse with an analogy from the film Contact. Lets forget for a moment the ideas we on earth have of what god looks like, act like etc. Let us assume for this argument that I am refering to a creator whom we have no concept of form or dimension. In the closing scenes of Contact our universe is shown to be a reflection in a marble which an alien being flicks into a bowl containing other universe reflections in marbles. The level of stretching of minds to understand that, potentially, from a dimension aspect, our universe may be existing on a completely different level(and maybe totally undetectable - from our referance point), would ask a lot. It would mean that we cannot use words like "inside" or "outside", or even call what may exist within these other universes by any name we call things in our material world. But if it is possible, it opens a completely new dimension of interpretation.
 
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2010, 15:26:07 PM »

No, this is going to far! I'd still be willing to have a drink with a God who fiddles about with singularities but I refuse to spend time with any of those bastards who muck around with strongly anthropic multiverses.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 16:36:09 PM by Peter Grant, Reason: not mutiverses » Logged
Coenie777
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« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2010, 15:49:18 PM »

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We arrive at god-as-cause through common-sense reasoning that goes, “Everything has a cause.  Therefore, there must have been a first cause.”  The logical absurdity of saying that everything has a cause and then violating that principle by putting forward an uncaused first-cause god should be obvious: it is only defensible through special pleading.


I agree, an UNCAUSED first-cause god would not make sense. I am not saying that if a creator for our universe did exist, that it would be uncaused as a fact following that assumption.

Something I did read in the mean time makes a lot of sense. In stead of regurgatating it here here is the link.

http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/universe.html
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2010, 22:27:41 PM »

What does it mean to say of something that “it exists?”

I'm assuming you are not kidding. The things that we can either directly sense or deduce from sensory information exist. Stuff that we can't directly sense or deduce form sensory information may or may not exist.

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What is a “cause” and which of the four Aristotelian causes is meant?

I think we use "cause" to mean "responsible for initiating" in this thread.

Mintaka


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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2010, 23:14:39 PM »

If there are something like a creator of the universe it would most definitely not be constraint by the limitations of our observable universe. Your referance to inside and outside is way too simplistic.
 

If you say so. I don't really know the creator that well, nor where he can or cannot survive.
Perhaps you should first define this creator in terms of his properties and abilities and then we can take it from there.

Mintaka
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