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deism
i'm ready for my close up mr demille
soopageek
I find it inconceivable and illogical to not believe in the concept of a creator.  Deists can split hairs over the nature of god and his identity all they want, but when I see the complexity of nature and all its wonder, I'm hard pressed to believe it is some sort of random fluke.  This is not to say I'm some bible-thumper or that I believe even a fraction of the things purported and touted by orthodox religions.  I consider myself a semi-agnostic Christian.  I believe in a creator but I've yet to be convinced that there is one correct way and likely never will.  I also doubt the creator takes any active-hand in the realm of his creation, if he's even paying attention or alive.  I've always thought it was quite a terrible leap of faith to presume our creator immortal.  I'm not even convinced of an after-life, but I'm kind-of hoping. 

I think what does it for me most is human consciousness.  Some people call it the spirit.  George Lucas called it "The Force" ;-). 

Whatever you call it, it seems to transcend the basic reality of the physical world.  Some people have already claimed to have done so.  Science has yet to explain it, much less duplicate it, but that's not to say they won't.  The way I see it, science is nothing more than a belief system, which requires its own leaps of faith and its own denominations which adhere to their doctrines just as tightly and fervently in the face of contradicting information as a religious zealot, to the point that it can take generations for new beliefs to take-hold, only to be changed again by future generations.  One era's scientific fact is a future era's apology to textbook and encyclopedia writers.

Atheists balk at this concept usually, the idea of science as a belief system because of the scientific method.  Yet so much of science operates on theory and principle that it ceases to be concrete and deluding yourself that it is, isn't much worse than the creationist who insists the world was made in 6 days because a couple of ancient books say-so. 

I think the important thing to remember is that science and religion attempt to explain two very different things and don't necessarily need to be at odds with each other.  On the one hand, science makes an attempt to explain how things work.  Religion, on the other hand, makes an attempt to explain the "Big Why": why are we here and for what purpose?. 

Some people of science have little use for the notion of why and for what purpose and choose to discard the notions entirely.  Since it cannot be explained by science it must not exist. 

Some people of religion have little use for the notion of how things work and similarily discard the notion entirely.  Since it cannot be divined from the texts of yore, it must be the work of God with which man would be wise not to tinker. 

I find either view a little limiting.
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uh dude? not that i'm a scientist, but science is all ABOUT "why" and "for what purpose." and most scientists don't automagically conclude that since it can't be explained by science it must not exist. in fact, most scientists are willing to admit that science is always pressing forward and there are some areas in which we know so laughably little that even speculation is foolish.

meanwhile, i have sort of the opposite perspective. i look around at the chaos that is nature and i think there's no WAY there's any logic to any of this. what symmetry exists in nature would seem to be due to laws of physics, which again often seem entirely random. and actually, this observation is a large part of the reason why i ended up an atheist in the first place. :)

I would agree that science entertains the notion of "why" and "for what purpose" with concern to the -mechanics- of nature, but i've seddom heard a scientist claim he's working on "the meaning of life" and "the purpose of man".

i didn't say most scientists, i said some scientists :) and of course science is always pressing forward, that's the nature of progression... one era builds on the successes and failures of the previous... i'm merely pointing out that at any given point along the timeline of that progress, it is as much a leap of faith that science is ever "right" when given the perspective of history...

i agree about the chaos but come to a different conclusion... in a universe so chaotic, cold, and vast how remarkable it must be that the phenomena of consciousness would occur. ever. or, forget consciousness, how remarkable that enough things fell into place juuuust right for basic life to form...

as humans, we are on the verge of being able to do things with science which no one had ever dreamed possible... we have the primitve capacity to clone a multi-celled organism from the single cell of its host... at the same time, to my knowledge, science has never observed in nature or duplicated the conditions necessary for the spontaneous creation of life, the prospect on which the entire notion of a not-created-life point-of-view hinges...

i guess my thought is, if we can create things in our image, is it so proposterous to wonder that it wasn't ever done before?


But who says life has to have meaning or that there has to be a purpose of man? I've never encountered any evidence to convince me of either claim.

I'm with lossfound and huskerdude on their varied points. Your first statement I feel the exact opposite of. And, as H says, why does there need to be a meaning of life? If so, is there a meaning of life for all living things? I think that's such an arrogant view by humans.

The thought of a creator, in any shape or form, just feels like mythology to me - something convenient to explain things that did/do not/may never have an explanation for. Frankly, the idea of a creator with a master design plan is as believable as being an ant farm for some other beings 5th grader. Our universe and beyond could be the science project of some kid. But let's say that is the case, some other being created our universe, even by accident. Maybe the kid was making a volcano for his project and he added one extra ingredient to the baking sode/vinegar mix and here we are. No matter how we came about, I can't buy that we were created to worship that creator or that it has any control over what it created.

This is veering off topic, but what blows *my* mind is what is really out there beyond what we have been able to see. Are we ("space" as we know it) an area within another type of system? I can't conceive of spatial infinity.

Oh I never made any statements about the nature of the creator. In fact, I think it's probably likely the our creator was not nearly as "organized" as organized religion would have us believe with codified rules of behavior for the creation, like worship and sin. That's for people of religion to fight over... I'm hardly a religious person.

I have a hard time with spacial infinity, too. But it's not too far off topic.. just because it is not conceivable does not mean it can't exist, just beyond our realm of current understanding.

I did notice you tried NOT to make a statement of tne nature of a creator. It was decidely non-religious.

I think spacial infinity *does* exist (as we can conceive/currently define it), but thinking about it kind of freaks me out.

Meanwhile, I'm sticking with the 5th grade science project theory. :)

No one says there has to be... which is where atheists and deists diverge in belief. There are probably millions of as of yet undiscovered things about the physical world, things which we have not "encountered any evidence" as to their existence. It certainly does not mean they do not exist. I'm merely pointing out that atheism, like deism, is a belief.

As you know, I love argiung this subject.
I'm fine with the idea of science as a belief system. However, it's an ever-evolving, rigorously tested belief system based on empirical evidence, rather than a static jumble of unverifiable mysticism propagated thousands of years ago by people who believed in sea monsters.

The complexity of nature offers no proof of a divine creator. In fact, there are tons of scinece books that can explain it without the need for God. Evolution is not random; traits and characteristics that are beneficial to an organism will be perpetuated, while those that aren't die out. Complexity is mostly a product of evolution. In the first few billion years of the Earth's existence, nature was hardly what you'd call complex - even at the chemical level, things were pretty basic. If life/nature was part of a grand design, why not just start out with the complex organisms rather than waiting billions of years for them to evolve? Doesn't seem to be a very well-executed plan. There are also math/physics books that deal specifically with the issue of complexity. Besides, I can't remember who said it or the exact figure, but there's a quote I like that says something to the effect of "The fact that life evolved on earth when the odds were 85 billion to 1 is far more miraculous to me than the idea of a creator."

Science is working on consciousness, too (it also falls under the umbrella of an evolutionary trait) - there's a good (but hard-to-read) book out called "Consciousness Explained" (by Daniel Dennett) which uses various scientific disciplines to draw a model of what it is. And while consciousness may seem to transcend the basic reality of the physical world, that doesn't mean it does.

Anyway, like I've said before, the idea that there has to be a creator always brings you to the question of "Who created the Creator?". At some point, philosophically, you have to admit that there has to exist something which was first, and not the work of a creator. I see no reason why the universe can't fit the bill.

As for the whole "meaning" question - it's a result of evolution, too, in the form of consciousness - I doubt rats wonder about such things. The idea that life has to have meaning or man has to have a purpose is a human concept, having nothing to do with objective reality. That's the great thing about consciousness, as well as one of its drawbacks: it allows us to ask questions about abstract notions like ultimate meaning and ethics that are not only unanswerable but that have no basis in anything except our own beliefs and feelings - basically, to use our consciousness to try to explain the ideas that arise only because we have a consciousness that allows them to in the first place.

Since you love arguing the subject.... you're saying that evolution is the explanation, right? So, if this is true, and everything evolved from something, why would some more primitive "versions" exist and not others? For example, if humans evolved from monkeys, why are the monkeys still around while humans are here, yet none of the "in between species" exist? (Same goes for birds, reptiles, etc.)

It cannot be argued that these "in between species" died out because they were weaker since they'd obviously be stronger than that from which they evolved...

I'm not denying that micro evolution/adaptation exists, but I don't believe in macro evolution.

What's your take?

First of all, humans didn't evolve from monkeys. According to the theory, humans and apes both evolved from a common ancestor, which is quite a different story. Monkeys are not "more primitive" versions of humans; they're completely separate, much the way all higher forms of life are different from the original single-celled organisms that originally arose out of the primordial soup as the first life forms. I don't know what you're saying about reptiles and birds; their more primitive ancestors AREN'T around anymore. As for the fact that we haven't got a complete fossil record of every species that ever existed over billions of years, the fact that scientists have only been looking for about a century and many of the bones would have become so displaced or destroyed over such a span of time that locating them is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack is a pretty good explanation. And even so, they're constantly discovering new pieces of the puzzle and new species on archealogical digs. This is all pretty well documented; most of it's basic high school biology.
Anyway, I don't know what you mean by macro evolution - evolution occurs incredibly slowly, in "micro" installments, which add up over eons to "macro". There are still plenty of examples of "macro" evolution that have been observed. Try reading "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea" by Carl Zimmer, "Darwin's Ghost" by Steve Jones, or any number of books/essays by Stephen Jay Gould for more in-depth clarification.

I know you enjoy this topic. I was sure I would hear from you on this one when I wrote it. ;-)

static jumble of unverifiable mysticism propagated thousands of years ago by people who believed in sea monsters

Religion is certainly not static, nor unverifiable, nor is it simply rooted in ancient writings. These are all knee-jerk explanations people of a differing belief like to use in their argument to bash the Big 5. Religion is constantly evolving with continuously changing concepts about the nature and identity of god, consciousness, and reality. There are just as many testimonies of spiritual awakening and transcendental experiences as there are journals devoted to scientific pursuits. Reams of literature are produced yearly evolving concepts, re-thinking ideas, and re-counting spiritual experiences.

Because you've never experienced it, and more specifically, because you have chosen to discontinue believing in its existence or considering its possibility, what gives you the right to discredit it? Especially when a vast majority believe there is something other than objective reality to consider?

The point of my entry was not that either way was necessarily correct, but that people are entitled to their beliefs and that when either side ignores the possibilities of the other, it is a limited point of view. In my view, the opposing poles of science and spirituality need not be mutually exclusive. I don't see how a champion of science ignoring the possibility of spirituality in the face of countless personal accounts past and present is any different than the creationist who discounts science because it doesn't fit into their religious ideology. In particular, it irks me when atheists make back-handed comments like believing in a deity is some sort of affront to intelligence. I'm equally appalled by religious fundamentalists who think that intellectualism and questioning the nature of god is an affront to faith and spirituality.

I'll tell you: I used to believe in God. Wanted to be a priest, actually. But one day I realized the feeling of "spirituality" I was feeling was something I was causing myself to feel - the placebo effect. It took me a while to come to the conclusion that I was deluding myself, and it was hard, especially since I'd been such a believer before. So my position doesn't come from someone who's "never experienced it"; it comes from someone whose experience of it led him to conclude it was a sham. Strength of belief and intense personal experience aren't any kind of proof of validity, as examples from hypnosis to repressed memories to UFO abductions can attest. I'm not saying flat out that God couldn't exist and that some people might actually have had personal experience with Him - but it seems infinitely more likely they're just deluding themselves because it makes them more comfortable in their worldview, same as I was way back when.

As for religion not being static: sure, there are plenty of religious people, even religious leaders, who've put a lot of thought into ccoming up with more modern/evolved ideas of what it means (which is bound to happen over the course of millenia), but the major sects (of Christianity, defintely; also, from what I can determine, of Islam and Hinduism) are still clinging to the goofball beliefs of the sea monster set: how many major Christian denominations reject the idea of a virgin birth or a man rising from the dead or walking on water or any number of other patently absurd doctrinal ideas? And I don't even need to mention the idiocy of the more fundamentalist mindset. The "newer" branches that have become major - the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses - believe that Jesus showed up in America and that biblical Armageddon is nigh, respectively. And wasn't it great how the current pope "forgave" Copernicus (or was it Galileo?) all these centuries later? Didn't admit he was right, mind you. I was raised Episcopalean, which is pretty liberal, and even they held onto orthodoxy that was entirely mythical.

As far as religion being verifiable: bullshit. Any system of belief that claims there is a Divine Creator is by definition unverifiable. The only thing I can think of that's verifiable about religion is that it exists and plenty of people believe in it.

AND, just because the vast majority believes in something doesn't mean shit to me, especially when I see what other kind of shit the vast majority believe in or find worthy of admiring. Appeals to the capacity for credulousness of the masses tends to have the opposite of the desired effect on me.

Of course people are entitled to their beliefs, and I don't think just because somebody believes in God they're not intelligent. But if they want to debate the issue, which is a function of logic, they're not going to get any respect from me on those grounds by copping out with illogical murmurings about "faith" and how it can't be argued intellectually. Like I said before, to me, faith is nothing more than the capacity for self-delusion, and I base that on my own experience. I respect anybody's right to believe whatever they want, but that doesn't mean I have to respect the belief, especially on intellectual grounds. There are people who sincerely believe the Earth is flat, or that blacks are subhuman, and I certainly don't respect their beliefs. Not to compare theists to racists or flat-earthers; used as an example of why I don't feel required to pretend I have to apply cultural relativism when arguing I see no need to respect somebody's beliefs just because they're "personal".

Anyway, I don't ignore the POSSIBILITY of spirituality, or anything, really - I'm open to the fact that the Earth could actually BE flat, and our failure to discern this is due to a fault of perception. But until I have some pretty persuasive evidence in front of me other than the majority of people believe it to be so, I ain't buying.

As far as religion being verifiable: bullshit. Any system of belief that claims there is a Divine Creator is by definition unverifiable. The only thing I can think of that's verifiable about religion is that it exists and plenty of people believe in it.

Not verifiable in your belief system. You stated previously that you acknowledge that science is as much a belief system as another: the need for empirical data, the scientific method, the belief in objective reality. These work fine for your belief system, but that doesn't mean they are transferable into another. You can no more give proof of an objective reality than another can that it can be transcended.

This is my whole point: the two topics have different purposes with respect to method, desired outcome, and worldview. Neither system can prove itself to be correct, nor disprove the validity of the other because they operate on completely differing premises.

I'm not saying flat out that God couldn't exist and that some people might actually have had personal experience with Him

Doesn't sound like you're much of an antheist, but more of an agnostic. I've always considered atheists to already be convinced of the the non-existence of God without doubt.

AND, just because the vast majority believes in something doesn't mean shit to me, especially when I see what other kind of shit the vast majority believe in or find worthy of admiring. Appeals to the capacity for credulousness of the masses tends to have the opposite of the desired effect on me.

Science is FOUNDED on consensus. One scientist discovers something. Then another duplicates the experience. Then another. And another. Until soon there is consensus and it is accepted as conventional wisdom, universal knowledge, law, principle, fact, theory, etc. That is, until someone can prove (perceive) otherwise. It doesn't mean it's right, only that there is consensus based on common perception.

they're not going to get any respect from me on those grounds by copping out with illogical murmurings about "faith" and how it can't be argued intellectually

Logic is as much a construct of human consciousness as faith. We developed logic since many of the things we observe behave in a logical manner, yet there are many examples of things which defy logic in our experience, yet we presume there must be a logical explanation. What proof is there that it MUST be logical? Is there any logic to why when hearing music one person will like it and another will hate it? Is there any logic to why a new-born infant will smile? Is there any logic to love, fear, anxiety, or anger? Maybe. Perhaps not. But why presume there MUST be or there must NOT be something logical about it?

Like I said before, to me, faith is nothing more than the capacity for self-delusion, and I base that on my own experience.
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I see no need to respect somebody's beliefs just because they're "personal"

Everyone's point of view is "personal" by your own admission. Deciding some need to respect them "just because" they are personal is impossible; by default all beliefs are personal. We react to held-beliefs because they differ from our own and defend them because they ARE personal.

Part 1 - It won't let me post it all at once

Not verifiable in your belief system. You stated previously that you acknowledge that science is as much a belief system as another: the need for empirical data, the scientific method, the belief in objective reality. These work fine for your belief system, but that doesn't mean they are transferable into another. You can no more give proof of an objective reality than another can that it can be transcended.

No, not verifiable according to the definition of "verifiable", which is, and I quote (from dictionary.com):
"capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation."

And these for "verify":

1. To prove the truth of by presentation of evidence or testimony; substantiate.
2. To determine or test the truth or accuracy of, as by comparison, investigation, or reference: experiments that verified the hypothesis.


My belief system has nothing to do with the meaning of the word; if you want to make up your own criteria for what's verifiable, you're being purposely obfuscatory and disingenuous.

I can't give proof for an absolute reality? Come on. Sure, I could be the only thing that actually exists, and everything including you and the physical world might just be my own hallucination, but I don't think you want to get into absurd sidetracks like that. Of course, nothing can really be proven, if you want to take that route, but objective reality - the universe exists, independent of whether I'm here to experience it or not - is much easier to prove than the idea that it can be transcended. "Proof" is a term derived from (and applicable to) math and logic; again, you can't twist its meaning to fit into mysticism just because you want to. Like I said, if you want to argue logically without using the rules of logic, it's not really a valid argument (as defined by the parameters of debate, also an element of logic). That's my point: there are methods for arriving at a proof, and using those methods when arguing theology will cause you to fail in your argument. I don't know how I can put it any clearer. No proof is complete, to be sure, but good proofs are so nearly complete that the statistical probability of them being false is negligible. If you're going to toss out the use of mathematics and logic to determine something's verifiability and say it's all relative, we're not discussing things on the level on which they're agreed to be discussed.

Doesn't sound like you're much of an antheist, but more of an agnostic. I've always considered atheists to already be convinced of the the non-existence of God without doubt.

I don't know - I don't see howanybody can honestly claim to know, unless they're psychotic. But I don't believe in God, which is what I mean by atheist, and I won't until given some concrete evidence (which should be easy enough if God is, as many claim, omniscient). As I stated, anything's possible, but as I also said, some things are so statistically unlikely as to be insignificant. Complete lack of empirical evidence for a Creator strikes me as falling into such a category.










Science is FOUNDED on consensus. One scientist discovers something. Then another duplicates the experience. Then another. And another. Until soon there is consensus and it is accepted as conventional wisdom, universal knowledge, law, principle, fact, theory, etc. That is, until someone can prove (perceive) otherwise. It doesn't mean it's right, only that there is consensus based on common perception.

Uh, yeah - perception that can be observed by ANYONE because it's using empirical evidence. Surely you can see that, even if everything can be boiled down to a matter of perception, there are still degrees of perception, and somebody's perception that God lives in their heart is much different than calculating the speed of light using tools and observation that can be demonstrated to anyone. The consensus by the majority that there exists a deity is along the same lines of the consensus by the majority (borne out by album sales) that Britney Spears is great. It's a subjective belief based more on feeling than fact. If we're going to ignore facts as relevant tools for determining truth, we're back to relativity again. Facts may later be proven wrong by other facts; as far as a Creator is concerned, however, there are no facts.

Logic is as much a construct of human consciousness as faith. We developed logic since many of the things we observe behave in a logical manner, yet there are many examples of things which defy logic in our experience, yet we presume there must be a logical explanation. What proof is there that it MUST be logical? Is there any logic to why when hearing music one person will like it and another will hate it? Is there any logic to why a new-born infant will smile? Is there any logic to love, fear, anxiety, or anger? Maybe. Perhaps not. But why presume there MUST be or there must NOT be something logical about it?

Sure, there's logic behind why a baby smiles and the emotions we experience. There are plenty of books on neurology/cognitive evolution/evolutionary psychology that have offered scientific explanations for these phenomena. As for why one person likes a song and another doesn't, we're back with Britney Spears - it's more a subjective emotional reaction than an objective fact-based determination.

Everyone's point of view is "personal" by your own admission. Deciding some need to respect them "just because" they are personal is impossible; by default all beliefs are personal. We react to held-beliefs because they differ from our own and defend them because they ARE personal.

I agree. I decide to respect them based on their logic and/or philosophical/ethical implications. Do you respect the belief that "all niggers should be killed"? Can you see where such relativism can get you into trouble? Ethics are a subdivision of philosophy, which is itself concerned with logic and "objective" truth. Almost any ethical position has already been argued on logical grounds. I have no problem with beliefs being personal; that's why I don't get upset when somebody disagrees with my beliefs. But to debate such topics puts them in the realm of logic - you yourself in your post claimed you thought it was "illogical" to not believe in a creator - and if we're going to go at it from that angle, I have no problem with anything I've said thus far.

Sorry it's taken so long to reply... I've been Bizzzz-Zeeee lately.

"capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation."

And these for "verify":

1. To prove the truth of by presentation of evidence or testimony; substantiate.
2. To determine or test the truth or accuracy of, as by comparison, investigation, or reference: experiments that verified the hypothesis.

My belief system has nothing to do with the meaning of the word; if you want to make up your own criteria for what's verifiable, you're being purposely obfuscatory and disingenuous.


It has everything to do with the meaning of the word, just pointing out that the opposing belief systems prize differing aspects of it. All three of your definitions for "verify" allow for verification sans quantification and empirical data. In the second definition you offer, it quite clearly says that testimony is one means of verifying something. Sure experiments are one means of verification and is the primary one used by scientists. It's not the only means, however, just the one preferred by a viewpoint to which you subscribe. Hard, quantifiable data is no less important, though, than personal witness and testimony. Consider the judicial system. Hard, forensic evidence in the absence of an eye witness makes for a weak case; there's a smoking gun but no one saw it happen or lack of motive. The converse is also true. An attorney may make a case on motive from witness testimony but has no physical or forensic evidence tying the person to the crime. All I'm trying to argue is that an overwhelming number of personal accounts shouldn't be dismissed simply because they can't be quantified. I'm not saying it makes them correct either, no more than an experiment necessarily proves something to be true.

Sure, I could be the only thing that actually exists, and everything including you and the physical world might just be my own hallucination, but I don't think you want to get into absurd sidetracks like that.

No, I don't. I was thinking more in terms of what we are capable of observing in the physical world, especially since we are part of it. If a fish were a sentient creature, with all of the mental faculties of a human, it would still be forced to work within the limitations of its physical being and its physical world. It might be able to observe that there is dry land and air, but it would likely never discern the presence of other planets, solar systems and galaxies. You described this yourself earlier when speaking of flat-earthers, how perhaps they could be correct and we simply have faulty perception. What if we are incapable of discerning what is "real" only by means of objective observation? What if there are other means of interacting with physical reality that is not as "tangible" as the confines of science? Is it fair to consider our physical world by only one method of observation and interpretation when there may be other means at our disposal? I'm merely suggesting that a great deal of people do think there are other means of perception, corroborated by common experience spanning the course of human history. I'm not suggesting that it is right, nor do I subscribe to the opinion that simply because science can't do anything to quantify or explain it that it is wrong. I think that either system has differing goals, ways, and means - making them ill-suited to be cross-applied. The point of my original entry was that neither method should be dismissed, as it limits our ability to consider all of the possiblities.

As I stated, anything's possible, but as I also said, some things are so statistically unlikely as to be insignificant.

I find it interesting that you would state this, yet in a previous comment mention a fondness for the quote "The fact that life evolved on earth when the odds were 85 billion to 1 is far more miraculous to me than the idea of a creator." This would seem to imply that you find the theory of evolution to be statistically unlikely and therefore insignificant. I personally do think that the biggest short-coming of evolution theory is a statistical one, but that's another argument entirely.


Sure, there's logic behind why a baby smiles and the emotions we experience. There are plenty of books on neurology/cognitive evolution/evolutionary psychology that have offered scientific explanations for these phenomena.
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But to debate such topics puts them in the realm of logic - you yourself in your post claimed you thought it was "illogical" to not believe in a creator - and if we're going to go at it from that angle, I have no problem with anything I've said thus far.

I will reiterate that logic is still a construct of human consciousness which is based on our perceptions of the physical world. We developed logic because we have the capacity to ascertain that many, many things in our world behave because of a perceived cause and/or resulting in a predictable effect. The sun rises and sets, the stars rotate in the heavens through the night and change with the seasons, leaves fall from trees in autumn and grow back in spring, etc. There are obvious patterns to our physical world. And while it is true that there appears to be a large amount of predictability, suggesting patterns of cause and effect (logical conclusion), it seems to me presumptuous to conclude that everything must therefore behave toward logical conclusions. Science works on this presumption because it has to; the need to duplicate results demands it. I'm not saying that it hasn't yielded positive results or that it isn't an effective means of understanding our physical world but science cannot accept an anomaly. Science assumes there must be some undiscovered, undetected, or unknown factor and also assumes that it must have some logical place in the grand scheme of things, whatever it may be. Rightly so, as that's what science does. The belief of science is that everything happens for a reason. There is cause and effect which in all instances will occur every single time if all the conditions are identical. There is no room for randomness, will, or anomalies. With the correct set of equations and a full understanding of the physical world we could have calculated from the beginning of time to this very second that you would read the words I have typed. It could have been predicted that we would have this conversation, that my name would be Lin and yours would be John and we would have our respective viewpoints. Doesn't that sound absurd, not to mention depressing and bleak?

But science has begun to allow for randomness. As I understand it, the Big Bang theory currently allows for the "spontaneous creation of matter". Of course, they have statistical equations which presume to predict the rate at which an atom magically appears in the vacuum of space and joins our physical party even though it has never been observed or proven to happen. I think it also allows for some mysterious "dark matter" which aparently cannot be detected but MUST exist because certain calculations say that the observable matter in the universe simply isn't enough.

In hindsight, I probaly should not have used the term illogical. Inconceivable was probably appropriate enough, however, I don't see how subscribing to a belief system predicated on the assumption that our physical world must behave according to rules of logic because we're logical creatures is any more sound than believing in a created universe.

I happened to be watching NOVA last night on PBS. It was the one on string theory, and they had a really interesting quote from Isaac Newton, which was something like "I feel like I've been a child my whole life, playing with seashells while in front of me was an entire ocean of knowledge that I never even saw." And of course, that's paraphrased because my memory sucks, but the point is that this is someone who many consider to be the greatest scientist in history. And he was also very religious. So I don't think that religion and science, by definition, are mutually exclusive - rather, I think that many scientists have tried to make it that way.

And on the subject of science and scientists, you should check out The Baroque Cycle, by Neal Stephenson. It's great historical fiction dealing with the Newtonian era in science and politics.

To be fair, many people of religion are equally if not more guilty in the divergence of science from religion.

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