Another new guy

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Another new guy

#1  Postby backmarker » Jun 06, 2012 12:58 pm

Hello all. Nothing exciting to report here, just another new guy interested in the discussion. I'm a theist (deist? mystic? not sure what the right term is) who doesn't know a lot about science, philosophy, or theology, but I'll do my best to keep up.
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Re: Another new guy

#2  Postby Made of Stars » Jun 06, 2012 1:18 pm

Gidday. :cheers:
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Re: Another new guy

#3  Postby Bribase » Jun 06, 2012 1:28 pm

:wave:
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Re: Another new guy

#4  Postby katja z » Jun 06, 2012 1:41 pm

Welcome! :cheers:
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Re: Another new guy

#5  Postby reddix » Jun 06, 2012 2:04 pm

Hello from Canada. :hello:

Welcome to RatSkep! :cheers:
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Re: Another new guy

#6  Postby Nostalgia » Jun 06, 2012 2:28 pm

Welcome to the forum! :cheers:

You should start a thread in the Theism section outlining your beliefs. We're quite good at putting labels on things here. :)
We are alive, so the universe must be said to be alive. We are its consciousness as well as our own. We rise out of the cosmos and see its mesh of patterns, and it strikes us as beautiful. And that feeling is the most important thing in all the universe.
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Re: Another new guy

#7  Postby backmarker » Jun 06, 2012 2:58 pm

Thanks everybody.

MacIver wrote:Welcome to the forum! :cheers:

You should start a thread in the Theism section outlining your beliefs. We're quite good at putting labels on things here. :)


I doubt they're original enough to deserve their own thread? A few ideas I'm currently persuaded by:

  • I exist and I can know things :grin:
  • there has always been something; nothing comes from nothing
  • there is a first cause, and it was uncaused
  • there's no such thing as literal randomness, e.g. effects with no cause
  • it's not possible for creatures to fully comprehend a creator, but a creator has the ability to reveal certain knowledge to creatures
  • evolution (not sure of exact definition, but I have an idea) to some extent is observable fact

I have some squishier ideas, too. Things like: life begets life, the universe demonstrates order and we generally regard order as a sign of intelligence, etc.

Not very sophisticated, but that's where I'm at right now.
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Re: Another new guy

#8  Postby babel » Jun 06, 2012 3:06 pm

I like you a lot better than our other newest theistic member. Coherent sentences and willingness to read the contribution of other posters for starters.

Welcome and don't feel bad about not being up there in science, philosophy and stuff. Lots of things to read and learn here. :cheers:
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Re: Another new guy

#9  Postby Nostalgia » Jun 06, 2012 3:56 pm

backmarker wrote:Thanks everybody.

MacIver wrote:Welcome to the forum! :cheers:

You should start a thread in the Theism section outlining your beliefs. We're quite good at putting labels on things here. :)


I doubt they're original enough to deserve their own thread? A few ideas I'm currently persuaded by:


Okay, here we go...! :)

  • I exist and I can know things :grin:


Ohh, I like it. It's like "I think therefore I am" but coming at it from the opposite direction: "I am therefore I think"!

  • there has always been something; nothing comes from nothing


  • Agreed. But I would expand upon it. Nothing can come nothing nor something lead to nothing. So there can only be two options to existence: Eternal existence or eternal non-existence. Because obviously existence exists, according to my logic it must of always of done so.

  • there is a first cause, and it was uncaused


  • I'm confused. How can you state there was "always something" and that there is a "first cause"? If there has always been something, then whatever caused the first cause must of had it's own cause, no? Which leads to the old atheistic question: "If God created everything who created God?".

    For me it comes down to a simple question, basically a form of Occam's Razor:

    What is most likely out of these two highly unlikely occurrences?

    That existence is eternal, both into the past and the future. That it simple exists because the alternative, non-existence is even less likely.

    OR

    That a creator being complex enough to bring existence into existence is eternal.


  • there's no such thing as literal randomness, e.g. effects with no cause


  • That is certainly true for our current cosmic expansion, and I suspect it is true for all of reality. But as we have no observations of the nature of anything out with our observable universe that would just be speculation on our part.

  • it's not possible for creatures to fully comprehend a creator, but a creator has the ability to reveal certain knowledge to creatures


  • Hypothetically, I could agree with this. But as I explained I think the idea of a creator is an unnecessary variable to the formula of existence.

  • evolution (not sure of exact definition, but I have an idea) to some extent is observable fact


  • Abso-fooking-lutely! :thumbup:
    We are alive, so the universe must be said to be alive. We are its consciousness as well as our own. We rise out of the cosmos and see its mesh of patterns, and it strikes us as beautiful. And that feeling is the most important thing in all the universe.
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    Re: Another new guy

    #10  Postby backmarker » Jun 06, 2012 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the welcome, babel.

    MacIver wrote:
    [*]there is a first cause, and it was uncaused[/*]


    I'm confused. How can you state there was "always something" and that there is a "first cause"? If there has always been something, then whatever caused the first cause must of had it's own cause, no? Which leads to the old atheistic question: "If God created everything who created God?".


    Thanks for the response, MacIver. My present thinking is that God didn't literally create everything in the sense that he didn't create himself. Likewise, I don't think God can literally do anything; for example, he can't be God and not be God at the same time and in the same relationship. Is there a current discussion on this topic somewhere? I probably can't add much value, but I'm here to learn.

    BTW, I like your added thoughts on something vs. nothing.
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    Re: Another new guy

    #11  Postby campermon » Jun 06, 2012 4:19 pm

    backmarker wrote:Thanks for the welcome, babel.

    MacIver wrote:
    [*]there is a first cause, and it was uncaused[/*]


    I'm confused. How can you state there was "always something" and that there is a "first cause"? If there has always been something, then whatever caused the first cause must of had it's own cause, no? Which leads to the old atheistic question: "If God created everything who created God?".


    Thanks for the response, MacIver. My present thinking is that God didn't literally create everything in the sense that he didn't create himself. Likewise, I don't think God can literally do anything; for example, he can't be God and not be God at the same time and in the same relationship. Is there a current discussion on this topic somewhere? I probably can't add much value, but I'm here to learn.

    BTW, I like your added thoughts on something vs. nothing.


    You might want to have a look at this;

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo[/youtube]

    Welcome to the forum!

    :beer:
    Scarlett and Ironclad wrote:Campermon,...a middle aged, middle class, Guardian reading, dad of four, knackered hippy, woolly jumper wearing wino and science teacher.
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    Re: Another new guy

    #12  Postby backmarker » Jun 06, 2012 4:40 pm

    Hmm, I thought by definition "nothing" precluded anything. I'll have to check my understanding of the term.

    Thanks for the welcome and video--I'll check it out when I get a chance.
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    Re: Another new guy

    #13  Postby Scarlett » Jun 06, 2012 6:26 pm

    Hello :wave:

    I don't do philosophy or science, and especially not theology for that matter, I just tend to rant about the royal family, the ConDem government and theists, but hi anyway :grin:
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    Re: Another new guy

    #14  Postby Tangerine Dream » Jun 07, 2012 12:42 am

    A big warm welcome from South America :cheers: :smoke:
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    Re: Another new guy

    #15  Postby Ironclad » Jun 07, 2012 12:45 am

    Paula wrote:Hello :wave:

    I don't do philosophy or science, and especially not theology for that matter, I just tend to rant about the royal family, the ConDem government and theists, but hi anyway :grin:


    Domestic Science is still science, Paula. :thumbup:


    Welcome to RatSkeps, backmarker. :cheers:
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    Re: Another new guy

    #16  Postby theropod » Jun 07, 2012 12:58 am

    Backmarker,

    Expect to get a world class education for free, because that's what's available here. I'm only suggesting that in regards to matters of science this forum is loaded with willing educators. Enjoy your time here, but expect to have any and all of your beliefs challenged. Don't take it personally as that's what we do here, even to fellow skeptics. I've been corrected on more than one occasion, and am a better man for it.

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    Re: Another new guy

    #17  Postby backmarker » Jun 07, 2012 1:13 am

    Thanks everybody, I appreciate the welcome.
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    Re: Another new guy

    #18  Postby Durro » Jun 07, 2012 5:14 am

    :wave:

    Hello from Brisbane, Australia, and welcome into the lifeboat ! This is my greeting for all new members and contains some useful stuff for you.

    If you haven't seen it already, you may want to take a look at our New Members' Welcome Pack which will give you some helpful resources such as how to use the forum software and also contains our forum rules, which we ask that you abide by at all times.

    As a house warming present for you, here's a few laughs for your entertainment.

    :beer:

    Durro

    p.s. a quick tilt at your comments:-

    •I exist and I can know things
    That's great. Often it's a case of what people choose to learn/know or even what they choose to avoid. We've had a lot of experience here with theists who refuse to look at evidence against their beliefs, so an open minded theist prepared to look at issues objectively would be a welcome addition to the membership. I hope that you know more from your time here as a member.

    •there has always been something; nothing comes from nothing
    Not necessarily. If you look at the work of Lawrence Krauss which has been mentioned above, he has a convincing argument that "nothing" is inherently unstable and will invariably create virtual particles/energy from the potential energy of nothingness. A brief imbalance in the energy balance and boom, the chain reaction that led to the Big Bang is off and running. It's not a conclusive argument yet, but makes for compelling reading and has scientific support.

    •there is a first cause, and it was uncaused
    If you're talking about the Universe, see above.

    If you're talking about a magic god type figure, saying that a complex entity like that is eternal and uncaused and exempt from the physical properties of the universe is simply special pleading and/or wish thinking.

    •there's no such thing as literal randomness, e.g. effects with no cause
    I can think of a few - the generation of virtual particles, the decay of radioactive isotopes and quite possibly, the spontaneous energy release which led to the creation of the universe as we know it.

    •it's not possible for creatures to fully comprehend a creator, but a creator has the ability to reveal certain knowledge to creatures
    We're a fairly advanced and intelligent species, so I'm comfortable that if a deity existed and decided to reveal itself, we'd be able to comprehend the basics of its existence if it took the time to explain it. But if you think that an all-knowing, all-powerful master of the universe chooses to leave very sly and subtle clues about its existence through apparitions in burnt toast or the spontaneous talking in tongues of followers of certain religions, then I'm afraid that that deity is being a bit too obtuse and condescending towards it's creation.

    •evolution (not sure of exact definition, but I have an idea) to some extent is observable fact
    Yes. I agree and it's nice to hear of a theist acknowledging that. Evolution has been, is still being and will be observed in both nature and in the laboratory setting. In addition to the actual process being observed, there's also a tremendous amount of concurrent evidence of previous evolutionary processes, such as that found in fossil records, morphological similarities of related species, vestigial anatomy, phylogenic arrangements, endogenous retroviral damage in the DNA of related species, shared genes, and so on. And many other scientific fields could have shown Evolution and it's prerequisite conditions to be incorrect - 1 wrong fossil in the wrong rock strata, a young universe, a young earth, etc. But geology, physics, biology, chemistry, astrophysics, botany, archaeology, paleontology, etc all provide further evidence which strengthens Evolution.

    :cheers:

    Welcome aboard again.
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    Re: Another new guy

    #19  Postby backmarker » Jun 07, 2012 1:00 pm

    Thanks for the welcome, Durro. I'm impressed with the engagement on this board--on most internet forums you can hear the crickets chirping in the welcome section.

    Durro wrote:•there's no such thing as literal randomness, e.g. effects with no cause
    I can think of a few - the generation of virtual particles, the decay of radioactive isotopes and quite possibly, the spontaneous energy release which led to the creation of the universe as we know it.


    Can you elaborate on this? I'd enjoy further discussion, but I think reason depends on cause-and-effect, so if that's not granted, I'm blown right out of the water :(. In fact, I don't think cause-and-effect is unprovable, because wouldn't the proof rely on cause-and-effect?
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    Re: Another new guy

    #20  Postby Durro » Jun 08, 2012 1:35 am

    backmarker wrote:Thanks for the welcome, Durro. I'm impressed with the engagement on this board--on most internet forums you can hear the crickets chirping in the welcome section.

    Durro wrote:•there's no such thing as literal randomness, e.g. effects with no cause
    I can think of a few - the generation of virtual particles, the decay of radioactive isotopes and quite possibly, the spontaneous energy release which led to the creation of the universe as we know it.


    Can you elaborate on this? I'd enjoy further discussion, but I think reason depends on cause-and-effect, so if that's not granted, I'm blown right out of the water :(. In fact, I don't think cause-and-effect is unprovable, because wouldn't the proof rely on cause-and-effect?


    A useful overview of Virtual Particles can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle

    Essentially, matter comes into and out of existence randomly for very short periods of time without any cause. The presence of these particles can be observed by the effects they have on the space around them. It's Lawrence Krausse's hypothesis that in the infinite nothingness of the pre-big bang universe, the appearance and disappearance of matter was a regular thing, but it took a temporary imbalance in the state of matter to cause the Big Bang, an event that as Douglas Adams put it is simply one of those things that happens from time to time. The sheer enormity of the potential energy contained within an infinite amount of nothingness led to the enormous universe we now see around us. Or something like that...

    A useful overview of radioactive decay can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_decay

    The decay of radioactive isotopes is broadly predictable at a large scale (i.e when measuring the half life of a large sample) but the individual decay of a single atom is a random event caused most likely by a quantum fluctuation. We cannot predict when a single atom will decay. If you took an atom of substance X that had a half life of say 10 years, there's a 50% chance that it will decay within 10 years, but it could decay in 1 second from now or in 100 years from now. We can't predict when it will happen as it's a randomly generated event.

    :)

    There's a number of highly educated and/or professional scientists who are members of this forum who could explain these concepts better than I (and correct whatever mistakes I probably made). Perhaps if you start a thread or join an existing thread on a related topic, they would be able to more properly elaborate on the issues.

    :cheers:
    I'll start believing in Astrology the day that all Sagittarians get hit by a bus, as predicted.
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