Friday, February 05, 2010

Natural Laws Prove There is a God


[our Goldilocks Big Bang: neither too hot nor too cold, but "just right"]


One of the most remarkable things about the universe is that life is able to exist in it at all. In order for living things of any type to exist, there must be stars and planets. However in order for stars and planets to exist, the universe must possess a long list of natural properties.

Cosmologist Martin Rees in his book “Our Cosmic Habitat” (Princeton University Press, 2001, page 162) compares our universe having, by chance, all the properties needed for life to exist to the case of a prisoner standing in front of a firing squad of 50 marksmen and all of them taking aim, firing and all missing. He would naturally wonder why this happened.

We don’t know of any scientific reason why the universe must possess any of these properties, let alone all of them, so why does it?

The obvious answer is that God made the universe for the sake of man, so of course He made it hospitable for life. Just like a builder builds a home with a roof, ceiling, insulation, a kitchen, wiring, plumbing, windows, heating, air conditioning, etc. everything designed perfectly for the future occupants, so God built our world with all the properties needed to make life possible.

For those who refuse to believe in God, the only alternative is to believe that the observable universe is in fact merely one bubble within a vastly larger multiverse which includes many bubbles, each of which has different properties and some of which, just by chance, are capable of supporting life. What I dislike about that answer is that it seems more reasonable to say that things are what they appear to be unless proven otherwise. The universe appears to be designed and therefore it was designed.

103 comments:

Philo said...

"One of the most remarkable things about the universe is that life is able to exist in it at all."

Not it cannot. See this video by Neil deGrasse Tyson (who is not an atheist btw) that I posted on my blog last week --- http://brooklynphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-blind-we-are-refuting-argument-from.html


We cannot live in 99% (probably even a larger number) of the universe.

"The universe appears to be designed and therefore it was designed. "

The Grand Canyon looks designed. It surely is not.

Shalmo said...

Ever heard of the god of the gaps :)

Ok so you have proven a designer

But how do you come to the conclusion that this designer has a conciounce?

That he even care whether you worship him or not?

Nor can you prove this god ordained Judaism as his one true religion......and don't give me the usual kuzari proof, not when I have showed you how Aztecs, mayans and so many others have national revelations predating Judaism!

For all we know this god who pre-ordained all these cosmic laws that maintain our universe was destroyed in the big bang explosion itself?

Or even if he does want us to worship him, he for all we know doesn't care how we worship him. Maybe he prefers the hindu approach, that all paths are equally valid.

Indeed all these counter arguments show you still have yet to prove Yahweh exists, since all these other objections remain unanswered!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why atheists prefer the multiverse theory to
"G-d did it." Multiverse is supernatural. It says that there are universes out there where there are unicorns and leprechauns. All the magical stuff happens, just somewhere else. If people don't have a problem with magic in another universe, why should they have a problem with miracles in our universe?

Anonymous said...

And if multiverse is true, it means that the laws of some universe out there require the existance of an all powerfull, all knowing being that can break through to the other universes. So multiverse leads us right back to G-d.

Alex said...

"However in order for stars and planets to exist, the universe must possess a long list of natural properties. "

I was bothered by the fact that the chart had a column vaguely labeled "if greater" or "if less". The link at the bottom of the page turned up nothing, but I was able to find something else at that Reason.org site that linked to scientific sounding articles that purported back up each claim:

http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe-aug-2006

Anonymous said...

Those same laws make the vast remainder of the universe, of which earth is only a speck, completely incompatible with human life.

Kind of like the cockroach living in a crack under the staircase of the Empire State Building believing that the building was built especially for him, and offering as proof that his crack and filth is perfectly suited to his survival.

Anonymous said...

... rarity by itself shouldn't necessarily be evidence of anything. When one is dealt a bridge hand of thirteen cards, the probability of being dealt that particular hand is less than one in 600 billion. Still, it would be absurd for someone to be dealt a hand, examine it carefully, calculate that the probability of getting it is less than one in 600 billion, and then conclude that he must not have been dealt that very hand because it is so very improbable. --John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences

jewish philosopher said...

The fact that life can exist anywhere in the universe is not merely rarity, rather it is rarity which accomplishes something. This is called design.

As mentioned, if a firing squad of 50 sharpshooters all missed the condemned man, no one would shrug and assume that he just got lucky.

The biblical God is the obvious candidate for the creator since only He publically claimed that He is (exodus 20).

Philo said...

"The fact that life can exist anywhere in the universe is not merely rarity, rather it is rarity which accomplishes something. This is called design.

As mentioned, if a firing squad of 50 sharpshooters all missed the condemned man, no one would shrug and assume that he just got luck"


We don't completely understand the anthropic principle yet. But we know there are other places in the universe where life can come about.

jewish philosopher said...

The fact that a certain thing is rare or unique of course proves nothing. However when a series of very unlikely things happen and all of them accomplish the same result we know that someone is manipulating this.

For example, if a ticket buyer wins the lottery ten times in a row, it would be obvious that someone arranging this. It's not good luck.

Anonymous said...

Shalmo:

To the best of my knowledge, only the Aztec evert claimed to have a national revelation. And that was the Chronica Mexicayotle which was written a hundred years after teh conquest, and was describing events ~300 years earlier. This was well after the Jewish national revelation. And the Chronica Mexicayotle was discovered 2oo years after it was written in an Italian library. Its very possible the Aztec never saw it, let alone considered it their authentic history.

Anonymous said...

Philo:

how does the Grand Canyon look like it was designed? I'm just curious.

Philo said...

I don't pretend to understand the origin of the universe. Neither should you or anyone else. We don't know what had to happen etc. But we do know, once there is a universe, with stars etc., life in this humongous "house" (13.7 billion light years of space) can exist without much problem.

Anonymous said...

Philo:

In order for life to come about we need a universe that is just so, we need a galaxy witht just the right density of stars, we need a solar system with a star the right age and size, and planets with just the right orbits, big planets on the outside, earth size planets closer in, but not too close. And we need a moon that is just the righ size and distance, so that it can stabilize the Earth's rotation, but not create tidal forces that are too great.

Now, I don't know what the odds of all this happening, but there are approximately 100 anthropic coincidences that are just right. If the chances of any of them being just right is 1/10 then the chances of our universe being able to support life is 1/10^100. That is a lot bigger than 600,000,000,000. And if the chances of any one of them being just right is 1/20 then that means that the odds of our universe being just the way it is would be 1/10^200. now that is a very big number. There are only ~10^150 subatomic particles in the entire universe.

Anonymous said...

I recall reading that Tyson spoke at an atheists convention. He said that no designer would create a human so that the reproductive system and the excretory sytem are cloes together, (Why not?) That sounds like conventional atheism to me.

jewish philosopher said...

"I don't pretend to understand the origin of the universe. Neither should you or anyone else. We don't know what had to happen etc."

Sure we do.

And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light. Genesis 1:3

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0101.htm#3

Anonymous said...

Philo:

Life could only exist in a small part of a galaxy becuae we need at least one stellar life cycle to produce the heavy elements in supernovas. So we need to be where the star density is enough so there is enough hevay elements to make rocky planets. But if the density is too much then the radiation from neaby suoernovas would kill life as soon as it get started. And too many stars getting too close, would disturb the planets orbits. So life can only form in a small percentage of the galactic space, and within a limited time frame. And only a percentage of the stars can support life. Some are too big, and some are too small.

And most of the exoplanets discovered are too big, and orbit too close to their suns to support life. Earth-like planets in the right orbit, not too close, not too far, and not too eccentric seem to be really, really rare.

Philo said...

You are talking like we have gone through the entire universe. We have not. According to most accurate mathematical models, there are hundreds of billions (if not more) galaxies in our universe, with hundreds of billions of planets (not in each galaxy, cumulative). We have only been physically able to see about 300 of them. I still put a ? if there is more life in the universe. And so should any educated, rational person.

"I recall reading that Tyson spoke at an atheists convention. He said that no designer would create a human so that the reproductive system and the excretory sytem are cloes together, (Why not?) That sounds like conventional atheism to me."

His point was an omnipotent designer would have done a better job, not an obscene one. He is on the record as saying he's an agnostic.

"Now, I don't know what the odds of all this happening, but there are approximately 100 anthropic coincidences that are just right. If the chances of any of them being just right is 1/10 then the chances of our universe being able to support life is 1/10^100. That is a lot bigger than 600,000,000,000. And if the chances of any one of them being just right is 1/20 then that means that the odds of our universe being just the way it is would be 1/10^200. now that is a very big number. There are only ~10^150 subatomic particles in the entire universe."

Now calculate the chances of an omnipotent deity, who is able to maintain an expanding universe, break the laws of physics etc. existing for an eternity.

Each scenario is improbable. Can we agree with that?

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing how the creationists here use their supposed but glaringly sophomoric knowledge of science to prove that science is wrong.

To me this blog and comments prove that religion is like a mind virus, spreading and living off of its host. In so doing, it alters its host so that it will continue to propogate itself (by brainwashing the offspring). In extreme cases, the virus causes the host to engage in self destructive behavior, like suicidal violence or self-imposed ignorance and poverty. In more benign cases the virus and the host live in a harmonious balance, just enough to keep the virus alive.

"For example, if a ticket buyer wins the lottery ten times in a row, it would be obvious that someone arranging this. It's not good luck"

Think about how many miraculous things must occur for one person to win a ticket. The person must have thought to buy the ticket that week, out of all of the weeks of his life, at that particular stand, and pick that particular set of numbers. Moreover, other people must not have bought those same numbers. Then the lottery commission must have chosen a particular person to operate a particular computer program on a particular day of the week and time, which then coughed up those specific numbers. Or better yet, if done by hand. Can you imagine?

Only god could have done such a thing!

jewish philosopher said...

"Now calculate the chances of an omnipotent deity, who is able to maintain an expanding universe, break the laws of physics etc. existing for an eternity."

Given the evidence in favor of it, the chance is %100.

"I find it amusing how the creationists here use their supposed but glaringly sophomoric knowledge of science to prove that science is wrong."

You mean how people who believe in God point out the scientific evidence that atheism is false. Upsetting, isn't it. But an atheist must persist on his strong faith alone, and ignore all deceptive and evil facts.

Shalmo said...

To the Anonymous who asked me about the kuzari for Aztecs....

I suggest you do some serious reading on Aztec mythology:

http://www.angelfire.com/ca/Indian/RoadtoAnahuac.html

Wow, now doesn't that sound awfully similar to another story we've heard? The Aztecs considered themselves the 'chosen people' of Huitzilopochtli who lead them on their journey to a promised land. And apparently, through that time was a period of wandering the wilderness where their god spoke to them a good number of times. Especially impressive is that last time where it makes it clear that Huitzilopochtli was heard by the whole people.

In the part that skipped, Huitzilopochtli tells them to not longer go by the name Aztec, but by Mexica - and this is the founding story of Tenochtitlan, which became the capitol city of the Aztec Empire and is today located under modern Mexico City.

Seriously there are similar examples of national revelations all over the world that predate Judaism.

Most of the hindu gods revealed themselves to their followers through national revelation. the rabbis who came up with thise bogus argument should have read some decent comparative religion discourses before making this nonsense up.

Anonymous said...

How are we saying science is wrong? Do you mean we are saying scientists are wrong?

Adn why is the existance of a omnipotent Diety improbable? IF multiverse is true, then the has to be an onmipotent Diety in some universe.

Shalmo said...

JP could you please make a post on why you abandoned Christianity. It would be a nice change from the usual engagement with atheism 24/7!

jewish philosopher said...

Shalmo, the only recorded case of the creator revealing his identity to more than about three people is Exodus 20.

Anonymous said...

"How are we saying science is wrong? Do you mean we are saying scientists are wrong?

I am pointing out your hypocrisy. I mean that you quote all kinds of scientific facts and figures about supernovae and the universe (which without scientists, who you so thoroughly detest and distrust, we would know nothing about), then when that same scientific community points to facts that you find inconvenient, well, suddenly, they are liars and atheist conspirators. Maybe they lied about supernovae, quarks, and the doppler effect? Maybe Eddington was a liar?

This comment doesn't prove evolution or anything else. It just proves that you're inconsistent. I'm amused by your inconsistency, I find it interesting. I would like to really understand, why you think Darwin, and the generations of scientists and the majority of scientists alive today, are all liars and conspirators about evolution, but are telling the truth about most other things which you like to quote and use as evidence.

"Given the evidence in favor of it [God], the chance is %100."

Given the evidence in favor of the existence of the earth and life, the chance of it occuring is 100%

That is exactly what I previously pointed out when describing the fallacy of probabilities with the argument from design.

jewish philosopher said...

"I mean that you quote all kinds of scientific facts and figures about supernovae and the universe (which without scientists, who you so thoroughly detest and distrust, we would know nothing about), then when that same scientific community points to facts that you find inconvenient, well, suddenly, they are liars and atheist conspirators."

I see no reason why I can't accept someone's fact based, professional opinion yet disagree with his religious beliefs. Because I accept Newton's laws of motion, must I accept his belief in Jesus? If I accept Einstein's theorys, must I also accept his belief in Darwin?

"Given the evidence in favor of the existence of the earth and life, the chance of it occuring is 100%"

Fine but how did it get here?

Anonymous said...

" see no reason why I can't accept someone's fact based, professional opinion yet disagree with his religious beliefs. "

Evolution is not a religious belief.

"Given the evidence in favor of the existence of the earth and life, the chance of it occuring is 100%"

Fine but how did it get here?"

Whatever the mechanism, this shows that, after the fact, you cannot use "rarity" or low probability to argue that it could not have happened spontaneously, and that there must be a creator.

jewish philosopher said...

"Evolution is not a religious belief."

Sure it is, and a stupid one too. Evolution is the mindless atheist creator god.

Oh, but I forgot. Your religious beliefs are "facts" in contrast to everyone else's which are fiction. How silly of me.

"Whatever the mechanism"

The mechanism of course is God.

If I would win the lottery fifty times in a row, I don't think I could easily argue that you cannot use "rarity" or low probability to argue that it could not have happened spontaneously, and that there must be some deliberate cheating involved.

Of course you can use you can use "rarity" or low probability to argue that. How do you think people who cheat in gambling are caught? Because they win too much.

"We have here a whole lot of people in the middle, which is pretty normal, they lose a little, they win a bit. A few people got lucky for a bit, a few people were losing a lot of money. Right up here, in the very top right hand corner, we have the cheater," he explains. "We did the mathematical analysis to find that they were winning at about 15 standard deviations above the mean, which is approximately equivalent to winning a one-in-a-million jackpot six consecutive times."

"Now, this sort of stuff just doesn't happen in the real world," he adds.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/25/60minutes/main4633254_page2.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Anonymous said...

"If I would win the lottery fifty times in a row, I don't think I could easily argue that you cannot use "rarity" or low probability to argue that it could not have happened spontaneously, "

1. Sure I can, if 50 zillion people play the lottery every second for their entire lives, for 14 billion years. Then it will probably happen.

In your previous post about Dr. Theobold you yourself expressed understanding of this.

The point is, JP, what is your cutoff for "unlikely"? Why do you say lottery 50 times, but you are OK with one time?

Your denial of this is exactly like saying to the lottery winner, "no, I just cannot accept that you won by chance, it must have been designed"

Your confusion lies partly in asking the wrong question, since you are trying to determine the chance of a predetermined outcome. Read any probability book.

If you accept that things with a chance of 1 in a million or billion happen serendipitously, without divine intervention, and they do, is it beyond your mental capacity to imagine something even less likely, given enough opportunities and time, especially avoiding the pitfall of predetermined outcome?

Continuing the lottery analogy-- suppose I compile a list of the jackpot winners for the past 10 years. If I ask the question--a priori but with this predetermined outcome---what is the chance that this exact list of 10 people would win the lottery? You would get the same answer as if the same person won ten times. The reason is, that it is THE WRONG QUESTION-- it is meaningless when evaluating a series of random events after they have occurred.

Its the basic paradox of serendipity.

jewish philosopher said...

So how do you explain this comment regarding cheaters in online poker:

"Now, this sort of stuff just doesn't happen in the real world," he adds.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/11/25/60minutes/main4633254_page2.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Why on earth can't it happen? Because a series of extremely unlikely events which all are accomplishing one purpose (making a certain player rich) "just doesn't happen in the real world".

It only happens in the fantasy dream world of atheists who are desperate to deny God.

Like they say in Alcoholics Anonymous "Denial is not a river in Egypt".

Anonymous said...

"Why on earth can't it happen? Because a series of extremely unlikely events which all are accomplishing one purpose (making a certain player rich) "just doesn't happen in the real world"."

There again, is your a priori fallacy. The earth and life on it is only one of the zillions of possible and real outcomes on the billions of other planets and stars.

Your "accomplishing one purpose" presupposes a purpose and singles out a single predetermined outcome, but in fact the emergence of life is no more "purposeful" than the rings around Saturn or the shape of a snowflake--very ordered, but following natural laws.

Your presupposing that man is the center and purpose of the universe may be very nice philosophically and theologically, but seems completely absurd now that we can bear witness to the billions of life forms that exist on this earth (that have no relation to man) and the enormity of the universe.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm not saying that existence of man on earth is unlikely. Rather, I am saying that in order for living things of any type to exist, there must be stars and planets. However in order for stars and planets to exist, the universe must possess a long list of natural properties.

The fact that all those natural properties exist is equivalent to the poker player who always wins. It's a very unlikely, clearly purposeful, outcome. Which, by chance, "just doesn't happen in the real world".

It certainly does happen by design, however.

Your rebuttal, in essense, is to claim that the one poker player who continually wins, equivalent to winning a one-in-a-million jackpot six consecutive times, can answer "This proves nothing. Any outcome is possible. This outcome doesn't serve any special purpose. My getting rich is no more a special purpose than anything else happening, which is just as likely."

That's not the right answer. The answer was that someone was fixing it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6:59.

I don't necessarily question the facts. I just question the conclusions scientists sometimes arrive at if they don't make any sense. I don't question the big bang, or the age of the universe. I only question evolution and abiogenesis because it doesn't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

And the chances of life happening even with ethe universe are pretty slim. If we go woth RNA replicator first, then you need a replicator of ~100 bases arrainged in a specific configuration. The chances of that happening is
~4^100. That's a huge number. That's ~1.6*10^60. There have been approximately 10^19 seconds since the big bang. That means that you would need ~10^40 universal lifetimes to get a good probability that life would happen. My math might be off, but you get the idea.

And all this is assuming that you could get around the chemical problems of making the individual nuceotides, and somehow getting them to bond together in a watery environment.

Anonymous said...

Now a lot of the evidence for evolution is actually based on theological arguements. The arguement from poor design is basically, "why would G-d make something poorly designed if He didn't have to?" Same thing with nested hierarchies. "Why would G-d create organisms so that they can be classified in groups within groups?" But any question that starts "Why would G-d" is a theological one, not a scientific one. So evolution is based largely on theology, e.i. religion. And so many people have told me that they have faith that science will answer the bog questions of origins someday. That sounds like a religion to me.

Anonymous said...

JP, I would agree with you the existence of the universe, and its properties, is a mystery. Scientists can perhaps only explain the technical "how", but not "why".

What I still disagree with you is about arbitrarily choosing life on earth as the "purpose" or endpoint which is the basis of your probability argument. Why not choose Saturn's rings, or Haley's comet? This is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. (I know your blog is titled philosophy...).

Thus, IMHO, a more appropriate gambling analogy would be asking: what are the chances of ANY 6 winners winning. Here's the schema:

ONLINE WORLD OF GAMBLING==>UNIVERSE

RULES OF GAMBLING==>LAWS OF NATURE

PLAYERS==>ALL OF THE COSMIC BODIES

"WINNER" AND "LOSERS"==>THE SET OF ALL POSSIBLE COSMIC OUTCOMES

"WINNERS"==> ANY ONE PARTICULAR OUTCOME

Note that as a winner one could pick any rare cosmic body. There is only one Saturn (that we can see anyway). Only one Big Dipper. Etc, etc. Lots of things are rare and complex.

I think behind your argument lies an assumption, that life has a purpose. While this is perhaps a lofty and attractive assertion, it is without basis (unless you make an argument by authority)

Anonymous said...

Satunr isn't all that unique. All the Jovian planets in our solar system have rings. Adn there are lots of large exoplanets out there. Its earth like planets that can support life that are rare.

jewish philosopher said...

The way I understand your argument is that, thanks to the way the universe is structured, it's "Goldilocks" properties, there are actually quite a few "big winners", not only terrestrial life. OK, I'll accept that.

The question still remains, why are there any "big winners"? Apparently there is a far higher probability that the universe would consist of disorganized subatomic particles. This is why some atheists insist there that must be a "multiverse" of endless universes and, naturally, one came out "just right".

To quote Richard Dawkins:

"Again, the anthropic principle delivers its devastatingly neat solution. Physicists already have reason to suspect that our universe — everything we can see — is only one universe among perhaps billions. Some theorists postulate a multiverse of foam, where the universe we know is just one bubble. Each bubble has its own laws and constants. Our familiar laws of physics are parochial bylaws. Of all the universes in the foam, only a minority has what it takes to generate life. And, with anthropic hindsight, we obviously have to be sitting in a member of that minority, because, well, here we are, aren't we?"

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dawkins06/dawkins06_index.html

This is equivalent to saying that a few players on one online poker site constantly winning is no proof of cheating; there may be billions of online poker sites and trillions of players throughout the universe so therefore this outcome is bound to happen somewhere.

As mentioned in the post, I don't like this solution because I believe that things are what they appear to be until proven otherwise. If several players at online poker appear to be winning far too often, it looks like cheating and I would assume it is cheating. If the universe appears to be designed to make planets, stars and life possible, it was designed.

Anonymous said...

If that black man appears to be guilty, he is.

If Santa Claus appears to have come down the chimney and left toys, then he has.

If the planet appears to be undergoing climate change from man-made activities, then it has.

If Jesus appears to have planted his face in my toast, then he has.

If the sky appears blue, then it is.

If a living organism is analogous to a machine, then it actually is a machine.

If you can dream it, you can do it.

If that optical illusion makes one shape appear to be larger, then it is larger.

If the world appears flat, then it is flat.

If the sun appears to move around the earth, then it does.

If the Bible appears to contradict itself, then it does.

If people seem to be related to other primates, then they are.

If the weather appears to be created at the whim of Zeus, then it is.

If people appear to have ethical intuitions naturally, then they do.

If you feel like that lump is a cyst rather than a malignant tumor, then it is.

If you feel like scientific reasoning and discoveries threaten the claims and logic of religion, then they do.

If it appears that religion can be used to justify virtually any altruistic or ultra-violent behavior, then it can.

If something seems very complex, then some god must have made it.

--------------------------


Hey, this is FUN!!!

Anonymous said...

"The question still remains, why are there any "big winners"? Apparently there is a far higher probability that the universe would consist of disorganized subatomic particles."

JP, you have a point, and this is a mystery. But I find the logical leap from mystery about the origins of the universe, to belief in the petty god of the bible as not credible.

jewish philosopher said...

On 9/11/2001, when the second plane hit the second tower, every child immediately knew "it was on purpose". Why? Because when even two very unlikely events, both serving the same purpose, happen, it is clearly design, not accident.

Cosmologists tell us that many unlikely events had to happen to create an environment anywhere in the universe which could possibly support life. To invent the baseless idea of a multiverse to explain it away is just desperation. Why didn't people assume that 9/11 was just an accident or that online poker cheats were just lucky? After all, with all the multiverses out there anything could happen somewhere.

Common sense tells us that things are what they appear to be until proven otherwise. Try telling a jury those weren't your DNA and fingerprints on the murder weapon; with all the multiverses possible, someone could by chance be a match to you.

In the upside down atheist dream world, nothing is as it seems to be. We have no soul or free will. The universe and life were not designed. Everything is a delusion.

jewish philosopher said...

" I find the logical leap from mystery about the origins of the universe, to belief in the petty god of the bible as not credible."

That's a logical falisy called wishful thinking.

Anonymous said...

We appear to have a soul? Uh, no.

We appear to have free will? Sure, if we forget about all of the other things that force our choices.

Sure the universe and life were "designed." Just not by any sort of single, rational, intelligent being.

Anonymous said...

in other words, the jewish philosopher believes in god because the origins of the universe are mysterious.

jewish philosopher said...

We are concsious of ourselves and feel that we make choices. We see everywhere evidence of complex purposefulness.

But to the atheist this all mindless chance and illusion.

It must be hard believing in something so crazy.

jewish philosopher said...

It's not mysterious; God did it.

Anonymous said...

It's not mysterious; God did it.

The universe doesn't appear to have been made by God because it wasn't. It's your logic. Sorry you don't like the conclusion.

jewish philosopher said...

The Biblical God happens to be the only god to publically take credit.

Anonymous said...

Science is based on causality. Causality means that we have to explain why A happened. Not only that, causality means that we have to explain why A and not B happened. This is the whole basis of science. If the universe is fine tuned to accomodate life, then there must be a causal reason why it is, especially if the chances are overwhelmingly against it being able to support life. For example, why are the number of protons and electrons in the universe roughly the same? If they weren't life wouldn't be possible because the electomagnetic force would overwhelm gravity and stars couldn't form. Or why is the amount of matter in the universe exactly what it is? If there was slightly more, then the universe would have recollapsed shortly after the big bang. If there was slightly less, then the universe would have expanded too fast for stars to form. It didn't have to be this way. Saying that we just got lucky is ignoring causality, and is therefore unscientific.

Shalmo said...

JP:

"The Biblical God happens to be the only god to publically take credit."

untrue. Read Surah al-baqara in the Quran!

If you want I post citations from the Vedas, the maharabhatta or even the ugartic texts which Judaism is plagarized from

Shalmo said...

JP even if you prove Judaism is true so what?

You still don't know the name of your god anymore, YHWH (showing what a substantial loss in religious knowledge Jews suffered 2000 years ago), and without a theocratic israel, sandhedrin and temple most of judaism is obsolete and unapplicable.

So what do you hope to accomplish by bringing back all these atheists to a broken religion; a broken Judaism?

Anonymous said...

"That's a logical falisy called wishful thinking."

Wishful thinking would be if I didn't want it to be true; I said I don't believe it because its not credible, for many logical reasons. You're mixing up "incredible" which means fantastic, and "not credible".

jewish philosopher said...

"Read Surah al-baqara in the Quran!"

Wasn't that revealed to just one person, not publicly?

"JP even if you prove Judaism is true so what?"

So if you don't do it you'll go to hell forever.

"I don't believe it because its not credible, for many logical reasons"

Which are?

Anonymous said...

I understand that the Maharabatta, does mention a national revelation, but all the witnesses conveniently died. This not like the Torah, were all the witnesses survived to transmit the revelation, and write it down.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 2:14 A.M.

You believe in the Big Bang, which means that the universe poped out of nothing. You believe in a Universe somehow fine-tuning itself. You believe in magic soup turning into bacteria, and bacteria somehow turning into blue whales via a series of random accidents. You also believe that subatomic particles can read our minds,can be waves and particles at the same time, and communicate instantaniously through space. You believe in dark matter than no one can see, but is still there. How is all this more credible that
"G-d did it?"

Shalmo said...

JP:

"Wasn't that revealed to just one person, not publicly?"

Actually no. The Quran is even more of a national revelation than the Torah if you wanna apply that logic.

Because Jewish tradition claims Moshe wrote the whole Torah, not the whole nation.

In contrast muslim tradition says that the entire ummah (followers) of Muhammed were given the Quran surah by surah, memorized by thousands.

And unlike Judaism where you have only one source, the Talmud, which testifies to its revelation. There are entire family lines dating today who hold the tradition for the specific surahs revealed. There are millions of people, hafiz, who trace their family lines back to that "national revelation" where they passed on the Quran parent to child through memorization.

And again unlike Judaism whose only claims of revelation are in the the Talmud, the muslims have countless families lines who can trace themselves back to that original revelation point all of whom memorized surah by surah, passed on till this day.

Muslims seem to be a better fit for your kuzari principle than Jews!

jewish philosopher said...

How many Arabs personally heard Allah say that he created the universe?

For Jews, it was about two million (Exodus 20)

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0220.htm

Anonymous said...

Shalmo:

The Torah says that the entire Jewish Nation heard and saw the Revelation.

Anonymous said...

All the information I could find on the Koran says that it was revealed to Mohammed, who then told it to his followers who wrote it down. Only Mohammed was believed to have direct communication with G-d. That's different than 2,000,000 people who stood at Sinai and saw and heard the revelation directly.

Anonymous said...

May I just point out how funny it is to see Jewish kooks and Muslim kooks fighting over who heard/saw god. Two different flavors of BS, but equally false and dangerous - to say nothing of irrational.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 8:10

Nobody is as dangerous as an atheist kook. There's Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Kim Jung Il, etc, etc, etc.

And is seeing God any less rational than a universe popping out of nowhere, or magic soup turning life?

jewish philosopher said...

I prefer the atheist kooks debating over which type of worm we are descended from.

And those guys are really dangerous. They might make you into hamburgers.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/07/atheists-in-their-own-words.html

Philo said...

JP,


Can you at least concede it is irrational, and if not stupid, to believe that God will punish someone for having a different view of the cosmos? If you think about it, that's all it is. And I don't want to here no "Father-Son" analogies. Would you throw your son in a furnace because he accepted the competing steady-state theory, instead of the expanding universe (aka big bang theory) theory, if you lived in the early 20th century?

jewish philosopher said...

Well, let's put it like this.

Let's say during the Second World War, a member of the Allied military high command happened to be a sincerely convinced Nazi and passed on important information to the German government which influenced the war's outcome.

Is it not irrational, if not stupid, to punish someone for having a different view of politics?

By the same token, an atheist is in essence declaring war on God and committing treason against his Maker. Can any crime be more heinous?

Anonymous said...

"By the same token, an atheist is in essence declaring war on God and committing treason against his Maker. Can any crime be more heinous?"

That is a very childish statement and view of god (ver. 1.0) and contradicts any concept of god except a mortal one.

How can one "declare war" or "treason" against an all powerful, all knowing god?

If he is omnipotent why would He give a flying f*** about someone declaring war on him, and if he is omniscient why would he create such rebels in the first place and then be angry about the outcome.

And if you argue that the traitor is harming other human beings (like a tresonous Nazi in your analogy) what good is it that the traitor only be punished in the world to come?

I'm merely pointing out the contradictions, without saying its false or true. You like to point out what you think are silly or childish views of atheists, and I'm doing the same to your silly views.

Really, if God is really the masterful creator of the whole universe you so beautifully describe, why would he be concerned about some rebellious dodo in one tiny corner of this universe?

JP, you got to do better than that!

jewish philosopher said...

"How can one "declare war" or "treason" against an all powerful, all knowing god?"

On the contrary, God's greatness and our insignificance makes the rebellion that much more outrageous. What would you do with a flea that bit you?

To give another example, who is more severely punished, someone who shoots the President or someone who shoots a squirrel?

Anonymous said...

"What would you do with a flea that bit you?"

If the flea physically hurt me of course I would swat it. But I wouldn't care if the flea insulted me or doesn't believe in my existence.

Does our not believing in god hurt or harm him in any way?

jewish philosopher said...

Yes, very intensly. Imagine a child who rejected you and doesn't believe you exist.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, very intensly. Imagine a child who rejected you and doesn't believe you exist."

So god feels hurt, I see.

Would I then proceed to kill my child, to teach him to love me?

jewish philosopher said...

God is not a cosmic enabler. He believes very much in tough love.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/08/kindness-of-suffering.html

The point is that it's ridiculous to sit around speculating about how we are so small and God is so big that surely I can do anything I want and He doesn't care. That's just self serving fantasy. Rather we must learn Torah - find out what God actually told us He wants and how He will react.

Larry Tanner said...

"Rather we must learn Torah - find out what God actually told us He wants and how He will react."

That is find out what it is claimed that God told us, according to groups of people writing between 1000 BCE and 500 BCE.

The reasons are few and flimsy as to why people today should believe an actual god or gods told anyone about anything.

I'm not at war with God. God doesn't exist. God's just an idea that is no longer rational for people to hold. I'm not at war with anyone. I'm trying to determine the truth as closely as possible. The more I live and learn, the less likely it seems that any god is part of truth.

Anonymous said...

"Rather we must learn Torah - find out what God actually told us He wants and how He will react."

At best you can tell from Torah what he supposedly wanted 3500 years ago, maybe he changed his mind since then (as the Bible itself notes many times). And since Jews can't agree on anything, it is a futile endeavor that can never be resolved, so it is quite pointless.

Pointless, unless you use your own faculties to figure out what is right and what is wrong.

jewish philosopher said...

As I have pointed out, the revelation of the Torah is as well documented as any pre-modern event.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html

Making decisions based on wishful thinking usually has bad results.

Philo said...

This is not about politics. And how could you possibly say the atheists view of cosmology is murderous, like the Nazis?

And on to my next question. What about those, like myself, who are not atheists (I actually think it is just as foolish to say there definitely is no God, as to say there definitely is one. Well I guess it depends on one's definition of atheism and theism), but espouse unbreakable skepticism towards a cosmic deity?

Anonymous said...

Anonymus at 3:22

The Troah says that this is the
for all our generations. So the the Troah m,akes it clear that observing the Torah is whaty G-d wants from us for all time.

And all Jews agree omn the importance of tzedaka, chesed, bikur cholim, not speaking loshon hora, etc. So we do agree on a lot of stuff.

Anonymous said...

But Larry, if you don't believe in G-d you still have to believe in miracles like a universe poping out of nothing, or magic soup turning into bacteria, or dark matter, or subatomic particles that can read your mind. Or you just have to have faith that science will naswer the big question someday. But that is a faith based approach, not a rational one.

And rational people who no longer hold onto the idea of G-d do have a marked tendency to commit mass murder. Come to think of it, there is nothing innately irrational about mass murder, so it all fits. Reason leads to atheism which leads to mass murder. So easy.

Anonymous said...

"Making decisions based on wishful thinking usually has bad results."

Like living your life with the wish that there will be life after death

jewish philosopher said...

"Like living your life with the wish that there will be life after death"

If that were my motive, I surely would have become a Christian, not a Jew. Many Christian churches promise paradise for believers (unlike Judaism) and are far less burdensome than Judaism. Plus I was raised by Christians in a somewhat Christian society.

Anonymous said...

"The Troah says that this is the
for all our generations. So the the Troah m,akes it clear that observing the Torah is whaty G-d wants from us for all time."

If god doesn't change his mind, why have the Jewish people been living most of their history in the diaspora, without a holy temple? Why is it that the majority of Torah laws are unobservable nowadays?

The Torah doesn't say forever, just for generations. Yahweh has the nasty habit of saying "oops!" and changing his mind about things. He seems to go with the flow.

Now since it has been at least 2500 years since he spoke directly to us, there's a good chance that he changed his mind again about something. Perhaps He decided to try his luck on another planet. Or he doesn't give a shit. Maybe he forgot about us. Or maybe He died.

"And all Jews agree omn the importance of tzedaka, chesed, bikur cholim, not speaking loshon hora, etc. So we do agree on a lot of stuff."

Interesting. As examples you chose ethical concepts from HUMANISTIC MORALITY. No Torah required for that. But we can't agree on what's kosher, who is a Jew, and if Jews should live in Israel, not even orthodox Jews. Basic questions. Yahweh's silence in these matters would seem to make any objective attempt to understand what he wants NOW, as impossible. Everything is just a matter of opinion, with no real validity, any more than a political view.

Anonymous said...

"f that were my motive, I surely would have become a Christian, not a Jew. Many Christian churches promise paradise for believers (unlike Judaism) and are far less burdensome than Judaism. Plus I was raised by Christians in a somewhat Christian society."

I'm not talking about you necessarily. Many of your comments and blogs emphasize the dire fate that awaits sinners, and the eternal reward for those who follow the Torah. This seems to be, in your view, a major motivator or reason to repent.

jewish philosopher said...

The Torah doesn't change however Judaism does.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/05/eternal-torah.html

"Many of your comments and blogs emphasize the dire fate that awaits sinners, and the eternal reward for those who follow the Torah. This seems to be, in your view, a major motivator or reason to repent."

Absolutely. It should motivate you too.

Anonymous said...

So you agree then, that according to your Judaism, we should be living our life according to the wish that there will be life after death.

jewish philosopher said...

Ideally, we should live filled with a love of God. However self interest is also not bad.

Alex said...

http://webecoist.com/2009/07/22/18-natural-formations-that-look-man-made/

http://webecoist.com/2009/07/22
/18-natural-formations-that-
look-man-made/

(For what it's worth, I look at the cell and definitely lean toward thinking "designed." Those 18 formations just don't reach that subjective level.)

jewish philosopher said...

It seems to me that intelligent design is irrefutable when we see a device containing a number of moving parts all working together for a certain purpose (for example a watch, or the heart) or when we see several very unlikely things happen which all accomplish a certain purpose (for example, the 9/11 plane crashes or the physical properties of our universe).

Alex said...

I agree. It's just that your statement, "The universe appears to be designed and therefore it was designed" needs a qualifier.

Anonymous said...

This is a repetition of your argument by design (watchmaker analogy) and I will repeat that it is a fallacy.

But to avoid completely repeating myself I will give you a different rebuttal.

You JP cannot identify what has been designed and what has "purpose". In the man made domain of objects we know apriori that something has been designed. But in the natural world you cannot identify "purpose".

Do you know that an amoeba has a purpose? What about a virus? A tube worm at the bottom of the ocean? They are "complex machines" but they have no obvious purpose, any more than a pebble, other then to exist and propagate themselves. (I know you can theorize why they exist, but it isn't evident just by looking at it, unlike the watch)

So if these things have no purpose, and yet exist, these is no distinction between them and other organic structures that you attribute design and purpose.

As far as organs/organelles, their "purpose" is no different than that of a hydrogen atom in a water molecule. More complex, yes, but complexity doesn't imply designer (e.g. crystalline structures, etc)

You can still insist that the laws of the universe are also designed, and that is God, which I previously conceded might be a possibility, but that is different than Paley's argument.

jewish philosopher said...

I don't think the word "purpose" can be broken down any further.

Purposefulness however does not require us to be told by the actor that this was on purpose.

When the second plane hit the second tower on 9/11, even children remarked "they're doing this on purpose".

An atheist can try to live in fantasy world insisting "I just see random things happening all over the place, however there is no hint of purpose behind anything" just like he can claim "I'm just a bag of chemicals, I have no free will" and so on, however this is just silly nonsense.

Anonymous said...

"When the second plane hit the second tower on 9/11, even children remarked "they're doing this on purpose"."

I suppose that you know that the snowstorm that hit the east coast last week had a purpose, too. After all, look what it did-- it disrupted air traffic, shut down the government, and gave kids a day off from school. And a whole lot of things had to coincide to create that snowstorm, on that day and in that region. It must have had a purpose.

That is obviously absurd, but you confuse man made and natural events. Man made events are often purposeful, sometimes negelectful. Not so with nature.

jewish philosopher said...

Is one snowstorm "several very unlikely things which all accomplish a certain purpose"?

I don't understand your comparison.

Anonymous said...

Your analogy is based on your ability to detect "purpose" as derived from man made objects and activities.

Suppose on 9/11 an asteroid landed on the twin towers instead. Would you detect purpose? Same outcome, no purpose.

This shows that outcome is not synonymous with purpose.

So in your analogy you compare a heart to 9-11 or a watch. Why not compare it to a snowstorm or meteor shower? The heart, being carbon based, is more like other natural objects and related phenomena, than like airplanes and watches.

Hence, to compare life to a watch is actually begging the question- The watch has no inherent purpose, except for that which we attribute to its designer. (i.e. if we find an unidentified metal object, we don't know if it was designed or is scrap). We cannot assume this imbued purpose in the case of a natural object or event (as illustrated by the asteroid or snowstorm), unless we a priori assume a designer.

At its base the watchmaker analogy is appealing emotionally, but is full of logical holes.

jewish philosopher said...

Both WTC towers being destroyed within minutes of each other by separate meteorites would be a remarkable coincidence. Has an event like that ever actually happened? I don't think so. That's how we knew immediately that 9/11 was purposeful the minute the second plane hit. We still had no idea who did it or why, but we knew there was an intelligent designer involved. No one stood around saying "You know, it could just be two completely independent spontaneous accidents. Who knows? I don't see any purpose here."

Only atheists, desperate to deny God and indulge in a debauched lifestyle, make up statements like that.

Anonymous said...

Since there were airplanes, man made objects involved, the likelihood that it was an act of man is obviously great. Its not the serendipity of two planes (although that certainly increased the suspicion), its that man made objects were involved.

Maybe there wasn't an asteroid, but there have been plenty of natural wonderous phenomenon that you might call coincidence. For example, ice circles http://www.oddee.com/item_96726.aspx

Or how about when a tornado, ripping through a trailer park, completely pulverizes one home, and the one 10 feet away is untouched. The owner might ask, "gee, what's the chance of my house being flattened and your being spared?"

jewish philosopher said...

"Since there were airplanes, man made objects involved, the likelihood that it was an act of man is obviously great."

Planes crash accidentally every day. With your logic, there was no evidence of purpose. What's purpose anyway? Until bin Laden made the tape saying he did it, we have no proof. And even that tape may have been a false claim. So there's no proof.

"there have been plenty of natural wonderous phenomenon"

Let's try it again:

Intelligent design is irrefutable when we see a device containing a number of moving parts all working together for a certain purpose (for example a watch, or the heart) or when we see several very unlikely things happen which all accomplish a certain purpose (for example, the 9/11 plane crashes or the physical properties of our universe).

What this has to do with ice circles and tornadoes beats me. But of course atheism is faith based, not fact based.

Anonymous said...

"Intelligent design is irrefutable when we see a device "

Sure, if you already know it was designed.

Otherwise it was an accident.

jewish philosopher said...

How do you know 9/11 was designed? What do you call "purpose"? Planes crash all the time. Bin Laden's claims may be lies. If you can't see purpose in natural law supporting life, I don't see purpose in four plane crashes. Things just happen. No intelligent design needed.

Like any addict, atheists ignore the most basic, simple logic to justify a lifestyle. An addict in denial.

This is probably the saddest example. Lawrence is so alcoholic he dies a few months after this interview, claiming he has no drinking problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rvkqa29kJa8

Anonymous said...

OK, let's set aside my hopeless drug addiction and pornography obsession for the moment.

You're confusing cause and purpose. Some things happen by accident. Some things are caused. Both in the natural world and in the man-made world. I never said everything is an accident.

In the natural world some things can be caused, in the sense of cause and effect, but that doesn't imply purpose, which presupposes and designer. Clouds have a cause, but no designer.

9-11: People's initial emotional ("the school child test")response is totally irrelevant.

We don't know for sure it was a terrorist attack until the facts become clear. That radars were working properly. That the planes stopped communicating with the towers. That they deviated massively from their routes. And we're talking about man made objects and actions. Therefore, all of the evidence pointed to an attack, fairly quickly. The same goes for your online gambling analogy.

As you know, there have been some plane crashes that have been unsolved. Were they terrorist or accident? The facts are insufficient.

My main point is this: In the sphere of human activities and objects, your attribution of purpose is apriori because you already know that there is a designer behind it. Its not from the outcome itself. When you generalize to the non artificial world of carbon-based life forms, your apriori assumption of a designer is questionable, and cannot be based solely on the outcome. Cause, possible, but no purpose.

jewish philosopher said...

"When you generalize to the non artificial world of carbon-based life forms, your apriori assumption of a designer is questionable, and cannot be based solely on the outcome."

So how would we detect signs of extra-terrestrial life? With no human involved we cannot attribute purpose.

Scientists however believe that narrow-band signals, say those that are only a few Hertz or less wide, are the mark of a purposely built transmitter.

http://www.seti.org/Page.aspx?pid=558#a3

PURPOSE. BASED ON THE OUTCOME ALONE.

That's also the basis of the Watchmaker Principle and Anthropic Principle.

The only difference is that regarding God we are hitting a huge wall of emotional denial.

Anonymous said...

You only make sense if you see that laws of nature are God.

A hydrogen atom is a complex machine, made up of many moving parts, whose apparent "purpose" is to become part of water and other compounds. Yet you don't claim the watchmaker analogy for hydrogen, do you? Is hydrogen "designed" by an intelligent designer? You don't because it can form spontaneously as a result of other chemical reactions.

Same for complex molecules, DNA, and life forms. If you claim laws of nature are God, than everything else is god, too, and there's no difference between a rock, an atom, or a life form, just the degree of complexity.

jewish philosopher said...

I think you lost me.

Previously, you argued that purpose can never be seen from the outcome alone. We must know there is an intelligent designer before we can be sure something is intelligently designed.

Now you seem to be saying on the contrary everything has a purpose so therefore intelligent design is seen in everything.

I would prefer to stick with: Intelligent design is irrefutable when we see a device containing a number of moving parts all working together for a certain purpose (for example a watch, or the heart) or when we see several very unlikely things happen which all accomplish a certain purpose (for example, the 9/11 plane crashes or the physical properties of our universe).

Anonymous said...

I'm saying its all or nothing. IF you claim "purpose" in natural law, than EVERYTHING in nature is indeed intelligently designed, with no distinction. God created special relativity so gravity would prevent people from flying into space. He created ozone so we wouldn't be cooked by UV rays. And so on. According to this thinking, the ultimate predetermined purpose was to create man. (although we have no proof for this assertion)

On the other hand, as I claim, natural law is not purposeful, then NOTHING in nature is intelligently designed but only the result of these natural laws. In this case trying to apply the watchmaker analogy specifically to life is meaningless, because there is no distinction between life and non life in terms of complexity or "purpose". Natural law allows for plenty of mechanisms to create complex machines (like molecules).

In other words, your watchmaker analogy only works if you begin by applying it to the universal laws, which is a very big if.

So your argument comes down to-- an intelligent designer must have created all of these natural laws, so that man would come about. My problem with that is, the world and the universe is so vast, with so many things unrelated in any way to man-- different life forms, different planets and stars, etc, that claiming that all of this was made for us-- we seem too insignificant for that to be true. Furthermore, these natural laws also act to our detriment-- in the case of diseases, natural disasters, etc.
In my mind claiming that all of the wonders and mysteries of the universe are intended for man, trivializes them.

jewish philosopher said...

Still lost. Unless everything is a watch, nothing is a watch?

What about extraterrestrial intelligence? Do all radio signals show purpose because some do?

Anonymous said...

maybe the radio signals doesn't, but the waves that they are made of does--an electromagnetic wave is a complex machine with a purpose.