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Old 01-27-2007, 07:26 AM   #13
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Re: The Root of all Evil/Trobule With Atheism

Originally Posted by Mike Doolittle View Post
Specifically, your definitions of God's omnipotence and omniscience may not be congruent with what many people believe. And even if they are, they're not necessarily incompatible.
I'm sure there exists some liberal monotheists with less definitive conceptions of the god of Abraham, but it has been my experience that that is the exception and not the rule.

And the god which I defined is most definitely incompatible with the reality of the world. (Problem of Evil.)

Other than the fact that an infinitely self-perpetuating universe violates the known laws of physics or that matter and energy do not magically appear out of nothing, what do you want me to say? I don't think the idea of a creative God stretches the imagination any more than the idea of self-perpetuating multiverses or the notion of "chance" allowing the perfect balance of the infinite variables required for our existence.
I have to agree with you on one point. Believing in a "creative god" isn't any more unreasonable than believing in a multi-verse. That said, both are just two of an infinite number of equally plausible possibilities. As to the relevance of "chance" when speaking in terms of a habitable is debatable and I'll show you why:

My father has discarded billions of sperm throughout his lifetime, yet only three went the distance (resulting in myself and my two sisters), so to speak. Now, is it meaningful to ask of all the possible biological mothers available in 1984, of all the possible instances for my conception, and of all his billions of discarded sperm, what are the chances of my existing as I do? What if I were to put all four of my grandparents into the mix, and there grandparents and so on? If I were to compose a statistic going back only six generations, factoring all the possible unborn ghosts that could be in my place, it would surely show my existence to be so improbable that just the fact that I am here could be considered a bona fide miracle; if I included the billions of years to the origin (or origins) of life, the equation would show my existence to be so improbable that I, in fact, don't exist. Yet here I am. And so too may we be in such a universe.

(Also, the fact that we live in a universe with gravity is a much more consequential "what are the chances?" than the fact that we live in a universe capable of spawning life. Gravity is one of, if not the driving force of the universe, life is quite literally a relatively insignificant byproduct (as far as we know)--we are made of star stuff, as Sagan and Moby would say.)

(Also, one could argue how meaningful it to declare that there is no "infinite past," seeing as time as we know it didn't start but 13-15 billion years ago. (Was there a time before time?))

Anyway, I think the only reasonable position to claim is that of ignorance. We just don't yet know what happened before the big bang. We may never know. I think people who actively believe in your "creative god" are doing so sans evidence and thus unreasonably. (Further, I think it is a clear cut case for positing god in the gaps of known knowledge.)

So really, I think the burden of proof is on you to explain how an infinite regress is even possible, or how a self-perpetuating infinite universe could exist without violating the laws of physics.
Your examples are infinite regressions because any explanation for the origin of the universe are without evidence, thus equally plausible, thus all unfalsifiable. The big bang could just as well be the aftermath of a fart of a celestial bunny or the money shot of an alien unicorn as it could be the result of a "creative god."

Or your example is infinite regression because the laws of the universe which you've defined (in particular, it's being finite) leave no room for an eternal anything, let alone creator. (If said creator exists outside the universe and time, then why can't the farting bunny, the ejaculating unicorn, or so on?)

You assume that nothing you can empirically quantify is worth concerning yourself with, and I'm not about to tell you that point of view is wrong, since I could obviously never prove it. But faith is by definition intuitive. The whole point of faith is believing in things that can't be quantitatively known or proven.
You've got my number, dead to rights even. I, however, would add that just because something is intuitive doesn't make it right. It may be perfectly intuitive for me as an adult male to fuck anything that walks (and it is), but it doesn't mean I should (yet I do).
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