Many if not all human societies have origin myths and they differ greatly.

Several years ago a San Francisco-born-and-raised woman told me she is a materialist.

An hour ago a woman who was raised a Jehovah Witness and has left that faith told me the Big Bang story grew from a human need for a beginning. I agreed.

Can you wholeheartedly accept that the universe had no beginning, that it has always existed?

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Thank you, John Elder. Your answer is exactly why I have fits when others (usually believers) start telling me that I believe in the Big Bang. I end up saying that I'm not a scientist and it's OK not to know on some things. How could I possibly know? I don't have enough facts to know.

The believers, of course, know everything and they get all their facts right out of the Buybull. To them that's what these debates are usually about.

John, you appear to know what you're talking about vis a vis deductive and inductive methods.

Assuming for the moment your objectivity, that is your independence from the BB's taxpayer funding, your post has me curious about your views were you to look at the evidence for an electric plasma universe.

Were I dependent on that or similar funding, I would leave it to others to disprove the hypotheses I support. I would also keep my resume in circulation.

Tom: Yes, I am very familiar with inductive vs deductive reasoning. As a professional scientist I should hope so! I am not so familiar with the plasma universe hypothesis (I am a biologist who believes science is science regardless of subdiscipline). I have no reason to be involved with he BB funding and feel I should probably resent the implication.

Here's my general  response- Alfven's plasma universe is not an origin hypothesis, but a cosmology hypothesis. He overly extrapolated the importance of plasmas in the nature of the known universe. The hypotheses derived from his concepts have been rejected by virtually all researchers because none of its testable deductions  fit with the known phenomena. My limited knowledge leads me to think it's an invalid hypothesis that refuses to die.  

Further, science is not funding. The funding game as we use it here to support research is corrupting, invalid , politically laden and leads to the death of valid basic research. Any scientist who puts funding concerns ahead of real science, or allows it to color their findings should be taken up to the north 40 and put down. We both know so many do however.

But I am an idealist and think the only reason we can't uphold higher standards is because we simply don't bother. 

Hypotheses are not to be "supported". No scientist or thinker is in anyway valid if they support a hypothesis. Hypotheses are to be tested until rejected or proven to be non-rejectable. Any scientist who supports a hypothesis isn't worth their salt, funding or otherwise.

John, don't resent the implication. As I'm sure you know, scientists in our time don't fund their own research.

I've been doing politics for forty years and many people try to conceal conflicts of interest. Such conflicts do affect the views they express and the positions they take on issues.

Among the ways to reduce such conflicts, the U. S. Constitution's emoluents clause is currently in the news.

Saying nothing about conflicts of interest is the easiest of all ways way to conceal them, and few people who do little more than vote know they exist.

John, Thanks for the chuckle I'm enjoying.

Your recommendation, if approved, that

Any scientist who puts funding concerns ahead of real science, or allows it to color their findings should be taken up to the north 40 and put down

joined with the admission

We both know so many do however.

would create employment opportunities for a good many young scientists who want positions.

I didn't really resent anything, I was only tongue in cheek . I once had a histology professor tell me he was in favor of taking the worst freshman student of each semester out on the drill field and publicly shooting him as an example to the rest. I reckon I have come to feel much the same about the most heinous scientist of the year among us. We should demand utter honesty and precision from our scientist, right after we get the same from our politicians! Cheers-John

But then we wouldn't have anyone screaming that the global warming is caused by man.

[Tom wrote] jlaz, consider how deductive methods differ from inductive methods.With deduction, people can start mental processes anywhere they can imagine, go in any direction they can imagine, as far as they can imagine. Deduction makes scifi possible.With induction, mental processes are confined--as some engineering students say--to what people can observe and then count, measure or weigh.

Hi Tom:

Thanks for the comment about deductive and inductive methods.  It is relevant in a vague/general way to virtually any discussion here, but I'm not clear what that has to do with any sort of clarification as to what you were trying to say about the Fermi Paradox.  

In short, jlaz, the Fermi Paradox is not a paradox. When there is no evidence, what value do estimates have?
It is a deduction, the stuff of science fiction.

Tom I doubt this question will be answered in our life time.  This is why. Tom had a beginning. But the question is when was that beginning? Was it when Tom was vaginally delivered into this word? Was it when he was conceived? Was it when the egg or sperm were completely formed? Was it when his parents consumed the food that was later processed that became the sperm and egg? How far do we take back the thought of beginning? We don't know the origins of our universe so we can not even postulate proper questions concerning what may have been a beginning.

CU, I doubt that the offspring of blue-green algae, cyanobacteria, or pond scum will answer the question.

But for as long as people will buy answers, other people will make up answers to sell them.

I began with a gleam in my daddy's eyes and my mommy's not telling him she had a headache.

Some ideas can easily be confirmed by evidence; some need faith to support them. 

I have evidence that fire feels hot, water quenches thirst, and air has currents by watching trees and flags move or remain still. 

I have faith the sun will come up each morning, balls fall down, and feathers easily blow away if not protected from drafts. 

I have hope the sun will shine, I hope rain falls to end droughts, I hope I have strength to shovel snow off the walk. 

I am not the one or energy that controls the sun, fire, rain, snow, gravity or its opposite. I react to these energies, gravity, electromagnetic force, strong and weak nuclear forces. These forces are not my idea nor my responsibility; it is how I react to these forces that I have some control. 

There are some things I have control over, i. e. knowledge, attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and actions. I learn by watching others, by imitating them, by formal education, and by solving problems caused by uncontrollable events. Those ancestors who successfully met all these challenges left behind a legacy of being an active thinker and doer, able and willing to think and work for what I need and want. 

One thing that I learned and perhaps one of the most important skills is to be able to live without being in control of all aspects of my life and live with chaos.  

Chaos: Making a new science, James Gleick. He explains the fundamentals of chaos theory, the "Butterfly Effect", randomness, nonlinearity, and fractals, the geometry of nature. From blood vessels, earthquakes, clouds, turbulence, mapping the stars, the flow, and form of nature. I especially like the discussions on fractalsMandelbrot Setfractals in nature

Uncertainty is part of life; it is the chaos of being out of control or not understanding processes and events. What does one do with uncertainty?A schematic does not provide the answer to what does one do with uncertainty, however, it gives a concrete image of the processes.

What does "epistemological" mean?

relating to the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion.

What does "ontological" mean?

  1. a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being. em>Ontology deals with abstract entities.>

  2. a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of things that have existence

Ontological Questions:

What is the meaning of life? 

Why was I born?

How did life begin? (Qualitativeness)

How many years since the Big Bang? (Quantitativeness) 

Where am I in relation to other beings?

Most of us have concerns about providing shelter, food, clothing, transportation, education, health care and do not think seriously about the Objective and Subjective Uncertainties of life. If you have ever done a family genealogy or gone on a geologic field trip in the Grand Canyon, you realize how difficult it is to make accurate accounts of personal history or the history of life on Earth. Much of what we do is look at the evidence, determine if it is valid and reliable, and then take some guesses. Who knows who our great-great-grandmother was, or if the shark tooth is Devonian or Carboniferous on the Geologic Time Scale? Such question may have clear-cut answers, others, not so. Living with uncertainty presents a reality one adjusts to, or never gives it thought. 

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