RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
hughfarey
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#976

Post by hughfarey » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:06 am

I've just watched that video and I think it's excellent, although it does make one or two unwarranted claims. There are nuances of vocabulary that one could discuss, such as 'illusion' and 'simulation', and also an important aspect of the 'function of God' which I'll come to in a bit, but it does explain clearly that science is still at a loss to explain why there is 'something' rather than 'nothing'. The cosmologists typified by Lawrence Krauss here, who insist that the universe could have sprung from 'nothing', describe a 'nothing' which is teeming with stuff. Maybe only virtual stuff, maybe stuff which requires neither space nor time, but stuff none the less. And a 'nothing' which is full of stuff is not really nothing at all. Most cosmologists, and there were some in the video, are happy to grant that, saying that science cannot go beyond 'nothing' into the real reasons why it may have produced 'something' after all. There we enter the field of philosophy (which can include theology), not science.

This is expressed in the notion that beyond Matter and Energy, the fundamental basis of the universe is Information, the nature of which we can only guess at from the universe we know of, although unlike a dictionary, it must be able to process itself and cause things to happen. This precursor of the physical world is described in the video, fairly, I think, as "an immaterial, spaceless, timeless cause of the universe, that can also process information, and cause other things to come out of that information." I think even the most materialist atheists could go along with the logic of that proposition (apart from those who don't accept that the universe had a beginning at all). However the video becomes a little more contentious by continuing: "The only clear option we are left with is none other than an immaterial mind, who spoke or thought the universe into existence." This is probably an anthropomorphism too far for most atheists, and needs unpacking to make its rationale clear. The quotation from Max Plank is even less objective: "We must assume behind this force the existence of an intelligent, conscious mind."

The video describes the universe as an expression of the pre-existing 'active information' as "sort of like a hologram or illusion", of which I think "sort of like" are the significant words; and someone else calls it a "simulation". But holograms, illusions and simulations cannot exist on their own - they are holograms, illusions or simulations of something else, so it must be wrong to say that reality is a hologram, simulation or illusion - reality would be the 'something else' that the illusions are illusions of. I think that this means that statements such as "reality only exists under observation", and "rather than passively observing it, we in fact create reality", which are so anthropocentric as to be positively biblical, are wholly incorrect. We may create for ourselves a simulation of reality (scientists call it a 'model' of reality) which may be all we can do, but real reality really does exist independently. Anton Zeilinger, in the video, expressed some of this better: "what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure". Quite. Our perception of reality, which of course depends on the perceiver, is not necessarily reality itself.

The video concentrates on the origin of things, which is fair enough, but that leaves theists a little unsatisfied. Stu and Neo-X, above, have been discussing a sort of 'switch it on and leave it to run' God, who may or may not, having started the universe, gone off on some angelic holiday, leaving it to get on by itself, or, not having put it together properly in the first place, keep returning to it to make little modifications to keep it on the right track. Neither of these is very satisfactory, and I don't see it like that myself. I want to answer not simply 'how did it start?' but 'how does it keep going?' by considering the continuous 'translation' of 'information' into 'reality' as part of God's creative endeavour, and thus keeping him intimately involved in the unfolding of the universe, without whom everything would simply stop being real. Stop 'being' at all, in fact.

Something like that...
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Kurieuo (Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:45 am)

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#977

Post by neo-x » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:17 am

On that Topic Hugh and K, you guys may like this discussion, a bit longer but very interesting on multiple and opposing viewpoints on nothing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lz1BIPG82A

I will reply a little later.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#978

Post by neo-x » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:25 am

Hugh, I will respond later in detail but I would like to ask on your comment here:
Stu and Neo-X, above, have been discussing a sort of 'switch it on and leave it to run' God, who may or may not, having started the universe, gone off on some angelic holiday, leaving it to get on by itself, or, not having put it together properly in the first place, keep returning to it to make little modifications to keep it on the right track. Neither of these is very satisfactory, and I don't see it like that myself.
My question is, do you believe that God was on an "angelic holiday" before he created anything?

Thanks. This is not rhetoric. I do want to have a good discussion so I just thought to borrow your choice of words to start off. Thanks.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#979

Post by hughfarey » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:24 am

It's certainly a sensible question. However, I'm not sure I know how to characterise a form of existence in the absence of time, even to myself! Obviously the concept of a holiday, in the sense of not interfering with something going on somewhere else, wouldn't make any sense before the start of time. So was there - or rather is there any reasonable way of inferring - something before there was something? Something extrinsic to everything? The story of the rebellious angels, which although to my mind very largely metaphorical, seems to take place somewhere, at sometime, before (or perhaps outside) the creation of the universe, but if so, it was not within the same concept of place and time as we have now, and I really can't come up with an adequate model to account for it.

So that's a 'no' then, I guess...

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#980

Post by crochet1949 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:07 am

If I may interject a thought -- about a personal relationship with God. And why I believe in God. Personally, I've never had any reason To doubt His existence or His Word that He's given to us. I grew up with it. It Should be 'looking like' a loving person who has no problem With sharing Christ with others. It would Look like a person or family who go to church regularly and are good neighbors. Being a Positive in the community. They would be living God's Word not simply talking about it.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#981

Post by crochet1949 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:15 am

neo-x wrote:Hugh, I will respond later in detail but I would like to ask on your comment here:
Stu and Neo-X, above, have been discussing a sort of 'switch it on and leave it to run' God, who may or may not, having started the universe, gone off on some angelic holiday, leaving it to get on by itself, or, not having put it together properly in the first place, keep returning to it to make little modifications to keep it on the right track. Neither of these is very satisfactory, and I don't see it like that myself.
My question is, do you believe that God was on an "angelic holiday" before he created anything?

Thanks. This is not rhetoric. I do want to have a good discussion so I just thought to borrow your choice of words to start off. Thanks.
Does Scripture Tell us what was happening in heaven Before Earth was created? Not really -- but we Are told about various kinds of angels and their job. And that there were rebellious angels who followed Lucifer.

And, really, people can Speculate all they want to -- but Scripture tells us what we need to know about heaven / hell.

Is it Possible that God is still working in this world, but 'we' are finding alternative explanations For His working. The miracles that happen every day and are passed off. I know, from Personal experience, that there Are guardian angels -- I was saved a couple of times from what Would have been fatal accidents on the highway. I'm thankful that I was alone in my car or kids would have been horrified in those experiences.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#982

Post by neo-x » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:23 am

hughfarey wrote:It's certainly a sensible question. However, I'm not sure I know how to characterise a form of existence in the absence of time, even to myself! Obviously the concept of a holiday, in the sense of not interfering with something going on somewhere else, wouldn't make any sense before the start of time. So was there - or rather is there any reasonable way of inferring - something before there was something? Something extrinsic to everything? The story of the rebellious angels, which although to my mind very largely metaphorical, seems to take place somewhere, at sometime, before (or perhaps outside) the creation of the universe, but if so, it was not within the same concept of place and time as we have now, and I really can't come up with an adequate model to account for it.

So that's a 'no' then, I guess...
Angels are after all, creation. The reason I asked you is because to me it seems like going on an angelic holiday isn't really an issue at all, nor do I think it's a solid objection. God at some point must have been on one, until unless he created. So to think that God has to be doing something all the time is an assumption that is really not necessary, to begin with. Ofcourse this goes back to my point of God not interfering in the what he created. And I understand you don't think the same and that's fine, just didn;t think it was a valid objection to my view. Perhaps, a better one imo is that God loves being in interaction with his creation, that though can't be held up on all accounts but is still better than God not doing anything at all, which I think he must have been at some point.
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#983

Post by hughfarey » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:45 pm

I think there's a lot of common ground between us. The behaviour 'within time' of an entity whose existence is 'outside time' is not at all easy to infer. However, I agree with you (if I understand you correctly) that God does not tinker with, or make minor adjustments to, the universe he maintains according to invariable laws. As I have said before, in practical terms I believe it is impossible to distinguish between an atheistic and a theistic universe. The distinction between these two philosophies is at a more basic level.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#984

Post by Stu » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:53 am

hughfarey wrote:I think there's a lot of common ground between us. The behaviour 'within time' of an entity whose existence is 'outside time' is not at all easy to infer. However, I agree with you (if I understand you correctly) that God does not tinker with, or make minor adjustments to, the universe he maintains according to invariable laws. As I have said before, in practical terms I believe it is impossible to distinguish between an atheistic and a theistic universe. The distinction between these two philosophies is at a more basic level.
And you know this how?
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#985

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:49 am

hughfarey wrote:I believe it is impossible to distinguish between an atheistic and a theistic universe. The distinction between these two philosophies is at a more basic level.
I don't even know what an atheistic universe would look like, except complete nothingness.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#986

Post by hughfarey » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:52 am

Stu wrote:And you know this how?
I don't know it at all; it's a philosophical argument, not a scientific one. I was, however, siding with neo-x's position regarding the 'fine-tuning' of the universe. Some of your earlier posts seemed to suggest that God was disappointed, perhaps a little surprised, when his creation failed to turn out as he had wished, and keeps having to poke a screwdriver in here and there, a bit of a flood, a succession of plagues, that sort of thing, to try to keep it on the right track. This to me suggests a distinct lack of omniscience. I think that although God created a universe with a lot of entirely random notions allowed for, both in terms of quantum fluctuations and in intellectual 'free will', he also knew what the results of the random interactions would be, and pre-disposed the laws of physics to be able to cope with them such that the universe would continue to unfold in accordance with the divine plan. So I do not think, for example, that the Incarnation was a last chance attempt to rectify the results of a 'free will' decision to disobey a divine instruction, I think it was built in to the progress of the universe from the start.

A few comments back you said: "You don't know, and neither do I, whether God does interfere on our behalf", and you're quite correct. But I wonder why we don't know. Is it because the difference between the effects of an 'interfering' God and a 'letting it run' God is impossible to detect?

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#987

Post by hughfarey » Thu Jan 19, 2017 4:58 am

Kurieuo wrote:
hughfarey wrote:I believe it is impossible to distinguish between an atheistic and a theistic universe. The distinction between these two philosophies is at a more basic level.
I don't even know what an atheistic universe would look like, except complete nothingness.
I like that! And agree with it. Perhaps I should have said the difference between an atheistic study of the science of the universe and a theistic study of the same. When it comes to the processes of evolution, for example, I don't think one can distinguish a difference, and, bit by bit, I think even the more scientific creationists (supporters of ID) are beginning to realise the same.
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Kurieuo (Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:53 am)

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#988

Post by Nicki » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:42 am

neo-x wrote:
The point which you and Crochet and some others have missed incidentally while being quite defensive of the hopeful miraculous intervention to be saved, is that if they universe is ordered and fine tuned to xx.xx to the powers of xxxxxxx and made for us and intelligently designed, and imagine the full weight of these arguments and its subtleties, then why is there even a galaxy heading towards us in the first place?
It counteracts all those points.

And if we are to be saved anyway by a miraculous intervention at the last second then its just plain old showmanship, because it's just for show - God being a savior in a movie script for then God rolled that other galaxy at us, just to save us. There is no purpose to what's happening except to just be saved at the last moment.

Of course, on this last argument you can say that this is false but then you will have to give up purpose, fine tuned, ordered, made for man, universe. Or you can admit it's random and we are really in danger and then God can or will save us.
But you can't have both. You can't say the universe is perfect, ordered, fine-tuned, intelligently designed and made for us and we are also in danger, on a death roll because in all that purpose there is another galaxy heading towards us to send us to oblivion.

This is a problem, I hope you can show me how you manage it.

Edit: Stu, do you know that humanity was almost wiped once before...no talking way past Noah, our numbers dwindled down to a few thousand in Africa. So the chances of humanity being wiped out are close enough in the past to show that close encounters can happen. I don't think your statement of God's creatures in his image can't be wiped out really stands.

P.S This is infact the same error Phil committed in another thread where he vigorously defended the reality of the scriptures, its inerrancy, about its miraculous preservation by God throughout the ages and how they can't be mythical stories and etc and then when asked about Joshua praying for the sun and moon to stop called them literalisms which no one with theological knowledge would take seriously. Even from an opposing position I was disappointed by that answer.

You need to be consistent, you can't have both.
My point in saying I think the whole universe will be included in 'make all things new' was that I think God will probably make a universe without an Andromeda galaxy - without one on a collision course with earth anyway. Given that the Bible indicates we'll have glorified bodies like Jesus' after his resurrection, I've always thought of the new heavens and earth as not even being made of the same stuff as the current world - glorified matter perhaps, I don't know. The point is I'd think God would be remaking everything that is, not just the earth or our solar system or galaxy - so whether there would even be any other galaxies, I don't know, but certainly there would be no need to recreate Andromeda on its current trajectory.

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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#989

Post by bbyrd009 » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:55 am

well, galaxies collide all the time; it is not the catastrophic thing we imagine, i don't think. and the world has been pretty much completely made over in the last 100 years, don't you think? You might reflect upon that concept more spiritually, iow. Doesn't the accepted alternative suggest God wriggling His nose a la Bewitched, "blink," New Universe?
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Re: RTB: Serious Problems with Evolution

#990

Post by neo-x » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:00 am

I can't even understand that. /\
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crochet1949 (Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:19 pm)
It would be a blessing if they missed the cairns and got lost on the way back. Or if
the Thing on the ice got them tonight.

I could only turn and stare in horror at the chief surgeon.
Death by starvation is a terrible thing, Goodsir, continued Stanley.
And with that we went below to the flame-flickering Darkness of the lower deck
and to a cold almost the equal of the Dante-esque Ninth Circle Arctic Night
without.


//johnadavid.wordpress.com

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