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?
I have to have belief or what's the point? Here's one: IGNORANCE = FEAR, FEAR = DEATH. Because I believe that, I have made it my responsibility to educate myself.
Another belief is something I read in the book: "Equations of Eternity" by David Darling. It is in the very beginning of the introduction. It is scientific in nature and it is a long quote so I'll post it in a blog. It gives me a sense of awe.
Yes, it's inconvenient when there is no reply option. The "Reply to This" option is removed once the thread level gets too deep. Because, I suppose, of the indent of nested replies -- the text display area becomes too narrow. So I've started a new thread that picks up with your latest reply, as follows . . .
Reply by Phil Poland 23 hours ago
Free Thinker - Again I didn't find a respond option on your post so, again, I'll have to respond to my own nearby one.
Just to be sure I get this right, did you say that reductionism fails with some subjects? If it does, what can be used instead?
Obviously, compared with 99% of the species, we substantially agree. No need to stickle these things to death. A few clarifications/definitions would probably take care of most of the gap.
Yes, Phil, I did say reductionism fails and is ill-suited for investigating various natural phenomena -- especially "complex systems" like the brain. Here's the relevant quote:
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 [physical reductionism].
In recent decades, the limits of physical reductionism have been recognized by the scientific community. The alternative research method is called "systems thinking" and uses a holistic approach. This doesn't mean reductionism is wrong, only that one must choose the appropriate alternative when designing experiment or research requirements.
You can Google any of the relevant terms I've mentioned, such as: "complexity theory", "systems thinking", "complex systems", "physical reductionism", etc. for more (authoritative) information.
I have gone through the thread and I am surprised that there is no mention of Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, the Belgian mathematician whose work on "the hypothesis on the primeval atom" would later became known as the Big Bang Theory. Lemaître, a Jesuit priest, is considered as The Father of the Big Bang Theory. Though many will deny it, his agenda was to make the Book of Genesis scientific. It is no surprise that the Vatican considers the Big Bang Theory as acceptable and attuned to its religious dogma.
Before the Big Bang Theory, theories on the origins of the universe were as numerous and varied as the christian and catholic denominations on this planet.
Sorry, but I am not completely sold to the Big Bang or the gang bang theory as yet. Not because of Lemaître, but because of the inherent flaws on the standard model of the Big Bang Theory that to this day, scientists have failed to address: e.g., the contradictions to the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum for starters.
"In a hundred years, people will look back on the Big Bang Creationists and their antics with laughter, much as we laugh at those who argued over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin."Grote Reber
I'm curious what contradictions to the 1st and 2nd laws and to the conservation of angular momentum you mean. Statistical thermodynamics is a critical part of the current big bang model and angular momentum has to be dealt with relativistically, but it is.
As I understand it, the first law means that the total energy/mass of the universe or any closed system never changes. There are certain phenomena that appear, in isolation, to violate the conservation of energy but, I believe, they actually do not.
For instance, matter/antimatter annihilations. They actually cancel each other out, so that the total mass/energy remains the same. Quantum fluctuations, which permeate the universe, do so with universal equilibrium, maintaining an overall balance of mass/energy.
I'm not sure what else you might have been referring to where the first law is concerned. It would have been helpful to have stated what, exactly, you were thinking of.
It is true,that humans like to philosophy on big things.Like why are we here?Where did we come from?How did the Universe came to be? et cetera.But you got to agree that if there are almost 7 billion of us and there is also almost same amount of different(personal) opinions.So everyone couldnt honesty got it right.Admit it.So i have to say,that the best way to understand things is science and its tool - the scientific method.
I believe the wondrous nature of the world, the cosmos. The beauty of it is enlightening! Every new picture or fact astounds me! What could be more awesome as a picture of space and the wonders therein!
I wouldn't say I have many fixed "beliefs" in how our Universe came to be or what happened before the big bang. Still, I have some notions that the whole concept that something needs to be be "created" or have a "beginning" may not really apply to the universe. Sure things get created within the universe, we obviously have evidence of things expanding out from a super-condensed point with the big bang. But was that really the "beginning" or just the start of what we know and see now?
Perhaps the big theme in the universe is less about things starting and ending and more about continual change from one state to another. I mean, even after we die it's not like our bodies simply vanish... they burn or rot or get eaten by worms... in some way the stuff that made you live on in other states. When we formed, it was in our mother's womb. We were made from a biological process involving our father and mother.
Really, are there any examples of things that didn't exist before hand simply blipping into existence (or out of it)? My thoughts on this may be off somewhat, I readily admit I'm not much of a scientist (despite my current interests in the subject). Still, it seems to me that matter and energy never begin or end but just change or transfer, no? In that respect, would there even be need for the universe to have a set beginning or ending?
I have accepted that nouns living and non living exist. Since nouns which live have identity and particular imperatives relative to their continued survival, I may practice cogent aughts in aid of my own survival, indeed in aid of your survival. Volition gives me and you this choice. What is has attracted my attention. Perfection borrows characteristics from real nouns. Perfection is a merely mental construct, an abstraction. God is an idea with no basis among nouns or facts.
I, for one, am very wary of the concept of "belief." I think it is far more rational to "accept as a working hypothesis" than to "believe" in the vast majority of cases (though not all).
The only time I really can "believe" is when reliable evidence is so overwhelming that it is clear that to not accept it is irrational. Even then, belief, to be rational, has to be provisional - accepting the proviso that further information may disprove the hypothesis. For example, Einstein provided new information that proved Newton to be largely correct, but with exceptions. And now the same has happened with general relativity as a result of the investigation of quantum mechanics. Yet we still largely accept Newtonian mechanics, Einsteinian relativity, and quantum mechanical theory. All of them contribute a great deal to our modern world.
So, do I accept - believe in - evolution, but with provisions? Yes. Clearly, evolution explains the evidence vastly better than any competing hypothesis, and explains it with sufficient completeness that it is irrational not to "believe." But there are aspects of it that may prove to be incorrect? Yes, of course, in the details, the same as has happened in Newtonian mechanics and the rest.
The question, of course, is whether the followers of that ancient Semitic sky god have anything useful to contribute to the discussion. So far, I haven't seen them come up with anything I would consider particularly interesting. So, on application of Occam's shaving instrument, I am throwing out the ancient Semitic sky god and going with Darwin and his numerous successors.
With regards to whether any other gods exist, ancient Semitic sky god or otherwise, I haven't come across any compelling reason to accept any of them or any other "God of the Gaps." Indeed, the gaps are getting so very small these days, there is precious little room left. I would suggest that the trend that has been in place since the beginning of the Enlightenment has been clear - material explanations explain the data far better than any god hypthesis yet invented, and this is increasingly so with every passing day - that I cannot see a rational reason to "believe" in anything other than a material explanation.
There is no proof for the material explanation. But the evidence is overwhelming, just as it now is for evolution by means of natural selection. And that increases daily, so even though the "curve may be asymptotic," I would suggest that the direction it points is now quite clear - There ain't no ancient Semitic sky god. Greek mountain god. Egyptian death god. or Mayan rain god. So I "believe" in the material explanation and have adopted atheism as my "belief" system. And I think I am not being irrational in doing so at this juncture.