God looks a lot like no God

We are willing to claim things don’t exist. I don’t mean atheists; I mean thinkers in general. Do you believe in unicorns, Santa, leprechauns, the tooth fairy or the Flying Spaghetti monster? I know they’re cliché examples, but that is intentional: I want you to realise these arguments aren’t new, but apologists have been ignoring them in the hope you can be fooled into believing one can never be reasonable in claiming something doesn’t exist. I’d be willing to wager that you actually are convinced the things above don’t exist, so you do have some idea of what it takes to claim something isn’t real. No ghosts, no mummies, no vampires.

You haven’t had to go to the end of space and time to make these conclusions; you have not observed every inch of the universe and neither do you need to. You know that.

We recognise the lies of psychics and horoscopes by their vagueness; the fact that nearly anything could be compatible with my horoscope prediction. How could “you will make an important transaction today” be wrong? We also recognise ghost hunters by their excuses for repeated failures. People who claim Bigfoot exists always have a reason for the miraculous absence of Bigfoot poo.

All these claims reveal nothing new about the universe; because anything could relate to my horoscope, it really says nothing at all. Because they reveal nothing, while claiming something, we are comfortable uttering their falsehood.

However, it does not seem to bother the religious that the claim ‘a God exists’ is empirically identical to its negation. Anything that one would expect to see that might be considered unique to a world where a God does exist is absent and apologised for. “God exists” is turned into a content-free utterance as anything that claim might mean is taken away; we don’t see anything it might mean.

I, reasonably, expect universally high human wellbeing, given a God that loves us. Yet, this is not the case, and it is apologised for: it’s our fault. That could make sense when talking about humans hurting humans; our freewill and autonomy are important to us. It doesn’t make complete sense, though. Ghandi had more empathy than a member of ISIS: why one was blessed with compassion and the other not is a curious quandary. More importantly, our freewill is irrelevant to cholera, ebola and dysentery.  And yet, “God exists”? The problem here is simple: love is considered a necessary descriptor of God, and that claim is made content-free as suffering and pain and things you wouldn’t allow to happen to those you loves are simply permitted.

You can claim this doesn’t affect the truth of the claim “God exists”, but by doing that you are making my point: what we expect to be able to discover whithers away, and the world starts to look identical, regardless of God’s existence.

I have no intention of stretching out the word count by listing every example of where ‘a world with God’ is defended by post fact apologetics and excuses, resulting in a world that looks entirely identical to ‘a world without a God’. However, another example is biology. God is also defined as the Creator, and a perfect one at that, and in many religions―particularly the Abrahamic ones―this creation is written as being an event. John Zande has already written quite extensively on the question of how a perfect being could have such an imperfect creation (surely it is a sign of a lack of foresight, lack of moral judgement or lack of expertise?)(John’s work here, here and here). But if that Creation event were true, archaeology, genealogy, geology and the fossil record would show a creation event. They don’t.

Instead, each discipline shows evolution. There are only really three rebuttals to this: denial, deceit and compatibalism. Denial is simply to say that these disciplines do not show evolution, even though they do. Deceit is to claim that the devil has orchestrated reality to provide false evidence of evolution (as a trick), which does raise the question of whether the Devil is more powerful than God (or whether God needed the Devil to play such a trick on humanity). Compatibilism is to say that a 13.8 billion year old universe, 4.5 billion year old Earth and 3.5 billion year old life is compatible with “on the first day…” making religious claims flexibly meaningless.

The world without God is, again, identical to the world with. Consider Sam Harris’ description: to say that it is reasonable to believe in a God is to say that you lie in a relationship with God, and that relationship is of a nature whereby you wouldn’t believe in It if It didn’t exist. But the actual description being put forward is one where such a relationship is impossible.

And that is the crux of my complaint here: what would you expect to be different about reality, if a God did not exist? If you cannot answer that question then you are not in a relationship with God of the sort Harris describes, therefore your faith is independent of God’s existence, therefore you’re bolstering my point: God looks a lot like no God.

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101 thoughts on “God looks a lot like no God”

  1. Well, if you can claim a god is “all good” and who loves us and that god is the creator of Satan and Hell, I don’t think an argument will sway those who have this “knowledge.” That their god could eliminate Satan, Hell, disease, and hunger with a snap of His finger and does not, tells you all you need to know. We are God’s any farm. we supply hours of amusement as we struggle to build a sensible amusement. I also believe He has a magnifying glass and enjoys using that, for why else would he create a Sun when He had already created light and darkness?

  2. I hope John B. tries to answer this question. He put a post up the other day which claimed that without “God” you are incapable of being outraged by the murder of children.

  3. Mmm, an excellent post Allallt! Saving this one into “Favorites” along with the previous one I saved there: “Religion shows morality is discoverable despite God”!

    I too believe that group or individual “…faith is independent of God’s existence.” The non-human evidence is overwhelmingly supportive of evolution and in my opinion has increasingly been so since the late Renaissance, Enlightenment, and most assuredly in our Modern Era today. This advance took only about what(?)… 2-3 millenia of human history (chuckling) for the growing general consensus to get to this point? Why so long? Well for one, propagated FEAR coupled with “conform or be cast out or killed” are powerful influences upon the masses and our very malleable brains — human traits quite identical to most all primate social behaviours! The renown Naturalist E.O. Wilson says, “Exclusion makes us suffer. Inclusion makes us thrive.” I feel he is spot-on regarding many human disciplines.

    As the human species continues evolving intellectually, emotionally, physically, scientifically, and more importantly socially, those that choose NOT to adapt and collaborate… eventually go extinct in one form or another. Ancient antiquated paradigms, including the Abrahamic religions, will be and are replaced (hopefully!) with more refined and higher-functioning human paradigms. This seems to be the way of Nature and the Cosmos anyway, as we humans manufacture and perform INCREDIBLE feats of imagination, self-perception, and projections to cope and survive. 😉

    Again Allallt, excellent post. Thank you.

    1. I see what you mean about almost having to choose between being included or excluded.
      So often an argument will dissipate not on the question of whether someone is being ‘reasonable’, but whether they are being ‘polite’. And politeness, or, at least, the expectation of politeness, doesn’t seem to be much more than a social system of resisting change.
      I am “rude”, “dismissive” or believe myself to be “faultless” if I simply request that a conversation stay within the bounds of reasonable conversation. Inclusion seems to overlap with unreasonable thinking and belief in magic.

      Thank you for your kind words, also. I’m glad I’m still writing stuff that resonates with people nearly 400 posts in.

      1. Good points Allallt. Indeed, one’s sensitivies (or insensitivities), tolerances or intolerances, securities or insecurities, sometimes/often trump that of human collective reasoning versus Nature or the mechanics of the Cosmos.

        Thank you for your kind words, also. I’m glad I’m still writing stuff that resonates with people nearly 400 posts in.

        I personally have had a very hectic summer; hence my prolonged absence here. But your posts certainly do resonate for those readers wishing to challenge or broaden their intellectual horizons, while others will find them… overly threatening to “traditional norms.” I am, of course, in the former group. Critical thinking and asking hard questions about your own world-views in relation to ALL others is one great way to make sure you are evolving rather than going extinct, eh? 😉

  4. Excellent, as usual. Clear, concise, compact thinking. Nicely done, Allallt.

    I would emphasize a point slightly more than you have here and that involves the supposed benevolent ‘design’ of a system actually predicated on suffering… not just people (whose fallen nature rests at the center of Christianity) but life itself. Biological life requires feeding and the system itself does this by a prey/predator model. A benevolent god who designed such a system of suffering is an oxymoron descriptor that has no problem assigning the term ‘benevolence’ to a systemic maximizing of suffering.

    This is absurd.

    This prey/predator system is itself powerful evidence against claiming some divine creator that is benevolent.

      1. Which is precisely why The Owner of All Infernal Names is the far more reasonable, demonstrable, historically-verifiable, excuse-free explanation for this world 😉

  5. I don’t believe in unicorns, Santa, leprechauns or the tooth fairy because I have no personal experience with them, and I don’t know anyone (I trust) who claims to have personal experience with them and there is no physical evidence of them, and there is a reasonable explanation for anything attributed to them. And if any of these changed, I’d consider changing my belief. Although the last two are also true about God, the first two are not, and since I trust my personal experience and to some degree the experiences of others I trust, absent proof to the contrary, I choose to believe. It’s not like it costs me anything significant, even if I am wrong. By the way, there ARE mummies; you can see one in many of the decent museums. 🙂

    “But if that Creation event were true, archaeology, genealogy, geology and the fossil record would show a creation event.” Would they? A Creation event would have been “magic”, and who knows what records “magic” would leave. There was nothing then there was something. Only then could records be started to be generated.

    “They don’t.” This is often said, but it has yet to be proved to me. If I get any response at all, it is either “Well, I’m an expert and you’re not” (possibly true, but inadequate) or “Everybody knows that” which is false, because I sure don’t. Let me give an example. Some archaeologists claim that the Exodus never happened because there is no evidence of a large Hebrew population in Egypt at the time it is theorized that there should have been such a large population. OK, but there is real evidence of a large Hebrew population in Egypt at an earlier point in time, But this does not match their theoretical timeline so they reject this out of hand. No evidence or reasoning that this alternate timeline is impossible or even unlikely, just out of hand rejection based solely on their theories being considered as facts.

    “Instead, each discipline shows evolution.” If you change this to “shows the possibility of evolution”, I can’t argue that, but as an absolute statement, again, it is claimed but not proven to me, and any responses for proof get at best one of the same two inadequate responses. This would be the fourth method of rebuttal, the “you may be right, but if you can’t prove it, don’t insist on it” rebuttal.

    What it comes down to, is I lived in a world without God for many years, and now I live in a world in which I’ve experienced God (and yes, I’m aware it could be hallucination or wishful thinking or some other brain fart). But it is so much better that I’m not going to toss it away just because you say I’m wrong. Get me some real proof; we’ll talk. Say there is real proof, and all I can reply is “present it”. And no, I’m not going back to school to get a degree in xxx, and even if I did, I would not accept THEIR statements as fact without proof. Which most people do.

  6. Aside from being a matter of common sense (simple reasoning), the existence of God has been proven my modern science.

    Atheism then, is both the rejection of simple reasoning and modern science.

    This has nothing to do with religion which is simply a red herring the atheist uses so he can feel better about himself.

      1. Allallt,

        What I have said here is taught in every molecular biology class in the modern world.

        It is also taught in information theory, calculus and above mathematics.

        It has been explained in the language of philosophy for over 2500 years.

        Sadly, you are completely ignorant of all of that, being an atheist and all, so you wouldn’t be able to recognize evidence or understand the contents of a peer reviewed paper even if they slapped you in the face.

        Further, had you any understanding at all of modern science, or simple reasoning, you would know that it isn’t the business of science to provide peer reviewed papers on the existence of God.

        Your continual bleating for evidence and peer reviewed papers is just an ignoramus trying to end the conversation before any real learning can take place.

        1. SoM, why do you keep saying the same stupid and erroneous thing over and over no matter how often you are shown why this thesis you regurgitate here yet again is factually incorrect and a gross distortion and misrepresentation of of every field you mention? What’s your motivation? To appear to be a dolt?

          Do you really think no one notices your dishonesty? Your obtuseness? Your commitment to demonstrate disrespect for non believers? Do you think this regurgitated approach you make is somehow of benefit to demonstrating the quality of your mind, the quality of your religious beliefs? If so, it’s not working.

        2. Here tildeb.

          A respected PhD I know in the field of microbiology has said repeatedly that his unbelieving colleagues reject entirely the possibility of ‘accidental’ life, aka, evolution………

          ………and this mind you through their study and observation in the lab, yet they cannot accept the alternative………
          ‘in the beginning God…………..’ which explains what they see in the lab.

          SoM is simply telling you that what you reject entirely is one of rebellion and emotion. It is you and your brethren who are masquerading as learned ones. Rather simple.

          Did you catch that? They reject what their eyes see because they refuse the alternative, and therefore revel in their blindness. All science reveals the Creator.

        3. ‘Accidental life’ is not AKA ‘evolution’. Perhaps your PhD friend can explain to you why not. There’s also very good reason to believe in natural abiogenesis; your PhD friend’s colleagues are either being misunderstood, misrepresented or not showing an understanding of the exact field they uttered on. (Molecular biology is hundreds of times more broad than any 1 PhD; there’s no reason to assume they’re week versed in all of it.)
          SoM is actually saying ‘the existence of God has been proven by modern science’. He has not said what you said he’s said. If what he’s saying is defensible, there will be peer reviewed articles on the issue. Asking for evidence, despite SoM’s bleeting, is prudent.

        4. Evolution is most certainly accidental Allalt. Without a Designer, without a Creator, all is purely accidental.

          Perhaps your existence is not accidental?

          But peer reviewed? What, by nakedapes?

        5. Accidental life is not AKA evolution. Evolution is not live without a designer. It is natural selection in heredity of pre-existing life. Clearly your PhD friend doesn’t make a habit talking to you with clarity on the issue.

          And yes… If it’s been discovered by science, it’s been peer reviewed by naked apes.

        6. Many sighs of size.

          Your argument is old, boring, borrowed, and short on pure reasoning and intellect.

          ‘Pre-existing’ life eh? How convenient for you. In my world an elephant is an elephant, not a recycled porcupine which quills were given to quails…….

          And of course, a lion has been and always will be a lion, not an animal which has been demoted and lost his wings.

          And btw, indeed, my Doc friend is rather highly respected in his field, and levels all gripes against a Creator, and rather easily.

          The complaints of his associates are humorous in their stupidity.

        7. You seem to be talking about speciation. Speciation doesn’t deal with the origin of life, or whether life is accidental. Neither does evolution.
          I’m not criticising your PhD friend. But you are showing a profound misunderstanding of the topic. That’s fine, I have a friend whose PhD thesis I’d probably get horribly wrong, too.
          If my argument is old and boring, I’d expect you to have a real rebuttal.

        8. You seem oblivious – even after receiving the ordained teachings of your PhD friend – that life is a process and not a substance.That you don;t even grasp the basics does not surprise me but it should disappoint you that you are able to remain so dense for so long. Now it’s time to spout ‘humble’ rhetoric at me about your glorious insights into the magical kingdom of your god whispered from him into your ear.

        9. Your comment doesn’t address the question I posed to SoM. They rarely address anything.

          Your comment here is just another example in a long and tedious line of religious regurgitation at which you excel. Your ongoing infantile attacks against evolution are, as usual, devoid of merit, of knowledge, of insight, of legitimate criticism, of anything in fact useful. It’s full of baseless accusations attempting to vilify non believers by fiat, proud ignorance couched in piety, and the mandatory saber-rattling threats if people don’t fall into line.
          I can’t help but wonder when or even if you’re going to let slip a good comment. You’re long overdue, CS.

        10. Quickly Tildeb. No religion was mentioned nor suggested. Don’t confuse facts with your bias.

          I suppose you can build things then say they were not built? You make a table and deny its design………

          Its not my fault you reject the idea that things made require a maker.

          Attacks on evolution though? Too funny. That argument needs no help from me. It falls apart on its own, denying the very legs it allegedly stands on.

          And yep, all science points to intelligence, as SoM by the way, has pointed out many times.

          You are in far more capable hands
          in this regard with him.

        11. Of course there’s no “accidental” life. Affinities (conservation and symmetry, continuity and transfer, classical mechanics and motion, gravity, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, photonics, etc.) dictate precisely how things will behave. Hydrogen fuses to the heavier and more complex helium, helium fuses into the heavier and more complex carbon, single compounds bind to make double compounds, simple molecules marry to create amino acids, amino acids come together to model proteins and enzymes, proteins and enzymes prototype self-replicating systems where, according to the accepted paradigm of evolutionary biology, there is a continuum from simple to more complex organisms.

          John Fiske figured this out in the late 19th century:

          “As soon as it became cool enough for oxygen and hydrogen to unite into a stable compound, they did unite to form vapour of water. As soon as it became cool enough for double salts to exist, then the mutual affinities of simple binary compounds and single salts, variously brought into juxtaposition sufficed to produce double salts. And so on throughout the inorganic world … Here we obtain a hint as to the origin of organic life upon the earth’s surface. In accordance with the modern dynamic theory of life, we are bound to admit that the higher and less stable aggregations of molecules which constitute protoplasm were built up in just the same way in which the lower and more stable aggregations of molecules which constitute a single or a double salt were built up. Dynamically, the only difference between carbonate of ammonia and protoplasm which can be called fundamental is the greater molecular complexity and consequent instability of the latter.”

        12. Not when you add energy and homeostasis. Nature organises itself. Cooled gases become liquids, cooled liquids become solids, and solids arrange themselves into increasingly complex, ultimately self-replicating patterns, no driver required. Acetyl phosphates and catalysing pyrophosphates arise spontaneously in the electrochemical interaction between alkaline geothermal vent fluids and acidic seawater, and from there, it was just a roll down a hill.

        13. Yes, the order may not be conscious, but it is order, by definition. And lets look at a higher order animal. Is developing cancer enhancing or even maintaining order? How about aging?

        14. Simply living is constantly decreasing entropy. Carbon dioxide is more ordered than oxygen. Skin is more ordered that amino acids.
          The capacity of a system to continually decrease entropy (i.e. ageing) doesn’t falsify the point.

        15. Nature doesn’t have moods and doesn’t ‘know’ how to order itself and doesn’t care for ‘good’. (You know that would be the answer.)

          The word ‘order’ in this situation is short hand for ‘low entropy’ which is mathematically defined. (Not a definition I can pretend to understand fully, but I engaged with it a little doing chemistry at college.)

        16. Yes, the precise definition of entropy has to do with thermodynamics. But it is used to indicate disorder. Here is the definition which confuses me:

          a : the degradation of the matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity
          b : a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder

          I think we can all agree that such degradation occurs; the confusion is we started in a state of, possibly not inert, uniformity to reach a state of significant order and non-uniformity, and now are headed back to inert uniformity? Without some external influence, how is that possible?

        17. You’ve just asked me to explain the big bang.
          As it happens, the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, as pictured by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, did give some indication…
          Now, I’m no physicist, so take this with a pinch of salt or use it for inspiration for your own research…
          But the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe found considerably disuniformity in the CMBR, thought to be the result of quantum activity as the universe was hyper-inflating.
          It may be that although things tend toward inert uniformity, quantum activity creates a floor just above “absolute entropy”.

          How that initial disuniformity became solar systems is actually reasonably well understood — a slightly denser part will create gravity, which is a force that behaves cumulatively…

          The answer is clearly more complex than this, and the ‘Big Bang’ model isn’t even the only model of the origins of this universe… so consider me an ignoramus on the question.

        18. Your ontology is askew here. You are assigning directive agency to nature first… and then suggesting that order found there indicates directive agency in nature. That’s a huge assumption and it doesn’t fit the explanatory model.

          The fundamental order we find is a product of local units obeying local rules of the fundamental particles themselves … rules we can model successfully and to affect. What you’re doing is applying this emergent order as if it were this order was fundamental and this is a mistake; the order is a result of these fundamental particles – expressed a hundred trillion ways – and not a cause for them. That’s why your ontology is skewed… by assumption that your premises are reflective of reality. They’re not.

        19. Most things you have, so that you may let it alone, are closed systems. They don’t have mechanisms by which they can absorb energy from their surroundings.
          There are a lot of complex endothermic reactions and processes that can interact with energetic inputs, and so don’t behave in the same way.

          Entropy, to which you allude, applies only in closed systems — ones that do not receive and interact with energy.
          The earth is an open system receiving energy from the sun.

        20. My yard gets all kinds of energy from the desert sun. At one time it was quite ordered and then quickly headed for disorder. I attempted to re-impose order, which immediately started heading for disorder again. The longer between attempts at order, the more chaotic the disorder and the less susceptible to imposed order..

        21. Tkx for this jz.

          Everything you just said………’mutual’ ‘unite’ ‘origin’ complexity’ instability’ ALL speak to function, purpose, and a mind behind it all.

          I know you will not admit it, but you have made a case for the impossibility of a rock deciding it ‘wants’ to be something else…….

          Stupid? Yeah, that’s the point.

        22. ALL speak to function, purpose, and a mind behind it all.

          Yes, as much mind as is required for a bowel movement.

          Life is a process and not a substance.No mind is necessary. No mind is fundamental. Mind is emergent from the process and not the other way around.

        23. Maybe find a boat tildeb; in the middle of the ocean.alone…..

          maybe see yourself much smaller…..

          Process eh? No mind is necessary eh?

          It is no wonder you do not know the difference between darkness and light.

          Nice work. You have just taken your place among the cadre of the intellectually cripple. You should be proud of yourself.

          Darkness is repelled by the light. Truth has this effect.

          And death ultimately silences all mans arrogance and foolishness. A mindless life requires no answers eh. You have the sympathy of many for such a dank view of this thing called life.

        24. Fair question Allalt-

          Been through this a dozen times, and like your age, the truth may be uncomfortable, but it does not change nor lie.

          ‘No mind required…? Start there. Life itself requires a mind. Period.

          It hardly needs explained.

        25. A carpenter takes a tree and makes a chair.

          The Master Builder makes the tree, in agreement with the poet Kilmer: ‘poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.’

          Or perhaps you can reason this without a mind?

          It’s all about the heart of rebellion A which rejects the Maker. Same old story.

        26. Life requires a mind? Perhaps you need to define one or the other of these terms. Using the general used definitions, I’m pretty sure a corn plant or amoeba has “life” but no “mind”.

        27. I’m sorry, but you did not say the “ORIGIN” of life required a mind. That is quite different from “life requires a mind”. I don’t struggle with the obvious unless it is not obvious.

        28. Cat-

          When speaking to people who deny that a maker is needed to make a chair,

          I also assert that ‘life’ as in the beginning of all life, requires a maker as well.

          As I said, I’ve repeated this over and over, but apparently it falls on deaf ears.

          People take their ‘created’ fingers and place them in their created ears, but either way, life as you suggest, also requires a mind.

        29. “I’ve repeated this over and over, but apparently it falls on deaf ears.” Is not “doing the same thing and expecting different results” a definition of insanity? Let us consider. First of all, are the ears deaf? Some might be actually deaf and unable to hear you, but I’ll bet most “deaf ears” fall into one of three categories. Category 1 are those who agree with you, but are annoyed because your ham-handed methods turn people away from God and His followers. Then there are those who don’t know what to believe, but decide that someone who behaves like you must be wrong. And finally, there are those who believe differently, who use your behavior to reinforce their belief that people who believe like you do are morons. Do you sense a pattern here?

          I’ve tried to show you how the statement you make repeatedly can easily be misused, but it seems like your ears might have a touch of deafness as well. Let me try one more time.

          The statement “Life requires a mind” is patently and provably untrue. A corn plant is alive; a corn plant has no mind. Q.E.D. When you continue to say this, you show yourself to be either uneducateable, or deliberately propagating inaccuracy. What (I hope) you mean to say is something like “the original creation of life required intelligence”. The person hearing this might not agree with it, but they will have a harder time disproving it. Even better might be “the original design of life required intelligence”.

        30. Life requires a mind. Let’s call a timeout and go look at the tape……….

          The ruling on the field stands. Yep, all life requires a mind. The corn would not exist if not for the owner of the fields……..

        31. And there it is… just as I said you’d do when your ignorance is revealed and confronted:

          “Now it’s time to spout ‘humble’ rhetoric at me about your glorious insights into the magical kingdom of your god whispered from him into your ear.” I also said your commentary reliably and predictably is “full of baseless accusations attempting to vilify non believers by fiat, proud ignorance couched in piety, and the mandatory saber-rattling threats if people don’t fall into line.”

          Your tactics aren’t just transparent, CS. They’re pathetic. And its content is Christian apologetics in fine fettle: devoid of any knowledge. Keep up the good work.

        32. Your argument is with the Creator tlldeb, not me. 😉

          Truth never changes. But tactics? Ha. God’s word is the anvil which has withstood every hammer of attack against it. Yours is but one more made of nerf.

          ‘Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools………..’ Sound familiar? Tis foolish to doubt the Creator.

        33. You spouting nonsense has nothing to do with you? Riiight. It’s some god doing it through you. Aren’t you the ever-so-special snowflake. Yup, humble as always.

          You presume a creator. You’d be wrong. You’ll always be wrong because your faith-based belief does not accurately reflect reality nor account for all the evidence in it that links mind coming from life. And life we know is a process and not a substance. That’s why you trim your nails and cut your hair and produce bowel movements; life is a mindless process.

          But one of its emergent properties can be, but is not necessarily, mind. Until you wrap you’re little pea brain around this understanding that life is a process and not a substance, your faith-based beliefs will lead you away from knowledge, away from understanding, away from reality, away from evidence it contains towards ignorance, towards maintaining such very stupid creationist explanatory models that explain nothing about anything but insists Oogity Boogity! exercising POOF!ism is a reasonable ‘answer’. Unlike you, I think accepting that explanation to be meaningful is actually a dismal and abysmal exercise of mind. It’s almost as mindless as a bowel movement and metaphorically smells as sweet.

        34. This does not address the fact that life is a process and not a substance. Not understanding this is your fundamental error.

          “The confusion is strong in this one.”

          Obi Wan Ke No Bee Ess

        35. The humor about the ‘special snowflake’ apparently escaped you.

          Your words. My pic.

          Still, the truth remains clean as ever and your gripes old as time.

        36. Ah, so you’re saying Evolution is true. The Universe is 13.8 billion years old. Life evolved on this planet 3.7 billion years ago and has clawed its way up through the evolutionary paradigm (following Bejan’s Constructual Law), from unicellular existence to vertibrates, to mammals, to the apes and finally, man.

          Good to see you finally admit this, John.

        37. Dear john:

          Your unending recalcitrance knows no measure………..

          Your sarcasm may not be lost on others, but it is certainly on display by they who know better. Don’t flatter yourself by saying I agree with you.

          ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth……………..He saw that it was very good.’

          ‘Male and female created He them.’ ‘He made the stars also………….’

          Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

        38. I’m confused. There seems to be only 2 possible explanations of how life got here. Either some supernatural force created it or caused it, or it “just accidentally happened by itself”. If a person does not accept one of these two options, then how can they accept their own existence? If no possible reason for their existence exists, then they don’t exist.

          Oh, and “aliens caused it” is just kicking the can down the road, since where did that alien life come from?

        39. There’s a few issues.
          (1) That’s not the question that evolution deals with. No matter how often people lump evolution and abiogenesis together, they are not the same processes. Abiogenesis deals with the question of where life came from, and therefore whether it was an accident.
          (2) What is an “accident”. We normally think of it as an unintended action or consequence of a thinking being. I don’t think anyone argues life follows this process: religious people tend not to think of life as God’s little accident, and atheists tend not to think of life as the consequence of a thinking cause.
          It’s (mostly likely) a natural process. There are no other natural processes we think of as accidents. Not even earthquakes. ‘Oops, there Pacific plate is having an accident again’ doesn’t make sense, does it?

        40. You are right, accident was a poor choice of word. Random does not quite work either. “without external intelligent guidance or effect” is getting close.

        41. Cat-
          Let’s rule out your aliens……….

          At the end of all questions is the giver of life. His word reveals Himself, as well as nature, to a heart bent on knowing absolute truth.

        42. tildeb,

          Your ignorant, incoherent gibberish can’t show me anything because I deal in science, engineering, mathematics and systematic thinking.

          I’ve actually studied this stuff for years and years.

          There is nothing I have presented to you and others that hasn’t been part of the human record of knowledge for years and years.

          In short, you are an uneducated, ignorant twit who thinks a fecal storm of googled nonsense constitutes some sort of explanation.

          Clearly you are one of the latest victims of the public education systems whose purpose is to produce truly stupid people.

        43. Then where’s your peer review?

          You give amateurish renditions of biology, and then say ‘therefore God’ (or at least leave it implied). That’s the trope. We’ve been doing it for years. You’ve never gotten any more sophisticated of provided evidence.

        44. Science is a method of inquiry. And that inquiry demonstrates the life is a process and not a substance. If you cannot accept either of these claims, then it indicates you have problem of understanding fundamental concepts.

          If life is a process and not a substance, then this is both a profound insight and profoundly disruptive to theology. For example, all your religious belief about human exceptionalism, being created by a divine agency, having a soul, dead cells reanimated for a resurrection, some spiritual entity living on after death, and so on becomes meaningless gibberish.

          If life is a substance and not a process, then you have exactly zero evidence for its existence, for its physical properties and so this claim also becomes meaningless gibberish.

          If you do science, then you know you cannot include your woo and produce scientifically valid results. But you claim you can and do. This makes you a liar, SoM. You know it. I know it. Every scientifically literate person knows it. Once you include woo, you’re not doing science any more. So to claim science supports your woo is unmitigated bullshit you repeat time and time again knowing it’s not true. That demonstrates a fundamental dishonesty you wield in that you try to mask your religious beliefs with science and claim the two are supportive when, in fact and practice, are incompatible methods.

          You know this but simply don’t care because you assume lying for your religious beliefs – no matter how you misrepresent what’s true, no matter who you have to malign because they challenge your deceitful ways – is somehow of a higher ethical standard than being honest and truthful and forthright. You can fix all that, SoM. But first you have to stop reusing these lies. I don’t think you can because without your woo, you think you’re nothing but with it, you’re someone quite special in the eyes of the supposed creator of the universe. Your ego can'[t take the hit from reality. That’s why I think you continue to promote your lies: for your own stupidly and transparently selfish reasons.

        45. Allallt,

          This is an Internet conversation.

          You don’t get to demand citations.

          Asking for citations is the idiot’s excuse for not being able to converse using simple reason.

          If you want citations, get off your fecally encrusted butt and go get them yourself!

          You have outsourced your mind to some mythic cloud of authorities because you can’t muster enough brain power to have a normal, reasonable conversation.

        46. Actually, SoM, if a person makes a claim that something is fact, then asking that person to prove the fact is perfectly reasonable. Because some people happen to be mistaken, and a few people actually lie, accepting anything based on someone’s declaration is unwise.

          I happen to agree with you, and even I have asked for proof of some of your claims.

        47. I think you and I use the word “proof” very differently. Proof, to me, seems to deal in the realm of absolute confidence. It’s a word I try to avoid.

          I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding you when I do this, but I see your use of the word “prove” as “demonstrate” or “defend”. Is that a fair interpretation?

        48. No, I use the term “proof” in the mathematical sense. That is something which is demonstrable to “anyone” using valid logic or experimentation. That which has evidence MAY be true; if the evidence is extensive, it may be provisionally TREATED as true. That which has proof is unquestionably true.

        49. We don’t get proofs in science. You may get a deductive argument, but each premise is a source of doubt. There’s no such thing as a scientific proof (in the technical sense). There are only logical and mathematical proofs.
          And logical proofs are normally limited to thought experiments where you must assent to the premises.

        50. No “proofs” in Science? If I combine chemical X and chemical Y under conditions Z and get reaction A, and so do you, and so does a guy in Lithuania and nobody does not get reaction A, that sounds kind of proofy to me.

        51. It’s not a proof. It’s inductively reasoned; it has sound conjecture and explanation underpinning it; it’s ‘true’ in any usable sense of the word. But that knowledge is not derived from a ‘proof’.
          ‘Proofs’ are axiomatic.
          This is why I steer clear of the word, and tend to interpret others’ use of the word as I described earlier.

        52. Exactly. That’s why I also included the underpinning explanation. It’s not just the induction, it’s that the induction implored us to conjecture and investigate explanations.

          But that’s also the very reason that the chemistry experiment you describe is not ‘proof’, in the mathematical or technical sense.

        53. Proofy? Certainty exists only within an axiomatic system where the premises are taken as be true. The language changes, right? We talk about right and wrong answers, But in science, we talk about likelihood and confidence so you know we’re dealing with something else that is less than certainty. And reality is not accurately described if we first assume our premises about it are in fact true. Once we move this into reality, we don’t know if the premises are true so we turn to explanatory models and testing.

          Your examples of the same and predictable chemical reactions is a pretty compelling case that there seems to be no need for including some other external agency, n’est pas? That the laws of physics and chemistry we’ve come up with seem to be good explanatory models… models that we can then use to affect. It is also evidence that supports the idea that the explanatory model deserves more confidence than less. All those chemicals… three basic chemical units: proton, neutron, and electron. All that chemistry and all those processes out there in reality that create so much wondrous stuff… all from the same fundamental three units in different combinations. And not a guiding external force to be found but the same processes following the same rules for everyone everywhere all the time. Why, the emergent complexity of local units obeying local rules without any hint of external intervention is almost a clue when extended into modeling other parts of reality…..

          Interesting, eh?

        54. Um, “I”, “you” and the Lithuanian guy mixed the chemicals. They did not mix themselves. Sounds kind of like external agency to me. For that matter, environment Z may not be natural, and setting it up required more external agency.

        55. EC – I don’t mean to be patronising, but it feels like you’re actually provoking for a fight instead of the level-headed discussion you normally offer. Taking your example literally and general terms…

        56. You are not, I am not, the agency causing the chemicals to undergo the same chemical reaction; that’s the chemicals – local units obeying local rules consistent across space and time independent of thee and me. That’s the point: there is no need to include some external interventionist agency involved in the chemical process itself. All we’re doing is recreating the same situation in different places at different time but getting the same results. If we change something then the results will be change. If we keep the conditions and amounts the same we’ll duplicate the results. That demonstrates that the explanatory model deserves far higher confidence than, say, intercessory prayer. At least, it should but… well, you know how difficult it is to get people who are invested in their religious beliefs to use fair comparisons (which explains why more Americans have more confidence in the existence of demons than they do the explanatory value and power of the model we call evolution. That should be unbelievably embarrassing to anyone who is religious because it demonstrates the yawning gap between what’s reasonable for confidence and what’s religiously acceptable for faith-based ‘certainty’).

        57. SoM, I think what Allallt is going on about is your use of the word “proof”. We’ve gone through this before, and you have not demonstrated valid proof yet (close, but still missing a few necessary elements to be proof). If science had actually “proved” God, there would be documentation supporting that, and one would think it would be trumpeted far and wide. If there were demonstrable proof of God, why would it be “hidden”?

        58. By the way, I’ve had information theory, calculus and differential equations, and there was no mention made of God at all, implicitly or explicitly…

  7. I have an objection to your argument: if God doesn’t exist, then why is there fine-tuning in the universe, such that if there were only a fractional change in various parameters in the universe, there would be no human life? This seems to be an objection to your claim that the God hypothesis yields no firm empirical predictions. If there is a God, we would expect to see order, and we do see it.

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