A Conversation for The Tension Between Science and Religion

Without Faith I am nothing

Post 1

Insight

You started with the quote:
'I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, 'for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing.'

I just think it should be pointed out somewhere in h2g2 that the quote, "without faith, I am nothing" was said by and applied to, not God, but Paul. (I think it was Paul. Anyway, the point is that it was a human). God still exists whether we believe in him or not, it is us who lose a part of ourselves if we refuse to put faith in God.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 2

Hoovooloo

Quick question, Insight - have you ever read a book called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", by Douglas Adams? Because that's where the quote I used was taken from. And it *was* God that said it, there, in the Entry about the Babel Fish. This was a humourous reference to a work of humourous fiction.

As to whether God exists whether you believe in him or not - your call. The question is academic, because millions, even billions of people DO believe in him. So it's not really something you could discuss meaningfully.

Thanks for reading and commenting, btw...
smiley - cheers

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 3

Uncle Ghengis

What the Bible says is:

'Without faith, it is impossible to please God.'
Letter to the Hebrews ch:11 v:6.

This letter was possibly written by St.Paul although it does not expressly say so (like many of the other epistles.)

Strangely, the Bible does not really contain an argument or proof of the existence of God. It simply states that there is a God. The nearest it gets to acknowledging the possibility of a different view is

'The fool says in his heart "there is no God"' Psalm 14:1

and also

'For the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.' Romans 1:20


One further point...

You mention that faith does not allow for questioning... I disagree.
I find that my own belief in God comes partly from a questioning. God does not demand that I accept his existence on a 'hunch' or simply because the Bible says that there is a God. Rather, I see evidence for His existence but still ask questions...

It seems that while I 'know' various things - they don't all fit together. I'm interested in Physics and Cosmology and 'know' a bit about these things. Also, I 'know' a good bit of biblical history - even things which don't sound so scientific. How do I fit this knowledge together ? Well I don't. I have to be honest with myself and say that this Jigsaw puzzle is too hard for me. I have many questions about Creation and Evolution - but I don't exactly accept either at face value. Instead, I refuse to be dogmatic (and to be honest I find many 'scientists' are MUCH more dogmatic than most Christians.)

Let's all be honest and say that there are many HUGE gaps in our understanding.

Howard


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 4

Hoovooloo

Why is it Christian seem so humourless? This thread seems to exist solely for Christians who miss the point. The opening quote for this entry is something we humans call A JOKE.

Douglas Adams was often baffled by letters from fans demanding he explain the message behind the books, or the reasons for particular twists to the plot of the Hitchhikers Guide, and he would patiently explain that there was no message, and that the plot was based on the logic of jokes and that was pretty much all there was to it.

Now, there IS a point to putting that quote there - it makes the observation that proof and faith are mutually contradictory. It's not trying to contradict the Bible, and it's not trying to make out that it's a quote from the Bible, the clue to this being the attribution printed immediately after it. I'm amused that not one but two Christians have so far found it necessary to come here and tell me what the Bible says in response to that quote.

Moving on to a specific response to the previous post...

"You mention that faith does not allow for questioning... I disagree."

Hmm. OK. I didn't actually say that, I said faith requires that you do not question. If you question, you're surely having a crisis of faith - if you HAVE faith, what need is there to question? But we'll let that pass.

"I find that my own belief in God comes partly from a questioning. God does not demand that I accept his existence on a 'hunch' or simply because the Bible says that there is a God."

I think he does. He seems unwilling to provide any other reasons to believe in him, otherwise *everyone* would believe in the Christian god, instead of about one in six people.

"Rather, I see evidence for His existence but still ask questions..."

Really? You see evidence? Where? What is this evidence? On what basis do you evaluate it? Because, regardless of what the evidence is, if you are evaluating it from a starting point of believing in a god, then your reasoning is faulty and your opinion worthless.

I, on the other hand, start from the position of assuming NOTHING. I do not assume gods exist, and I do not assume that they do not exist. I have never seen or even heard of any evidence which even comes close to proving they exist, so the rational conclusion is that they do not. That's how evidence works, you see. You don't presuppose a conclusion, otherwise you'll likely reach that conclusion regardless of the evidence, even bending, ignoring or inventing spurious evidence to support your prejudiced position.

"It seems that while I 'know' various things - they don't all fit together."

Why do you expect them to? What in the world makes you think that the universe has to make sense to you? And what in the world makes you think that even if it did, that you have either the intellect or the time to learn enough to perceive that overall pattern? Here's the news - the universe is a big, complicated place, and we are a tiny, insignificant part of it and it has NO obligation to make sense to us. Science has made MASSIVE strides in increasing our understanding of the universe and in making our lives more comfortable, tolerable and longer as a result. At almost every step it has achieved this by rejecting the teachings of the Bible, and because of that its potential to improve people's lives has been vehemently opposed and suppressed by the leaders of organised religion.

"I'm interested in Physics and Cosmology and 'know' a bit about these things. Also, I 'know' a good bit of biblical history - even things which don't sound so scientific. How do I fit this knowledge together ? Well I don't."

Why would anyone try? I don't try to fit together my knowledge of physics and "The Lord of the Rings".

"I have to be honest with myself and say that this Jigsaw puzzle is too hard for me."

You're still making the basic error of assuming that Life, the Universe and Everything is a puzzle with a solution. Your simple human desire for explanation demands that at some level the universe makes sense, and you just don't want to accept that it doesn't. So, given that for you there has to be an Answer, it follows that there must be someone who posed the Question and therefore knows the Answer - a god, in other words. What's frustrating to me is that people cannot see that there is NO reason to think that there is an Answer.

Good grief, have you people ever *read* the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?! The single most famous joke in that book, the one thing that almost EVERYONE in the world knows about it, was the *preposterous* idea that a computer could sit and think and come up with the Answer to Everything, and that it could be a simple number - 42. It's a GREAT punchline, it's a BRILLIANT joke, and religious people laugh at it all the time without realising it's aimed straight at them. The whole bloody point of that joke is that it is STUPID in the extreme to think that Life, the Universe and Everything has an "answer" that makes sense to anyone. It's incredible to me that people can see that that is funny, laugh at it, and then go to church the following Sunday and not feel in the least stupid. Try some joined up thinking.

"I have many questions about Creation and Evolution - but I don't exactly accept either at face value."

Good. Question evolution, and the scientists will, usually, happily point out where they're uncertain, what they don't know, and why they think what they think. THEY don't accept it at face value. Question Creation, and Creationists will lobby the government to have your point of view suppressed or devalued.

"Instead, I refuse to be dogmatic (and to be honest I find many 'scientists' are MUCH more dogmatic than most Christians.) "

If you meet a scientist who is dogmatic, they're not doing science. On the other hand, many scientists are much more certain of their science than Christians are of Christianity, and much less prepared to hear it devalued, for very good reasons. This is NOT dogma, and should not be confused with it. Dogma implies a faith position, and science is NOT a faith position. This is a common nonsense trotted out at science by ignorant religious types.

"Let's all be honest and say that there are many HUGE gaps in our understanding."

Science has no problem at all admitting that. I personally have no problem at all admitting that. I also have no particular need to fill the gaps in my understanding with infantile, primitive superstition. Small children are often told that their Christmas presents are delivered by a fat, bearded man who arrives on a flying sleigh and can see what they're doing all the time. They are told this, it seems, so that in the weeks and months before the midwinter solstice, their behaviour can be better controlled by their carers, who say things like "if you don't behave, Santa won't come". Children often ask nitpicking questions about Santa (e.g. how can he get round all the children in the world in one night?), which their parents answer with lame rationalisations which would only fool an ignorant child. Sooner or later, usually well before the age of ten, children become too intelligent to be fooled by such fairy stories. The gap in their understanding of where Christmas presents come from is filled.

They continue to ask nitpicking questions (where did the universe come from? what's life FOR?), but unfortunately, nobody knows the answers to these questions. Worse still, if you think about it rationally for a moment, there's no reason to believe such questions even HAVE answers. There's no reason to believe they even make sense as questions. Nevertheless, since we're capable of forming those questions in our language, people demand answers, much as children do. So we fill the gap with fairy stories, and childish superstition. Some of us grow out of it, and open our eyes to the world. Many of us do not.

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 5

Uncle Ghengis

Firstly, apologies - my previous post was a meant as a reply to the thread as a whole, not merely your most recent contribution. (Hence, you may not have said some of the things I replied to, but others did.)

Yes I have read all of the Hitchhikers Guide series (and listened to the original radio series, way back in the early 80's too.) And yes I understand the Joke. (And found it funny too.)

The biblical quotes were not meant as a correction to Douglas Adams' work, but to point out that Christians do not have to have their brain removed in order to believe. Why would I possibly believe in God without any evidence !???

I have faith, but I think I understand the word in a different way to you. To me faith is belief in something because of evidence - NOT a blind acceptance. (Why would anyone want to be that stupid?)

Of course much of the evidence is not 'scientific' (it's hard to even conceive of 'doing experiments on the existence of God') Instead, the evidence is (for the most part) historical - but it is still evidence.

It does seem that we agree on one thing though: we should not be so bold as to think that everything should make sense to us. We're only human - how could we understand anything as big as the Universe ?

Oh. And I don't exactly seek 'meaning' in the Universe, any more than I would seek 'meaning' in a lump of rock.

Howard (Uncle Genghis)


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 6

Hoovooloo

"I have faith, but I think I understand the word in a different way to you. To me faith is belief in something because of evidence - NOT a blind acceptance.

Belief in something because of evidence is not faith. If you have evidence, why would you need any faith? I don't need "faith" to tell me there's a table in front of me - I can just touch it. No faith required. I don't need faith to reassure me of the existence of the sun - I can SEE it. I don't "believe in" the sun, or my table, or whatever. I don't even "believe in" electrons, because despite the fact that I can't see, feel or taste them, all the evidence of my education in chemistry tells me that something described by the word "electron" exists, and every single thing that has ever happened in my experience reinforces the fact of their existence. NOTHING that has ever happened to me, not a single experience in my entire life, gives me ANY reason whatever to believe in the existence of gods. As an explanation of anything, they simply don't work.

"(Why would anyone want to be that stupid?)"

Now you're asking.

"Of course much of the evidence is not 'scientific'" (it's hard to even conceive of 'doing experiments on the existence of God') Instead, the evidence is (for the most part) historical - but it is still evidence."

In what sense? There is at least as much evidence for the existence of other gods than yours, by that measure (examples include Zeus, Odin, Herne the Hunter and many others). Why do you not believe in them? The "evidence", as *you* call it, is just as good.

"It does seem that we agree on one thing though: we should not be so bold as to think that everything should make sense to us. We're only human - how could we understand anything as big as the Universe ?"

But it is that search for meaning which creates your need for a god. Your belief in a god is a manifestation of your inaccurate but understandable need to believe that even if the universe is completely incomprehensible to *you*, that *someone*, *somewhere*, created, understands it, and even has a purpose for it. If you're talking "bold", let's talk about how "bold" it is to believe that an entity could be powerful enough to create the whole of the universe, and at the same time would manifest itself as one of the dubiously intelligent inhabitants of an insignificant rocky speck within that creation. Imagining ourselves to be that central to the business of the universe - that IS bold. Or self-deluded to the point of comedy.

Of course the book recording this manifestation was written by people so backward that they thought the earth was flat at a time when anyone with a boat knew better, so it's hardly surprising they also thought we were the centre of the universe and the most important thing in it.

That's one of the big problems between science and religion, particularly Judeo-Christian religion - they, for so long, held man to be the pinnacle of Creation and the greatest and most important of their god's works. And little by little, from Copernicus onwards, science has comprehensively demolished that delusion. The Total Perspective Vortex has been unleashed on religion, and it has never had a reasonable answer to it.

H.





Without Faith I am nothing

Post 7

Uncle Ghengis

Hm. Is that a piece of fairycake? Mmm! ZB.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 8

Hoovooloo

smiley - laughsmiley - cake Chomp smiley - puffsmiley - winkeye

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 9

Insight

Let me just point out a few misunderstandings and inaccuracies.

Firstly, my first comment. I know where the quote comes from, but when Douglas Adams quoted it, it sounded like he was quoting it from the Bible (since the Bible contains similar words). But he said that the phrase was said by (and therefore applied to) God, whereas it was actually by a man. Since I noticed this when watching the TV version, I wanted to correct it on H2G2, and this seemed as good a place as any.

Secondly, to Uncle Ghengis: 'Without faith, it is impossible to please God.'
Letter to the Hebrews ch:11 v:6.
That wasn't actually the scripture I meant. I was referring to 1 Corinthians 13:2, but I remembered it wrong anyway. What it actually says is 'If I ... do not have *love*, I am nothing'. Oops. Now I've got my own mistake, so this reply isn't just going on at you two!

Finally, Hoovooloo said : 'Belief in something because of evidence is not faith.'
Well, I guess it depends on your context, but in the context of the Bible, that is faith, because Paul defines it himself, in Hebrews 11:1 -
"Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not yet beheld."


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 10

Hoovooloo

"I know where the quote comes from, but when Douglas Adams quoted it, it sounded like he was quoting it from the Bible (since the Bible contains similar words). But he said that the phrase was said by (and therefore applied to) God, whereas it was actually by a man."

Um, Insight... have you got any sense of humour at all? Can you not recognise a joke when you hear one? Apparently not, since you feel the need to "correct" them. smiley - laugh

"Finally, Hoovooloo said : 'Belief in something because of evidence is not faith.'

Well, I guess it depends on your context, but in the context of the Bible, that is faith, because Paul defines it himself, in Hebrews 11:1 -
"Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not yet beheld.""

"Assured expectation of things hoped for" seems to me to be entirely consistent with a definition of faith as "belief in something despite complete lack of evidence."

"evident demonstration of realities though not yet beheld" is an even clearer description of the LACK of evidence which "faith" implies. If something is "not yet beheld", you need faith. If it is beheld, you don't NEED faith, because you can SEE it. Duh!

So, belief in something because of EVIDENCE is not faith.

Belief in something in the teeth of a complete lack of evidence - THAT is faith, as your own quote proves, thank you.

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 11

Uncle Ghengis

No Hooloovoo. The "evidence of things hoped for" - suggests that there *IS* evidence, but not a full realisation.

It's like if I receive a big fat tax-return cheque from the Inland Revenue - I have evidence that causes me to believe I can afford that nice new digital watch I saw in the shops. But only when I pay the cheque in to my bank account is it fully realised - the money becomes 'mine'. That's just what St.P meant in Hebrews 11:1


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 12

Hoovooloo

"It's like if I receive a big fat tax-return cheque from the Inland Revenue - I have evidence that causes me to believe I can afford that nice new digital watch I saw in the shops. But only when I pay the cheque in to my bank account is it fully realised - the money becomes 'mine'."

That's really a very good example, because you're talking again about something that doesn't really exist - money. The tax-return cheque is EXACTLY as real as the money in your account or wallet. Which is to say, not real in any normal sense and only of any use at all because you and everyone else choose to agree on it. Money is NOT something that exists in the same way that, say, your computer exists. In what way is the cheque "realised" when it's paid into your account? How "real" is it? It's just some numbers on a piece of paper or a screen. You might get the money out of an ATM, but how real is that? Those pieces of paper are not, in themselves, worth anything. They're only useful as a medium of exchange because we all choose to believe in them.

"The evidence of things hoped for" speaks to me of mental constructs which have no external reality. Money is, it so happens, a good example of that. And it seems I'm not the only one who thinks so... A807563

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 13

Uncle Ghengis

"not the only one who thinks so... A807563"

Hmmm. Interesting reference.

As Ford Prefect said...
"If you can't scratch a window with it, I don't accept it."



Without Faith I am nothing

Post 14

Insight


Just about the only books I ever buy are humourous ones. But a joke has to make sense, so if it's based on something, it's basis must be correct.

<"evident demonstration of realities though not yet beheld" is an even clearer description of the LACK of evidence which "faith" implies. If something is "not yet beheld", you need faith. If it is beheld, you don't NEED faith, because you can SEE it. Duh!>
A clear description of lack of EVIDENCE? Then why does it start with the word EVIDENT?
I have never beheld a beta particle in any way. I havn't seen one, heard one, tasted one, smelt one or felt one. A Beta particle is 'not yet beheld'. But I have faith that they exist, because I have seen the tracks they leave in a cloud chamber.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 15

Hoovooloo

"I have never beheld a beta particle in any way. I havn't seen one, heard one, tasted one, smelt one or felt one. A Beta particle is 'not yet beheld'. But I have faith that they exist, because I have seen the tracks they leave in a cloud chamber."

You don't have faith they exist, and you don't believe in them just because you've seen tracks in a cloud chamber. You accept them as fact because the explanation they offer of the universe explains so much else.

Beta particles are electrons. They're streaming by the billions at the sheet of glass in front of your face at this very second (assuming you're using a CRT - I wanna flat screen!), and the evidence of their existence is the text you're reading right now. Further evidence of their existence is the operation of the ELECTRONics (easier to type that "betaparticleics") in the computer you're using at this very moment. Other evidence of their existence is the huge body of theory and experiment which makes up the discipline of chemistry.

For all these many and varied observations, beta particles are the best, most simple explanation which fits the observed facts, doesn't require any belief in anything you can't test directly, repeatably and reliably, and makes useful predictions about the outcomes of experiments you haven't done yet.

It requires *no* faith. If you don't want to believe in beta particles, you don't have to. What you DO have to do, if you make that choice, is come up with a better theory which explains tracks in cloud chambers, electronics, CRTs, the orbital theory of chemistry, and much more. Good luck.

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 16

Insight

You don't need to tell me all this stuff about electrons, it just seemed quicker just to give one of the many reasons for belief in them. But it doesn't change my argument at all. Even if you don't like the word 'faith', what you have described is the same as our faith in God. We have not directly beheld him, just as we haven't directly beheld electrons. But we have seen all his effects, such as creation and prophecy, so we have firm reason to believe in him.

Why do you end your messages with an 'H'?


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 17

Hoovooloo

"But it doesn't change my argument at all."

Actually, it does. If you refuse to see it, well, I can't help you.

"Even if you don't like the word 'faith', what you have described is the same as our faith in God."

No, it isn't. No amount of your stating that science is a faith position is going to make it true. I note that this is a common tactic among Christians. Say that science is faith position. If someone disagrees with you, say it again. Produce no arguments, make no attempt to defend your position - just keep on saying it, over and over again, patiently, until it becomes true.

Faith is no part of science, and never will be. I can understand your difficulty with that concept, since your brain is clearly wired for faith and you don't seem to have the mental tools to even imagine any other way of thinking. For this, I pity you.

In some ways, I also envy you, actually, because it is a very much simpler life to be able to blindly put one's faith in a higher power. You are probably a great deal more content in your ignorance than I can be in mine. However, despite that, I still wouldn't want to change places with you. In this case, the grass may look greener inside your little faith-based fence. But I'm outside that fence looking in, and I value my freedom.

"We have not directly beheld him, just as we haven't directly beheld electrons. But we have seen all his effects, such as creation and prophecy, so we have firm reason to believe in him."

The difference being, as I'm sure you can see but are assiduously ignoring, that for every "effect" of your "god", there is a simpler and more credible explanation, which better fits the observed facts.

I'm sure you're aware of the principle of Ockham's Razor, so I don't need to tell you about it.

This is emphatically NOT the case with beta particles/electrons. They are the simplest, best, and most practically USEFUL explanation of many phenomena.

A "god" is an incredibly complex, poor and most importantly USELESS description of the reason for anything.

As for "creation" and "prophecy", I don't intend to get into a debate about Creationism *again* - been there, done that, got the badge on my userspace.

Prophecy??? You mean like God warning Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree or, and I quote directly, "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis, 2:17).

As we all know, the book says Adam ate the fruit. It also says he didn't die "in the day that thou eatest thereof", but in fact lived for another NINE HUNDRED YEARS. It's really quite difficult to see how much wronger it was possible for your god's prophecy to be, right there. (cue usual nonsense about the word "day" not actually meaning "day"...)

"Why do you end your messages with an 'H'?""

Um... habit? Have you considered that it might stand for something? It might be the initial letter, perhaps, of a word I might consider important? Now, what word, beginning with "H", might I, Hoovooloo, consider important? Why might I sign off my messages with that letter...?

In response to all the above, and the last question in particular: might I ask why you style yourself "Insight", when it's clear from almost everything you write here, and that last question especially, that you have no "Insight" at all? Are you being ironic?

H.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 18

Uncle Ghengis

The assertion is not so much that science is a position of faith, but that the word faith does not mean lack of evidence.

Your refutation of each example (on grounds irrelevent to the actual argument) seem to be particularly absurd.

Insight might just as easily have said 'neutrino' as 'beta particle' - and we don't commonly have dealings with such weakly interacting partcles. But we do have (mostly indirect) evidence for them - initially this was purely theoretical - the neutrino was first suggested as a means of balancing the equations of quantum mechanics - specifically with respect to the conservation of angular momentum or 'spin'. This was evidence in itself (without direct observation)
since this time neutrinos have possibly been detected using large underground detectors built for the purpose - more evidence. But one might reasonably believe in neutrinos purely on the basis of the mathematics.

Your rebuttal of money as an example was similarly irrelevent. If you really didn't get the jist of what I meant, perhaps I could relieve you of any of the burdensome valueless 'money' that you might happen to have littering up your life ???

Examples aside, the point is, faith does not require a complete lack of evidence.


Without Faith I am nothing

Post 19

Hoovooloo

"The assertion is not so much that science is a position of faith, but that the word faith does not mean lack of evidence."

I never said it did. I said that faith is belief DESPITE lack of evidence. Quite different, as I suspect you well know.

"Your refutation of each example (on grounds irrelevent to the actual argument) seem to be particularly absurd."

If you can't see the relevance of my arguments, please, ask. I'll be glad to explain them to you in shorter words if necessary.

"Insight might just as easily have said 'neutrino' as 'beta particle'"

You're absolutely right. Both are the simplest, most elegant and crucially, most usefully predictive explanations for a set of observations. They are therefore the diametric opposite of "gods", which as an explanation for anything are needlessly complex, inelegant and again, crucially, absolutely useless for any practical purpose.

"one might reasonably believe in neutrinos purely on the basis of the mathematics."

You might, given that the mathematics is a prediction based on evidence from other sources. But if you then used your "belief" in neutrinos from the mathematics to FIND one - if you tried to TEST the predictions made by your theory - and you consistently failed to find any evidence for them at all in the real world, what would you do? Continue believing in them, despite your failure to find them? That would be "faith". Or would you assume your mathematics was somehow wrong, and work to develop a better theory? That would be "science". Notice how they are quite different.

"Your rebuttal of money as an example was similarly irrelevent. If you really didn't get the jist of what I meant, perhaps I could relieve you of any of the burdensome valueless 'money' that you might happen to have littering up your life ???"

Burdensome money litters up my life because you and I both agree that it has value. It is an entirely mental construct, and is only necessary because we live in an age of scarcity. "Money", as an object, does not exist. Individual items which we exchange for other items exist. But "money", the thing, does not. Those coins and notes in your wallet are not "money", they are tokens representing it. Read the entry I indicated again, since you are clearly having difficulty understanding this concept.

"Examples aside, the point is, faith does not require a complete lack of evidence."

I'm not at all surprised that you continue to deliberately misunderstand the point of this entry. Religious people do seem to have something of an intellectual blindspot where this is concerned.

Yes - faith does not necessarily require a complete lack of evidence. The ignorant may be completely happy to take electrons on faith, if they're not interested in the evidence available.

BUT - a complete lack of evidence REQUIRES faith. There is a complete lack of evidence of the existence of gods. Therefore, any belief in them requires blind faith.

And if you are going to point me to the "evidence" for YOUR personal god, then please tell me - what makes that "evidence" any better than the similar "evidence" for the existence of all the other gods? Examples: Odin, Zeus, Amaterasu, Osiris, Ahura Mazda, Rama? When you understand why it is you don't believe in those gods, you might, possibly, understand why I don't believe in yours. But frankly, I doubt it.

H.



Without Faith I am nothing

Post 20

Insight





Why do you say this? Practically every person in the world, from the very young to the very old, whether educated or not, understands the concept of God. So why do you say it is incredibly complex?

But Occams Razor, according my sources, doesn't actually say the simplest theory is usually the correct one, but that the theory that requires the least external assumptions is usually the correct one.
So which of these statements, both explaining our existence, requires the least assumptions?

1: There is an intelligent omnipotent being who designed and created everything because it was what he wanted to do.
He created man. He created Earth because he knew man would need to live on it. He created the Sun because he knew Earth would need a power source. He created plants because he knew man would need food. He created a universe of space-time because he knew all this stuff would need somewhere to exist.

2: When the universe exploded out of nothingness, it happened to have the correct universal laws and constants to allow stable atoms to form. Over time massive clouds of hydrogen gathered together. They didn't all clump together to the universal centre of mass, nor did they all stay where they were. No, but they gathered together into stars. When a certain star ignited, it had large amounts of heavier elements around it. These could have stayed in a stable orbit, or they could have flown out into space, or they could have been sucked into the sun. But instead they formed large round objects called planets. Many stars had none of these, and they usually had two or three at most, but this star had 8 of them (It is thought, due to it's eccentric orbit, that Pluto was not originally of our solar system). These 8 planets wonderfully formed stable orbits. And one of them, Earth, was extra special.
Whereas all the other planets had quite elliptical orbits, Earths was pretty much circular, allowing it to stay roughly the same distance from the sun, and so at quite a constant temperature. This temperature, due to the Earths being positioned at just the right position (correct to an accuracy of 1%), was just the temperature needed for a life form such as man to evolve on it. Furthermore, this planet had all the necessary materials on it. And so it started.
First of all, ultraviolet light gave energy to atoms, allowing to form amino acids (only right-handed ones, mind you). These amino acids would have been decomposed by the same ultraviolet light, but were somehow protected once they had been made. They then drifted down into water, where no ultraviolet light or cosmic rays could destroy them. Although water is conducive to depolymerisation, the amino acids polymerized to form proteins. Although formed at random, enough perfectly formed proteins came together to form a living cell. More than structural proteins were within the cell - 2000 proteins serving as enzymes are needed for the cells activity. Without them, the cell would have died, but fortunately they were all there. The cell even had a complex protective membrane (which must have been there to prevent the cell from falling apart the moment it came into being) made out of protein, sugar and fat (sugar and fat, of course, being there even though there was no prior life to create them).
This cell happened to have an incredible device at it's centre - DNA. The DNA, although being itself formed at random, contained all the information necessary to make another one of these cells! Soon many of these cells could be made. Now there was a problem - these cells had no food (even though glucose was present earlier). But then a cell miraculously came up with an answer - photosynthesis! Just think! A complex process, not yet understood by man or replicated in test tube, made up by random, along with all the necessary tools, by some random proteins made by some random DNA in a brainless cell!
The cells now had everything they needed in order to survive happily forever, and form a perfect society - there was no need for survival of the fittest, because there was enough sunlight, water and carbon dioxide for all. And yet they didn't. They decided to group together to form multiple celled organisms. Now their DNA, which previously had directed them in how to form quiet little solitary cells, told them how to form a functional collective, with each cell (or group of cells) doing its specific job in order to keep the whole alive. Presumably among these instructions was one telling the being how to asexually reproduce itself. Having worked out all this stuff, it went merrily on its way making copies of itself. Eventually it found that its gene pool was being eroded due to its asexual reproduction, and so invented a way of mating.
This whole process may have happened twice, once for plants and once for animals, or one may have developed into the other at an early stage, but assume that both somehow came into existence.
We can then suppose that life forms gradually evolved, even though in some cases it cannot be imagined how, to give the wide variety of well-defined species we see today.
Let us further suppose that when man came to being, he evolved consciousness, even though this is not a physical object like an arm, a leg or even a brain, and there is no logical reason that we should have it.

So...

God is quite a lot simpler than the alternative theories of how we got here. Since 'poor' isn't a very specific term, I can't argue with it, but given that belief in God provides an explanation and a purpose for life, and that belief in the Bible means one has a reliable guide for life, and that belief overall makes life more fulfilling (as you acknowledged a few paragraphs above that statement), it's difficult to see how you can call it useless.




And... <(cue usual nonsense about the word "day" not actually meaning "day"...)>
If you consider it nonsense to talk about what a word in another language means, then you haven't really got any chance of understanding anything that wasn't originally written in English have you? The Hebrew word usually translated 'day' doesn't mean quite the same thing as the English word 'day'. You see, words in other languages can mean different things, and don't always have an exact English equivalent. It's a pretty simple concept.


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