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#13056 - 10/06/05 08:05 PM GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
GOD AND THE BIG BANG
- AND OTHER ARGUMENTS ABOUT SCIENCE AND FAITH

This is based upon the following web page:
God and the Big Bang

Written by Mike Poole.

In which scientists ability to comment upon the existence of God is challenged.

Also the whole idea of religion being in such complete conflict with science is also challenged.

Extract :

ARE SCIENTISTS ATHEISTIC?
The media love confrontation - it's good for viewing figures and sales. A few vocal scientists, given a disproportionate amount of air time and column inches, often give the impression that scientists are a bunch of atheists.

But there is no evidence that they are any more unbelieving than the rest of society.
'Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind'. Albert Einstein.

Many of the greatest scientists in history believed in God: Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Pasteur, Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, to name but a few. Today there are plenty of scientists who are committed Christians. One UK organisation, Christians in Science, has members and contacts numbering some 1500 scientists, including university staff, scientists in industry and science teachers. Other such organisations also exist. But that is not 'news', so they receive little publicity.

And:

Science is the study of the natural world - of nature. Questions about God are questions about whether there is anything other than nature. It's no use going to science, the study of nature, to find out whether there is anything other than nature!

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

It seems to me that when scientists make claims about being able to disprove God's existence, they are strolling into the realm of philosophy. For example the post - 'Proof that God did not create life'is claiming too much.

Any takers?

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#13057 - 10/06/05 08:20 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Most of the stuff on that site is stupid.

However, the part that you've extracted is largely correct. Proofs that god exists or doesn't are not scientific, they are philosophical.

OTOH, the fact that many scientists of the past believed in god is not particularly relevant. Most of them were brainwashed deeply by their societies from a very young age.

Einstein's religiosity was indistinguishable from atheism. The same could be true of other erstwhile religious scientists.

Belief in god seems silly to me. That's not a scientific view. It's a philosophical view.

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#13058 - 10/06/05 09:05 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
OTOH, the fact that many scientists of the past believed in god is not particularly relevant. Most of them were brainwashed deeply by their societies from a very young age.

- Well, yes, this would make sense - but, there are many, many scientists today who profess a religious faith or who will admit to believng in something larger than themselves, however fuzzy that belief may be.

It is just that religion is often portrayed (on this forum as well) as the enemy of science. Admittedly, the church has a very poor record in this area - such as the embarrasing and ridiculous treatment of Galileo and other great scientists, but I and many other believers hold the position that what scientists discover about this universe is very, very welcome and should not be viewed as a threat to faith. For example, I have no qualms with the theory of evolution or the big bang.

The Bible never claimed to be a scientific textbook and has little to say on the subject - unless you are a narrow minded fundamentalist who is not willing to accept the evidence of our own eyes, and wishes to interpret everything in the Bible literally.

Why is it that there is such a harsh treatment of those professing faith, in other threads on this site? Some people posting here seem to have an almost evangelical zeal to rubbish faith.

Regards,

Blacknad.

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#13059 - 10/06/05 09:26 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
I can't speak for other people. But in general people like to have certainty. Atheists are no exception.

Also, the fact that some religious people have to keep bringing that into the scientific realm causes some scientists and science enthusiasts to want to fight back.

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#13060 - 10/06/05 09:40 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
I can't speak for other people. But in general people like to have certainty. Atheists are no exception.

- True, but I do not think we will ever have complete certainty. I have to live with a great degree of uncertainty - that is the nature of faith. If I could prove - even to myself - that God exists then I would not need to have faith, but as it is, I have to admit to a degree of uncertaincy.

Also, the fact that some religious people have to keep bringing that into the scientific realm causes some scientists and science enthusiasts to want to fight back.

- I do not detect quite the same animosity towards faith in the British scientific community - this may be because the American Christian is of a more fundamentalist variety and attacks scientific theory more readily. I don't know.

Regards,

Blacknad.

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#13061 - 10/06/05 11:04 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Anonymous
Unregistered


Blacknad:
Those of us who have been on this forum a long time can remember having the forum attacked and almost destroyed by "people of faith" on more than one occasion. This being, at the time, the only forum that encouraged wide participation of individuals from many aspects of science, not just astrophysics and astronomy, the loss of this forum was felt keenly by those of us who valued it for its diversity and openness. One individual in particular, who shall remain unnamed, wrought so much havoc with long, illiterate and prolixed diatribes against science and scientists, that the entire forum became very sensitive to any remarks that smacked of religiosity. Some of us still remember, and the desire to protect this place as a congregation where freedom from religion is practiced still burns deeply in some people.

This is a science forum, and is a unique place therefore. We'd like to keep it that way. Post religion at your own risk; it can and will be cut if it gets out of hand. Nothing personal; that's why the forum is now moderated and requires registration. You are welcome to post Science and Science related material all you like. That is what we are here for. Faith is not Science and as such has no place here. Send me a personal message if you have a problem with that.

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#13062 - 10/06/05 11:38 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
jjw Offline
Superstar

Registered: 09/07/05
Posts: 636
Loc: USA
BLACKNAD:

I am a member that signed on recently. I have not observed in the postings any specific attack on religion. Intelligent people know better than to attack a concept that is not based on repeatable factual testing in its origin. But I do wonder why people that may have a profound belief in religion want to confront others to exercise their beliefs. That, to me, suggests insecurity in their concepts but I will not seek to enlarge on that potential insecurity. I prefer to leave the issue dormant; any merit in it will eventually surface. I have read the bible closely while never attempting to memorize it. My interest was to some day write a book interpreting the apparent conflicts with God and Gods questionable un-god like behavior. I may still do it if I live some more.

Let?s go to the Big Bang. That is the scientific theory (one) for the origin of the universe. That is like saying matter always was and always will be. The theology buffs argue that God always was and always will be. Same stuff.

On a different science forum you are permitted to ask an expert any question about science (I forget which one) and some knowledgeable person provides an answer with in a few days. My QUESTION:

If a Black hole is a concentration of matter so extreme that not even light can escape how can we compress the entire universe into a little thing and still have the stuff escape? ANSWER: They are two different things.
I don?t doubt that - but what did he say?

Your answer is to leave your religion at home. We are not going to share.
Jim Wood

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#13063 - 10/07/05 12:12 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Marc P reveals himself as a manipulative and an ignorant person typical of that of a creationist. I?m referring to the cut and paste job:

Is an example, there are more.

I came to this site because of a keen interest in science and would never have posted anything on religion if I had not been troubled by the amount of posts trying to give religion a kicking. DA Morgan and Uncle Al in particular seem to have a bent for attacking faith matters.

I will not start another topic regarding faith or anything related, but reserve the right to respond to people who rubbish any belief in anything outside the realm of nature.

Based on Amaranth's comments, people have had a bellyful of religious people attacking the site - that is not my intention.

And I agree that many, many religious people are insecure in their beliefs. It is my contention that they do not know what they believe well enough. It is like the old saying - They have just enough religion to hate - but not quite enough to love.

Regards,

Blacknad.

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#13064 - 10/07/05 01:11 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Anonymous
Unregistered


"It is like the old saying - They have just enough religion to hate - but not quite enough to love."

Well said indeed.

Welcome to the forum. We have plenty of room in the sandbox for all types. Play nice and stick to Science, ...etc. Have fun! wink

"Amaranth"

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#13065 - 10/07/05 02:24 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Kate Offline

Senior Member

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 334
Quote:
They have just enough religion to hate - but not quite enough to love.
Thanks for that. I hadn't heard that before..

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#13066 - 10/07/05 12:34 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
science and religion are not enemies. religion comes up with stories of how everything works, science studies how everything works. Scientific findings simply do not agree with religious beliefs. Science and religion are after the same answers but science actually answers them.

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#13067 - 10/07/05 12:35 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
RM Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 560
Loc: London
drat! I meant to say, science and religion are asking the same questions but science actually answers them.

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#13068 - 10/07/05 04:19 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Rob,

Obviously you would expect me not to agree entirely:)

Religion and science are not really asking the same questions.

Science deals with the practical issues of living in and exploring this universe and everything within it, including ourselves.

Religion asks whether there is anything existing outside the boundaries of our natural experience and whether that something could or does interact in any way with us.

If anything outside does break in and interact with this universe it would be on an ad hoc basis (our conception of the miraculous) and would therefore not be open to falsification or verification by empirical research - especially if for some reason it did not wish to place itself under the microscope.

Religion intersects with science when it tries to understand the nature of humanity - why do we perceive beauty around us? Why do we have a concept of justice? Why do we sometimes do that which we do not want to do? Why do we have such great strengths, but also such great frailties?

It is my belief that science can answer many of these but not all.
It is my belief that religion may hold the key to these questions.

You said that science and religion ask the same questions but science actually answers them.

Well where they do ask the same questions it is not clear to me that science can answer all of them - and in this life we will never know for sure if religion has the answers. But it is possible by my reckoning that religion may be answering them, but we just cannot verify it.

Regards,

Blacknad.

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#13069 - 10/08/05 06:23 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
DA Morgan Offline
Megastar

Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 4136
Loc: Seattle, WA
Blacknad wrote:
"Religion asks whether there is anything existing outside the boundaries of our natural experience and whether that something could or does interact in any way with us."

I call nonsense on your statement. Religion doesn't ask questions. Religion by its very nature demands that you accept, as an article of faith, that it ALREADY HAS all of the answers.

You can not point to a single religious text in Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology in which it is written ... "we were wrong and upon investigation determined the correct answer to be ...."

Not once has any religion admitted to the fact that its understanding of heaven and earth was wrong. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. But you won't find it in the Bible, Torah, or Qur'an.
_________________________
DA Morgan

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#13070 - 10/09/05 02:29 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
"Religion asks whether there is anything existing outside the boundaries of our natural experience and whether that something could or does interact in any way with us."

- Yeah. Not thinking clearly here. Should probably be, 'Religion is [not exclusively] concerned with what lies outside of our ability to explore by scientific methods. Science, obviously can have no such interest.

DA Morgan -
I call nonsense on your statement. Religion doesn't ask questions. Religion by its very nature demands that you accept, as an article of faith, that it ALREADY HAS all of the answers.

REP: You are welcome to call nonsense on my statement, but never-the-less I still think that religion does ask questions. It seems to me that this is exactly what theologians do. There may be some confusion over the meaning of religion here ? I am talking about people collectively who have ?Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe?.
There are surprisingly few core beliefs that we subscribe to, and there are more secondary beliefs that flow from them, but there is nearly a whole universe full of questions whose answers we are not sure of. Those are the questions that religion asks about and explores. The apostle Paul said ? ?now we see through a glass darkly?.
For example, what I know about the nature of God and what he does is one miniscule step away from nothing. I believe he has revealed something of himself and there is much that can be inferred about him. Those are amongst the question that I ask ? and I am as much a part of religion as anyone else. This is what I meant by ?religion asks questions?.

DA Morgan ?
You can not point to a single religious text in Judeo-Christian-Islamic theology in which it is written ... "we were wrong and upon investigation determined the correct answer to be ...."

REP: I don?t think this is the case ? Christian theology has undergone immense change over the last two thousand years as it has built upon, revised or rejected what has gone before, all in the light of what the bible tells us, combined with our own observations, experience and reasoning. There are whole rafts of religious issues that are negotiable, but not all ? the few central tenets have, in the main, remained consistent amongst the broad church. i.e. the Nicene Creed ? consisting of only 13 sentences.

DA Morgan ?

Not once has any religion admitted to the fact that its understanding of heaven and earth was wrong.

REP: Extract from
www.newhumanist.org.uk

?That said, what ought we to think about the just departed Pope, Carol Wojtyla? As a scientist, I can't really complain that much about him. He managed to officially pardon Galileo (almost four centuries later, but hey!), though he refused to apologize for burning Giordano Bruno at the stakes. John Paul II also wrote a letter to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1997 advising Vatican scientists (and Catholics at large) that the Church doesn?t have a problem with the scientific theory of evolution.?

OK, a mixed bag, but I think there is an admission there that the catholic church was wrong on not only heliocentrism but on the ridiculous charge of heresy ? especially in the light of the fact that if they had paid attention to the bible they would have known from Job 38:33 (which states that the heavens "fix their rule over the earth,?) that the heavens control the earth and not the other way around ? one of the few areas where the bible has something to say about the way the universe works.

And now even the catholic church is admitting that Christian opposition to the theory of evolution is mistaken ? a theory that I have never had a problem with, as a Christian belonging to the independent free churches, who's members are free to conclude whatever they want to about such things.


And I think that the following article from The Guardian newspaper shows that the catholic church has admitted mistakes and apologised for a whole range of issues:

www.theguardian.co.uk


DA Morgan -
Not once has any religion admitted to the fact that its understanding of heaven and earth was wrong. I know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. But you won't find it in the Bible, Torah, or Qur'an.

REP: Speaking for the bible ? it does not claim to be a scientific textbook and is hardly descriptive about the nature of the heavens and the earth, however much some Christians want to use it in that way. So in the terms you state, there wouldn?t be much to have to admit to and correct anyway.

Regards,

Blacknad

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#13071 - 10/09/05 03:07 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Ric Offline
Member

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 44
Loc: Wisconsin
I never understood why some religious people couldn't accept the big bang. Seems to me that the bible actually described it in a very simple way -- "Let there be light." If you wanted to describe an explosion in the very most simple way possible, wouldn't "A large burst of light" be close to the most simple you can get?
_________________________
"The first Human who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization." -Sigmund Freud

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#13072 - 10/09/05 08:34 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Ric said: I never understood why some religious people couldn't accept the big bang. Seems to me that the bible actually described it in a very simple way -- "Let there be light." If you wanted to describe an explosion in the very most simple way possible, wouldn't "A large burst of light" be close to the most simple you can get?

REP: I couldn?t agree more. I will be the first to admit that there are many religious people who are narrow-minded and driven unthinkingly by dogmata. They are representative of a percentage of the general populace who also cling obstinately to what they believe whether it stands up to inspection or not, (esp. see politicians) smile
Heck, there will be many aspects of my own belief that are unthinkingly held ? I am sure DA Morgan will happily attest to this. I just hope that I am open to actually considering them and jettisoning the rubbish when I am challenged ? I am sure DA Morgan will not happily attest to this smile

What must be understood though, is that the vast majority, (I think), of religious people will just accept happily what science tells us and just get on with life, and like me, will be grateful that we have people who are willing to devote their lives to the pursuit of exploring and understanding this universe and letting the rest of us share in the wonder and benefits, and who often do it for no significant material cost.
But of course these are the religious majority who you never hear about because they don?t make waves. You only hear about the ones who are proactive in protesting and pushing their own half-baked pseudo-scientific theories.

Ric said: Seems to me that the bible actually described it in a very simple way.

REP: I don?t believe the bible was attempting to definitively describe it at all. As I have said elsewhere, the bible has never claimed to be a scientific textbook.
What is contained in the first chapters of Genesis may be there only to represent the fact that ultimately God is somehow responsible for bringing the universe or multiverse (thanks Rob), into being and is written (just before the second century B.C.) in Moses?s very simple understanding of the workings of nature.

Regards,

Blacknad.

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#13073 - 10/09/05 09:41 AM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Again, Ric said,
I never understood why some religious people couldn't accept the big bang.

REP: Here are two reasons why religious people find it hard to accept some things that are scientifically staring them in the face. I limit my comments to Christianity.

1. When we believed that lightning was hurled from the heavens by an angry God, and that earthquakes were caused by him angrily stomping around, it was easy to maintain a belief in God and we felt secure in that ? although how secure you could feel with a God that spent most of his time in a foul temper is debatable.
Now there may be lots of religious people who have the unswerving belief of a village idiot that God is in the heavens and all is well, but I and other Christians I know will admit to having doubts at times, (maybe the best defence against a dangerous fundamentalism). When someone experiences doubt and sees one of the things that have they have used to combat those doubts being ripped away by science, then they may start to get defensive or offensive. For example, the belief that we are physically at the centre of the universe that led us to wrongly employ strong-arm tactics to resist heliocentric thinking.

2. When you believe that Genesis is to be read literally, then of course, the idea of evolution is anathema. The thinking is that, ?if we jettison a literal belief in any part of the bible, then what foundation does our theology now rest on ? this will erode the authority of scripture?.
This is a concern, yes, but will only mean that we will have to think a little more clearly to define what is literal or not.
Clearly the following verse in Song of Solomon where the author writes about his lover is not to be taken literally, but is poetic :

Your two breasts are like two fawns,
twins of a gazelle,
that feed among the lilies.


Well I started with the big bang and ended with breasts. Not a bad days work if I do say so myself.
Regards,

Blacknad.

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#13074 - 10/09/05 06:07 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Kremer:
Quote:
They have just enough religion to hate - but not quite enough to love.
That is an excellent quotation Blacknad. Lets hope non of us apply it to those OTHER religions.
frown
_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#13075 - 10/09/05 08:33 PM Re: GOD AND THE BIG BANG
Philege Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/30/04
Posts: 184
Loc: United Kingdom
Aren't we forgetting that the bible actually stated that the earth was a circle i.e. round when science for many years considered that earth flat. Therefore that statement let there be light is actually confirming the big bang theory which obviously was not a spontaneous act but the will of the supreme being which is God. The bible confirms dinosaurs too. There are many scriptures that corroborate this. Religions by the way are only paths to the truth.

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