Author Topic: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?  (Read 2352 times)

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Offline velkyn

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2011, 10:23:36 AM »
I know it looks like I'm moving the goal posts here, but the whole context of the question was in relation to the universe. So little particles whose existence produces nothing is hardly a qualified example to illustrate how a universe can suddenly pop into existence.
You are moving the goalposts.  It's a classic example of someone trying to say "no no that's not what I meant at all" when that's exactly what you asked for.  There is no reason to declare unilaterally that suddenly the one instance that disproves your claim doesn't apply when it does.   There is also little reason to give  you any benefit of the doubt when this is such a classic example of moving the goalposts. 

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2011, 10:24:28 AM »
Which is the bases of my question about what are the ODDS that a universe would pop into existence without a cause.

100%. Look around you; it has already happened

If a Ggod requires no cause (how would that be possible?) and creating the universe, why?

No clue. That's just how it was defined in very broad terms
Strikethrough mine. You do know that "god" is not a proper noun, right? It's a grammatical error to capitalize it in the middle of a sentence
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2011, 10:24:38 AM »
If a God requires no cause (how would that be possible?) and creating the universe, why?

Shoo, fly

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2011, 10:25:35 AM »
why create a universe with Billions of galaxies when you have NO need for it. God has an interest in one planet and only needs that planet.....and not a universe
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Offline Samuelxcs

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2011, 10:29:29 AM »
why create a universe with Billions of galaxies when you have NO need for it. God has an interest in one planet and only needs that planet.....and not a universe

God has an interest in only one planet and its needs but created an entire universe that he/she/it is not interested in, that would be a good question to answer. God might not be so selfish though and may want other planets, etc to exist for some reason.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2011, 10:32:08 AM »
100%. Look around you; it has already happened

With all due respect, and I don't want this to morph into a different line of thought, but we can't say that there definitely was no cause. We can't prove that there was no cause. It would be far more honest to say that we don't know what caused the universe to pop into existence, just like we don't know exactly how Virtual Protons pop into existence. I know that we are here, the universe is here. It is still probable that it is all a one shot deal. I am arguing against people spending money and taking action for an event that most likely will never happen. It reminds me of conversations between theists about what heaven will be like. They have already assumed that heaven exists...are you assuming that aliens exist.

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2011, 10:47:06 AM »
With all due respect

None taken[1]

and I don't want this to morph into a different line of thought, but we can't say that there definitely was no cause. We can't prove that there was no cause.

We can't even say or prove for sure that reality exists. There is a lot of evidence pointing to the universe having no cause, so we assume it doesn't and go from there. If we find evidence that causes us to question our assumption, we rethink it and draw a different concluion

It would be far more honest to say that we don't know what caused the universe to pop into existence, just like we don't know exactly how Virtual Protons pop into existence.

Virtual particles. And no, that would not be more honest, because that assumes it had a cause, despite all the evidence to the contrary. The most honest thing to say is "The evidence points towards X, but we can't be 100% sure of X"

I know that we are here, the universe is here.

No you don't. Not for sure
Cogito ergo sum. That's all you can be sure of[2]

It is still probable that it is all a one shot deal.

Assuming you're talking about the number of lives we have, that is what the evidence points to

I am arguing against people spending money and taking action for an event that most likely will never happen.

"A girl can dream"[3]
Just because the odds are astronomically slim doesn't mean we can't try to contact other alien species. I agree that with the current near-global economic crisis we shouldn't spend money on such superfluous things, but if we weren't in such a mess, it couldn't do any harm to try and communicate with other sentient species

It reminds me of conversations between theists about what heaven will be like.

Not really. Unlike the theists, I have provided evidence for my statements

They have already assumed that heaven exists...are you assuming that aliens exist.

Giant-ass universe with tons of events occurring at the same time; one of them is bound to produce life. I can't make it any more clear than this
 1. House reference, not anything relevant
 2. Note that I'm just taking the logic you used above and applying it here as well, this is not my PoV
 3. Another House reference; this time it's relevant
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2011, 10:53:24 AM »
Okay, my time is up for the moment...I'll check in later. But one thing to Blaziken in regards to this

It is still probable that it is all a one shot deal.

I was applying that to life, the universe, and everything[1]
 1. so long and thanks for all the fish :)
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2011, 11:10:55 AM »
 Jay ....do the math,I am not smart enough
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2011, 11:46:49 AM »
I deleted the rest of my original response because I think my responses to this last bit should clarify what I was actually trying to say.

There are only two options when it comes to intelligent alien life and the only reason Pascal's Wager wouldn't apply is if it was shown that intelligent alien life did, in fact, exist. THEN there would be a number of possible options to consider dealing with them and the implications of their existence to the Christian god.
Alright, now I think I understand.  You were basing your argument on the statements in the article that Graybeard linked.  I glanced over those and pretty much stopped when I saw that it was about discussing the Christian religion would relate to aliens.  I personally find that to be more than a little bit ridiculous, like putting the cart before the horse.

The reason I responded the way I did is because I did not realize that you were referring to that.  You were talking about the government (specifically, DARPA) spending money on talking about "what if we run into aliens".  DARPA is a Department of Defense think tank, and it stands to reason that any discussion they would have about an alien encounter would be military contingency plans rather than how to convert them to Christianity.  Part of DARPA's function is to come up with contingency plans for worst-case scenarios[1]; it may seem a bit ridiculous for them to plan around the possibility of a hostile alien invasion when we have no evidence that there are intelligent aliens anywhere near here, but I'm sure they would rather have a contingency plan for something that probably won't occur than to be caught by surprise and have to come up with a plan under fire if it does actually happen.

I was serious about the question of odds. I don’t understand how odds are calculated. I understand that within a universe this large there is the distinct possibility that life evolved elsewhere. However, have we seen any other example of spontaneous creation which resulted in the thing which was spontaneously created growing and expanding? If not, how can we infer that this universe was the exception to the rule?
Probability is very complicated.  I'm not sure I can explain it very well.  Hmm...I'll use coin-flipping, because I understand that fairly well.  If I flip a coin once, I have a 1/2 chance of it coming up heads or tails.  If I flip it twice, I have a 1/2 chance of each coin coming up heads or tails, meaning that I have a 1/4 chance of both coins coming up heads (HH), a 1/2 chance of one heads and one tails[2], and a 1/4 chance of both coins coming up tails (TT).  The odds are the chance of coming up with a unique result (HH, HT, TH, TT), but the probability is the chance of coming up with a general result (2 heads, 1 heads 1 tails, 2 tails).  Because there are two unique results that end up with 1 heads 1 tails, the probability of that result adds the odds of both.

Three flips results in the following sets:  HHH, HHT, HTH, HTT, THH, THT, TTH, TTT.  The odds of any given set occurring are 1/8.  Because the HHH and TTT sets are unique, they have a probability of 1/8.  However, there are three results that end up with 2 heads 1 tails, and three results that end up with 1 heads 2 tails, so the probability of either occurring is 3/8.  Four flips results in sixteen sets, with the odds of any one set occurring being 1/16; of which you have a 1/16 probability of all heads, a 1/4 (4/16) probability of 3 heads 1 tails, a 3/8 (6/16) probability of 2 heads 2 tails, a 1/4 (4/16) chance of 1 heads 3 tails, and a 1/16 chance of all tails.  It progresses in that manner as you add more coin flips.

To relate that to intelligent life developing[3], the odds would relate to intelligent life developing on any given planet.  And those odds will be fairly low, based on the conditions that we know can produce intelligent life (we cannot possibly predict the odds of intelligent life developing outside of those conditions).  The planet has to be large enough to hold an atmosphere, but small enough for life forms of sufficient size to develop.  It has to be far enough away from its sun to prevent any free water from boiling away, but close enough to prevent it from freezing.  It has to have a magnetic field to prevent its atmosphere from being ripped away by the solar wind.  And then, life has to gain a foothold on the planet (whether through abiogenesis, panspermia, or something else).  There must then be sufficient time for some life-forms to develop intelligence as we understand it without any disasters of sufficient magnitude to kill off most/all life-forms on the planet.

So the odds will be against any given planet developing intelligent life, because those odds require several things to all be true.  But the probability of some planets developing intelligent life will be much higher, given that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars.  It doesn't mean that there are aliens out there for sure.  We can't know one way or the other, because we're so limited on what we can observe from Earth.  And even if there are aliens out there somewhere, there's no guarantee that they're even in this galaxy.  And even if they're in this galaxy, there's no guarantee that we can get to them, or they to us.  We just don't know enough.  Until we can find out for sure, it's better to not assume one outcome is more likely than another.  Consider both, but don't assume either.

Does that make sense?
 1. For example, the basis of the Internet was originally developed by DARPA as a way to ensure that communication networks would still function after a nuclear attack.
 2. You can either have HT or TH; both of which have a 1/4 chance and combine for a 1/2 chance
 3. Remember that this is extremely simplified.

Offline velkyn

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2011, 12:05:14 PM »
I am arguing against people spending money and taking action for an event that most likely will never happen. It reminds me of conversations between theists about what heaven will be like. They have already assumed that heaven exists...are you assuming that aliens exist.

now replace this "event" of finding extraterrestrial life with the same claim about medical research, say 100 years ago.   "I am arguring aginast people spending money and taking action for an event that most likely will never happen, finding the cure for brain cancer.  It reminds me of converstations between theists about what heaven will be like.  They have already assumed that a cure can be found." 

now does this argument make sense when posed this way? 
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Offline RaymondKHessel

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2011, 12:52:06 PM »
I found this thread both depressing and dissapointing in several ways, on several levels.

I give it a 2/10.

Though I do find it mildly amusing that somehow a person can honestly try to put both gods and extraterrestrial life on the same level of likelihood, like they're both equally meritous ideas with comparable qualities or something.  &)

 
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2011, 12:57:12 PM »
I found this thread both depressing and dissapointing in several ways, on several levels.

I give it a 2/10.

Though I do find it mildly amusing that somehow a person can honestly try to put both gods and extraterrestrial life on the same level of likelihood, like they're both equally meritous ideas with comparable qualities or something.  &)
It started out about the Government wasting money looking for life in the universe......then it got ALL fucked up
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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #42 on: October 12, 2011, 12:59:13 PM »
I found this thread both depressing and dissapointing in several ways, on several levels.

I give it a 2/10.

Though I do find it mildly amusing that somehow a person can honestly try to put both gods and extraterrestrial life on the same level of likelihood, like they're both equally meritous ideas with comparable qualities or something.  &)
It started out about the Government wasting money looking for life in the universe......then it got ALL fucked up

That was my fault, and I apologize
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2011, 09:48:51 AM »
That was my fault, and I apologize
No need to apologize...If anything, it's my fault  :P

Though I do find it mildly amusing that somehow a person can honestly try to put both gods and extraterrestrial life on the same level of likelihood, like they're both equally meritous ideas with comparable qualities or something.  &)

What can I say? Just trying to keep it lively  ;D

now does this argument make sense when posed this way?

Certainly not. Why would you even make an argument like that?  ;)


Does that make sense?

For the most part...It really does feel like I'm doing mental gymnastics to justify a belief in something for which there is no actual proof of...you know? The reason I kept asking about the odds of something like our universe popping into existence is because the odds of alien life kept being cited. I figured it to be a weak argument because I am almost certain that no rational atheist would accept an argument for the existence of a creative force based only on the odds with no evidence or proof to back it up so why would any rational atheist accept the possibility of alien life based solely on odds?

This is not something that I feel particularly strongly about. I ran with the argument to practice the craft of debate...I made a couple of awful mistakes, but that is how we learn is it not? So thanks to everyone who participated it has been fun.

{Final Shot}
To those of you who believe in the possibility of alien life existing, I am right there with you. However I also reserve the right to believe in the possibility of a creative force that got this whole ball of wax going.[1]
 1. If you want to know more about what my definition of this creative force is and what it means to me, you shall need to look elsewhere...I ain't gettin into that again. :)
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Online Azdgari

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2011, 11:04:43 AM »
The difference between the universe-creator-hypothesis and the intelligent-life-hypothesis is that we can go a long way toward explaining how intelligent life happened on Earth, while we have no reason to believe that creation of the universe (in the religious sense) happened in the first place.

If a natural mechanism based on the qualities of our planet Earth resulted in intelligent life here, and natural mechanisms are operating on countless other planets throughout the universe, then it is eminently rational to expect some of them to harbor intelligent life at some point - because they will have gone a life-cycle similar to Earth's.  The sequence of events could be roughly copied.

To what sequence of events does universe-creation refer?  How is it done, and how was this determined?  See, it's not even in the same league.
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2011, 01:02:24 PM »
The difference between the universe-creator-hypothesis and the intelligent-life-hypothesis is that we can go a long way toward explaining how intelligent life happened on Earth, while we have no reason to believe that creation of the universe (in the religious sense) happened in the first place.

If a natural mechanism based on the qualities of our planet Earth resulted in intelligent life here, and natural mechanisms are operating on countless other planets throughout the universe, then it is eminently rational to expect some of them to harbor intelligent life at some point - because they will have gone a life-cycle similar to Earth's.  The sequence of events could be roughly copied.

To what sequence of events does universe-creation refer?  How is it done, and how was this determined?  See, it's not even in the same league.
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Offline Malfunc

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2011, 09:30:10 PM »
Precisely! It would be just plain foolishness to believe that we are alone in the universe. There are trillions of galaxies out there and every galaxy contains trillions of stars and most of those stars have satelite planets.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2011, 09:41:26 PM »
Precisely! It would be just plain foolishness to believe that we are alone in the universe. There are trillions of galaxies out there and every galaxy contains trillions of stars and most of those stars have satelite planets.
You're off by a couple orders of magnitude there.  But still, the point stands.

Offline ungod

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #48 on: October 30, 2011, 01:08:17 PM »

Quote
whereas we do have evidence of at least one intelligent species.
One instance does not a routine occurrence make.

Look around you. Nature doesn't do one-offs.


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Offline Graybeard

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #49 on: October 30, 2011, 04:16:46 PM »
The probability of life in the universe is governed by The Law of Large Numbers. A good explanation of this, with proofs, can be found here: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/teaching_aids/books_articles/probability_book/Chapter8.pdf

There are between 10^22 and 10^24 stars in the Universe.

For our own galaxy, the estimate is that it contains at least 200 billion stars and possibly up to 400 billion stars. So life can be the estimate is thus,
Quote
Various estimates have been made as to how many planets might support simple life or even intelligent life. For example, Dr. Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science estimates there may be a "hundred billion" terrestrial planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, many with simple life forms. He further believes there could be thousands of civilizations in our galaxy. Recent work by Duncan Forgan of Edinburgh University has also tried to estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. The research suggested there could be thousands of them.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrasolar_planet#Unanswered_questions

However, the 300,000,000,000 = 3 x 10^11 stars in the Milky Way is a pathetically small fraction of total number of stars in the universe: it is, ~ a 1/3,000,000,000,000th part. Then there is our neighbour, The Andromeda Galaxy with 10^12 stars http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way#Size ...



Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #50 on: October 30, 2011, 11:16:18 PM »
Look around you. <snip>

Hey! You're right! Well, that's all the proof I need. Aliens and God both must exist...I had no idea how powerful the "look around you" argument could be until someone put it in this context for me...Thanks! So...you gonna be changing your screen name now?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #51 on: October 30, 2011, 11:25:31 PM »
Personally, I think it's likely that there's life elsewhere in the cosmos, and would not be surprised at all if there was other life in this galaxy.  But I'm not willing to speculate as to the odds either way.  It's too easy to inadvertently skew probability calculations when we don't know if or how they fit together.

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #52 on: October 31, 2011, 07:32:48 AM »
Look around you. <snip>

Hey! You're right! Well, that's all the proof I need. Aliens and God both must exist...I had no idea how powerful the "look around you" argument could be until someone put it in this context for me...Thanks! So...you gonna be changing your screen name now?

When replying to a one-liner post, it's rarely necessary to <snip> something out, unless of course one wishes to make the post seem less reasonable than it really was.

Ungod was pointing out a particular part of our surroundings to "look around" for.  He wasn't saying "look around, there are aliens!" like a believer might say "look around, God is everywhere!" - he was saying "look around, nature tends to repeat its structures".
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 07:37:15 AM by Azdgari »
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #53 on: October 31, 2011, 09:45:47 AM »
- he was saying "look around, nature tends to repeat its structures".

Fair enough. But the other part of his statement was not as logical as your translation of it either.  He said
Quote
Nature doesn't do one-offs.

To which I would say...How would we really know if nature does not create something new or different? What are mutations then? I did not feel like really digging into is claim that nature does not do one-offs. So I just did not want to get into a discussion with him which started of with "look around you" as his proof.
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Online Azdgari

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #54 on: October 31, 2011, 09:59:53 AM »
Yes, dismissal is a lot easier than discussion.  I never disagreed with that.

But the observation he was asking you to make is eminently reasonable.  True, precise structures tend to be unique in their details - even two otherwise identical objects will have different positions, after all.  But I for one doubt he was claiming otherwise.

We can't disprove the claim that nature does "one-offs" occasionally, just as we can't disprove the claim that there is a tea-cup floating out amidst our solar system's asteroid belt.  But we can observe that physical laws seem to be universal in space, so what what happens in one place will tend to also happen - generally speaking - in another place.

In biology, sure, a particular individual's genetic code may not be replicated precisely anywhere else in its species, or in the universe.  Trivial details may be "one-offs".  But the organism's larger role in the ecosystem, isn't.  If it didn't evolve into that niche, then another organism would.  And it would probably use similar physical strategies to do so.  So unless that niche is also a "one-off", the means of filling that niche won't be, either.

Can you point to something that is a "one-off" within the universe, whose status of a "one-off" isn't due to its specific details being unlikely to be replicated?
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #55 on: October 31, 2011, 10:43:35 AM »
But we can observe that physical laws seem to be universal in space, so what what happens in one place will tend to also happen - generally speaking - in another place.
You are wise to use terms such as *seems* and *generally speaking*. If we are being honest we can admit that these are the current limits of our knowing.

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Trivial details may be "one-offs".  But the organism's larger role in the ecosystem, isn't.  If it didn't evolve into that niche, then another organism would.  And it would probably use similar physical strategies to do so.  So unless that niche is also a "one-off", the means of filling that niche won't be, either.
This is a curious statement. I don't think I completely understand what you are saying. What I get from it is that If humans had not filled the niche we currently hold, then another species would have. Why can't there be two sentient species like us in the same ecosystem? How do we know that another species would hold this current position if we had all died out a long time ago? Since we are the only ones like us,  does that mean that our niche is a one-off?

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Can you point to something that is a "one-off" within the universe, whose status of a "one-off" isn't due to its specific details being unlikely to be replicated?
Can you restate the question? I am not entirely sure what you are asking here...But at the moment I'm thinking the Big Bang is a one-off, just not sure if it's status as a one-off isn't due to it's specific details being unlikely to be replicated.

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Online Azdgari

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #56 on: October 31, 2011, 04:11:00 PM »
Had this typed out earlier, but the site went down and I couldn't post it...

You are wise to use terms such as *seems* and *generally speaking*. If we are being honest we can admit that these are the current limits of our knowing.

Similarly, if we are honest, we can acknowledge that your position requires the assumption that physical laws (and such) change from place to place.  Do you have evidence of that?  Homogeneity is the rational default position prior to evidence in any system.

This is a curious statement. I don't think I completely understand what you are saying. What I get from it is that If humans had not filled the niche we currently hold, then another species would have.

In terms of our ecological niche, when we were competing with other organisms, sure.  I'm not so sure about our present role, because it's more than an ecological niche.

Why can't there be two sentient species like us in the same ecosystem? How do we know that another species would hold this current position if we had all died out a long time ago? Since we are the only ones like us,  does that mean that our niche is a one-off?

There can be, and there were, back when the neanderthals competed with us.  A situation where two species compete within the same niche is unstable.  One will tend to fare better than the other and push the other out.  The loser may shift into a different niche, or it may go extinct.

We know that another species would have filled the role of prehistoric humans because that's how evolution works.  Because an unfilled niche is also unstable.  Whether that species would resemble humans in any way other than its ability to fill the niche is another matter.

As for whether our niche is a one-off - it depends on what your definition of a "one-off" is.  In one sense, every particle in the universe is a "one-off".  That definition renders the concept useless.

Can you restate the question? I am not entirely sure what you are asking here...But at the moment I'm thinking the Big Bang is a one-off, just not sure if it's status as a one-off isn't due to it's specific details being unlikely to be replicated.

1. I asked about "within the universe".
2. Where is your evidence that the Big Bang is a "one-off" event?
3. What I meant by specific details, is that there will always be a level of detail at which something will be "one-off".  See my comment about useless definitions.  We can consider each replicated car-part in a factory to be "one-off" on the basis that it will not be absolutely identical to any other one, but that's not a useful definition of "one-off".  It is also not likely to be the definition being used by our friend Ungod.
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Offline Avatar Of Belial

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Re: If intelligent extraterrestrials exist, what about God?
« Reply #57 on: November 02, 2011, 11:18:04 AM »
Now you're just being ridiculous. A god, by any definition of it, requires two things:
A - Creating the universe
B - Having no cause whatsoever

"Any" definition?

I disagree: Zeus would be considered a god, but he did not create the universe[1], nor did he arrive without a cause[2].
 1. I think the Titans did that... who were not considered gods, I believe... could be wrong there.
 2. He was born as a son of the Titans.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 11:20:03 AM by Avatar Of Belial »
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