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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Agent View Post
    Forget Hawking. Richard Dawkins has done a fabulous job of explaining why A) there is probably no God, and B) evolution is a fact.

    I've just recently finished reading The God Delusion, and The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution. If only more people could put in the effort to read and understand these books, the world would be a much saner place.

    I could not possibly agree with you more!

    The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins is an exhaustive examination of evolution. The book isn't poetic, though it is passionate but not emotionally so; it takes evolution beyond a nice theory in which you are free to believe in or not, doesn't mix it up with "intelligent design" in which you can have your cake and eat it too, and leaves you with a decision to make... you believe the science, not just the evidence from one field of science, but the corroborating evidence from many scientific disciplines that evolution is real and it's fact.

    As I've said before, God & Science cannot mix.
    I know it's not politically correct to say such things, but it is the truth.
    God and Evolution simply put, you believe in one or the other, not both.



    And if mountains of scientific research isn't to your liking, as you'll find in The Greatest Show On Earth, then try The Blind Watchmaker, also by Dawkins.
    Last edited by Sparrow; November 7th, 2010 at 06:42 AM.

  2. #32
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    I think an awful lot changes with the definition of "God," though. Dawkins et al are most often talking about the societal roles ascribes to God, which has more to do with the qualities of God and the necessity of his existence to establish our own.

    The question being addressed here by Hawking isn't whether or not God exists in the social sense -- the big guy who plays an active role in how the progression of the universe is shaped -- but the very question of existence itself. Not our existence, but all of existence.

    That's what Hawking was after, I think, when he said that philosophy is dead. Any debate that doesn't focus on the root issue -- where does ALL of existence come from? -- is an exercise in philosophy, which necessarily includes capably equipped "intelligent observers" to belabour the points. Which is to say, the God in the debate between you and me is a philosophical construct of the "intelligent observers." The "God" in the debate about evolution (where, I agree, there really shouldn't be any debate) is a philosophical issue -- it may be supported by science, but it's ultimately philosophy.

    Science that excludes philosophy, on the other hand (science that excludes you and me, in other words), can address the actual root question -- from what does existence itself arise? Nevermind us -- what is the universe and where does it comes from?

    This changes the question of us intelligent observers -- instead of viewing us as an anomaly, we are a product of the laws of science.

    Evolution is a great scientific principle for explaining us, but in this sense it's a question inside of the question of where existence itself comes from. Which is to say, evolution describes a process within existence, but does not precisely describe existence itself.

    Any unified theory needs to take all processes that occur within our existence into account. So it seems to me that while Dawkins et al are useful to the discussion, they're a smaller, specialized issue within the real question.

    God is not a necessary condition for evolution to occur -- that we know. Nor is God necessary for the formation of lifeforms -- that we know. The question now is whether or not God is a necessary condition for all of existence itself.

    The science here is a lot murkier than evolution, which is comparatively easy to support. God can be ruled out comparatively simply, and all the definitions that go with it. But as for the beginning of existence itself...?

    Can science answer that question? Has it? Or is it just moving philosphy up the chain?

  3. #33
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Forgive me if I confess, I have no idea what God is. Or what God is meant to be. Or why we need the concept to begin with. We use the word so often, the name, yet it evokes nothing but a friendly white-beared old man in me. I really can't get past that image. When He's not anthropomorphized, He slips away from me totally.
    Last edited by Gary Wassner; November 7th, 2010 at 11:05 AM.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Science that excludes philosophy, on the other hand (science that excludes you and me, in other words), can address the actual root question -- from what does existence itself arise? Nevermind us -- what is the universe and where does it comes from?
    M-theory

    It is fairly well established where the universe came from. It is the result of a collision between two BRANES within the 11th Dimension. Not science fiction. Cutting edge cosmology. The predictions made by the math involved are being proved by the discoveries made by Particle Colliders. Many exotic particles the Math has shown should be there have been found. With the LHC ramping up in Cern we are probably five years away from a clear understanding of the Higgs Boson mechanism. And Fermilab just made a fantastic discovery regarding matter-antimatter asymmetry.
    http://www.physorg.com/news193403945.html

    Math explains our existence just fine. I personally do not need a GOD or a moral universal truth. I have no problem with others needing that as long as the do not push that need onto myself or others.

    Furthermore science doesn't exclude philosophy. Philosophy is very much a scientific pursuit. Trying to make sense of how one consciously interacts with reality.

    Philosophy and religion are very different disciplines.

  5. #35
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    Can't resist...

    Richard Dawkins is a gold mine of awesome quotes. Here are a few of my favourites:

    "We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further." - Richard Dawkins

    "I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." - Richard Dawkins

    "Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence." - Richard Dawkins

    "The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living... and it does so, if anything more effectively, if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite finite." - Richard Dawkins

    “In [one] handful of soil there are about twenty-five billion bacteria. That’s four times the entire human population of the planet. We humans, and the animals we can actually see, are a tiny fraction of life on Earth. In the perspective of the vastness of the universe and of geological time, we are insignificant. Some people find that thought disturbing, even frightening. Like Darwin, I find the reality thrilling.” – Richard Dawkins

    “Relativism – the quaint notion that there are many truths, all equally deserving of respect, even if they contradict each other – is rife today. It sounds like a respectful gesture towards multiculturalism. Actually, it’s a pretentious cop-out. There really IS something special about scientific evidence. Science works. Planes fly, magic carpets and broomsticks don’t. Gravity is not a version of the truth, it IS the truth. Anybody who doubts it is invited to jump out of a tenth floor window. Evolution, too, is reality. You don’t decide to believe it, or not believe it, on the basis of whim or culture. The evidence supports it. Evolution is the plain truth.” – Richard Dawkins
    Last edited by Evil Agent; November 7th, 2010 at 02:10 PM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fung Koo View Post
    Evolution is a great scientific principle for explaining us, but in this sense it's a question inside of the question of where existence itself comes from. Which is to say, evolution describes a process within existence, but does not precisely describe existence itself.

    Any unified theory needs to take all processes that occur within our existence into account. So it seems to me that while Dawkins et al are useful to the discussion, they're a smaller, specialized issue within the real question.

    God is not a necessary condition for evolution to occur -- that we know. Nor is God necessary for the formation of lifeforms -- that we know. The question now is whether or not God is a necessary condition for all of existence itself.

    The science here is a lot murkier than evolution, which is comparatively easy to support. God can be ruled out comparatively simply, and all the definitions that go with it. But as for the beginning of existence itself...?

    Can science answer that question? Has it? Or is it just moving philosphy up the chain?


    Well, that question is, unless there are bigger things we can't imagine, the end game. If we can beyond a reasonable doubt prove the Big Bang then we would need to know if that event was a beginning, or simply an event in a much grander scheme.

    If no creator exists than to my mind the question of Why?.. no longer applies. Even questioning how our Universe came into being is a specialized issue within the ultimate question... where did all this energy/matter come from in the first place, and what of the trigger that brought it into existence... are we to assume this original state was without cause?

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    Forgive me if I confess, I have no idea what God is. Or what God is meant to be. Or why we need the concept to begin with. We use the word so often, the name, yet it evokes nothing but a friendly white-beared old man in me. I really can't get past that image. When He's not anthropomorphized, He slips away from me totally.
    To me there is a deeper meaning in God.
    We know Prehistoric Man conceived certain ideas which led to rituals and later to religious practices. Having the capacity to imagine such things as God/Gods and a cause and effect system that brings into being supernatural forces is the precursor to science. I don't think we would have ever got to Science without first having the concept of a Supernatural Force.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    Well, that question is, unless there are bigger things we can't imagine, the end game. If we can beyond a reasonable doubt prove the Big Bang then we would need to know if that event was a beginning, or simply an event in a much grander scheme.

    If no creator exists than to my mind the question of Why?.. no longer applies. Even questioning how our Universe came into being is a specialized issue within the ultimate question... where did all this energy/matter come from in the first place, and what of the trigger that brought it into existence... are we to assume this original state was without cause?
    The big bang has been proven. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation IS the echo of the big bang and it is literally everywhere.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_...ound_radiation

    Furthermore the big bang is not a particular unique event. Most cosmologist now can say with a fair amount of certainty that big bangs happen all the time. 11th dimensional physics makes this possible. Infinite number of universes each with its own law of physics. This is what the greatest minds in cosmology and astrophysics are working on right now. We are through the looking glass and just beginning to peek through the other side. The singularity that gave rise to the big bang is a standard mechanism of two BRANES interacting with one another. In theory if one had enough energy one could effectively create a universe in their basement. The new universe and this universe would only share common space for but the smallest of moments before inflation occurs and that new universe CREATES ITS OWN SPACE TIME. A space time completely cut off from this one.

    Fairly straight forward stuff. The Math is complicated but conceptually it isn't hard to grasp and certainly doesn't need a GOD to make it work.

  9. #39
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Sparrow, I have no issue with your logic here. Perhaps early man did conveive of God in the effort to understand. No doubt. But early man also imagined many things as causes of events that weren't real. We like to believe. And when we don't understand something, we fall back upon faith.

    Evil Agent, I agree with you regarding the plethora of quotes available from Dawkins. Much like Nietzsche I suppose, though I find the brilliance and insight of Nietzsche to surpass that of most others.

    There are some things we simply can't and never will understand. And we don't need to. So why attribute them to something else we can't understand and don't really need to?

  10. #40
    Third Eye
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner View Post
    There are some things we simply can't and never will understand. And we don't need to. So why attribute them to something else we can't understand and don't really need to?
    I think everything can be understood. The question becomes can the human race survive long enough to understand it all? I am a pessimist and my hope for the future is all but gone.

    What frustrates me is the sheer amount of people who simply blindly accept. How many kids grow up believing exactly what their parents told them to believe never once questioning those beliefs? How many people do you hear talk about the will of god? How many people sit back, desensitized, waiting for some savior to come? There is no savior. We live on a tiny blue planet that circles a rather average yellow dwarf star on one of the outer bands of a rather average spiral galaxy. One star amongst 100 billion other stars in this galaxy alone. One galaxy amongst billions of other galaxies. We are insignificant. The only true significance we have is that which we create for ourselves. Until people move away from the concept of I and embrace the collective concept of we I don't see anything changing.
    Last edited by Third Eye; November 8th, 2010 at 07:14 PM.

  11. #41
    Saturn Comes Back Around Evil Agent's Avatar
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    I have not yet tackled Nietzsche. I'm currently reading Dawkins (and just bought a few books by Christopher Hitchens), but the truth is that these are probably the first non-fiction/philosophy/science books I've read since I finished university about 8 years ago!

    I find I'm enjoying it more than fiction these days, and maybe I will actually up for tackling some Nietzsche down the road.

  12. #42
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    My all time favorite quote:

    Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. ~ Denis Diderot

  13. #43
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Ah, just skimmed through this entire thread. Lots of good stuff and interesting things to think about. If I didn't have NaNo stuff to do, I'd think some more and offer my own warp opinions, but got to go.

    But one thing, I do believe that a Belief and Science can co-exist. I think Betty Cross said it best with the idea of regression.

    I happen to not believe, and find wonder in all things simply because they are wonderful whether a god (which one?) created them or not.

  14. #44
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    It is fairly well established where the universe came from. It is the result of a collision between two BRANES within the 11th Dimension.
    My mind immediately wonders where the dimensions and branes came from. And I immediately return to Fung Koo's statement. which I'll edit for the circumstances:
    Quote Originally Posted by @Fung Koo
    -- from what does existence itself arise? Nevermind us -- what is the universe and where did the dimensions and the branes comes from?
    Context, I guess. Everything depends on context.

  15. #45
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Nietzsche's more of a revelation than God. At least in my opinion. Just what anyone really gets out of the bible i'm not sure. I see people reading it daily like a mantra. Does it numb the brain? Or is there something so profound in it that one benefits from reading it over and over and over again? Unlikely.

    Faith, once again, allows us to do all kinds of foolish things.

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