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  1. God, the Origins of Life, and the Universe


    #331332012-07-13 05:53:50 *Chestnut_Rice said:
    I'm holding on to my seat and getting ready for a shitstorm. But in all seriousness, I don't mean to disparage any CL users, and I'm sure that most others would feel the same way, so before we begin I'd like to ask you all to remain civil, read carefully, put thought in to your posts and to realize that the point of this thread isn't to see if one side of the multifaceted "what's up with the world" debate can win or not, it's simply to understand each others as people better. So please be serious, but don't be so serious that you hold people's views against them in other parts of the site.

    Alright so if one person has to get shat on, I'd prefer it if that one person were me. So I'll begin with my personal views. (I'll call my "god" BigThing to differentiate between the traditional Christian interpretation of God.)

    Evolution: There's no doubt that humans evolved from primate ancestors millions of years ago. Ours is truly a rather exceptional example of adaptation, one that is quite sped up compared to other adaptive radiations that happened in the history of our Earth, but not one that is improbable. I will acknowledge that there are gaps between primate ancestors and what you could call the earliest humans but I also have confidence that these gaps will either be filled or explained in the coming decades and centuries. Having a halfway point between primates and humans is proving "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the latter evolved from the former. Do we really need a halfway point between a halfway point and an end to prove the continuity of the other end? In other words, I do not believe that BigThing created sentient life or had any sort of implication in its evolution or history. Sentient life evolved from non-sentient life.

    Origins of life: Now it seems too much of a coincidence that all the building blocks of life just happened to be on Earth, right? I too agree. The universe is really, really, really, really, I could add another dozen "really"s but it wouldn't really even begin to describe how big the goddamned thing is, really. But I still find it strange that we haven't been able to find another planet even remotely suitable for life after a century of searching. Out of all the extrasolar planets we've managed to find so far, most of them have been gaseous and the ones that were rocky didn't have favourable conditions, don't even mention sentient beings, bacteria wouldn't even be able to survive on those boulders. And so I assume that BigThing provided the building blocks for and even perhaps created the first bacterium by manipulating cosmic forces. BigThing also most likely created the laws of life, evolution and physics, but had no implication in their usage beyond initial creation. Which brings us to my last mini-topic.

    Creation of the Universe: BigThing created the Big Bang. I'm not sure how scientists explain how the Big Bang happened other than "it just happened". CHRIST, I KNOW IT HAPPENED, BUT WHAT CAUSED IT TO HAPPEN? This might just be me being ignorant and stupid, so scientists, please enlighten me if I'm wrong, but for any sort of chemical or physical reaction to occur, there's usually a catalyst. Some thing that MAKES it happen. If a super-dense ball of matter has been in such a state for even a nanosecond already, what makes it unstable such that it has to explode in the next nanosecond? I'll assume that BigThing did it.

    Afterlife: There is none because BigThing doesn't care about us. He has the power to manipulate space, time and the laws of the universe, but doesn't use them because he's already all-powerful. What would he gain by their usage? Thus, we die a death, our cells wither and our "souls" die with our brains. Sorry dudes.

    In conclusion: BigThing doesn't have an obligation towards us and neither do we have any towards It. He has the power to manipulate the fundamentals of our universe but has only ever used them a few times: to create the universe, to create good conditions for sentient life in said universe and then to nudge the cosmos in a direction that would be conductive to the development of said life. He didn't further intervene and will not in the future. Either because he doesn't want to further manipulate some thing that he has no interest in, or because he's content to just watch and see what happens.

    And so I picked the "personal interpretation" option.
  2. #331352012-07-13 06:23:05Chestnut_Rice said:

    Addendum to first post: Topic title isn't serious, by the way.

    Also to clarify in some points that I realized were lacking while I was showering: the theory of evolution is also supported by a smorsgabord (some thing like that) of observational evidence from the Galapagos and other places and genetic findings from labs. It's pretty much as undebatable as "France is European" now apart from some fine points that shouldn't really affect general debate and are probably out of most of our understanding, unless you've taken a college-level course on it or some thing.

    When I said "every reaction needs a catalyst", I didn't mean it literally. Spontaneous reactions don't need extra energy or catalysts to occur, but matter still has to be in contact and reaction begins once that happens. So what exactly created all that energy and put it in a super-dense state? You can't create some thing out of no thing and effects have a cause. Some body put all that energy there. If it was there for a while, why didn't it Bang earlier? Why did it Bang when it did? What was different before? What changed and caused the supposedly stable ball of energy to explode?

    Also if any body answers with some thing similar to "Madoka/Haruhi is my god, hurrrrr" I will legit flip my shit.

  3. #331392012-07-13 08:16:07 *Fieyr said:

    First off, nice thread.

    I'm not really in the mood for a big religious discussion now, but I'll attempt to shed light on a few things.

    Planet formation:

    If your're familiar at all with how stars work, you may be aware that the processes that occur when a star is in its death throes are what is responsible for the creation of all other elements in the universe.

    Incase you're unfamiliar, here's a good NDT video the explains it quite well.

    The heavier elements require larger stars in order to be forged since these elements require more cycles of expansion and contraction of the star. Since stars of the size needed to pull this off aren't as common, it's not surprising that there are more gas giants than rocky planets. Can you link me to an article that talks about the ratio of gas to rocky planets? I'd like to read about that.

    It's like you said though, the universe exists at a scale impossible to comprehend. Therefore your statistical odds of finding a habitable planet are better, simply because the area within which you have to work is large... therefore the likelihood an event such as the creation of a habitable planet is going to improve. Just for contrast, if the universe were the size of a glass of water, the probability a habitable planet is going to form, given that much area, would be almost nil.

    That said, I don't find it strange that we haven't discovered more habitable planets. We simply don't have the technology yet to explore far enough out.

    Currently, our best planet detection method (that I'm aware of) utilizes the Doppler shift. Put simply... as planets rotate around their stars... they tug ever so slightly on their star causing them to wobble. This wobble can be observed by measuring the color of the star. As the star wobbles away from us... it's light waves are stretched and become more red. If it wobbles towards us... the light waves are compressed and the light moves towards blue. It's still very difficult to observe a planet directly in order to determine it's composition. And even in extraordinary cases where we do observe them directly, we can only guess based on whatever color is being reflected (we can guess at what elements exist on a planet since certain elements reflect certain colors)

    Point being, you shouldn't be surprised we haven't found anything yet. We've only explored a tiny speck of our own galaxy.

    I'll get back to you on universe creation.

  4. #331402012-07-13 08:23:56 *Trev said:

    I think the best way to describe me would be as a theological noncognitivist. Because I do not believe that there is any Thing under the Sun or beyond it that meets the human definition of God, I have marked myself as atheist.

    I believe that evolution is a cornerstone of modern biology and understanding of adaptation and change in complexity. I believe that life ceases to exist meaningfully upon death and that "afterlife" defines a meaningless and mostly impossible process. I believe that it is furthermore meaningless to ask, "When did forever begin?"

    I am almost certain that none of Earth's major religions have a pinpoint-perfect view of what the Most Supreme being in the universe is like, and whatever that being is, the human concept of God or gods does not do it justice.

    The laws of thermodynamics declare the Greatest Being necessarily mortal, fallible, and limited in influence. I can't even tell you on what order of magnitude the Biggest and Baddest exists, and I can't spell out for certain what part (if any) he/she/it played in the Universe's formative years. So I have marked myself as atheist.

  5. #331422012-07-13 08:58:17Ecstasy said:

    BigThing created the Big Bang. I'm not sure how scientists explain how the Big Bang happened other than "it just happened".

    I'm not sure, but I think they explain it as if the Universe always existed and is always in motion (expanding and contracting?)...

    Anyway, for me evolution is a coincidence of events in this motion of the Universe. I believe in energy and that after I die I will pass my energy to create new life (atom charge? xD), which can be kind of considered a rebirth or the afterlife. I don't really have any religion, but Buddhism and alike looks more appealing to me.

    you just look at me, replying seriously to a serious thread :'D

  6. #331432012-07-13 09:00:23VivoDePyre said:

    I've been on this road, @Chestnut_Rice. I found many ways in my mind that a deity could exist. A being that exists outside our plane of existence, outside our universe. Something that transcends everything in existence. I considered that said god would have created the universe then gave it the properties that allow it to sustain itself. My divine faith and love for science/skeptical exploration could coexist.

    But then I started to question my purpose. Why do I need there to be a god? If the universe is self sustaining, what role does god have? I eventually settled with an agnostic view, with occasional nihilism if I tried to think too much about it. One can reason the idea of god to it's logic end, but always realize it's too immense and far beyond our understanding/existence. Really, most of my religious views were taken to that point until I just said "Screw it all, this is pointless."

    So when someone asks me if I believe in god, I tell them I don't care enough to decide in one way. I follow some of the advice/wisdom of religious texts, but I don't actively practice a religion.

    As for the whole life building blocks thing, that argument has one large flaw. In such a large universe, it certainly is not strange that the planet that can maintain life is the one with sentient life. With something so large as the universe, there are probably planets of all types. Most of the vital elements of a earth life are small elements, easy enough to find throughout the universe. It's not strange that OUR planet has this capability. We (well lifeforms at least) would be on any other planet that had life sustaining capability. You can't play Yahtzee and claim the dice that landed on 6 is special. It's like the other dice, it just got lucky.

  7. #331572012-07-13 13:05:23Hikarigaiden said:

    I'm really too pragmatic for this. To me the important thing is what your beliefs make you do. Will you or will you not, when standing outside a burning house where you know your friend is inside, start praying, or will you act? (btw imagine how ridiculous this would be if you weren't familiar with the concept of praying) Also some points:

    Bringing up evolution for debate is really like arguing about what causes gravity. Two equally observable phenomenons in the universe (apples seem to fall down towards earth, and animals seem to evolve and change their appearance), and for some reason one is questioned much more than the other. (I guess I can guess the reason)

    I could claim dragons existed. I could even write a book about it, and I could write in the book that what was written in the book was true. (I could also pretend I did this 2000 years ago)

    "I follow some of the advice/wisdom of religious texts, but I don't actively practice a religion." I think this is the biggest debate going on between religion and non-believers right now, what came first, goodness or religion?

    It's really about questions, and what you accept as an answer. Why does it rain? Why is my iphone so slow? Why did the building blocks necessary for life just happen to be on earth? I don't think we would have gotten past question one if we'd clung to answering BigThing.

  8. #331682012-07-13 15:17:22lamperogee said:

    Just take note that there are two kinds of god the people acknowledge. The almighty God who created everything and the Inspirational god, the holy spirit that guides us in Christian religion terms. Nice try on mixing god with science :)). I used to do it too when I was younger but now im agnostic and is concentrating on personal life now. And im now studying Bhuddism and Psychokinesis and Feng shui and other spiritual stuff.

    But anyway your last parts about the BigThing not caring about us is an unreasonable statement. :)

  9. #331812012-07-13 16:13:34Chestnut_Rice said:

    Liked the old thread title better, LMBO.

    About the gas giant to rocky planet ratio, I think it's around 1000 extra solar planets in total to 100 or so rocky planets, last time I checked. Which is probably a long time ago, so I don't remember where I read it, but I'm almost certain that at the very least we've found more gas giants than rocky planets, if not that there are more gaseous planets than rock-based ones.

    And I just realized that I've basically filled in the holes of science with BigThing. It feels stupid and hypocritical because others in less learned times have also done what I have, and they come off as ignorant when really, they just didn't have enough info to really know whether or not God really had a part to play in the mortal world.

    So I'm fairly certain that a Supreme Being does in fact exist but also that He has no plans for us after death and that we're wasting our breath if we're praying to Him. And like Trev said, it's probably a waste of brain power to even try and comprehend the scope and power of such a being.

    Maybe our own brains are preventing us from understanding the final mysteries of the universe in an attempt to protect ourselves from lack of motivation (like in the Hitchiker's Guide!): if we know for sure the final purpose of our lives, what point is there in continuing to live? So to avoid this sad fate I think I'll be content to read other's opinions for a while before posting again.

  10. #331842012-07-13 17:05:02 *Fieyr said:

    About the gas giant to rocky planet ratio, I think it's around 1000 extra solar planets in total to 100 or so rocky planets, last time I checked. Which is probably a long time ago, so I don't remember where I read it, but I'm almost certain that at the very least we've found more gas giants than rocky planets, if not that there are more gaseous planets than rock-based ones.

    @Chestnut_Rice

    But again, I think that's a big assumption to make due to the fact that we simply lack more sophisticated ways of detecting planets. Imagine if you were looking at our solar system from afar. What's the first thing you're going to see (besides the sun of course).

    4 gas giants that's what.

    The comparatively tiny Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars likely wouldn't even make it onto your radar.

    Heck, we just discovered Pluto has a fifth moon. http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/07/11/1814253/hubble-discovers-5th-moon-of-pluto

    If we're still discovering moons within our very own solar system. Then we've got a heck of a long way to go before we can say for certain whether other solar systems contain rocket planets or not.

    And I mean consider this. If it IS true that there are more gas giants than rocket planets. Then that would make our solar system the exception. We have a 50% split.

    Are we that unique? A habitable planet AND a solar system with an equal ratio of rocky to gas?

    I have my doubts.

  11. #331882012-07-13 17:49:42 *Hikarigaiden said:

    @lamperogee "Just take note that there are two kinds of god the people acknowledge. The almighty God who created everything and the Inspirational god, the holy spirit that guides us in Christian religion terms. Nice try on mixing god with science :))."

    Just take note you can make any number of metaphysical claims. Nice work taking this god thing you speak of out of investigation and conversation.

    I would consider actually -studying- "spiritual stuff" pretty much scientific btw.

  12. #331892012-07-13 17:57:35AlphaHikari_1A14 said:

    I believe that an other worldly, supreme being does exist and he did create everything there is today. I also believe there will be somewhere else to go after death. I believe this not because I have proof (I don't count the bible as proof in anyway), but because it gives me something to believe in. I don't care how life got here, and I don't care what proof there is to show how it got to this point; I just care what I do with my own life.

    I guess you can say that my God is an inspirational one. One that just happens to have a book that was supposed to be written centuries ago about his life, and his great works. That's all I need to be happy. Everything happens for a reason in my eyes. So with that being the way I think, my inspirational God fits the standards I need to continue thinking this way.

  13. #331922012-07-13 18:19:31 *Hikarigaiden said:

    @AlphaHikari_1A14 This kind of "feel-good religion" -does- have real implications though. The questions of wether there is an afterlife, if everything happens for a reason etc.

    Some people DO care how life got here (or why it rains, or why we feel good by doing certain things and bad by doing other), and I think they are pretty offended (religion-style) that some people claim to just know things they haven't found out yet.

    I saw a show on tv where a christian said he believed every aborted child as in (presumably christian) heaven. A cuddly world-view at first, but then what's the obvious way to proceed when handling unborn children?

  14. #331932012-07-13 18:32:57AlphaHikari_1A14 said:

    @Hikarigaiden I know that some people care about how things came to be, and I'm happy that they do. I never meant to be one of those people that offend others by claiming to know something I haven't found out yet. I won't claim unless I'm asked about it, and even then, I won't force them to see things the way I do. People will believe in what they want to believe, and I am no different.

    I don't know where every aborted child ends up though. I said there is a place that I think people go after death, but I never said it was Heaven. Even for me, that is a tricky subject. I don't know what to tell you. I'm against abortions for sure, but I'm not going to stop a person from getting one if that is truly what they wish to do. As for the unborn kid that was killed off because of it, who knows where it ended up? I just want to think it ended up somewhere.

  15. #331982012-07-13 18:57:59Hikarigaiden said:

    @AlphaHikari_1A14 Ok, yes I'm not trying to put words like heaven in your mouth, but the point of the "aborted children go to heaven" example was that right after, someone asked why we shouldn't just abort all children.

    I'm not saying someone's worldview is wrong, I'm just encouraging people to think through their beliefs and what they lead to (and preferably how they came to have them, but that seems too much to ask in a lot of cases).

  16. #332002012-07-13 19:06:50AlphaHikari_1A14 said:

    @Hikarigaiden Oh, well if you wanted me to think through it, then I shall. From an early age, this belief was beaten into me, day in and day out. Until I move out of my parents home, I will not change it for my sanity's sake. As of right now, it's just something to keep in the back of my mind. I believe it because I live in an environment where it's necessary to believe in God or people will isolate you. It's easier on me to just believe in Him than it would be to deny His existence altogether.

    Whoever asked why shouldn't all children be aborted should be a comedian. That gave me a good laugh. It should be pretty obvious why all children aren't aborted. If there were no children, then humanity would have no future. Our race would die off the face of the planet. But by all means, go ahead and try to abort all the little suckers. They will have their work cut out for them.

  17. #332042012-07-13 19:22:18Hikarigaiden said:

    @AlphaHikari_1A14 And from my point of view, someone who postulated that there is a heaven, and that all aborted children go there should be the comedian.

    Given this information, and that heaven is a place to strive towards (more important than humans prosperity on earth), it's a (as she put it) perfectly factual response.

  18. #332072012-07-13 19:32:29AlphaHikari_1A14 said:

    @Hikarigaiden More important than human prosperity on earth? People live long lives in most cases, so it's OK to strive for Heaven; but if you're like me, you want to have fun doing it. For her, that may be perfectly factual response, but to me this lady is off her rocker. It's like she is saying that everyone should kill their children so they can be sent to Heaven. I don't think it works that way. I really want to know who she is so I can ask her exactly what her views are. This is interesting.