This conversation began on a forum I am part of (unrelated to religion) under the guise of a thread called “Questions about Atheism”. I felt that the person creating it might just be interested in understanding a little about non-belief. The forum admins thought that they were looking for an opportunity to make religious members shut up while they talked about atheism and as such locked the forum. I gave them the option of private messaging me to talk about what was on their mind.
You can tell very early on they had just watched a debate (perhaps the very one linked at the end) and were just wanting to practice their new found arguments on an atheist. With no interest about learning or listening to counter points.
Orca Noon • 1 May 2013, 06:44 AM
Could please tell me why you believe atheism to be correct?
seadeatea · 1 May 2013, 08:10 AM
I figured it would, that was the chief reason I did not reply.
I can give you why I think atheism is correct, sure.
There has been no verifiable evidence for any supernatural force, entity, or happening. I know that this sound blunt and crass, but that in a nutshell is it. All evidence for a religious viewpoint comes from within that religion and its texts. I have never heard of a muslim praise Zeus, never heard a pagan praise Zoroaster, never heard a christian praise Shiva, and never heard a Hindi praise Yahweh.
There is physical evidence for the laws of nature, people with no exposure to the science behind them can test their existence, and they will come up with the same results. When the claims of a religion are presented and tested outside of said religion they always fail.
As for the questions on the thread you asked:
Yes, I believe that science can answer all questions about the universe. I obviously don’t know it all, and nor does anybody else. But as we have progressed throughout history the principles of science have lead to every single discovery, every bit of understanding as to “how” our universe exists. I am not saying religious people haven’t contributed to the betterment of man. I am just saying they have done so by using scientific reasoning and logic. Gregor Mendel was an Augustine friar; but it wasn’t his prayer or belief in god that discovered inheritance, it was his experiments in plant hybridization. His practices in reality, even while believing in the supernatural, were what mattered.
The other question was, how can nothing come from something? This actually happens all the time when dealing with quantum particles. Specifically, virtual particles are created through the interaction of other particles. Not out of their parts: they are created from nothing, and they then return to nothing. Of course I am sure you are talking Big Bang with that question, though. And currently we have no way of knowing. I say currently because I can’t predict how the field of Physics will progress. but I do know that postulating a creator solves nothing. If a creator existed, what caused the creator’s existence? If such an entity can be eternal, why not the state before the Big Bang? To me inserting an untestable step into the equation does nothing in the way of solving the answer.
We do know that time and space are interconnected (there are practical tests that have shown this), so saying “Before the Universe” looses all meaning. Without the space and matter, there was no measurable time; and without time there was no measurable space or matter.
Atheism in and of itself, is simply not believing in god(s). While I am an atheist, for me that is just a byproduct of applying the same evidence based worldview consistently in my life. I actually identify as a secular humanist, since it speaks more of my overall philosophies. Atheism is just a characteristic of that philosophy.
Orca Noon • 1 May 2013, 08:40 AM
Alrighty two questions.
Prove to me, scientifically, that science can answer all questions. The assertion that science can explain everything is shooting itself in the foot. Design an experiment that proves 1+1=2. You cannot, it is rational and logical to say 1+1=2 without having to consult a science experiment.
Can science answer these things?
- Is there morality?
- Is there a soul?
- What is the purpose of life?
See the problem? You CAN’T scientifically test these things. By saying that therefore they are false is against the nature of science itself
There are inherent problems with the scientific method that stopping it to being the answer for everything.
About quantum physics
And the quantum vaccuum is something, NOT nothing. Why is this nothing actually a something?
Quote: However, nothingness as defined by some physicists relates to the quantum vacuum. This is misleading because the quantum is something. In quantum theory the vacuum is a field of energy pervading the whole of the universe. In the word’s of John Polkinghorne, a philosopher of science, the quantum vacuum,
“…is not ‘nothing’; it is a structured and highly active entity.”
Adding to “something from nothing” argument- We have absolutely no reason to believe that 0+0=1. In the entirety of human experience, has this ever occurred? Why must we take leave of logical truths so we can make place for the belief that there is no God?
To answer your questions:
Who created the creator?
A good question. Now, let’s explore this question. If another creator created the creator, who created the first creator? and so on and so forth. Since a creation does exist we can easily conclude that, at some point, a creator decided to create a universe. The creation must be finite but the creator must be absolute because we cannot have a creation if creators kept on creating other creators.
Let’s use a logical analogy. A domino chain must have a beginning. Right? Another example. Say you’re a soldier waiting for the war to begin. Someone tells you to attack, but wait! You tell the person next to you to attack so you can attack. But wait! He has to ask the person next to him to do the same. But wait! Et cetera. In the end someone leads the attack, someone places the first domino, some Creator creates the universe.
Why can’t before the big bang be eternal?
Can infinity ever exist in the real world? Absolutely not. I do not mean quantitative infinity, such as if I stand away from a door and you break down the distance between me and the door into infinite parts. I mean truly a qualitative infinity.
Let’s use another example… Say for example I have infinity bottles. I take two away. So I have two less than infinity bottles. So I should be able to count them, right? No, infinity minus two is still infinity. This is exactly why infinity doesn’t exist in real life.
Okay, I’d love to answer more of your questions but thats a bit for you to chew on while I get some really necessary sleep. It’s almost 1. Looking forward to your replies.
seadeatea · 1 May 2013, 12:36 PM
I shall address your issues in order:
I postulate that 1 + 1 = 2.
I have 1 cup of water. I shall add to it 1 cup of water. I have 2 cups of water.
- Is there morality?
Absolute or subjective? It is easy to prove the existence of morals (and thus morality). Do beings act in ways that is reflected by their world view? Those are their morals and thus they have morality.
- Is there a soul?
I find two definitions for soul. In the first a soul is a supernatural concept, and thus is no different from a god. Of course science, which I said can answer questions about the universe, can’t answer questions about non-reality based concepts. The second is a person’s moral or emotional nature. We can cause a change of emotion, memory, even moral stances by manipulating chemical and physical states of the brain. If the second meaning of soul is applied, it is chemical and physical states of the brain.
- What is the purpose of life?
Life is a product caused chemical reactions. There is no scientific purpose to it. Let me demonstrate, start from the beginning.
What is the “purpose” of a quantum particle? Nothing? Because that is the answer I have.
But by reacting with other quantum particles, not out of “purpose” but by adhering to the laws of physics, sub atomic particles are formed (Electrons, Proton, neutrons.)
What is the “purpose” of Electrons, protons, and neutrons? Still I see no “purpose” as far as I can tell yet.
But by reacting with other quantum and subatomic particles, not out of “purpose” but by adhering to the laws of physics, atoms are formed.
What is the purpose of an atom? Does it have goal, an inner need, an ultimate mission of fulfillment? Nope, it just exists.
But by reacting with other atoms, as well as subatomic and quantum particles; not out of “purpose” but by adhering to the laws of physics, simple molecules (acids, bases, salts, sugars) are formed.
Simple molecules and “purpose” sorry, I don’t see it yet.
But by reacting with other simple molecules, atoms, subatomic and quantum particles; not out of “purpose” but by adhering to the laws of physics, complex chemical structures (proteins, nucleic acids, lipids) are formed.
Have you spotted the purpose yet, because we are getting pretty close now.
Do those complex chemical structures have the so called purpose? No? Well, by reacting with other complex chemical structures, simple molecules, atoms, subatomic and quantum particles; not out of “purpose” but by adhering to the laws of physics, basic life forms.
There we are: Life sans “purpose”; just physics, chemistry and after this point biology.
-You CAN’T scientifically test these things. By saying that therefore they are false is against the nature of science itself.
That is not true. Science begins with every claim as false and the burden of proof lays upon the one asserting a hypothesis. The whole debate of atheism boils down to a misinterpretation of this. You think I am proposing there is no god, that I have a belief in no god. But that has the whole argument backwards. Religion postulates a creator or supernatural force and the atheist says I demand evidence. To date, no religion has presented anything close to verifiable proof of any supernatural existence. No gods, no souls, no ghosts, no afterlife, no reincarnation, no magic, no celestial alignment enforcing our personality upon us.
-We have absolutely no reason to believe that 0+0=1. In the entirety of human experience, has this ever occurred? Why must we take leave of logical truths so we can make place for the belief that there is no God?
If existence is 1 and a god exists, god must be 1. Why must we take leave of logical truths so we can make place for the belief that there is a God?
-Who created the creator?
You are stopping, and calling a creator Absolute, completely arbitrarily. You are say, “Things exist, therefore a creator.” “The creator exists, therefore it is absolute.” Why stop there, why not the creator before that? Or the creator before that? Your statement falls apart on its very basis other than you arbitrarily insert absolute at the point it satisfies your want. Why not arbitrarily insert at “thing exist”. Things exist and existence is absolute, things aren’t existing in an absolute form, but existence itself is absolute. According to the same logic you did to choose where the word absolute is deployed my statement is valid. Never in the entirety of human experience has matter been created or destroyed. Sounds pretty absolute? Absolute. No creator, no creation, just existence.
A domino chain, and attack call are in their essence models of physical laws in action. Physical action was put into a physical process to cause a physical reaction. We can measure every bit of that. The creator problem says a creator must have the ability to influence a system (without leaving measurable traces), while simultaneously not being affected by that system. The mere postulation of a creator can be ruled out of existence by a Feynman diagram.
Eternal and infinite are not equal and interchangeable words. Also your juxtaposition of quantitative and qualitative measurements is absurd. You are acknowledging the quantitative existence of infinity but that is exactly how time is measured, in a quantitative manor. To that say you can’t have infinite time is against your very acknowledgement that you can infinite measurements.
Orca Noon • 1 May 2013, 02:46 PM
0. Prove to me that 1+1=2. I demand a scientific experiment because to me, that’s all that’ll ever prove anything. (not srs).
1. By morality I meant objective morality. For example:
Atheists have zero reason to that humans are any different to animals. So when an animal rapes another animal (eg a shark), he’s not doing anything evil. Of course not, we don’t see a shark raping another shark and exlaim “that’s evil”. So when human beings do evil things, we have to conclude that when hitler killed millions of people, objectively he was just doing what humans do. There was nothing innately evil about it. Religion believe that there is,and so it would follow that there is an objective judge.
How the heck can you test morality with science?
2. Do we have a soul question.
Well, there you go. You agreed that science can only tell us about what is physically inside this universe. How could you apply that to big philosophical questions?
3. “Science demands evidence for a creator…”
Yes, because you are asking for scientific evidence. I used to contemplate atheism myself but now I realize it really is just an absense of reason or ignoring innate logic. Science has no answer for the existence of God, what you’re literally saying is “give me a scientific experiment that God exists”. I ask you to give me a science experiment that 1+1=2. You can’t even provide that. By using the word “postulate” doesn’t make it any more scientific, where is your experimental evidence to back up your claim?
Since you want a scientific opinion so badly let’s have a look at the Big Bang.
We know that the universe is expanding. Reverse time (hypothetically ofcourse) and naturally we get the big bang
Quote: “If we extrapolate this prediction to its extreme, we reach a point when all distances in the universe have shrunk to zero. An initial cosmological singularity therefore forms a past temporal extremity to the universe. We cannot continue physical reasoning, or even the concept of spacetime, through such an extremity. For this reason most cosmologists think of the initial singularity as the beginning of the universe. On this view the big bang represents the creation event; the creation not only of all the matter and energy in the universe, but also of spacetime itself.”
Although our understanding of what happened 10-43 seconds after the ‘Big Bang’ is highly speculative, astrophysicists now concede little doubt that this universe in which we live is the aftermath of the emergence and expansion of space-time, which occurred approximately 14 billion years ago. John Gribbin, an astrophysicist at Cambridge University, summarises the importance of ‘Big Bang’ cosmology,
“…the discovery of the century, in cosmology at least, was without doubt the dramatic discovery made by Hubble, and confirmed by Einstein’s equations, that the Universe is not eternal, static, and unchanging.”
So there we go, the universe is finite. You can tell me that there was infinite time before the creation of the universe (lol does this make sense?).
I’m a little confused here. What exactly do you suggest in your theory as to how the existence of the universe was brought about?
4. “Who created the creator… argument”.
Why should I stop at a certain creator? Because one absolute creator is the most simple, and secondly I already explained to you how we can’t have a creator create a creator because that lead to the logical absurdity of saying that creators keep creating creators ad infinitum. The simple fact is that we have a universe is enough to know that there is a temporary universe, with an absolute creator.
“Why not stop at things existing?”
Because that is seriously not good enough. You have proof that the universe is finite. You cannot have something coming from nothing. You cannot deny this. We have two choices here: That either the universe is always there or that God is always there. We know the latter is disproven by cosmology, so it must be the latter.
Prove to me that infinity literally exists in real life? Where? I don’t see it. Time began with the universe, so you can’t claim time is infinite.
seadeatea · 1 May 2013, 07:27 PM
0. I did this. What was unscientific about my proposed experiment?
I had a hypothesis: 1+1=2
I devised a practical experiment: adding 1cup of water to 1 cup of water
I received results: 2 cups of water.
It is a static repeatable test. It can be done in any location, with any participants in a controlled manner and receive the same result.
Point out where this isn’t scientific? Do I need a control group? Perhaps I shall add 5cups of what and 5 cups of water to see if it also adds up to 2 cups of water.
I can run the test in reverse to ensure there isn’t loss of integrity in the products. @ cups of water, remove one cup of water = 1 cup of water.
I can even repeat the experiment with different media: 1 ocarina +1ocarina=2ocarinas Just as in the water experiment ocarina is just the unit of measure across the equation. Since it is not affected by the equation’s action it is insignificant and can be struck from the equation leaving us with 1+1=2.
Done, next question.
1. Objective morality doesn’t exist. Morality is created by social animals, and derived by base empathy. Chimpanzees will go hungry instead of administering shocks to other chimpanzees. That is as moral to me as a person giving to help a fellow person. No need for a supreme entity for the human or the chimpanzee.
The Hitler thing is true, that is what humans have been doing since we set foot on this earth, and appealing to religion doesn’t change that. Heck, Hitler himself used Catholicism as a reason to justify his actions. But our desire to live in a social world, along with our ability to empathize with others, tells us that bringing harm does not help the wellbeing of civilization. I can even go one step further and say this is selfish. We wish to live a life free of harm, empathizing with others allows us to understand they also want to live a life free of harm. If we hurt people, what keeps people from hurting us? It is shared empathy, not objective morality. When people lack empathy (psychopathy), no matter what their religious view, they lack the ability to tell when they harm others or why they shouldn’t. And guess what, this can be done to people through chemical and physical processes of the brain. No supernatural, no soul, no religious differentiation.
2. If you go read my very first answer it was Science an answer the questions about our universe. Science doesn’t answer philosophy any more than science answers history. If a god or soul exist in a way that interacts with reality, that is where science happens. The laws of physics are measureable and apply uniformly across all of reality. If a soul exists in a way that it guides our actions, it must have some interaction with our thoughts, which means our thought process. Therefore it would be measurable. Nothing has ever shown any evidence of this. However, we have studied that by changing the chemistry of our minds, we can change how people make decisions. By stimulating parts of the physical brain, we can cause people to believe things they normally don’t. Chemical and physical interactions causing change to human emotional and perceptive states.
The same statements apply to a creator; if it affects us we must affect it back. I will refer again to the Feynman diagram.
3 See 0.
Spacetime began at the big bang, to ask what was before that is an absurdity. There was no time, there was no “before.”
4. I love that you feel free to assert that I can’t deny something can come from nothing and then freely assert that a creator came from nothing (or is absolute and thus doesn’t need explanation). Your whole set of arguments is that atheism is logically inconsistent, yet you readily make rules that apply only to my view.
4.5 As for our two choices: why two? Why not, membrane theory? Why not the big crunch/undulating universe theory. And why is god always being there the only other option? Why not, this universe is a computer simulation and the big bang was the program executing? Prove it wasn’t.
5. When did I claim time was infinite? There is only one of us making a statement of true infinity. Absolute creator existing eternally, anybody? It sounds to me that for this creator to exist, you need to provide me with an example of infinity. Again, Spacetime began at the big bang, to ask what was before that is an absurdity. There was no time; not infinite time, no time; there was no “before.”
Life is finite; we die our lives are over, finite. Religion claims an afterlife. Heaven for eternity, hell for eternity, nirvana for eternity, battles of Valhalla for eternity. Infinite. Again the burden of proof for infinite time seems to be upon religion. So prove to me that infinity exists.
Orca Noon • 1 May 2013, 10:43 PM
What is 1 fufula + 1 fufula? Prove by experiment.
1. Objective morality does not exist.
Is incest alright with you? What if they use contraceptives, it’s okay because they won’t have screwed up kids right?
“But our desire to live in a social world, along with our ability to empathize with others, tells us that bringing harm does not help the wellbeing of civilization”
Then why have human beings killed so many other human beings for the last century?
2. No comment…
3. Okay, so now you agree time is finite rather than infinite. Yes?
Good. Well, now how could we explain the eternal nature of God.
Easy, let’s deduce using some basic logic.
We know the universe couldn’t have come out of nothing, because out of nothing, nothing comes! This is an undeniable philosophical principle and is logical to any normal human being. So we MUST believe that the universe was ALWAYS there. You told me that time is finite, and you know that the universe is also finite. So something else must have caused it that is not finite! Do you agree or not?
Something has to be infinite! We don’t see any examples of infinity in this universe so naturally it must exist outside this universe.
4. Because there are only two actual posititions we can take. Either the universe is infinite, or the creator is infinite. All the things you mentioned fall under #1. The big crunch is just absurd to mention because we have nothing in physics that will allow for it, at all. It also falls under #1 because we are saying entropy and reversal of entropy happens to infinity. Disprove the big bang if you’d like to say the universe is infinite. Please.
Now, if we knew that the universe was always existent we could say it is eternal. But it’s not, it began almost 14 billion years ago. The fact that we can count it with discrete units of measurement (years) is example of that. You can’t count something that is infinity. So something that is eternal must have created it. Does it not follow logic?
Dude, the answers to the last few questions you make, you’re saying that basically the universe came to existence some time ago, but it always existed. I really don’t understand what you’re trying to say.
You’re actually a little bit everywhere. Can you explain to me, in a couple of sentences, what exactly you believe in terms of the origins of the universe. You seem to believe that the universe began to exist, otherwise it is eternal, but it is not eternal?? Wut
seadeatea · 2 May 2013, 01:49 PM
0. This is not a qualitatively different experiment than I previously showed. You specifically asked for an experiment proving one plus one was two. I provided that. Until you can find actual fault in my experiment; i.e. a missed step, wrong data, or a different result from the same experiment it stands.
1. Whether incest is alright with me or not does not make it objectively wrong, and honestly two consenting adults being responsible, I don’t care. Monarchs throughout history practiced incest. As a matter of fact according to the Christian bible God commanded Noah to build an ark that only had 8 people living on board. Every other person died. Sounds like the Christian god had some incest in mind, seems to be a god mandated moral exception.
If there is ANY exception to something being right or wrong it is not objective. Objective morality cannot exist if it can be justified to be good or bad. That is the very essence of subjectivity. Whether I personally know of an example is irrelevant. If there could be contrived a scenario where the wrong is right, or the right wrong, it is not objective but subjective.
1.5 Why kill? Not in the last century, since we have been around. Because we are social animals does not mean everybody conforms to our social constructs. That is why we have laws and punishments, in a hopes to isolate those who do not uphold the standards. As for wars? Land and religion. We are social but we also have a closer relationship to those closer to us. Those that share our beliefs are the most important. We want our smaller groups to succeed because we are vested in them. To that end we want them to have the best land, the most resources, the highest levels of happiness. Since there are only so many resources we compete over them. Competitions over group resources…escalate quickly. Especially when you can use religion to dehumanize the outgroup. They aren’t believers! We are the chosen people! This land is ours by divine right! When both sides believe that… war and death. Even Hitler used divine right as justification for his actions.
3. You are saying this like I claimed time was infinite. There was never an argument that time was infinite. The closest I came to that was pointing out that you made the statement about quantitative infinite of measuring and that time was dealt in quantitative values.
3. I do not agree. There was no cause to the universe, because there was no before the universe. And no that doesn’t mean the universe is infinite we can trace back to the beginning. But there is no before that. Nothing has to be infinite! There cannot be causation for the universe because there was no time for causation to happen in. If an creator existed outside of the universe when did it act to create? In what time frame did it act? It couldn’t, because there was NO TIME! Just because you don’t seem to grasp this doesn’t mean the laws of physics suspend for your logic.
4. We have nothing in physics to allow for an entity existing outside of the laws of physics but that is your exact claim. To say the big crunch is absurd, and then make a claim that demands exact same exception to be accepted, is intellectually dishonest. And membrane theory does not call for an infinite universe nor an infinite creator. Or there could be infinite creators creating infinite universes. Or there could be infinite parallel universes. Or there could be a finite universe with no creator. Just because you don’t like an option doesn’t negate it. Your assertion is a false choice. I have presented other choices, unless you can negate every one of them there is no point in re-addressing the “We have two choices” statement.
5. There is no before the big bang. Since time is formed by the big bang, to ask what was before remains an absurdity. Not “nothing before”, that implies the timeline continues in that direction, but “no before.” I know I am not presenting the statement as clear as possible (which would make sense, since I am a biologist not a Physicist) but in essence what I am trying to describe is the Hartle-Hawking quantum state.
Feel free to respond, but I think at this point I have answered the questions you posed in the original guise of curiosity in the original topic “Questions about atheism” which was obviously an attempt to drag people into not a discussion, but an attempt to attack the concept with no real conversation. You posed a question originally, I answered it. You ignored my answer and demanded I answer the same question in a different format, plus more. I did, sometimes I make typos, so this time I had my girlfriend read it to make sure I was being coherent. You ignored my answers, did not respond to my critiques of your side other than to say that basically only my side was subject to the criteria by which you are critiquing. I recognize a situation that has no chance of progress, and as such am walking away.
Orca Noon • 2 May 2013, 04:08 PM
Hold on, hold on.
What I’m trying to say that you don’t need science to answer 1+1=2. It’s logic that can answer it. Necessary human truths.
You say you are a humanist. I’m guessing you try to help other human beings based on morals. Now, the problem with atheism is your whole idea of morality is flawed. An example: right now you’re saying you’re okay with incest as long as they’re responsible.
How do you know that what you are doing to other human beings, morally, is right? Improving the wellbeing of other human beings? The Nazis believed they were improving the wellbeing of society by killing Jews. How can you possibly know?
Look, what you are trying to say is that the universe came into a state of being while previously there was nothing. No time, literally nothing. You just accept it. It was not always there, but I think what you’re suggesting is that you can’t go ‘before’ the big bang. You can’t have infinity in this universe, as we accepted before, but again we need to establish something that is eternal. It must be outside this universe.
As for your time-infinity argument the reason I’m so confused is because previously you said:
“To that say you can’t have infinite time is against your very acknowledgement that you can infinite measurements. “
But now you accept that you can’t have infinite time? Look, I don’t even see how this is even relevant. Time is finite. This universe is finite. How does this disprove God?
And secondly I think there’s a bit of a confusion about the definition of an Omnipotent God. Again, lets use some basic human truths. Something that creates something else is always transcendent to it. That is to say, different. Applying time to God is trying to apply the laws of gravity to God! Do you see how absurd this would seem? If God created time, why would he be bound by it? Why should He be? If He is outside the universe, why would He be limited by it???? You say there is no ‘before’ the big bang, and this I guess would be true for our universe, but that does not change anything! We can still have causality without time. Say we have an eternal God not bound by time. And then He creates a universe and with it, time… why would you argue that because there was no time, there is no cause?
Look, I have no idea if you’re going to respond to this, but just watch a few atheist debates. You will be very, very disappointed.
That will answer a lot more about atheism and theism than you and I could talk about. Just downlaod it and let it play while driving or something, it is worth it. Lawrence Krauss is a well known atheist and advisor to Obama, you’d think he’d be able to rebut Hamza (who’s only done a degree in psychology) quite easily given his myriad of academic acheivements.
seadeatea · 2 May 2013, 04:25 PM
“Look, I have no idea if you’re going to respond to this, but just watch a few atheist debates.”
I watch debates on a regular basis. I was at a debate on morality two weeks ago at an event called Reasonfest.
I have watched that very debate and was not disappointed in Lawrence Krauss. The proponent of Islam repeated the same circular arguments you have here, while ignoring the same answers. I just don’t have the time or desire to run in circles for no reason.
Orca Noon • 2 May 2013, 07:26 PM
Lol, what answers did he actually give? He didn’t address Hamza’s points, and knows nothing about Islam and then tries to attack it.
But okay. Whatever. Have a g00d day.