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    Atheists and The Big Bang

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    metcalfj
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    Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  metcalfj on Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:17 pm

    This is the second in my series of debates that I had decided were a waste of time in my late teens, as there can be no sound argument formed. The basic point that I make is that atheism is equally as illogical as theism. While I believe that all people should be free to believe what ever they want in this regard, atheists who claim that their beliefs are based on logic are just as annoying as door knocking bible bashers.

    Of course there are different kinds of atheists. A large proportion fit this label simply because they do not personally believe in any divine power. In this thread I am referring to argumentative atheists who claim that theists (and to some extent agnostics) are entirely irrational in their beliefs. This group of people believe that science has provided them with a rational alternative to theology. They pull together a group of theories (such as the big bang theory, carbon dating theory and theory of evolution; just as examples, there are of course many more) and believe that this ‘proves’ that the universe is the way that it is by way of sheer luck, or extreme probability.

    My problem with sets of beliefs as above (there are probably even more variations in atheist belief than there are in theist belief, so I am trying to be careful to avoid specific generalisations) is that most if not all of these theories have been formed using reductive rather deductive reasoning. They are relied upon as being fact until someone comes up with a ‘better’ idea.

    There are also areas of wild inconsistency between these theories which are pulled together to form ‘fact’. Where these have been spotted by the scientific community, there has perhaps been some research, or just as likely, a ‘band-aid’ fix has been proposed which makes everything seem nice and logical again.

    I will give one example, just to get the ball rolling. Theories around evolution will tell you that there was some sort of cataclysmic event which eventually wiped out the dinosaurs. It is proposed that a large meteor hit the earth and sent a cloud of dust into the sky, blocking out the sun for a thousand years. This, of course, had the effect of killing most plant life (which relies on photosynthesis to grow). Without plant life, the food chain was destroyed from the bottom up. However, scientific theories on evolution also rely upon the ‘fact’ that some large species which are present today have survived since before this cataclysmic event. For the most part, these species are predatory fish and reptiles (Great White Shark, Crocodiles etc). But the claim is also made that the Rhinoceros has survived since that time. If plant life was pretty much wiped out for a thousand years, can anyone tell me how a large land based herbivore such as the Rhinoceros is still here for us to shoot at and wipe out our selves several million years later? (roll out the band-aid responses)

    We then move onto the fact that Theists can also use the theories presented by science in their version of what scripture actually means. For example, feigeleh argues that scripture not only supports, but teaches evolution as having been on of God’s mechanisms.

    Another example of ‘scientific fact’ being used incorrectly by atheists in their arguments is the Big Bang Theory. First of all, it is only a THEORY. It is based loosely on the calculated trajectories of major celestial bodies (i.e., they all came from the same place). Secondly, even if the Big Bang did occur, how does this disprove the existence of a God? Whatever existed before the space/time continuum that we are part of is well beyond our knowledge or comprehension. While this, of course, does not prove that there is a God, it also does not prove that the universe suddenly exploded into existence from nothing as atheists would argue. Atheists generally argue that the Onus is on theists to prove that God does exist, however, if an atheist is arguing that God does not exist based on scientific fact, the onus is firmly on them to prove, using a sound argument that existence has been formed without divine intervention. The onus is on them to prove what DID cause the Big Bang in the absence of a ‘God’ of some sort.

    The form of argumentative atheism that I am discussing relies upon a set of beliefs about what the universe is, where it came from, how life began and has changed over time which is based on theories which have no more tangible proof than the theologies of scripture. The fundamental question that I am asking is ‘is atheism actually a logical belief, or does it require brain-washing in the education system similar to that which scriptural belief does’. I personally think that argumentative atheism is totally illogical, but I am open to any one willing to present a sound argument to support it.

    As a parting thought, Savant once said that he does not believe in God because there is no proof. When asked to disprove God’s existence he suggested that I disprove that the world is controlled by invisible pink unicorns. This is actually easy, as no creature can be both invisible and pink. (hint, someone could invite Savant to join this forum if he has not already done so……..)

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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Jesus Christ on Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:30 pm

    metcalfj wrote: As a parting thought, Savant once said that he does not believe in God because there is no proof. When asked to disprove God’s existence he suggested that I disprove that the world is controlled by invisible pink unicorns. This is actually easy, as no creature can be both invisible and pink. (hint, someone could invite Savant to join this forum if he has not already done so……..)

    But this is exactly the point; Savant just chose a bad example. Atheism is the belief there is no God based on the fact that we have no evidence there is one, much as we have no evidence there are mermaids. Both God and mermaids have equal measure of tangible evidence in favour of them; that is none.

    This all comes back to the fact that you can't prove negatives. When you claim something, i.e. "There is a God", you must first prove it before it can be considered a justified claim. It is not up to your opponent to prove your ridiculous assertion correct; otherwise we could rattle off 1,000 ridiculous assertions and then whichever ones were not formally refuted would then hold true. Of course, we cannot prove things do not exist. This is impossible.
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  metcalfj on Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:37 pm

    True, but I am pointing out that certain atheists claim that lack of evidence of a God PROVES that there is not a God, and that it is therefore illogical to believe in a God. This, however, is not a sound argument. Without proof of an alternative (rather than proving a negative), atheism is no more logical than theism. Both are based entirely on individual beliefs.
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  master5o1 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:41 pm

    I have found my saviour and I was touched by his noodly appendages.
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  master5o1 on Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:57 pm

    If there is no God then why is Jesus_Christ still around after all these years?
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  master5o1 on Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:29 am

    metcalfj wrote:As a parting thought, Savant once said that he does not believe in God because there is no proof. When asked to disprove God’s existence he suggested that I disprove that the world is controlled by invisible pink unicorns. This is actually easy, as no creature can be both invisible and pink. (hint, someone could invite Savant to join this forum if he has not already done so……..)


    consider this:

    Invisible is pretty much the same as being transparent.
    Pink is a colour.

    Using Hexadecimal colour codes I can show how *something* can be both transparent and coloured:

    Colour for Magenta (ie. Pink) is Red + Blue in light colours: #FF00FF (Full Red, Zero Green, Full Blue).

    Adding from the RGB colour codes you can have the Alpha (opacity-transparency scale) at the end: #FF00FFFF is opaque magenta. #FF00FF00 is transparent magenta.


    If I drew a box in the gimp as colour #FF00FF and made it 100% opaque then it would be completely visible.
    If I made it 0% opaque (), it would still be referenced as magenta, however it would be in effect, invisible.


    Now if I drew a pink unicorn...
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    brendanj
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  brendanj on Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:52 pm

    > "When asked to disprove God’s existence he suggested that I disprove that the world is controlled by invisible pink unicorns. This is actually easy, as no creature can be both invisible and pink. "

    the story of the invisible pink unicorns has been used for centuries by some ( sometimes called atheists) to highlight or ridicule the pre-dominant belief system.

    it is easy to know that the pink unicorns are invisible, because, as they are everywhere, and we know we can't see them, we know they must be invisible. It takes a leap of faith to believe that they are pink.

    Today, the story of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is more in vogue, but uses the same techniques.


    Last edited by brendanj on Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:55 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : i tried to "quote" a previous post, but that failed)
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    Diaz
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Diaz on Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:04 am

    "They pull together a group of theories (such as the big bang theory, carbon dating theory and theory of evolution; just as examples, there are of course many more) and believe that this ‘proves’ that the universe is the way that it is by way of sheer luck, or extreme probability."

    This where you've got it all wrong and your post turns into a massive strawman argument. It's akin a shoving a square peg into a round hole to use the reductionist approach that all knowledge is equally valid. The logic for god falls down when looked at on the basis of prior probability, where the odds of naturalistic explanation based on the evidence is much higher than that for divine intervention.

    I'd take it that you assume that 'theory' means speculation, instead of the stricter definition of scientific theory which makes observations of data (i.e. if I drop my pen it falls to the floor) and then describes the underlying mechanisms that brings about this effect (i.e. the various theories/laws of physics. In effect the argument is one of false 'balance' which suggests that various belief systems about God are equal to the evidence that gravity exists or to use an example from biology that underpins evolution, that genetic inheritance occurs. The process is hardly random, there are laws and theories which mean that a large amount of what we know can be predicted - such as items falling to earth under the influence of gravity or that Darwin & Mendel not knowing anything about DNA could predict that genetic inheritance was occurring which is now confirmed with the mapping of the human genome.

    Atheism is simply a lack of belief regarding god. The nearest variation to that is agnosticism, which basically says the person doesn't know for sure. I'm unsure how that can be confusing.

    BTW I'm michelln over in SC just so everyone knows - I registered a while ago but haven't had time to post before now.


    Last edited by Diaz on Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:59 am; edited 1 time in total
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    master5o1
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  master5o1 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:38 am

    Oh great! We've now got a shitty actress on this forum.
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    Diaz
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Diaz on Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:50 am

    LOL.

    I assure you I'm a very good actress!
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    master5o1
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  master5o1 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 4:23 am

    Diaz wrote:LOL.

    I assure you I'm a very good actress!

    I demand a second opinion.
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Diaz on Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:35 am

    Very Happy

    Anyway to add more detail to my post, I note you cite the big bang (note: model, not theory) but then move on from there, citing an example well past that point which I'll deal with later. The Big Bang is a singularity extending through all space at a single instant, which is the best current model, however there are other contenders such as the steady state model: see here for more information - http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/cosmology_faq.html#BBevidence and it can be noted that again, it's the best fit with the data is the accepted model (so the Big Bang is the best 'fit' at present) not any model or even such things as sheer luck or what you call extreme probability. The thing is that in effect what we are looking at again is what is a best fit for the data, and it doesn't appear that divine intervention a la god calling 'let there be light' as being the causative agent for the origins of the universe and all the diversity we see around us. I believe that a lot of the hooha about the large hadron collider, which if it works would confirm the Higgs-Bosun particle, the last unobserved particle predicted among those predicted by the standard model is because yet again more knowledge while not disproving god, moves the role of divine intervention almost beyond the realm of possibility. Previously, god was invoked to explain everything, from the sun rising to disease. The issue is now that we know so much more, the role of god or any kind of divine intervention is in fact becoming smaller and smaller the more that is explained, as we know now for instance that diseases are often caused by bacteria or viruses in accordance with the Germ Theory of Disease not the capricious nature of god. Inductive reasoning can be attacked because it's flawed - it might include a degree of support for the conclusion but it does not entail it or ensure it's the truth. In contrast deductive reasoning can only be valid if the truth of the conclusion follows necessarily or is a logical consequence of the premises. It's important to understand the difference.

    "But the claim is also made that the Rhinoceros has survived since that time. If plant life was pretty much wiped out for a thousand years, can anyone tell me how a large land based herbivore such as the Rhinoceros is still here for us to shoot at and wipe out our selves several million years later? (roll out the band-aid responses)"

    The thing is that it's confusing to most people regarding dating when you are talking millions of years in time periods, but modern Rhinoceros didn't actually appear until the late Eocene (23.03-5.33 million years before the present time) in Eurasia. There have been many extinction periods over many millennia. It's hardly a band-aid response to state that the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event that caused the disappearance of most dinosaurs was 65.5 million years before the present time and Rhinos fall outside this period along with the fact that within different groups or clades the extinction rates were variable as seen in the fossil record - while many herbivores (and their predators like T-Rex) died out, omnivores, insectivores and carrion eaters survived. Crocodilian species also survived, due to various characteristics specific to the species such as being scavengers. It was more like some families were completely unaffected, others suffered heavy losses and still others were relatively unaffected - it certainly wasn't that life was wholly wiped out at all. I think that it would take a more complete understanding of the 'facts' before making assumptions about the relationship of extinction events to evolution.
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  master5o1 on Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:43 am

    YOU MEAN THAT ACTORS ARE INTELLIGENT?


    oh wait this is a religious discussion thread...ie...no intellectual value.
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    Diaz
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Diaz on Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:32 pm

    master5o1 wrote:YOU MEAN THAT ACTORS ARE INTELLIGENT?


    oh wait this is a religious discussion thread...ie...no intellectual value.

    Some of them are. study
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    metcalfj
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  metcalfj on Sat Apr 11, 2009 6:10 am

    Invisible is pretty much the same as being transparent.


    Um, no, not really.

    And Diaz, glad you could make it!
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  metcalfj on Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:56 am

    Diaz, I finally have some time to write a response, hopefully you get to read this.

    This where you've got it all wrong and your post turns into a massive strawman argument.

    Guilty as charged

    Atheism is simply a lack of belief regarding god. The nearest variation to that is agnosticism, which basically says the person doesn't know for sure. I'm unsure how that can be confusing.

    Surely you can see the difference between someone who simply does not believe in god, and someone who chooses to use science as a means to argue with theists, expecting them to change their point of view based on the 'facts' presented, or taken one step further uses their ‘knowledge’ as an excuse to personally attack theists due to their beliefs?

    “…..because yet again more knowledge while not disproving god, moves the role of divine intervention almost beyond the realm of possibility”


    My first point is that we are expected to accept scientific explanations as truth. The education system at the level that most people will experience ensures that most of us do. I have yet to personally with my own eyes see any evidence of most of the naturalistic laws and models which science uses. Obviously, we can all observe phenomenon such as gravity. But other than what you can read in books or research on the internet etc, what actual ‘proof’ have you seen with your own eyes regarding the efficacy of lets say Carbon Dating, how much first had experience have you had with fossil records. It is expected that we accept writings in these areas as ‘truth’ with no actual experience. Yet, for example, literal Christians who date the world at a much younger age based on the genealogy recorded in the bible are told that they cannot use this information as it is not proven.

    For the record, I personally accept the teachings of various fields of science as they are intended, as a work in process, a quest to greater our knowledge. I accept that scientific models certainly contradict the idea of a man like figure who doesn’t like people eating his fruit and created the world in seven days. But that is my belief, not something that I claim to be able to use to alter other people’s beliefs by quoting ‘fact’.

    My second point is that taking the Christian god out of the picture does not alter the question. The idea of an intelligent catalyst has no less (or more) credibility than a naturalistic explanation of existence. The reason being that there has to be a ‘source’ for what we know to exist. To my knowledge, science does not explain this at all. I am not trying to claim that a divine power created the universe, more that something did and there is no evidence available to us to support what that something is. With no answer in sight, the question of what or who created the universe remains a mystery, subject entirely to an individual’s beliefs.

    Until a conclusive answer is found which explains what DID create the universe (and it seems unlikely that there will ever be one), we do not have the right to claim what DID NOT create the universe (after all, we cannot prove a negative, right?)
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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Waireka on Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:07 am




    http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif

    ^^ For the readable copy...

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    Re: Atheists and The Big Bang

    Post  Lynz on Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:25 am

    Rhinoceroses are mammals. The fossil record does contain large mammals during the time of the dinosaurs. They would not have been able to exist alongside each other. The evidence for an asteroid being responsible for this particular extinction event is compelling. In particular, the lithium layer found World wide dated to this period.

    The cold period would not need to have lasted thousands of years. Only long enough for food for the largest herbivores to die off. Then everything else would have tipped over like dominoes. It is interesting that only relatively small reptilian creatures survived. Even sharks and crocodiles, while formidable predators compared to us, are minnows to those that were here 65 million years ago.

    The whole flora of the Planet changed post this cataclysm. Flowering plants for instance, did not exist prior to it.

    The Hitchens and Dawkins of the World somewhat bemuse me. With their rabid proselytising advocacy of Atheism, they appear to have a lot in common with fundamentalists. My way is the only way and the rest of you are all wrong.

    There is recent evidence that Humans are hardwired to believe in God(s). Certainly, every culture we know of since time immemorial, has believed in some form of the Divine. In light of that, I'm not prepared to blithely dismiss the possibility that such a herd memory may have some basis in truth. While a strong believer in Science, I am acutely aware of one its foundation principles: Absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence.

    The one thing we can be sure of is that by no means have we discovered all there is to discover. And some accepted scientific truths of today, will in time, be proved incorrect. And most of them will be modified.

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