Why there almost certainly is No God!!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Desibaba, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. Desibaba

    Desibaba Member

    America, founded in secularism as a beacon of eighteenth century enlightenment, is becoming the victim of religious politics, a circumstance that would have horrified the Founding Fathers. The political ascendancy today values embryonic cells over adult people. It obsesses about gay marriage, ahead of genuinely important issues that actually make a difference to the world. It gains crucial electoral support from a religious constituency whose grip on reality is so tenuous that they expect to be 'raptured' up to heaven, leaving their clothes as empty as their minds. More extreme specimens actually long for a world war, which they identify as the 'Armageddon' that is to presage the Second Coming. Sam Harris, in his new short book, Letter to a Christian Nation, hits the bull's-eye as usual:

    It is, therefore, not an exaggeration to say that if the city of New York were suddenly replaced by a ball of fire, some significant percentage of the American population would see a silver-lining in the subsequent mushroom cloud, as it would suggest to them that the best thing that is ever going to happen was about to happen: the return of Christ . . .Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and ?intellectual emergency.
    Does Bush check the Rapture Index daily, as Reagan did his stars? We don't know, but would anyone be surprised?

    My scientific colleagues have additional reasons to declare emergency. Ignorant and absolutist attacks on stem cell research are just the tip of an iceberg. What we have here is nothing less than a global assault on rationality, and the Enlightenment values that inspired the founding of this first and greatest of secular republics. Science education - and hence the whole future of science in this country - is under threat. Temporarily beaten back in a Pennsylvania court, the 'breathtaking inanity' (Judge John Jones's immortal phrase) of 'intelligent design' continually flares up in local bush-fires. Dowsing them is a time-consuming but important responsibility, and scientists are finally being jolted out of their complacency. For years they quietly got on with their science, lamentably underestimating the creationists who, being neither competent nor interested in science, attended to the serious political business of subverting local school boards. Scientists, and intellectuals generally, are now waking up to the threat from the American Taliban.


    Scientists divide into two schools of thought over the best tactics with which to face the threat. The Neville Chamberlain 'appeasement' school focuses on the battle for evolution. Consequently, its members identify fundamentalism as the enemy, and they bend over backwards to appease 'moderate' or 'sensible' religion (not a difficult task, for bishops and theologians despise fundamentalists as much as scientists do). Scientists of the Winston Churchill school, by contrast, see the fight for evolution as only one battle in a larger war: a looming war between supernaturalism on the one side and rationality on the other. For them, bishops and theologians belong with creationists in the supernatural camp, and are not to be appeased.

    The Chamberlain school accuses Churchillians of rocking the boat to the point of muddying the waters. The philosopher of science Michael Ruse wrote:

    We who love science must realize that the enemy of our enemies is our friend. Too often evolutionists spend time insulting would-be allies. This is especially true of secular evolutionists. Atheists spend more time running down sympathetic Christians than they do countering ?creationists. When John Paul II wrote a letter endorsing Darwinism, Richard Dawkins's response was simply that the pope was a hypocrite, that he could not be genuine about science and that Dawkins himself simply preferred an honest fundamentalist.
    A recent article in the New York Times by Cornelia Dean quotes the astronomer Owen Gingerich as saying that, by simultaneously advocating evolution and atheism, 'Dr Dawkins "probably single-handedly makes more converts to intelligent design than any of the leading intelligent design theorists".' This is not the first, not the second, not even the third time this plonkingly witless point has been made (and more than one reply has aptly cited Uncle Remus: "Oh please please Brer Fox, don't throw me in that awful briar patch").

    Chamberlainites are apt to quote the late Stephen Jay Gould's 'NOMA' - 'non-overlapping magisteria'. Gould claimed that science and true religion never come into conflict because they exist in completely separate dimensions of discourse:

    To say it for all my colleagues and for the umpteenth millionth time (from college bull sessions to learned treatises): science simply cannot (by its legitimate methods) adjudicate the issue of God's possible superintendence of nature. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can't comment on it as scientists.
    This sounds terrific, right up until you give it a moment's thought. You then realize that the presence of a creative deity in the universe is clearly a scientific hypothesis. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more momentous hypothesis in all of science. A universe with a god would be a completely different kind of universe from one without, and it would be a scientific difference. God could clinch the matter in his favour at any moment by staging a spectacular demonstration of his powers, one that would satisfy the exacting standards of science. Even the infamous Templeton Foundation recognized that God is a scientific hypothesis - by funding double-blind trials to test whether remote prayer would speed the recovery of heart patients. It didn't, of course, although a control group who knew they had been prayed for tended to get worse (how about a class action suit against the Templeton Foundation?) Despite such well-financed efforts, no evidence for God's existence has yet appeared.

    To see the disingenuous hypocrisy of religious people who embrace NOMA, imagine that forensic archeologists, by some unlikely set of circumstances, discovered DNA evidence demonstrating that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and had no father. If NOMA enthusiasts were sincere, they should dismiss the archeologists' DNA out of hand: "Irrelevant. Scientific evidence has no bearing on theological questions. Wrong magisterium." Does anyone seriously imagine that they would say anything remotely like that? You can bet your boots that not just the fundamentalists but every professor of theology and every bishop in the land would trumpet the archeological evidence to the skies.

    Either Jesus had a father or he didn't. The question is a scientific one, and scientific evidence, if any were available, would be used to settle it. The same is true of any miracle - and the deliberate and intentional creation of the universe would have to have been the mother and father of all miracles. Either it happened or it didn't. It is a fact, one way or the other, and in our state of uncertainty we can put a probability on it - an estimate that may change as more information comes in. Humanity's best estimate of the probability of divine creation dropped steeply in 1859 when The Origin of Species was published, and it has declined steadily during the subsequent decades, as evolution consolidated itself from plausible theory in the nineteenth century to established fact today.

    The Chamberlain tactic of snuggling up to 'sensible' religion, in order to present a united front against ('intelligent design') creationists, is fine if your central concern is the battle for evolution. That is a valid central concern, and I salute those who press it, such as Eugenie Scott in Evolution versus Creationism. But if you are concerned with the stupendous scientific question of whether the universe was created by a supernatural intelligence or not, the lines are drawn completely differently. On this larger issue, fundamentalists are united with 'moderate' religion on one side, and I find myself on the other.

    Of course, this all presupposes that the God we are talking about is a personal intelligence such as Yahweh, Allah, Baal, Wotan, Zeus or Lord Krishna. If, by 'God', you mean love, nature, goodness, the universe, the laws of physics, the spirit of humanity, or Planck's constant, none of the above applies. An American student asked her professor whether he had a view about me. 'Sure,' he replied. 'He's positive science is incompatible with religion, but he waxes ecstatic about nature and the universe. To me, that is ?religion!' Well, if that's what you choose to mean by religion, fine, that makes me a religious man. But if your God is a being who designs universes, listens to prayers, forgives sins, wreaks miracles, reads your thoughts, cares about your welfare and raises you from the dead, you are unlikely to be satisfied. As the distinguished American physicist Steven Weinberg said, "If you want to say that 'God is energy,' then you can find God in a lump of coal." But don't expect congregations to flock to your church.

    When Einstein said 'Did God have a choice in creating the Universe?' he meant 'Could the universe have begun in more than one way?' 'God does not play dice' was Einstein's poetic way of doubting Heisenberg's indeterminacy principle. Einstein was famously irritated when theists misunderstood him to mean a personal God. But what did he expect? The hunger to misunderstand should have been palpable to him. 'Religious' physicists usually turn out to be so only in the Einsteinian sense: they are atheists of a poetic disposition. So am I. But, given the widespread yearning for that great misunderstanding, deliberately to confuse Einsteinian pantheism with supernatural religion is an act of intellectual high treason.

    Accepting, then, that the God Hypothesis is a proper scientific hypothesis whose truth or falsehood is hidden from us only by lack of evidence, what should be our best estimate of the probability that God exists, given the evidence now available? Pretty low I think, and here's why.

    First, most of the traditional arguments for God's existence, from Aquinas on, are easily demolished. Several of them, such as the First Cause argument, work by setting up an infinite regress which God is wheeled out to terminate. But we are never told why God is magically able to terminate regresses while needing no explanation himself. To be sure, we do need some kind of explanation for the origin of all things. Physicists and cosmologists are hard at work on the problem. But whatever the answer - a random quantum fluctuation or a Hawking/Penrose singularity or whatever we end up calling it - it will be simple. Complex, statistically improbable things, by definition, don't just happen; they demand an explanation in their own right. They are impotent to terminate regresses, in a way that simple things are not. The first cause cannot have been an intelligence - let alone an intelligence that answers prayers and enjoys being worshipped. Intelligent, creative, complex, statistically improbable things come late into the universe, as the product of evolution or some other process of gradual escalation from simple beginnings. They come late into the universe and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.

    Another of Aquinas' efforts, the Argument from Degree, is worth spelling out, for it epitomises the characteristic flabbiness of theological reasoning. We notice degrees of, say, goodness or temperature, and we measure them, Aquinas said, by reference to a maximum:

    Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus, as fire, which is the maximum of heat, is the cause of all hot things . . . Therefore, there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God.
    That's an argument? You might as well say that people vary in smelliness but we can make the judgment only by reference to a perfect maximum of conceivable smelliness. Therefore there must exist a pre-eminently peerless stinker, and we call him God. Or substitute any dimension of comparison you like, and derive an equivalently fatuous conclusion. That's theology.

    The only one of the traditional arguments for God that is widely used today is the teleological argument, sometimes called the Argument from Design although - since the name begs the question of its validity - it should better be called the Argument for Design. It is the familiar 'watchmaker' argument, which is surely one of the most superficially plausible bad arguments ever discovered - and it is rediscovered by just about everybody until they are taught the logical fallacy and Darwin's brilliant alternative.

    In the familiar world of human artifacts, complicated things that look designed are designed. To na?ve observers, it seems to follow that similarly complicated things in the natural world that look designed - things like eyes and hearts - are designed too. It isn't just an argument by analogy. There is a semblance of statistical reasoning here too - fallacious, but carrying an illusion of plausibility. If you randomly scramble the fragments of an eye or a leg or a heart a million times, you'd be lucky to hit even one combination that could see, walk or pump. This demonstrates that such devices could not have been put together by chance. And of course, no sensible scientist ever said they could. Lamentably, the scientific education of most British and American students omits all mention of Darwinism, and therefore the only alternative to chance that most people can imagine is design.

    Even before Darwin's time, the illogicality was glaring: how could it ever have been a good idea to postulate, in explanation for the existence of improbable things, a designer who would have to be even more improbable? The entire argument is a logical non-starter, as David Hume realized before Darwin was born. What Hume didn't know was the supremely elegant alternative to both chance and design that Darwin was to give us. Natural selection is so stunningly powerful and elegant, it not only explains the whole of life, it raises our consciousness and boosts our confidence in science's future ability to explain everything else.

    Natural selection is not just an alternative to chance. It is the only ultimate alternative ever suggested. Design is a workable explanation for organized complexity only in the short term. It is not an ultimate explanation, because designers themselves demand an explanation. If, as Francis Crick and Leslie Orgel once playfully speculated, life on this planet was deliberately seeded by a payload of bacteria in the nose cone of a rocket, we still need an explanation for the intelligent aliens who dispatched the rocket. Ultimately they must have evolved by gradual degrees from simpler beginnings. Only evolution, or some kind of gradualistic 'crane' (to use Daniel Dennett's neat term), is capable of terminating the regress. Natural selection is an anti-chance process, which gradually builds up complexity, step by tiny step. The end product of this ratcheting process is an eye, or a heart, or a brain - a device whose improbable complexity is utterly baffling until you spot the gentle ramp that leads up to it.

    Whether my conjecture is right that evolution is the only explanation for life in the universe, there is no doubt that it is the explanation for life on this planet. Evolution is a fact, and it is among the more secure facts known to science. But it had to get started somehow. Natural selection cannot work its wonders until certain minimal conditions are in place, of which the most important is an accurate system of replication - DNA, or something that works like DNA.

    The origin of life on this planet - which means the origin of the first self-replicating molecule - is hard to study, because it (probably) only happened once, 4 billion years ago and under very different conditions from those with which we are familiar. We may never know how it happened. Unlike the ordinary evolutionary events that followed, it must have been a genuinely very improbable - in the sense of unpredictable - event: too improbable, perhaps, for chemists to reproduce it in the laboratory or even devise a plausible theory for what happened. This weirdly paradoxical conclusion - that a chemical account of the origin of life, in order to be plausible, has to be implausible - would follow if it were the case that life is extremely rare in the universe. And indeed we have never encountered any hint of extraterrestrial life, not even by radio - the circumstance that prompted Enrico Fermi's cry: "Where is everybody?"

    Suppose life's origin on a planet took place through a hugely improbable stroke of luck, so improbable that it happens on only one in a billion planets. The National Science Foundation would laugh at any chemist whose proposed research had only a one in a hundred chance of succeeding, let alone one in a billion. Yet, given that there are at least a billion billion planets in the universe, even such absurdly low odds as these will yield life on a billion planets. And - this is where the famous anthropic principle comes in - Earth has to be one of them, because here we are.

    If you set out in a spaceship to find the one planet in the galaxy that has life, the odds against your finding it would be so great that the task would be indistinguishable, in practice, from impossible. But if you are alive (as you manifestly are if you are about to step into a spaceship) you needn't bother to go looking for that one planet because, by definition, you are already standing on it. The anthropic principle really is rather elegant. By the way, I don't actually think the origin of life was as improbable as all that. I think the galaxy has plenty of islands of life dotted about, even if the islands are too spaced out for any one to hope for a meeting with any other. My point is only that, given the number of planets in the universe, the origin of life could in theory be as lucky as a blindfolded golfer scoring a hole in one. The beauty of the anthropic principle is that, even in the teeth of such stupefying odds against, it still gives us a perfectly satisfying explanation for life's presence on our own planet.

    The anthropic principle is usually applied not to planets but to universes. Physicists have suggested that the laws and constants of physics are too good - as if the universe were set up to favour our eventual evolution. It is as though there were, say, half a dozen dials representing the major constants of physics. Each of the dials could in principle be tuned to any of a wide range of values. Almost all of these knob-twiddlings would yield a universe in which life would be impossible. Some universes would fizzle out within the first picosecond. Others would contain no elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. In yet others, matter would never condense into stars (and you need stars in order to forge the elements of chemistry and hence life). You can estimate the very low odds against the six knobs all just happening to be correctly tuned, and conclude that a divine knob-twiddler must have been at work. But, as we have already seen, that explanation is vacuous because it begs the biggest question of all. The divine knob twiddler would himself have to have been at least as improbable as the settings of his knobs.

    Again, the anthropic principle delivers its devastatingly neat solution. Physicists already have reason to suspect that our universe - everything we can see - is only one universe among perhaps billions. Some theorists postulate a multiverse of foam, where the universe we know is just one bubble. Each bubble has its own laws and constants. Our familiar laws of physics are parochial bylaws. Of all the universes in the foam, only a minority has what it takes to generate life. And, with anthropic hindsight, we obviously have to be sitting in a member of that minority, because, well, here we are, aren't we? As physicists have said, it is no accident that we see stars in our sky, for a universe without stars would also lack the chemical elements necessary for life. There may be universes whose skies have no stars: but they also have no inhabitants to notice the lack. Similarly, it is no accident that we see a rich diversity of living species: for an evolutionary process that is capable of yielding a species that can see things and reflect on them cannot help producing lots of other species at the same time. The reflective species must be surrounded by an ecosystem, as it must be surrounded by stars.

    The anthropic principle entitles us to postulate a massive dose of luck in accounting for the existence of life on our planet. But there are limits. We are allowed one stroke of luck for the origin of evolution, and perhaps for a couple of other unique events like the origin of the eukaryotic cell and the origin of consciousness. But that's the end of our entitlement to large-scale luck. We emphatically cannot invoke major strokes of luck to account for the illusion of design that glows from each of the billion species of living creature that have ever lived on Earth. The evolution of life is a general and continuing process, producing essentially the same result in all species, however different the details.

    Contrary to what is sometimes alleged, evolution is a predictive science. If you pick any hitherto unstudied species and subject it to minute scrutiny, any evolutionist will confidently predict that each individual will be observed to do everything in its power, in the particular way of the species - plant, herbivore, carnivore, nectivore or whatever it is - to survive and propagate the DNA that rides inside it. We won't be around long enough to test the prediction but we can say, with great confidence, that if a comet strikes Earth and wipes out the mammals, a new fauna will rise to fill their shoes, just as the mammals filled those of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. And the range of parts played by the new cast of life's drama will be similar in broad outline, though not in detail, to the roles played by the mammals, and the dinosaurs before them, and the mammal-like reptiles before the dinosaurs. The same rules are predictably being followed, in millions of species all over the globe, and for hundreds of millions of years. Such a general observation requires an entirely different explanatory principle from the anthropic principle that explains one-off events like the origin of life, or the origin of the universe, by luck. That entirely different principle is natural selection.

    We explain our existence by a combination of the anthropic principle and Darwin's principle of natural selection. That combination provides a complete and deeply satisfying explanation for everything that we see and know. Not only is the god hypothesis unnecessary. It is spectacularly unparsimonious. Not only do we need no God to explain the universe and life. God stands out in the universe as the most glaring of all superfluous sore thumbs. We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can't disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable.

    http://r.neilrogers.com/cgi-bin/loc...awkins/why-there-almost-certainl_b_32164.html
     
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  2. sc redneck

    sc redneck Member

    Ive knew a real bad ass who thought like that right up till he got cancer..... guess what, he changed his mind........;)
     
  3. Desibaba

    Desibaba Member

    Do you know WHY he changed his mind? Our species as a whole is scared of death period.Even if its a 90 yr old man.No one wants to die.And when you feel like you have NOONE to turn to then you turn to god in your desperate hopes that he might be there and might help you.If god really exists he is little more than a 6 yr old kid with an ant farm,
    I mean just for the sake of conversation lets say God really is all that powerful but he has nothing better to do than to sit up there and watch us all day long? If god really exists then he needs to get a life :)
     
  4. Dionysus

    Dionysus Junior Member

  5. jasthace

    jasthace Member

    Ok so there is no 'God" as you will and as a singular being or what ever you would refer to "him[:eek:)] as.

    But you are here and are reasonably intelligent, so there must an intelligent designer.
    life itself ?.
    There still is architecture and design at a level that occurs before a singlar lifeform{as we know it} becomes aware.{which stuffs up our understaning of the rules of time and sequence,which might be explaned in our mortalilty}
    This means that the intelligence must start at a minute level,you must be aware that inside each or our bodies is an endless universe,we are standing at the cross roads of inside and out as far as size is concerned we look out and see a endless universe,at the same time inside of us there is a endless universe. we are looking out for god in the stars when it is inside everything.
    Ok time for another beer ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2006
  6. dennis

    dennis Member

    ok jasthace..beer again ..great ! but it is your turn to buy..d
     
  7. MANWHORE

    MANWHORE Member

    that is exactly how i believe it more or less .. do good things, you subject your mind to good things, which makes you want to be good .. time for another shot :)
     
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  8. jasthace

    jasthace Member

    You are precisely correct Manwhore,at least when you have a shot it is anabolic, not like that catabolic smoking shit that hundreds of millions of dimwits do.:confused:
    Thats not good for your universe.
     
  9. ForemanRules

    ForemanRules Member

    I love Jesus and I know for a fact he is sending you to hell
     
  10. masisitius

    masisitius Junior Member

    if loving god is wrong......... i dont want to be right !
    the lord talks about the devil in sheepskin.
    all in all your theories are just that, theories. and are speculative assumptions that sound convincing and logical based on your perception of the world. your theories are what we call in NLP "Presupppositions, Deletions, Distortions, Generalizations, sugar coated with scientific jargon.convincing read nevertheless. but i am not buying some idea from one person who is equivalent to a grain of sand in all of the seas and oceans of the world. the truth is nobody really knows. i prefer to live with faith. gods teachings came about so that as to protect us from the human element......... ourselves.
     
  11. Gatorboy

    Gatorboy Member

    ForemanRules...Jesus won't send him to Hell. He has decided not to believe in God..which will most certainly pave the way...Even now Jesus is singing praises over him to the Father and wanting him to see the truth....I actually feel for these people, I mean look at all the crap and hate in the world. Sometimes i see the things that are going on in the world and it brings me to pause..It's easy to see how someone could have a tainted view...
    Our job is not to codem..but to pray for and lift up these peoplebecause that's what jesus did..and he is our example in all things

    Blessings to all....
     
  12. zkt

    zkt Member

    Alrite! A C&P resurection of a C&P from the archives.
    Budda is gonna kick Jesus`s ass in a cage match on Fox news. Yep, I heard its gonna be on after American Idol next week.

    "Is it a huge sin to pin sustanon 500 mg once a week?? Enlighten me...
    And yes i know i'm a dumb ass for asking this...But Hell, i really want to know.. "

    Yea you are on the right track alrite. Tell us some more...

    Are you a test of my belief in tolerance, just plain stupid, or what?

    Is that you Dennis, fuckin with me?




    Read more from the MESO-Rx Steroid Forum at: MESO-Rx
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2011
  13. Gatorboy

    Gatorboy Member

    Ouch!!! no this is not Dennis messing with you...just a guy trying to kick mother nature in the butt a little bit..trying a cycle or two a year to look and feel better..
    You don't have to tell me i'm not perfect..believe me, I know i have a lot of growing to do. I can't make it thru 1 day without falling flat on my face.....I'm thankful the father understands this and loves me anyway.....progress,not perfection....
    here's hoping u have an awsome day......
    Mike..
    alcoholic
    drug addict
    womanizer
    and best of all......FORGIVEN...


    Send me a pm if you wanna talk.....later bro..
     
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  14. Gatorboy

    Gatorboy Member

    almost forgot...love the pic....Huge House fan....
     
  15. Rod

    Rod Junior Member

    Why there almost certainly is a God!

    1) He injected himself into history with his son.
    -This fact is as well established as any fact of history.

    2) Life is unfathomably complex, even simple life. Saying that cells started in some warm little pond is nonsence.
    -The explination of origins has not advanced.

    3) Behavior: Objective morality is required.
    -To make humans work we need to believe that we should behave in a certain way. Why should we behave in thay way? Good luck finding an alternative.
     
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  16. james2012

    james2012 Member

    Boy how confusing this all gets, but I'll give it a shot.

    Science will never be able to answer the question why is there something rather than nothing. Before anyone gets excited, while I am a Christian I am one by faith - not by evidence. When I conclude this treatise you will see that scientism, materialism, atheism, and any other ism is also a faith.

    Back to something rather than nothing (SRTN). Even if you posit that the existence of the universe will one day be proved by mathematical consistency alone (leaving aside Godel's Incompleteness Theory which makes this stance rather untenable) then one can just as reasonably ask where math came from. If you then offer the explanation that math exists in some Platonic realm outside of time that we somehow tap into then you have a problem: prove it. You can't. Therefore your belief in such a math is based on....faith. What you have then is two faith based approaches that differ in their ontological preference. One faith points to a absolute being, the other to a concept or system called "math".

    If the existence of God can neither be proved nor disproved then the Atheist finds themselves in a quandary. If you can't prove God does not exist and you chose to believe such a statement, you do so based upon - you guessed it - faith. Therefore Atheism and Christianity are both faith based, again with different ontological preferences. This is something Atheists (which I once was) are blind to and will only admit when the logic forces them to that conclusion.

    Now to consiousness. Science will never be able to solve what is called the hard problem of consciouness. Let me explain. The soft problem - what occurs functionally in the brain when you do something such as learn, perceive, and even report a subjective feeling - is well within the realm of science. Why these functions are accompanied by a feeling of "what it is like to be you and have these experiences" is called the hard problem and is unsolvable using objective science. Mystics study the problem subjectively, but that is another post.

    To explain what I mean by this, let's break science into two parts - that which explains things and that which observes and catalogs things. Physics explains things. Botany tends to catalog things like the types of flowers found in a certain part of the world. Now let us attempt a thought experiment. If I hold a ball and then let it go, it falls to the ground. I now ask you why it fell to the ground. If you answer "because you let it go" you are certainly correct but only offering an observation and not really an explanation. If you say, "because of gravity" we are heading in the right direction. If you walk over to a whiteboard and write down Newton's laws of gravity that include potential energy, kinetic energy, energy lost to air friction, and then dive into chaos theory and how, if you had infinite information, you could tell me exactly how and where the ball will end up - you are offering an explanation.

    Now let's assume the brain has only four neurons that can be either on or off. This provides for 16 possible states (2^4). Let's call each of these states an emotion. If you look into my brain and note that the state is one of unhappiness and I report I am unhappy you have not explained anything at all, you have only noted a state, observed it, cross-referenced it to a list you have, and made a statement. This is not science. It offers no explanation as to why, when my neurons are in that state, I subjectively feel unhappy. This has lead many materialists into attempting what I call cirque du soleil philosophy and neurology. So twisted and odd are their arguments that one begins to question their sanity. When Daniel Dennett proposes what he calls qualia to "explain" consciousness, he is doing nothing more than admitting that consciousness is a fundamental quality that cannot be explained and therefore we must invent a concept to explain it. Confused yet? But wait, there is more. To get around this issue, many materialists have gone so far as to say that consciousness does not actually exist. Chew on that for awhile. If this smacks of desperation, it should.

    Therefore there are two great mysteries that can never be solved - why is there something rather than nothing, and why does it feel like something to be you (in other words an objective explanation of subjective feelings). These great mysteries should instill in anyone who ponders them long enough a sense of total awe that we are here at all and can look out and observe the universe and make some sense of it. This great mystery I call God. St. Thomas Aquinas called God the "great cloud of unknowing" and this is how I approach it. I am not in any way a dogmatic Christian. I believe Jesus was a wise mystic who saw the same truths as the Buddha.

    The discussion on the topics of human concepts and their absence of any sense of self-existence is also for another post. Zen takes us down a really deep rabbit hole that rips apart the very fabric of thought and leaves nothing underfoot. And by nothing, I do not mean nothing as opposed to something - this type of nothing would still be a concept and is the type of nothing that Nihilists believe in, which is why they too are flawed in their thinking. No, think of this type of nothing - called Sunyata in Japanese - as the type of nothing that exists between your thoughts when are thinking neither of something or nothing. However, just as one thought ceases and another begins, this is not a static nothing, but rather a fullness of being. Therefore Fullness and Nothingness and the same and different at the same time. If this sounds weird - it really is. But hold on to your hats - this logic of soku hi is also the same logic used in quantum computing. Now go chew on that one!
     
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  17. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

     
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  18. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

    Einstein: Letter to Eric Gutkind
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  19. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

    Pope: Humanity isn't random product of evolution
    Pope: Humanity isn't random product of evolution - Yahoo! News

     
  20. Michael Scally MD

    Michael Scally MD Doctor of Medicine

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2014
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