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Thread: Does God Exist?

  1. #1
    Mr Bulldogs Paul S's Avatar
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    Does God Exist?

    As promised in another thread "Blood on Hands" (and to keep Kevin happy ), I have started a thread about the existence of God.

    The main reasons why I believe that God exists is due to simple logic and laws of probability.

    Now, if there is NO God, then the following would have happened by sheer chance after (according to most atheists) the most destructive force in history (the "Big Bang"):
    1) Random particles just happened to form themselves into the planet Earth, at 93 million miles from the Sun, which is the right distance from the Sun to sustain life (closer to the Sun, Earth would be too hot to sustain life; further away from the Sun, Earth would be too cold to sustain life).
    2) The earth just happens to spin at the right velocity to keep it in orbit (any slower and it would be sucked into the sun; any faster and it would spin off into space).
    3) The average human being consists of 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000) and each individual cell is an incredibly complex structure. What are the odds that these 100 trillion cells just happened to align themselves in the most convenient and beneficial order for human life (as opposed to say having our anus where our nose presently is, or our eyes where say our left big toe is? ).

    Need I go on? I think there is enough above to indicate that the probability of all this happening by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, viz God) are too remote to be seriously considered, regardless of whether there was a "Big Bang" or not!

    One more thing with regards to the "Big Bang" (which is the most generally accepted view of creation by most atheists). Assuming the "Big Bang" to be true, this would have been the most destructive explosion ever, and many billions of times bigger than the biggest explosions on earth (eg atomic bombs). So, how can the biggest explosion of all time (the "Big Bang") end up in the creation of life when NONE of the many far lesser explosions (eg atomic or conventional bombs) have resulted in creation of life (in fact they have in many cases resulted in the destruction of life!
    Last edited by Paul S; 22-08-2004 at 03:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Account Permanently Banned PHAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S
    1) Random particles just happened to form themselves into the planet Earth, at 93 million miles from the Sun, which is the right distance from the Sun to sustain life (closer to the Sun, Earth would be too hot to sustain life; further away from the Sun, Earth would be too cold to sustain life).
    2) The earth just happens to spin at the right velocity to keep it in orbit (any slower and it would be sucked into the sun; any faster and it would spin off into space).
    3) The average human being consists of 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000) and each individual cell is an incredibly complex structure. What are the odds that these 100 trillion cells just happened to align themselves in the most convenient and beneficial order for human life (as opposed to say having our anus where our nose presently is, or our eyes where say our left big toe is? ).
    1. Yes. Gravity and the the remainants of first generation star super nova. So what?
    2. Yes. Law of the conservation of momentum as it applies to fliud mechanics. So what?
    3. Yes. BIG odds, about 10^42^42:1. But the odds on any/all specific events are that big. The universe is just so big that the dice is rolled 10^42^42 times.

    Assuming the "Big Bang" to be true, this would have been the most destructive explosion ever...
    Nope. The big bang was not destructive at all - there was nothing to destroy. In fact it was the begining of a very successful construction


    Paul, mate, you have to go and "do" some university level science. You are on a hiding to nothing with this sh.t - You might as well argue for the Flat Earth theory as try to argue that the structure of life/universe is so awsome that there must be a god. I agree, it is all awsome. I say it is even more awsome, that it all came together under its own steam, and not under a metaphysical creator.
    Last edited by PHAT; 22-08-2004 at 05:21 PM.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Richard Dawkins

    Paul,
    I suggest the Selfish Gene and his one after that. Also philosophy David Hume re blind watchmaker, when you finish I will give you another 20.

    It is just as involved as chess, i.e., endless.

  4. #4
    CC International Master Goughfather's Avatar
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    David Hume is occasionally interesting, but generally speaking, unconvincing.

    I'm sorry that I've just criticised your Holy Writ, but I've got no time for Humean inerrancy and those who adhere to his writings with little discernment and a blind faith.
    "People with guns don't understand. That's why they get guns. Too many misunderstandings." - Jerry Seinfeld, The Little Kicks

  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster antichrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goughfather
    David Hume is occasionally interesting, but generally speaking, unconvincing.

    I'm sorry that I've just criticised your Holy Writ, but I've got no time for Humean inerrancy and those who adhere to his writings with little discernment and a blind faith.
    I studied this ten years ago and only remember basic principles so I am not going into again. I suggest Assos Prof. Allen Oldings "Modern Biology and Natural Theology" where he thinks Hume has failed but he (Olding) proves the point by another method.

  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S
    1) Random particles just happened to form themselves into the planet Earth, at 93 million miles from the Sun, which is the right distance from the Sun to sustain life (closer to the Sun, Earth would be too hot to sustain life; further away from the Sun, Earth would be too cold to sustain life).
    We already know that life on earth sustains itself in a wide range of very extreme conditions, including (among others) volcanic vents in deep trenches on the ocean floor, and salt lakes buried deep beneath ice sheets in Antarctica. Productive ecosystems capable of sustaining human life occur in environments where daily maximums are frequently over 40 deg C and in places where daily minimums are frequently well below zero. Earth has sustained life consistently in the past through considerable fluctuations in mean temperature. Based on this, an "earthlike" planet would probably have tens of millions of km leeway in the distance from the Sun it could form at and still sustain life (possibly even "advanced life", though it might not look like us.) Since we know there are four planets within the first 200 million km of the sun the odds are not that bad. Also scientists take seriously the possibility of life of some kind (either in the past or future, if not the present) on at least three other bodies in our present solar system (Mars, Europa, Titan).

    2) The earth just happens to spin at the right velocity to keep it in orbit (any slower and it would be sucked into the sun; any faster and it would spin off into space).
    Also true of other bodies in our solar system. Formation of several stably orbiting planets around certain kinds of stars appears to be a common process.

    3) The average human being consists of 100 trillion cells (100,000,000,000,000) and each individual cell is an incredibly complex structure. What are the odds that these 100 trillion cells just happened to align themselves in the most convenient and beneficial order for human life (as opposed to say having our anus where our nose presently is, or our eyes where say our left big toe is? ).
    This is a common objection but the problem with it is that these cells do not just happen to align themselves "by chance", but through a long process in which designs that work tend to outperform designs that don't, and because the design is genetic in basis the better-working designs tend to become commoner, while the non-working or less effective ones are sifted out. If you had to get everything right in one go by chance it would never happen - but if any element that is got right "by chance" is retained it becomes heaps easier.

    This sort of experiment is sometimes used to show the difference: Take 20 dice and try rolling 20 sixes at once. You'll be there most of the rest of your life. Instead, try taking 20 dice, but whenever you roll a 6, keep it and just reroll the others until all 20 dice have rolled a 6 once. Won't take half an hour. The difference in how long it takes to get a working design by "directed" evolution as opposed to complete chance is similar to this.

    Need I go on? I think there is enough above to indicate that the probability of all this happening by sheer chance (ie without a designer/planner, viz God) are too remote to be seriously considered, regardless of whether there was a "Big Bang" or not!
    Another point I'll add here is that it's common to try to prove that the evolution of human life was very improbable. It's actually not that difficult to do because when enough precise data are included any event can be made to seem very improbable. But the question properly asked is not: what are the odds of humans living on Earth now, but: what are the odds of a life form similarly complex to ourselves, living somewhere in the universe, at some stage? Even if the probability there comes out low (I personally reckon it comes out pretty close to 1) that still doesn't prove God exists. Maybe if it came out very very low we could start getting suspicious.

    So, how can the biggest explosion of all time (the "Big Bang") end up in the creation of life when NONE of the many far lesser explosions (eg atomic or conventional bombs) have resulted in creation of life (in fact they have in many cases resulted in the destruction of life!
    Compared to the scale of the Big Bang all the human-made explosions that have ever occurred on earth, put together, are next to nothing. The start of life post-BB would have occurred not as a result of the explosion itself but through complex post-BB chemical interactions which would not have even started until the earth formed as a stable body and cooled enough to sustain life of some sort. Even then the initial seeds of life would have been a miniscule proportion of all the chemicals slopping around on the entire planet.

    I should note that none of the above are intended as disproofs of the existence of God - I just mean to show that there's nothing so improbable in the formation of life as we know it to make God necessary. There are a very wide range of probability-based arguments for God of this sort but I've never come across one that hangs together.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 22-08-2004 at 07:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Mr Bulldogs Paul S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Sweeney
    You are on a hiding to nothing with this sh.t -
    On this BB with its large percentage of atheists (and going up against the BB's #1 debater, Kevin), I may well be on a hiding to nothing (at least in terms of numbers opposing my views, anyway)!

    I still stand by the statements in my original post, though!

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    Account Permanently Banned firegoat7's Avatar
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    Dear Paul,

    It may be useful to clarify some points in your arguement. Firstly, I recommend that you get some definition from people as to what god actually is. That way both your supporters and objecters can at least share some common understandings.

    Cheers FG7

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    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S
    On this BB with its large percentage of atheists (and going up against the BB's #1 debater, Kevin), I may well be on a hiding to nothing (at least in terms of numbers opposing my views, anyway)!

    I still stand by the statements in my original post, though!
    Paul,

    the existence of God is one of the central questions of the human situation and one worth some very serious thought. The arguments you provided in your opening post are scientifically naive and better ones than those certainly do exist. However, I agree with KB that when you look at them all, none of them hang together. Which leaves you with a choice.

    (1) You choose to have faith in the existence of God - probably due to a deeply help convinction that a universe without a creator would be meaningless and hence life itself would be meaningless, or equivalent mumbo-jumbo

    (2) You decide to admit there is no logical reason to assume the existence of God and therefore you will deny his existence until some logical reason to suspect his existence is discovered

    I suggest you do some reading. University level science is not necessary as there are plenty of good popular science literature out there. However, it is important to be able to discern good science from bad science, and a skeptical frame of mind should be employed at ALL times.

    I hope you decide to embark on this journey of discovery. Without it I doubt anyone would experience a change of heart on so important an issue. However, it is precisely its importance which should compel you start researching this area.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
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    i hope i dont burst a bubble of yours barry . I remember previously sending an article to matt sweeney when we were debating god issues a long time ago. (i dont have it anymore)

    The main crux of it was:
    Reliable statistics gathered showed that the highest percentage of non religious types belong to the university students, or those who have done quite a bit of university study.

    My theory on this is, university people have to study, research and find conclusive data, especially when writing a thesis in a data based field. they learn very quickly to realise a poor argument when they see it.

    As these students look more and more at the debate about god/religion, they feel more and more that there is very little if no scientific basis for the belief that god exists (and similiar thoughts regarding religion).

  11. #11
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggrayggray
    i hope i dont burst a bubble of yours barry . I remember previously sending an article to matt sweeney when we were debating god issues a long time ago. (i dont have it anymore)

    The main crux of it was:
    Reliable statistics gathered showed that the highest percentage of non religious types belong to the university students, or those who have done quite a bit of university study.

    My theory on this is, university people have to study, research and find conclusive data, especially when writing a thesis in a data based field. they learn very quickly to realise a poor argument when they see it.

    As these students look more and more at the debate about god/religion, they feel more and more that there is very little if no scientific basis for the belief that god exists (and similiar thoughts regarding religion).

    It would seem that it is effective communication of this message beyond the groves of Acadame which is lacking.

    As an aside, that stats would be interesting as I seem to bump into a reasonable proportion of god-bothers at university. Particularly it would be interesting if the stats were based on research at American campuses.

    PS I didn't think I had a bubble. It's just I have never meet someone who changed their opinion on theism based on a "Do Gods Exist?" debate. However, if the debate can raise enough questions to make someone go and do some real reading and reflection on the question, then people can change opinions. It shortens the whole process if we can cutout the middle man and go straight to the important bit.
    Last edited by Barry Cox; 23-08-2004 at 01:22 AM.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

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    CC International Master Cat's Avatar
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    It depends which God you're talking about. Prince Phillip is a God to a tribe in West Africa and I know he exists!
    Power comes from the barrel of a gun.

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    Account Permanently Banned PHAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    I suggest [Paul] do some reading. University level science is not necessary as there are plenty of good popular science literature out there. However, it is important to be able to discern good science from bad science, ...
    And how, pray tell, does a lay person discern good from bad science, without practising the art of higher level learning obtained only at a university? Pop sci lit doesn't cut the mustard for teaching how to dercern quality - it just says trust me. If you (Barry) than say to paul, "be sceptical," he must then be sceptical of the pop sci lit. Where does that leave him other than back in the kindergarten of magical thinking.

  14. #14
    Account Permanently Banned PHAT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    It's just I have never meet someone who changed their opinion on theism based on a "Do Gods Exist?" debate. However, if the debate can raise enough questions to make someone go and do some real reading and reflection on the question, then people can change opinions.
    I reckon spending 12 months in a child sexual assult investigation unit would be enough to turn most people, at the least agnostic.

    An omnipotent and loving god is in line for more than a disciplinary interview.

  15. #15
    CC Grandmaster
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    This a very broad question and really does it matter if a god exists if it doesn't have any impact on our life. There could theoretically be a god out there who has no interest in us and has given absolutely nothing away to there existance. It is impossible in my view to prove or disprove this God exists.

    I do believe that a god exists though as I expect you all realise. This is the God that is talked about in the Bible. So if you ask me why I believe that God exists I would say because the Bible exists and testifies to God's existance.

    Scott

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