A Conversation for Evolution and Creation - an Introduction and Glossary

Extra points of view

Post 1

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

I'd like to add one to the list.

The point of view that there was an "initial conditions" type of creation, where God made a universe in six days, has been laid open to question by such argunments as that advanced by Stephen Hawking, where he states that as there was no initial "moment", since time becomes meaningless at the Big Bang, there can have been no "moment" of creation, end therefore there is no room for a creator.

Fortunately, St. Augustine pointed out about 1600 years ago that God as described in the Bible appears (from careful examination of certain statements made there) to exist outside time. In fact, therefore, every moment is created -- the entire Universe from start to end being thereby being created, as it were, sideways.

This viewpoint has been adopted as Catholic doctrine and refined slightly in the light of new scientific information suggesting that time and space are more closely linked than we had imagined.

As such, the "six days" version of events being regarded as a metaphor, there is another viewpoint:

- evolution happened just as described in the theory, without "poking" to make it go correctly.
- it exists in the context of a four-dimensional space-time manifold, entirely created as a unit, rather than a "clockwork universe" which is created at the start and allowed to run.
- these two concepts are not contradictory.

This is the viewpoint I hold.

Thanks for your patience, and I await the flood of dissent ....


Extra points of view

Post 2

Giford

I don't think that this is going to count as a 'flood of dissent', but what you have described to me sounds remarkably like the standard theory of evolution. Yet from your tone, you seem to be saying it's a pro-Creation argument.

Perhaps I'm confused by the 'sideways time' bit. Science has very little to say about time except that to us it always appears to move in the same direction. Why this should be is not clear (at least, not to me!). But particle physicists in particular are as likely to plot a partcile's movement through time as through space in theoretical calculations (it's called a Feynman diagram). In other words, they often picture themselves as 'outside time looking in', rather as you have described God.

So the only difference I can see between what you have written above and the most extreme atheist-evolutionist viewpoint is that you have put 'God created the Big Bang and the universe followed from that by natural laws', whereas atheists take God out of that.

Perhaps I'm being a bit confusing myself. I'm trying to say that the "initial conditions argument" seems to satisfy both scientists and Christians (for the most part), and you just seem to have re-stated it. I don't think that anything in science rules that God is impossible, merely that he is very inactive.

Hawking, like many Big Bang theorists, is given to use God as a metaphor for 'the unknown cause of the universe', without meaning to imply 'the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-benevolent' aspect, as in Einstein's famous 'God does not play dice' quote. Perhaps that was what he meant when he said there was no time before the Big Bang for God to exist in?

Certainly, a deity should be able to exist outside time. It should be able to do anything, hence 'omnipotent'.

Gif smiley - geek


Extra points of view

Post 3

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

The "direction" of time is probably to do with entropy and information theory: apparently they are basically inversely related, that's why you can remember the past but not predict the future. Hence everything else.

In a sense you're right: also, the idea of God's omnipotence does point to the outside time bit (I think that's one of the arguments, actually, another being the fact that God never proclaims except in the present tense, including things like "before the stars and the universe, I am" ... or whatever it was ...) so it does all follow. However, there's a lot to be said for adoption of this point of view as:

- it makes the question of whether it was six days or billions of years irrelevant, and hence not worth arguing about
- it makes the question of a universe being set in motion and then "poked" when things go wrong obsolete -- if the universe is created in a big four dimensional chunk then there is no need to poke anything.

I suppose that's it. I just get hacked off that people think you have to be lying or fundamentally stupid to believe strongly both in God and that the theory of evolution accounts for all the outward accidents of human beings (it doesn't, by the way: particle physics does smiley - smiley). I'm not lying or stupid, and I do ... sad but true

The reason I came here in the first place was to ask if there was an answer, or even a conjecture, to the question at the end of A773705. Apparently there is more of one than I thought, and I'm wondering why I haven't heard about it yet!


Extra points of view

Post 4

Giford

Yeah, but WHY does it go in the direction of increasing entropy? That's a definition, but not an explanation. As far as I know, no-one has ever come up with a logical reason.

Ah, now I will dissent with 'it makes the question of 6 days or 6 billion years irrelevant'. The age of the universe is still 'real', even if God was outside it when he created it.

Are you trying to say that God created the universe instantly? Surely that's a logical fallacy. What is an instant when you are outside time?

In other words, saying that God is outside time looking in on the universe does not make time any more or less real. The Universe is still billions of years old. (Or at least, the part of it we are in is.) It has been here for billions of years.

Just because God has equal access to the start, middle and end, doesn't make them any less a start, middle and end. The frame of a film 2 minutes in is still 2 minutes into the film as far as the characters in the film are concerned, even if the reel of film is strung out on the projection room floor. Reality is independent of your viewpoint.

Gif smiley - geek


Extra points of view

Post 5

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

> Yeah, but WHY does it go in the direction of increasing entropy?

Because, as I have said, memory relates to information, which is related to entropy, therefore it is possible to remember past experiences, but not future ones. Were time completely symmetric future memory would be not merely possible but obvious.

Of course, you'd imagine we started with complete memories and then forgot them slowly ... but when a decent explanation does come, that's where it'll be from.

Unless of course you're asking why there is entropy at all -- in which case, why is there gravity? I don't know and I never will.

> The age of the universe is still 'real', even if God was outside it when he created it.

I meant from the creationist viewpoint. If God creates all the universe, at all times, then there is not any reason to cling to the belief that it was created in six days, since (as you have rightly asserted later, although why you thought I had asserted otherwise is beyond me) an event taking place outside time has no duration. In that sense, therefore, there is no longer any theological obstacle to accepting the fact that our position in the universe is some billions of years after the beginning.

> Are you trying to say that God created the universe instantly? Surely that's a logical fallacy.

As is your use of the past tense.

But our language isn't well-adapted to dealing with four-dimensional description ...

... Dr. Dan Streetmentioner is your man for this.

> What is an instant when you are outside time?

That would be a great song lyric.

> Reality is independent of your viewpoint.

It all depends what you're talking about ....


Extra points of view

Post 6

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

Hey, if you want to get some insight into time direction, check these guys out!

[Broken link removed by Moderator]

It's really cool.

I'm off to gawp.


Extra points of view

Post 7

Giford

All of which leaves us no closer to understanding why entropy doesn't increase with height or from left to right. What makes time different from the other dimensions? You're right, we'll probably never have a good answer to that question.

"As is your use of the past tense" - not if I was attributing the use of the past tense to you smiley - winkeye

I'm still struggling with how this has any bearing on the Genesis account. Genesis still says 'on the sixth day, God created Man'. Man still didn't appear until billions of years in, and if God is outside time, he can't have 'done' anything on the sixth day. A better reading would be 'God arranged for Man to appear during the sixh era'. Surely we are getting further and further from what the Bible says?

Never mind our language, I'm not sure our minds are particularly well-adapted to thinking in four dimensions!

And your link has been removed smiley - sadface

Gif smiley - geek


Extra points of view

Post 8

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

Bum -- it was a fantastic link.

The fact is that the Bible contains a value for pi (3 -- they didn't really sweat it all that much ...). Some foolish people (but not as foolish as the good people of Indiana -- search "most inaccurate value of pi" on google for more) decided to enact this in legislation, or at least so I have been repeatedly told. Anyway, the purpose of the bible is not, I would submit, numerical accuracy, and in the case of pi the book could easily be doubled in length without adding a great deal to it -- even putting in an algorithm for FINDING pi (had they known it) would have been a waste of effort, really ...

... anyway, the point is that the creation story isn't so much about explaining how the universe got here as Why People Are Like This. You can regard it, quite interestingly, as a metaphor for the fact that by accepting consciousness, we also accept moral responsibility for our actions -- the knowledge of good and evil ....

Larry Niven has a lot to say about this in Protector.

Perhaps you didn't accept consciousness, but I do smiley - smiley


Extra points of view

Post 9

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

Oh, yes:

You can find the "broken" link by googling for "calresco".


Extra points of view

Post 10

Giford

Cheers, that was the kind of subtle hint on website addresses I hoped you might give smiley - winkeye It'll take me a while to examine though.

I've seen the pi thing before. In fact, I've looked up the ref. It looks to me like they were just a bit sloppy with their measurements. They are describing a disc, something like '3 cubits around and 2 across': hence pi=3. But if it was 'a little over 3 cubits around and just under 2 across', pi could be right. So they only measured to one significant figure, but then, they were a non-technological society. As an attack on the whole of Christianity, it's lacking that little something, isn't it? Anyway, pi is three to one significant figure.

I've heard the law was real, but I think it has been misinterpreted - I don't think it had anything to do with the bible.

Gif smiley - geek


Extra points of view

Post 11

Andrew Wyld [kt:'Burning Pestle', kp:'Mutamems, Ideodiversity', Zaph.]

I think it's one of those things it's tempting to misinterpret -- and in any case, four? Four is just silly.

Try "heroic failures" on some search engine for some more delights ....


Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more