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Author Topic: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe  (Read 12931 times)

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Offline Noelle

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #100 on: September 06, 2010, 11:40:48 PM »
I submit that it is much easier to believe there is no god than to face the truth of the existence of God and his dominion over us.

Many people claim that agnosticism is the easiest way out because all you have to say is "I don't know" and you never actually "have to commit" to anything. People will claim back and forth to no end which is the 'easiest' to believe (as per the argument over Occam's Razor earlier), but for one, whether or not it's "easier" bears exactly zero relevance to the argument at hand. Even if your beliefs are the "more difficult" of the two, level of complication has no impact on whether or not your belief actually has any standing.

For example, it's pretty difficult for a person to claim a firm belief that a slice of Kraft cheese is their god and that the world is a delicious sandwich of god's creation. I'm sure you're thinking to yourself that it's an absolutely ridiculous claim, almost blatantly so -- because it is. Which is also what the science vs. religion arguments can boil down to. It's difficult for some to believe that in seven days (however metaphorical), some higher entity we have no tangible proof of got bored and decided to plant two humans that eventually populated an entire earth (inbreeding, anyone? D:) It can be difficult to comprehend that at one point, humans and certain species of apes shared a common ancestor, and somehow we managed to evolve above the rest into the only animal of our kind. One just so happens to have more logical bearing, given research and development in fields of evolutionary science.

My second thought is that if it were truly the easier solution, I would argue that more people would gravitate towards it. As statistics have shown in the United States alone, Christianity continues to prevail well over every other religion including atheists and agnostics -- but Gallup polls have shown that the majority of the people (in the US anyway) believes in a god or higher power of some kind. Also interestingly enough, I've noticed that many lack a basic understanding of the sciences they tend to feel threatened by. It does seem a little funny to me that the majority would pick the theoretical 'harder choice' but not bother to try and grasp just what it is they're opposing. I think the general understanding of Christianity is much better than is the understanding of science. On a slight tangent, I've also noticed many fervently suggest that scientists really need to seriously consider God as a viable option and stop the perceived efforts (I say perceived because I really doubt science is out to destroy everyone's faith, especially considering many scientists also happen to be religious) to disprove an existence of one at all, but I see few believers thinking seriously about the hypothetical that God may not exist at all, even as a thought experiment in terms of creation/laws/etc.

Anyway, guess my main message is that easier and harder sound to me like ways of justifying one's decision to believe one thing or the other, as if a struggle automatically gives your viewpoint validity. It doesn't. And neither does choosing the path of least resistance. Which is why it's important to be vigilant and examine all angles. The end.

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #101 on: September 07, 2010, 12:30:05 AM »
If you think it's easy to be an atheist or an agnostic, you've probably never tried it.  Do a simple thought experiment with me.  Assume that there is no god.  Now think about yourself and the way you think, feel, react, plan, and perceive everything.  Now try imagine being unable to do it.  But you can't even lament being unable to do it.  Imagine not drinking, feeling, thinking, eating, sleeping, crying, or anything else ever again and even being unable to realize that you're unable to do it.

Nonexistence is the scariest thing in the entire world.  Considering that as a viable possibility every now and then when you ponder mortality is utterly terrifying, and to continue to cling to the belief that makes you feel that emotional trauma and insecurity about the possible end of your own existence is far from easy.  Add to it the realization that there may not be anything special about humanity, much less you, the potential for the entire world (and your existence) to be the outcome of randomness and pure luck, and things get really depressing.

Then imagine being surrounded by people who do have belief in god and being persecuted for your lack of belief when you want to believe, but you just can't, because fundamentally it doesn't make sense to you.  Imagine you see all of the benefits of belief, you try, but you're just not wired that way.  It just doesn't work for you.

Everyone deserves a little sympathy and compassion and it's never a good idea to judge what you don't know.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 12:32:52 AM by Jude »

Offline Lithos

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #102 on: September 07, 2010, 12:39:28 AM »
Nonexistence is the scariest thing in the entire world.

No, it is not. False assumptions are not going to further any cause. World without me is not unimaginable nor scary, and neither is world without you.

Offline Nyarly

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #103 on: September 07, 2010, 12:50:45 AM »
Nonexistence is the scariest thing in the entire world.  Considering that as a viable possibility every now and then when you ponder mortality is utterly terrifying, and to continue to cling to the belief that makes you feel that emotional trauma and insecurity about the possible end of your own existence is far from easy.  Add to it the realization that there may not be anything special about humanity, much less you, the potential for the entire world (and your existence) to be the outcome of randomness and pure luck, and things get really depressing.
Funny. The only thing I can relate to is the "end of your existence"-bit. And even that's not so bad as you make it appear. What's so bad about the non-significance of humanity? I think that's a good actually (then again, I'm slightly misanthropic...). I find the thought of being the plaything of some eldritch abomination much scarier.

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #104 on: September 07, 2010, 12:53:17 AM »
I didn't mean anything that I've said is fact, that's just my viewpoint on things; all of that is purely opinion, emotional, and completely subjective to boot.  Not trying to claim anything here, just express my perspective on the difficulty of being an agnostic.

Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #105 on: September 07, 2010, 12:57:43 AM »
I fail why being an agnostic would be easy or hard.

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #106 on: September 07, 2010, 01:15:24 AM »
I struggle with it:  maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #107 on: September 07, 2010, 01:16:14 AM »
Maybe the struggle is an indication that you are doing it right.

Offline Brandon

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #108 on: September 07, 2010, 01:21:36 AM »
From my point of view, if faith could be measured on a general scale and applied to all the seperate religions then I believe Atheism would be at the top of that with Agnostic as number 2. It takes tremendous faith to believe in nothing, in my younger agnostic self it took tremendous faith in me consider that there may have been nothing. With most religions they teach that being a good person and hard work might not get you anywhere in life but it will after death (obviously theres some variation with religions like the Aesir who believed if you werent looting and pillaging you would go to Hel's domain). However boiling everything down to basicly random chance well I imagine thats scary for a lot of people.

Nyarly unless your talking about a lovecraftian pantheon, or maybe (big maybe and even then it refers mostly to the titans not the olympians) the greek one then I dont think that "Playthings of a ancient abomination" quite fits. There are dozens of religions out there, some even athiest (buddism for example), but I cant think of any one of the recent ones where I could objectivly call worshipers or just humans in general playthings, except maybe scientology but theyre an atheist religion

Offline finewine

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #109 on: September 07, 2010, 02:11:07 AM »
Quote from: Noelle
Anyway, guess my main message is that easier and harder sound to me like ways of justifying one's decision to believe one thing or the other, as if a struggle automatically gives your viewpoint validity. It doesn't. And neither does choosing the path of least resistance. Which is why it's important to be vigilant and examine all angles. The end.

Examine all angles.  Yes, I agree and my angle is one of those angles.

Life is a struggle and the struggle does give validity to life and my viewpoint.
Both camps will point the finger at the other camp and cry persecution!  Both camps have their crisis of faith.  Both camps will struggle within their faith.
I've been in both camps and it is easier to not believe in a god and not worry about the moral implications than it is to believe in a god and know that in the fullness of time the wrath of God's holiness will judge an unholy humanity.  I do not care to consider the horrors of the nonexistence and emptiness felt when banished from the love of the Master because of inexcusable disobedience.

I say ENOUGH of the pointing fingers and defensive posturing.


Join together and view the creation around us to see the struggle of life, to see the wonders of the processes that give us life and the world we live in and marvel in the complexity and beauty of it all.

The butterfly must struggle from its chrysalis to pump blood into the wings for it to survive. From the butterfly's point of view the struggle is everything for it to live.

The path of least resistance gives us beautiful waterfalls and etched canyons and rich fertile sediment on which life can survive.

My viewpoint has validity to me because it is my viewpoint just as your viewpoint has validity to you.
I do not judge your viewpoint to be less valid than mine.  Why is mine any less valid than yours?

There was no effort to understand my analogy or consider it. There was no effort to discuss that possibility.

Instead their was a defensive posture which implies to me a fear of attack which was certainly not my intent.

I was relating the whole issue to the analogy of a writer and his story hoping that those here, as intellectual writers could understand from the common point of view of the science and art of writing

One must always have the an empty cup to continue to learn and not stagnate in intellectual and emotional pride and arrogance.





Offline Chevalier des PoissonsTopic starter

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #110 on: September 07, 2010, 02:14:45 AM »
Hm.

Quote
I say ENOUGH of the pointing fingers and defensive posturing.

Quote
My viewpoint has validity to me because it is my viewpoint just as your viewpoint has validity to you.

Munchausen's trillema: An argument is valid because of itself. Basically, is is true because it is true. It is a very interesting falacy, did you know? A typical implication of the animosity.

Of course, we all know that such animosity is inappropriate, therefore unsuited to this conversation, right? The lack of proper argumentation is another issue.

Carry on.

Offline Nyarly

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #111 on: September 07, 2010, 02:43:52 AM »
From my point of view, if faith could be measured on a general scale and applied to all the seperate religions then I believe Atheism would be at the top of that with Agnostic as number 2. It takes tremendous faith to believe in nothing, in my younger agnostic self it took tremendous faith in me consider that there may have been nothing. With most religions they teach that being a good person and hard work might not get you anywhere in life but it will after death (obviously theres some variation with religions like the Aesir who believed if you werent looting and pillaging you would go to Hel's domain). However boiling everything down to basicly random chance well I imagine thats scary for a lot of people.

Nyarly unless your talking about a lovecraftian pantheon, or maybe (big maybe and even then it refers mostly to the titans not the olympians) the greek one then I dont think that "Playthings of a ancient abomination" quite fits. There are dozens of religions out there, some even athiest (buddism for example), but I cant think of any one of the recent ones where I could objectivly call worshipers or just humans in general playthings, except maybe scientology but theyre an atheist religion
You may be right that it takes a lot of faith to believe in nothing, but what exactly does it have to do with Atheism? There are many more things one can believe into than just gods and I doubt that there is anyone who really believes in nothing and no religious person who only believes in god(s). Some believe that humans should improve society for their fellow humans, some believe that everyone should care for themselves. Some think that we should stick to the old ways, others think that we have to move forward quickly.

While religion may have a big influence in it, the believes of any human can't be just summed up with "s/he is Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Haruhiist/etc." (Yes, I'm aware that no one actually believes in the last thing. I hope.) Exceptions my be nutjobs like the WBC, but even then there may be saner members.

While I did thought of the Cthulhu Mythos, when I wrote this, I thought more of the Abrahamic god. I find the thought of such a superpowered deity more frightful than anything else. On the other hand the comparison fits, because the deities of the Mythos are entirely fictional, just like the Christian god (for me as an Atheist, of course).

Offline Noelle

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #112 on: September 07, 2010, 03:05:31 AM »
I say ENOUGH of the pointing fingers and defensive posturing.

Maybe I'm misreading you, but I think you're very much guilty of the thing we both seem to agree on here -- that statements of 'I have it easier/harder' are fruitless and non-productive, and yet the way you've stated your own thoughts on the subject make it seem as if you're applying your own experience on a grander level, to everyone, when you say things like this --

Quote
I've been in both camps and it is easier to not believe in a god and not worry about the moral implications than it is to believe in a god and know that in the fullness of time the wrath of God's holiness will judge an unholy humanity.  I do not care to consider the horrors of the nonexistence and emptiness felt when banished from the love of the Master because of inexcusable disobedience.

It feels targeted, as if those here who don't worship any higher being are amoral, empty shells of people that are going to fry up in hell, more or less. Perhaps this wasn't the message you intended to send, but it does feel, nonetheless, very pointed at non-believers in a very indirect way. If you didn't mean it as I'm interpreting it, feel free to correct me.

Quote
My viewpoint has validity to me because it is my viewpoint just as your viewpoint has validity to you.
I do not judge your viewpoint to be less valid than mine.  Why is mine any less valid than yours?

There was no effort to understand my analogy or consider it. There was no effort to discuss that possibility.

Instead their was a defensive posture which implies to me a fear of attack which was certainly not my intent.

If you felt that I was attacking you in a way that you were uncomfortable, then I offer my apologies because that was not my intent. However, if you're uncomfortable having your viewpoints discussed at length or don't want them to be criticized, then you're probably not in the correct venue to be sharing your opinion. I wasn't discounting your point of view as inferior or 'wrong', I was simply offering my own response to something you said that I found to be ambiguous/objectionable.

Edit: And, yes, as it was pointed out, circular logic such as "my viewpoint is valid because it's my viewpoint" is kind of frowned upon ;P
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 03:08:21 AM by Noelle »

Offline Jude

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #113 on: September 07, 2010, 03:25:24 AM »
Life is a struggle and the struggle does give validity to life and my viewpoint.
Both camps will point the finger at the other camp and cry persecution!  Both camps have their crisis of faith.  Both camps will struggle within their faith.
I've been in both camps and it is easier to not believe in a god and not worry about the moral implications than it is to believe in a god and know that in the fullness of time the wrath of God's holiness will judge an unholy humanity.  I do not care to consider the horrors of the nonexistence and emptiness felt when banished from the love of the Master because of inexcusable disobedience.
I was religious once, a long time ago, back when I was a child.  It was an interesting experience.  I did worry about the strength of my faith because it was always paltry compared to the faith that others possessed.  I remember when I took communion for the first time I was concerned that I didn't "believe enough" and as a result I would be punished by god for taking part in such a sacrosanct ceremony.  That was pretty horrifying.

Then I became an atheist, and I felt as if I saw the light.  I was practically a born again atheist, I had fun telling people things like "god doesn't exist" and I never really considered the implications of that and how it affected me, as much as I reveled in putting down other people's points of view now that I knew there wasn't an airtight basis for them (unlike what I was taught to believe in church and by my religious parents).  It was a reactionary period where I lashed out emotionally over the betrayal of trust I experienced by everyone I went to church with in how certain they all sounded when in the end they were simply spouting the gospel they learned in the same way they were trying to implant it into me.

Finally, I became an agnostic.  I realized that as an atheist I was reactionary, angry, and definitely not helping the cause of lessening the suffering in the world due to religion (or gaining acceptance/tolerance for myself).  This was the hardest position of all for me, because I found myself stuck between two camps of fervent believers being the person waving the flag of "I don't know" while trying to convince other people to moderate their confidence in their own ideology.

I wouldn't stop there, eventually I became an agnostic-skeptic, which requires even more.  No longer is it acceptable for me to rest on a particular viewpoint, now I have to constantly question my own assumptions and the logic behind every decision I make.  I want to remain objective and open to all possibilities because it's the best way to actually end making the right choice and believing the right things in the end.  The problem is, that constant self-questioning is very exhausting, and it sometimes does mean having to change my point of view.  This is taken as a sign of weakness, uncertainty, or a lack of intelligence often, especially in today's culture where certainty (religious and otherwise) are practically virtues.  As a society we practically worship people of great faith; that stubborn unwillingness to see the faults in their own views and to try and doubt/detach has became a badge of honor.  It is the opposite of objectivity and the essence of bias.

Never settling, always questioning, and being willing to change your point of view also changes the focus of debate.  It's not about winning or losing, it's a search for the truth.  A lot of people feel a smug sense of superiority when they profess their beliefs, and I don't have that luxury.  Saying you don't know is the ultimate humbling position, because face it or not, people like people with answers.  Claiming you have everything figured out is the fastest way to get people's trust and respect if it appears that you're telling the truth.

But at the end of everything I wrote I realized something:  arguing which group has it better or worse is difficult, if not entirely irrelevant.  The ease or difficulty of accepting a belief has nothing to do with its validity.  The human brain is wired for religion.  We are encouraged to engage in magical thinking by the very architecture of our being.  That does not make religion right or wrong, it only accounts for why there's such a disparity in numbers.

Persecution, and which group faces more, is another subject entirely and a debate I'd be more than willing to have with you.  but if you think that members of the majority suffer more persecution than those of the minority, I don't think you understand human nature very well.
I say ENOUGH of the pointing fingers and defensive posturing.

Join together and view the creation around us to see the struggle of life, to see the wonders of the processes that give us life and the world we live in and marvel in the complexity and beauty of it all.

The butterfly must struggle from its chrysalis to pump blood into the wings for it to survive. From the butterfly's point of view the struggle is everything for it to live.

The path of least resistance gives us beautiful waterfalls and etched canyons and rich fertile sediment on which life can survive.

My viewpoint has validity to me because it is my viewpoint just as your viewpoint has validity to you.
I do not judge your viewpoint to be less valid than mine.  Why is mine any less valid than yours?

There was no effort to understand my analogy or consider it. There was no effort to discuss that possibility.

Instead their was a defensive posture which implies to me a fear of attack which was certainly not my intent.

I was relating the whole issue to the analogy of a writer and his story hoping that those here, as intellectual writers could understand from the common point of view of the science and art of writing.

One must always have the an empty cup to continue to learn and not stagnate in intellectual and emotional pride and arrogance.
I agree every viewpoint is valid, in that it could be potentially true, but that doesn't mean that every viewpoint is equally likely.  The fact is, the evidence gathered by science shows that our universe is capable of being a closed system without the need for a god.  There isn't anything solid that has ever been observed by humanity while accounting for confirmation bias and other human-observational fallibility that necessitates the existence of god.  That is why god remains an ad hoc hypothesis, despite the fact that he/she/it could very well still exist, thus drastically lowering the likelihood of his existence (which I think is what Hawking was trying to say after muddling through it for this long).

Now, I don't have a problem with people who believe in unlikely things except when they misrepresent the odds and make a virtue of their faith.  Certainty leads to lack of change, and if there's one thing that the past 3.5 billion years since abiogenesis has shown, it's that change is the engine of progress.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 03:43:32 AM by Jude »

Offline finewine

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #114 on: September 07, 2010, 07:54:19 AM »
1. Hawkings statement as summarized by a post read earlier was that Hawkings believed that the universe is a closed system and does not need God.
I did agree
Quote
Is God needed to explain the process of the beginning of time and space as we know it?
No.  Science can do that.

2.
Quote from: Chevalier des Poissons
A typical implication of the animosity
Your deduction about my state of emotion is incorrect. There was no animosity in my mind. It was in your mind so perhaps you are the one showing animosity through your virtue of logic.

3.
Quote from: Finewine
Quote from: Noelle
I've been in both camps and it is easier to not believe in a god and not worry about the moral implications than it is to believe in a god and know that in the fullness of time the wrath of God's holiness will judge an unholy humanity.  I do not care to consider the horrors of the nonexistence and emptiness felt when banished from the love of the Master because of inexcusable disobedience.
It feels targeted, as if those here who don't worship any higher being are amoral, empty shells of people that are going to fry up in hell, more or less. Perhaps this wasn't the message you intended to send, but it does feel, nonetheless, very pointed at non-believers in a very indirect way. If you didn't mean it as I'm interpreting it, feel free to correct me.
You misinterpreted my intent.
You felt targeted, your feelings gave validity to your logic, but your conclusion was not my intent.
Quote from: Nyarly
While I did thought of the Cthulhu Mythos, when I wrote this, I thought more of the Abrahamic god. I find the thought of such a superpowered deity more frightful than anything else

The intent is to say that the fire and brimestone of the wrath spoken of is a frightening alternative and it would be much easier to just find the logic to dismiss the existence of God and not worry about such a frightening deity by making him fictional. This is a logical assumption based on human nature.
4.
Quote from: Jude
I agree every viewpoint is valid, in that it could be potentially true,
Thank you for agreeing with me. All I said was my view point was valid.
Quote
My viewpoint has validity to me because it is my viewpoint just as your viewpoint has validity to you. I do not judge your viewpoint to be less valid than mine.
5.
Quote
Persecution, and which group faces more, is another subject entirely and a debate I'd be more than willing to have with you.  but if you think that members of the majority suffer more persecution than those of the minority, I don't think you understand human nature very well.
Do not add information to my words to suit your logic.  I said that both camps point fingers at each other cry persecution (target and attack) I never said one was persecuted more than the other.
Quote
Both camps will point the finger at the other camp and cry persecution!  Both camps have their crisis of faith.  Both camps will struggle within their faith.
You do not know me well enough to tell me I do not understand human nature or persecution.[/quote]

My analogy has its own logic from a certain point of view
Quote from: Finewine
I see God as the author sitting at his desk with a story, it's beginning, middle and end, in mind and we are the story.
The author sits outside the story's universe and controls it's expansion to its conclusion.

A great author in writing the story will follow the rules set forth in the story's created universe, but he is separate from the effects of the story's universe and if he does choose to do so, he can step into the story as a character, part the red sea or flood the whole earth because he is the God he's created within the story's plot of redemption.

For all we know our lives are the writing of a love story by an author who has lost his beloved and wishes to have the beloved return.


The wonder of science will only ever explain the rules of our universe not the rules of the author's universe.
To bind a GOD to the rules of our universe denies his deity and dominion over his creation.

There is no conflict between science and faith.
Our logic is not capable at this time to understand beyond our universe to a universe and logic yet to be discovered because we have no reference to it nor full understanding of its mystery.
We should continue to ask questions for understanding of the mystery.

One may chose to believe my point of view is not likely and one has every right to do so, but one does not have the right to judge my point of view as any less valid than any other point of view.









« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 07:58:25 AM by finewine »

Offline Jaybee

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #115 on: September 07, 2010, 09:14:04 AM »
Interesting discussion you good people are having.  Here's my tuppence...I'm a Christian, converted 11 years back but I don't thump.  Unlike most people, who attempt to create logic based on faith, my faith started off as logical thinking.

I suspect Hawkings, in his extreme theorising, is forgetting a few elementals of Physics;

1) Nature abhors a vacuum;

2) Every atom had a beginning at a point in time;

3) All that can come from nothing, is nothing.

Now, rewind the clock of history, and imagine the time before the first atom came into existence; according to those three rules, matter is impossible.  Yet, here it is; you're looking at matter right now, via matter.  As far as I'm concerned, whatever power, unbound by the laws of Physics, created this universe, IS God.  He may be an extremely advanced form of energy, creating form out of formlessness, He may be an Astronaut with an IQ of billions of digits, I do not know. 

The more I thought of all this back in '99, the more I felt His hand moving in me.  Throughout my being.  It is this part that is inexplicable to a non-believer, and as a man who respects Science, I would not try to describe such an ethereal, esoteric event with any expectation whatsoever of convincing anyone else of its validity.  It merely is; although, again as a man who doffs his figurative cap to Science, I happily throw open these beliefs to considered dissection.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #116 on: September 07, 2010, 10:15:09 AM »
From my point of view, if faith could be measured on a general scale and applied to all the seperate religions then I believe Atheism would be at the top of that with Agnostic as number 2. It takes tremendous faith to believe in nothing, in my younger agnostic self it took tremendous faith in me consider that there may have been nothing.

This is a common tactic, and I'm not sure whether to label it ignorant, or underhanded.

You're making two fundamental mistakes. Atheism, first and foremost, is nothing - nothing - but the absence of belief in a god. You can be a religious atheist, you can be an irreligious atheist, you can be a nihilist atheist, anything you please. The only requirement is that you not believe in a god. That's all it means.

The second fatal mistake is describing it as "belief in nothing", rather than "lack of belief". "Belief in nothing" implies you're believing in nothing contrary to evidence. "Lack of belief" implies that, because of the utter and complete absence of evidence, you see no reason to believe in the first place. It's not even a rejection of the belief.

As for atheism requiring the most faith, or the most assumptions, it doesn't matter how you try to spin "faith", the simple fact remains that the argument "something cannot come from nothing, so something must've created it", is at best moving the goalpost. If "something" can't come from nothing, but "something else" can, then "something can't come from nothing" is no longer true, and god is unnecessary. Either god is impossible, or unnecessary. There is, beyond anecdotes and your own feelings, no evidence to suggest there is a god - none. There isn't any objective evidence that could ever bring anyone, without outside influence, to believe in your particular god. It's an enormous leap of faith. Not believing is simply admitting you don't know - yet.

Offline Will

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #117 on: September 07, 2010, 10:44:50 AM »
Interesting discussion you good people are having.  Here's my tuppence...I'm a Christian, converted 11 years back but I don't thump.  Unlike most people, who attempt to create logic based on faith, my faith started off as logical thinking.

I suspect Hawkings, in his extreme theorising, is forgetting a few elementals of Physics;

1) Nature abhors a vacuum;

2) Every atom had a beginning at a point in time;

3) All that can come from nothing, is nothing.

Now, rewind the clock of history, and imagine the time before the first atom came into existence; according to those three rules, matter is impossible.  Yet, here it is; you're looking at matter right now, via matter.  As far as I'm concerned, whatever power, unbound by the laws of Physics, created this universe, IS God.  He may be an extremely advanced form of energy, creating form out of formlessness, He may be an Astronaut with an IQ of billions of digits, I do not know. 

The more I thought of all this back in '99, the more I felt His hand moving in me.  Throughout my being.  It is this part that is inexplicable to a non-believer, and as a man who respects Science, I would not try to describe such an ethereal, esoteric event with any expectation whatsoever of convincing anyone else of its validity.  It merely is; although, again as a man who doffs his figurative cap to Science, I happily throw open these beliefs to considered dissection.

This has really already been discussed, earlier in the thread.  Mass/energy conservation can be violated on quantum scales.  That being the case, I see no reason not to believe that it could be violated in a more profound way in the case of a singularity.

This is in addition to the notion that assigning immortal status to the universe is just as easy as saying it was created, and then assigning immortal status to its creator instead.

Offline Jaybee

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #118 on: September 07, 2010, 11:10:21 AM »
This has really already been discussed, earlier in the thread.  Mass/energy conservation can be violated on quantum scales.

I was talking about mass creation, not preservation.  I'd want proof of your assertion about conservation.

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That being the case, I see no reason not to believe that it could be violated in a more profound way in the case of a singularity.

Indeed, IF it is the case.

Quote
This is in addition to the notion that assigning immortal status to the universe is just as easy as saying it was created, and then assigning immortal status to its creator instead.

It's easy to say anything in a free society; talk is cheap.  Providing evidence is a superior guage of factuality.

Offline Will

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #119 on: September 07, 2010, 12:23:40 PM »
I believe this was the sort of thing that was referenced earlier.

It's easy to say anything in a free society; talk is cheap.  Providing evidence is a superior guage of factuality.
I apologize if I'm being shortsighted, but I fail to see how this relates to the portion of my post that you quoted above it.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #120 on: September 07, 2010, 01:12:18 PM »
I was talking about mass creation, not preservation.  I'd want proof of your assertion about conservation.

Conservation simply means that the equations have to balance out.  Mass can be converted into a boat-load of energy (practical example would be the sun), and it should be possible to convert a boat-load of energy into mass, given the right circumstances.  It's not something that we as humans can do, especially considering the amount of energy that would be required is on such a huge scale.  One gram of mass is equivalent to the following amounts of energy:

    89.9 terajoules (About 60 terajoules were released by the nuclear bomb that exploded over Hiroshima.)
    25.0 million kilowatt-hours (≈25 GWh)
    21.5 billion kilocalories (≈21 Tcal)

Offline Jaybee

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #121 on: September 07, 2010, 02:37:38 PM »
Conservation simply means that the equations have to balance out.  Mass can be converted into a boat-load of energy (practical example would be the sun), and it should be possible to convert a boat-load of energy into mass, given the right circumstances. 

That's akin to saying that because we can convert paper to ash via burning, the inverse is also true via some unknown process.  We've never seen evidence that energy can be converted to mass.

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It's not something that we as humans can do, especially considering the amount of energy that would be required is on such a huge scale.  One gram of mass is equivalent to the following amounts of energy:
    89.9 terajoules (About 60 terajoules were released by the nuclear bomb that exploded over Hiroshima.)
    25.0 million kilowatt-hours (≈25 GWh)
    21.5 billion kilocalories (≈21 Tcal)

The implication there is that scale is the insurmountable factor.  Convertibility is the lacking element; if we could convert energy into matter, we would only need a microscopic amount (preferably of a distinct element) to demonstrate that it could be done.  It cannot.














Offline Oniya

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Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #122 on: September 07, 2010, 03:00:52 PM »
That's akin to saying that because we can convert paper to ash via burning, the inverse is also true via some unknown process.  We've never seen evidence that energy can be converted to mass.

The implication there is that scale is the insurmountable factor.  Convertibility is the lacking element; if we could convert energy into matter, we would only need a microscopic amount (preferably of a distinct element) to demonstrate that it could be done.  It cannot.

Would the creation of anti-matter be enough of a proof?  Honestly asking here. 

I know I've seen Feynman diagrams about the process, but the only article I could find that didn't go into advanced mathematics was this one:  http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Feynman-Stueckelberg+interpretation.  The section on antimatter (just a bit below the first screen-ful) talks of nine atoms of antihydrogen (a single positively charged positron orbiting a single negatively charged antiproton) created by scientists at CERN (and no, this has nothing to do with 'Angels and Demons').

Offline Jaybee

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #123 on: September 07, 2010, 03:45:15 PM »
Would the creation of anti-matter be enough of a proof?  Honestly asking here. 

As opposed to dishonestly asking your other questions?  :)

To be forthright, no, that wouldn't do, for the universe isn't composed of anti-matter, and as I alluded to in my paper burning analogy, the achievement of a goal isn't proof that the opposite/reverse goal can be reached.

Quote
I know I've seen Feynman diagrams about the process, but the only article I could find that didn't go into advanced mathematics was this one:  http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Feynman-Stueckelberg+interpretation.  The section on antimatter (just a bit below the first screen-ful) talks of nine atoms of antihydrogen (a single positively charged positron orbiting a single negatively charged antiproton) created by scientists at CERN (and no, this has nothing to do with 'Angels and Demons').

I will take a look at it, thank you for the link!!

Offline Lithos

Re: Stephen Hawkings says that God didn't create the universe
« Reply #124 on: September 07, 2010, 03:51:20 PM »
Convertibility is the lacking element; if we could convert energy into matter, we would only need a microscopic amount (preferably of a distinct element) to demonstrate that it could be done.  It cannot.

It happens all the time. Particle accelerators convert energy into subatomic particles, for example by colliding electrons and positrons. Some of the kinetic energy in the collision goes into creating new particles, and yes, if we had this happen in much larger scale, we would have enough particles to form atoms, there is only one big problem.

In a technical sense, you cannot just create matter out of energy: there are various 'conservation laws' of electric charges, the number of leptons (electron-like particles) etc., which means that you can only create matter / anti-matter pairs out of energy. Anti-matter, however, has the unfortunate tendency to combine with matter and turn itself back into energy. Even though physicists have managed to safely trap a small amount of anti-matter using magnetic fields, this is not easy to do.

So we would need huge amount of particle collisions, AND a way to keep the anti matter separate from matter. Convertibility itself is there though, just at lower level.

Also, as more importantly related thing: Whether or not god exists and how to prove it are completely meaningless questions without any value. God is something people have faith and belief on, and no theory should need to explain it. Let people who for whatever reason believe in it do so, there is no reason to dabble with it at all. Only time when decisive action is needed is if and when the religion has harmful effects on something. Society can and should force removal of individuals and ideals that cause them.

There is no need to remove religion itself at large, or try to remove "god" the concept. Pondering the whole god issue from standpoint of empiric science is meaningless waste of time. Only thing that we need is society that is understanding of religion as harmless viewpoint to life in general, and takes more agressive stance to harmful effects of religion and curbs the groups that cause these out. The whole media fuss about religion is needless waste of resources. It is just popular subject to media cause debates about religion tend to cause a lot of emotion and by that route watchers / sales figures.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 05:16:27 PM by Lithos »