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Thread: Why did our universe begin? (Split from Atheist wins Nobel Prize thread)

  1. Top | #11
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    My favorite variation: If man was created from dust, why is there still dust?

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    What, when, where, how, who, why...

    These question markers are at the heart of rational thought and open-minded enquiry.

    It amazes me to see supposedly open-minded, rational, free thinkers running a million miles an hour to avoid the ontology of the Who and the Why.


  3. Top | #13
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    What, when, where, how, who, why...

    These question markers are at the heart of rational thought and open-minded enquiry.

    It amazes me to see supposedly open-minded, rational, free thinkers running a million miles an hour to avoid the ontology of the Who and the Why.
    You can't rationally ask any of them until you're certain about the did.

    Did our universe begin?

    You might as well ask "Why do rocks fall upwards?" Until you have good evidence that they do, the why question is meaningless.

  4. Top | #14
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    What, when, where, how, who, why...

    These question markers are at the heart of rational thought and open-minded enquiry.

    It amazes me to see supposedly open-minded, rational, free thinkers running a million miles an hour to avoid the ontology of the Who and the Why.
    You can't rationally ask any of them until you're certain about the did.

    Did our universe begin?

    You might as well ask "Why do rocks fall upwards?" Until you have good evidence that they do, the why question is meaningless.

    But, but, but, what about the
    Anthropic Principle


    The philosophers of cosmology John Earman,[78]Ernan McMullin,[79] and Jesús Mosterín contend that "in its weak version, the anthropic principle is a mere tautology, which does not allow us to explain anything or to predict anything that we did not already know. In its strong version, it is a gratuitous speculation".[80] A further criticism by Mosterín concerns the flawed "anthropic" inference from the assumption of an infinity of worlds to the existence of one like ours:


    The assumption that all possible worlds are realized in an infinite universe is equivalent to the assertion that any infinite set of numbers contains all numbers (or at least all Gödel numbers of the [defining] sequences), which is obviously false.
    "Obviously!"

    Never mind.

  5. Top | #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    What, when, where, how, who, why...

    These question markers are at the heart of rational thought and open-minded enquiry.

    It amazes me to see supposedly open-minded, rational, free thinkers running a million miles an hour to avoid the ontology of the Who and the Why.

    "Why are you a pedophile?"

    If you refuse to answer why, then you must be afraid of the answer and "close-minded".
    That is the "logic" of your post.

    Rational, open minds don't invent meaningless questions just so they can invent a baseless answer that feels good to them. That is what dogmatic religious minds do.

    "Why X?" has no meaning unless "Is X?" has already been established. If the Universe didn't actually have a beginning, then "Why it had a beginning" is nonsensical. And ageless and endless expansion-contraction model has no beginning. It doesn't really contradict the Big Bang model, b/c Big Bang theory can only explain the currently observable in the Universe. The theorized singularity would make observing anything prior to it (such as a previous expansion-contraction cycle) impossible. Thus, even if it is true, the claim that there was nothing prior to the Big Bang cannot in principle ever be supported by empirical science. The best we can hope for is that Penrose is correct and a prior expansion-contraction cycle might leave observable evidence and thus refute the "nothing before" assumption. But it might not leave observable evidence, in which case there will never be a rational basis to choose between the possibilities.

    On another note, rational explanations usually entail "How?" and not "Why?", b/c "why" generally connotes teleological causality where there is some final ultimate end state or purpose for which the event to be explained occurred. The standard definition of "why" is "the cause, reason, or purpose for which" The "for which" implies the thing happened because it was useful for reaching some end state. IOW, "why" typically prompts explanations not based on preceding causal factors but upon a future state towards which the present is drawn. Since the future doesn't exist outside of an idea in sentient minds and their goals for the future, "why" explanations are biased towards the willful actions of sentient minds. If one is explanation a behavior of an already established and known to exist creature thought to have mental states, then "why" questions are appropriate. But outside of that they are sloppy shorthand for "how?" or biased attempts by the question askers (in this case Theists) to engage in "begging the question" by implying there must be a why and therefore there must be a sentient mind that is the explanation.

    So, even if it established that the universe had a beginning, an answer to "How?" it began makes "Why?" it happened meaningless and/or redundant.

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    What, when, where, how, who, why...

    These question markers are at the heart of rational thought and open-minded enquiry.

    It amazes me to see supposedly open-minded, rational, free thinkers running a million miles an hour to avoid the ontology of the Who and the Why.

    "Why are you a pedophile?"
    Why don't you go back to TR?

  7. Top | #17
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    'Why' questions are not anti-intellectual. They aren't at odds with rational thinking.

    But if you want to stick your fingers in your ears lalalalala...and close your eyes and believe on faith that nothing is deliberately caused, so as to avoid 'why' questions, that seems pretty lazy/gutless.


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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    What, when, where, how, who, why...

    These question markers are at the heart of rational thought and open-minded enquiry.
    Interesting...
    What was god created for?
    When was god created?
    How was god created?
    Who created god?
    Why (for what purpose) did they create god?

    All pretty meaningless questions unless it was first established that there is a god and he had been created somehow.

  9. Top | #19
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    I treat 'God' as just a syntactical place-holder, a linguistic convenience. Consider the German sentence Es gibt eine Welt or the French Il y a un monde ('There is a world'). Who or what is 'Es'? Or 'Il'?

    In this view, the question 'Does God exist?' is pointless. The question should be 'What are God's properties?' Is God just pure mathematics? Nothingness? Some pure brain we cannot hope to fathom? A sociopath with human face who unleashes plagues or rain-storms when he gets angry? A circus huckster who will rig the lottery so you win, provided you send lots of cash to Jerry Falwell?

  10. Top | #20
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swammerdami View Post
    I treat 'God' as just a syntactical place-holder, a linguistic convenience. Consider the German sentence Es gibt eine Welt or the French Il y a un monde ('There is a world'). Who or what is 'Es'? Or 'Il'?

    In this view, the question 'Does God exist?' is pointless. The question should be 'What are God's properties?' Is God just pure mathematics? Nothingness? Some pure brain we cannot hope to fathom? A sociopath with human face who unleashes plagues or rain-storms when he gets angry? A circus huckster who will rig the lottery so you win, provided you send lots of cash to Jerry Falwell?
    God is a fictional character, and as with all fictional characters, his properties are anything the fanfic writer you are talking to at any given moment wants them to be. They need not be consistent even within a single work, though most critics would point out that internal inconsistencies are evidence of very bad fiction. Certainly they need not be consistent with other fanfic that features the same nominal character(s); And in the case of God, there's not even an agreement amongst any majority of the fan base as to which works (if any) are canonical, though there are a handful of camps that claim a core of canonical texts, with Christianity and Islam currently being the largest of these.

    Of course, as with all passionately motivated fandoms, there's plenty of disagreement about what is or is not canon even within largely homogeneous sub-groups in these camps, so it's all pretty difficult for an outsider to follow.

    That perhaps is the easiest heuristic to determine the likely truth value of a set of claims about reality. If the claim has a basis in the real world, then the number of schisms and sects it can produce is limited, and even widely separated traditions will converge on a core set of claims. So there's no difference between African physics, American physics, Asian physics, or European physics; But there are vast differences between religious claims between (and within) those regions, as fiction is unconstrained by any requirement to concord with reality.

    Using this heuristic, we can surmise that mathematics and the hard sciences - physics, chemistry, biology - are likely a good reflection of reality; Soft sciences - sociology, economics, political science - are somewhat less so; and fictional speculations - religion, sci-fi, popular entertainment - need not reflect an underlying reality at all.

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