I was wondering about the different theories Atheists have about how our Universe came to be, what happened before the big bang? Or did that even happen? Obviously a theist generally believes God made everything happen, what are your thoughts?

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Hi Lacey,

Either the universe is eternal (infinite in both directions of time), or it had a beginning.

If the universe is eternal, then it just is and always was. There could be no prior God around to create it. There would be no room or need for God.

If the universe had a beginning then, on the basis that something from nothing is supernatural, the possibility of God is boosted.

Current cosmology tells us that the sum total energy of the universe is zero. This is because gravity can have negative energy. Don't ask me to explain more . . . if you need more info then check out my blog post titled "State of Cosmology: Universe from NOTHING". The video is amazing. It will blow your mind.

The bottom line of that video is that the universe could have spontaneously materialized in a void of nothingness. This means that even though the universe came from nothing, it could have been a natural event.

Nonetheless, to me, the existence of quantum fluctuations hasn't really sunk into my mind yet. I still view something-from-nothing as a supernatural event. I know that's not logical. Maybe someday I'll wrap my mind around it enough to dismiss that last shred of doubt.
Hi Phil,

Yes, I'm decidedly in favor of evidence, facts and the scientific method. However, I'm a bit cautious with the most incredible claims. Something from nothing is incredible enough . . . but EVERYTHING from nothing? That's about as incredible as it gets.

Multiverses were once too incredible for me to accept. I've since become comfortable with the idea. Quantum fluctuations and a universe from nothing will take a little longer.
Phil: When I say that I believe something is true it means that I think it is ture, not that I know it is true. I believe that the theory of evolution is true. The word believe can be used in different contexts. I hope I have demonstrated that it does not have to be tied to faith.
I don't see this. I am trying to come up with a scientific principle not a deity. Using powerful microscopes physicists have determined that existence as we know it is founded in extremely small particles called quarks and that they have opposite signs. This suggests to me that without opposites there could be no existence. I entertain the notion that the very predictable laws of physics that we see on the macro level are due to a balance between opposites on the micro level. I am intrigued as to how the opposites on the micro level are sustained. Again, I am looking for a scientific principle to explain this not a deity. It might be whorth your while to check my home page. You will find in the section about me that I hold a copyright on a logical disproof of theism.
Completely off topic but it is not possible to hold a copyright on a logical proof of anything. It is possible to hold a copyright on the expression of an idea but not on the idea itself.
The expression is in the form of logic.
There are six kinds of quarks: up, down, charm, strange, top, bottom. Each of them have a variety of flavor properties. One of these properties of electrical charge which is always either +2/3 or -1/3. There are also anti-quarks corresponding to each of the six kinds. All the hadrons are composed of multiple quarks so the charges end up being integers (2 down + 1 up => neutron (0 charge)), protons are 2 up and 1 down ( 2/3 + 2/3 - 1/3 = +1). The masses of the quarks vary widely.

Historically, the theory of quarks (1964) came before the experimental validation began to appear (1968 and following.) They were posited as a way to explain phenomena that were known but not fully explained by The Standard Model.
One of the issues/stumbling blocks is that everybody thinks it is obvious what "something" and "nothing" really are and that we are all agreed. At the level of science that Krauss and others do, attempting to put the concepts into words (that we already have) is bound to result in a little looseness and snugness around the edges.
Can't folks just say "For the purposed of this discussion, xyz means .."

I think there is something else going on -- people want to win for their preconceived condition, not actually learn something. And by winning, they can then use that power (or agreement or submission or whatever) to force some other point onto the opponent. Dealing with someone who is truly ignorant of the assumptions they are making by using words in certain ways is usually a interesting exercise in education. Dealing with someone who knows perfectly well what is being meant is usually an exercise in frustration and turns into a power struggle.
I think I've seen all of those uses just in conversations that I've been involved in here on A|N
Hi Fred,

Actually, I don't know where you stand on the subject, but it sounds like you put more stock in determinism (as opposed to free will). I have no problem with either position because I really don't know which is correct.

But I do know the difference between an opinion and a fact.

To refuse to acknowledge the difference between an opinion and a fact, is to make all one's opinions suspect. Rational integrity demands an honest approach to all ideas. Facts are facts. Opinions are opinions. Presenting an opinion as a fact is wrong. Claiming certainty on matters of opinion is dogmatic and an indulgence of ego.

I'm not saying you do this (I'd have to review your posts to this thread first) . . . but I have seen too many people here present their opinions as facts.

There's nothing wrong with strong opinions but there's a world of problems with "personal facts".
Hey Phil,

If I read you correctly, you're claiming your opinion is a fact ("From an empirical point of view, there is no moral right and wrong." and "Factors included were genetic, social, environmental, etc., etc. Period.").

Generally speaking, physical systems can be modeled as linear systems . . . but natural phenomena is often nonlinear. A linear system can be expressed as the sum of its parts. A nonlinear system usually exhibits emergent properties that can't be explained as a sum of its parts. It's my belief that too many determinists take a simplistic view of the universe that is myopic by nature: they're too busy taking things apart to notice the big picture. Their bias leads them to miss things like: synergy; nested levels of organization; dynamic change over time; multiple interactions; and, most importantly for free will, feedback loops.

The scientific dogma of physical reductionism, which you seem to espouse, works great for things amenable to linear thinking but it fails miserably at explaining or predicting many natural phenomena involving multiple, nonlinear, properties or components. The social machinations of ant colonies and bee hives; animal behavior; embryology, consciousness, intelligence and, yes, free will, are all resistant to linear thinking.

The certainty you express doesn't acknowledge the incongruencies that complexity theory was developed to answer.

I repeat: Free will is still at the table. It hasn't been dealt out yet. This controversy is FAR from over and ANY position, for now, is a matter of opinion.


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