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Multiple arguments have been presented in various forums (inside and outside of HubPages) to argue for the existence of God. They run the gamut from the Cosmological ( Efficient Causality, Contingency, Design, Ontology, Kalam) to the Psychological (Moral, consciousness, conscience, Pascal's wager).
Empirical proof(s) is(are) what non-believers insist on being presented with, and nothing would dissuade them from their non-belief, short of God presenting Himself to them for scientific experimentation and erudition. My usual response is "Good luck with that."
I would propose another argument... the argument from Enigma, best propounded by the Evolutionary Psychologist John Tooby: In an Essay, he wrote: "How are living things at all compatible with a physical world governed by chaos (entropy), and given entropy, how can natural selection lead, over the long run, to the increasing accumulation of functional organization in living things? Living things stand out as an extraordinary departure from the physically normal, i.e. the earth's metal core, lunar craters or the solar wind). What set all organisms- from blackthorn and alder to egrets and otters- apart from everything else in the universe is that woven through their designs are staggeringly unlikely arrays of finely tuned inter-relationships - a high order that is functional. Yet as highly ordered physical systems, organisms should tend to slide rapidly back toward a state of maximum disorder. As the physicist Erwin Schroedinger put it, "It is by avoiding that rapid decay into the inert state of 'equilibrium' that an organism appears so enigmatic.'"
Learn how living things evolve to survive in a given environment and you will understand "How are living things at all compatible with a physical world ..." It doesn't matter if the world is "governed" by entropy or not. You will also learn how entropy is "defeated", if you will, and why the slide to maximum disorganization does not occur as long as there is energy to organize with.
Rather than living organisms standing out, isn't it really the case that the earth's core (there is only one) and lunar craters (there are only thousands, not trillions as there are organisms) is what is standing out?
The physical/material construct of the universe are just that...nothing more, but ultimately given meaning and importance and purpose not by another material construct but by biologic ones i.e.organisms, most specifically intelligent/sentient organisms like you and me. So if you tell me that the earth's core, volcanoes, lunar landscapes stands out more than living organisms... then I suppose your existence is truly non-sensical. Which then belies the concept of a creator... but then you say.. my existence have a sense and purpose, which then verifies the concept of a creator.
Of course your existence has purpose - whatever purpose you give it. Which has nothing to do with a creator, of course.
But I said nothing about your chosen purpose; I just said that if you understood the evolution of living organisms you would also understand why they fit the physical universe and why entropy appears to be backwards.
The appearance of life on earth (and subsequent progression from non-intelligence/non-sentience to intelligence/sentience) is the ONLY Enigmatic part of nature. Even empiricists are won't to say anything definitive about why and how life was initiated on earth... thus the ENIGMA. Life, as you and I are typing our thoughts into our respective PCs, continues to be Enigmatic, because biologic entities, be they sentient or non-sentient, continues to go against the second law of thermodynamics that entails/results in entropy and chaos.
You and a lot of Hubbers have contended that life is just the accidental/happenstance result of bio-chemical reactions that happens under certain physical parameters. Nothing to do with temerity and perspicacity, thus nothing to do with intelligence. If true, then why does LIFE insists on continuing despite the natural entropic/chaotic flow of matter and energy. As far as I am concerned, life continuing despite natural laws against its propagation, as ENIGMATIC as it is, is an excellent argument for the existence of a Creator.
Why is it an enigma? Chemical reactions take place all the time, what makes it so strange that the ones that first started what we call "life" did the same? (Assuming they did, of course, and did not arrive on an asteroid or other interstellar debris. Nothing enigmatic about it - just another chemical reaction, out of trillions of other possible reactions.
Which natural laws prohibit the continuation of life, by the way? Never heard THAT claim even from the most rabid theist!
If you don't understand cellular biology, you might study up on it - it should answer your questions as to why life continues despite the laws of entropy That and evolution of course.
If you think the second law of thermodynamics is part and parcel of the natural laws (or as empiricists call them, laws of physics), then you should be made aware that it is one law that leads to matter and energy dispersing into abject chaos or entropy.
If you think the second law prohibits life, where environmental conditions permit it, you definitely need some more education into just how it works and what it says. It's like saying that ice crystals cannot form, or stalagmites. Or anything else except widely separated atoms, scattered unevenly about the universe.
The second law does not indicate any of those, including that life cannot exist.
I did not realize until now that you could lump together, you and me... with stalagnites and ice crystals, the formation of which have nothing to do with the biologic process called life.
Of course, you giving specific purpose to your own life, has everything to do with a Creator. If you insist that life is nothing but an accidental/coincidental bio-chemical reaction.. then your life bears no meaning or purpose. But you insist that you have assigned meaning and purpose to it... Why would you if you think your life is just an accident?
I give purpose to my life for the same reason you do - it makes me happy to do so.
Giving or assigning myself purpose in life has nothing to do with happiness... it has a lot to do with responsibility and dependability and respectability. Now the question of whether we, as human beings, have a larger purpose and meaning could only be gleaned by believing that one's existence has greater meaning and purpose than the ones one have assigned to it.
If it does not please you do assign a purpose to your life, why do you do it? I do it because it pleases me, but why do you do if there is no happiness to having a purpose?
But the question of having a purpose can only be achieved by believing a myth is true? You must be speaking for yourself - the large majority of people in the world will not only give a purpose if asked, but will also deny believing the Christian myth to be true.
What myth are you referring to?
The exact one you continue to promote as obvious and true to fact; that there is another universe, with a powerful ET in it that made this one. Until proof is found it can be seen as nothing but idle speculation; i.e. a myth, particularly as a thousand other attributes and actions are also assigned to this extra-universal creature.
Idle speculation? Just because you have a different take on the meaning of life and existence, most specifically that of homo sapiens, does not make our own interpretation of it, idle chatter. On the contrary, ours is more assuredly conceivable, consequential, and comprehensible.
Idle because we do not and cannot prove the existence of another universe. Not in our lifetime, at least.
Without that ability to prove, speculation is kind of idle. And I think that after thousands of years of trying it's time to give it up as a lost cause. Try again in another couple thousand years, maybe, but for now it simply cannot be done to to make decisions, lifestyles and morals based on idle speculation is foolish in the extreme.
Your "interpretation" of your imaginative concepts are just as idle. Without the ability to put "truth" into that active imagination, it too is but idle speculation - interesting and fun but without real value.
Proof is in the eye of the beholder.....The ability to prove will always change with the "tides" so to speak; what may be idle chatter today may become accepted fact subsequently; so for you to deny that trying to proive "is a lost cause" is nihilism to the nth degree
As I have stated before, ( http://hubpages.com/forum/post/2603934 ), there is no proof they would accept. If God appeared before them and did tricks, they would always request one more...at what point would they concede He was God? If an atheist contends there is proof they would accept, what would it be? The street they grew up on? Or would they want more. How would that prove they were being confronted by God?
Yes, we do see a lot of what seems to be opposite of what should be the case, if this whole universe and all of us are just products of uncaused materialistic processes playing out. There is too much hope in the unexplained, yet we do have explanations that are just not acceptable to many, even though they WOULD be a sufficient explanation. A sufficient cause for the effect we see.
We have a guy in history that spoke out about these matters, that also exhibited reasons for being listened to, and I think this is quite impressive. Just enough, with science, reason, logic, history, to accept or deny those same things, just as they were presented by this person. Demanding more than what has been given by such a being is not lost on that being, I don't think. He expected it and it has all been addressed, and all have freedom to respond and seek or not. To each his own, and like with all life, we get what comes with our choices, because logic and reality work in such ways. I personally think its a huge gamble when the odds are so high, and things have been so laid out. To demand of a possible intelligence what he/she exactly ought NOT to do, seems to be a favorite recurring thing. If there is one, its totally fair considering all that has been given to each and every one of us, to set terms for the part that comes after. To expect that we, the recipients of intelligence and life GET or OUGHT to be able to dictate to that giver of life, OUR TERMS, seems overstepping at the very least. The patience alone is amazing, and it makes me thankful and happy as I had not one bit of cause in my own existence. I can't account for it, but reap the benefits and get to ponder it also. We all do, most of us. That is pretty awesome.
The second paragraph of your post elucidates clearly the idea that humans are not just the sum of their physical parts but also and more importantly, that they are spiritual beings with moorings to the transcendental etiology of the cosmos.
A lot of folks in and out of HubPages are more than happy to deny humans their spiritual moorings... and that denial, I totally reject.
IMHO, Evolution and entropy both have different meanings depending on application. To argue biological evolution explained by Shannon's entropy is not a valid argument. Just as to argue the second law of thermodynamics for that purpose is controversial. However, to argue entropy and evolution is a valid argument. Yet, then it is not arguing a specific usage of either. It is arguing one whole concept explaining another or dispelling another.
Example: Arguing the the second law of thermodynamics and biological evolution. To make that argument the bare bones basic is a single living cell in an isolated system. As far as I am aware that would mean the isolated system is in a vacuum and there is not any light. However, one must ponder additional laws of science occurring within that isolated system.
The bare bones basics of biological evolution could occur by definition most likely through mutation within the accepted definitions. Or, a change in genetic composition. Biology is the study of life specific to organisms. With biology life is a characteristic and not necessary for a single cell to exist. However, to study a lifeless cell is to study it as having the preexistence of life or the potential of life of least within the discipline of biology.
However, evolution as a concept does occur within that isolated system - a vacuum and no light. In that case evolution occurs when one state changes to a more complex state or is different from an earlier state. If the single cell in an isolated system instantly is subjected to absence of light and a vacuum then biologically it may become lifeless or no longer has that characteristic, although mutate. At question is cause for mutation to occur.
Evolution as defined occurs when a state arrives from an earlier state to a new state. Complexity occurs. (1n is different than 1 and is more complex) Or, if the single cell becomes more than one part or changes in any form or format it is then more complex and the earlier condition is simpler. The concept of evolution is explained and the concept of entropy is explained. The only thing not explained is Life until time is interjected. Or, how long to become lifeless or have life and how long to become isolated or not longer isolated.
That, IMHO, has enigmatic as a property, while being open to interpretation. Yet, offers no explanation for God, a god, or gods.
Life can not exist in a vacuum....that in itself is enough reason to think that intelligence, (God to most of us)
created life with direction and purpose.
Life can't exist in a vacuum? Who told you that and what does it have to do with intelligence?
Rhetorical questions generally should be answered rhetorically.... but isn't it self-evident that life can not and in fact does not exist in a vacuum?
Intelligence has a lot to do with meaning and purpose, and for life to continue to exist, meaning and purpose must be attached to it. Another self-evident truth: without intelligent life to interpret that the cosmos exist and then ultimately give it meaning and purpose, does the cosmos really exist? As Hilary Clinton so famously said: " ....what difference does it make?" In fact, a lot, be it Benghazi in particular, or Life in general.
Tardigrades can withstand the vacuum of space, as researchers discovered when some tardigrades were sent on a space mission in 2008.
I'm sorry, but if you think "space" is a vacuum, then I suppose the "space" between your two ears are vacuous as well.
There is no "space" between two ears only distance.
In this particular discussion, space and the distance between two points are one and the same thing. But when one introduce time into the equation, where does distance get into the conversation. Nowhere really, because space has a more congruent relationship with time..... thus the term "space-time continuum".
What purpose a prion's or virus' s life serve?
What purpose does your life serve?
Existence doesn't depend on what you or me think!!!
Existence and its meaning and purpose, whether assigned by yourself, someone else, or the Creator of that existence, is what makes its perplexities and complexities, amenable to investigation, interpretation and introspection.
Meaning and purpose, being 100% subjective and differing with every person alive, cannot be investigated beyond gathering the opinion of every person. How then does it make something amenable to investigation?
Investigation is the process of finding out the veracity and applicability of those that one has identified as one's life meaning or purpose. Without it, the interpretation and introspection could and would not soon follow.
On the more than personal scale... life obviously has objective meaning and purpose. For humans it is to gaze at and follow the stars from where he came from.... to explore the cosmos because he was given the cerebral capacity to do so.
Actually very few of us have the opportunity to do that, must just try to put a roof over our heads and food in our mouths and sometimes we get to watch and learn what others have discovered.
If you don't have the temerity and intellectual perspicacity to gaze at the cosmos and try to unravel its deepest mysteries, then I suppose you as an individual member of Homo Sapiens can do whatever it is that gives you joy.....Oh I remember, that's Wilderness' s take on the meaning and purpose of his life... to seek the highest joy and happiness wherever he can find it.
What I can do is read the findings of others who have the means and education that allows them to study the cosmos. It's fascinating stuff, but I have mouths to feed and educate and I have to prepare for my retirement rather that purchase a hill and island to have a telescope built on.
Good luck with your retirement.... hopefully your kids would have a more inspirationally coherent view of the universe than their dad ever did.
Did I say I didn't find the universe inspirational? As a matter of fact the more we find out about it the more we are struck with the fact that we are nothing to this universe, not can we play any role in determining it's outcome.
Please keep us informed of your own research. You've done some right or are you like me and have to rely on the findings of others. Were you instrumental in the recent landing of a prop on a comet?
Many things are crazy inspirational, but if a person chooses to study something other than the greater universe as their key interest they are not less human or enlightened. For example that 'psychology' that you mentioned. I like to study that, mostly.
@Radman: I totally agree with you that humans have no say in determining the final outcome of the cosmos. Only the entity ( God or Gravity, as Hawking suggested) that created it has the sole purview of that scenario.
But to say that humans, being the infinitesimally minute creature that he is, compared to the vastness of the cosmos, can not reach for a destiny unhampered by and unhinged from his perceived limitations, is total nihilism. Despite your perception of man's insignificance, he of all the creatures on earth, has the cerebral conflation/celebration to reach for a contributory role in the progression of the cosmos.
Well, In my lifetime there will not come a time when us humans can effect the outcome of the universe let alone our galaxy, let alone our solar system. We seem (so far) to have only a negative effect on our planet. Shall we just start there before we attempt to tackle the inevitable death of our universe billion of years from now?
@Psycheskinner: I did not in anyway imply that other areas of human interests i.e Psychology, and in my particular situation, Pediatric Medicine, has less importance in man's valiant attempts to understand the complexities and perplexities of the cosmos. The road that human's travel through time and space will be strewn with the cooperative efforts of all humans, be it in the area of science, philosophy, politics and religion.
Ummm. That would be your opinion, one of billions. I would have said to reproduce, for instance. For you it is "obvious" that it is to stare at the stars: for me it is "obvious" that it is to reproduce. Neither of us has any veracity at all as we are merely giving opinions, not facts.
And that makes two of the billions of opinions that could be collected. But where is the investigation? What would we be investigating?
@wilderness:The investigation would go into the whys and wherefors of why humans are reproducing so much, and not gazing into the stars more.
That's an easy one; evolution has given us a drive to reproduce, but not one to gaze into the sky very long. On the contrary, it gave us a drive NOT to stare into the sky for long lest we become lion food.
Now that there are no more wild animals(except fellow humans) to endanger humans, reproduction becomes more of a recreational activity than a vocational one. Which leads me to conclude that with the planet becoming overpopulated as it is,......Shouldn't we find a more productive way of spending our time....maybe more star-gazing, and I'm not referring to the Hollywood variety.
Can't really disagree with you there, except in that evolution is slow. We are built with that drive, and it isn't going away any time soon.
But whether it goes away or not, evolution WILL take care of the over population. Maybe with plague, maybe with massive weather changes caused by the foolishness of man, whatever. It may cost the rest of the animals their lives, too, but evolution WILL find a solution even if it means the destruction of the human species. We certainly wouldn't be the first to become extinct.
You have some fantastic beliefs right there. Didn't know that you have them.
I think that is all fine in how that works out at least, as long as humans don't take matters into their own hands, to control population by taking any life by any means.
So I agree in the sense, its not going to be a real problem in what we see happening on the planet. Severe weather can take lives, and other geological problems like earthquakes, and like yous aid plagues, etc. There are sadly, plenty of things that wipe out people on a fairly regular basis.
I did find it interesting that you mention the destruction of the human species. Anyway, I'm not really following along in this thread, but noticed this comment and wanted to reply.
Outside of maybe bacteria (and it has certainly mutated and changed) not a single species has inhabited the earth for even 1% of it's existence. I suspect humanity will be no different, and I'm pretty positive it won't if we don't get off this planet and learn to cut our population levels.
While the earth we currently know is favorable for life, it is not so much so for larger, more fragile, species - species such as ourselves. And the universe as a whole is far less so - although we look at a few thousands of years and think it is the "normal" state of affairs on this ball of dirt, it is not. If we fail to spread off the earth we will eventually be taken out by an asteroid or comet, a solar flare or maybe when Andromeda crashes into the Milky Way or a black hole wanders into the neighborhood.
Or if there is a God involved as creator, he will do what he will with his creation as he sees fit, and when he does. I know you don't likely believe in a creator god, but I do.
If there was no god though, I think you would be right likely, just a matter of time perhaps.
The extinction of Homo Sapiens is not going to come from whatever mother nature does... it will come from whatever human nature is capable of doing i.e nuclear holocaust.
Yes, everything decays, everything dies, but in the mean time we have to do something with the energy we get from our decaying sun.
Can anyone state the second law of thermodynamics?
Isn't it "The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, a state with maximum entropy."?
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