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The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on March 3, 2009 at 5:34pm
Re Claudia's comment, below:

These matters are very tricky.
They are at the cutting edge of advanced cosmology and mathematics, and are in the course of being solved.
The answer, though, should lie in quantum mechanics as Vic Stenger, physicist, proposes.
Before the Big Bang. because the implied void is so unstable, there could have been a Big Crunch.
Crunches and Bangs could alternate.
Universes exist in real time. Big Bang starts as real time. Big Crunch ends as real time.
The one leads towards the other and to the implied void and instability. This would be timeless chaotic emptiness, but immediately quantum mechanics suggests that a new Universe formed because a new BB would immediately follow. The situation could well continue ad infinitum. Universes always were. In REAL TIME universes are all there can be. They are eternally present, forever existing, because their absence would imply an unstable state of the void that cannot exist in time.
Therefore, a universe–or universes—must be. They always were and always shall be.

It is best to raise these deep questions on the open discussion board, to allow expert mathematicians and cosmologists to expand the argument. Try doing that. Other promising approaches involve string theory, multi-dimensional states and colliding branes.
Comment by Franrose O on February 17, 2009 at 12:15am
The book that was established by Charles Darwin explained the theory of life sciences. On his 50th birthday, he unleashed the idea that species evolve and adapt to their environments. He investigated the changes of species and considered his theory of natural selection. Natural selection is one of the hottest points of discussions in the world, never mind payday loans. No other idea has been so praised and vilified perhaps in all history.
Comment by Tedster on February 6, 2009 at 10:32pm
You guys. could I also request that you follow Dr. Terance's request? This also gives me a headache.
Comment by Richard Francis on February 6, 2009 at 12:11pm
Hi Claudia,

What Einstein was talking about when he said that imagination was more important than knowledge is that you need to think outside the box to stretch beyond what we know at the moment.

That is the difference between faith and science. For science, imagination (hypothesis) is the starting point for learning the truth, and for faith, it is the end point.

A scientist will look at a phenomenon and 'imagine' how it could have happened. They will then test their hypothesis, redefine if necessary, have it independently tested and only then will they call it a fact (with a caveat that some measure of doubt is always healthy)

A religious person will look at a phenomenon and fabricate a story that vaguely fits...... and then they call it the absolute truth. "The only way"

This latter practise is an unhealthy, weak way of living and limits further understanding.

"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses"

Albert Einstein (from letter written on January 3, 1954)

Thanks for your thoughts.

All the best


p.s. Sorry Dr Meaden. I will paste this to the above discussion.
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on February 6, 2009 at 11:35am
Dear Claudia
Thank you for writing again.
May I gently ask you to copy and paste your latest comment into the discussion called ORIGINS OF FAITH (see above). I am just trying to tidy up the discussion comments so that it is easier for everyone (especially visitors and new members) to find. Terry.
Comment by Marc Draco on February 6, 2009 at 9:09am
Done, Dr. Meaden. I hope we can continue this over there and that us "usual suspects" can bring our posts over there.

I brought (that thought experiment) up with a highly-skilled, agnostic and auto-didactic designer I work with; he thought about it for moment, went a little pale and then professed that his head was about to explode.
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on February 6, 2009 at 8:48am
Marc, you may take the lead on this---on starting a discussion topic named "Origins of Faith"--- if you wish. In that case, try transferring a slightly modified version of what you wrote, and/or encourage the others to do the same.
Comment by Marc Draco on February 6, 2009 at 5:49am
Certainly an idea - we have slipped off topic somewhat. ;-)
Comment by Dr. Terence Meaden on February 6, 2009 at 4:45am
Don, Marc Draco, Alex Donovan, Richard Thomas: You have all written very well indeed on what faith really means. Thank you.
Alex Donovan, your essay-like answer is brilliant.
I now wish that a named discussion topic--called, say, ORIGINS OF FAITH--had been running.
If anyone wants to start such a topic, and transfer comments or repeat comments there, please do so.
Comment by Richard Thomas on February 6, 2009 at 12:54am
Claudia M. Mazzucco writes
"This conception of Faith as the gift or ability to believe in something that is not provable is difficult to be understood by the atheist’s mind but it is sufficiently manifest in the large number of scientific theories which are based in quantum mechanic."

I have no problem if you wish to believe in something that is not provable. What is difficult for myself is to understand by what means you come to belive in something unprovable ine the first place. In other words precisely what convinced you of the existence for which there is no evidence in the first place?

And since I have read up on quantum mechanics I would be delighted to hear just what you find manifest in quantum mechanics that supports the item you have already declared to be unprovable.
Since quantum mechanics is a manifestation of the physical world and a measurable quantity it hardly qualifies as being "unprovable".

So please do present the arguements that quantum mechanics provides to your assertions.

"Faith is thought by Father Steven Pavignano, a Franciscan Friar, as “the highest level of trust.” Even as atheist we trust that somewhere there is the theory that could explain everything, that carries the secrets of the universe (and God) in a mathematical equation. This is an “Atheist Faith,” one part intuition and one part the sense of a necessary order in a chaotic world."

It is hardly a matter of trust that drives science toward a possible theoryy of everything since we do not know if such a thing actually exists. Perhaps we will be undone by the structure and laws of the universe itself and never come to a complete understanding.
For science this is no problem because it merely follows in trying to describe what it is that we do observe. We may well never know how it all works and be only able to make educated guesses.
However, science does eliminate possible scenarios with the acquisition of knowledge but science is never certain.
Only religions have the arrogance to claim to know things for which there is no evidence and, indeed, is the reason for faith in fist place.

"The fact that faith makes you believe in a “Man-who-knows-everything” (God) is, indeed, a by-product of this mental capability to know – not to believe – that which is not provable."

Ok exactly how do you know that which is not provable? f you know something it is a given that you must be able to demonstrate that knowledge in some way. If I say that I love my wife I cannot prove it to you in terms of my emotional feelings being directly felt by you,however, I can have you observe my wife and I interacting and thereby demonstrate to you that I do love her.{ Assuming of course that we agree on what love is by definition first}

So can you demonstrate the God that defines your faith as well?

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