Thursday, February 23, 2006

Would that choosing alone could make it so

The issue of theism and a-theism is concealed by waste products and the debris of confusion. It's a desperate thing.

We are alone. Or we're in the belly of the whale of the mother. Or we're in the hands of God, who is like an insurance agent, faceless and exacting; promising great reward for our investment or at least our protection. What we know is a good place to start but we know so much, about so little. The catalog consumes whole lives of scholarship just to print. We do know these simple things:

All organic life on this planet is driven by the sun's engine. All life is composed of matter that, for all its transforming, is the same stuff of which all the rest of the visible universe is composed. The amount of sunlight that powers our lives is so small I hesitate to estimate it. Very tiny amounts of sunlight are the motivation of all living things. Very very tiny and for only half of time; the rest we turn toward the infinite reach of seemingly dark space but that darkness is itself another illusion. All we know of life comes from tiny bits of sunlight and that life is made from the same stuff as stars.

Jump to the sun's context and you have a vast number of stars out there, all spilling this wonderful powerful stuff. Keep in mind that a tiny bit runs all our doing. And there's billions of billions of those stars, each one pushing full-bore.

Now look at the self. These little neurons and synaptic connectors and the winking of electric bursts inside the brain. That's where we live, that's how we work, that's our minds and our selves; and the amount of distributed solar power that goes to that working is an almost immeasurable bit of an almost immeasurable bit of the power of the mass of stars. A mass likely to be an immeasurable bit on a higher order of something still further. And so on... It is certainly possible, even likely, that the organization and consciousness within us, may be a miniaturization of the order beyond us. The teaching of organized religions, which all appear to think they have a trademark copyright on the concept of God, is mostly brute muttering against the dark, and thuggish seduction and promises of security. To a lot of people the idea of theos (or God) is too closely associated with the powers that be, cowards, and ignorant, unquestioning people. This leads to nonsensical debates and directly away from what is purports to lead toward.

You may believe that the moon doesn't spin in its orbit, and you may believe that the stars are small objects just beyond Jupiter and that all heavenly bodies circle Earth. I may not listen to you about anything else once I know how wrong you are about what's going on with the sun and the stars, but that doesn't mean you're wrong about the moon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


So I got in to it with God boy... This is an old and tired debate to me but I indulged a bit.
I'm still dumbfounded and waiting for his (mcgrew's) response. My nick is panZ in this...

Theism (4.00 / 2) (..403)
by mcgrew

I believe in God mainly because He has manifested Himself to me. I have witnessed miracles. I know God. Perhaps I am insane.

However, there are questions that, for now, only religion can answer.

What is consciousness? What is sentience? Why is it there? How can a being that can even ask these questions exist? Does it really seem likely to anyone that the pyramids, skyscrapers, automobiles, laptop computers, are only accidents of entropy?

The aformentioned laptop, which was fashioned by humans, is incredibly complex, with millions of microscopic transistors (each an accident of entropy, in the athiest's view). But compared to the humans who designed and built them, they are laughingly simple. Yet they are fashioned by a consciousness, and we are not?

The very idea is so mind boggling as to be laughable.

laughable? (none / 0) (..694)
by panZ on Sat <--------------- Me

Why is the idea that your laptop is a result of entropy laughable? Please note that I'm not even discussing the existence of a god or personification of the universe and what consciousness is. Assigning human emotions and consciousness to the intangible needs of your mind is not critical to this debate. Only looking at the smaller parts of the big picture.

Is it laughable that, in the vast, nearly infinite expanse of our universe, that on some planet, some molecules formed amino acids, and that some amino acids formed a symbiotic relationship and became proteins, and that over time, these proteins also developed symbiotic relationships and made cells; then multi cell organisms; then specialized cells formed in small creatures; then larger creatures with even more highly specialized cells became efficient; developing clusters of organs and becoming mobile and interacting with their environment our; then creatures that created simple tools, then used simple tools to make more complex tools? Tools, like biology are a reaction of specialization which breads symbiotic dependency, efficiency and survivability. Is it so laughable that your laptop evolved from very simple tools and an organism's need just like a biological organism could have evolved from something very simple?

I'm not saying it did or didn't happened, just that the idea isn't laughable.

Moving on to the bigger picture; you argue that the laptop is so complex that is must have been designed by a conscious, intelligence. And you say that man is so complex that it must have been created by a conscious intelligence. By that reasoning, your god is so complex that he must have been created by some conscious intelligence. What created your god then? The "Intelligent Design" people out there have a recursive argument that is wholly fallacious once you think beyond the second iteration. The trouble is, none of them do. So who created your god? You did.

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."

The problem.. (5.00 / 2) (..702)
by kitten

Is it laughable that, in the vast, nearly infinite expanse of our universe, that on some planet, some molecules formed amino acids, and that some amino acids formed a symbiotic relationship and became proteins, and that over time, these proteins also developed symbiotic relationships and made cells...

The problem with explaining this is that theists with a beef, and more specifically creationists, see the word "random" and absolutely latch onto it like a pitbull on a poodle. "How could the human body have formed 'randomly'?" they ask, all smirking, as though the postulation was that atoms sort of swirled together out of the void and "just so happened" to "randomly" arrange themselves into human form.

That very idea is what's laughable. Add that to the notion that interactions of matter are, by definition, not random, and it quickly becomes apparent that they literally do not have any idea what they're talking about.