We all have this sense that all changes that occur in nature are accompanied by an increase in dis-harmony or chaos.... basically and fundamentally, the tendency of matter and energy to disperse in disorder. But what is astonishing about this dispersal is that it can and do generate order or harmony. "Through dispersal in disorder, structure can and do emerge."
It is too much to think or imagine that intellectual creativity is the driver of this process? Or is it, as non-believers in Intelligent Design, puts it, " just plain inconsequential reverie", the product of purposeless incidents and accidents?
So, which of the tired, old arguments about entropy and intelligent design is this? Is it the "Purpose indicates Design argument? Or, perhaps the "Functional integration indicates design" argument?
Yes it is too much. There is no reason to think there is an intelligence behind the birth of yet another grasshopper, for instance, or creation of a salt crystal, even though entropy has decreased. Why should there be? Any time energy is involved it is possible to decrease entropy and no intelligence is needed to create a giant salt crystal. Or a new grasshopper or bacteria.
The perpetuation of earthly life, be they sentient or non-sentient, should always be a source of wonder. If some folks find the process of perpetuating life boringly matter-of-fact, then I assume they go through their own existence with neither contention nor introspection of the perplexities and complexities of that existence.
It is most definitely a fascinating process, even more so than the formation of crystals, stalactites or the other wonders of the non-living world.
But that does NOT indicate an intelligence behind it. Neither fascination, wonder or ignorance as to details indicates anything of the sort.
Ignorance has nothing to do with it. In fact it is totally put of the picture if one understands the second law of thermodynamics, then one will and must know that order can come from chaos because that law and all the other laws of physics were directed not willy-nilly but purposely by intelligence.
Order can indeed come from chaos, but there is no indication the cause is an intelligence. A crystal has very ordered, but no intelligence needed. Just drying salt water.
Nor is there any indication (outside the unsupported claims of theists, which is hardly to be considered "evidence") that ANY of the natural laws came out of an intelligence. Unless you consider the Big Bang to be intelligent?
@widerness: If you are implying that these Laws of Physics came to being all by their own lonesome selves, then I suppose, Stephen Hawkings is right when he said that the universe was created by an impersonal God i.e. gravity.
Wilderness, I am not arguing on your reply here, nor intending to criticize, but can you say what gives you a sense of awe and wonder? Is everything in the world matter-of-fact, or do you get any excitement from extended imagination?
I find much of nature to inspire awe and wonder. The magnificence of a Redwood forest. Niagara Falls. The boiling pots of Yellowstone. The volcanoes of Hawaii. The list is endless.
I also find the details of nature to be fascinating and something that makes me wonder as well. DNA strings. The interaction of various species, dependent on each other, such as cleaner shrimp. The time to make Carlsbad Caverns. The dinosaurs. Frogs that can be frozen solid and brought back to life. The Orion Nebulae, where stars are being born.
Nature is fascinating, and full of awe and wonder.
And evolutions of all kinds, kind of assembled all those atoms into where they are now.
Of course. That's the wonder - how and why did those giant stalactites form? How could the Hawaiian islands, or the Galapagos, evolve from molten lava to the paradise it is today? What are the details of the formation of black holes, or even stars? What is it like deep within the sun?
Why do Hydrogen and Oxygen combine so often to make that substance we need so badly? What really makes the giant fuzzy ball sometimes seen on a jet at low altitude and how/why is it there? The mechanics of making the grand canyon certainly make us shake our heads in wonder. That the deepest canyon in NA (Hells Canyon) was mostly cut in just a few days is fascinating.
We wonder about everything around us and the more we know and understand the more we wonder. A fascinating place, our universe.
What do you suppose (if you would suppose): what mechanism/s are/were behind all these grand and spectacular phenomena?
Chemical and physical made the formations "necessary", or perhaps "inevitable". No god necessary, just the normal chemical/physical reactions seen everyday. What makes it so wondrous and fascinating is the time necessary and the beauty produced - not that a god somewhere made "art" for their pets.
Interesting terms: "necessary" and "inevitable". Both leads to indispensability and vitality, two terms that implies predetermination, that in turn requires intelligence. What is necessary and inevitable could only become necessary and inevitable because it was pre-determined by intelligence that they be necessary and inevitable.
Can you show that "necessary" and "inevitable" lead to indispensability and vitality? The latter refers only to living things, it seems, yet the growth of a salt crystal under specific conditions is both necessary and inevitable. Not vital to anything, and the crystal has no vitality, and it is not indispensable to anything, either. I don't see any connection there.
Nor is intelligence required to provide that it is "necessary" that an unsupported rock fall to earth. Or two hydrogen atoms combine with an oxygen atom under appropriate circumstances.
Do check Webster's definition of necessary and inevitable.....
@Wilderness: If by salt crystal you mean NaCL, then I must disagree with your formulation that it is neither vital nor indispensable.
If we assume the evolutionary theory is true, that the earliest earthly life arose from the sea, then you must agree that NaCL is both vital and indispensable for earthly life to persist.... even as life have evolved to its current state of complexity and perplexity without NaCl all the metabolic processess inherent in life would come to a ghastly end.
How do you know that those things are 'beautiful'?
Because I see them. How do YOU know when something, anything, is beautiful?
Please describe what you mean by 'beauty'. And please elaborate the mechanism that is required to know its ('beauty') existence.
Alex, I can see that you have asked a serious question, based upon your reasoning and back-ground of religion/culture/traditional beliefs. Am I correct here?
Such questions are very common of many humans, from many (possible all) cultures. I do not know the definitive answer. I doubt if any of us can find it. If it's a question relating to infinity then the possible answers are infinite.
Does it matter, really, whether we can find an answer or not? We can let our minds imagine all manner of answers, and no one can say in any case that we are "wrong." If a persons presents a "belief" that I cannot grasp or agree with, I can live with it, provided no one tries to force me into accepting or admitting the belief to be true.
What matters, ultimately as far as I am concerned, is to respect the opposite view without ridiculing a thoughtful mind set. When I depart from this moral principle, it's usually because someone is ridiculing ME for some point of view. Or because there has been so little honest thought and logic presented to back up the belief. I still can't insist that the belief be dropped.
What does it mean to be "finite" or "infinite?" Everything that you and I can be conscious of in this world can be measured is some way. This is Finite. Anything that is purely thought without any physical manifestation, cannot be measured. Yes, sure, the manifestations if any can be measured. They are finite. But the thought that caused them is Infinite. Anything that was able to Intelligently design and create the finite must be infinite. Rather like the comparison of a carpenter and the table he has created. The table cannot know the carpenter, but the carpenter can know the table.
Any argument on this will be like "me arguing with my image in the mirror." Endless, ridiculous and pointless, in my humble opinion.
There is nothing endless, ridiculous, and pointless about introspection, that leads to intuition, that leads to inspiration.
In our experiences of every-day life, when we admire something that embodies amazing technology, or because it's nature is mysterious to us, it is natural to attribute that wonder and awe to the intelligence and expertise of fellow humans. At least I do, and I am sure many others do, too. Admittedly there are some who gloss over such things as "so what?"
So, when it comes to observing and understanding the workings of something like a beautiful flower, or the human body, or the microscopic marvels of a microscopic mite, it is equally natural to attribute these things to some kind of intelligence. We know that it is beyond the abilities of humans to design and build such things, so we extrapolate the intelligence to a "being" that cannot be seen or touched in any physical way. It's the only way we can think of that explains complexity in nature.
I personally cannot exclude the possibility of some kind of intelligence. What that is, I cannot say, because it will essentially be not of this finite world. It might be accessed somehow via the smaller than smallest particle. It might form everything rather like a surge of soft jelly moving in to occupy every minute vacancy of space in a matrix of possibilities. Rather like a 3-dimentional jigsaw puzzle.
Anyway, whatever it is, whatever it's like, it most certainly is not synonymous with the judgmental god of human minds. That is just the conceptual rubbish used by humans to wield power and control over other humans. And there are many gullible humans willing to play the game without using their good sense.
You were doing so well until the last paragraph. To paint such a broad inchoately disdainful stroke on religion and religious beliefs, does nothing to advance the discussion.
Does the truth hurt?
If such religious beliefs were kept personal for the individual, and not presented to the world in such a way as to promote a power base, then there would be no problem.
My own ideas regarding the theory about creation is personal, open to others whether to agree or not. I do not insist others agree with me.
But the theories regarding Sin are pushed in our faces as absolute.
@Jonny: Promoting a power base could only be a successful enterprise if the ideas, ideals, and ideologies being promoted are truthful in their basic and fundamental underpinning. Christ's teachings as propounded via his Sermon on the Mount are the grains of truth that neither atheism nor secularism could and would deny.
If they are truthful, that is the major point. So much goes on "belief" which can be regarded as truth but not in actual fact true.
We humans have not changed our ways much in 1000s of years. We still exploit the week, whether physically or mentally. We still clamour for something "out there" that will relieve us of the reality here and now.
Christianity has been and always will be used by those who want power. And often they will resort to anything less than the truth to push their influence on those who are in any way "anti-."
"Truth," for me, is as malleable as Play-dough. What you want to see is what you see and what you see is what you get.
Human imperfections will continue to bedevil and dishevel humanity's existence till kingdom come.... as they say, it's the nature of the beast.
But just because humans have lost their sense of perfection from the very beginning, does not mean that they could not aspire to get it back again. Thus the validity/veracity of JC's teachings about a kingdom that is not of this earth. Oh but I forgot, you are not into any kind of kingdom... spiritual transcendental or otherwise.
The way I understand it, Jesus was referring to the Kingdom Within. This is the very same understanding as the Devine Consciousness, The center of one's being, the Here and Now.
Keep looking outside of your Self, waitng for "It" to arrive, at sometime in the future and - your never find it.
The Pharisees, so full of The Law in their heads; the Priests, with their heads so high in the clouds they were no earthly use; the Rich Man, with so much material winnings that he was afraid to look at his real honest motives --- every one of them blinded from Truth that is to be found within and unable/unwilling to go there.
The divine consciousness that is at the center of one's being is called the "soul". This is totally distinct and separate from the "kingdom" that JC is referring to...which is the heavenly kingdom that is ruled and governed by His Father, our Creator.
No Sir, it is neither distinct nor separate. You have spoken of the christian doctrine, which is false. It is designed to promote the human species above all others.
Divine Consciousness pervades all. Even though we see part of the Divine Consciousness manifest in inanimate objects, life forms, gas clouds, planets, stars, etc., they are like the waves and wavelets upon the sea.
The wave upon the water is what we see, it is what proves to us that the sea exists. The wave IS the sea. The sea IS the wave. When the manifestation of the wave subsides it is no longer seen, but the sea remains the sea.
Likewise, you, I, the ground we stand on, are manifestation of the Infinite, the Divine Consciousness. When we subside into the cosmos, no longer manifest as finite, (measurable), The Divine contains us, eternally, just like the sea contains what was the wave. The wave exists as a manifestation for only a moment in time. A moment is infinite. It has no dimension.
What difference does it make, if we acknowledge the Unity of which we are a part? It means we regard the other animals, birds, fish, plants, microbes, the ants, the worms, the slime, bacteria, etc., as ONE and the SAME Divine Consciousness of which we are a part. Instead of working slavishly to satisfy our human desire and greed, we look gently and kindly upon everything else around us and change our selfishness into cooperative life.
This is the ideal, of course. I, like everyone else, fall short of that ideal in many ways. You might question if I would have such a view if a lion was about to eat me. Would I say to the lion, "we are brothers, so you can eat me if you like. We are cooperative beings?" Of course not. I am endowed with an instinctive reaction that tries to maintain my existence. However, I will do my utmost to respect and preserve the home domain of that lion, if my actions would otherwise deprive the lion of his home and livelihood.
So, for me, out with the mumbo-jumbo and make-believe of religion. And in with the recognition and worship of the Divine, from which I cannot be separated. Neither can you.
Stripped down to its barest minimum, Christianity and its underpinning ideas, ideals and ideologies are succinctly contained in JC's Sermon on the Mount.
If you have not read the Sermon on the Mount in its totality, kindly do so. And if after reading it, you still think that it is all religious mumbo-jumbo, then I suppose you and I could and should part ways, knowing that we both believe in the existence of the Divine.....something that a lot of folks on HubPages fervently do not believe in.
"Stripped down to its bare essentials...." Those principles you point to in Matt 5 are not peculiar to christian perceptions. They can be applied to anyone in the world, to good effect. But verse 20 is very telling in the way people like to translate it.
Their presumption in the christian context, is that it's referring to a life beyond death. This belief is the one bare essential of christianity. Such a belief has existed with numerous societies, communities, cultures down through the centuries. Without this belief, it is clear that the "kingdom of heaven" can only be that center of one's being to which one goes in the act of meditation.
Meditation, in all of its many forms, is the process whereby we can concentrate all our attention on knowing one's self, one's motives, one's reasons, one's fears and --- one's pure existence. Without knowing these, there can be no understanding where "I" fit within the World of Existence. It's like floundering around in a motor vehicle, abusing all the controls and the daily needs of the engine, then expecting nothing to go wrong in the life of the vehicle.
This is something which christians find very difficult to accept. (Please remember I was christian for a long time in my early life.) Heaving all personal responsibility onto a mythical Jesus, reacting to that fear which is preached to you from those who want to control, then repeating public prayers, singing hymns, etc., doing all those things that "good" christians do.....These are all directed to something outside of our selves, because it's easier than addressing "my" motives within, and getting really in touch there. Surprisingly, it is possible to enter into this meditative state and emerge with a much deeper understanding of those teachings on the Mount. You no longer need to rely upon those sermons you hear in the megachurch.... those cost you money, somewhere along the line. Meditation with your inner being is totally free, yet priceless.
Thus is the entrance to the "Kingdom of Heaven."
JC is neither mythical nor mystical. He is historically a person who changed the course of human history and gave it introspective direction and conclusive inspiration.
Although we cannot be sure, I tend to agree with you that JC was real, and has changed the course of man.
Of course, many others have done so as well, and very often to an even greater degree. Constantine, for instance, contributed at least as much as JC did to the Christian movement. St Augustine, with his twisted and perverted views on sex, played a huge part in defining human morals for millenia to come. Leaving Christianity, we find Gautama Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius and men such as Aristotle. Even Henry Ford changed human history to a massive degree. Christianity isn't the only philosophy or discovery that changed the course of man beyond anything that might have been expected.
I disagree. JC did not change a thing. It has been human belief systems that have changed the world, some of it for better, some of it for worse. That man you speak of - yes, it is very probable that he lived - But he would have had no ideas what the world could be like in generations to come. What he might have known was the inherent mechanisms of the human mind that must use make-believe to satisfy every whim. Such is the same today as ever it was.
You are a distinct minority in believing that JC did not have any impact on human history. If JC as you are proposing have neither changed nor challenged human events, then who did?
I don't deny that JC had an impact on history. I am saying that it has been the human interpretations of JC and the others that has had the great influence, not those individuals that you try to deify.
The Jesus you worship is the Jesus designed in your mind, to suit yourself. That Jesus is not alive in this world today. You make up the images in your mind and those are what determine your attitude and your actions.
In the past, most of you will have noticed that my responses were usually politically correct. I would try not to be dogmatic in my statements, normally simply asking a further question of the person with whom I disagreed. In most case, apart from a very few, I got no corresponding consideration from the christian. His/her response has been mostly adamant, rigid pronouncement of what was correct.
In the last few posts I have deliberately moved away from that and begun to make my own statements conclusive. Stating what I see as facts, not just possibilities for the sake of argument.
I hope this has give a few of you another possible understanding of where you are coming from. If it helps to show you that each of our points of view do not have to be set in concrete, then my objective will have been satisfied. Even your deeply held christian beliefs do not have to be presented as absolutes. If you do set your points of view in concrete, they can never come to life again. They exclude new learning. Ultimately those points of view will crumble and decay into the earth and become irrelevant.
So now, please see my last few posts as only possibilities, not absolute statements.
If you read my posts again... there never was any mention of JC as a deity....so to suggest that I am deifying him because I believe he changed human history, is a misrepresentation, to say the least.
None of the persons you mentioned had the same insightfully and persistently compelling impact that JC had or continues to have on human history.
Really? The man most responsible for creating the Christian scriptures hasn't had a lasting effect on mankind? The man most responsible for the jihad has had little effect? Or the man responsible for Buddhism? Confucius had and has a massive impact on the single largest political group on earth, and has had since 500 years before Christ was born - Confucius was a major political force while the Jews, forerunner of Christ, were still enslaved in Babylon.
Although awfully short term yet, how about Henry Ford? Without the assembly line our lives would be miserable, living in hovels (no mass produced lumber, sheetrock or copper wire). More than any other single person Ford is created the roots of modern manufacturing - something even the tribes in deep Africa benefit from even though they've never heard of Christ.
The contributions of others were not always philosophical (Constantine's were political, for example, and Ford's financial) they nevertheless had massive impacts on humanity.
Massive influence is not the same kind of influence that I am describing JC made in human history. As you read in my post... I never used the term "MASSIVE"
Entropy is often understood to describe the direction of time. Entropy does not mean dis-harmony, and an increase in entropy in the universe does not need to mean an increase in dis-harmony, and chaos is something else altogether. Harmony and beauty exist in nature. Harmony exists in the connections found in mathematics and science, as well as in creativity and imagination. We use creativity and imagination to ponder many things including whether or not there is an intelligence behind it all.
As I stated in my OP, Entropy, basically, relates to the tendency of matter and energy to disperse in disorder.
What is infinitessimally interesting is that this tendency is reversible in biologic systems but not in non-biologic structures. For example, Humpty Dumpty( the egg shell), falling from his perch on a fence and shattering into multiple pieces( state of disorder) could not, on its own go back to its original state of non-breakage (order). A bone that breaks (state of disharmony) when one falls from one's perch on the fence, will on its own heal (state of harmony) and go back to it's almost original shape, and therefore function.
It is this ability of biologic systems/structures to go against the second law of thermodynamics, that implies intelligent design that acts and reacts purposely, not chaotically in some accidental manner.
The source is of course our sun and it's continuous energy. Once it goes out we go out.
Just because the sun will burn out, does not necessarily mean that we should go out with it. As calculated by empiricists, the sun will burn out in about 7.5 billion years or so... more than enough time for humans to find another solar/planetary system that they could inhabit thus perpetuating the specie for another 7.5 billion years.
Can I take a rain-check on that journey? There might be special offers closer to the time.
But, that moves in the arena of science... I thought you were against anything scientific?
Science as you must know, could and should only deal with the physical and material. The metaphysical and spiritual are best left to the philosophers and poets.
....because there is no proof available in the metaphysical and the spiritual.
If you are looking for physical proof....good luck with that.
Being tethered to the purely physical aspect of existence, will not allow you to succeed in your search for proofs.
Funny how that works. We can't use science to study anything spiritual and yet the spiritual can use science when they see fit.
Maybe it's amusing that you find that to be amusing.
Stunning to realize that you believe in the existence of "the spiritual". Jonny is doubly shocked that his fellow atheist totally disagree with him.
I have no problem with that. It is when the so-called "philosophers and poets" (believers) try to tell us their versions of the 'metaphysical and spiritual' are part of reality, while at the same time ignoring and denying the facts of the physical and material in favor of their 'philosophies and poems'.
@encephalo: No one denies or discount the material and physical nature of existence.... except those who believe that existence is the just the figment of their imagination. On the other hand, some people's imagination may hinder them to connect their physicality with something more than just the sum of their physical parts.
Oh is that what this is. I was having trouble seeing all that entropy in the booming resurgence of summers foliage and baby birds and animals. So I didn't even really see what the argument was meant to be.
Isn't it startling to read that an atheist would use the word pray, in any kind of discussion?
If you did not see or sense what the discussion is all about, then perhaps you should stop rummaging through those falling leaves.
I was responding to EncephaloiDead's contribution, and how illuminating I found it.
What is then intelligence?
It can only be the ability to transform entropy into harmony and this is the single most defining attribute of intelligence.
How then can those without such an ability be defined?
One thing for certain, is that without such an ability, nothing will ever make sense....
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