Let’s Get Metaphysical, Metaphysical… Off Season Off Topic

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Some feedback on alien visitations, in response to a chat inquiry…

Bear in mind that Earth is relatively young compared to the universe. Earth is only about one third the age of the universe, and of that time span it has only recently hosted intelligence sufficiently advanced to be able to even begin detecting other advanced civilizations. We have only been able to do that for, say, the past 50 years out of a planet history of 4.5 billion years, which if my math is right is about 0.0000000001% of the total history of the earth, a percentage so small that it is essentially inconceivable.

For all we know, advanced civilizations may burn themselves out and go extinct within a few thousand years, or else evolve communication and resource strategies that do not leave an easily detectable footprint. Let’s say an advanced civilization enjoys 5000 useful years out of a 4.5 billion year old planet. That would be a usable time window of about 0.000000001% of a planet’s history. Such civilizations would never be detectable outside the galaxy, and only detectable from a closer proximity if they happened to overlap in time with our own civilization. For example, a civilization in the nearest galaxy, Andromeda, that is 2.5 million light years away and broadcasting (strong) signals for 5000 years would only be detectable to us if it existed 2.5 million years ago (roughly). If it existed 2.6 million years ago, or 2.4 million years ago, or 10 billion years ago, or 10,000 years ago, or will not exist for another 10,000 years or million years, or 10 billion years, we would never know it.

Let’s stipulate that life elsewhere at any given time window is probably highly likely if not a certainty. Intelligent life is no doubt much less likely. Advanced civilization that we can detect but not so advanced that it is stealthy to us or extinct, is doubtless far less likely still. And even though it may be (or have been or will be) abundant, the chances of it existing in a time frame and distance that makes detection possible is very, very small.

Let’s suppose there are currently five billion planets in our galaxy supporting life. That’s about one for every 100 stars. Let’s suppose 1 out of a million have multi-cellular evolving life as opposed to single celled life in a semi-frozen methane ocean with little chance to evolve. That would leave 5000 planets across the galaxy with multi-cellular life. Suppose 1 out of 100 evolve life to advanced civilizations. That would result in 50 such advanced civilizations, 50x more than we currently know. Still a lot, right? But that’s across a vast galaxy and a vast expanse of time. If one such advanced civilization pops up once per million years and then burn out within 5,000 years, the most recent one may have been gone hundreds of thousands of years ago and so we would never know it. We may not be able to detect the next one unless we manage to survive for many hundreds of thousands of years or longer as a species.

Suppose we are fortunate enough to detect one because our time/space situation overlaps enough to make that possible. If those 50 civilizations are evenly dispersed in space (never mind time for the moment) that would mean the closest one would be 2000 light years away. That means by the time we detect it, its history has moved on by 2000 years. Worse, based on current science it would take perhaps 40 million years to traverse that distance. Even if our technology were 1000x better than it is today, it would still take 40,000 years – 4x longer than all human history. Such a trip would be highly impractical for many reasons such as resources and time dilation. Both our civilization and the destination civilization would be vastly changed if not extinct by the time we were able to shake tentacles.

A rational conclusion is that we are more likely to be effectively alone than anything else.

One thing we can conclude for certain is that even on a far distant planet, Ravens would still suck.

15 Responses to “Let’s Get Metaphysical, Metaphysical… Off Season Off Topic”

  1. Earl Earl

    Does God exist? Here are six straightforward reasons to believe that God is really there.

    Just once wouldn’t you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for God’s existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, “You just have to believe.” Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the reasons which suggest that God exists.

    But first consider this. When it comes to the possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.”2 Before you look at the facts surrounding his existence, ask yourself, If God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to consider…

    1. The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.
    Many examples showing God’s design could be given, possibly with no end. But here are a few:

    The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

    Evidence for God – Photo showing the earth’s perfect distance from the sun and its relative size to the sun.The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

    And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.4

    Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:

    It has wide margin between its boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.

    Existence of God – Photo from below the water in an ocean or lake, to illustrate that water freezes from the top down, allowing fish to live in the winter. Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that various chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.5

    Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.

    Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.

    Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.

    God’s creation – Photo of rain falling on plants, showing the process of evaporation and water distribution on our planet.Ninety-seven percent of the Earth’s water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.6

    The human brain…simultaneously processes an amazing amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see, the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard. Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your hands.

    Is there a God? – Photo of woman thinking, to illustrate the processing power of the human brain, at a million messages a second.The human brain processes more than a million messages a second.7 Your brain weighs the importance of all this data, filtering out the relatively unimportant. This screening function is what allows you to focus and operate effectively in your world. The brain functions differently than other organs. There is an intelligence to it, the ability to reason, to produce feelings, to dream and plan, to take action, and relate to other people.

    The eye…can distinguish among seven million colors. It has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages — simultaneously.8 Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from nonliving matter.

    2. The universe had a start – what caused it?
    Did God start the universe – Photo shows an explosion of light to illustrate the start of the universe referred to as the Big Bang.Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself.

    Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described agnostic, stated, “The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being, and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.”9

    Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment of this explosion, “the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.”10

    The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light and matter.

    3. The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why does it?
    Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed of light doesn’t change — on earth or in galaxies far from us.

    Did God design the laws of the universe – Photo of mathematical equations on a blackboard to illustrate the mathematical consistency of natural laws.How is it that we can identify laws of nature that never change? Why is the universe so orderly, so reliable?

    “The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs from the recognition that the universe doesn’t have to behave this way. It is easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence.”11

    Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum electrodynamics, said, “Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.”12

    4. The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior.
    Proof God is real – Photo shows a wall of computer binary code of zeros and ones to illustrate that DNA is like a computer program.All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with intent. Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this: 110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do. The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It’s made up of four chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion of these letters in every human cell!!

    Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual.13

    Proof God exists – Photo of closeup DNA letters of CGTA with a magnifying loop, to illustrate the ordered 3 billion chemicals of DNA within each human cell.Why is this so amazing? One has to ask….how did this information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals. These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how the person’s body should develop.

    Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally constructing it.

    5. We know God exists because he pursues us. He is constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.
    I was an atheist at one time. And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in God bothered me greatly. What is it about atheists that we would spend so much time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even exists?! What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my life.

    God seeks to know us – Photo of sunset on an ocean shore to illustrate the warmth of God’s love and desire for us to know him.I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, “Ok, you win…” It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.

    I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, “I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.” C.S. Lewis said he remembered, “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”

    Lewis went on to write a book titled, “Surprised by Joy” as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became amazed by his love for me.

    6. Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.
    Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God. Surprisingly, Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you’re looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.

    Jesus Christ reveals God to us – Photo of a man reading the Bible to learn more about Jesus Christ.He said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”14 He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin, free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, “follow my words and you will find truth.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me.”15

    What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He did what people can’t do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people…blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects…created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature…walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the miracles you’re seeing.16

    Jesus Christ showed God to be gentle, loving, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply wanting a relationship with us. Jesus revealed that although he views us as sinners, worthy of his punishment, his love for us ruled and he came up with a different plan. God himself took on the form of man and accepted the punishment for our sin on our behalf. Sounds ludicrous? Perhaps, but many loving fathers would gladly trade places with their child in a cancer ward if they could. The Bible says that the reason we would love God is because he first loved us.

    Jesus died in our place so we could be forgiven. Of all the religions known to humanity, only through Jesus will you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he offers us a new life today. We can be forgiven, fully accepted by God and genuinely loved by God. He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”17 This is God, in action.

    Does God exist – Photo of a young woman, drinking a cup of coffee and reading the Bible, to learn about a relationship with God.Does God exist? If you want to know, investigate Jesus Christ. We’re told that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”18

    God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him. The earth’s perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ. If you need to know more about Jesus and reasons to believe in him, please see: Beyond Blind Faith.

  2. Earl Earl

    By Marilyn Adamson

    • copanut copanut

      Just once wouldn’t you love for someone to simply show
      you the evidence for God’s existence? No arm-twisting. No statements of, “You
      just have to believe.”

      Yes. Just once would be great.

      Well, here is an attempt to candidly offer some of the
      reasons which suggest that God exists.

      But first consider this. When it comes to the
      possibility of God’s existence, the Bible says that there are people who have
      seen sufficient evidence, but they have suppressed the truth about God.1 On the
      other hand, for those who want to know God if he is there, he says, “You will
      seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by
      you.”2 Before you look at the facts surrounding his existence, ask yourself, If
      God does exist, would I want to know him? Here then, are some reasons to
      consider…

      Wait, but I though you weren’t
      going to do any arm-twisting or make statements that I “just have to believe”?
      You’ve already failed from your opening sales pitch.

      Regarding these specific
      statements, why should I care what the Bible says unless I am already convinced
      that what it claims is actually true? You are putting the cart before the horse.
      You have to demonstrate that it’s true before asking me to pay attention to its
      claims.

      All this is doing is putting the
      blame on the individual for not being adequate in his/her sincerity. God is
      perfectly capable of making me believe – if he really exists – without my having
      to exhibit some undefined adequate level of sincerity.

       

      1. The complexity of our planet points to a deliberate
      Designer who not only created our universe, but sustains it today.

      No, actually it doesn’t point to a
      designer. Both the existence of our planet and its ongoing sustenance are
      completely explained by natural forces. The best you could state is that both a
      supernatural designer and natural processes are possible explanations and that
      one needs to look at the evidence for each case and decide, in which case design
      will lose because 100% of scientific evidence is on the opposite side.

      To state that a “deliberate
      designer” is indicated is just a bald assertion stated without foundation. It’s
      an appeal to “awe”, as in “I look up to the stars and I am in awe, therefore
      god”.

      Many examples showing God’s design could be given,
      possibly with no end.

      Great. Give me your best shot.

      But here are a few:

      The Earth…its size is perfect. The Earth’s size and
      corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases,
      only extending about 50 miles above the Earth’s surface. If Earth were smaller,
      an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were
      larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter.3 Earth is the
      only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to
      sustain plant, animal and human life.

      A pothole must have been
      deliberately designed with its puddle in mind because it perfectly fits the
      exact size and shape of the puddle.

      Or… maybe the water that was
      flowing along naturally adapted to the shape that was already there. How about
      that possibility? No divine intent required.

      Conservatively estimating, there
      are at least 1 sextillion stars in the universe. That’s 1 followed by 21 zeros.
      Assuming our sun is an average star, this suggests there are about 10x as many
      planets, so you can add another zero. Is it really that shocking that there
      should be at least one of those planets “just right” to support intelligent
      life?

      Also, who is to say it is just
      right? The claim is if it was any smaller or any larger, it would not work.
      That’s false. If it were, say, 10% larger or smaller, do you think that would be
      a problem as this claim suggests? Of course not. It also very much depends on
      other factors such as the size of the star and the nature of its neighbors.

      Probably the biggest single factor
      in being life friendly, other than chemical composition and stellar proximity,
      is the good fortune that a smaller planet slammed into proto-earth, producing a
      tidally locked moon and a magnetic iron core. But I see no reason to assume this
      happenstance required divine intervention. Indeed a creator could have just
      willed Earth into existence already complete, without the billions of years of
      primordial fireworks. The circumstances point to natural occurrences, not a
      designer. That doesn’t mean a designer is impossible, just that nothing points
      to it. Nothing.

      The Earth is located the right distance from the sun.
      Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120
      degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze.
      Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth’s
      position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this
      perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of
      nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface
      of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

      And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the
      Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and
      movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are
      restrained from spilling over across the continents.

      Water…colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no
      living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist
      mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You’ll see why
      the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:

      It has wide margin between its boiling point and
      freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating
      temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.

      Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the
      makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals
      to be absorbed and used by the body.

      Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can
      therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients
      to the top of even the tallest trees.

      Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can
      live in the winter.

       

      See above. Are these seriously
      supposed to be cogent arguments? Observations about “what is” are not arguments
      for “how they came to be”. I’m amazed that this line of thinking convinces
      someone that magic is real. Why?

      The human brain…simultaneously processes an amazing
      amount of information. Your brain takes in all the colors and objects you see,
      the temperature around you, the pressure of your feet against the floor, the
      sounds around you, the dryness of your mouth, even the texture of your keyboard.
      Your brain holds and processes all your emotions, thoughts and memories. At the
      same time your brain keeps track of the ongoing functions of your body like your
      breathing pattern, eyelid movement, hunger and movement of the muscles in your
      hands.

      I agree that it is astonishing what
      billions of years of natural selection can produce.

       

      The eye…can distinguish among seven million colors. It
      has automatic focusing and handles an astounding 1.5 million messages —
      simultaneously.

      The eye is an amazing sensor but it
      is also a flawed “design”. It routes the wiring of all of those individual
      photoreceptors right through the back of the eyeball, creating a large blind
      spot that the brain needs to accommodate with interpolation software. Any
      engineer would be fired for such a design. Also, it generates an upside-down
      image which the brain must force itself to flip using software.

      Evolution focuses on mutations and changes from and
      within existing organisms. Yet evolution alone does not fully explain the
      initial source of the eye or the brain — the start of living organisms from
      nonliving matter.

      I’m not sure if this is
      disingenuous or ignorant. Maybe both.

      Evolution by natural selection
      perfectly explains the emergence of the eye from primitive light sensitive cells
      to eye spots to simple eyes to complex eyes. I suspect the author knows this and
      so changed the argument mid-sentence to say that evolution does not explain the
      start of living organisms from non-living matter. That claim is out of place in
      an argument about the eye!

      And of course evolution does not
      explain the emergence of life from non-living matter. That is not what evolution
      is about, which is kind of like saying gravity is wrong because it doesn’t
      explain peanut butter.

      The origin of life from non-living
      matter is called abiogenesis and is a different field of study with its own
      interesting and growing body of knowledge, but it has nothing to do with
      evolution.

      2. The universe had a start – what caused it?

      Did God start the universe – Scientists are convinced
      that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which
      we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists:
      the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of
      time itself.

      This is false or at least badly
      framed. The Big Bang is not the singular start to everything that exists. It is
      a model of the singular start of our universe. It says nothing about existence
      itself, or what is “outside” of the universe, or if such a notion makes sense,
      or what happened “before”, or if that notion makes sense. Those are valid
      questions but have nothing to do with the Big Bang model just as abiogenesis has
      nothing to do with evolution by natural selection.

      Astrophysicist Robert Jastrow, a self-described
      agnostic, stated, “The seed of everything that has happened in the Universe was
      planted in that first instant; every star, every planet and every living
      creature in the Universe came into being as a result of events that were set in
      motion in the moment of the cosmic explosion…The Universe flashed into being,
      and we cannot find out what caused that to happen.”

      This is correct, except in some
      nitpicky ways. “Explosion” is the wrong word – rapid expansion is more accurate,
      and while “we cannot find out” is technically true, it is also true that we can
      find our way to explanations that are consistent with what we observe. Of course
      you are also free to speculate about a deistic god initiating that singular
      event, but even if that were true there would be no way to distinguish that from
      a natural explanation, because from our perspective the two would look the same.
      But a deistic creator certainly wouldn’t point to Yahweh / Jesus. And we know
      that’s what this tract is all about.

      So let’s dispense with the fantasy
      that the author is talking about some generic design creator and call a spade a
      spade. The author is claiming not that some god created everything but that
      Yahweh-Jesus created everything. That means you need to deliver proof not of a
      generic creator deity but for the specific Yahweh-Jesus deity of the Bible
      including all of his unsavory and conflicting baggage. I’m not going to let you
      get away with conflating these two very different positions.

       

      Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at
      the moment of this explosion, “the universe was about a hundred thousands
      million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.”

      This is false. The first “light”
      would not have emerged from the particle soup until recombination began to occur
      about 250,000 years or more after the event. And this was not what we would
      detect as visible light, but rather movement in the emergent electromagnetic
      field we would detect as microwaves, and as has been detected and confirmed in
      the “cosmic background microwave radiation”.

      In any case I’m not sure why this
      statement is included as part of a proof of a god. I suspect the idea was to add
      the ellipsis after Centrigrade (i.e., cut out a bunch of intervening text) to
      make this description appear to match up with “Let their be light” from Genesis.

       

      The universe has not always existed. It had a start…what
      caused that? Scientists have no explanation for the sudden explosion of light
      and matter.

      As any theist should know from
      experience, “explanations” are easy to produce. It’s evidence that’s difficult.
      It’s actually quite easy to speculate a plausible explanation for the emergence
      of the universe based on natural quantum fluctuations. These occur in the vacuum
      constantly. The vacuum is not empty but is full of fundamental elements – the
      fabric of existence – all interlinked and in constant fluctuation. The right
      kind of fluctuation is detectable on our scale as a “particle” like an electron
      or a quark.

      So the real question is not “what
      caused the universe” but rather “what caused the fabric of existence”. One valid
      answer is “nobody knows”. Another valid answer is “it had no cause, it simply
      is”.

      God believers also propose
      something that had no cause and simply is. For some reason they embrace the idea
      that this uncaused cause it an infinitely complex thing, which is a strange
      conclusion to draw. A scientifically consistent model would be the exact
      opposite direction, since complex things demand an explanation, and an
      infinitely complex thing requires the biggest explanation of all.

       

      3. The universe operates by uniform laws of nature. Why
      does it?

      Much of life may seem uncertain, but look at what we can
      count on day after day: gravity remains consistent, a hot cup of coffee left on
      a counter will get cold, the earth rotates in the same 24 hours, and the speed
      of light doesn’t change — on earth or in galaxies far from us.

      This is an argument?

      It isn’t even accurate. Gravity is
      consistent but it isn’t constant. Over a long enough period of time it changes
      as the mass of objects changes. And the earth does not rotate in 24 hours. It’s
      23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.0916 seconds, approximately. And again, over long
      periods of time, that rotation is slowing down.

      If the point being made by the
      author is that everything is strangely perfect and unchanging, that’s just
      false. Rather, we have come up with the most convenient divisions and labels
      that work for us at our time and size scales and rounded them off for
      convenience. This speaks to the ingenuity of humans to adapt to their
      environment but I don’t see how it is evidence of a divine designer other than a
      poor one.

       

      “The greatest scientists have been struck by how strange
      this is. There is no logical necessity for a universe that obeys rules, let
      alone one that abides by the rules of mathematics. This astonishment springs
      from the recognition that the universe doesn’t have to behave this way. It is
      easy to imagine a universe in which conditions change unpredictably from instant
      to instant, or even a universe in which things pop in and out of existence.”

      A universe that doesn’t obey rules
      would not be one that we would be here discussing, so the point is moot. If the
      rules were different we will not be discussing them. For that matter even with these rules the environment is friendly only right now. Billions of years ago under these same rules we could not have existed, and billions of years from now under these same rules we will not exist. Eventually the universe will dissipate to heat death, under the same rules. How convenient and arrogant to find these rules so special merely because of our good fortune to be here in this brief period of suitability, but ignore the impact of the SAME rules in almost every other time and place, which are toxic to life.

       

      Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner for quantum
      electrodynamics, said, “Why nature is mathematical is a mystery…The fact that
      there are rules at all is a kind of miracle.”

      But of course Feynman was an
      atheist and did not mean “miracle” in the theistic sense.

      And, not all “why” questions make
      sense or are worth asking. Why do our eyes detect color when a dog’s eyes see
      shades of grey? For that matter, why are there different colors? Well, just
      because. Why does cilantro taste like tinfoil to me but lemon to someone else?
      There is no why, only a description of what is, and how it works.

       

      4. The DNA code informs, programs a cell’s behavior.

      All instruction, all teaching, all training comes with
      intent.

      Well I know where this is going.
      But DNA is an instruction only by function, not by intention. It is only an
      unfounded assertion to say there is intention. And it certainly is not teaching
      or training, so throwing around those words is gratuitous with the purpose of
      misleading the reader. DNA doesn’t teach or train so why are those words used?

      Someone who writes an instruction manual does so with
      purpose. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies there exists a very
      detailed instruction code, much like a miniature computer program? As you may
      know, a computer program is made up of ones and zeros, like this:
      110010101011000. The way they are arranged tell the computer program what to do.
      The DNA code in each of our cells is very similar. It’s made up of four
      chemicals that scientists abbreviate as A, T, G, and C. These are arranged in
      the human cell like this: CGTGTGACTCGCTCCTGAT and so on. There are three billion
      of these letters in every human cell!!

      Sorry, you have not demonstrated
      intent or design.

      If you paint a landscape by looking
      at the existing landscape and then replicating it on your canvas, does that mean
      the landscape was “designed” with the intent of giving you something to copy? Or
      is pattern recognition and hand-eye coordination a functions within your brain
      that you are making use of to replicate a pattern onto canvas? I would think the
      answer is obvious.

      By the way over 98% of DNA is left
      over junk. This is what you would expect to result from billions of years of
      purposeless replication by natural selection which leaves behind a lot of trash.
      It is the precise opposite of what you would expect from intentional design
      unless your designer is incompetent.

      Well, just like you can program your phone to beep for
      specific reasons, DNA instructs the cell. DNA is a three-billion-lettered
      program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction
      manual.

      Yes except almost 99% of the
      program is random junk or partial old subroutines that are skipped over like a
      goto statement. Now demonstrate that it arose by design rather than by natural
      selection.

      Why is this so amazing? One has to ask….how did this
      information program wind up in each human cell? These are not just chemicals.
      These are chemicals that instruct, that code in a very detailed way exactly how
      the person’s body should develop.

      It is amazing what you will learn
      if you major in biology instead of bible tracts. It’s pretty easy to trace this
      story back to understand how it happened.

      Natural, biological causes are completely lacking as an
      explanation when programmed information is involved. You cannot find
      instruction, precise information like this, without someone intentionally
      constructing it.

      This is a demonstrably false
      statement. All that is needed is a naturally occurring mechanism for chemical
      replication and an environment that is friendly to allowing that replication to
      occur. Once it gets started, natural selection pressures take care of the rest,
      which after billions of years of lab tests produces stunning complexity and
      diversity.

      What is 100% lacking is any
      evidence of this type of instruction being produced by a deity. All we have are
      assertions without evidence, whereas biology actually provides tons of
      supporting evidence, accessible to anyone who is honestly searching for truth
      rather than just appealing to their existing doctrines.

      5. We know God exists because he pursues us. He is
      constantly initiating and seeking for us to come to him.

      Evidence?

      I was an atheist at one time.

      And I was a theist for 20 years. So
      what?

      Well, being serious I find it hard
      to believe this author was ever an atheist if she could be so easily persuaded
      by the arguments presented here. If so, she was the world’s worst atheist. More
      likely she is a liar.

      And like many atheists, the issue of people believing in
      God bothered me greatly.

      Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
      Strawman.

      What is it about atheists that we would spend so much
      time, attention, and energy refuting something that we don’t believe even
      exists?!

      I don’t know. Why is the author
      spending so much time, attention, and energy trying to convince me about her
      god?

      What causes us to do that? When I was an atheist, I
      attributed my intentions as caring for those poor, delusional people…to help
      them realize their hope was completely ill-founded. To be honest, I also had
      another motive. As I challenged those who believed in God, I was deeply curious
      to see if they could convince me otherwise. Part of my quest was to become free
      from the question of God. If I could conclusively prove to believers that they
      were wrong, then the issue is off the table, and I would be free to go about my
      life.

       

      I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God
      weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue.

      Okay, well this is just a sermon at
      this point, and sermons are not welcome. It’s a personal testimony comprised of
      assertions. Is this supposed to be convincing to me? What happened to the
      promise of presenting evidence? What happened to the opening statement “Just
      once wouldn’t you love for someone to simply show you the evidence for Gods
      existence?”

      I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He
      created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with
      evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before
      us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In
      fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, “Ok,
      you win…” It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people
      believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.

      Sermons and strawmen.

      “Atheists are bothered by people
      believing in God.” Um, no. Believe in anything you want. As long as you don’t
      try to legislate your beliefs, then it’s all good.

       

      I am not the only one who has experienced this. Malcolm
      Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, “I had a notion that
      somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued.” C.S. Lewis said he remembered,
      “…night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my
      work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to
      meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps,
      that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England.”

       

      Lewis went on to write a book titled, “Surprised by Joy”
      as a result of knowing God. I too had no expectations other than rightfully
      admitting God’s existence. Yet over the following several months, I became
      amazed by his love for me.

      I thought the idea was to present
      convincing arguments for Yahweh. What happened to that? What do I care about
      Malcom Muggeridge or CS Lewis?

       

      6. Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is
      the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing himself to us.

      Another bald assertion presented
      without evidence. Go and argue that with other theists. In any case, whether or
      not this assertion is true has no relation to whether or not Yahweh/Jesus
      actually exists.

      Why Jesus? Look throughout the major world religions and
      you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves
      as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claimed to be equal to God.
      Surprisingly, Jesus did.

      “Why do you call me good? None is
      good but the Father”. Jesus (to the extent we have any idea what he actually
      said) denied his divinity.

       That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He
      said God exists and you’re looking at him. Though he talked about his Father in
      heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union,
      unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who had seen Him had seen the
      Father, anyone who believed in him, believed in the Father.

      Again, what the man may or may not
      have said bears no relation to whether or not he was a god. David Koresh claimed
      he was a god. Same with Kim Jung Un, about a dozen Roman emperors, and plenty of
      others. So what?

      He said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows me
      will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” He claimed
      attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sin,
      free them from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them
      eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words,
      Jesus pointed people to himself. He did not say, “follow my words and you will
      find truth.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to
      the Father but through me.”

      Let’s be clear about one thing: we
      have no idea what Jesus said (or even if he existed, although for argument I
      take that as a given). Jesus did not leave any writings, which in retrospect
      might have been useful. There are no first person eyewitness accounts. The
      earliest writings were from Paul, who never met Jesus and didn’t even believe he
      was a real live flesh person. He wrote 20-30 years after the crucifixion. The
      first gospel, Mark, was about 40-50 years after the crucifixion, and contained a
      relatively stripped down account compared to other gospels. Mathew and Luke came
      10-30 years later and introduced a whole smattering of new theologies and
      apologetics through retroactive prophesy. John came 20-30 years after that and
      by then practically the entire story got dropped in favor of full on theology.

      So what actually happened? Nobody
      knows. All we have are long after the fact anonymous writings authors living in
      Bronze Age ignorance. Deal with it.

      But it’s worse than that, because
      we don’t even have an original copy of any of those writings. The earliest
      fragment of any of these writings is postcard sized scrap of papyrus dated about
      100 years after the crucifixion. The earliest full manuscript dates to around
      300AD.

      Everything you know, or think you
      know, about your religion is based on translations of translations of
      translations of oral accounts written down by non witnesses. All of the authors
      and translators had agendas. That means your faith is not in God but in men. Men
      are fallible. If a god wanted to get his message across, is this really the best
      way?

      Is it really wise to draw
      life-defining conclusions about extraordinary fantastical claims from such a
      flimsy foundations?

      I say the closest thing to God is
      to remove the middle man. Men, left to their undisciplined and biased natures,
      ruin everything through stupidity, ignorance, or the quest for personal gain.
      Remove the middle man. How to do that? The discipline of the scientific method,
      or reason and logic applied coupled to evidence and observation in an open and
      self correcting environment.  The laws of nature are the closest you will ever
      get to God’s word, and the best way to reveal them is the scientific method. No
      intervening clerics are required.

       

      What proof did Jesus give for claiming to be divine? He
      did what people can’t do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people…blind,
      crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over
      objects…created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand
      people. He performed miracles over nature…walked on top of a lake, commanding a
      raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because
      he constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want
      to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in me based on the
      miracles you’re seeing.

      This is a circular argument: you
      should believe the Bible because the Bible says so. I mean, that’s fine if that
      works for you, but why on Earth would anyone think this would be convincing
      reasoning for people who haven’t already committed to the kool-aid?

      [Three more paragraphs of mind
      numbing sermon deleted.]

      Note that this form of “evidence”
      also requires that we cherry pick the messaging that we want to believe while
      leaving out the unsavory stuff, like Yahweh’s explicit sanctioning of slavery,
      rape, baby killing, and genocide, while also ignoring all of the patently silly
      stuff like talking snakes, magical fruit, virgin births, and resurrections.
      Minor details to believers but a bit much to swallow from those who are not
      indoctrinated.

       

      God does not force us to believe in him, though he
      could. Instead, he has provided sufficient proof of his existence for us to
      willingly respond to him.

      Sorry, no, apparently he hasn’t. He
      has not provided sufficient proof to me. Indeed he has provided no evidence
      beyond personal testimony and appeals to credulity, so either he doesn’t exist
      or he doesn’t care. And do you know what “willingly responding” to extraordinary
      claims without corresponding evidence is called? Blind faith. The author is
      trying desperately to avoid the notion of blind faith but that’s exactly what is
      being sold here.

      Obviously if Yahweh exists and he
      wants me to believe in him, he knows exactly the kind of evidence that would
      convince me, but he chooses not to provide it. Why was a Damascus Road event
      good enough for Saul but not for me? What made Saul special? Why were
      resurrections good enough thousands of years ago but not good enough now?

      Tell you what, let’s keep it
      simple. How about once, just once, God regenerates a severed arm or leg? Never
      mind forehead-smacking cures for things that can’t be checked. Regrow an
      amputated leg. He won’t do that, now or ever, and you know why? Because he
      can’t. The only miracles Yahweh-Jesus can do are the ones that can’t be
      distinguished from statistical chance or con artistry. Hmmmm, wonder why?

      The earth’s perfect distance from the sun, the unique
      chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who
      attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God
      is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ. If you need
      to know more about Jesus and reasons to believe in him, please see: Beyond Blind
      Faith.

      Summing up, I’d say these were the
      weakest arguments for Yahweh that I’ve ever seen but that would not be true. The
      truth is I haven’t found any that were much better. It’s a low bar to jump.

      Look, there are some arguments that
      use philosophy or logical sleight of hand that at least present a little bit of a
      challenge to think through, but this list of sophomoric arguments from design,
      appeals to personal ignorance, personal revelation, and unabashed sermonizing are just embarrassing.
      What’s next, a claim that the Grand Canyon can only be explained by Noah’s
      flood? Even flat earthers have arguments that are at least on a par with what is being presented here.

      • Earl Earl

        Its really sad how hard you argue against God . Its hard to explain faith and the holy spirit to a non -believer . Its hard to explain this to a person that thinks we ( Christians ) are just a bunch of morons that lack the intelligence to understand the depths of your own ignorance. Maybe you’ll come around someday and realize there is a God? Almost all call to God in their final hours or in a time of need . You will be no different . I pray you open your heart and mind before that need comes .If I’m wrong nothing lost . If you’re wrong may God have mercy on your soul. I know there is nothing I can say that will change your mind . I can only say my life is better with God in it . This all cant be a happy accident . Peace out .

        • copanut copanut

          I’m not interested in arguing for or against a god. I’m only interested in finding the truth. I do that the best way I know how, using the best available knowledge along with logic and reasoning, and intentionally avoiding logical fallacies which inevitably lead to conclusions that are flawed or at least unjustified. I know of no better way to find truth than that. If that search leads me to a conclusion that some god is the truth, then so be it. I’m not afraid of reaching that conclusion. I’m committed to go where the evidence leads and not live and cower in fear of truth that might be uncomfortable.

          Some people aren’t particularly concerned about finding truth. Some people are more interested in finding or maintaining comfort, and are dismissive or hostile to any analysis that might upset the apple cart. They just want to stay in the cocoon of their existing indoctrination.

          That’s fine, to each his own. But I was asked BY YOU to analyze and respond to your “case for God” and I did so, with honest answers and detailed reasoning. If you don’t want an honest response, what was the point of asking in the first place? Did you just want to present a sermon?

          It mystifies me why you would find my response “really sad” rather than just spending some effort showing me where my reasoning is flawed. Why did I waste an evening of my time analyzing and responding to your case, at your request, if all you are going to do is dismiss it and be derisive of my effort or intentions?

          p.s. How do you know that “almost all call to God in their final hours”? Have you done a survey? And is there supposed to be some meaning to what someone says in their death throes? Is that an indication of truth, or of simple desperation? If the latter, how does that help your case?

          Let me be clear if I haven’t already: I’m genuinely happy for you if you’re happy in your belief. It is no threat to me, as I said, unless you try to push it on me or legislate it on me.

          But yes, yes it all can indeed be a happy accident, and although I’ve been studying this issue for decades I have yet to see a scrap of evidence (that holds up under scrutiny) that suggests otherwise. And I don’t find that to be the least bit depressing or disturbing. I actually find the notion exhiliarating. It make me really appreciate my fantastic good luck to be here at all! I find that much better than the thought of being some puppet on a string.

          What I would find disturbing is to learn that a god that sanctions slavery, rape, child killing, genocide, guilt by ancestry, mass slaughter of humanity, and eternal torture, is actually real, so frankly I’m glad to have never been presented with evidence to make me buy into this particular story.

        • copanut copanut

          One other thing: you don’t need to explain faith or the holy spirit to me. I grew up a Catholic and went to Catholic grade school. I had the indoctrination and I get the concepts. I merely outgrew them as I learned critical thinking skills.

          It’s not about Christans being morons. It’s about using your (god-given, if you like) intelligence to understand the difference between good evidence and bad evidence, between blind faith and logical reasoning, between fact and fiction. I’m sure most Christians have the capacity to do it, but so many of them just decline to do so because the indoctrination is deep.

          Faith, by definition, is believing in something regardless of evidence. For some reason, religion considers this to be a virtue. It is the opposite of virtuous.

          Flipping a coin gives you a 50% chance of being right. Is that a reliable path to truth? No. But it’s far better than faith. There are thousands of possible religions, all mutually contradictory. At best, one of them is correct, and possibly none of them are correct. Those odds are far worse than a coin flip. For simple math let’s say there are 1000 options. If faith is all you have, then at best you have a 1 in 1000 chance of guessing right, much worse than a 1 in 2 chance for a coin flip.

          My views are informed by confirmable evidence and zero faith is required, so the chances that my views are right are far better than a coin flip. Science is incomplete and science makes mistakes, so I’m not making a claim of 100%, but the likelihood of being right, or at least in the right ballpark, for any subject we are capable of analyzing, it certainly in the high double digits.

          Gonna cut it off here because we’re in the middle of an earthquake. Must be god talking.

          • Earl Earl

            God Believes in you . I’ll take my chances that he created the heavens and earth . Lots of luck with that cosmic egg theory … talk about a stretch.

      • Army01 Army01

        Copa…I suggest reading “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” by Norman L. Geisler & Frank Turek. Let me know what you think.

        • copanut copanut

          Army, I don’t know Geisler but I’ve seen enough of Turek’s debates to know how he operates. I’ll just leave it as simply as this from the title: no faith is required for atheism. Atheism simply states that there is insufficient evidence to support belief in a god or gods. Therefore the premise of the title is ridiculous right off the bat.

          Faith is an affirmative belief in an idea without an appropriate level of evidence or despite contrary evidence. Atheism is not an affirmative belief in an idea – it is the rejection of an affirmative belief because the evidence is found wanting. I hope that makes sense.

          Now, if I was asserting that there are no gods, that would be an affirmative belief without evidence, and that would make your point a valid one. But I’m not making that assertion. I’m not claiming there are no gods, I’m stating that I see no evidence to justify such a belief. The only kinds of evidence I see put forward are indistinguishable from nature, chance, wishful thinking, hallucination, con artistry, poor reasoning, or other non-supernatural sources.

          ————————

          I could literally spend my entire life doing nothing but reading and responding to third party apologetics, as there is an endless supply. It’s unlikely that this document contains anything original as these arguments have gone on for centuries. Typically I see the same bad arguments rehashed over and over again, and the responses being ignored over and over again.

          So instead of that, I’m more interested in responding to what *you* think and why, than to what these other people think. If there are some particular ideas you want to put forward, whether or not they are held by the Geisler / Turek or any other apologist, that represent your thinking, I’m more than happy to consider it.

  3. copanut copanut

    That’s cool. Whatever works for you man.

  4. Army01 Army01

    “On this day in 1936, Toronto set a record high of 106 degrees F during Canada’s worst heat wave, which killed 1,180 people that month.” – The Old Farmer’s Almanac
    Wait …..it was Trump’s fault!

    • Earl Earl

      The radical left and never Trumpers blame him for everything . They are so angry that logic and common sense left the room .

      • copanut copanut

        Ah, what fun it is to attack strawmen.

      • J A M E S H J A M E S H

        Everybody sing: “I wanna do chemicals, chemicals…….I wanna do chemicals………..”

  5. TomPaulBillyBob TomPaulBillyBob

    This is actually a very fun conversation, one that can also stir some heated debate (obviously) …. though never considered the level of microcosm that Copa defined above —- that’s actually pretty incredible; and if God did try this version before, but just somewhere else, would he tell us? I doubt it


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