Author Topic: Natural Explanation Vs Magical  (Read 10148 times)

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Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #290 on: April 07, 2014, 10:27:15 AM »

If we agree that science's goal is to explain the natural world, then science itself does not rule out ID as a possibility. It is a naturalistic philosophy that expels ID before even asking if it is a possible explanation. My point was to show that the possibility of a designer is not logically incompatible with the goals of science. To this extent, it seems you would agree with me.

You just completely ignored the point I made about this and just went on rambling your presupposition. [Phillip Johnson? Is that you?] How about a little intellectual integrity? For the second time, "possibility" doesn't equal science. I could posit invisible fairies as an explanation for this sneezing and coughing I have. Furthermore, no one is stopping your ID boys from actually publishing in peer reviewed journals and actually presenting real evidence (not just claims). But you know what? They aren't doing it! The assertion of ID has zero worth and explains absolutely nothing. It is a conversation stopper. Unless you can actually demonstrate evidence of how something happened (in specific terms), these assertions of what you think is merely "possible" carry no weight.

Sorry, there is no conspiracy. Lots of professing Christians accept evolution. If you don't then you are only discrediting yourself as a religious nut with a precommitment to your theology. And since science has explained (in natural terms) 100% of what theists have posited a God for (lightening, sickness, etc), you are standing on a base of ignorance and credulity.

I also agree with you that simply because ID is not logically contradictory to the goals of science, does not mean it should be considered seriously. However, I would contend that there are several phenomena that to which naturalistic answers are inadequate. Most pertinent is the presence of specified complexity in biological life. Design is not primarily a matter of intuition. Instead, the more objective measure of design detection is through specified complexity.

NOPE! That is your dogmatically accepted assertion that you just took (hook, line, and sinker) from Dembski. But that argument is totally question begging. In order for something to be "specified" it must come from a mind. So this assertion of biological systems being "specified complexity" is just a mere ad hoc assertion with no backing. "Look! Someone must have specified this!" You can't just build into your premise the very conclusion of your argument and think that it will fly, especially since Dembskis criteria can produce all sorts of false positives.

Specified complexity is an highly improbable arrangement that fits a specific pattern. A simple example is comparing the following five letter arrangement: hswif and hello. Both arrangements contain the same amount of informational space, namely, five spaces. Also, both arrangements are equally improbable if drawn at random. The difference is the second five letter arrangement fits a specific pattern, that being, the word 'hello'. Therefore, the second one exhibits specified complexity. On this basis, one is correct to infer that I didn't pound the keyboard randomly but, rather, intended to spell the word 'hello'.

And your argument here is completely irrelevant to this topic. Even if I accepted your definition of "improbable arrangement", so what! Improbable things happen all the time. This in no way implies they were "specified". That is just practicing question begging in a dishonest fashion. You have to actually demonstrate that something has been "specified", and in order to do that you need to actually point to examples we already have of specification. Unfortunately for you, specification has only been demonstrated by natural means (humans, other animals, etc). So far, these attempts are just exposing your incredulity.

If specified complexity is found, it invariably has an intelligent cause. The most common biological example is DNA. The extremely improbable arrangement of proteins and molecules along with the fact that that arrangement is also a specific code providing the necessary information for all of life easily qualifies as specified complexity. So if DNA exhibits signs of specified complexity and the only thing known to be causally sufficient to generate specified complexity, why not treat it as an actual case of design?

Because there is no sound reason for thinking DNA is a "code" in the way in which you are attempting to use that term (i.e. - the way you took it from Meyer, etc). DNA is just chemicals. There is no reason for thinking there is "information" there. Information comes from minds. When we look out at the universe and discover things (like plate tectonics for example) WE develop information about it. You have started with your conclusion and are trying to work backwards, and that is the issue.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI111_1.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI111_2.html

It wasn't long ago that scientists thought much of DNA was junk, residual leftover from our evolutionary past. If intelligent design is true, we should expect this 'junk' DNA would actually have some, as yet, unknown purpose. And that is exactly what is happening. The more we study this 'junk', the more we understand the depth of complexity a single cell has, let alone an entire human.


False. Junk DNA is still junk. You really need to do some reading on the other side before posting stuff like this. Btw, complexity does not equal design and it is not how we tell design either. So that assertion is just a misnomer. And the assertion, "I just can't see how it could have happened naturally." is an argument from ignorance (i.e. - fallacious reasoning).

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/05/junk-dna-is-sti.html#more
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB130.html

Ironically, arguing that ID is simply borne of ignorance, does, indeed, reveal one's ignorance and philosophical bias. ID is beyond a mere logical possibilities and more than satisfies a burden of proof when understood correctly. It uses the mathematically developed idea of specified complexity to identify design (not unlike archaeology or forensic science). In 100% of the cases of specified complexity, an intelligence was the cause of this information. So to infer design when confronted with specified complexity is to form the most reasonable conclusion. Where is the ignorance or anti-science in that?

I'm not surprised that you won't see your fallacious reasoning in your assumptions with these old arguments. First, your beginning sentence here is just a mere assertion with no backing (we have a theme with you!). The philosophical bias is all yours, since clearly you have chosen to ignore (or perhaps not even read/investigate) the responses to Meyer, Dembski, Behe, etc and instead want to continue rehashing these failed attempts to smuggle supernaturalism into science. There are lots of god believers who accept that science is necessarily naturalistic in it's methodology (b/c it cannot investigate claims to the supernatural). And this says nothing about metaphysical naturalism anyways. Second, you can say all day long, "Well, if you don't accept it then you don't understand it correctly." but this argument is also logically fallacious (ad hominem). I understand your position quite clearly because I argued for it for over ten years. As a former Christian apologist I am very familiar with these attempts and, unlike you, I am familiar with their fallacies and errors. "Specified complexity" is question begging and unreliable for separating what is designed from what is not designed. Further, recognizing natural design is all you have (i.e. - design that comes from humans or natural animals). And since you have no "designer" by which to examine, your appeal is just an argument from ignorance - and an attempt to smuggle that ignorance into the scientific discourse by way of supernaturalism. It's a round-about god of the gaps. You seem to have forgotten that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidences. Why don't you examine your own biases instead of continuing this hocus pocus? You don't have the alleged designer to examine. You don't have a reliable method for determining design from non-design (since you clearly think everything was designed), and you do have a clear axe to grind with a science that won't allow you to hypocritically change the rules to usher in your god conjecture (all without an actual demonstration of the merely asserted "designer"). Again, your assertions get the conversation nowhere and do absolutely nothing to further our knowledge of the natural world. You have a presuppositional bend toward your theology which drives this attempt at changing what science is and does.

Positing ID has no explanatory power and tells us nothing about anything. It is a non-starter (an attempt to answer a mystery by an even bigger mystery). I'm sorry, that is just not science - no matter how badly you want it to be.

Oh and btw, Behe accepts common descent. Do you?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 10:34:08 AM by median »
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Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #291 on: April 07, 2014, 10:49:29 AM »


This method is unreliable and only convinces those that already believe and have a bias toward confirmation.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2014, 10:55:55 AM by median »
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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #292 on: April 07, 2014, 11:19:48 AM »
If I may address your second point first, in examining the natural world, there is no logical reason that discounts non-natural explanations from being a valid conclusion.
This is true, but there is also no logical reason to accept non-natural explanations as being true without investigating a phenomenon as thoroughly as possible.  More to the point, let's take a look at particular category of non-natural explanations, specifically "humans did it".  For example, artificial selection in breeding, electrical lights, air conditioning, computers, and automobiles, just to name a handful of innovations on a very, very long list.  In each of those things, we can legitimately say that "so-and-so invented it", and it will be true.  But it won't explain that thing, or how to do it; saying that the Wright brothers invented the airplane doesn't explain how to make one, or how we can make a heavier-than-air plane fly in the first place.

Moreover, without the natural explanations underlying the non-natural ones, the non-natural ones aren't possible.  Without the "equal but opposite" reaction caused by an airplane's wing pushing down on the air, thus causing the air to push up on the wing, an airplane couldn't stay aloft, let alone take off.  Without exception, everything invented by humans is underlain by the natural explanations that make it possible.  So that means that even a non-natural explanation for something will still be underlain by the natural principles which make it possible - therefore the purpose of science is to discover those natural principles.

Quote from: PhilosoB
As I have written, biological life is replete with examples of design that are far more advanced than our own designs. Given the fact of the extreme mathematical improbability of random mutations and natural selection to generate specified complexity and the fact that we experience the causal ability of intelligence to design analogous systems, the presence of a designing intelligence can only be discarded by willful ignorance or philosophical bias.
With all due respect, the only thing you're actually accomplishing by saying things like this is to demonstrate your own "willful ignorance" and "philosophical bias".  It's plainly dishonest to pretend that your own position is the only valid one, and the other position must have only come about because of ignorance and bias.  I don't deny that it's possible for life on Earth to have been designed, but the fact remains that even if it was, the designer either had to have been designed by something else, or else it came about naturally.  There really aren't any other options available to explain the existence of such a designer in the first place.  About the only one I can think of is that it literally sprung fully developed out of nothing - even though that's even more wildly improbable than random mutations and natural selection generating complexity.

Claiming "intelligence did it" doesn't help matters any, in other words, because you still have to explain that intelligence somehow, and point to the evidence it left of its own existence (and not by saying that the very things you're evaluating are that evidence, because that's a circular argument).  Logic and philosophy can't do that either, because you still have to evaluate the conclusions you draw through them in the real world, lest you accept things like Aristotle's elements or Plato's forms.

Quote from: PhilosoB
Philosophical naturalism holds that the everything that exists does so within the spatiotemporal universe, that everything, in theory, is reducible to the language of natural science and explainable in scientific theories. In order to show naturalism false, all that is required is to demonstrate that it is plausible that at least one thing exist outside the spatiotemporal universe; in other words, if something that exists can not be reduced to mere physical properties, then naturalism is false.
Of course, the problem is demonstrating this without relying on naturalism, in such a way that other people can verify it without falling prey to something like Plato's forms.

Quote from: PhilosoB
I contend that the mind and mental states are different from the brain and brain states. In order to show that two things are different, I will use the law of the indiscernibility of  identicals which states that for x and y, if x and y are identical, then for any property P, P will be true of x if and only if P is true of y. Essentially, everything is identical to itself. If there is a property that is true of x but not of y, x and y are not identical and thus, two different things. Though there are more, three examples should demonstrate that mental states have different properties than brain states, and thus are two different things and not reducible to natural descriptions.
Even if they do have different properties, it does not follow that they are not reducible to natural descriptions.  The properties of the Macintosh operating system are different than that of Windows, which is itself different from Unix/Linux.  But that in no way shows that those things are not reducible to natural descriptions.

Quote from: PhilosoB
First, intentionality is a property of mental states and not brain states. This refers to the 'of-ness' or 'about-ness' of our mental states. Our thoughts are always about something. We think about tomorrow, or about that new car, or about our next forum post. On the other hand, intentionality is not a property of physical objects. Neurons are not 'about' the next bill payment. Physical objects can be in spatial or causal relation, but they are not about any thing the way that mental states are.
All this shows is that the mind is different than the brain, which is true in the way that a computer program is different than the hardware that it runs on.  Yet, were it not for the hardware, the program could not run.  A single transistor can't run Windows; does that mean that Windows can't be reduced to physical properties?

Quote from: PhilosoB
Second, mental states are incorrigible, that is, we cannot be mistaken about our mental state. We are incapable of not knowing what we are thinking. Explaining our thoughts can be difficult or we may be wrong in our thinking but we do not have to explain our thoughts to ourselves. We know our mental states incorrigibly. Certainly, we can be and often are wrong when it comes to knowing physical objects, including brain states. We do not know physical objects incorrigibly.
This is demonstrably false.  People are mistaken about their mental states all the time.  On top of that, we rationalize our perceptions and memories all the time, often to the point where they barely even resemble reality.  A person can fool themselves into thinking that they're happy when they're actually sad, for example.  And that doesn't even touch on the subconscious, which we are incapable of perceiving.  Therefore, mental states are not incorrigible, because we cannot even perceive anything in the subconscious to begin with, we can deceive ourselves about our mental states, and we can simply be wrong about them.

Quote from: PhilosoB
Third, personal identity is best explained through the existence of a mind. One does not have the same body as when one was younger and, yet, one is the still the same person. If our personal identity is explained in purely physical terms, we would have to admit we are a different person. Changing just one cell would create a new person. However, we know this is not the case. Introspectively, we are all aware that we have maintained our personal identity over time.  A mind best explains this continuity of personal identity over time.
This is even worse than the last point.  First off, identity is a factor of both body and mind.  The mind changes alongside the body; the physical changes our bodies undergo influence and change the mind.  Indeed, sudden or severe enough changes in the body can kill a person, thus ending their personal identity.  Notably, this goes above and beyond injuries, diseases, and the like.  Systemic shock, such as being taken into a sufficiently different environment, can and has killed people.  What that means is that the body (and mind) are capable of adapting to changes within a certain degree, and anything beyond that is risky.  Ordinary physical changes (such as cell replacement, puberty, and the aging process) are gradual, and our bodies are adapted to them.  More significant physical changes can possibly kill us, thus ending our personal identity.

Second, our awareness of our personal identity is not total or even particularly reliable.  We lose that awareness while we're sleeping, for example.  And if you think back to your actions in the past, it can often seem like you were a totally different person back then (especially if you've dramatically changed since then).  In fact, that's the truth; we were different people back then, because of mental and physical differences.  It's not our sense of personal identity that causes us to associate those actions with ourselves, it's our memories of having done them.  Therefore, personal identity is not all that it's cracked up to be.

Quote from: PhilosoB
Since I am sure it will come up, simply because changes to the brain can change one's mental state, it does not mean they are the same. The fact that mental states and brain states are causally connected in not sufficient to say they are identical. To be identical, tt is necessary so have the same properties. As I have shown, the mind and mental states have different properties than the brain and brain states. Therefore, they are not the same thing, the mind is not reducible to a physical description and thus, naturalism is found deficient.
Just because the mind and the brain are different does not show that the mind is not reducible to basic physical properties.  It simply shows that they are different, albeit related.  In fact, it would be foolish to argue that the brain and the mind were the same, because they clearly are not.  So why are you now triumphantly trying to claim that because the mind and the brain are not the same thing, that the mind is not reducible to basic physical properties and therefore naturalism is found deficient?  Do you really think that this question of the differences between the brain and the mind has never been addressed before?  And as I showed, your points in no way address whether the mind can be reduced to its basic physical properties.  You need to do more than simply say that it is not same thing as the brain to do that - and that doesn't even touch on the flaws in the points you raised.

Quote from: PhilosoB
If a mind exists in a non-spatiotemporal state, intelligent design is all the more likely. In fact, the existence of a mind is more explainable, perhaps even expected, if ID is true.
Irrelevant, as you have not shown that minds exist in a "non-spatiotemporal state".

Quote from: PhilosoB
Regarding the falsification of ID, as with all scientific theories, it is not logically possible to falsify. One can always posit logical possibilities to overcome obstacles. More appropriately, ID can be refuted easily by producing a clear, defined and demonstrable naturalistic pathway to generate specified complexity. If random mutation, natural selection, and lots of time were adequately capable or even marginally possible of such a task, I don't think intelligent guys like Stephen Jay Gould would be submitting theories such as punctuated equilibrium or Crick's directed panspermia?
I don't think you understand what falsification means when it comes to science, and frankly, I question your understanding of science in the first place.  You see, science is built around demonstrating hypotheses through evidence and testing, and you tie all those hypotheses together to eventually form a theory (provided, of course, that the hypotheses hold up under testing).  It is not predicated on pure logic the way you seem to assume it is.  People do not just formulate logical possibilities to overcome problems in science, because science depends on testable evidence, which logic cannot provide.

Because a scientific theory is formulated by combining a number of tested hypotheses, what that means is that if someone finds new evidence that isn't explained by those hypotheses, or that seems to contradict some of them, you don't just throw out the whole theory.  You reexamine the existing hypotheses in light of the new evidence, and discard/revise them as necessary.  Once you've done that, you have a new hypothesis and a better theory, because any hypotheses that were falsified by the new evidence are discarded.

Finally, the reason intelligent design is not accepted as a theory is because it's based on the idea that its adherents have that certain things are impossible (notably, without actually having evidence of that impossibility, let alone having tested it).  If intelligent design were based on testable evidence, the way that every single other scientific discipline is, then it could be evaluated.  As it stands, one must either agree or disagree with it, because its basic premise is that life cannot have come about naturally, and it does not provide any way to test this.  That isn't scientific, therefore intelligent design is not science.

Quote from: PhilosoB
In the end, philosophical naturalism is unlikely and natural explanations have been insufficient. Alternatively, the exist of a mind is plausible and intelligence is the only known cause of specified complexity. Why must every conceivable naturalistic possibility be examined before intelligent design gets a fair hearing? Why not assume apparent design is actual design?
Because humans have a very strong tendency to assume things based on what they think they know, known as an argument from ignorance.  The only way we know of to counter this is to minimize assumptions, ala Occam's razor.  To put it bluntly, intelligent design contains far too many assumptions to be taken seriously.  Even if there were no known explanation, it would still not be reasonable to just assume "intelligence did it", because it's far more likely that our knowledge is just lacking.

That leaves aside the fact that your logic had a number of errors in it, most notably the fact that you didn't even touch on whether the mind could be broken down into basic physical principles.  You simply assumed that since the mind wasn't the same as the brain, that the mind couldn't be broken down into basic physical principles; yet, a computer program is not the same as the hardware it runs on, yet we can break computer programs down into basic physical principles.  Consider that an illustration of the danger of making assumptions.

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #293 on: April 07, 2014, 12:02:53 PM »

The beginning (origin) is in a completely separate category to anything that came after it.

Something from nothing is not science unless the 'nothing' 'prior' to the universe's formation is redefined as containing some inherent potential to manifest a universe (or universes) - and in that case we are no longer at the beginning (origin).  If that redefinition of 'nothing' is allowed then the beginning shifts to the origin of that potential, or else that eternal potential itself.

[an eternal origin is still the ultimate origin - it makes no difference whether or not the ultimate origin is eternal]

The origin of reality cannot be scientific.  Everyone on this website needs to learn this.  This is known by scientists.  This is known by philosophers.  This has been known for thousands of years.  It has only recently been 'forgotten' because our educational systems are now pathetic.

I will explain it again.  It is not very complicated.

The ultimate origin is that which did not arise from something else.  If X arose from something else then X is not the origin.

Once you have in mind this concept you should quickly realise that it is completely outside of the bounds of science because -

- the ultimate origin has no cause (by definition that is what origin means)
- the origin has no scientific explanation since it has no cause
- any explanation offered for the origin will simply become the new origin

[for Foxy's benefit, if non causality gave rise to causality then the origin is non causality and so on back until the ultimate origin whether that was sudden or eternal.]

Science cannot address the ultimate origin.  Science cannot address anything that is uncaused.  There is no scientific test for an ultimate uncaused origin.  I don't mean we haven't yet thought of one.  I mean there cannot be one.

This is not a failure of science.  Science was never intended to deal with or address an ultimate uncaused origin.

Science is designed to deal with anything that has a cause ie everything following the ultimate origin.

Lots of mistakes on this post, especially this bold statement.

Quote
The origin of reality cannot be scientific. Everyone on this website needs to learn this. This is known by scientists.

I would like to go through all the mistakes in this post but this is the underlying mistake.

Am I correct in reading your position from this post that you think of a god as being the original non caused origin, and the non caused nature of the universe is only potentially set up by this god?
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #294 on: April 07, 2014, 03:37:06 PM »
If I may address your second point first, in examining the natural world, there is no logical reason that discounts non-natural explanations from being a valid conclusion.
There is, and I asked you about it above.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #295 on: April 07, 2014, 05:40:48 PM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #296 on: April 07, 2014, 05:42:15 PM »
As an addendum to my earlier post:

It's not that anyone has shown that philosophical naturalism is the only valid way to investigate the universe, it's that nobody has shown that any other method has any validity at all.  It's that latter point that's tricky.  A person can argue as fervently as they want in favor of whatever they want, and they might even make logical points in favor of it, but unless they can show that it holds up under scrutiny and allows us to meaningfully understand the universe, what good does it do us?

Let's take intelligent design, since PhilosoB brought it up.  He's supported it with the idea of specified complexity, which is the idea that if you have a pattern which appears to have meaning, and it is improbable for it to have happened on its own, then it must be representative of intelligent design.  The thing is, specified complexity is nothing more than a fancy way to say "pattern sensitivity".  For example, he compares 'hswif' and 'hello', and concludes that since 'hello' fits a specific pattern and 'hswif' doesn't, that the former is "specified complexity" and the latter is just a random distribution of letters.

However, that is not the case, because his typing of 'hswif' is not a randomized distribution of letters.  It's a meaningless grouping of letters, but since he typed it, it isn't random - meaning it fits his idea of "specified complexity" as well.  It may not be a meaningful pattern, but it is specified and complex.  More to the point, he actually generated two non-random patterns in his example; one that has a specific meaning and one that doesn't.  The problem is that neither of them represent a random distribution.  He most likely set his hands on the keyboard and typed five letters in order to generate a non-meaningful pattern - which itself has meaning.  A human intentionally trying not to generate a pattern will ultimately still generate a pattern, because a truly random distribution would sometimes contain strings that seemed to have meaning.

In other words, he gave us two examples of "specified complexity", but couldn't give us a single example of "non-specified complexity".  I doubt he has any idea how to tell us just what "non-specified complexity" is.  And that's because humans are very good at spotting patterns, but not very good at all at discerning the difference between a meaningful pattern generated by an intelligent entity, a meaningful pattern generated by something else, and a random distribution that resembles a pattern.  Indeed, our evolution as a species has led us to be more likely to favor something being a meaningful pattern even when it isn't, and more likely to think of a meaningful pattern being generated by something intelligent rather than natural forces or some kind of non-intelligent animal.

My point is that we cannot simply assume that because something seems like it fits a pattern, that it actually does, at least not when it comes to the natural world.  To do so is to lead ourselves astray and ultimately sabotage our own efforts to learn.  PhilosoB asked why we shouldn't assume that apparent design is intelligent design; the answer is that we shouldn't make assumptions based on what seems apparent to us, because that goes against the principle of minimizing assumptions.  There's a colloquial expression; to assume makes an ass of you and me.  How many times do people get tripped up by bad assumptions they made relating to other people?

If we can get tripped up by small assumptions relating to other people, intelligent agents we can actually communicate with, how much more badly will we get tripped up by making assumptions relating to an intelligent agent who might not even exist?  There's another point to consider, too.  Let's say we're working with a piece of technology that we don't understand, assuming we can't communicate with the designer.  In that case, it's going to be better to try to break it down as much as we can to try to understand it on its own terms, because deciding that it was made by an intelligent designer doesn't actually tell us anything useful.  In short, we'll still use the process of scientific rigor to try to figure out how it came about.  In both cases, the fact that it exists tells us that it's possible, and our own experience tells us that it can be broken down into simpler and simpler parts which should be much easier to figure out.  Whether it happened naturally or was designed is pretty much beside the point as far as science is concerned.

Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #297 on: April 08, 2014, 08:48:44 AM »

[snip]

[for Foxy's benefit, if non causality gave rise to causality then the origin is non causality and so on back until the ultimate origin whether that was sudden or eternal.]

Science cannot address the ultimate origin.  Science cannot address anything that is uncaused.  There is no scientific test for an ultimate uncaused origin.  I don't mean we haven't yet thought of one.  I mean there cannot be one.

This is not a failure of science.  Science was never intended to deal with or address an ultimate uncaused origin.

Science is designed to deal with anything that has a cause ie everything following the ultimate origin.

Lots of mistakes on this post, especially this bold statement.

Quote
The origin of reality cannot be scientific. Everyone on this website needs to learn this. This is known by scientists.

I would like to go through all the mistakes in this post but this is the underlying mistake.

Am I correct in reading your position from this post that you think of a god as being the original non caused origin, and the non caused nature of the universe is only potentially set up by this god?

I obviously cannot just claim that the Uncaused Origin = God.  That would simply be a dogmatic definition and largely unhelpful.

The key point I am making here in this thread is that the origin is not natural.  It cannot be natural under any fair or reasonable definition of the term natural.  Similarly, science cannot address the origin.  The origin is outside the bounds of science because it is uncaused and thus untestable.

Once this is acknowledged.  Then we can move on to determining what we can discern about the uncaused origin (for example by use of logic) while recognising that this is no longer a scientific discussion.

'Not scientific' does not mean wrong.  The ultimate origin is not scientific for the reasons given above.  And yet we know there must be an ultimate origin (sudden or eternal) or else we wouldn't be here to talk about it.



Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #298 on: April 08, 2014, 09:00:19 AM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)

The thing is, ngfm, that if the ultimate origin requires a non natural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same non natural source.

It is quite a shocking realisation when it is first recognised.

Offline Hatter23

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #299 on: April 08, 2014, 09:07:27 AM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)

The thing is, ngfm, that if the ultimate origin requires a non natural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same non natural source.

It is quite a shocking realisation when it is first recognised.

Yes it is quite shocking that if apple seeds only sprout due to the blessings of fairies, that we only have Woodchuck Cider because of fairies.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #300 on: April 08, 2014, 09:23:34 AM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)

The thing is, ngfm, that if the ultimate origin requires a non natural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same non natural source.

It is quite a shocking realisation when it is first recognised.

Yeah, it's shocking to the theist because it makes a nonsense of any specific religion that points to "miracles" as evidence for their specific god. You have basically drawn a tree where god is the root (yes, you can play around with calling it non-natural, but you are talking about god) of everything in existence. So, when you point to one leaf, ie the leaf that just so happens to fit your theology (let's call it the Jesus resurrection leaf), you are applying a case of special pleading because you have the pick of the entire tree to claim evidence for the same god.
Also, this makes a total nonsense of evidence. As you have now reached a point where there is nothing that can't be evidence for god, you have made evidence meaningless because you have nothing to contrast against.
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #301 on: April 08, 2014, 09:37:14 AM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)

The thing is, ngfm, that if the ultimate origin requires a non natural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same non natural source.

It is quite a shocking realisation when it is first recognised.

I don't see what's so shocking about it.  It's about as shocking as the following:

If the ultimate origin requires a transnatural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same transnatural source.
If the ultimate origin requires a plabial explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same plabial source.
If the ultimate origin requires a supernatural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same supernatural source.
If the ultimate origin requires a subnatural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same subnatural source.
If the ultimate origin requires a flarganial explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same flarganial source.
If the ultimate origin requires a glasnostial explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same glasnostial source.

Each of the words above, as far as I can tell, share all of the characteristics of your use of the word 'non-natural'.  Which is to say, 'not natural'.  They are labels that can be slapped onto something to place it in a different category than items we slap with the label 'natural'.  But that doesn't tell us anything about the category itself.

So far as I can tell, the only difference between things that are 'non-natural' and things that are 'natural' is that label.  Nothing more.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #302 on: April 08, 2014, 09:39:05 AM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)

The thing is, ngfm, that if the ultimate origin requires a non natural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same non natural source.

It is quite a shocking realisation when it is first recognised.

Yeah, it's shocking to the theist because it makes a nonsense of any specific religion that points to "miracles" as evidence for their specific god. You have basically drawn a tree where god is the root (yes, you can play around with calling it non-natural, but you are talking about god) of everything in existence. So, when you point to one leaf, ie the leaf that just so happens to fit your theology (let's call it the Jesus resurrection leaf), you are applying a case of special pleading because you have the pick of the entire tree to claim evidence for the same god.
Also, this makes a total nonsense of evidence. As you have now reached a point where there is nothing that can't be evidence for god, you have made evidence meaningless because you have nothing to contrast against.

I am still happy to speak of the uncaused origin.  I see no need to try and force in the name of God and all the baggage held by that term (different in each person's mind).

You appear to prefer to talk about Jesus stories or bible stories.  I don't see how that is necessary in this discussion.

Are you accepting the non natural origin ?

Let's just consider the non natural origin in a non religious way ie without any dogmas (from theists or atheists).  And no special pleading.

But let's first see if anyone in here is still having trouble accepting the non natural origin.



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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #303 on: April 08, 2014, 09:41:37 AM »


Each of the words above, as far as I can tell, share all of the characteristics of your use of the word 'non-natural'.  Which is to say, 'not natural'.  They are labels that can be slapped onto something to place it in a different category than items we slap with the label 'natural'.  But that doesn't tell us anything about the category itself.

So far as I can tell, the only difference between things that are 'non-natural' and things that are 'natural' is that label.  Nothing more.

In that case is there any point to the OP of this thread ?

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #304 on: April 08, 2014, 09:43:44 AM »
I obviously cannot just claim that the Uncaused Origin = God.  That would simply be a dogmatic definition and largely unhelpful.

The key point I am making here in this thread is that the origin is not natural.  It cannot be natural under any fair or reasonable definition of the term natural.  Similarly, science cannot address the origin.  The origin is outside the bounds of science because it is uncaused and thus untestable.

Once this is acknowledged.  Then we can move on to determining what we can discern about the uncaused origin (for example by use of logic) while recognising that this is no longer a scientific discussion.
You have a problem here that you are ignoring: You cannot use logic if you are discussing magic. In magic, people float off into the sky. This does not happen.

The next thing is that you are proposing logic in the absence of any godly data at all.

Finally, you are pre-supposing, and asking us to presuppose, magic.

THE PARABLE OF THE SEALED TUBE:

Edward de BonoWiki would start a lecture by handing round a sealed metal tube that looked like a large lipstick. The tube was noticeably light and appeared to be hollow and it made no noise when shook. He would then take it back to his seat and place it in a small tank of water and showed that it floated quite well. He then dried it and placed it on one of its ends on a glass sheet on his desk. He assured everyone that there was no

At some point during the lecture there would be a loud click from the tube and the tube would simultaneously leap into the air. He then collected it from the floor and handed it round again.

Once everyone who wanted to had examined it, and the glass sheet, and the desk, he would ask for theories as to what happened. There were hundreds of guesses over the years and many ingenious answers but nobody came to the right conclusion.

De Bono explained that the moral was that people tended to ask the question, "How did he do that?" instead of the correct question, "What would I do if I wanted to produce that effect?"

And it also showed the futility of trying to work something out with insufficient data and an inability to test out theories.

A friend at university met De Bono years later. He told me that De Bono gave him the explanation. Now, I don't know if it is on the net but I suggest you try working out how it was done.

It has to be easier than explaining how a deity created a universe and why the deity needed such a violent expansion.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2014, 09:45:35 AM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #305 on: April 08, 2014, 09:48:37 AM »


Each of the words above, as far as I can tell, share all of the characteristics of your use of the word 'non-natural'.  Which is to say, 'not natural'.  They are labels that can be slapped onto something to place it in a different category than items we slap with the label 'natural'.  But that doesn't tell us anything about the category itself.

So far as I can tell, the only difference between things that are 'non-natural' and things that are 'natural' is that label.  Nothing more.

In that case is there any point to the OP of this thread ?

To showcase that appealing to something being 'magical' or 'non natural' looks suspiciously close to appealing to 'let's play pretend'.

Because, as far as I can tell, 'magical' and 'non natural' are labels that exist in the same cloud-of-unknown as 'non existent' and 'not real'.  Of course, it is certainly possible that some of those things labeled as 'magical' and 'non natural' are indeed 'existent' or 'real', but from how I have seen it used, it is essentially applied to phenomenon that simply cannot be explained and/or runs counter to explanations for other phenomenon.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #306 on: April 08, 2014, 09:49:40 AM »
I've said it before; the theists are really scrambling when they have to go all the way to before the beginning of the universe to find a god. Used to be god was hiding under every volcano and hovering over every plague victim.  &)

The thing is, ngfm, that if the ultimate origin requires a non natural explanation then everything else that followed on from that origin stems from that same non natural source.

It is quite a shocking realisation when it is first recognised.

Yeah, it's shocking to the theist because it makes a nonsense of any specific religion that points to "miracles" as evidence for their specific god. You have basically drawn a tree where god is the root (yes, you can play around with calling it non-natural, but you are talking about god) of everything in existence. So, when you point to one leaf, ie the leaf that just so happens to fit your theology (let's call it the Jesus resurrection leaf), you are applying a case of special pleading because you have the pick of the entire tree to claim evidence for the same god.
Also, this makes a total nonsense of evidence. As you have now reached a point where there is nothing that can't be evidence for god, you have made evidence meaningless because you have nothing to contrast against.

I am still happy to speak of the uncaused origin.  I see no need to try and force in the name of God and all the baggage held by that term (different in each person's mind).

But in the long run, that's exactly what you do do, and all that baggage you believe is the "non natural" thing has to be dealt with.

Quote
You appear to prefer to talk about Jesus stories or bible stories.  I don't see how that is necessary in this discussion.

No, I used it because I'm discussing this with you, a Christian, who has it as part of their theology. I could've come up with a plethora of examples of claimed "miracles" from a myriad of religions, but it makes sense to keep it in context with the one you hold.

Quote
Are you accepting the non natural origin ?

I don't even no what it means to talk of the non natural.

Quote
Let's just consider the non natural origin in a non religious way ie without any dogmas (from theists or atheists).  And no special pleading.

Let's not consider the non natural origin. Let's first have a clue about what the fuck non natural is even supposed to mean.

Quote
But let's first see if anyone in here is still having trouble accepting the non natural origin.

See above.
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #307 on: April 08, 2014, 09:50:35 AM »

I obviously cannot just claim that the Uncaused Origin = God.  That would simply be a dogmatic definition and largely unhelpful.

The key point I am making here in this thread is that the origin is not natural.  It cannot be natural under any fair or reasonable definition of the term natural.  Similarly, science cannot address the origin.  The origin is outside the bounds of science because it is uncaused and thus untestable.

Once this is acknowledged.  Then we can move on to determining what we can discern about the uncaused origin (for example by use of logic) while recognising that this is no longer a scientific discussion.

'Not scientific' does not mean wrong.  The ultimate origin is not scientific for the reasons given above.  And yet we know there must be an ultimate origin (sudden or eternal) or else we wouldn't be here to talk about it.

Uncaused events still occur today. They are not outside scientific investigation. You are being dogmatic in asserting that non causality cannot be investigated by science. Modern physics is all about non caused events. Krauss already has a workable theory of how the universe began without a cause. So you are dogmatically asserting that Krauss' theory is impossible because the origin is "outside the bounds of science." This is just ignorance of science. Why are you trying to impose your personal opinions on science?
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #308 on: April 08, 2014, 09:52:09 AM »
Greybeard

You are simply labelling anything that makes you uncomfortable as 'magic' so that you can then justify ignoring it.

Have you accepted that the ultimate origin cannot be natural ?

If not please present your case.

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #309 on: April 08, 2014, 10:03:38 AM »
Greybeard

You are simply labelling anything that makes you uncomfortable as 'magic' so that you can then justify ignoring it.

Have you accepted that the ultimate origin cannot be natural ?

If not please present your case.

Why does there have to be an ultimate origin? Is it not possible that our universe is a succession of eternal 'Big Bangs'? This idea that some eternal magical all good super intelligent being would appear to me to be the most unlikely cause of the universe. How did it get there? How did it get its intelligence? Did its intelligence just evolve?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #310 on: April 08, 2014, 10:05:22 AM »

I obviously cannot just claim that the Uncaused Origin = God.  That would simply be a dogmatic definition and largely unhelpful.

The key point I am making here in this thread is that the origin is not natural.  It cannot be natural under any fair or reasonable definition of the term natural.  Similarly, science cannot address the origin.  The origin is outside the bounds of science because it is uncaused and thus untestable.

Once this is acknowledged.  Then we can move on to determining what we can discern about the uncaused origin (for example by use of logic) while recognising that this is no longer a scientific discussion.

'Not scientific' does not mean wrong.  The ultimate origin is not scientific for the reasons given above.  And yet we know there must be an ultimate origin (sudden or eternal) or else we wouldn't be here to talk about it.

Uncaused events still occur today. They are not outside scientific investigation. You are being dogmatic in asserting that non causality cannot be investigated by science. Modern physics is all about non caused events. Krauss already has a workable theory of how the universe began without a cause. So you are dogmatically asserting that Krauss' theory is impossible because the origin is "outside the bounds of science." This is just ignorance of science. Why are you trying to impose your personal opinions on science?

Foxy,

Are you talking about the universe's origin or the ultimate origin ?

If the universe arose out of something else then that something else is the origin.  When there is no more 'arose from' then you are actually at the ultimate origin.

I am happy to include and speak about non causality still occurring.  What does science tell us about uncaused events which still occur today ?  It can tell us results that arise from those events.  Science starts after the uncaused by looking at the results.  But it cannot address the origin of any of the uncaused events.  This is not a weakness of science.  It is simply out of scope for science.



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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #311 on: April 08, 2014, 10:13:19 AM »

Have you accepted that the ultimate origin cannot be natural ?

If not please present your case.


This is just you telling the universe what it is like, instead of asking the universe what it is like.

If you arbitrarily make up definitions of "natural" based on the way your brain has evolved to interpret a narrow range of events at the scale of daily life, you will be wrong. You might think cause then effect is natural, but that is just you telling the universe how you think it should be.

The possibilities of cause and effect are really 1) effect without cause, 2) cause then effect, 3) effect then cause, and 4) cause without effect. The universe actually works in all four of these ways so don't tell the universe what it must be like, ask it to tell you. If you don't ask the universe what it is like, you are being dogmatic.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #312 on: April 08, 2014, 10:14:38 AM »
Greybeard

You are simply labelling anything that makes you uncomfortable as 'magic' so that you can then justify ignoring it.

Have you accepted that the ultimate origin cannot be natural ?

If not please present your case.

Why does there have to be an ultimate origin? Is it not possible that our universe is a succession of eternal 'Big Bangs'? This idea that some eternal magical all good super intelligent being would appear to me to be the most unlikely cause of the universe. How did it get there? How did it get its intelligence? Did its intelligence just evolve?

Yes RJ, physical reality could be an eternal succession of big bangs - each bang caused by the last etc.

However what still then remains unexplained is the whole 'eternal succession of big bangs'.  Science cannot explain an eternity of big bangs because it would need to appeal to something outside of that process as an explanation. 

If you think science can explain a self caused eternity then you are mistaken.  Eternal existence, self caused and uncaused are outside of the scope of science.

Science can tell you lots and lots about what happens next after those phenomenon.


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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #313 on: April 08, 2014, 10:21:53 AM »

I obviously cannot just claim that the Uncaused Origin = God.  That would simply be a dogmatic definition and largely unhelpful.

The key point I am making here in this thread is that the origin is not natural.  It cannot be natural under any fair or reasonable definition of the term natural.  Similarly, science cannot address the origin.  The origin is outside the bounds of science because it is uncaused and thus untestable.

Once this is acknowledged.  Then we can move on to determining what we can discern about the uncaused origin (for example by use of logic) while recognising that this is no longer a scientific discussion.

'Not scientific' does not mean wrong.  The ultimate origin is not scientific for the reasons given above.  And yet we know there must be an ultimate origin (sudden or eternal) or else we wouldn't be here to talk about it.

Uncaused events still occur today. They are not outside scientific investigation. You are being dogmatic in asserting that non causality cannot be investigated by science. Modern physics is all about non caused events. Krauss already has a workable theory of how the universe began without a cause. So you are dogmatically asserting that Krauss' theory is impossible because the origin is "outside the bounds of science." This is just ignorance of science. Why are you trying to impose your personal opinions on science?

Foxy,

Are you talking about the universe's origin or the ultimate origin ?

If the universe arose out of something else then that something else is the origin.  When there is no more 'arose from' then you are actually at the ultimate origin.

I am happy to include and speak about non causality still occurring.  What does science tell us about uncaused events which still occur today ?  It can tell us results that arise from those events.  Science starts after the uncaused by looking at the results.  But it cannot address the origin of any of the uncaused events.  This is not a weakness of science.  It is simply out of scope for science.

Let me see if I understand what you're saying;

The universe either has a first cause or it is eternal in some shape or form. If it is eternal then no god is required. If it has a first cause then you think the most likely thing would be an all good magical intelligent being? With all the attendant questions of how it got there, what was ITS first cause and where its intelligence came from?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #314 on: April 08, 2014, 10:24:11 AM »

Science cannot explain an eternity of big bangs because it would need to appeal to something outside of that process as an explanation. 


Why?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #315 on: April 08, 2014, 10:31:59 AM »
Ron,

Can we not jump to god yet pls.

We are just at a first step of realising that an uncaused origin cannot be natural (and is thus not scientific).  If we can agree that then step 2 is perhaps asking 'what do we know about that origin' ?

I do not want to try and sneak god in.

And I don't see any significant difference between an ultimate origin that is sudden or an eternal one.  Both are not natural.  Both are uncaused.  Both are non scientific.  One of the two is necessarily true (since we exist) but neither is scientific.


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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #316 on: April 08, 2014, 10:40:35 AM »

Science cannot explain an eternity of big bangs because it would need to appeal to something outside of that process as an explanation. 


Why?

Eternally self caused is not a scientific explanation.  Nor can it be natural.  What meaning could the word natural have to encompass eternally self caused phenomenon.  There is nothing whatsoever natural about that phenomenon.

What is the scientific test of/for an eternally self caused reality ?  A repeatable and potentially falsifiable test ?

Perhaps this will make it clearer.  If eternally self caused is natural then god could be natural by the same token.  It would require a completely open meaning of the word natural.



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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #317 on: April 08, 2014, 10:48:54 AM »
Ron,

Can we not jump to god yet pls.

We are just at a first step of realising that an uncaused origin cannot be natural (and is thus not scientific).  If we can agree that then step 2 is perhaps asking 'what do we know about that origin' ?

I do not want to try and sneak god in.

And I don't see any significant difference between an ultimate origin that is sudden or an eternal one.  Both are not natural.  Both are uncaused.  Both are non scientific.  One of the two is necessarily true (since we exist) but neither is scientific.

Science is the scientific method of examining and explaining reality. If there were a first cause to the universe, no matter what it was, it would be investigated and would thus fall within the bounds of science. If the universe is eternal, then it too will be investigated.

Just because we are surrounded by finite things on Earth, does not mean that eternal things do not exist outside our planet. I fail to see why theists insist on adding another onion ring in this explanation. If the universe is eternal then that state is natural. If it has a magical mechanical bunny rabbit at its start then that too would be natural and investigated by science.

What I don't understand is why theists prefer a magical mechanical bunny type explanation as opposed to a non-magical mechanical bunny type explanation. It appears to me to add another overly complicated unnecessary layer, one that Occam's Razor slices away.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #318 on: April 08, 2014, 10:52:28 AM »


Foxy,

Are you talking about the universe's origin or the ultimate origin ?

If the universe arose out of something else then that something else is the origin.  When there is no more 'arose from' then you are actually at the ultimate origin.

I am happy to include and speak about non causality still occurring.  What does science tell us about uncaused events which still occur today ?  It can tell us results that arise from those events.  Science starts after the uncaused by looking at the results.  But it cannot address the origin of any of the uncaused events.  This is not a weakness of science.  It is simply out of scope for science.

Uncaused really means uncaused. There is nothing causing it at all, so the origin is the ultimate origin.

For the sake of argument, let's say that the origin of the universe was only a potential set up by something else which was non caused. The buck stops there so let's call it a god. Then this god becomes the uncaused beginning. It has the properties of the uncaused beginning, which means that there are an infinite number of gods all uncaused and all appearing at random in an uncaused way. I doubt that you really want to push back non causality a stage further to a god. The result is probably not what you intended.

In the case of potentials as you can see above, the best explanation is a series of Big Bangs each depending on a previous universe. This is an older scientific idea. There is no problem with time or eternity, because time is a property of each individual universe not the whole.
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