Debate 016: Chris and Blair debate deism & origins

Chris claimed he was a deist. At the end of his email I wasn’t convinced of his deism, but I was convinced of his Christianity. What do you think?

 

Chris Rebuttal #001:

I am a deist. I believe in a ‘G-d’ by nature and design but I am not one of an organized religion. I do not believe that G-d gave man revelation through the bible, Quran, etc..I do not believe he performs miracles for humans. The question I do have for you is one of ‘original matter’. The ‘Big Bang’ has been proven since 1990. Christians do not like the idea since it shows that the earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old but where did the original matter come from. What caused the energy, motion, mass, matter that initiated the ‘Big Bang’? I can’t believe that dead matter came into being by living matter. If you put a rock in a shoebox and leave it there for 5 trillion years it will not get up and walk, develop a cure for cancer or fly to the moon. What is your theory on original matter? God does not need a cause. I was a former atheist until I really understood the Big Bang. Some things do not need a cause. For instance, 2 + 2 =4 and will always equal 4. Before the earth was in existence 2 + 2 =4. It is a truth. Could someone possibly believe that 4 million years ago that a man decided by his thought power to develop a penis and a woman said “Oh, I’ll develop a vagina!” Then how did the man make his own sperm? What came first? The ability to reproduce or the drive to reproduce? If the drive came first but you could not reproduce, why would you want to reproduce to make the ability? If the ability came first, then why would it come about without the drive to reproduce? Hmmm. I am always open to a great philosophical discussion.

 

Response to Chris #001:

CHRIS: “The question I do have for you is one of ‘original matter’. What caused the energy, motion, mass, matter that initiated the ‘Big Bang’?”

The only answer I have to your question about what was before the Big Bang is that I don’t know. That doesn’t mean we should stop looking. I make my conclusions based on what I do know; not what I don’t know. In your research of the Big Bang you should have also discovered that we don’t know that much about the actual Big Bang. We only know 10(-43) seconds after the Big Bang. Before that mark we hit a singularity in mathematics. Our knowledge has not reached a level yet to understand the actual moment of the Big Bang. So understanding the Big Bang only leads to an understanding of just after the Big Bang.

CHRIS: “I can’t believe that dead matter came into being by living matter.”

Just because you don’t believe in something doesn’t mean that is not true (or false). Just because I don’t believe in god(s) doesn’t mean it isn’t true, either; I recognize the possibility that something may exist. I just prefer to deal with probability instead of possibility. Anything is possible, but not everything is probable. The bottom line is that we don’t have enough knowledge about life’s origins to say “no”. We can only go by what we do know and keep looking and hope that our search answers more questions than creating new questions.

CHRIS: “If you put a rock in a shoebox and leave it there for 5 trillion years it will not get up and walk, develop a cure for cancer or fly to the moon.”

If you put a strawman in a box he won’t get up and argue your point, either.

CHRIS: “What is your theory on original matter?”

I don’t have one because I don’t have any information on the subject because of our limitations in knowledge and ability to see that far back. Ask me in about 20 years when we know a bit more about it.

CHRIS: “God does not need a cause.”

Why doesn’t God need a cause?

CHRIS: “Some things do not need a cause. For instance, 2 + 2 =4 and will always equal 4. Before the earth was in existence 2 + 2 =4. It is a truth.”

Your assertion that 2+2-4 has always been is based on an assumption that what we see today is what existed prior to the Big Bang. That is only a safe assumption based on what we do know – not on what we don’t know. So I would be inclined to lean toward agreement with your assertion, but I cannot aver that it was such before the Big Bang or that the mathematical and physical properties of our current universe are universal or have always been the same as we see and understand them today.

How do you know it is truth? It is only truth based on the knowledge you currently have. How do we truly know that we have arrived at absolute truth? We base our view of truth on our level of knowledge. The general public asserts that the sky is blue based on their level of knowledge. Someone that has more knowledge has a different truth of the sky; that it is every color but blue. We assert that 2+2=4 because of our current knowledge of mathematics and because we base our system of mathematics on simple equations using single digits. Of course we invented those digits. Digits existed at the beginning of the universe only in the sense of what we understand digits to be. The universe didn’t know what a digit was. Man needed something to communicate by and math was invented – not found. Math was invented to help understand the universe around us. We took what was there and gave it a form that we could recognize.

We looked for a pattern. Just because we look for and find a pattern does not mean there was a pattern-maker. When we see a shape in the clouds that looks like a bear does that mean there was a pattern-maker that made the cloud look like a bear? Or is our brain in need of comforting patterns and sees a bear where there is none? Why does the brain force us to see a regular face when presented with a concave one? Because our brain needs pattern and looks for it. Design, intelligent or otherwise, is a concept of the brain, a need of the brain for there to be pattern.

CHRIS: “Could someone possibly believe that 4 million years ago that a man decided by his thought power to develop a penis and a woman said “Oh, I’ll develop a vagina!””

My computer screen is being invaded by strawmen. I suggest you do a little research on the evolution of sexuality and why two sexes are better than one when it comes to genetics.

CHRIS: “If the drive came first but you could not reproduce, why would you want to reproduce to make the ability? If the ability came first, then why would it come about without the drive to reproduce?”

Are you sure you’re a Deist? You’ve slipped a couple of times and spelled God with a capitol G and with the “o” in the middle. Your insistence upon absolute truth and the creation of man and his sexuality are standard Christian arguments and assertions.

Again, your questions are nothing but strawmen that oversimplify the process in order to make it sound ridiculous. You make it sound as if overnight a creature on Earth suddenly woke up and said, “What the hell is that long thing between my legs? That wasn’t there when I went to bed!”

CHRIS: “I am always open to a great philosophical discussion.”

That is just fine; but please refrain from using so many strawman arguments.

Chris has not responded.

Where Did It All Come From?

This question has plagued humankind for a long time in one form or another. In the search for our origins, to discover why and how we are here, we have gone from the embryo, the fossil records, extraterrestrial objects, and even to extraterrestrial intelligence. There are many ideas on the origins of life, some make sense, others lack substance, and still others are so far out that they make creationism look credible.

What questions remain once we figure out where everything came from? Where did the universe come from?

Now that we know where Homo sapiens came from, we have to expand the question beyond our personal world. We have only just begun to question and barely scratched the surface of answers.

Where did we come from? Why are we here? Who is this strange woman in my bed? These are the questions that plague mankind!

The “Big Bang,” as it has become known, is right now the most likely cause of the Universe as we see it today. A Christian monk proposed the “Big Bang” in order to prove to scientists at the time that the universe was not infinite, but finite (NOTE: “Big Bang” was a title given by opponents of the theory in order to make is sound like a fairy tale. It backfired on them and now it is one of the most recognized theories in science.).

The monk supposed that an infinite universe could not have a god, where a finite one could have a creator (whether that creator was his god was a completely different issue). Science at the time dismissed the hypothesis because the monk could not back it up with mathematics.

Later, a mathematician worked out the numbers and agreed with the “Big Bang.” The problem is that at 1×10-43 seconds after the Big Bang, he had no means of doing any more mathematics. He had reached a singularity (note the often misuse of this word and huge misunderstanding of what a singularity is and is not).

Science eventually agreed with the monk and the few Christians that had adopted it when mathematics proved the monk correct. The odd thing is that as soon as science accepted the idea, Christianity dropped it like a hot potato.

The singularity is the key. A singularity means that we do not have the knowledge to go any further. For example, Boyle wrote a law for gases under pressure. However, under a certain amount of pressure, gases turn to a liquid. When the gases reach a liquid state, they have reached the singularity of Boyle’s law. Boyle’s Law can no longer explain the behavior of the gas. Liquid-state gas was a singularity until new knowledge arose which allowed us to measure it and understand its physics.

Prior to that singularity, we can make educated guesses, provide multiple hypotheses, and even have enough to warrant a theory. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that we do not know 100%.

Of course, science is never about 100%. Science is always questioning itself more then it questions the world in which it is involved. We can hope that in the future the knowledge will become available that will allow us to peer before that 1×10-43 seconds after the Big Bang. The Hubble Space Telescope is the beginning of that new knowledge – we look forward to great things as it peers into the beginnings of the universe with its large eye that is unhampered by atmospheric distortion.

I try to keep things simple at Atheism Awareness because I do not want readers to need a degree in science or theology to understand what I am talking about. However, some subjects require a deeper understanding of the science to grasp the concepts that I am trying to relate.

This is one of those subjects.

The fact that we do not know what happened prior to that 1×10-43 seconds does not mean the creationists are right. Most Creationism pages insist that because we do not know that this proves god exists. We can say that many things exist just because we do not know. How does our lack of knowledge in this area prove the existence of god?

Nature is amazing and beautiful and awe-inspiring on its own. It does not need a god to corrupt and pollute that beauty.

Religionists and creationists have fallen for this repeatedly. They used to say that lightning proved god existed. They used to say that the geocentric universe proved that god existed. Over the centuries, the creationists have insisted that scientific lack of knowledge was proof of their god. As science expands its knowledge of the universe, it forces creationists to withdraw from that stance each time. The creationists have clung on to this one because it the only thing they have to justify their belief in a literal creation.

The bottom line is that we do not know for sure. It remains one of the great mysteries of science. We know what happened 1×10-43 seconds after the “Big Bang,” but before that remains a singularity.

Laypersons are often confused as to what a singularity means. A singularity (referring to the “Big Bang”) is not the astrophysics singularity (point in space-time where gravitational forces cause matter to have infinite density and infinitesimal volume, and space and time become infinitely distorted). It is the mathematical singularity (point where the derivative does not exist for a given function of a random variable, but every neighborhood of which contains points for which the derivative exists). In other words, before 1×10-43 seconds after the Big Bang, we do not know what was before it; we have reached a mathematical singularity.

There are of course theories based on the available evidence (we have to go on what we do know: not on what we do not know). For those that are interested in learning a few of the theories that scientists are working on today, visit the following links: