Why I never became an atheist.

Healthy skepticism of ALL worldviews is good. Skeptical of non-belief like found in Atheism? Post your challenging questions. Responses are encouraged.
Audie
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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Audie » Mon May 16, 2016 8:26 am

Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:
Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:Oh, where Story says "nothing is that random"


There's nothing 'random' about water forming waterfalls but we must be careful not to swing completely to the other deterministic side.

Water forms into waterfalls because that's what water tends to do under those conditions (gravity, lots of water that seeks its level, overflows seek more channels, etc etc).

The key words are of course underlined. What does it mean to 'tend to' do something? Well, it is inherent in the property of the thing, what makes it what it is. Assuming no other factors, water will sit in a cup for ever and ever. If the cup is broken, water will seek its level. It is the potential of water to do so, until that potential is turned into an actuality.

So long as things have the potential to be one thing or another and that potential is actualized, the thing is now said to be in act.

A quick note about randomness, what I would consider a random act is something totally inexplicable. A horse suddenly appearing out of nowhere in the middle of the room is a random, inexplicable act.


I suppose any waterfall starts in the ocean. The water that evaporates eventually forms as raindrops. While each molecule reacts to its circumstances in accordance with forces outside itself, there seems to be no pattern in which molecules are in which raindrops, nor to the pattern of which falls where on any given acre of ground.

I think we'd all be satisfied that the pattern of raindrops falling on that acre is random.

Likewise, that there is no order to the soil particles picked up and moved by the rain.
This one could have been two inches from that one rather than touching, and it would all work out the same way.

What goes into a waterfall is random on some levels, and all the time determined
in others by physical laws. Is not so?


I would agree to a certain extent since there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why a particular molecule ends up on one side of the terrain as opposed to another. But even though that seems to be the case (randomness) I would bet even at the molecular/atomic (even sub-atomic and quantum) levels actions can be explained by the laws of physics, wouldn't you agree? I don't know enough about the laws of physics and how they govern at the lowest levels but I bet it's a bottom up approach that is consistent, i.e. cause and effect. Otherwise we would not see the order we observe and randomness (a la horse suddenly appearing) would be much more common.

Audie wrote:Your definition of random seems to be either "miracle" or, "impossible"


I suppose it is, I can't think of anything else that fits the description.


Lets try it this way. Make up a solution of something that will crystallize out.

T he individual atoms / molecules are moving about randomly, but they will form into orderly crystals.

If it is not random enough, stir it up. Do it some more; the crystals will still form if you stir it constantly.

The point here is that no particular order is needed at that level for orderly results to emerge.

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Byblos » Mon May 16, 2016 8:44 am

Audie wrote:Lets try it this way. Make up a solution of something that will crystallize out.

T he individual atoms / molecules are moving about randomly, but they will form into orderly crystals.

If it is not random enough, stir it up. Do it some more; the crystals will still form if you stir it constantly.

The point here is that no particular order is needed at that level for orderly results to emerge.


I know what you're getting at, and again, to an extent I would agree. But if you think about it in terms of cause and effect (of potential that is made actual), then I think you would agree with me that what appears to be random is nothing more than the laws of chemistry and physics interacting with matter that brings about an outcome. My decision to stir the mixture up causes the molecules to change direction (coupled I guess with atmospheric conditions, force exerted, direction, ...) that will change the location of the molecules from one place to another. I would imagine if we repeat the same experiment on the same mixture under the exact same conditions (force applied, direction, same everything) then the same molecules will end up in the exact same location they did the first time. If this weren't the case then we might as well throw out all scientific experimentation as the laws as we know them would not be reliable. From that angle, can we call that random?
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Audie
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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Audie » Mon May 16, 2016 9:53 am

Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:Lets try it this way. Make up a solution of something that will crystallize out.

T he individual atoms / molecules are moving about randomly, but they will form into orderly crystals.

If it is not random enough, stir it up. Do it some more; the crystals will still form if you stir it constantly.

The point here is that no particular order is needed at that level for orderly results to emerge.


I know what you're getting at, and again, to an extent I would agree. But if you think about it in terms of cause and effect (of potential that is made actual), then I think you would agree with me that what appears to be random is nothing more than the laws of chemistry and physics interacting with matter that brings about an outcome. My decision to stir the mixture up causes the molecules to change direction (coupled I guess with atmospheric conditions, force exerted, direction, ...) that will change the location of the molecules from one place to another. I would imagine if we repeat the same experiment on the same mixture under the exact same conditions (force applied, direction, same everything) then the same molecules will end up in the exact same location they did the first time. If this weren't the case then we might as well throw out all scientific experimentation as the laws as we know them would not be reliable. From that angle, can we call that random?


We will call on mathematicians and physicists for that one.

For present purposes, I think it does not matter just how random is defined.


You know the "tornado in junk yard making a 747 by chance" argument of course.

Nothing about following what can reasonably be taken as the laws of physics would actually allow for that to happen, given infinity to work with.

I think this discussion kind of comes from something like "how could life / human consciousness happen by (random) chance?"

You are holding more to the "it is not really random" side of the road, I more to the
side that randomness at some levels in no way precludes the emergence of complex order.

I dont see a lot of difference.

What do you think?

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Byblos » Mon May 16, 2016 12:06 pm

Audie wrote:I think this discussion kind of comes from something like "how could life / human consciousness happen by (random) chance?"


I was not going there at all, in fact that's a whole 'nother discussion entirely.

Audie wrote:You are holding more to the "it is not really random" side of the road, I more to the
side that randomness at some levels in no way precludes the emergence of complex order.

I dont see a lot of difference.

What do you think?


You might be right, there may not be a lot of superficial difference. The differences (if any), in my view, may emerge when/if we get to formal and final causation, not just cause and effect (actualizing a potential).

Permit me to just reemphasize the point. Anything that exists has, inherent in its nature, certain potential properties. For example, a red rubber ball has the following (real) properties, it is round, it can bounce, and is red. It has potential properties such as, it can become soft and stop bouncing if melted, it can become blue if painted. Those are potentials that may become actualized if someone/something made them possible. Those are the red rubber ball's potentials. Does the red ball have the potential to become a tree? Of course not, that's not one of its potential properties. And that's basically where I'm coming from, that things have real properties and a limited set of potential properties inherent in their nature. When an external force acts on the potential properties, they are actualized into real ones. I see nothing random about this process at any level. Lately I've been hearing the term 'emergent properties' which basically means the same thing, a set of potential properties that can (but not necessarily do) become real properties.
A ball turning into a tree, on the other hand, is not a potential property of a rubber ball and, therefore, is totally random and inexplicable event.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Audie » Mon May 16, 2016 12:44 pm

Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:I think this discussion kind of comes from something like "how could life / human consciousness happen by (random) chance?"


I was not going there at all, in fact that's a whole 'nother discussion entirely.

Audie wrote:You are holding more to the "it is not really random" side of the road, I more to the
side that randomness at some levels in no way precludes the emergence of complex order.

I dont see a lot of difference.

What do you think?


You might be right, there may not be a lot of superficial difference. The differences (if any), in my view, may emerge when/if we get to formal and final causation, not just cause and effect (actualizing a potential).

Permit me to just reemphasize the point. Anything that exists has, inherent in its nature, certain potential properties. For example, a red rubber ball has the following (real) properties, it is round, it can bounce, and is red. It has potential properties such as, it can become soft and stop bouncing if melted, it can become blue if painted. Those are potentials that may become actualized if someone/something made them possible. Those are the red rubber ball's potentials. Does the red ball have the potential to become a tree? Of course not, that's not one of its potential properties. And that's basically where I'm coming from, that things have real properties and a limited set of potential properties inherent in their nature. When an external force acts on the potential properties, they are actualized into real ones. I see nothing random about this process at any level. Lately I've been hearing the term 'emergent properties' which basically means the same thing, a set of potential properties that can (but not necessarily do) become real properties.
A ball turning into a tree, on the other hand, is not a potential property of a rubber ball and, therefore, is totally random and inexplicable event.



I lost it along the way somewhere, but I had a large red rubber ball that the prof gave me after using it in a philosophy class. Maybe it was coz I was so brilliant, but probably coz I was the smallest person in the class. :D

I wont likely agree on your definition of "random", but, where did you get it?

Maybe I can see it, in that whatever happens is the result of a series of cause and effect relationships that could not have happened any other way.

Unless of course there is that stuff that some Christians so unaccountably insist on writing as one word, "freewill".


External forces acting on carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen encourage them to behave (combine) in a marvellous variety of ways, as is inherent in the nature, is it not so?

(that is me trying to sneak origin of life back in, but you probably noticed)

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Byblos » Mon May 16, 2016 1:01 pm

Audie wrote:I wont likely agree on your definition of "random", but, where did you get it?


I wouldn't say it's the only definition (it could be but I'm just not sure) but certainly it is the one that seems to apply to cause and effect. As where to I got it from, it's a personal observation (conclusion rather) to studying Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, specifically the aforementioned formal and final causation.

Audie wrote:Maybe I can see it, in that whatever happens is the result of a series of cause and effect relationships that could not have happened any other way.


Given the exact same conditions, I would say yes.

Audie wrote:Unless of course there is that stuff that some Christians so unaccountably insist on writing as one word, "freewill".


Free will is not an exception and does not descend into utter determinism. Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics solves that very nicely actually.

Audie wrote:External forces acting on carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen encourage them to behave (combine) in a marvellous variety of ways, as is inherent in the nature, is it not so?

(that is me trying to sneak origin of life back in, but you probably noticed)


Lol, very sneaky of you but I did notice and by my definition that wouldn't be random at all now would it! :mrgreen:
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Audie » Mon May 16, 2016 3:04 pm

Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:I wont likely agree on your definition of "random", but, where did you get it?


I wouldn't say it's the only definition (it could be but I'm just not sure) but certainly it is the one that seems to apply to cause and effect. As where to I got it from, it's a personal observation (conclusion rather) to studying Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics, specifically the aforementioned formal and final causation.

Audie wrote:Maybe I can see it, in that whatever happens is the result of a series of cause and effect relationships that could not have happened any other way.


Given the exact same conditions, I would say yes.

Audie wrote:Unless of course there is that stuff that some Christians so unaccountably insist on writing as one word, "freewill".


Free will is not an exception and does not descend into utter determinism. Aristotelian/Thomistic metaphysics solves that very nicely actually.

Audie wrote:External forces acting on carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen encourage them to behave (combine) in a marvellous variety of ways, as is inherent in the nature, is it not so?

(that is me trying to sneak origin of life back in, but you probably noticed)


Lol, very sneaky of you but I did notice and by my definition that wouldn't be random at all now would it! :mrgreen:


Why no, more like inevitable.

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Mallz » Mon May 16, 2016 10:47 pm

You two are making me hungry for some Primordial soup

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Storyteller » Tue May 17, 2016 5:16 am

Mallz wrote:You two are making me hungry for some Primordial soup


Noooooooo!

Dont eat the soup!
You eat the soup, how are we all going to evolve? :shock:
Faith is a knowledge within the heart, beyond the reach of proof - Kahlil Gibran

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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Byblos » Tue May 17, 2016 6:08 am

Audie wrote:
Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:(that is me trying to sneak origin of life back in, but you probably noticed)
Lol, very sneaky of you but I did notice and by my definition that wouldn't be random at all now would it! :mrgreen:
Why no, more like inevitable.


Purposefully inevitable, yes. y>:D<
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

Audie
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Re: Why I never became an atheist.

Postby Audie » Tue May 17, 2016 8:45 am

Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:
Byblos wrote:
Audie wrote:(that is me trying to sneak origin of life back in, but you probably noticed)
Lol, very sneaky of you but I did notice and by my definition that wouldn't be random at all now would it! :mrgreen:
Why no, more like inevitable.


Purposefully inevitable, yes. y>:D<


Sneaky, but I saw that.


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