Author Topic: If not God, then how did the universe start?  (Read 3914 times)

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Offline Gohavesomefun

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2012, 05:05:20 PM »
I personally believe we do not fully appreciate the concept of time, though it is a subject that is very hard to investigate; we may have misunderstood the concept of time as being a past, present and future; therefore we scower for meaningful beginning as that is the plain of time we live in. What if, time itself is on a cycle? Perhaps the infinite existance of nothingness when all the stars fade in 30 billion years time, may end with a sudden snap as the rubber band that is the universe strectches so far out it creates another big bang?

But I guess the question itself doesn't matter if you had fun today. ;D
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Offline inveni0

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2012, 07:45:33 PM »
I believe that the current concept of time is that it's tied to space.  No space?  No time.  In other words, before the universe existed, time didn't exist.  So there literally was nothing before the universe.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2012, 08:36:48 PM »
OK, thanks for your responses. There seems to be consensus amongst you that the origin of the universe is as yet unexplained.

I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?

No need to waste time explaining why I'm an idiot, or a child, or out of my depth - just respond to the questions please. I'm going somewhere with this (will be a new thread), and you can re-commence the belittling at that time.
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Offline Red McWilliams

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2012, 08:55:04 PM »
Lawrence Krauss, in his book The Universe From Nothing, makes a compelling case for our universe arising out of only natural processes.  At least I found it compelling.  Granted I don't completely understand everything he said, and his explanation isn't "proof", but it is, as you put it, an alternate hypothesis. And one that's much more parsimonious than positing a god.

I haven't watched all of this video, but I think it gives you the basics.  If you have an hour to kill, it is pretty interesting.

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Offline Red McWilliams

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #33 on: August 14, 2012, 09:00:41 PM »
I won't do any justice to Krauss or the science of his argument, but I figured I should at least attempt a summary.

Basically, 'nothing' can't exist very long.  Even in empty space, or even an area devoid of anything (including empty space) quantum fluctuations are still going to occur.  Occasionally, those fluctuations produce a small blip of matter and anti matter which very quickly annihilate each other and 'nothing' returns.  It is possible, though, if there is just a bit of non uniformity in that blip of particle generation, for the entire system to expand rapidly and give rise to a whole new universe.

All the cosmologists out there are welcome to strangle me now.

Also, the big bang theory makes certain specific and testable predictions.  One of those is the ratio of lighter elements to heavier ones.  Our current big bang models predict near perfectly the exact ratios we see.  If our theory of the big bang isn't (at least mostly) correct, this is the biggest coincidence in the history of coincidences, and then some.

We're on the right track.
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Offline Garja

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #34 on: August 14, 2012, 09:06:01 PM »

I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?


"Possible" yes.  "Likely" no. 

Knowing that you are "going somewhere with this", please do not take that out of context.
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #35 on: August 14, 2012, 09:16:58 PM »
I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?

Absolutely.  Yes, it's possible. 

I am fairly certain that everything was set in motion without an intelligent force, but it's possible I could be wrong about it. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline HAL

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #36 on: August 14, 2012, 09:26:45 PM »
I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe?

Yes it's possible. It's possible an invisible pink unicorn pooped it into existence too. There's really little point in guessing at it, I don't know.

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Offline Brakeman

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #37 on: August 14, 2012, 09:52:53 PM »
I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?

I am certain that it is not possible, since being "knowledgeable" and a discrete being would require mass, energy, and time and space all of which would not exist before the big bang. I do not equivocate.
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Offline jetson

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #38 on: August 14, 2012, 09:56:13 PM »
Anything is possible when you don't know what your talking about!  ;D

But seriously, it is possible, but there is nothing to indicate that it is worthy of specific research.  Highly unlikely.

Offline wright

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #39 on: August 14, 2012, 10:02:08 PM »
I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?

Sure, it's possible. But given what we know about the fundamental nature of the universe, I find the idea that it arose from unintelligent, undirected processes far more plausible.

Additionally, according to the best evidence so far space / time itself didn't exist before the Big Bang. So all such descriptives like "before", "behind" and so forth are meaningless in this context.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 10:04:04 PM by wright »
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2012, 10:13:27 PM »
I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe?
I don't know if it's possible.  What are the constraints?
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Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?
To be completely certain of anything seems to be pretty much impossible - maybe the rules of logic can be considered certain things, but frankly I can't rule out me changing my mind in the future.  What would change it, I have no clue, but I don't rule it out as a possibility. 
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."

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Offline Quesi

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2012, 10:17:04 PM »
OK, thanks for your responses. There seems to be consensus amongst you that the origin of the universe is as yet unexplained.

I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?

No need to waste time explaining why I'm an idiot, or a child, or out of my depth - just respond to the questions please. I'm going somewhere with this (will be a new thread), and you can re-commence the belittling at that time.

I think it is a great question.  I don't think that science (or philosophy) have come close to really understanding the complexities of consciousness or intelligence.  Our understanding of the nature of the universe itself is in flux.  When I was in school, I was taught that the universe, by definition, contained everything that existed.  Today, there is compelling and increasing evidence for the existence of multiple universes.   I am certainly open to accepting the directions that the evidence indicates. 

But I would be left with a question.  If an intelligence "set it all in motion," then we are still faced with the question of the origin of the intelligence.

Isaac Asimov wrote a beautiful little short story many many years ago, which seems so dated now in the era of the microchip.  But this famous secular humanist imagined a fictional scenario which explains the creation of the creator. 

I've linked The Last Question on this forum before, but I can't resist linking it again, in spite of all of its dated flaws.

 http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

Do I believe this story could be true?  Of course not.  Am I open to possibilities beyond my conception?  Of course. 

Offline Karl

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2012, 11:52:48 PM »
Is that it? Why are we here, why do we die? Is that what bothers all? My dog has no clue where his food comes from and in the end I am the same. I do not know. Look at what is supposedly beneath you and get a glimpse of who and what you are. That far you will get and no further you will ever reach, regardless of how smart you think you are. And yes, I do not believe in god. That does not make life easier but at least within the control I have I am responsible for my deeds, not God.

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #43 on: August 15, 2012, 12:03:14 AM »
Sure, it's possible.  Winning a lottery where the odds are a googleplex to one against it is also possible.  But I wouldn't plan my future it.

Offline Dante

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #44 on: August 15, 2012, 12:12:58 AM »
Sure Miles, its possible. But what isn't? HAL summed it up nicely.

The better question is; why, given all the available information we now currently possess, would anyone postulate that gods could be responsible for anything in this universe given that nature has been the only requirement for any cause to this point?

Gods have not, nor will ever be, necessary to explain the natural world. Increased knowledge is the only requirement.
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline Karl

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #45 on: August 15, 2012, 12:37:29 AM »
Sure Miles, its possible. But what isn't? HAL summed it up nicely.

The better question is; why, given all the available information we now currently possess, would anyone postulate that gods could be responsible for anything in this universe given that nature has been the only requirement for any cause to this point?

Gods have not, nor will ever be, necessary to explain the natural world. Increased knowledge is the only requirement.
So you are all knowing. There is a long history of that. I am atheist but I do know that what I know is limited. Could you accept the influence of beings that make life easier calling them gods? Also if they are not omnipresent?

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #46 on: August 15, 2012, 12:44:53 AM »
So you are all knowing. There is a long history of that. I am atheist but I do know that what I know is limited. Could you accept the influence of beings that make life easier calling them gods? Also if they are not omnipresent?
Cherry-pick much?  It's pretty clear that he was in no way suggesting that he was all-knowing, merely making a point about using gods to try to explain natural phenomena.

Offline Karl

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #47 on: August 15, 2012, 12:48:52 AM »
So you are all knowing. There is a long history of that. I am atheist but I do know that what I know is limited. Could you accept the influence of beings that make life easier calling them gods? Also if they are not omnipresent?
Cherry-pick much?  It's pretty clear that he was in no way suggesting that he was all-knowing, merely making a point about using gods to try to explain natural phenomena.
I am fine with that, but I do question (my) knowledge.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #48 on: August 15, 2012, 02:52:47 AM »
I'd like to now ask another question: do you personally consider it possible that there is some type of intelligence (not necessarily the God of the bible) behind the universe? Or are you completely certain that whatever set everything in motion was un-intelligent?

As Quesi points out, if an "intelligence" was behind the universe, it just shifts the goalposts a bit further back - as OneAboveAll pointed out on the very first reply in this thread:

If your god can be without cause, why not the universe?
In other words:
"If not bigger god, how did smaller god start?"
Ascribing the beginning of the universe to your god just begs the question as to how it came to be. It's not an answer.

Your "intelligence" question just tries the same trick, but in different words.

So sure - AN intelligence MAY have been behind THIS universe.  But I WILL say for definite that I am sure that - ultimately - whatever set things in motion was unintelligent.

It most certainly ISN'T turtles all the way down.....
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline magicmiles

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #49 on: August 15, 2012, 03:15:44 AM »


Your "intelligence" question just tries the same trick, but in different words.


I'm not trying any tricks.
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Offline EV

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #50 on: August 15, 2012, 04:23:51 AM »
Isaac Asimov wrote a beautiful little short story many many years ago, which seems so dated now in the era of the microchip.  But this famous secular humanist imagined a fictional scenario which explains the creation of the creator. 

I've linked The Last Question on this forum before, but I can't resist linking it again, in spite of all of its dated flaws.

 http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

Do I believe this story could be true?  Of course not.  Am I open to possibilities beyond my conception?  Of course.

This story is FANTASTIC. Such a good idea, I really liked it. Fairly interesting too.
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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #51 on: August 15, 2012, 05:59:06 AM »
I'm not trying any tricks.

You are deceiving yourself if you believe your God had anything to do with the emergence of the universe. There isn’t a shred of sound evidence or a single sound argument to show that your God had anything to do with it or that your God even exists. Any belief you hold in that regard is a result of self-deception.

Offline HAL

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #52 on: August 15, 2012, 06:00:13 AM »
I'm not trying any tricks.

Yes you are! Don't worry people - he can't trick us! We're too smart!

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #53 on: August 15, 2012, 06:08:53 AM »
Your "intelligence" question just tries the same trick, but in different words.

I'm not trying any tricks.
Good show!  Glad to hear it!  Substitute then:

Your "intelligence" question just makes the same mistake, but in different words - substituting "intelligence" for "god".
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Online Azdgari

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #54 on: August 15, 2012, 06:29:53 AM »
Magicmiles, Pianodwarf was right in his first reply.  "God did it" doesn't actually explain anything.

A god created this whole universe to specs?  Then it had a desire that the Earth should rotate 365.24 times during each of its orbits around its star at this point in history.  It also had a desire for every other planet to have its specific orbit.

That's a very small amount of data.  Now do it for every position and every state of every bit of matter and energy in the universe.

How much information is that, anyway?  A mind-croggling amount.  We can't even conceive of it.  But apparently, it was all encoded before it even came to pass, as a deliberate desire in the mind of a being.

So where did those desires come from?  Where did God's desire for Venus's specific atmospheric composition come from?  Where did his desire for the location and size of the Cygnus X black hole come from?  If the universe was set in motion by a god, and the god has a purpose for everything, then those factors are not random.  They are planned.  Where did the information come from to form those plans?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2012, 06:41:56 AM by Azdgari »
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #55 on: August 15, 2012, 09:33:22 AM »
Flatland has a great example of why you can't avoid the question of origins.  In it a 2D square who's been overawed by a 3D sphere asks, in all innocence, if the sphere can show him its innards, since you can see inside a 2D object from a 3D perspective, so you should be able to see inside a 3D object from a 4D perspective.  The square goes on in that vein for some time (arguments from analogy, such as the fact that 8 cubes should form a 4D hypercube) before getting tossed back into Flatland for his impertinence.

It might possibly be that some intelligence was responsible for the universe we live in.  But we can't pretend that this intelligence is the end of the line.  It had to come from somewhere; either natural causes or artificial ones.  And if it was artificial causes, if some higher intelligence was responsible for it and the universe it lived in (which in reality would just be an expansion of the universe we see and understand), then we've just moved the problem back one step, because now we have to explain where that higher intelligence came from.

Basically, we either run through an infinite series of higher and higher intelligences, or we have to acknowledge that natural causes were ultimately responsible.  And having granted that, there's no reason to postulate that any higher intelligences were involved without evidence to show that they were.

Offline Bluecolour

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #56 on: August 15, 2012, 03:21:59 PM »
Come on lets be logical,
God created the universe.
How did he do it? Now that ones up to science :)

Offline Garja

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Re: If not God, then how did the universe start?
« Reply #57 on: August 15, 2012, 03:28:59 PM »
Come on lets be logical,
God created the universe.
How did he do it? Now that ones up to science :)

So, logically, how do you make that assertion?
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