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Talk:Evidence for God's existence

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Question on fine tuning

Did god have any choice when tuning the constants of the universe? (In other words: Could he have chosen different constants but still produce a universe which we could live in?)

If yes: If there are multiple potential configurations of constants that produce a universe capable of sustaining life then it's not very impressive that we happen to be living in one of them. The more choice god had the less impressive it gets, and the easier it gets to apply the anthropic principle.

If no: If there is only one way in which they could be set-up to produce a universe suitable for life, then it's doesn't take massive god-like intelligence to set-up. An unconscious robot following a simple procedure could find a set of constants by trial and error, or a search algorithm, and even guess work would find it eventually. Of course, I don't believe they actually were set-up by a robot, my only point is that this fine-tuning evidence doesn't point to any kind of super-natural super-intelligence (since a natural and unintelligent process would suffice). Jaxe 23:09, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Your argument is proposing a false dichotomy, in that it contrasts "one way" with unspecified "multiple" ways. Your argument also overlooks what the percentage of potential combinations actually is. If there was, for the sake of argument, only one possible combination, then that's one combination out of, say, 104000 different possible combinations (I'm making the figure up, but the point is that it's a ridiculously large figure). An unconscious robot using trial and error would wear out before it had tried even an extremely tiny fraction of the possible combinations. Rather, it would take a super intelligence (i.e. a God) to sort through those combinations to find the correct one.
If out of those 104000 possible combinations there were 103999 that worked, then true, it would not be remarkable at all. But if there were even 10100 possible combinations which worked, then that still leaves 103900 that don't work, and finding those few needles in that haystack is still so unlikely that it is very little different to the one-combination argument.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

First Cause Argument and Set Logic

So if I have this correct...

  • P1. There is a set of objects E that exist
  • P2. For All x in E there is some y in E that causes x.
  • P3. God exists and is therefore a member of set E.
  • P4. For God, there exists no x in E that causes God.

This results in a contradiction that has to be resolved. Either...

  • C1. God does not exist as he does not fit the qualificaitons of the members of E.
  • C2. P2 is incorrect as objects can exist within E for which no y is in E that caused them.
  • C3. The definition of God is incorrect, he actually is a member of set E, and there exists some x in E that causes God.

But I may be completely wrong on this. HumanisticJones 17:25, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

P2 is incorrect as objects can exist within E for which no y is in E that caused them. This is the correct answer. The law of cause and effect only applies to objects that had a beginning, so if there's any x in E that didn't begin, they don't need a corresponding y.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:08, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Then may I ask what makes your defined "uncaused cause" a necessary one? At the point of removing P2 from the argument, any x in E can, by deductive reasoning, exist without a cause unless it is demonstrated to require one. The set E is now the set of all existent objects, for some x in E there is a cause y that is in E that is not x. For some x in E there is no cause. Now we have to resort to inductive reasoning and require that evidence be presented for each x in E to show that it is a member of the subset F, objects that exist and require a cause.
We may even postulate at this point that the universe itself requires no cause. We have no evidence to support this either way... at the moment we may only say that the universe exists. However, arguments could be made, using the standard framework of the Big Bang as the origin of space-time to claim that before the Big Bang there would have been no event space for a cause to exist in, therefore the Big Bang is necessarily uncaused. This has as much validity sans evidence as your postulation of an uncaused complex conscious entity. However, we are able to demonstrate the existence of the universe (and as such its membership in E), but your argument no longer requires the presence of a singular uncaused causal event without P2 as a defining postulate for existence. As such, this argument is not evidence for the existence of such a being. HumanisticJones 04:49, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
...any x in E can, by deductive reasoning, exist without a cause unless it is demonstrated to require one. Why? Why do you assume that it can unless the reverse is shown? Why not assume it can't unless shown otherwise?
We may even postulate at this point that the universe itself requires no cause. We have no evidence to support this either way... On the contrary, we have the fundamental principle that every event requires a cause. It's widely recognised in science and in the world in general.
However, arguments could be made, using the standard framework of the Big Bang as the origin of space-time to claim that before the Big Bang there would have been no event space for a cause to exist in, therefore the Big Bang is necessarily uncaused. That argument would show that there is no cause available to be invoked for the Big Bang. It would not show that the Big Bang does not require a cause be invoked.
This has as much validity sans evidence as your postulation of an uncaused complex conscious entity. It's a different argument entirely, so you can't compare validity. My argument is that something eternally-existent doesn't require a cause (a point that can be demonstrated logically). Your argument is that no cause is available for the Big Bang. A different claim entirely, and one with which I agree, incidentally.
However, we are able to demonstrate the existence of the universe... Which is irrelevant when it comes to determining its cause.
...but your argument no longer requires the presence of a singular uncaused causal event... Incorrect. Just because there exists at least one uncaused thing doesn't mean that other things don't require a cause.
What you seem to be overlooking, despite it having been made clear, is that everything that began requires a cause. If I ask you the how the hole came to be in the garden, you could answer that the hole was there yesterday and nobody's filled it in, so it's still there. But that would be a silly answer, because it doesn't actually explain how it came to be there in the first place. You could instead answer that you dug it a month ago. That would be the cause of the hole. Note that we are now talking about an event, not an object, the event being the digging, and the cause being you. A third possible answer is that the hole had no cause; it just appeared for no reason. That would also be a silly answer: something must have caused the hole to be there, whether that be an intruder, a burrowing animal, something falling from the sky, or whatever. No sensible person would accept that the hole simply appeared without there being some cause. A fourth answer could of course be that you don't know the cause, but that doesn't change that there would be one. A fifth answer could be "It's always been there". Now of course that would only be true in the sense that it was there before you had this garden; the hole predates your arrival. It would not be literally true, because we know that holes naturally tend to collapse, so it could only have been there a finite amount of time. But remember that we were talking about the cause of the event that created the hole? What if, just hypothethically, the hole had literally always been there? It then would not have had a "creation event", and without this event, no cause is needed.
So the logic is this:
  • P1: There is a set of objects, E, that exist.
  • P2: There is a subset, F, of objects E, being those objects that began to exist. They have not existed for an infinite amount of time.
  • P3: Everything that begins to exist needs a cause.
  • P4: Therefore there must be one or more objects, G, that caused objects F to exist.
  • P5: An object cannot cause itself. Causality requires that the cause precede the effect.
  • P6: Object(s) G are not part of set F, as this would be a violation of P5.
  • P7: Therefore, G, not being part of F, did not begin to exist. But G does exist, else could not have been the cause of F.
  • P8: Therefore, because it did not begin to exist, G does not require a cause.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:52, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Your logic above is sound if we assume P2 and P3 to be true, which I will for the sake of this argument. However, this does not logically follow to your conclusion (and the conclusion of this site), that size(G) = 1 and that the one member of G is the Christian God as you interpret him. P4 even states that size(G) must merely be > 0. If all the above premises are true we can deductively assume a set of uncaused eternal objects with no upper bound.
In fact, we can deductively conclude that size(F) = 0 and G = E by way of the wording of those premises. Yes I know that we can inductively conclude that there are members of F, but that requires evidence that they have been caused if we accept the above syllogisms as sound. It is for that reason that I stated above that without evidence we can assume something to be uncaused, but that it is not necessarily the case for assuming things to be caused.
All of this takes it for granted that P2 and P3 are true and in evidence. I felt no need to address them here because by your own logic we still do not arrive at the conclusion that there is one god, which is the root cause of all things. We can merely arrive at the conclusion that there must be uncaused objects, which may in fact be all extant objects.HumanisticJones 16:45, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Disputing P3: What proof is there that the universe is not eternal? More pointedly, if it began to exist, there must have been some point in time when it did not exist, and some later point in time when it did. But this is meaningless, since time is part of the universe.
Disputing P5: On the contrary, we have the fundamental principle that every event requires a cause. It's widely recognised in science and in the world in general. No, it is not; with the advent of quantum mechanics, physicists have come to the conclusion that what we see as "causality" is a sort of approximation of what is really going on at the lowest levels. See here for one philosopher-of-science's thoughts on the topic. o ListenerXTalkerX 19:58, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
However, this does not logically follow to your conclusion (and the conclusion of this site), that size(G) = 1 and that the one member of G is the Christian God as you interpret him. That size(G)=1 and that this is the biblical God is not a conclusion I or this site makes from this line of logic. That is concluded from other arguments.
In fact, we can deductively conclude that size(F) = 0 ... The wording does not lead to that conclusion. That there are members of F does not require evidence that they have been caused, as that premise comes later. That is, you are trying to redefine F because you don't agree with the later conclusions of the logic.
We can merely arrive at the conclusion that there must be uncaused objects, which may in fact be all extant objects. Incorrect. We know for a fact that there are caused objects. This site, for example, was caused by me. You were caused by your parents. It is indisputable that caused objects exist. It's also completely accepted that effects (objects) need a cause.
What proof is there that the universe is not eternal? If it had existed forever, according to the laws of thermodynamics, we would long ago have reached a state of thermal equilibrium. We have not, which means that the universe has not existed forever. This is the very reason that the Steady State model of the universe was abandoned in favour of the Big Bang model.
No, it is not; with the advent of quantum mechanics, physicists have come to the conclusion that what we see as "causality" is a sort of approximation of what is really going on at the lowest levels. First, quantum mechanics only applies at a certain level; it doesn't remove the principle of causality. Second, even at the quantum level, being unable to predict the effect does not mean that there is no cause.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:28, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Phil, I may have misspoken to say that you or this site draw the conclusions of "size(G)=1 and that this is the biblical God", but this argument has been used by Christian theologians for that same purpose. As for your objection to my claim that we can deductively claim that size(F) is zero, exactly what premise sets that boundary to the deduction. You state things that are inductive evidence for caused objects, but the Cosmological Argument is an attempt at deduction. Claiming that you have observed an object to be caused is inductive. By the premises set forward, unless you can demonstrate which one requires otherwise, there is no reason to deduce the existence of any members of Set F. Only Set G needs to be populated and it can be anywhere from one to a plurality.
You then go on to list me as a caused object, but I myself am not an object. I am a plural construction of objects, down to the smallest known sub-atomic particles. To claim that I was caused to exist would be akin to claiming that a Brownian motion of gas was caused to exist. Human beings, in their physicality at least as you suppose a non-material as well, and other things that humans might call objects, are themselves comprised of objects. As such we did not actually observe them being caused. What we have observed in the fields of quantum physics, are particles that appear to be "caused" by vacuum fluctuations, objects that began to exist with no observed "cause".
The previous paragraph is all inductive however, and we are discussing a deductive argument, so most of it is irrelevant to this, just me going off on a tangent. If you could show me what proposition above requires a non-empty F, we can move on. We still haven't reached discussion whether or not P2 and P3 are in fact in evidence, which will be an inductive talk until a base case can be established.
HumanisticJones 13:27, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
That size(F)>0 may not be deduced from the previous points, but it is observable fact, and I don't see how you deduce that it is zero.
That objects can be composed of other objects does not mean that the derived objects are themselves not objects. You are an "object" (in the context of this discussion), and you had a cause: your parents.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:30, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
Nah, you're wrong. "quantum mechanics does not negate causality" Yes it does. "Causality" is a human construct, which we impose on our gods. ħuman Number 19 05:24, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Oh, and "everything that began requires a cause" is an assumption. One I think you are making in order to make your "god thing" indispensable to the existence of the universe. Which you also think is only 6000-10000 years old, as I understand your story? ħuman Number 19 05:31, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
PJR, you did not address either of my arguments. o ListenerXTalkerX 05:38, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Human, causality is a widely-accepted principle based on observation. Obviously something that didn't begin doesn't require a cause.
ListenerX, I responded to both of your points. I don't understand why you think I didn't.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:21, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
You did not respond to the second sentence of either point. o ListenerXTalkerX 07:31, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Okay, as far as the first objection goes, that time began with the universe does not negate that the universe began to exist.
Regarding the second point, I had a quick read, but it barely mentioned quantum mechanics. Was there something else in particular I was supposed to see?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:53, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Round 2: If the universe began to exist, then there was some point in time when it did not exist. If time began with the universe, then there is, by definition, no time when the universe did not exist, making the proposition that "the universe began to exist" meaningless.
Sowa says, "Relativity and quantum mechanics have forced physicists to abandon these assumptions as exact statements of what happens at the most fundamental levels," and explains this statement. Science does not recognize causality as the "fundamental principle" as which you characterized it, though it remains a valid approximation for human experience. Compare: you may perceive a hunk of metal as a solid block, but science must regard it as the lattice of atoms it is. o ListenerXTalkerX 08:07, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
*YAY* on set logic and maths. apparently quantum events can break a lot of laws but it can be shown mathematically not to matter , because they are short term things (not be me cause its very advanced maths) Hamster 16:13, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Beauty Examples

Funny Beauty once again pops up as an example for God's existence eventhough beauty is a realitive concept. If the examples were of things we could not explain that would be different but come on, rainbows? Do you wish for the explination of rainbows?--Timsh 14:20, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

I know beauty is a relative concept, and I know, more or less, how rainbows are formed. But the truth is that a lot of people do see evidence for God in the beauty of creation, so I think it is worth having in the article. I have tried to pre-empt the concerns you raise through carefully qualified wording; if you think I've failed to do this, please suggest improvements.--CPalmer 14:26, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Whereas, I will say that people have been inspired by many things that brought them closer to their faith I will not say that this part is evidence for God's existence and as such is a bit of a distraction from the main idea of the article, evdence of God's existence. Perhaps a different article about concepts leading to faith like car accidents and near death experences as well as the positive ones like beauty in nature.--Timsh 14:42, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Interesting. I think we should seek more opinions before making a decision. No rush.--CPalmer 14:47, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
If beauty is evidence for God's existence, is ugliness evidence for his non existence?--Bob M 16:39, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
No; it is just evidence that he is Smiting the Wicked again. Which, incidentally, makes the entire argument go down the tubes. o ListenerXTalkerX 17:42, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
If a Hindu man claims that the beauty of nature has brought him closer to Bhagavan Vishnu, do we count that as evidence for the existence of the Parameshwara? Same for a Muslim and Allah, a Wiccan and the Mother Goddess? This is a serious question since the claim is made in the form of "Person believes in deity X, Person sees beauty in the world, therefore X is more likely to exist." This statement would allow beauty to be evidence for every single deific claim. HumanisticJones 17:49, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Please note, parroting Schlafly does not a good or funny parodist make. Stop it, it's irritating. And the rest of you, stop feeding the [deleted] troll. --Jeeves 21:49, 28 August 2009 (UTC)

Huh? o ListenerXTalkerX 22:25, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
As you may or may not recall, autumn foliage was the [deleted] bit a while back, how it proved the existence of god and was somehow evidence against evolution. CPalmer is a very obvious parodist. Once he/she/it had a good sideline going in inserting funny things in to articles without being too obvious, but this latest stuff is too crude to be funny. --Jeeves 03:47, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
The argument from beauty is a very old and common argument for the existence of God; I have even seen it used to argue that if evolution actually happened, that is evidence that God intelligently designed the process. That Mr. Schlafly used it in a laughable manner some time ago is no reason why anyone who uses it is a parodist channeling him. o ListenerXTalkerX 04:04, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Sure, until you look at it in context. --Jeeves 04:15, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Now that does sound like it came out of the [deleted] template. o ListenerXTalkerX 04:16, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
Recall that the whole "Autumn foliage is objectively beautiful" concept is one over which Philip and Andy disagreed sharply. The inclusion here would seem to be mainly for humorous effect. I am still undecided about CPalmer; some posts seem constructive enough, others a little silly (and admittedly often quite funny) while other seem to be outright parody. I will say that the parody actually seems to be real parody (rather than what CP and RW keep calling parody). I find when I read CPalmer's posts I have images of Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka saying "Mumbler!". BradleyF (LowKey) 14:04, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
If this wiki is allowing "humorous effect" sign me up! Oh, wait, I'm already signed up. What do I have to do to participate the in the humorous effect??? ħuman Number 19 04:20, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
I've just been trying to answer the question, "why do people believe in God?" One thing I thought of was the discussion of beauty on CP, so of course the autumn leaves spring to mind as an example. Yes I do sometimes write things that I think are funny, though I hope without compromising the factual content of the site. No I am not a parodist. To be honest, if I were looking to write parody, the endless moaning by anti-Christians on talk pages would provide much more material than the sincere, thoughtfully applied religious worldview that underpins some articles. Jeeves, go back to buttling.--CPalmer 11:15, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
If you think you can make parody out of our endless moaning, you are welcome to try it on RationalWiki. However, I do not think it will be successful, for the following reason: When evolutionists try to send up creationism, the creationists' response is usually to do everything within their power to prevent the mockery from being heard. When creationists try to send up evolution, the mockery is imported to RationalWiki so we can have a good laugh — at its authors. o ListenerXTalkerX 18:10, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Extremism, chauvinism, hysteria, monomania and closed-mindedness all provide grist to the satirist's mill, and I'm sorry to say that all are amply present in the contributions of some of the 'critical friends' on this site. Not you of course, Listener, but not everyone can be as measured and well-informed as you are.--CPalmer 08:13, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Gospel evidence reversion

Here are my reasons for reverting the section on Jesus. The claim in the edit comment that "A ridiculous assertion to anyone who knows anything at all about history. Contrast the murder of Hipparchus in 514BCE for which there is a vast wealth of text and archaeology." seems itself ridiculous. What is the "vast wealth of text and archaeology" for Hipparchus that exceeds that for Jesus? (I'm assuming that the reference to his murder was an error, given that Wikipedia says that he "died" and indicates that little is known about his death.) I've compiled the following table according to Wikipedia and other sources.

Source When written When copies date from Information about subject
Hipparchus himself Time of Hipparchus(!)  ?  ?
Ptolemy around 300 years Hipparchus Apparently around 1350 years after being written Hipparchus' astronomy
Pappas around 400 years after Hipparchus  ? Commenting on Ptolemy's work
Theon around 400 years after Hipparchus  ? Commenting on Ptolemy's work
Strabo around 200 years after Hipparchus at least 300 years after writing (medieval times), apart from a few earlier fragments A few references to Hipparchus' views.
Pliny the Elder around 200 years after Hipparchus Parts from around 300 years after Pliny "references" (i.e. mentions)

By comparison, the gospels were written within 40 to 70 years, contain far more information, and extant copies date to much closer to the originals.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:15, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

Oh my. You really are a total ignoramus, aren't you? You know nothing about the pivotal event in western civilisation. I'll give you a hint, Hipparchus is a relatively common name in ancient Greece, and you're reading about the wrong one. --Jeeves 10:09, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Well, at least I learnt something in the process! How about you produce your evidence instead of just slandering me. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:22, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
What slander? You didn't even know a simple fact about the authorship of the Bible, something which you really ought to know. Making broad sweeping statements like "best attested event in ancient history" (a claim, by the way, which is totally unsupported by the supposed source) when you're completely ignorant of any of the history you're dismissing is embarrassing, you should be ashamed of yourself. Just by being alive you ought to have picked up something about the ancient Egyptians, the Persian empire and the Greek city states. Quite frankly, any former colony ought to teach the Tyrannicides in school though it's probably a better inspirational story for Americans than Australians.
Well, you learnt something. Congratulations. Now if I could spend the rest of my life beating you over the head with knowledge, you might learn some more things. However, I propose a better strategy. Go to your local library and pick up some [deleted] books. Hey, now you've questioned one bit of received wisdom about Biblical authorship, don't stop. Almost everything you think you know about it is almost certainly not true. Educate yourself. --Jeeves 10:37, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
What slander? "total ignoramus"
You didn't even know a simple fact about the authorship of the Bible... What "simple fact"? The "fact" that you are disputing?
Making broad sweeping statements like "best attested event in ancient history" (a claim, by the way, which is totally unsupported by the supposed source... The source quotes Harvey saying, "It would be no exaggeration to say that this event is better attested, and supported by a more impressive array of evidence, than any other event of comparable importance of which we have knowledge from the ancient world." That doesn't sound like "totally unsupported".
Just by being alive you ought to have picked up something about the ancient Egyptians, the Persian empire and the Greek city states. And given that I've given no hint that I've "picked up" nothing at all, this is nothing more than the sort of abusive ad hominem argument used by people with no better argument.
However, I propose a better strategy. Go to your local library and pick up some ... books. I have provided support for what I put in the article. You dismiss that with an unsupported claim, and now decline to support it! That sort of "logic" is not acceptable here.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:12, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Did you note that phrase "of comparative importance" in there? That's the lynch pin of the argument. The whole thing is about how much of a complete non-event the life of Jesus was, an apology for why his life appears in no contemporary histories. I'm beginning to think you can scarcely even read. You can't possibly translate that in to "best attested event", the whole document explains to you why the life of Jesus is poorly attested, and to a certain extent I agree with the conclusion. However, the turmoil that is alleged to have left in his wake ought to be attested, which is why I simply don't believe most of the story. Take for instance the slaying of the new born infants by the order of Herod. While monarch may seem a position of power and privilege, anyone who studies history knows that the power of a monarch consists of no more than the cooperation he can extract from nobles, army and the commons at large. In fact, the position of absolute monarch is one balanced on a knife edge. Any monarch insane enough to order such a thing would be signing his own death warrant. Now if we assume that somehow human nature was temporarily suspended for the event, and somehow it was carried out as ordered. Don't you think someone would have noted such a momentously stupid thing taking place?
Now, contrast this with a really momentous event in the history of the world. Athens, a weak and ailing state is punching considerably below her weight in comparison to her size. Assailed by Sparta to one side, and to the other the mighty Persian empire on the other, and the Athenian army can't even best a tiny island state to secure her own shipping. Against this background we have a sleazy lover's tiff that, together with the machinations of the priests at Delphi and the Spartan army leads to the world's first democracy, and the defeat of successive Persian invasions. Without this particular event, the world would be so very different it isn't even worth speculating what that status quo would be now. As befits such a great moment in history, the evidence for it is several orders of magnitude more than can be said of your raggedy itinerant rabbi. That you know, or at least think you know, something about the latter but nothing about the former is exactly why you are in fact an ignoramus. --Jeeves 11:47, 30 August 2009 (UTC)
Given the impact that Christianity has had on the world, I would consider Jesus' life to be of far more importance than the event you describe, and that's without minimising the great influence that had. The source does talk about why Jesus' life was not mentioned much by others (but it was mentioned; contrary to your comment that it appears in no contemporary histories, although I suppose you'll say that the others are not contemporary. But then histories never are). Further, the article was about why it was not mentioned much in other histories; it was covered in considerable detail by the ones in the Bible, which you seem to ignore. And it is those that constitute the bulk of claim for the "best attested event".
... the evidence for it is several orders of magnitude more than can be said of your raggedy itinerant rabbi. Yet, despite me asking you for it, you provide no evidence of this claim. So why should I believe you?
That you know, or at least think you know, something about the latter but nothing about the former is exactly why you are in fact an ignoramus. Does that make you one too because you apparently don't know much about the latter?
As for Herod, even Wikipedia, which clearly tries to cast doubt on the story, has an explanation. First, it quotes a source describing Herod as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis" and says that "Herod was certainly guilty of many brutal acts, including the killing of his wife and two of his sons". Then it point out that "Since Bethlehem was a small village, the number of male children under the age of 2, would probably not exceed 20. This may be the reason for the lack of other sources for this history.". So I don't find your argument against it very convincing.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:04, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
It's confounding. Do you ever look below the surface of anything, ever? Since your laziness prohibits you from actually learning anything, let me fill you in. Herod the great was not in any sense a madman. What you describe as a "source" that says he was isn't in fact a source at all, but rather a modern day rabbi in America offering his opinion. Something you'd know, if only you'd have bothered to try and avoid your confirmation bias. Now, if you spent half an hour reading the actual primary source which is Josephus, you'd see a picture of a king who owes everything he has to his imperial Roman masters and who spends his life desperately trying to please them. Not surprisingly, selling Judea to the Romans didn't make him terribly popular with the priestly classes, nor did humouring many Roman forms of worship. Herod spent much of his time quelling various plots against his rule, which in the grand old traditional style of monarchies everywhere involved quite a number of executions. This is more or less par for the course for monarchy, contrast Henry VIII's body count. However, we also see a picture of Herod as a ruler who had a good deal of empathy for the common people. A person willing to use progressive economic policy to make life easier for his subjects, rather than simply thinking to fill his own coffers. This is hardly a black and white case.
Your dismissal of histories as never being contemporary reveals you haven't the first clue how we know anything at all about Herod in the first place. Josephus is a terrible historian, of course, more interested in flattering his Roman patrons than scholarship. However, what he recorded about Herod was almost certainly a direct plagiarism of a real scholar, Nicholas of Damascus, who was a friend and confidant of Herod himself. A person who, despite his friendship, wasn't afraid to record his disapproval of some of Herod's decisions. It's a real shame Nicholas' opus was mostly lost, while Josephus survives to us. Such is life, I suppose.
And so we get back to Bethlehem. Yes, it's a small village. Probably less than 2000 people at the time of the alleged incident. But your defence of the supposed historicity of the event totally ignores the rest of the unlikely story. What we're told is that the Roman authorities have ordered a census, and for reasons having something to do with utter insanity, have also ordered that people should go to their "ancestral" homes to be registered. This means that the tiny "City of David" ought to be swollen with a thousand years of said king's extended progeny, if the story is to be believed. You remember, no room at the inn and all that. Indeed, it's funny how you're prepared to believe the traditional stories of the authorship of the gospels but not the traditional stories that this massacre involved some tens of thousands of infants. I wonder why that is. Also, this influx of immigrants means that the conditions ought to have been perfect to spread news of infamous goings on throughout the country, there's very little chance this event could have been done quietly if it happened as described. No. This story is simply a fabrication designed to fulfil pseudo-prophecy, nothing more.
It is also confounding that you could possibly believe that any contender for "best attested event" in ancient history could be attested only by text. A picture is worth a thousands words, a statue, a tomb or a pit full of bones, armour and weapons is worth about a billion. Do you really believe that we have more evidence that Jesus was a real, historic figure than we do for, say, Cyrus the Great? The preceding 500 years of history is chock full of people whose lives are far better attested than those of Jesus, who we can't even say for certain even existed, let alone that what is said of him was actually true. Your conceit that the life of Jesus was somehow a pivotal event in history is just sad. Even given your ridiculous premise that Christianity is responsible for more or less everything in the modern world, you're still left having to acknowledge that the prime architect of Christianity never so much as met Jesus in the flesh nor was Jesus' existence or non-existence at all important to the community he fostered. --Jeeves 22:40, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Jeeves does have a point; most of what we know of Jesus was written by friends of his, as opposed to many other historical figures who are attested in works by friends and enemies alike, and by archaeology. o ListenerXTalkerX 00:26, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Do you ever look below the surface of anything, ever? Since your laziness prohibits you from actually learning anything, let me fill you in. Ad hominem argument.
What you describe as a "source" that says he was isn't in fact a source at all, but rather a modern day rabbi in America offering his opinion. So you can quote modern-day scientists offering their opinion on evolution, but I can't quote modern-day rabbis quoting their opinion on Herod? In any case, he's not the only one who has concluded that.
Something you'd know, if only you'd have bothered to try and avoid your confirmation bias. More ad hominem, which would appear to apply to you just as much.
Now, if you spent half an hour reading the actual primary source which is Josephus... Yet you then go on to claim that he's not the primary source! Whatever fits your argument, I guess.
Your dismissal of histories as never being contemporary reveals you haven't the first clue how we know anything at all about Herod in the first place. It does? How so? This sounds more like more baseless ad hominem.
But your defence of the supposed historicity of the event totally ignores the rest of the unlikely story. The "rest" doesn't change the historicity.
...for reasons having something to do with utter insanity... Oh? What reasons?
This means that the tiny "City of David" ought to be swollen with a thousand years of said king's extended progeny, if the story is to be believed. How many progeny would he have had? On the contrary, this is hand-waving.
You remember, no room at the inn and all that. Yes, the population was swollen. If anything, this fact tends to confirm the authenticity.
Indeed, it's funny how you're prepared to believe the traditional stories of the authorship of the gospels but not the traditional stories that this massacre involved some tens of thousands of infants. Chalk and cheese. You can exaggerate a figure (100 becomes 1000). How do you exaggerate an author? (John becomes fifteen Johns???). Second, belief about the authorship of the gospels is not based solely on tradition. And perhaps not much at all.
Also, this influx of immigrants means that the conditions ought to have been perfect to spread news of infamous goings on throughout the country, there's very little chance this event could have been done quietly if it happened as described. And who says it wasn't? You are arguing from silence.
No. This story is simply a fabrication designed to fulfil pseudo-prophecy, nothing more. Because you don't want to believe it and find a few details you consider unlikely?
It is also confounding that you could possibly believe that any contender for "best attested event" in ancient history could be attested only by text. Your confoundment(?) is not an argument.
A picture is worth a thousands words... In some circumstances. Not others.
Do you really believe that we have more evidence that Jesus was a real, historic figure than we do for, say, Cyrus the Great? Yep.
The preceding 500 years of history is chock full of people whose lives are far better attested than those of Jesus... Assertion.
...Jesus, who we can't even say for certain even existed... We certainly can, and virtually every credible historian, Christian, atheist, or otherwise, agrees.
Your conceit that the life of Jesus was somehow a pivotal event in history is just sad. No sadder than your determination to make all this an excuse to continually make this about me.
Even given your ridiculous premise that Christianity is responsible for more or less everything in the modern world... You overstate it, but fail to do more than dismiss with ridicule.
you're still left having to acknowledge that the prime architect of Christianity never so much as met Jesus in the flesh... Jesus didn't meet Jesus? And what makes the flesh so important?
...nor was Jesus' existence or non-existence at all important to the community he fostered. Huh?
Jeeves does have a point; most of what we know of Jesus was written by friends of his... That didn't seem to bother Jeeves and Herod's friend Nicholas of Damascus.
...as opposed to many other historical figures who are attested in works by friends and enemies alike, and by archaeology. Some. A lot would not be, but we don't doubt them because of that.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:03, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Wealth as evidence

I don't see how the concept of wealth or the use of gold as a means of representing it are evidence for God's existence, and think this should either be removed from the article or explained better. Merriam-Webster defines wealth as an "abundance of valuable material possessions or resources", and this is a basic aspect of nature as opposed to a design applied over it.
At a most basic level, humans are like animals in the sense that we are "wealthy" if we have an abundance of the necessities of life at our disposal. Animals which gather and store food for times of scarcity are practicing an effective survival strategy, and don't need consciousness to do so. As social beings, humans in primitive settings cooperate in gathering and storing provisions, and those with more would be considered wealthier than those with less. When winter approaches, there's nothing "designed" about appreciating a full larder of provisions, whether you're a hive of bees loaded with honey, a squirrel with a stash of nuts or a farmer with a silo full of grain.
As for why gold exists and is valuable, the answer comes from chemistry. Its place on the periodic table shows why it is inert, so items made from it can last generations with little maintenance and an ounce of it does not corrode away to a lesser quantity with the passage of time. Gold's inertness also makes it easy to find in nature, instead of it having to be "discovered" through smelting as with most other metals. It also happens to be ductile and malleable, so it can be easily formed into both ornamental and practical shapes for exchange with others.
There is no inherent wealth in gold, though, outside of its useful properties that made it a favorite form of currency among the ancients. I can hold an ounce of gold or a piece of paper, and the paper would be worth far more if it was a check for a large sum. I can also possess vast amounts of gold, diamonds or currency, and it would all be worthless if I can't find suppliers of of essentials like food, water and shelter who'd accept them in trade.
BTW, as a bit of trivia it's worth noting that the tip of the Washington Monument in D.C. is made of aluminum, which was rare at the time because there was no efficient way to refine it - in 1884 it cost as much per ounce as pure silver. The monument's tip weighed 100 ounces, and I'd guess the average family today tosses away more than that in used aluminum cans each year. --DinsdaleP 20:09, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

Surely the value of gold is just as much a human concept as the beauty of a peacock's tail? o ListenerXTalkerX 03:54, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
There were practical reasons to use gold as currency way back when (they tried parrots but they kept suffocating in the change purses). The reality is that anything can be used as currency to represent & transfer wealth (gold, paper bills, wampum, electronic data) as long as people agree on it. --DinsdaleP 04:10, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. o ListenerXTalkerX 04:17, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
However, a long-term successful store of wealth requires that there be an intrinsic rarity. That's why cowrie shells are no longer in use. People may think that paper money has been successful but it's value has diminished over the years without anything of substance to back it up. Genghis 05:38, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Beauty as Evidence

As a followup to the "wealth" thread above, I also don't see an abstract, subjective concept like "beauty" as being evidence of God's existence. The peacock example doesn't seem like a good explanation, because we are projecting our human concept of attractiveness to an animal and declaring that it matters to them, when there is no such link. I'm certain there are numerous examples of animals that give off odors we'd find repulsive to attract a mate, so this would not be the line of reasoning to use as evidence. An additional example - roses attract insects to pollinate them, and we find their scent beautiful, yet other plants smell like rotting flesh to attract pollinating insects successfully, so the idea that the human concept of "beauty" matters in this context is meaningless.
Even among humans the concept of "beauty" is very subjective. Anatomical or grooming traits that are considered beautiful in one culture may not be in another, and following a tour group through a large art museum will elicit various opinions about what pieces the individuals consider beautiful or not.
There may be a case for explaining the concept of an aesthetic sense as something that separates us from lower animals, but the same can be said for self-awareness, so I'd recommend removing the "beauty" section from this article. --DinsdaleP 20:24, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

What he said. o ListenerXTalkerX 21:49, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
The significance of beauty is if the thing we consider beautiful has no practicable value or natural explanation. This is why I objected to Andy's autumn leaves; their "beauty" could be explained as a natural consequence of them dying. The peacock's tail doesn't have that explanation, however. The only known reason for it being like it is, is because it was designed that way to be beautiful. Darwin tried to explain it with sexual selection, but that explanation has now been shown to be wrong. To put it the other way around, why is the peacock's tail like it is, if it wasn't designed to be that way? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:11, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

372 species of parrot

Surely no single piece of evidence points to a creator more than the fact that there are 372 species of parrot on this Earth. Don't tell me that so many wildly colourful parrot species could just evolve. And what about their ability to talk? How does evolution explain that? It's not as if the had to negotiate contracts or tell the neighbours to keep it down when they were "evolving" in the wild. No, for my money the colourful, talkative parrot is an obvious sign that a creator is responsible for the world as we find it. --Horace 03:38, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Actually, I might sell that idea to Michael Behe. He could call it the irreducible number of parrots theory. --Horace 03:41, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
And when you think about the massive amounts of new information required to create those colourful patterns on their feathers, well, what are the chances that they occurred purely by chance? I ask you. --Horace 03:46, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
And those beaks! They're like can openers. And cans were only invented in 1810. Think about that. Talk about irreducible complexity! How could a can-opening beak "evolve" before cans were even invented??? --Horace 03:49, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
You're funny. But don't let me interrupt you, you're on a roll... will you be here all week? ħuman Number 19 04:01, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Careful, there, Horace; a creationist might actually put it in the article. o ListenerXTalkerX 04:07, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Parrots are Natures Furby. A bit like a sound recorder and playback unit Hamster 00:41, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Surely this is argument is as valid as any others in the article. It is highly improbable that so many parrots could evolve simultaneously. And why should so many evolve? If evolution were "true" then wouldn't one parrot be enough? Where are the "transitional fossils" for these parrots? And look how pretty they are - a clear example of the argument for God's existence based on beauty. And parrots are birds. Birds come from eggs, and evolution has no answer to the question, "Which came first the chicken on the egg?" And flight. How did flight evolve? I propose that the "parrot argument" be given pride of place.--Bob M 06:27, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Horace is here 'til Thursday, and remember to try the veal. -- Edgerunner76 11:33, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Roast parrot, surely? --Jeeves 11:41, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
The Amazon was fine-tuned for parrots. Antarctica, not so much. Sterile 01:36, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
you are off the track with Parrots. Pirates have parrots , and there was a correlation between sea temperature at the surface and pirate activity, throw in parrots and you need John Cleese. :) You need to investigate BEETLES. They are overly abundant and clearly signs of a designer. After all, who would make a dung beetle without ensuring that dung of the proper consistancy to roll was available ? hmmmm. Hamster 03:24, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
So, are you saying that the diversity of parrots is an argument for the existence of the flying spaghetti monster? --Jeeves 09:53, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
FSM is likely to detest parrots , and pigeons, as well as ducks. He needs clear air space to float magestically in ,being surrounded by birds leads to such things as FSM is pulled through the sky by ducks, and thats just absurd Hamster 00:38, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Surely this is argument is as valid as any others in the article. Some part are, although they are mixed up with parts that aren't, and none of it is well expressed. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:14, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

sillyness as evidence

The existence of silliness for which there is no known natural cause, and the ability to be silly, are also evidence for purposeful design. An example of the former is the exceptionally silly tale of the peacock. Charles Darwin recognised this problem (which he said "makes me laugh"), and later tried to explain it with his hot theory of sexual selection, which said that natural selection favoured peacocks who could tell really silly tales because the peahens like funny stories. However, recent research has shown that peahens are not more attracted to peacocks with silly tales about beauty proving God's existence, but prefer to read extracts from "The Origin of Species."


(I submit that the above makes about as much sense and is about as logically coherent as the existing "Argument from Beauty". --Bob M 22:12, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

How come we never hear about the "argument from ugliness"? Genghis 22:55, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
We do. o ListenerXTalkerX 23:37, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
This and the parrot thing are real gems. You should post them on Uncyclopedia or somewhere - they are wasted here.--CPalmer 09:51, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Port 'em to RW when it's back. ħuman Number 19 03:15, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

The existence of silliness for which there is no known natural cause,... The argument fails because of a false premise. A reductio ad absurdum argument only works if the claim really is silly. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:17, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Testimonial evidence

The article says: Many people have testified to knowing God personally. I added this supporting link to the article where Bush is quoted as saying:

  • "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And, by God, I'm gonna do it."

The link was reverted as parody. It seems to me to be a perfect example of somebody receiving a direct communication from God and I object to the suggestion it was parody. I am inclined to wonder if the link was read before it was removed.--Bob M 13:47, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm. Maybe this should be included, but only alongside other examples like Moses, St Francis, Elijah, Samuel, Santa Teresa, etc. Otherwise it comes across like a relationship with God only serves to justify aggression, which is not true at all (only of GWB and Moses).--CPalmer 14:01, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
A list of people who have known God personally and what he told them you mean? Could be good. Now I think about it some more Bush is a better example though - as before he heard the voices telling him to invade other countries he had problems with drugs and alcohol which God helped him overcome. So he really deserves double mention.--Bob M 15:35, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Not really. All the people I listed had lifelong relationships with God as well, not just one-off voices telling them to do this, give up that or invade the other. To be honest, I get the feeling you are trying to play off Bush's international reputation as an idiot in order to make God seem ridiculous by association.--CPalmer 15:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Bob's example illustrates that even if one is presupposing the existence of God, one cannot put too much stock by anecdotal evidence in the form of personal testimonies, for it is all too easy for one person to be sorely mistaken, or telling outright lies; similar to how two witnesses are required in court to prove a charge. o ListenerXTalkerX 15:55, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, yes. The best testimony, ie the best evidence, is from people that we have reason to believe were not mistaken, and would not lie. I get the idea a lot of people think Bush was mistaken, so he's probably not a good example. I think the best example would be Moses, since he actually saw God - not His face, but His back - while most others only heard Him.--CPalmer 16:02, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC)I'm not for one moment suggesting that Bush's only two contacts with God were those that made him give up drugs and alcohol and invade countries - I'm only pointing out that they are his most well-known contacts. Also, unlike the other people you mention he is secular (though that may depend on your definition of "secular") from the 21st centenary (more or less) and internationally known (if not liked). As I said, he is a very good example.--Bob M 16:05, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The best evidence is scientific, not anecdotal, and not in the least based on trusting anyone. o ListenerXTalkerX 16:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Are you saying the whole testimony section should be removed? Because that changes this to a three-way discussion: (1) keep with Bush per Bob; (2) keep with better examples per me; (3) delete entirely for being unscientfic per you. --Unsigned comment by CPalmer (talk)
I think that the testimony section - while perhaps weak - is as strong as any of the other sections and hence should be kept. I would go for all the people mentioned but give bush priority for the reasons I've mentioned.--Bob M 16:27, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC) I proclaim neutrality on this topic; if it is kept in, however, it should have a caveat emptor, as it currently does, against liars and hypocrites who only appear to be New Men. o ListenerXTalkerX 16:28, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

If we are to accept testimonial evidence then I would say we include the following:

Faith killing. A young mother maintained that voices in her head told her to test her faith in God, causing her to repeatedly slam her infant son to the ground and down a flight of stairs. Jennifer Cisowski, 21, of Connecticut, killed her 8-month-old son Gideon Fusscas in his grandmother's upscale Florida home on Aug. 21, later saying she believed he would rise from the dead if her faith were strong enough. Source: Tampa Tribune, Aug. 22, 2001

"Mama, I love you." A Talladega County jury in August found Teresa Ann Archie, 40, guilty of the 1996 murder of her daughter Shavon Jackson. Archie, a paranoid schizophrenic, chased her daughter through their home, shooting her twice in the back after becoming convinced her 16-year-old was possessed by Satan, and that God wanted her to cleanse her home of all Satanic influence. She told police Shavon's last words were: "Mama, don't shoot me, I love you." She replied, "I know, Baby, but I have to do the Lord's will." Source: The Daily Home, Aug. 15, 2001

"Killer, we support you." "I killed the women for the sake of God, and for the protection of my religion because they were prostitutes and [were] corrupting other people," Iranian construction worker Saeed Hanaei admitted to reporters in July, after police fingered him as their suspect in the killing of 19 prostitutes in Mashhad. Each was killed on a Sunday--strangled with a headscarf. Neighbors gathered outside his home chanting "Hanaei, the killer of corrupt people, we support you." Source: Associated Press, July 26/30, 2001

God's crime spree. God made him commit a crime spree was the defense of bible-toting Henry Glen West, sentenced by an Okahoma County judge in April to two life terms. During West's 5-hour crime spree in January 1998, he severely beat his brother, raped his brother's girlfriend, broke into a house, robbed a convenience store clerk and then tried to run her over twice. At a second convenience store, he repeatedly shot the husband-and-wife owners. Source: Daily Oklahoman, April 21, 2001

--Timsh 18:02, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Before it is said that the Bible/Koran forbids all these things, keep in mind that we are talking about general evidence for the existence of God, rather than evidence for the truth of the Bible or Koran in particular. o ListenerXTalkerX 18:08, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Great examples, Timsh. They should be used as a model. Does that last sentence make me a parodist? I predict that there will be significant, though not numerous, objections to the inclusion of the above. However, I vote for inclusion. -- Edgerunner76 18:29, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, this isn't an ochlocracy like Wikipedia, so we won't include parody in an article just because it has supporters. --OscarJ 19:09, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The above is not parody; it is a set of inconvenient facts. o ListenerXTalkerX 19:13, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't see how they're inconvenient, it's hardly a controversial fact that insane people exist. I meant that adding them in the article as testimonial evidence of God's existence would be parody. --OscarJ 19:20, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, then, I guess this section has to go... ħuman Number 19 19:34, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
What is the argument (and no presuppositionalism, please) that those who testify to hearing God speak to them, but exhibit no criminality, are not also crazy? o ListenerXTalkerX 19:26, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I would say it depends on the person. It's possible that in some cases they really were insane or just lying but in others there may substantial evidence that it's unlikely, for example if they showed no signs of insanity and had no motivation to lie. --OscarJ 19:43, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

OscarJ, perhaps you should consider that we can infer that people thought Jesus was crazy due to the reactions of his words in the bible. The bigger question of course is, if a person makes a claim that they were told something by god what proof do we have to say it happened or did not happen? This of course is independent of the outcome from the person's actions after hearing what they considered to be god. At this time we have nothing therefore it should not be considered evidence.--Timsh 13:06, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

If this occurred to a single person then there is no way we can ever be sure, but in many cases there may be a strong indication that they really had contact with God. For example, there may be reliable accounts by witnesses that God gave them the ability to do miracles or they were able to accurately predict future events. There may be many other reasons. There are also cases where many people saw God at the same time. For example, Jesus appeared to many of his followers after his death and it seems unlikely that they were all insane or lying because many of them were willing to die for their beliefs. Are you trying to imply that the section should be removed? In this case, see the below section Removing sections. --OscarJ 13:50, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
These are all historical examples though. Would the modern example of President Bush be better?--Bob M 13:54, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, Bob stole my thunder. Any examples of lots of people witnessing God in, say, the last 50 years? Do you mean, like, large prayer meanings? (Personally, I wonder what's the difference between the dopamine rush for this and that for eating, procreational activities, and drug use.) Sterile 13:58, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
How about Joseph Smith. God sent angels to speak to him and told him where to find golden plates that he had to translate out of hat so that nobody else would be exposed to their lethal nimbus. It's a totally believable story that I don't see how any atheist could refute. --Jeeves 14:01, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

OscarJ, to answer your question, sure we can include the witnesses let us have their names first and last. Consider that you are willing to take for fact something said to a person and written in a book without any evidence that the person that said to have witnessed the event ever existed. Also if you want to exclude individual claims then I can give more examples like the ones above and we can group them together saying that god also tells people to kill others, which is found in the bible as well. So back to the main point, how do we determine who is telling the truth about hearing god and those who are just crazy? Unless you have a way to determine this then the section is not evidence.--Timsh 14:04, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Didn't I already answer that in my previous comment. If someone is willing die for their for his beliefs, it's very unlikely that he's lying. Of course, he may be insane or delusional but there are so many cases it's not likely true for all of them. Obviously, there's no way we can ever be sure but that's why everyone is not a Christian. --OscarJ 14:13, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

OscarJ, there are people who are willing to die for what God has supposedly told them what to do. Some of the cases I listed above the persons are willing to die because they truly believe god told them to commit the acts. Your statement offers no solution to the issue of telling which person is really hearing god. Therefore unless you can offer something of substance this area can not be considered evidence.--Timsh 14:52, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

It's impossible to give a basic solution how to distinguish whether someone is truly communicating with God. They can only be studied case by case and in many cases it's extremely unlikely that they were insane or lying. I already gave the apostles as an example. There are most likely many other cases. --OscarJ 15:14, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Thus further supporting my claim that the testimonies are not evidence. If it is unlikely that they were insane or lying then the examples I listed above should be put into the article. If you are trying to say that in cases where people are harmed by a person claiming to hear god then you need to find out how to tell the difference but do consider that god has told people in the bible to do things that harm others so you can not say that god refuses to hurt people though those people he speaks to. As such, unless there is a clear understanding as to how a person is to be known to hear god then we can not use their testimony as evidence.--Timsh 15:22, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Can you provide evidence that it was unlikely the people you mention were not insane or lying. We already know that one of them was schizophrenic so she can be ruled out. Surely you realize that for some people there is more evidence of lying or insanity than for others. --OscarJ 15:33, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Tim, I hope you never have to do jury service! What are you going to do when witnesses are presented to give evidence, put your fingers in your ears? Sure, some people do lie - but some have enough gumption to try and sift the scoundrels from the saints.--CPalmer 15:38, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Lol, both of you must consider your logic. You are making these statments one the basis that what you believe to be true is true. I offer that you can not determine what is true or false without some sort of a test. CPalmer, for jury duty you need to also consider that most cases that only involve testimonials are not brought to trial, due to a lack of evidence. Now unless you can show without a doubt that A. the people you believe to be telling the truth are telling the truth and B. those people you believe to be lying or insane are indeed lying or insane, then we have no reason for including this section since the evidence is not truly evidence. Consider that the tests you apply to one party must also be applied to the other and the results differing.--Timsh 16:20, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I added this supporting link to the article where Bush is quoted as saying:... If we were to do that, it would at least need to be a quote that has credibility. This one hasn't.[1]

...it is all too easy for one person to be sorely mistaken, or telling outright lies; similar to how two witnesses are required in court to prove a charge. Which is why the argument is that "many people have testified".

If we are to accept testimonial evidence then I would say we include the following:... The selection does seem rather one-sided, you would surely agree?

I offer that you can not determine what is true or false without some sort of a test. Consistency of testimony is such a test, and we are talking here about millions of people.

...for jury duty you need to also consider that most cases that only involve testimonials are not brought to trial, due to a lack of evidence. I doubt that's true, and testimony is evidence.

Now unless you can show without a doubt...the evidence is not truly evidence. Rubbish. Evidence must be weighed, but it doesn't need to be "without a doubt" to be evidence.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:39, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Just came across this and would posit that testimonial evidence for the existence God is only valid when what is experienced by a subject is at least extra-ordinary, and clearly correlates to the promises of the Object of the subject's faith, and is contingent upon obedience to Him. And which cause and effect relationship can be confirmed by others who fufil the stated criteria. Or documentated miracles of "ad hoc" grace, which have no proven natural causes. I see plenty here, http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/Amazing/ of various testimonies, but the documentation would have to be provided.Daniel1212 04:20, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Errr, what? Teh Terrible Asp 04:34, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

People prepared to die for their faith

Much is made above of people being prepared to die for their faith, or because of what God told them. Is this really a mark of Christian faith?--Bob M 16:04, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

People are prepared to die for their countries, too, and those certainly exist! ħuman Number 19 00:30, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It's just that the people most prepared to die for their faith at the moment are members of Al-Qaeda, so I'm not sure what dying for your faith actually proves. It proves you've got faith I suppose, but it hardly proves your either "right" or a good person.--Bob M 07:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I know, I know.... why are those evil Musselmen undermining clear and obvious arguments for the existence of the Christian deity? ħuman Number 19 07:26, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The point was that if someone claims to have communicated with God and he is willing to die rather than admit that it's false, it's unlikely that he was lying. Someone dying for their religion is not evidence in itself for the existence of God, it only demonstrates his strong faith. There haven't been many Christian martyrs in the West recently but it is my understanding that many Christians are still executed for their faith in some Muslim and Communist countries. --OscarJ 07:52, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I talked to god (at length), and it didn't ask me to do any such silly things. [2] ħuman Number 19 08:24, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree that dying for something proves you've got a strong belief in it. But that proves nothing more than that. The IRA hunger strikers were prepared to starve themselves to death for their cause - but, as I said, being prepared to die for something is no evidence that you are right. It may be evidence that you are fanatical though. --Bob M 10:06, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It's not evidence that you're right, but it does suggest that you believe you're right, which was my point. --OscarJ 10:13, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I believe I'm right but I'm not prepared to die, kill myself or kill others to prove it. Does that show that my belief is less strong or that I'm a more reasonable person?--Bob M 13:45, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Even though OscarJ explained it, most of you still don't get it. Being willing to die for one's faith does not mean that it's true. But it does mean (a) that they believe that it's important enough to die for (if necessary; that doesn't mean that one necessarily needs to die for it), and (b) that they believe it to be true. The latter point is perhaps the most important: They would not die for a lie, but for what they believe to be the truth. If Jesus hadn't risen from the dead, but it was a plot by the disciples to pretend that He did, they would not be dying for that lie. Under threat of death, they would have owned up. That they were prepared to die for it shows that they genuinely believed it to be true, which rules out it being a story they fabricated. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 03:45, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

CPalmer's parody (off-topic)

He works in parody the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium, a master.

—Edgerunner76 channeling old Ralphie from A Christmas Story

Is there an internet law that describes CPalmer's type of parody (if not, I claim naming rights)? One where an editor is just unsubtle enough and called a parodist so often and by so many people that they effectively become immune to actually being considered a parodist? CPalmer, my hat is off to you. -- Edgerunner76 16:21, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

What? Who is calling me a parodist, apart from Jeeves? And again, what am I actually supposed to be parodying?--CPalmer 16:23, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I, for one am convinced that CPlamer is a sincere individual and is no more likely to be a parodist than any other editor of this site.--Bob M 16:29, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Your potential as a parodist has been often mentioned on RW. What are you parodying? I guess I would phrase it as a "Christian Biblical literalist".
Bob, are you saying we're all parodists? -- Edgerunner76 16:32, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I too am convinced CPalmer is not a parodist, just an individual with a sense of humor to go with his keen biblical insights. --WesleySHello! 16:41, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
It is not good for us to be making extensive speculations as to who is a parodist or not, due to Poe's Law. At any rate, I doubt that parodists will be able to do any amount of damage here. o ListenerXTalkerX 16:51, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I am sure that no supporter of the bible would suggest that either Moses or President Bush was insane. So why not include them both?--Bob M 20:10, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Counterexamples

I removed the "counterexamples" from the Testimonial evidence section because they weren't really related. No one is claiming that Christians are perfect, indeed it is the very point of Christianity that we are all tainted with the Original Sin and can only be redeemed through the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore, the fact that Christians are sinful is not an argument against God but works in His favor because it is more evidence for the existence of the Original Sin. --OscarJ 19:34, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

  1. According to your argument, it is evidence for God's existence if a person is saintly, and evidence for God's existence if a person is sinful. Therefore, whether a person is saintly or sinful is irrelevant to whether God exists, and hence none of it constitutes evidence at all.
  2. Citing examples where people testified to "finding God" and were "delivered from sin," but not citing the examples where they were not, does not prove anything at all; it is similar to handing out a survey to people and then ignoring all answers except those that support your point, i.e., saying, "100% of the 30% among those surveyed who gave answer 'A' gave answer 'A'." o ListenerXTalkerX 19:45, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
You've misrepresented my point. I think it's rather uncontroversial that everyone is in some degree sinful (or whatever term you wish to use) whether it's attributed to the Original Sin or some primitive violent instinct inherited from our ancestors. However, many people have managed to resist their sinful impulses to some extent through their faith in God. The fact that there are many who haven't is entirely consistent with the Bible and the Christian worldview. It doesn't work against the existence of God as you were claiming. --OscarJ 20:03, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Where did I allude to any evidence against God's existence in this context? My point was that if there are too many people like the corrupt evangelists, it negates any statistical correlation between "finding God" and being "delivered from sin." o ListenerXTalkerX 20:08, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, are there too many? I don't think three examples prove anything. Just because they happen to be prominent, doesn't give them more value as examples. --OscarJ 20:29, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm interested to note the admission that Christians do bad things. I seem to remember PJR saying the Christian slave holders weren't really Christians becasue Christians don't do bad things (or something like that). Now you (Oscar) you seem to be saying thar Christians are as sinful as everybody else. Is that correct?--Bob M 20:36, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
(EC) Three examples prove a great deal when (1) the claim is made that finding God delivers one from sin, (2) there are no examples cited for the other side of the question, (3) the three are well-known cases illustrative of a larger trend (quite a few televangelist scandals, molestation carried out by the clergy of Catholic and other denominations, etc.) o ListenerXTalkerX 20:44, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Bob M, I believe you've misunderstood what Philip was talking about. It's one of the main tenets of Christianity that no one is without sin, so claiming that Christians don't do bad things would imply that there are no Christians at all.
ListenerX, the Testimonial evidence section has a long article as a reference which most likely mentions examples. There's also a link in the Further reading section which contains testimonies from individual Christians. Just because the article doesn't have examples from the "other side" doesn't mean they don't exist, there are simply too many. --OscarJ 08:33, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I've found the part I was thinking about. It's where Philip says - when talking about Christian slave-holders:
  • .... Yet I suspect that if anyone had asked him before his conversion, he would have described himself as a Christian even then. But he wasn't really, and the supporters of slavery would have included many of those sorts of "Christians" in name only. ...... But you can have people who call themselves—and even think themselves—"Christian" but aren't really, and you can have people who are Christian in the narrowest sense of the word, but who fail to really appreciate what it means to be a Christian and who fail to live as a Christian should live.
So there are Christians who do bad things and so aren't really Christians; Christians who do bad things but are Christians; and people who do bad things becasue they are not Christians. Is that right?--Bob M 09:50, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

A useful link: [3] Sterile 13:03, 19 October 2009 (UTC)


Bob M, firstly your "and so" is merely your own misinterpretation of what Philip was saying. Also, nowhere there does Philip say there are Christians who are not Christians. Speaking of supporters of slavery (your people "who do bad things") Philip mentions two groups and implies a third. The implied group are the "declared" non-Christians; those who are not and know they are not Christians. The first mentioned group are what I have known as nominal Christians, but I have also heard them called cultural Christians. They adopt the name, and may even think it true, but have not known repentance and faithful submission to Christ. Their "bad things" have not negated their Christianity (because all have sinned), it is that they have not (yet, hopefully) been saved (i.e. become "Christian"). The other mentioned group are "born-again Christians" (I think that is the preferred Mercan term), who get it wrong. One point to note is that all Christians get it wrong (recall the Apostle Paul's frustration over this in his own life), but these get it wrong in this particular area.

It boots nothing to say "Christians support x" when said Christians support x counter to Scripture and Christian consensus. One feature of the church that I grew up in (and I believe of the evangelical movement as a whole) is the practice of adopting Scriptural positions rather than "Christian" positions. BradleyF (LowKey) 23:40, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Removing sections

This is in response to an edit summary by ListenerX where he claimed the Beauty section should be removed because it remains undefended. This is an encyclopedia article about evidence for God's existence, so the fact that a presented argument is poor is no grounds for removing it. The only reason an argument should be removed is if it can be demonstrated that it's not used as evidence for God's existence. --OscarJ 08:46, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Does that mean that it would be OK to insert the "evidence from silliness" and the "parrot argument"? They may be poor arguments but apparently that's no bar. Furthermore they've both been used here, so they qualify for the "been used" criteria.
Actually, I'm sure there are plenty other really bad arguments on the net as well. But by your logic they should all be used - no matter how bad they are.--Bob M 13:59, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
They should only be used if there is evidence that they are used by Christians. I don't think this is true of the arguments you mention. --OscarJ 14:16, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
So any argument used by a Christian - no matter how bad - should be included. But if there was a fantastic Jewish argument then that shouldn't be included? Is that it?--Bob M 15:57, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Only if you can provide a source that it's commonly used as evidence. I don't think this talk page is really a good source and I'm quite certain that they were intended as parody. I was under the impression that this was specifically about the Christian God but since the Koran is now mentioned, this may not be the case. --OscarJ 16:20, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
So now I'm confused again. Would any evidence by any religion be OK. Or only Christian arguments whether they are good or not?--Bob M 16:25, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Regarding the Koran, Muslims believe that their God is the same as the Christian God. So if you accept the Koran in the first place, then it also confirms the Christian God (but not all Christian teaching).--CPalmer 16:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, the Qur'an doesn't claim that. Muslims may believe that, or they may just make the claim. The Qur'anic text is an instruction to make the claim. (I wrote an essay on this) BradleyF (LowKey) 23:45, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Mmmmm. And I wonder if (all) Christians believe that their God is the same as Allah? But anyway, what about a really good Hindu argument?--Bob M 16:38, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Another section?

I've heard it said that because every civilisation and tribe everywhere in the world has believed in a god or gods, there must be some foundation to that belief. That's possibly another way of looking at CS Lewis' argument that because people naturally thirst for God, God must exist, because you can't lack something that isn't real. Do people think this line of thought should be added?--CPalmer 16:00, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

As per the comment about - is that a Christian argument?--Bob M 16:09, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Depends what you mean. It's an argument made by Christians. It's also an argument that doesn't contravene any Christian doctrine. It's not an argument that's exclusive to Christianity.
Bob, I really think you could do more to add meaningful information to this encyclopædia - your talk page contributions are articulate and thought-provoking, but the main space is really where it's at, cat.--CPalmer 16:15, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for that advice Mr Schlafly! :-)--Bob M 16:23, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
If you have a definition of meaningful information that applies to biology, could you contribute to information. The other creationist editors seems to be ignoring that page right now.Sterile 16:48, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
It isn't even true, so I'm not sure what sort of evidence that constitutes. --Jeeves 16:16, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Well done Jeeves, I had a feeling there would be a counterexample, even if you have to go to the heart of the Amazonian jungle to find it!--CPalmer 16:26, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
There's a book about 'em that was serialised on radio 4. I've been meaning to buy it, the radio programme was really interesting. You might be able to find it online somewhere. (Edit: google delivers. Legal, even.) --Jeeves 16:27, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
But does that matter Jeeves? We've already been told they don't have to be good arguments - just arguments some (Christian?) uses.--Bob M 16:28, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm all for the article being clogged up with the terrible arguments for theism. It makes for better pointing and laughing that way. --Jeeves 16:33, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Parodist!--CPalmer 16:34, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, based on the comment above : "This is an encyclopedia article about evidence for God's existence, so the fact that a presented argument is poor is no grounds for removing it." Any and all arguments are welcome.--Bob M 16:41, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Just like to point out every civilisation and tribe has also had the common cold, doesn't mean it's good for us. Jaxe 09:38, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

c-decay

Sterile has twice inserted "The only mathematical model that creationists have produced about origins is c-decay.", and I've once removed it with the edit comment "c-decay is to do with something else.". To elaborate, the c-decay claims were about the age of the universe, not about its origins. As such, it is not relevant to the particular argument. Whilst typing this, I see that Bradley has again removed it, and for good reason, "Drs Humphries and Hartnett have produced at least one each.". Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:49, 20 October 2009 (UTC)

Fine. I'd be curious to see the Humphries-Hartnett models.Sterile 23:53, 20 October 2009 (UTC)
I'll see if there are any online papers. BTW, I misspelled Humphreys. BradleyF (LowKey) 01:01, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Fine-tuning misrepresentation

The statement, "The argument from fine tuning is so strong that a number of philosophers have argued that the only answer to it is the multiverse theory" is not supported by the text, and it's pretty clear the quote from this is a quote mine for effect.

First, the article does not talk about fine tuning being a strong argument, and in fact, only talks about the strengths of the multiuniverse theory. It's also critical of intelligent design as an option, and says, in fact, "But to suggest that if this theory doesn't pan out our only other option is a supernatural one is to abandon science itself. Not only is it an unfounded leap of logic, it suggests intelligent design offers as valid an explanation as a cosmological theory does, and lends credence to creationists' mistaken claim that the multiverse was invented to serve as science's get-out-of-God free card." It goes on to further pan the false dichotomy more. The article pretty much implies that Folger's quote it merely a quote mine. Furthermore, Tim Folger is a journalist, author of an article for Discover, certainly not a philosopher, and there are no philosophers in reference 8. Sterile 00:01, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

You are straining at gnats, in my opinion.
The statement ... is not supported by the text... It is supported by the references.
...it's pretty clear the quote from this is a quote mine for effect. and The article pretty much implies that Folger's quote it merely a quote mine. You anti-creationists love to throw that allegation in, don't you? What is your basis for claiming this?
First, the article does not talk about fine tuning being a strong argument... Not explicitly, but implicitly they do. If it was not a strong argument, why does it need to be answered so badly?
It's also critical of intelligent design as an option... True, but for ideological reasons.
It goes on to further pan the false dichotomy more. By proposing a "suggestion" that they admit is speculative, but with a bit of hand-waving, simply declare it to be scientific. It rejects cause and effect, by suggesting that we, who came after the universe, may have created the universe! It's this sort of absolutely desperate straw-clutching which shows naturalism to be intellectually bankrupt.
Furthermore, Tim Folger is a journalist... I'm sure that wouldn't bother you if he supported you POV.
...there are no philosophers in reference 8. Then why are you quoting it so favourably?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 09:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
References that are cited actually have to contain the content that the cited texts says they do. (At least, that's what most people are taught in high school and colleges in the US. I don't think Australians have that different values.) The references do not support the statement here. It is up to you to show that the reference says that "The argument from fine tuning is so strong" and where the philosphers are mentioned. It is not obvious from the text that this is implied, especially after reading reference 8, the title of which is, "Why it's not as simple as God vs. the multiverse." This is willful ignorance or intellectual dishonesty. This isn't an anti-creationist thing; it's how people attribute ideas correctly. If that's a problem, then I don't want to be a part of this site. Sterile 15:05, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
References that are cited actually have to contain the content that the cited texts says they do. And they do (with one important exception; see below), as already pointed out.
It is not obvious from the text that this is implied, especially after reading reference 8, the title of which is, "Why it's not as simple as God vs. the multiverse." The point of Gefter's article is to counter a key point of Folger's article. The counter claim is that it's not down to just God vs. the multiverse, because the original claim is just that. But in questioning Folger's point that it's down to God vs. the multiverse, Gefter doesn't dispute that many people do see it that way, as this article's sentence in question says. However, the sentence is mistaken in referring to philosophers instead of physicists.
If that's a problem, then I don't want to be a part of this site. Apart from questioning things like this, I didn't think you wanted to be anyway!
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:43, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Stenger quote

I've reverted the addition of a quote from Stenger because it is not relevant to this article. (That's not to say that it's not relevant to the argument from fine tuning.)

This article is about evidence for God's existence, not against it. If somebody produces good argument that particular evidence is incorrect or does not support the existence of God, then (if valid) that is grounds for removing mention of that evidence from the article. It is not grounds to put counter-arguments into the article.

The article says that "a number of physicists" believe that the argument from fine tuning is strong enough to warrant a response, which allows for there being exceptions. So Stenger being one such exception is not grounds to modify the article, as it already allows for exceptions.

Furthermore, Stenger's argument is based to a fair extent on presuppositions, not just on hard facts, and those presuppositions are inconsistent with the worldview of this site. As such, his argument itself is considered unsound. (To give two specific examples, his reference to a God-of-the-gaps argument is invalid, and his reference to people living in caves is itself based on an evolutionary story; people still live in caves today.)

This encyclopædia is not Wikipedia, where it's seen as a virtue to include contrary arguments no matter how unsound. Rather, this encyclopædia seeks to be accurate, and need not include unsound arguments.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 11:08, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

This encyclopædia is not Wikipedia, where it's seen as a virtue to include contrary arguments no matter how unsound. Rather, this encyclopædia seeks to be accurate, and need not include unsound arguments. Ha, ha, ha, ha! I love the irony! Sterile 12:50, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
accurate. Best yet! Most amusing! Have you thought of doing a stand up comedy routine, Philip? I understand there's quite a comedy circuit in Oz. User 11speak to me 13:37, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
Typical. Mockery, but nothing of substance. Who claims that we do not seek to be accurate? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:52, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
In reverse order: Seeking accuracy ≠ achieving accuracy. Mockery's all this whole site is worthy of. There's nothing of substance that can be brought against smoke and mirrors. Very typical - I find you rather amusing though. User 11speak to me 13:57, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
You did see that I said "this encyclopædia seeks to be accurate"? And that I made no comment about how well we have achieved that?
Mockery's all this whole site is worthy of. The resort of someone unwilling or unable to come up with criticism of substance, and the "smoke and mirrors" claim is just hand-waving nonsense. Fortunately, when one side uses reason and the other side uses mockery, some people notice this and give more credence to the ones using reason.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:19, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm not as knowledgeable as the many (most?) scientists who are materialists so I can't of my own knowledge dispute your smoke and mirrors. I think others here present have done so quite adequately though. Philip, as soon as you can come up with some "evidence for God's existence" that doesn't use the Bible as evidence and is accepted by the modern scientific community, get back to me. User 11speak to me 14:34, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
You're not sufficiently knowledgeable to dispute it, but you are knowledgeable enough to know that it's "smoke and mirrors"? If you're not knowledgeable enough to point out what's wrong with it, I'd suggest that you're not knowledgeable enough to pass comment like that.
Why should I produce (even more) evidence for God's existence with one hand tied behind my back? Even apart from your a priori exclusion of some evidence, it is totally unreasonable for you to expect me to produce evidence for a supernatural being that is accepted by people who are not experts on supernatural beings! (And that ignores the point that the "scientific community" includes people who do accept evidence for God's existence.)
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 22:46, 24 October 2009 (UTC)
No, I'm not knowledgeable etc. but I am intelligent enough to recognise and take advice and information from those who are, apparently unlike some.
Leaving aside that I would dispute that you have any evidence for God's existence. What hand behind what back? All I'm asking is that you don't use the circular logic of evidencing God using something that you claim was written by or on behalf of God.
And the silliest yet: Who is an expert on supernatural beings? User 11speak to me 00:42, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure I've pointed out to you before (or perhaps it was someone else?) that some of the people who give you advice are giving you bad advice, particularly with regards to circularity. If I said that God was evidence for God, that would be circular. Using the Bible as evidence for God is not. Theologians, for example, would be one obvious example of being experts on supernatural beings. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:15, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Circularity: Bible proves God is real because God wrote it. Come on Phil, I'm not even going to bother to break this down. The Bible/God circle is so tight it's almost a noose. ħuman Number 19 02:52, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Circularity: Bible proves God is real because God wrote it. Oh? Are you saying (a) that that argument is used by those defending the existence of God, and/or (b) that that is the only possible argument for the existence of God that can be made from the Bible? Because it seems very much to me like a straw-man argument. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:01, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
1. Could someone here please provide us with Evidence for Socrate' existence which excludes anything recorded by him or by someone who knew him (otherwise it would be circular)? If not I propose that in the interests of consistency there are those here who must conclude that Socrates did not exist (and that they need to challenge anyone publicly saying that he did).
2. It is ridiculous to claim that something created by a being is invalid evidence of that being's existence. It is only invalid if you can demonstrate that it could not have been created by said being (and arguments of inability due to non-existence actually are circular).
3. Evidence and proof are not identical! (That sounds oddly familiar for some reason). BradleyF (LowKey) 08:23, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

BTW, Philip, in your "analysis" of the Stenger quote, you forgot to address the part when Stenger writes, "One gross and fatal assumption is that only one kind of life, ours, is conceivable in every conceivable configuration of universes." Care to address that one? Sterile 05:14, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Why is "analysis" in quotes?
For one, I'm not convinced that the argument from fine tuning does assume that ours is the only conceivable kind of life. That may well be a straw-man argument. For another, speculating about other forms of life is arguing from the unknown, and although that has some merit in showing that the argument from fine tuning is not absolute, it by no means negates the argument.
Finally, pointing out that other types of life may be possible does not mean that the numbers change all that much. To use one of those language analogies that you love so much, consider the sentence "my sister owns that cat". Assuming that there are only 27 possible characters to choose from (26 letters and a space), and as there are 19 characters in that sentence, the odds of coming up with that sentence by chance are one in 2723, or about 1033. But of course that is not the only possible form of life way of writing that sentence. One could, for example, write "that cat is owned by my sister", or "that is my sister's cat". So the odds are not one in 1033, but a massive three in 1033! In other words, almost no real difference at all. Now I'm not saying that there are only three ways that life could exist, but I am saying that it's reasonable to assume that there are only limited ways in which life could exist, and that allowing for these other ways does not change the odds by any significant extent. For example, even if there are 100 million (108) different ways of life existing, if the fine-tuning argument gives the odds of life as we know it forming as one in 10200, then allowing for these other forms of life improves the odds to one in 10192, hardly an argument-destroying change.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:01, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Your analogy (notice you can't provide real numbers based on evidence) shows why the argument is bad: you have no way of assessing the probabilities you assign to the actual situation. That you have no idea how many other universes exist--why 108? you made that up, didn't you?--and you have no idea that they have an equal probability of existing. And in fact Stenger's point is valid, because the probability if life existing in those universes must be included to make a valid assessment. On top of that, you are assuming that is life is unlikely, God created it, which is a Goddidit type situation: why is unlikeliness linked in any way to God? Counterarguments are important in any intellectual discussion and the ability to deal with them indicates the strength of your argument. Sterile 13:10, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
The figure was for other possible forms of life, not other universes. I do not assume that they have equal probability of existing, except for the sake of the figures, because that is being generous. I'm not assuming that life is unlikely; that appears to be observational fact. Even evolutionists generally agree that it sufficiently unlikely that it only occurred once on Earth, and there is no evidence of life anywhere else in the solar system. So that life is unlikely is based on observation, not "Goddidit". That doesn't tell us just how unlikely, but in proposing 108 equally-valid ways, I was being extremely generous. Because it's not just that life is unlikely, but that it's impossible, according to the law of biogenesis, that life only comes from life, which rules out it coming from non-life. This law has never had an observed counterexample. As life only comes from life, this leaves only one possible (scientific) answer: Life was created by God! This is not a case of invoking God to explain the unknown, but invoking God from what is known.
"Unlikeliness" is linked to God because an intelligence can make happen what is unlikely to happen in nature, and in some circumstances (such as the origin of life), God is the only intelligence around.
Yes, counterarguments are important in intellectual discussions, but the article is an article, not a discussion. The discussion is on this talk page.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 14:30, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Your assertions about the "law of biogenesis" are worthless about the ultimate origins of life. Not only has it not been observed for non-living matter becoming alive, an intelligent has never been observed creating life. By your logic, life has been around for an infinite about of time. Your now-more strong assertion that it is impossible for life to arise from non-life needs more than italics to be true. (And I've observed that most creationist assertions about "impossible" are really that they don't understand it.) Sterile 21:06, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
We've never seen a computer come about naturalistically, but we've seen intelligent beings create them. We've never seen refrigerators occur naturalistically, but we've seen intelligent beings create them. And of course I could name many other examples. The point is that it is an observed fact that intelligent beings are capable of creating things that don't occur naturalistically, and although this hasn't occurred yet with life, there is no reason in principle why it couldn't occur (at least for living things without a soul). So not having seen life being created by an intelligence is not a reason to reject this explanation. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 23:32, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
I can find a factory in which I can find the people or machines who made the refrigerator and the computer. And the refrigerators and computer don't breed to make new refrigerator or computers. Your analogy fails. You are correct that in principle there is a god or gods that generated life, but there is no good reason to think so. Sterile 23:50, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Um, perhaps I'm not thinking this out, but computing and refrigeration are both dependent upon concepts which exist whether life does or not. Computing is based on math and the general principles which shape math, such as logic and patterns - things which, should we believe they inarguably exist, can certainly exist without life. The same is true of refrigeration, which is basically the process of cooling, and heat transfer happens in many natural systems without anyone bothering to keep check on it. You can, if you so desire, complicate this examination by invoking the hand of God in creating, shaping and enforcing some of the above, but first you have to realize what I'm saying:
Man has not created anything which has not been observed in some form in the natural world. Unless you're going to concede that man has created life in some form (such as artificial intelligence), it's fair to state that those who do not believe in a supernatural method of creation have seen nothing that could prove that an intelligent being can create life. Pascal 00:35, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

I can find a factory in which I can find the people or machines who made the refrigerator and the computer. Yes, that confirms what I said.
And the refrigerators and computer don't breed to make new refrigerator or computers. So?
Your analogy fails. How? Self-reproduction was not a relevant point of my analogy.
Um, perhaps I'm not thinking this out... Perhaps not. I used computers and refrigerators as examples, not computing and refrigeration.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:25, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Wow, you didn't even try to address my argument. Pascal 14:37, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes he did, in his fourth response. If you're going to claim that fridges don't count as something that "has not been observed in some form in the natural world", purely because cooling and heating existed before they were invented, then you're applying your terms so generally as to be nonsensical. What, pray tell, would count as a satisfactory example? It sounds like nothing short of a new law of physics would satisfy you! - and even then I expect you'd find some way to hand-wave it away.--CPalmer 15:18, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Of course self-replication is important. That is the salient feature of your argument. There is no good reason to reject naturalistic reasons, so your point is moot, and this analogy is not any better evidence for God than for not God. Furthermore, analogies are good for explanations, but are not evidence. Refrigerators are not evidence for God. Sterile 19:47, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
No, self-replication is not a salient feature of my argument. The analogy was to illustrate my earlier point that "an intelligence can make happen what is unlikely to happen in nature". Your response was that we haven't observed life formed by an intelligence. How does self-reproducibility make a relevant difference? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:34, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
I believe that you did type, "according to the law of biogenesis, that life only comes from life, which rules out it coming from non-life. This law has never had an observed counterexample." I'm fairly certain that refrigerators do not breed to give other refrigerators. Sterile 01:54, 27 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, life is self-reproducing. And life does only come from life. But I was talking about the origin of life, not it reproducibility. Merely pointing out that life is self-reproducing doesn't mean that self-reproduction is relevant to my argument. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 12:29, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

Refrigerators are not found in the natural world and we've know people have designed and made them. Life is found in the natural world and we've never seen a designer do the design or make a life form. There is nothing to this analogy. Analogies are not evidence anyway. End of this dumb conversation. Sterile 17:07, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

You're equivocating. Refrigerators are found in the natural world. There's one where I live, and I live in the natural world. Of course they don't occur naturally; they are created by intelligent beings. Life is also found in the natural world, but we have never seen life occur naturally from non-life. That is, we've only ever seen it occur from existing life, hence the law of biogenesis. So of course this doesn't explain where the first life came from. We haven't seen a human being create life, and it's therefore fair to conclude that it is beyond humans to create life (although as our technology keeps being improved, perhaps we could one day). We haven't seen any other intelligence create life from non-life either, but originally life either must have been created or have occurred naturally. In principle, an intelligence of sufficient ability could create life whereas the evidence so far is that it cannot occur naturally. The most reasonable—and scientific—conclusion therefore is that life was created. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:30, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

The Bible section

We have the phrases, "Christians believe that the Bible is inerrant because God is its ultimate author," and "This book [the Bible] claims that God exists." It would seem the first sentence says, "If God is the ultimate author of the Bible, then it the Bible is inerrant." Since God authoring the Bible implies that God exits, we can say "If God exists, then the Bible is inerrant," is pretty much equivalent. The second sentence pretty much says, "If the Bible is inerrant, then God exists." It really is circular. I'd get rid of that first sentence, and I'd include more detail about the evidence for the Bible's inerrancy to improve the section. Sterile 02:23, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

You are manufacturing circularity where none exists. First, both points are not part of the same line of argument. So your argument fails on this point alone. Second, the second point does not base God's existence on inerrancy, as you claim, but on demonstrated reliability. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 13:05, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Does not "Christians believe that the Bible is inerrant because God is its ultimate author" imply that God exists? If it does, it is not "evidence for God's existence." Sterile 23:50, 13 December 2009 (UTC)
No, the phrase does not imply that God exists. Rather, it presupposes that God exists. And no, that presupposition is not evidence for God's existence. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 00:19, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
presuppose - to require or imply as an antecedent
demonstrated reliability ? Does the patterned stick in front of a pregnant animal still give you that pattern on its offspring ? Thorin 04:19, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
No, but there is nothing unreliable about recording that someone thought it would. BradleyF (LowKey) 05:18, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
so you are saying the innerant word of god put in a little silly story to give people familiar with genetics a little giggle ? seems an odd thing to do Hamster 06:47, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
No, it was not put there for a giggle. Philip J. Rayment 12:46, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
the bible verses suggest that the method worked. cause and effect. Hamster 06:11, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
The bible records post hoc, but does not suggest propter hoc. In fact the bible later explains that the particoloured offspring specifically came from particoloured fathers (providing the real propter hoc). BradleyF (LowKey) 05:33, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Not necessarily. Philip J. Rayment 08:18, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Still not right Loki

I see that you have compromised. You do a disservice to those evolutionary scientists who are Christians (or, indeed, members of other religions). However, I know what comes of arguing with a senior member. --The Ghost of Horace 02:46, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

I do not believe I do any such disservice. I have known evolution-accepting Christians (scientist and non) who claim to see His hand in evolution. I have never come across one who makes the “appearance of design is superficial” argument. Also the only example of the argument referenced in the article is from C.R. Dawkins, who is most definitely an atheist. Do you know of actual examples of Christians making this argument? BradleyF (LowKey) 05:11, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is that one of the well recognized positions is that a god (or gods) created life but that he/she/it/they have allowed evolution to take it from there. Do you say that there are no scientists who hold that view? --The Ghost of Horace 05:36, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
No. I am saying that we only have atheists documented making the “apparent only” argument. I am asking if you have evidence for the existence of theists making that argument. BradleyF (LowKey) 05:51, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
When you say "we only have atheists documented making the “apparent only” argument" are you referring to note 2 which refers only to Richard Dawkins? --The Ghost of Horace 06:06, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
What Bradley is saying is that very few if any Christians (even those who accept evolution) argue that the appearance of design is superficial. Any that do make the argument are the exception to the rule (even among those who accept evolution). Based on my personal experience this would seem to be true. All Christians-who-accept-evolution that I have talked to or read have been along the lines of "God created everything using evolution as a mechanism." --TimS 06:53, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, that pretty much is what I am saying. I am suggesting though that if there is evidence that theists actually use this argument in some sort of representative way, then the "atheist" qualifier (not qualification) would need to be reconsidered. I am certainly only aware of atheists using the argument, but perhaps Horace or his ghost know of others. BradleyF (LowKey) 12:52, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
You guys found evidence for the god Loki? That's so cool! Sterile 11:41, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Loki was a giant, not a god.--CPalmer 11:47, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
And he really had a head on his shoulders! BradleyF (LowKey) 12:52, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Loki the trickster God , botherer of Thor , is a giant ? thas so cool . He looks a bit short on TV. Hamster 16:10, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, 'god' is a bit of a vague term when applied to Norse mythology. You had the Aesir and the Valir, who were definitely gods. Then you had the giants, who play similar roles to gods in some of the stories, and are a bit like gods... Unfortunately the Norse weren't very concerned with the troubles of future encylopaedia writers and didn't take the time to define their terms all that specifically.--CPalmer 16:54, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
You are presuppose an idea of a god on a conversation! How dare you! Sterile 02:12, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

(undent) Back to the original discussion. If you want to apply the qualifier "atheist" then the onus is on you, not me. You show us that all such persons are atheists. Further, I note in the above discussion that it is accepted that some Christians do believe evolution to be factual. If one accepts evolution (whether one is Christian or not) then that necessarily results in one accepting that living things are not designed. Evolution, at its very heart, requires the absence of design because it is driven by natural selection and random mutation. Anything else is not evolution. Thus, to anyone who accepts evolution as fact, any appearance of design must be superficial. There is a fundamental difference between saying "God created everything using evolution as a mechanism" and saying that a god designed living things. If she created life by kicking off the evolutionary process then she did not design living creatures (excepting possibly the very first living creature). So, in summary, I suggest that you either demonstrate that all scientists who make the argument are atheists or you remove the qualifier. --The Ghost of Horace 22:09, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

How about Ken Miller the Roman Catholic evolutionist. I dont think he favors the design hypothesis Hamster 22:27, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Horace, the article does not say "only atheists" (or even "all atheists" for that matter). Also it is stating who makes the argument, not who apparently has beliefs that seem to us logically consistent with the argument. The only person referenced as making the argument is an athiest, and the only people that I know of that have made it are atheists. I have not come across any theists making the argument - but instead have known theistic evolutionists to present a different argument which contradicts that one. I have no reason to think that theists are making the argument. If you have reason to think differently (i.e. some knowledge of theists making this argument) then please share, so we can correct the article. Applying your own logic, if you want to use the noun "scientists" then the onus is on you, to show us that all such persons are scientists. By your own logic if a non-scientist makes the argument then we shouldn't say "scientists". I am not actually advocating excising "scientists" here, but highlighting the logic of your assertion. As to the inconsistency of accepting both design and evolution, I agree that it is inconsistent and have said so (although not in those exact words) before. I (and others) have then been accused of excluding from Christianity those who hold such contradictory views. Consistent or in-, peole who subscribe to theistic evolution actually exist. BradleyF (LowKey) 23:58, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Look Loki, this is a really simple argument. Try to follow. You want to include the qualifier "atheist" in front of the word "scientists". You are unable to substantiate that position in that you are unable to show that the people who make the claim are in fact "atheist scientists". We agree that they are scientists (it is, after all, a scientific matter). Shouldn't we then remove the word "atheist" until such time as someone can show (other than by anecdotal reference to the people that they know) that the claim is made only by atheist scientists? --The Ghost of Horace 02:39, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I was happy with "atheist" as the noun. You wanted it changed to "scientist" which completely changes the identification. I, as you said, compromised. We agree that they are scientists about as much as we agree that they are atheists. That was the point I was making above. You are also unable to substantiate your position because your are unable to show (or at least have not yet shown) that the people who make the claim are in fact scientists. We have reference to one (hang on, recounting, yep one) person making the claim, and he is an atheist scientist. And no it's not really a scientific matter, so much as a logical one. We have reason to conclude that those we know to make the argument are atheists (generally because they have said so). What reason do we have to conclude otherwise. Why do you have a problem with this? It really matters not where the argument comes from, but we should at least acknowledge where it comes from accurately, and with some precision to avoid weasel words (like "some scientists"). You insist that "atheist" is inaccurate but you still haven't actually shown it to be so. BradleyF (LowKey) 02:57, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Your attempts to place the onus on me are 'misguided' (to put it diplomatically). You want to include the word "atheist" but you are unwilling and/or unable to back that assertion up in any way other than by anecdotal reference to your own personal experience. Normal honest editors don't just place qualifying words in articles until someone else shows them to be inaccurate. They don't place them there in the first place unless they know them to be both relevant and accurate. --The Ghost of Horace 03:24, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Again, that cuts both ways. I could say "Normal honest editors don't just place descriptors (like "scientists") in articles until someone else shows them to be inaccurate. They don't place them there in the first place unless they know them to be both relevant and accurate." you still haven't provided anything to back up your assertion that all those making the argument are scientists. You also still haven't even provided a basic reason to think the "atheist" is inaccurate. I have changed the statement to reflect what is "backed up". BradleyF (LowKey) 04:29, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
You say: "you still haven't provided anything to back up your assertion that all those making the argument are scientists". Why would I be doing that? Your post above of 23:58, 24 February 2010 states: "I am not actually advocating excising "scientists" here". Am I to take it that you have changed your position on that now? Are you seriously saying that scientists do not make that claim? I see that you have again changed the article. Now it only refers to Richard Dawkins. Are you saying that it is just Richard Dawkins who makes the claim? --The Ghost of Horace 05:55, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

(OD) I am saying that "atheist" is as valid as "scientist" even by your own reasoning (and therefore "scientist" is as invalid as "atheist"). I am not saying that only Richard Dawkins makes the claim, but his making of the claim is the only one that is supported. If you want to collectively add groups, then the onus is on you to back up their inclusion. BTW, "atheist" is not an insult. BradleyF (LowKey) 06:08, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Should the list of Richard Dawkins' descriptors be a footnote? I don't think the whole list is relevant, but don't want to get in an endless argument about that. Sitting in the body, it currently holds up the flow. I wonder about a "swap out" putting the reference to "The God Delusion" in the body and an explanation of who he is in the note. BradleyF (LowKey) 05:22, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes, well, having tired of the entire discussion, I propose an entirely different solution. I have changed the relevant section and provided a reference. A Christian reference! Glory be to god! --Horace McHitler 06:53, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Quantum foam

The BigBang theory doesnt say that things started from nothing. The cause I see mentioned most is fluctuations in quantum foam (not gonna try explaining that - seek a particle physisist). Some consider the total energy in the Universe to be 0, once you add and subtract forces, so to start it may have taken very little energy the fearsomeHamster 05:31, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

But where did the quantum foam come from? And where did the "very little energy" come from? --TimS 05:38, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

As I understand it the discussions are about an n-dimensional framework, which allows for quantum effects. Those quantum effects result in matched subatomic particles popping into and out of existance. A disturbance may have resulted in the creation (or unfolding) and expansion of a 4 dimensional space time structure which has a net-energy value of 0. Hamster 06:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

But where did god come from Tim? --The Ghost of Horace 06:06, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
God is not bound by natural laws. He didn't "come from" anything. He exists outside of time, and explains his own existence. --TimS 06:13, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
well, not bound by and outside of the laws of this universe , perhaps he lives in another Universe where he holds down a job , and watches television and all that. What happened to his wife anyway. She was in the old Jewish writings ? inquisitive Hamster 06:42, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Maybe the quantum foam is not bound by natural laws. Maybe it didn't "come from" anything. Maybe it exists outside time, and explains its own existence. --The Ghost of Horace 07:46, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
That would at least be admitting the need for something supernatural. For some reason I doubt that is what they are claiming. --TimS 07:56, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Err... no. I was attempting to draw attention to your own suggestion that the almighty 'didn't "come from" anything'. The argument that god is the "uncaused cause" is the most pathetic piece of religionist dissembling that ever was. It makes me weep for the stupidity that religion brings to the world. By the way, and on a totally unrelated subject, did you know that my dog Crusher is not bound by the laws of the universe either? --The Ghost of Horace 08:26, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
The argument that god is the "uncaused cause" is the most pathetic piece of religionist dissembling that ever was. Because...?
Some Big Bang apologists do claim that the Big Bang came from something, but others say it came from nothing:

The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada. And as it got bigger, it became filled with even more stuff that came from absolutely nowhere.— Explaining Alan Guth's view[4]

Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. ...Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing.[5]

...we can at least see that the origin of the universe from nothing need not be unlawful or unnatural or unscientific.— Paul Davies[6]

[The Big Bang] asserts that some 12-15 billion years ago there was a suddenly expansion and explosion of all matter and energy out of an original point - out of literally nothing...[7]

Philip J. Rayment 08:44, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
1. All things need a cause.
2. Therefore the universe needs a cause.
3. Therefore there must be a god who caused the universe (after all, what else could it be?)
4. But if all things need a cause then what caused god?
5. All things except god need a cause.
6. Ooh, what a dazzling argument!
7. [Pause for applause and then exit, stage right].
8. Really, truly pathetic. An argument with no intellectual rigor whatsoever, constructed purely of wishful thinking and nonsense. --The Ghost of Horace 09:44, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
1. All things need a cause
2. There is no God
3. Therefore God did not cause the universe.
4. But then what caused the universe?
5. The universe just popped into existence out of nothing!
6. WIN!!! Take that you creationists!!!!
7. Your argument is no better than the one that you made up for us. --TimS 21:35, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I disagree. First of all, your first premise is lifted from the creationist argument. It represents a piece of transparent question begging. The only reason it is there is so that you can ask "But then what caused the universe?" in question 4. The real question is: Does the universe require a cause in the same way that everyday events require causes? I would have thought that the universe is so unique that it requires some careful thought before assuming that it is subject to the same rules of causation that result in spillage when I knock a glass of milk off the kitchen bench onto the floor. Also, as has been pointed out below, quantum physics tells us some strange things about the universe and the possibilities of matter popping into existence without apparent cause. I suggest that we look into them thoroughly before making up magical bearded men in the sky to explain things. Furthermore, even in the rather silly form proposed by you, the anti-creationist argument has one significant advantage over the creationist argument: It doesn't take the further enormous (and utterly redundant step) of requiring the existence of a god. Why have a god pop into existence in order to, in turn, magically conjure up the universe? Simpler to just have the universe pop into existence. --The Ghost of Horace 23:52, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Pursued by a bear? Theresa Wilson 10:35, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Yawn. You've already used those quotes before. Don't you at least have NEW ones? (PS: Nice use of a creationist escape hatch, Timmy!. Sterile 12:09, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Talk about special pleading! My god doesn't need a cause because it IS a cause because the bible says so! Teh Terrible Asp 17:33, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

This is actually something I wanted to mention yesterday. The Big Bang coming "out of nothing" argument, as PJR states it, is a little misleading. Out of nothing doesn't mean out of a zero state. Take for example virtual particles. They pop in and out of existence seemingly "out of nothing" but that's not the whole story. The vacuum of space does have an energy level of sorts, like the quantum foam mentioned. Matter and anti-matter particles pop in and out of existence by "borrowing" energy from the universes energy state at large. They immediately annihilate each other thereby returning the borrowed energy, as per the first law of thermodynamics. So while it seems to be out of nothing it is in fact not the case. Incidentally this is how Stephen Hawking explained how black holes would eventually disappear through Hawking Radiation. When the virtual particles pop into existence on the event horizon, one particle is sucked into the black hole while the other gets free. In order to return the energy, the black hole must "repay" with some of its own energy. Ace McWicked 19:35, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

you do need a space time framework to have fluctations in. Thats where some of the discussions are interesting, was there in fact NOTHING at the start or was there some form of spacetime even if it was all folded up. Hamster 19:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
AS I understand (!) it, we cannot, not just "using known technology etc" but by definition can never, know what the state of the universe was (even that word "was" is suspect) in the first Planck unit of time of its existence. (First & existence are also suspect) Theresa Wilson 20:16, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
One theory is that our known universe was created through a Quantum Phase Transition. The vacuum energy of the universe isn't its true state. Everything always aims for the lowest energy state possible, per the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Imagine a ball rolling in a steep sided valley. As the valley is steep the ball rolls up and down the sides quickly. Next to this valley is a much shallower one which requires lower energy for the ball the roll up and down. The ball cannot pitch itself over the lip of the steep sided valley to lower its energy state. Now, in the quantum world, something funny happens. The ball, through an effect known as "Quantum Tunnelling", "tunnels" through the sides of the steep valley into the shallower, lower energy valley. Quantum tunnelling has been observed (look it up) and if the quantum state of the universe went through this process it would completely remake the entire universe in an instant - that is a Quantum Phase Transition. I probably didn't explain that very well but there is lot of literature out there. Ace McWicked 20:33, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
I think that the trouble is that the universe is (at least) 4 dimensional and "before" it existed, there was no time for existence to exist in. What was the tunneling in if there was no space, time or laws thereof? It's all rather strange & one can see why the weak minded require "God" to sort it for them(gratuitous insult free of charge). Theresa Wilson 20:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
There could have been time before the tunnelling. The Phase Transition remade the universe, effectivly hitting restart. That said, its just one theory. Ace McWicked 21:02, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
This coming from people who are always demanding that everything be falsifiable... --TimS 21:26, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Um yeah. You do realise we are just discussing theories and not actually making statements of fact? Ace McWicked 21:28, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Why aren't you as critical of this unfalsifiable stuff as you are of creationist ideas? --TimS 21:37, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Because no one is stating these ideas as "fact". Just stating them as possiblities that need further investigation. If upon investigation they turn out to be untenable, they'll be dumped. Ace McWicked 21:42, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
These ideas don't contradict everything we already know or violate any known laws. They are scientifically plausible, or at very least, possible. Jaxe 21:44, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Because things pop into existence out of nothing all the time, and doing so doesn't contradict what we already know... --TimS 21:46, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
To be fair Jaxe, some quantum physics does in fact violate physical laws as we know them but quantum weirdness has been observed nonetheless. Anyways, my above comment to Tim stands. Also Tim, as stated above, it isn't popping out of 'nothing". Read the above again. Ace McWicked 21:48, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
And when people say that the universe shows evidence of design, without making any claims of fact about how that may have happened, people shout them down, and shun them from the scientific community. --TimS 21:55, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Quantum Physics, and its properties have been observed, not just speculated, hence conclusions, writ large, are drawn from the actual physical observation. Ace McWicked 21:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
[8] (The captcha to post this link was 'popping though') Jaxe 21:51, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Really, truly pathetic. An argument with no intellectual rigor whatsoever, constructed purely of wishful thinking and nonsense. I agree. So why did you propose it? It's not the argument put by Christians; it's your corrupted version of it. The Christian (or theistic) argument starts with "All thing that began need a cause". Obviously if something didn't begin, there need not be a cause. The universe needs a cause because it began. God doesn't because He didn't begin (He exists outside of time, and had no beginning). It's not a valid debating tactic to criticise a straw-man argument.

The real question is: Does the universe require a cause in the same way that everyday events require causes? Fair enough question, but as everything else we know of that begain requires a cause, then this should be assumed for the universe also unless there is good reason not to.

I suggest that we look into them thoroughly before making up magical bearded men in the sky to explain things. God is not "magical"; that is, He doesn't achieve His goals by invoking foreign powers through incantations. The power is His own. This has been explained before, but atheists persist in using this incorrect terminology simply because of its rhetorical power, but it actually serves to undermine your credibility. Further, how is invoking a Being who has the power to create the universe any less sensible than saying that a principle (cause and effect) that has no known exception doesn't apply in one special case? You essentially accuse Christians of special pleading by invoking God, then engage in your own special pleading!

...the anti-creationist argument has one significant advantage over the creationist argument: It doesn't take the further enormous (and utterly redundant step) of requiring the existence of a god. It is only "utterly redundant" if your alternative ad hoc explanation is correct. As your explanation has no evidence, proposing God is at least as sensible.

Why have a god pop into existence... But we don't! That is your straw-man.

The Big Bang coming "out of nothing" argument, as PJR states it, is a little misleading. Out of nothing doesn't mean out of a zero state. I would say that your comment is misleading. I've already acknowledged that some Big Bang apologists do argue that it's not actually out of nothing, but the ones I quoted clearly state—even stress—that it's out of nothing.

...one can see why the weak minded require "God" to sort it for them(gratuitous insult free of charge) In other words, there is good reason for proposing God, but as an atheist that answer is unacceptable, so you reject it and insult those who think differently.

Because no one is stating these ideas as "fact". Just stating them as possiblities that need further investigation. The problem is that you are invoking these "possibilities" in order to reject an alternative possible explanation (God).

These ideas don't contradict everything we already know or violate any known laws. Are you sure about that? Some of the explanations I've read (and Theresa's comment of 20:16, 25 February possibly alludes to this), claim that the scientific laws break down in the first few moments of the universe. Plus we already know that things that have a beginning have a cause, and the Big Bang does contradict that. The excuse is that this is a special case. Okay, "special case" means that it doesn't agree with what we already know. Oops, I've just read Ace's next comment where he admits that some of this does break known laws.

some quantum physics does in fact violate physical laws as we know them ... Yet when creationists propose that decay rates have changed, we are accused of suggesting that the laws of physics have changed, as though that is not something we are allowed to do. Obviously (from many other examples also), creationists are not allowed to, but materialists are. The hypocrisy is astounding.

Also Tim, as stated above, it isn't popping out of 'nothing". Read the above again. So are you "stating these ideas as 'fact'", or "Just stating them as possiblities that need further investigation."?

Philip J. Rayment 02:35, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Oops, I nearly overlooked one:

Yawn. You've already used those quotes before. This is a typical anticreationist tactic: Rather than refute the claims or evidence, bring up irrelevancies like the source always being the same, or (in this case) that I've used the quotes before. SO WHAT? All this shows is that you've no better answer, so are trying to divert attention by saying something that has the superficial appearance of a rebuttal. What a lousy way to argue! Not only that, but you are wrong! I have used the Alan Guth quote before, but not the others! This demonstrates another typical anticreationist tactic: make a claim without actually bothering to ensure that it's correct! This makes your job easy; throw out various unsubstantiated accusations and claims, thereby causing your opponent to waste time refuting them. How easy it is to be an anticreationist! (And apologies to the few who do actually spend time checking their claims.)

Philip J. Rayment 02:51, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Yawn. You can't produce a shred of evidence of creationism, ergo your triumphant chest-thumping is boring. I can't even say "so what?" because there's nothing to say "so what?" to. You use a popular press quote to try to refute all of the Big Bang--What a lousy way to argue! Besides, the refutation is in the article. You've uber-small-i-icized them because they cause you such cognitive dissonance, but you've not refuted those quotes, which is why you can't eliminate them. Please, try harder Philip. Sterile 03:03, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh, yeah. Please explain more about the nature of "God's power." OK, he doesn't do the Harry Potter thing, but what does he do? Think things into being? Breathe on them? Please explain the mechanism. Sterile 03:25, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
theres a significant difference between saying that in the first nanoseconds of the BigBang expansion that the currently known laws of physics did not apply (mainly because space time was being created) and that after that time the laws (approx when the Higgs field gets turned on) are invarient and positing a change in an existing world to fit large decay values which would have melted the planet unless natural law was altered or suspended. Changing decay rates requires changes to several base constants which would cause for example , atoms to dissolve into particle clouds. Hamster 04:27, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
If there was a way to prove one of the possible causes of the BigBang (quantum foam fluctuations - check the video ) then its turtles all the way down :) Hamster 05:36, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
You can't produce a shred of evidence of creationism... Someone's in denial.
You use a popular press quote to try to refute all of the Big Bang... No, I used several quotes, and I used them not to refute all the Big Bang, but to refute the claim that it's not claimed to be something from nothing.
What a lousy way to argue! Misrepresenting what I'm saying? Yes, you're right.
Besides, the refutation is in the article. What refutation in which article?
God hasn't explained the mechanism in any detail, so I can't tell you much about it.
Changing decay rates requires changes to several base constants which would cause for example , atoms to dissolve into particle clouds. Yet decay rates have been observed to change.
If there was a way to prove one of the possible causes of the BigBang (quantum foam fluctuations - check the video ) then its turtles all the way down Showing that a postulated cause is possible doesn't prove that it did happen that way.
Philip J. Rayment 08:27, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Cool video on quantum stuff and universes

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84_kXpsDJEk

Edit button

The problem is, even if the universe popped out of something rather than nothing, you still have to explain where the "something" came from. --TimS 21:59, 25 February 2010 (UTC)

Isn't that easy for you then. I must explain where something came from but you are exempt from explaining where god came from. Ace McWicked 22:03, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Why does anyone have to explain where the something came from? People would leave religionists to their assumptions and wishing about the origin of the universe if they didn't also abuse science by pretending there's anything coherent about assuming the nature of that first cause. Without making a heap of logically unsupportable assumptions about your god, you simply cannot in any logical sense make the conclusions you want science to make. Teh Terrible Asp 22:11, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Our understanding of causality is based on our understanding of time, we say things like "this happened and then that happened" etc, the way we explain causality uses a temporal framework. So if we're talking about an event where time itself was 'created' then our understanding of causality is surely also cast into doubt. Sweeping statements like "everything must have a cause" aren't necessarily true. If causality started with the big bang then it doesn't need a cause. Jaxe 22:25, 25 February 2010 (UTC)
Consider this claim: As I walk along, time–as measured by my wristwatch or my aging process–slows down. Also, I shrink in the direction of motion. Also, I get more massive. Who has ever witnessed such a thing? It's easy to dismiss out of hand. Here's another: Matter and antimatter are all the time, throughout the Universe, being created from nothing. Here's a third: Once in a very great while, your car will spontaneously ooze through the brick wall of your garage and be found the next morning in the street. They're all absurd! But the first is a statement of special relativity, and the other two are consequences of quantum mechanics (vacuum fluctuations and barrier tunneling,[Sagan footnote: The average waiting time per stochastic ooze is much longer than the age of the Universe since the Big Band. But, however improbable, in principle it might happen tomorrow.] they're called). Like it or not, that's the way the world is. If you insist it's ridiculous, you'll be forever closed to some of the major findings on the rules that govern the universe.

—Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

Sterile 00:24, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
I must explain where something came from but you are exempt from explaining where god came from. Only because the universe had a beginning. The Steady State model didn't require explaining where it came from, as no beginning was proposed. (It, of course, had other problems that caused the idea to be abandoned.) So same rules for both, just different circumstances. Philip J. Rayment 02:40, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps quantum discussions are not particularly relevant to this pages topic

Perhaps theres a better page to move to for quantum mechanics ? Not helping with Evidence for God, rather the reverse. Hamster 00:30, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Teh Terrible Asp

Stop removing large chunks of material from the article. Consider this a warning. --TimS 03:30, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Do you want to address my claims or just wheel war until someone blocks me? Teh Terrible Asp 03:39, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
A warning of what? Why is this a problem? Arbitrary, Timmy.... Sterile 03:43, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Sterile, THIS IS A WARNING! Do not (repeat, do not) talk back to management! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! --Senior Member Horace 03:53, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Don't just go deleting large chunks of material just because you don't like it. If you don't think it should be there, discuss on the talk page. Don't just delete it. --TimS 03:55, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Ooh, deja vu. Hasn't Philip told you the current policy? Apparently you are allowed to delete large chunks of material without discussing on the talk page. He told me so when we were working on Transitional form. --Horace McHitler 04:00, 26 February 2010 (UTC)
Only if there is no need to discuss it on the talk page, such as if the edit summary satisfactorily explains it. Given TimS' request for talk page discussion, it would seem that the edit comment was not satisfactory in this case. Philip J. Rayment 08:32, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

Removal of Guth Quote

As explained to Philip several times over here Alan Guth does not believe the universe came from nothing. The quote taken from the cover of a magazine is a terrible source when it is not known what Guth actually says within the article itself. Ace McWicked 20:49, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

It seems to be a case of fallaciously conflating what "nothing" means to the Biblical Worldview with what "nothing" means to a quantum physicist. I doubt there's a chance of successfully removing the misleading summary of Guth's article, so how about explaining in this article what "nothing" meant to Guth? SallyM 20:57, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
See where I have linked above for a fuller description of Guth's views. Basically though it is a belief that through quantum flucuations within the vacuum (which has its own energy) pocket universe are being created from other universes through inflation. Ace McWicked 21:00, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware of that, but Mr. Rayment doesn't seem to understand. It's his encyclopædia and it's his Biblical Worldview, so I'd put my money on the quote being around longer than you are. If that is in fact the case, you should try to explain Guth's quote within the article. SallyM 21:05, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
  • "For example, Alan Guth, inventor of the inflationary model of the Big Bang, had his ideas summarised by Discover magazine: "The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada." Note: To a quantum physicist, "nothing"....
I think that would have a significantly better chance of survival. SallyM 21:08, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
Here is the actual article where the quote is derived. It is clear from reading this that he does not mean nothing in the sense being used here so there is no need for this quote. Ace McWicked 21:16, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
The fact that this article is avalible to read by all just goes to show that Philip is not willing, at all, to read beyond CMI as, had he, he'd know that the CMI article is wrong in its attribution to Guth. Ace McWicked 21:18, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
I have read the article, and believe I understand that "nothing" is being fallaciously conflated here. Mr. Rayment apparently does not understand the difference. He will ultimately decide what stays and I believe this quote will stay. If he does decide that the quote must stay, the only other option is to try and explain it properly within the article. That or go down fighting, which you are free to do. SallyM 21:24, 30 March 2010 (UTC)
From the article - To the average person it might seem obvious that nothing can happen in nothing. But to a quantum physicist, nothing is, in fact, something. I have explained this to Philip over and over again. The vacuum has quantum energy, which is not nothing and, since this article was published many more tests and predictions have been carried out and fufilled. Ace McWicked 21:28, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

...Alan Guth does not believe the universe came from nothing. On the contrary, he does. There are several references to this in the Discovery article, such as (my underlining):

  • "The primordial "stuff" of inflation, he and other cosmologists contend, is very likely a spontaneous creation, a no-strings gift that boiled out of absolutely nowhere by means of an utterly random but nonetheless scientifically possible process."
  • "Start, Guth says, by imagining nothing, a pure vacuum. Be careful. Don't imagine outer space without matter in it. Imagine no space at all and no matter at all."
  • "Quantum theory also holds that a vacuum, like atoms, is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum..."
  • "Theoretically, anything—a dog, a house, a planet—can pop into existence by means of this quantum quirk, which physicists call a vacuum fluctuation."
  • "If a from-nothing, briefly existing molecule is absurdly unlikely, physicists reasoned, a from-nothing, 15-billion-year-old universe is vastly less likely."
  • "As the early universe went along doubling every microsecond, the stuff in it doubled, too—out of nowhere."
  • "It is rather fantastic to realize that the laws of physics can describe how everything was created in a random quantum fluctuation out of nothing..."

Yet we have the statement that "to a quantum physicist, nothing is, in fact, something". But what is that "something"? Especially in the light of all those references to "nothing"? There's very little explanation.

However, the article also says (my underlining):

  • "Quantum theory holds that probability, not absolutes, rules any physical system. It is impossible, even in principle, to predict the behavior of any single atom; all physicists can do is predict the average properties of a large collection of atoms. Quantum theory also holds that a vacuum, like atoms, is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum..."
  • "It is rather fantastic to realize that the laws of physics can describe how everything was created in a random quantum fluctuation out of nothing..."
  • "Alan Guth's inflation theory explains the creation of the universe in a way that's compatible with the laws of physics. But where did the laws of physics come from?"
  • "Guth says. 'According to this view, if there is no matter, then there are no properties.' If that's true then Guth's speculations about how a universe might have started from nothing are absurd."

The article then goes on to argue that the laws of physics must be capable of existing without the presence of matter. So it seems to me that the "something" that "nothing" is, is the laws of physics. He's arguing that the laws of physics make it possible for something to come from nothing. But the only part of that "something" that exists are the laws of physics. Apart from them, it seems, "nothing" is really nothing. As such, the article's quote is accurate.

Philip J. Rayment 11:50, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Doesn't matter anyway

Philip will misunderstand it, quote-mine [deleted by Umpire] it, declare victory and spout some nonsense from CMI. He is truly a deluded, close minded bigot who is incapable of thinking, admitting where wrong (or even being wrong). I pity him as its so sad to see a mind go to waste. He'll read the article and without reading any further information anywhere else (such as finding out exactly what is meant by "quantum flucuation" for example) use his high school level education to declare it, Guth and the entire scientific body invalid. Ace McWicked 22:06, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

You consider me a deluded, close-minded, bigot, incapable of admitting I'm wrong (even though I've done that at times), yet I don't recall you ever admitting you are wrong, and you've shown little if any evidence of being open minded. In summary, your rant is unsubstantiated insult because you've failed to convince me that you are right. I can make exactly the same accusation as you've done, about almost any critic here, and I would have as much justification for doing so as you have. There's two differences, though. One is that I don't rant like this and throw around insults like "incapable of thinking". The other is that you are right and I am wrong, of course. Philip J. Rayment 10:41, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
To the average person it might seem obvious that nothing can happen in nothing. But to a quantum physicist, nothing is, in fact, something. Yes, based on the text it's clear that the author intended to write a provocative title that would get readers interested. After actually reading the article, as plain as that quote makes it, "nothing" doesn't mean the same thing to Mr. Rayment as it does Mr. Quantum Physicist. Using the summary to explain Guth's work is misleading, but I do not believe that means it will be removed. I still think the only option is to explain the article with the misleading quote in situ. SallyM 12:43, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
My argument (in the main section; you appear to be replying to the wrong post) is not based on the summary, but on numerous comments throughout the article, which I quoted. My argument supports that the summary in the article's quote is not misleading. Philip J. Rayment 13:46, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
This has been going on for too long now PJR - Not one origins (of the universe) theory states it all came from nothing. I asked you to find me one that states that it came from nothing. Secondly, as per your question on another page, a singularity has zero dimensions because all space and time is contained within it. The very fabric of space. There are no dimensions. Ace McWicked 18:07, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
If by whiskey nothing, you mean something, then yes...the universe did come from nothing. SallyM 13:20, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Ace, you have totally failed to address my comments above, in which I quote repeatedly where Guth is saying that it came from "nothing". Yes, his idea of "nothing" has, umm, interesting characteristics, but it's still "nothing". Philip J. Rayment 12:51, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
No Philip - it is you have failed to show that the big bang came from nothing. but it's still "nothing". This just shows you do not understand Quantum Physics. Nothing is something - it is energy, the vacuum has energy, a singularity has density, Guth's interesting characteristics as you put it are the mainstream view. Something which you do not understand. It is a typical creationist strawman to say the universe comes from nothing. No one else but creationists think so. Ace McWicked 22:02, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
No Philip - it is you have failed to show that the big bang came from nothing. On the contrary, I have shown that in my post that you still fail to address.
Nothing is something - it is energy,... Guth doesn't say that it's energy, at least in the article in question.
Guth's "interesting characteristics" as you put it are the mainstream view. Where did I indicate otherwise? That description was not suggesting anything about the acceptance of his view, but about the nature of the "something". Again, you have not addressed my comments on that, instead creating a strawman.
Something which you do not understand. Given that it was a strawman argument, you've no evidence of this.
It is a typical creationist strawman to say the universe comes from nothing. No one else but creationists think so. Yet I quote numerous non-creationists saying so! And you've yet to address that very point, beyond trying to say that "nothing = something", a contradiction in terms unless you qualify it in some way. A question for you that might help clarify matters: in the Discover article, how many different types of "vacuum" does Guth talk about?
Philip J. Rayment 01:23, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
Guth doesn't say that it's energy, at least in the article in question. Don't be a dunce Philip, I have pointed you to numerous sources that explain Guths position on the origin of the big bang and several times I have explained how, why and where particles come from nothing. You have failed to show me a big bang theory that proposes the universe came from nothing. Guths inflation as pointed out numerous times does not suggest this. Ace McWicked 01:32, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
To hell with this. You are incapable. Ace McWicked 01:42, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
So rather than address the points I made (you didn't for example, quote me anything Guth said about the "something" being energy), and rather than answer a specific question that I asked with the hope that it might clarify matters, you instead resort to insult. It seems to me that Guth is saying that the "nothing" is really nothing in both matter and energy terms, but that there are scientific laws that allow something to come from nothing, and so the "nothing" was not truly nothing because what did exist were these scientific laws. So analogous to a pre-existing God creating the universe from nothing, pre-existing laws allowed the universe to appear from nothing. So the "something" in the "nothing = something" equation is "scientific laws". I've already explained this (even if not in this way, and perhaps not as clearly), yet, as I've pointed out several times now, you've failed to address that explanation, instead simply repeating the mantras that "nothing = something" and that I'm ignorant. There's more to it than that, but given that you've failed to address even that much, there's little point in explaining further. Philip J. Rayment 02:25, 6 April 2010 (UTC)
theres a couple of things in this discussion that are confusing because of the quantum physics. The term 'nothing' can have several meanings but for physics discussions 'nothing' would mean the absence of a space-time framework and higgs field. That would mean no laws of anything because there is 'nothing' for them to operate in or on. There also seem to be no quantum events happening for the same reason. One leading hypothesis is that universes bubble off the quantum foam of other universes and provide the space-time framework for the new universe. That a universe expands and fills with energy seems a rare event mathmatically, but there is no way to test this since we are limited physically to a single universe and able to see only part of it. This has all been stated before so I am not sure where the disagreement is coming from Hamster 15:45, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
...or physics discussions 'nothing' would mean the absence of a space-time framework and higgs field. That would mean no laws of anything because there is 'nothing' for them to operate in or on. Guth, in the article discussed earlier on this page[9], argues against this view, in the section headed "WHERE DO RULES COME FROM?"
...there is no way to test this since we are limited physically to a single universe and able to see only part of it. When creationists propose something non-testable (God), they are told that it's not science, and therefore cannot be considered. But when an evolutionist (materialist) proposes something non-testable (other universes), we are supposed to consider that a reasonable explanation.
Philip J. Rayment 03:46, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Not actually, you are supposed to understand that while it may be a possibility, in that the known rules of physics dont seem to disallow it, it cant be tested and therefore remains conjecture. Hamster 16:22, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
It is actually. Yes, there is always the "conjecture" or similar disclaimer, but it is still considered reasonable in that these sort of proposals are acceptable to consider, whereas the God option isn't. That's the double standard or bias. Philip J. Rayment 00:39, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
yup, anything that can be stated mathematically , which doesnt cause a contradiction, can be considered possible on a theoretical basis. This has been considered for the multiverse concept. Science then looks for ways of obtaining more evidence. Hamster 00:53, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Repeated failure

You have failed over and over again to show me which theory contents the universe came from nothing. Ace McWicked 01:50, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

try here for a brief on inflation theory. The "Nothing" is a false nothing as per quantum physics. How can I argue a case if you misunderstand the fundamentals of the argument? Ace McWicked 01:53, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

Split

This page should be split in two:

  1. Biblical and Biblically related evidence
    including "testimonial" evidence, which wouldn't exist without the Bible
  2. Real evidence (although that'd be a bit thin)
    could be replaced with "facts which the existence of God wouldn't negate"

Face it, there's no evidence at all except one book: the Bible.

Your whole existence is based on this one page which is sadly lacking in any coherence or reason. Without it you ought to pack up and go home. Find some real evidence or shut up and close the website please.

Dunno why I bother really, you're all so brainwashed by the myth that you're unable to think. Was it worth our ancestors coming down from the trees leaving their primitive existence if you people bring the primitive superstitions with you?

Stupid, Philip, really stupid!

[[User:Theresa Wilson|User 11] 03:32, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

Your signature appears to be faulty.--CPalmer 09:14, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Mmm. there appears to be a character count limit — that's new!. Still it only makes it one with the site — faulty that is. [[User:Theresa Wilson|User 11] 21:36, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
You start with what appears to be a reasonable suggestion, then descend into false claims (the page already has non-biblical evidence) and insult. Ho hum. Philip J. Rayment 03:51, 9 May 2010 (UTC)
Still no evidence? Ho hum. [[User:Theresa Wilson|User 11] 19:08, 12 August 2010 (UTC)
Open your eyes, Theresa. There is stacks of it!--CPalmer 11:23, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
You need a tighter mask, Caractacus. Ace McWicked 11:26, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Planetary orbit - circular vs elliptical

I think you moved the bit about circular orbits being preferred or Better than elliptical to explain that a very elliptical orbit might place the Earth outside the habitable zone , which extends from 75 - 150 million miles from the sun (0.8 to 1.6 times earths orbit or essentially from venus to mars not including either.) Bear in mind a more eccentric orbit might be viable since the oceans act as a heatsink and buffer the time periods at the orbital extremes which would be approx 3 months. It appears that God placed those planets where he did as a warning (ir threat) to mankind , an implied freeze or burn if I move things just a touch. Why else would two habitable planets be deliberately ruined by being a small distance out of the zone ? Obviously God does not want man to be able to escape if he ruins the Earth again and kills up all, as is predicted in the Bible.

Is a book which appears to be saying that UFOs are actually Demons your best source for the suns stability, earths axial tilt and orbital path and the earths mass ? I could not find a free copy anywhere to see what is said. Did demons try to change the earths orbit or axial tilt ? Are the greys and reptilians from different levels of hell ?

Hamster 14:37, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

...the habitable zone , which extends from 75 - 150 million miles from the sun (0.8 to 1.6 times earths orbit or essentially from venus to mars not including either.) Is this "habitable by humans", or "theoretically habitable for life", or what? It seems a rather large range that would result in conditions far more extreme than we currently experience.
Is a book which appears to be saying that UFOs are actually Demons your best source...? It happens to be the source I have at hand, and the book covers a fair bit of ground.
Philip J. Rayment 14:59, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
habitable zone means liquid water at the surface and biological life could exist. With circular orbit, it would be permanent glaciation at one extreme and tropical at the poles at the other. A largely eccentric orbit might not be that different from current climates because of the ocean buffering. Hamster 16:17, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
It was I who moved the point, and pretty much for the reason you stated. Do you have any data on this buffering? I can see some problems with it, but I need numbers before I am willing to comment much more on it. LowKey 20:59, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
I would be curious to hear your reasonings. Sterile questioned Venus and Mars orbits, since a claim was made that a circular orbit was beneficial, and he pointed out that both venus and mars were more circular that earths. Then the item was moved and "some" excentricity was of benefit. The difference between Earth , mars and venus , or what degree of eccentricity was never defined. Earths atmosphere and oceans act as buffers to heat buildup by moving it around as air and ocean currents. The average ocean temperature is about 17 C which is pretty far from boiling. Higher insolation might cause higer wind speeds without significant temperture rises although I have not modelled it. Ditto ocean currents. Deep ocean would not be significantly changed since the surface and deep layers dont mix that much. Hamster 22:31, 29 August 2010 (UTC)
...a claim was made that a circular orbit was beneficial... No it wasn't. The claim was made that a near-circular orbit was beneficial, and Sterile made the mistake of thinking that this implied that a more-circular orbit would therefore be better. That "some" excentricity was of benefit was always the case.
Then the item was moved and "some" excentricity was of benefit. Actually, I made the edit comment "the /right amount/ (within a narrow range at least) of eccentricity is what matters" before it was moved.
Thanks for the clarification, Hamster. Your answer is closer to my "theoretically habitable for life" option. I'll accept that an orbit with considerably more eccentricity would still allow for liquid water and life, but it doesn't follow that it would allow for humans, at least not with any sort of comfort. Look at it this way. If our existing orbit was altered to be considerably more eccentric, it may still allow for some liquid water (although there would be a lot more frozen water in winter and probably none in summer), but you would also have a much more extreme range of temperatures between summer and winter, bringing with it massive storms. Life (for humans) would become very difficult if not impossible, with us spending all our time just repairing the damage to our homes, for example. If Earth had always been like this, we would never have found the time to invent things, to develop technology, etc. My point is that although a more eccentric orbit may be "habitable" for life (e.g. bacterial life), it would not be the relatively-pleasant environment that we do have.
...I ... moved the point, and pretty much for the reason you stated. The point wasn't that the eccentricity would take the planet out of the habitable zone, but that it would be cause extreme weather conditions. That is, it was making a different point to the other point, despite being similar in being to do with orbits and temperatures.
Philip J. Rayment 00:56, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It's not clear why the near-circular orbits are interesting. Seven of the planets (eight or nine, depending on definition) have near circular orbits, and even the ones that aren't are not all that elliptical. Plenty of exoplanets do as well, although apparently there is some uncertainty in the data. Which is in some ways ironic, because this is one case where you might be able to use data to show that earth is unique, and yet, the data show that it isn't necessarily so. Of course, the fine-tunedness argument (or what I like to think of as the "divine ecology" argument) still has issues in logic and probablity, not the least of which is that something unlikely means God exists. Sterile 01:35, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
great, then when the next cycle happens and the earths orbit becomes more elliptical, resulting in glaciation and an ice age , all will be well. Hamster 02:44, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I agree that near-circular orbits are only interesting if they are uncommon, although more precisely, we are not talking about "near-circular" orbits, but orbits within a certain range of eccentricity (which rate is near-circular). The list in your first link contains details of 426 planet (including solar ones). Of these, 286 (67%) are listed with eccentricities greater than Earth's, and 139 (33%) with eccentricities less than Earth's. However, the site also says[10] that "In the case of exoplanetary orbits, eccentricities smaller than about 0.1 are difficult to measure and so planets are sometimes assumed to have zero eccentricity." There are 127 planets (30%) listed with an eccentricity of 0. Given that Earth's eccentricity is 0.0167, statistically this means that nearly 60% of those 127 (i.e. about 76) could have eccentricities greater than Earth's. Add these 76 to the 286 listed as having eccentricities greater than Earth's, and we find that 85% of planets have eccentricities greater than Earth's.
Of course this 85% figure doesn't take into account how much greater than Earth's the eccentricities are. We could work out that figure (approximately), but we'd need to know just how much greater than 0.0167 is reasonable.
Which is in some ways ironic, because this is one case where you might be able to use data to show that earth is unique, and yet, the data show that it isn't necessarily so. Of course the Earth is unique, just as every person is unique. But your point is that we could show it being unique in ways that matter. For example, not just showing that no other planet shares the exact eccentricity, but that no other planet has a sufficiently-similar eccentricity for humans to exist comfortably. However, I think we can show something like that, although it would take a fair bit of research to show it rigorously. That is, we can show it not just by a single measure, such as eccentricity, but by the combination of multiple measures. For example, other planets are a similar distance from their sun as is Earth. But how many of those other planets are not gas giants, have inhospitable conditions, acceptable rotation and orbit times, etc. The point is that each measure can cover a wide range, yet you need all relevant measures to be within acceptable ranges, and Earth is probably unique in having all relevant measures within those ranges, whilst not being unique in any one of them.
Of course, the fine-tunedness argument ... still has issues in logic and probablity, not the least of which is that something unlikely means God exists. What issues in probability? That's the whole point of the fine-tuning argument. As for logic, it is the case that if something unlikely exists (as long as that is properly understood; a particular arrangement of sand grains in a pile of sand is unlikely, but the particular arrangement can be explained by chance), then it is completely logical to conclude that it was intelligently designed. And as God is the only realistic candidate for being the designer of the universe, it's completely logical to conclude that God is that designer.
Philip J. Rayment 02:59, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I've plotted the eccentricities from http://www.planetary.org/exoplanets/list.php so that we can see them visually. The plot point below the diamond is the eccentricity of Earth (note: the diamond itself is not Earth's; it just marks the position of Earth's in the data points below).
Keep in mind my comments above, that the zero points are because they are too small to be measured, and statistically nearly 60% of these points should be to the left of, and above, Earth's data point. That is, they could fall anywhere between zero and the first grid line (0.1).
I think this chart shows that while Earth's eccentricity is not uncommon, it's by no means average or typical.
Planet eccentricities.png
Philip J. Rayment 03:10, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

(od & ECx about 5, which I haven't read)Sterile, near-circular orbits are of interest in conjunction with the "life-zone". Any orbit, from highly eccentric to perfectly circular, still results in a non-viable planet if the orbit is outside the life-zone. An orbit within the lifezone needs to stay in the lifezone (Hamster is saying that short periods outside the zone are survivable, of which more anon) thus too high eccentricity is also non-viable. What differentiates Earth from Venus and Mars is that it is in the life zone (and its orbit is not eccentric enough for it to leave) whereas Venus and Mars are outside the life zone. I guess the summary is that Earth's orbit does not just traverse the life zone but always remains within it.
Hamster, I need numbers - beyond just the surface ocean temperature. Do you have any? By the way, the surface ocean temperature already varies by 35+° at any given time based on local insolation amount and angle. I would like to know how this would change across the life zone. I will try to find some data but if you already have it I would appreciate a copy or link. The atmosphere is actually a very poor thermal regulator compared to the oceans (IIRC the oceans regulate the atmospheric temperature), but from what I have read the ocean is not a rapid enough regulator for the kind of time periods you are proposing. Historically events effecting insolation (volcanic events) have made significant differences to air temperature that took years, not months, to normalise. On the near side of the life zone there are factors other than thermal input to consider. I think UV radiation and solar wind both become lethal further out than IR radiation (but I will look into that). This is an interesting point, and I would rather cover it extensively and get it right. LowKey 03:30, 30 August 2010 (UTC) The point wasn't that the eccentricity would take the planet out of the habitable zone, but that it would be cause extreme weather conditions Ah. So it seems you meant "fine-tuned for humanity" rather "fine-tuned for life." I was thinking fine-tuned for life. Partly this is because the broader argument altogether avoids the anthropic principle criticism. LowKey 04:52, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

On what grounds do you consider the earth to be fine-tuned for humans? Ace McWicked 05:00, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
<OT> I think that that may be an inherently funny sentence. LowKey 11:05, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Ah. So it seems you meant "fine-tuned for humanity" rather "fine-tuned for life." Actually, no. What I was really meaning is "fine tuned for most life" as distinct from "fine-tuned for any life at all". I mentioned bacterial life earlier, and bacteria is known to survive in some pretty inhospitable conditions, so I'm accepting that some life, such as bacterial life, could survive in a highly-elliptical orbit, but that most life—especially including human life—could not. In fact this probably applies more to non-human life, as humans live in a greater range of climates than almost any other species, due to their ability to control their local environment.
On what grounds do you consider the earth to be fine-tuned for humans? On the sorts of grounds listed in the article.
Philip J. Rayment 07:38, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I have been pretty rushed, so I will blame it on a sketchy reading. LowKey 11:05, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
I just wanted some clarification. One could argue the earth were fine-tuned for fish as they inhabit 73% of the worlds environment but I see you meant life in general. Ace McWicked 09:03, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
And that 99.999999999.... % of the universe is not inhabited by any living thing. Sterile 10:39, 30 August 2010 (UTC)
It would be clearer to say that The combination of the distance from the sun, the mild eccentricity of the orbit and the axial tilt combined provides a planet like earth, which has abundant water, with a range of climates and seasons which support a variety of life forms and a zone habitable by humans with minimal protective clothing and only mild seasonal variations of climate. The fact that earths orbit changes cyclicly should be considered although its outside the YEC timeline. Hamster 20:57, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

The part about probability is in archive 1 of this talk page. Unless you've taken the time to learn about conditional probability, there's no point in engaging in a discussion with you about it. Sterile 23:58, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Conditional probability is the probability given a certain condition, right? So how is that a problem for the argument from fine tuning? Your earlier discussion never adequately explained that. Rather, it dismissed the very point of the argument. That is, the universe exists, but what's the better explanation for it existing? Design or chance? One way of determining that is to look at the probability of it coming into existence by chance, which I argue is vanishingly small. If so, then the design explanation makes more sense. But your response was to pick on side comments I made and ignore the main points.
Philip J. Rayment 03:45, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
which I argue is vanishingly small. Interestingly (interesting as its related to our other discussion) it is slowly dawning on scientists that it actually might be quite common! Ace McWicked 03:57, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Design or chance? False dichotomy. Jaxe 22:48, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
False dichotomy I don't think it means what you think it means. LowKey 23:30, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
in this case a false dichotomy would exist if there is another alternative to either design or chance. Since Bodes law may apply, that would be a requirement of planetary formation in an acretion disk. Hamster 00:14, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I mentioned "first cause" in the edit summary, but perhaps should have put it in the post itself. Bode's law (or any law) exists at all from the generation of the universe either by chance or by design. Also, due to the interplay of multiple deterministic factors, the existence of a well-tuned state can only be ascribed to chance or to design. LowKey 02:36, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
er No, i disagree. No one has demonstrated that this Universe could only be formed by design , or by chance. It is entirely possible that the formation of this Universe was a neccessity according to the rules of quantum mechanics. "Universes forming like foam from a beer keg". Hamster 03:12, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
chance or by design Repeating it won't make it a true dichotomy. You have not demonstrated those are the only two possible options. (Note: Your inability to think of more is not a convincing argument). Jaxe 03:19, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I explained it, which is more than mere repetition. False dichotomy is your claiml; it is thus up to you to present an argument in support of the claim. At least Hamster took a stab at it. LowKey 05:34, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
You haven't explained anything. You repeated Philip's claim that there are only two possible options adding only that it is due to the interplay of multiple deterministic factors. What does that even mean? What deterministic factors? Why would that mean there can only be two possible options? Complete gibberish. You are making the claim and I am not accepting it until you provide adequate justification. Jaxe 05:58, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Polar bears aren't found in Indonesia, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, and just about all of the 195 countries in the world. Therefore, the Artic is fine-tuned for polar bears. And if the Artic is fine-tuned for polar bears, God exists. Bizarro world. Sterile 00:00, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

North pole tuned for bears, south pole for penguins. Whats with that ? Hamster 03:14, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
The post-flood vegetation mats must have been able to support penguins for a longer distance, as they are lighter. And the polar bears ate all the penguins that did get to the north pole. Sterile 15:22, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
False dichotomy. No, it's not, as has since been further explained here.
Polar bears aren't found in Indonesia, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, and just about all of the 195 countries in the world. Therefore, the Artic is fine-tuned for polar bears. No, the polar bears are fine-tuned for the Arctic, thanks to a system that was designed to adapt to a variety of climates.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 04:38, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Um, isn't the standard creationist argument that the universe is fine-tuned for life, not that life is fine-tuned for the universe? life : universe :: polar bear: Artic Sterile 22:54, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

It is a creationist argument, but (a) that doesn't make it the only argument, and (b) we are here talking about the Arctic, not the universe. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:58, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
so the Universe is fine tuned for life , well life on parts of earth rather than say Jupiter, and only very small parts of earth but not the arctic ? God must have built more adaptive ability into bears and seals than he did in humans. Hamster 03:36, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I think this argument is rather silly, and, as with so many arguments from critics here, I'm disappointed that I have to spell it out. The proposition that the universe is fine-tuned for life on Earth does not imply that every spot on Earth will have a completely-ideal climate, if for no other reason than the fact that variety is a good thing. That is, there will be (and is) a range of environments; a range that is really pretty narrow compared to what hypothetically could be (anything from the "climate" in the centre of a star to the "climate" in interstellar space, for example), but is still quite broad compared to what people living a comfortable life might consider "ideal"—about 22 degrees Celsius, a pleasant breeze, no rain except when you're indoors, or whatever. And rather than just creating creatures that can't adapt to different and changing environments, God creates then with a wonderful ability to adapt, and so that is what we see. God perhaps didn't provide the same ability in humans, but instead he gave us the ability to modify our environment, which means that we are the only species that lives in almost all climates on Earth, from the coldest Arctic and Antarctic to the hottest tropics. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:01, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
It's an analogy. The same type of logic is used in both cases. You can list a number of different universes in which life cannot exist, and therefore conclude that our universe is fine-tuned for life. I can list a number of non-Artic environments in which polar bears cannot exist, and therefore conclude that the Artic is fine-tuned for polar bears. And, if you deny that the Artic is fine tuned for life by using logic, then you are denying that the universe is fine-tuned for life. It is also a better analogy to the fine-tuned argument, which you have yet again turned on its head, reversing the logic. All this talk of design is a just-so story; no evidence whatso ever. Anyway, two posts was more than I intended to do in a week. Sterile 01:30, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
No, the same type of logic is not used in both cases. I'm not saying that there's "a number" of different universes in which life cannot exist; I'm saying that life could not exist in the vast majority of (hypothetical) universes, and therefore the chances of a universe being capable of supporting life are so low that we can rule out it happening by chance. This is quite unlike your Arctic analogy.
Further, my suggestion that polar bears are adapted to life in the Arctic assumes an ability to adapt (an ability which has been observed). The equivalent for the universe would be an ability for life to adapt to conditions that are so extreme that nobody seriously proposes this. Some do try and get around this by claiming that the universe appears fine-tuned for life as we know it, but without specifying just what that means or exploring the range of possible differences. For example, it's been argued that life really must be carbon-based; that any other element would not work at all (at least in any realistic sense).
All this talk of design is a just-so story; no evidence whatso ever. Yet evidence has been provided.
Did you have no reply to my 02:59, 30 August 2010 and 03:10, 30 August 2010 posts above?
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 01:58, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
You are incapable of understanding analogies, the related math, and diff-links apparently.
Are you saying that a probability of 33% is so unlikey such that God did it? Because 33% seems rather likely to me. It's sad that you don't even understand your own team's argument. Sterile 02:52, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
It's sad that you have to resort to ad hominem rather than reasoned argument. And what is the "33%" that you are referring to? Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:46, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Changed References

I have changed the link from the discover magazine to Guth's own book as it is a better indicator of his views and is far more scholarly than a pop science magazine. One is a summary from a science journalist but the other is Guth's own words from his own book. Ace McWicked 22:00, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

Also changed the comment because from nothing is the same as quantum fluctuation in the vacuum. Ace McWicked 00:32, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
To support my changes I offer the following evidence
You say that you changed the reference, but you first actually changed the wording. Given how you accuse me of being dishonest, why should I not accuse you of dishonesty here?
Your list of links amounts to elephant hurling; I have no intention of spending my time going through a big list of links like that when you can't even seem to understand what we are disagreeing on.
I disagree with your edit, and I will be reverting it, although see my further comments below about additional information. But to explain why by way of an analogy that I've used before (but which you ignored, from memory), suppose I'm visiting your place and you offer me a drink, so I ask if you've got anything in the fridge.
  • You could reply this way:
    • You: Well, there's some meat in the fridge, and there's lots of air in the fridge, as well as some plastic and glass containers. There's also some yoghurt which I guess you could drink at a pinch, plus some oranges which you could juice.
    • Me: So what is there to drink?
    • You: Well.... nothing.
  • Or you could have stuck to the point and replied:
    • Nothing.
This is what I see happening here. You explain at length what the nothingness really is, how inflation and vacuum energy and quantum fluctuations work, but when you get down to the nitty gritty, what that all amounts to is an explanation of how something can come from (essentially) nothing. So why bother with all to obfuscation when the main point was correct all along? (Except, of course, to hide the point because putting it so bluntly shows the absurdity of it.)
Of course that argument does rely on my contention that the explanation of "nothing" doesn't materially change that it is nothing, whereas you are saying that it does materially change it. I don't believe that you've addressed this particular point. Yes, you've explained at great length what "nothing" really is, but you've not demonstrated (as opposed to asserted) that all that explanation makes a material difference. And, with one exception, neither have I argued that it doesn't materially change it. That one exception is that I believe this is why Guth and others can sincerely make comments stressing the nothingness of it—because it doesn't materially change the nothingness of it. So, as I've said before, I'm not disputing the explanations of what the "nothing" is; I'm disputing that those explanations make a material difference to the nothingness of the "nothing", and in support I offer the descriptions of Guth and others.
Having said that, however, you do manage to raise a new point about Craig getting it right then attacking the theory. And this is a valid point. I've no objection (I never have) to these articles providing much more detail, such as in this case explaining what is meant by "nothing". What I object to is removing or obscuring the reference to the universe coming from nothing. Should the explanation come first or second? It depends on its relevance. As I don't consider the explanation of "nothing" to materially change the nothingness of it, I think the explanation can come second, and certainly I wouldn't want the main point lost in a lot of technical explanation. But there may be other ways of handling that.
In closing, though, I will note that in your own quote of Craig, he said that in the particular view he was describing "particles do not come from nothing as would be the case with the origin of the universe". So even Craig doesn't see this as meaning that the universe came from something.
Philip J. Rayment 06:48, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I have no intention of spending my time going through a big list of links like that when you can't even seem to understand what we are disagreeing on. That is, I have no intention of investigating what Guth is really saying, because you disagree with me. And you speak of dishonesty? Sterile 23:26, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
The problem with your allegation is that I have investigated what Guth was saying; that is, I have checked out some of Ace's sources. Philip J. Rayment 03:48, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I was concerned because I had missed a "," in that Craig sentence but didn't change it because I figured you watch the video and he makes it quite clear that meaning of nothing is far from what you suggest. And your charge of elephant hurling is laughable because a) you said you had already reviewed my evidence and b) its not elephant hurling because they all say the same thing and c) I have built over my reference list over the last few months starting small and adding as you kept disagreeing. Its not elephant hurling, its continually updating references to show you where you are wrong. Which you are. Ace McWicked 06:58, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
And do you think it is itellectually vapid of you to refer to a magazine cover over the man's actual work? To take a something specific and make it ambiguous? Ace McWicked 06:59, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
And you cant say people say it comes from nothing and quantum fluctuations within the vacuum because they are the same thing! Ace McWicked 07:17, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
what that all amounts to is an explanation of how something can come from (essentially) nothing As Craig says this is a rhetorical flourish. You are being exceedingly and odiously intellectually dishonest! Ace McWicked 07:25, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I'm disputing that those explanations make a material difference to the nothingness of the "nothing", and in support I offer the descriptions of Guth and others. Well they do make a material difference. Guth even suggests there is a significant prehistory to the universe and in physics and cosmology, as Craig says also, it is not nothing as you suggest, it is poetic license on the word and Guth et al are using that poetic license. To suggest other wise is not only wrong but also deeply dishonest when you know otherwise. You quote the words but none of the understanding.Ace McWicked 09:14, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I was concerned because I had missed a "," in that Craig sentence but didn't change it because I figured you watch the video and he makes it quite clear that meaning of nothing is far from what you suggest. Well, I did watch the video, and I've gone over that part several more times, and although I agree that there is a pause there, I can't see that it changes the meaning; I can't see any other meaning that fits what he said.
And your charge of elephant hurling is laughable because... Okay. As long as it was just a recap, I retract the charge of elephant hurling. I think I meant to qualify my comment in that regard, but I forgot to, so I'm sorry about that one.
And do you think it is itellectually vapid of you to refer to a magazine cover over the man's actual work? Is it intellectually honest of you to (a) claim that you updated references when you actually changed wording, (b) ignore my question about that in favour of criticising me yet again, and (c) misrepresenting my argument as being only a quote from a magazine cover?
And you cant say people say it comes from nothing and quantum fluctuations within the vacuum because they are the same thing! I didn't claim that they were two different things.
As Craig says this is a rhetorical flourish. You are being exceedingly and odiously intellectually dishonest! No, I'm not being dishonest (as you seem to be in claiming that you updated references when you actually changed wording, ignored my question about that, and misrepresented my arguments) in not agreeing with Craig on that point.
Well they do make a material difference. As I said, you've not demonstrated (as opposed to asserted) that all that explanation makes a material difference. Here you assert it again, but don't demonstrate it.
Guth even suggests there is a significant prehistory to the universe and in physics and cosmology... Which is not the same point as claiming that the explanations make a material difference.
I have been criticised on numerous times for allegedly responding to individual points but ignoring the main thrust (yet I've not seen anyone ever point out what the main thrust was that I supposedly ignored), yet here you are skirting around the main thrust of what I was saying about it making a material difference.
Philip J. Rayment 10:04, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
I can't see any other meaning that fits what he said. His meaning fits, throughout the entire clip, exactly what I have been saying since the very beginning. That the "universe from nothing" argument means far more than the words entail. That "nothing" in a cosmological sense means much more than the surface words would betray. He explains in detail what a universe from nothing, in the quantum physical sense, means. And this backed up by all the other sources I have given.
Okay. As long as it was just a recap, I retract the charge of elephant hurling. I think I meant to qualify my comment in that regard, but I forgot to, so I'm sorry about that one. Thanks, a recap plus a couple more.
You claim that you updated references when you actually changed wording I was updating a reference and, yes, I changed wording to reflect that. I am only guilty of being brief in my edit comment and thought it obvious what I was doing. And when I mentioned the magazine cover I was expecting you to revert my reference from his book, which is clearly a better source, over a magazine cover. Clearly it would be dishonest of you to revert to an ambiguous cover rather than the man himself. And your other quotes should have been explained to you already by the multitude of sources, including Craig, which explain what nothing means.
Here you assert it again, but don't demonstrate it. It does make a material difference because, as Craig says, the layman conception is completely different from the cosmological definition. To state the "universe comes from nothing" without any clarification as to what that refers is dishonest. There is a difference and every cite I have provided attests to that.
Yet here you are skirting around the main thrust of what I was saying about it making a material difference. Each one of my cites, including Craig, should tell you there is a material difference in that the layman concept of "nothing" is different from the quantum physical concept. I have never skirted around this and has been the point all along. Ace McWicked 10:40, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
And, if I could just point out that reason it makes a serious material difference is because the "physics of nothing" (as is oft referred to as) is a huge body of mathematics, cosmology, quantum mechanics and physics; the study and work on it stretches back well past Guth's theory. We are talking decades of work - to say that doesn't make a material difference is to deny the masses of effort put in by scientists for many disciplines. Ace McWicked 20:35, 31 August 2010 (UTC)
His meaning fits... Yet you don't explain how it supposedly fits. In that sentence it seems to me that he is drawing a contrast between the origin of particles and the origin of the universe, saying that particles, unlike the universe, don't come from nothing. You are arguing that the particles don't come from nothing, as they come from quantum fluctuations. But if this is unlike the universe, that indicates that the universe really does come from nothing.
I was updating a reference and, yes, I changed wording to reflect that. I am only guilty of being brief in my edit comment and thought it obvious what I was doing. You made an edit which changed the wording (with no change of reference), then ten minutes later made another edit in which you removed a quote, changed a reference, and reworded in a way that removed the claim of coming from nothing. Characterising this as changing a reference is not an accurate description.
It's not that I want to make a big deal of it. In fact I probably wouldn't bring it up at all, except that Given how you accuse me of being dishonest, why should I not accuse you of dishonesty here?. I believe my case for your (insignificant) dishonesty is stronger than any case you've made for me. And that's part of the point: you accuse me; but you rarely make any sort of case. You believe that my case against you doesn't hold up. But at least I've made a case for you to challenge; you've not done the same for me. You've made excuses for your apparent dishonesty, but you've not answered why you have a better case than I do.
Clearly it would be dishonest of you to revert to an ambiguous cover rather than the man himself. Only if the cover was misleading or incorrect, a point on which we've yet to agree. It's not dishonest merely on the grounds that one is a direct quote and the other isn't.
And your other quotes should have been explained to you already by the multitude of sources, including Craig, which explain what nothing means. Most fail to explain why that makes the claim of "nothing" wrong in a material way, and Craig's explanation I don't agree with.
It does make a material difference because, as Craig says, the layman conception is completely different from the cosmological definition. First, I don't believe that it is "completely" different, and second, that doesn't explain why the nothingness of "nothing" would be stressed, especially when in some cases at least the intended audience was the knowledgeable layman.
To state the "universe comes from nothing" without any clarification as to what that refers is dishonest. And I've already indicated that I have no problem with it being clarified, but you are going further and denying it.
Each one of my cites, including Craig, should tell you there is a material difference in that the layman concept of "nothing" is different from the quantum physical concept. I have never skirted around this and has been the point all along. Your sources and your arguments have been that there is a difference, and of course in your mind that was a material difference (else why bother arguing the point), but your sources and arguments were that the difference was a material one. Rather, your arguments were that there was a difference (which in your mind was a material one).
[the] reason it makes a serious material difference is because the "physics of nothing" ... is a huge body of mathematics, cosmology, quantum mechanics and physics... No, it doesn't follow that the amount of study makes a difference to whether it effectively amounts to "nothing" or not.
Philip J. Rayment 04:24, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
But if this is unlike the universe, that indicates that the universe really does come from nothing. Yeah, maybe you could say that, if you had heard nothing else of the science behind it, but in light of every other source I have given which say the same thing is should be obvious that he is referring to the commonly held idea of what the universe coming from nothing really means and it is mere baseless speculation to suggest he is talking about something else when his words are pretty clear.
you accuse me; but you rarely make any sort of case. There is a strong case in that you arguing against an idea without sufficient knowledge of what it is you are arguing. This is also extremely hypocritical given you comments about “anti-creationists” arguing what they don’t understand. I’ll also point out your previous “Ace’s Logic comment was not only extremely offensive but also dishonest because you missed out that I had provided a huge mass of evidence to back up my claims and you provided nothing to bolster yours (in that my references were a response to your original quotes).
Only if the cover was misleading How can you not see, from all the evidence I have provided and Dr. Craigs own video which address this very point that it is misleading. It would be dishonest of you to use a magazine cover, unknown if those are even Guth's words, over the man’s specific words from a scholarly reference.
I don't believe that it is "completely" different It’s not a matter of believe. Each source I have provided tells you what the physics of nothing is. Just because you don’t belief it doesn’t change the fact.
nothingness of "nothing" would be stressed Those quotes again? Jeez Philip, get over that – my many sources explain what it means and all you have is 5 or so quotes. Why are taking those quotes over technical papers and books which explain in detail what the nothing they are stressing means? Do you have any evidence that they mean something else? You quoted Paul Davies as stressing nothing but here he goes into detail about what he means. That’s why I call you dishonest because you apparently looked no further than what you wanted to hear. He even says – people get very upset when told this. They think they have been tricked, verbally or logically. They suspect that scientists can't explain the ultimate origin of the Universe and are resorting to obscure and dubious concepts like the origin of time merely to befuddle their detractors. I think that explains your position well.
No, it doesn't follow that the amount of study makes a difference to whether it effectively amounts to "nothing" or not. Yes it does actually, because this a huge swath of science that you are apparently handwaving away as meaning something it doesn’t. Ace McWicked 04:54, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
...i[t] should be obvious that he is referring to the commonly held idea of what the universe coming from nothing really means... Yes, he is referring to the commonly-held idea, and contrasting it to the origin of particles.
There is a strong case in that you arguing against an idea without sufficient knowledge of what it is you are arguing. First, it is your opinion that I have insufficient knowledge. Second, that is an argument of me being ignorant, not of being dishonest.
This is also extremely hypocritical given you comments about “anti-creationists” arguing what they don’t understand. As I'm sure I've pointed out before, when I've made that claim, it's of anti-creationists arguing against something that they've barely even bothered to study at all, and get basic points wrong, such as claiming that Noah must have had whales on the Ark, or that the Flood covered Everest. I don't make this claim of people who are ignorant of more obscure details, such as not being aware of the RATE project, for example. This situation is more like the latter, so I reject the hypocrisy charge on those grounds also.
...your previous “Ace’s Logic["] comment was not only extremely offensive but also dishonest because you missed out that I had provided a huge mass of evidence to back up my claims and you provided nothing to bolster yours (in that my references were a response to your original quotes). (Referring to this). You must be offended easily. Your "huge mass of evidence" was referred to by my comment "Ace gives his version of the facts.", which is perhaps understating it, but given the brevity and the point of the entire comment, not all that inappropriate, and certainly no worse that your frequent characterisation of me as harping on one quote when I'd provided several, not addressing points when I had, and so forth. This includes your now-repeated claim that I had not bolstered my argument, when I had in fact done so. The point of the comment was not to highlight any lack of argument on your part, but to speak as though you had settled the matter, when it was still in dispute. Your mass of references doesn't change that. Further, many of your references were not on the point in dispute.
How can you not see, from all the evidence I have provided and Dr. Craigs own video which address this very point that it is misleading. Yet I previously asked you if you were accusing the magazine of getting it wrong (in being misleading), and you ducked that question. Because my point was that if it was the magazine that was misleading, why are you directing your criticism at the creationists rather than at the magazine? So now you can answer that question that you previously ducked.
It’s not a matter of believe. How qualitatively different something is, is a matter of belief.
Those quotes again? ... Philip, get over that – my many sources explain what it means and all you have is 5 or so quotes. So you dismiss my point instead of answering it? Note that I was not simply quoting those comments, I was making a point about those quotes, and you're ducking that point.
You quoted Paul Davies as stressing nothing but here he goes into detail about what he means. Interesting article. And he repeatedly says that it all came from nothing, and his definition supports that it really is nothing.
He even says – people get very upset when told this. Told what? Told that "nothing" is not really "nothing"? NO! They get upset when told that there is no such thing as the "epoch before the big bang". He is not saying that "nothing" means a form of something, but that it means logical non-existence. I don't know how much closer to "absolute nothing" you can get than that.
Yes it does actually, because this a huge swath of science that you are apparently handwaving away as meaning something it doesn’t. No, I'm not handwaving it away. I'm pointing out that it doesn't make your case.
Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:35, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Your hypocrisy is staggering and your idiocy offensive. You have none of the reading, you claim to know what Dr Craig is really saying though I know for a fact that you are incorrect. How do I know? Because I have done masses of reading on this topic - you have done 0. Tell me then, what books have you read on Cosmology? I have explained to you what nothing in physics means. You disagree but refuse to educate yourself. You defend yourself from hypocrisy by claiming that it is in fact atheists who get the basics wrong while, in the same breath suggesting you have at least got a grasp on the topic when you haven't a clue. Trotting out tired phrases like ["The universe burst into something from absolutely nothing—zero, nada." which you attributed to Guth on this page when in actual fact he didn't say those words, the were from a magazine cover and if you have any intellectual fortitude you would have looked deeper into his work by reading his book, thereby understand what his theory and his beliefs actually were. This is why I am criticizing you and not the magazine because you have done nothing more than repeated an incorrect canard which you would have known was incorrect had you done your homework. The sheer weight of references I have provided shows you to be wrong and you have provided nothing, nada, zero to counter them. You are really quite revolting. Ace McWicked 21:28, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
As I have detailed here this is what is meant by a universe from nothing. You have provided nothing to rebut that but you own flawed education. If you have done none of the reading what position are you in to say I am wrong? Your own arrogance is on display for all to see. Disgusting. Ace McWicked 21:36, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Even more references, why you are wrong and what scientists mean by nothing...here and here. Ace McWicked 23:18, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
Here is a paul davies quote - Big bang cosmologists confidently inform us that it was the big bang which created space and time, matter and energy, that the Universe sprang causelessly and without reason - from out of Absolutely Nothing. They then take a short breath and go on to tell us that this particular sort of Absolute Nothing consisted of virtual quanta fluctuating in a false vacuum. As I have continued to say since April. Ace McWicked 23:27, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I'm pointing out that it doesn't make your case. So, I have given you 20 odd references that all say the same thing and all completely and utterly agree with what I have stated but somehow they don't make my case...? Riiiiiiiight you are in fact insane it would seem. Ace McWicked 23:30, 3 October 2010 (UTC)

Editing break in changed references

Your hypocrisy is staggering and your idiocy offensive. ... You are really quite revolting. ...you are in fact insane it would seem. Your incivility is hereby on notice. Any more of this and you will be blocked.

You have none of the reading, you claim to know what Dr Craig is really saying though I know for a fact that you are incorrect. How do I know? Because I have done masses of reading on this topic - you have done 0. That I have done no reading is nonsense. If you have to make false claims like that to make your argument, perhaps you don't have a good argument.

... which you attributed to Guth on this page when in actual fact he didn't say those words... Do you claim that I still attribute it to Guth, or do you admit, despite claims to the contrary, that I admit my mistakes? If the latter, why bring it up again now? More mud to throw?

This is why I am criticizing you and not the magazine because you have done nothing more than repeated an incorrect canard which you would have known was incorrect had you done your homework. So the magazine gets it wrong, and you criticise me for believing it? Yes, your bias is showing. Okay, I can accept that you may have reason to criticise me after first criticising the magazine, but that is not what you did. You went straight to criticising me.

The sheer weight of references I have provided shows you to be wrong and you have provided nothing, nada, zero to counter them. The first point does not follow logically, and the second is false, as I have made many arguments on the issue.

As I have detailed here this is what is meant by a universe from nothing. You have provided nothing to rebut that but you own flawed education. Translation into fair comment: You disagree with the rebuttal that I gave.

Even more references, why you are wrong and what scientists mean by nothing...here and here Trying to drown me in quantity whilst ignoring the arguments I make?

Here is a paul davies quote... Actually, it's a quote by Ralph Estling about something that Paul Davies said. And, interestingly, it quotes Paul Davies saying that the universe came from "Absolutely nothing". However, to be fair, Estling is criticising Davies for calling it "absolutely nothing" when it's allegedly no such thing, but then we don't have Davies' letter to see exactly what he did say.

So, I have given you 20 odd references that all say the same thing and all completely and utterly agree with what I have stated but somehow they don't make my case...? Riiiiiiiight As I have pointed out before, much of what you have given me is how inflation, that period just after the beginning, works, whereas the dispute was over the beginning. That is why they don't make your case.

And one more thing. I see that you have not attempted to make any rebuttal of what I said in my last post about Davies. Providing another quote from him (if it had actually been from him) does not explain the previous one. It's like I quote Fred saying that he was born in Sydney, and you say I'm wrong and produce a quote from Fred saying that he was born in Melbourne, and somehow thinking that your quote, for no better reason that it agrees with what you believed already, trumps my quote. Assuming both quotes are genuine, Fred has either lied or been otherwise incorrect in one of the claims, or there's some explanation that makes both correct (e.g. being born in the Melbourne Hospital in Sydney (I made that up; I'm sure there isn't one)). But you don't attempt to explain why my quote/argument is wrong; you just assert that because you provide a counter-quote/argument, that trumps mine.

Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:37, 4 October 2010 (UTC)

As I have pointed out before, much of what you have given me is how inflation, that period just after the beginning, works, whereas the dispute was over the beginning. That is why they don't make your case. Fail - you are failing to note that most of my sources describe how a universe is seen to come from nothing. More lies from Philip. Ace McWicked 03:05, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
(Ace has been blocked for being uncivil, and this was by no means the worst of it.) Yet again, a critic is more willing to shout "lies" than "mistake", thereby attributing malicious motive, yet making no attempt to demonstrate that I knew what I said to be wrong. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 10:19, 5 October 2010 (UTC)
Ironic, really, for someone who typed, "It's not childish to point out hypocrisy," with no justification to make such a claim. I can see why Ace is disgusted. Sterile 02:17, 6 October 2010 (UTC)
The claim was quite justified. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 02:01, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
As was Ace's. Sterile 02:55, 11 October 2010 (UTC)
No, his incivility was not justified. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 05:47, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
But yours is? You called part of his post nonsense. That's incivility. You should be blocked for two hours, to mull over the way you type to others on this site. ħuman Number 19 09:03, 14 October 2010 (UTC)
Incivility? I'm talking about hypocrisy! Sterile 22:33, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Split - cosmological argument

First, this section does a terrible job of stating the premises of any cosmological argument I've seen. It mixes bits of the contingent and infinite regress arguments and even manages to incompletely and incorrectly state their premises (unless the author was getting at some more exotic formulation of the argument that I'm not aware of, which I would have hoped an alleged encyclopedia would identify by name). Second, I question whether the cosmological argument should be called a matter of "evidence." It's not by any regular usage of that word. The non-contingent versions of the argument lack critical explanatory power since they cannot identity any particular deity as creator. Sure, there have been attempts to force the contingent argument into identifying the Christian god, but no such argument is identified in this article. It is this stretch in usage of the term "evidence" that I find objectionable. The version of the cosmological argument stated in the article is not evidence of anything except the author's lack of familiarity with the argument itself. I would suggest the cosmological argument get moved to an article entitled "Arguments for the existence of God" and expanded to (a) correctly state any one or all of the various deductive cosmological arguments (it is presently incoherent), (b) identify the significant objections to the argument since Aristotle, and (c) state that the consensus of contemporary philosophers and theologians is that the cosmological argument fails as a rigorous proof for the existence of any particular god (heck, since the number of qualified people who disagree with this proposition is so small you could even name them if you wanted). Teh Terrible Asp 15:16, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the arguments are not as well stated as they could be. I also agree that some of the arguments may not, strictly, be "evidence", although I'm not yet convinced that the word is misused so badly that we need to move text out (or, perhaps a better option, change the title of this article).
I don't know what you are referring to in the cosmological argument fails as a rigorous proof for the existence of any particular god given that it is not claiming that, and points out that it is a general argument for a creator, not for a particular god.
Of course you could try improving the article yourself.
Philip J. Rayment 04:32, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm not inclined to "improve" the reference because I don't think even in its best form it's an argument worth making. In its current state it's nonsense that borrows piecemeal from several formulations but gets none right. You should read up on the cosmological argument before you give another unhelpful and apparently poorly informed response, particularly considering it's being referred to in an article providing alleged evidence for the existence of your god. Teh Terrible Asp 16:38, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
"Teh", you are using increasingly many words to say almost nothing. If you don't want to improve the article, you don't have to explain yourself to us here. Simply work on another article, or if you must continue to rant, please seek a more constructive arena in which to do so.--CPalmer 09:50, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
If CPalmer's not straight trolling I must not know what trolling looks like. My first post was longer than my second, so the "increasingly many words" point is lost on me. Both contained real arguments, rather than contentless digs like the "almost nothing" claim. I've made my point about improving the article - it would be best improved by removing a bad argument that's poorly stated. As for any of this being a "rant," I'll leave it up to our dear readers to decide. Channeling Andy Schlafly doesn't do much for your credibility as an alleged non-parodist, Palmer. Teh Terrible Asp 03:45, 6 September 2010 (UTC)
I didn't think it was "post 2 > post 1" so much as a general trend. There was constructive commentary in CPalmer's post. If you want to see off some "straight trolling" you could start here. LowKey 05:46, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Testimonial Evidence (2)

Personal testimony is not necessarily "poor evidence for the truth of the matter." If such testimony is simply "I know person X" then yes it would certainly be poor evidence. When the testimony is "This is how I know person x" and "Here are the effects person X has had on me" they are providing "eyewitness" evidence. This not merely "personal anecdote" but the recounting of actual experience - which I am pretty sure is still acceptable evidence in most courts. If something were to be added about subjectivity, that would be a different matter, but even then there can be corroboration from others who witness said effects. Also, to dismiss the fact that millions of people claim to have a personal relationship with someone as "unverifiable" and "poor evidence" has a little taste of conspiracy theory. LowKey 01:34, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Lets examine the situation of personal testimony. Person A goes into court and tells the prosecutor under oath that "yes I killed those people, I shot them both , but I was told to do it by Fred." Prosecutor "describe Fred " A: I never actually saw him , I only heard him speak, no one else ever heard him" Prosecutor: "Your honor I move..." and so forth. This sort of testimony is indistinguishable from someone with a mental disorder. Other people may see a change in the persons behavior as a result of that persons mental state , but it is not positive evidence in itself that they are talking to God, the devil or anything else. In court this would be an uncorroborated statement and possibly hearsay. A lawyer or police trying to corroborate a statement like that would interview friends and family and get answers to questions like "when Fred visited did he walk or take a bus", "did Fred drink coffee, tea, or prefer a soft drink, did he eat cookies or ask for a sandwich", "what did he look like", "what was he wearing". What replies could Person A friends, neighbors and family give ? Hamster 02:48, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
no one else ever heard him The situation is more akin to millions of people describing their relationships with Fred, with consistent accounts. Probably it wouldn't convict Person A in your hypothetical court, but it would establish that Fred is a real person. LowKey 03:07, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Constant accounts, huh? So Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism are all the same Fred? Or are their multiple Freds? Is Fred trying to trick us like he did with those fossils? Frankly this Fred character is [deleted by umpire] me off just thinking about him. I want to punch Fred in the face but alas, I can't find him. Can you help me find Fred so I can punch him in the face for deceiving me? Jesuit 04:22, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
He didn't say that everyone had the same account, but that there were millions who did. "Fred" didn't trick anyone with fossils. Philip J. Raymentdiscuss 07:57, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
So there are millions of people who say Fred has red hair, and millions who say he has black hair, and millions who say he is bald. There are millions who say Fred eats pork but won't touch beef, and millions who say it's the other way around, not to mention the millions who say he is a vegetarian. "consistent accounts" is not a good description of the situation. --Awc 09:01, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
So why is it people keep recognizing a different Fred at every turn? And no one has offered to find Fred for me. Are we sure that Fred isn't just a figment of the collective imagination of several billion people? I'm sure after having a constant description of anything shoved down our throats by our parents we could believe and describe just about any delusion. Case in point: Mormons. Awc is absolutely correct too, many people have different lies given to them by their parents. What truly funny is that people are guaranteed to give a more consistent description of Santa then they are of Fred. By the nonsense logic disseminated here we should all believe in Santa. Of course none of us do (I hope) but yet we still pass the tradition of the spirit of Santa. Why can't we do that with Fred too? Stories about him are at times a good read but Fred, like Santa, isn't real. Jesuit 09:25, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

(od) The key point that seems to be missed is that I spoke of people describing their relationship (i.e. their own real personal experience) with a real being. The "description of Santa" analogy misses this point. Millions of people honestly and consistently (not "constantly", btw) describing their actual relationship with a being is evidence that said being exists. The example of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Hindusim also misses this point. Muslims and Hindus do not speak of a personal relationship with their deities, who in any case are not the God of Judaeo-Christianity. LowKey 12:17, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Muslims and Hindus do not speak of a personal relationship with their deities Sure they do. Not in exactly the same way as fundamental Christians do (who only represent a tenth of all Christians, anyway), but prayer and inspiration are pretty universal concepts. If you were coming from outer space, why would you give more weight to the Christians who say they have a personal relationship with a man who lived and died 2,000 years ago, rather than to the millions who say they have achieved enlightenment through meditation? Testimonials are not a very strong argument if you are objective about it. --13:48, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Muslims and Hindus do not speak of a personal relationship with their deities Bull. Total bull. Muslims blow themselves up to fulfill the personal relationship with their deities. Hindus? Hindus have Dvaita and their Brahman...as well as many other schools and personal dealings with a deity. Millions of people honestly and consistently (not "constantly", btw) describing their actual relationship with a being is evidence that said being exists So by your account their are still, what? 20-30 Fred's wandering around? The Baptist Fred is much different than the Mormon Fred and those are different than the Rapist...erm...Roman Catholic Fred. Why is Fred so tricky to pin down if he is so obvious? Why is it we have no scientific evidence (i.e. repeatable) that Fred (or Freds)exist? Jesuit 21:58, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

3000 people at once saw God

Where did you get that? (LowKey reinstated that statement.) The verse in Acts (2:41) is

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

They heard Peter preaching, and presumably were moved by the Holy Spirit, but there is no statement in the Bible that they saw or heard God Himself that day. --Awc 13:24, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I was referring to Acts 2:3-4, but you are are right that this was not the 3000 mentioned later. It was at least the apostles, but there is no real indication of how many others were present. Sorry about that. LowKey 22:43, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
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