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Posts posted by Memammal

  1. Consider just for the moment the possibility of a super being - Maxwellian Daemon or even a God, external to the block universe.

    Or perhaps a non intelligent agent but still external to the block universe.


    Such an agent could intervene in the future history of any sort of particle and prevent whatever the laws of physics had projected for it unless it was a block universe where that projection co existed with the past and present.


    Notice I have not said any such agent exists, just that a block universe would preclude any action by that agent.

    Yes, I alluded to this in another thread. It does not allow for a personal/involved supernatural tinkerer. I don't see why that should be problematic. It does not exclude the possibility of other forms of "gods or agents" though (ID, deistic, pantheistic, etc.).


    PS. @ studiot: Is this your main gripe with the block universe?

  2. ^ No,not really. Can change not be deterministic? Take evolution as an example...it appears to be random...but natural selection implies adapting to a changing environment...which could very well be deterministic. As for your reference to radioactivity and that it is not possible to determine the future course of any radioactive particle, the block universe theory does not state that the future is known or that it is predictable, only that it already exists. (The growing block universe differs on this point, not so?) Furthermore, keep in mind that the block universe does not necessarily discard the notion of a multi block universe (with multiple outcomes).

  3. Scientists have discovered a planet that appears to be similar to Earth circling the star closest to the sun, potentially a major step in the quest to find out if life exists elsewhere in the universe, research published on Wednesday showed. The relative proximity of the planet, known as Proxima b, gives scientists a better chance to eventually capture an image of it, to help them establish whether it has an atmosphere and water, which is believed to be necessary for life. Future studies may reveal if any atmosphere contains tell-tale chemicals of biological life, such as methane, according to a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Nature... The planet, located about 4.2 light-years from Earth, or 25 trillion miles (40 trillion km), is the closest of some 3,500 planets that have been discovered beyond the solar system since 1995, according to the paper.


    More here...http://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-planet-idUSKCN10Z28P​

  4. @ Tampitump: I was merely pointing out that it is possible that Paul, John (not of Beatles fame) and the rest got it entirely wrong in assuming (and/or falsely spreading the word) that Jesus died on the cross in order to atone for humanity's sin. The entire doctrine surrounding original sin and atonement is fundamentally flawed while the Dead Sea Scrolls painted an entire different story about an Essene preacher (Teacher of Righteousness) with remarkable parallels (and parables) to what Jesus allegedly taught.


    No need to be critical of God's (so-called) plan...I don't think there is such a God, or that such a God (or Jesus) had anything to do with it...all just based on ancient Hebrew folklore written down many centuries later and adapted as see fit by the various sects that followed...further developed by the authors of the scriptures contained in the NT...then came Irenaeus, Augustine & fellow Romans and the rest is history...

  5. ^ Interestingly enough and as far as I can tell, that was not even Jesus' idea. Jesus made no reference to the notion that he had to die for humanity's original sin...that was part of Paul's narrative. Jesus (again, as far as I can tell) was simply an Essene preacher (or teacher). Refer to what the Essene sect practised and preached and consider their fierce difference of opinion with the other prevailing Jewish sects of that time...Prior to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Jews of the Roman province of Judaea were divided into several movements, sometimes warring among themselves: Sadducees, Pharisees, Essenes, and Zealots. Many historic sources such as Flavius Josephus, the (Christian) New Testament and the recovered fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls, attest to the divisions among Jews at this time. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_religious_movements#Jewish_sects_in_the_Second_Temple_period)

  6. ^ Block Universe (or Eternalism) is a well-established scientific view based on the theory of relativity and of space-time as an unchanging four-dimensional "block". I posted quite a lengthy post on it some time ago, which may be a good starting point: http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/89861-is-it-the-universe-created-alone-yes-or-not-only-yes-or-not/page-12#entry925429.


    You may also want to explore these clips taken from an episode of "Through The Wormhole": http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/through-the-wormhole/playlist-can-time-go-backwards/

  7. ^ Use any synonym for that expression, for example..."Consider the possibility that..."


    PS. The kind of paradigm that I alluded to ties in with Pantheism, Taoism, Animism and the Hindu concept of Brahman, among others.

  8. Citation needed.

    Is that really necessary..? I am aware that there are people who think of god as akin to energy.


    But that isn't what the thread is about.


    Unless you are also saying that nature is energy.

    That comment of mine was in reference to disarray's previous post (#6). It should be self-explanatory.



    Conflating energy with god is a bald attempt at draping theistic woo with the credibility of science. Science has earned a reputation of trustworthiness that theism has regularly thwarted, and introduction of this term is merely a desperate attempt to steal back some lost respect.


    If you want to hold a deistic view that god is the cosmos, great. Good on ya, but please don't misuse physics principles that can actually be measured and tested and clarified with detailed equations all so your woo and weird beliefs stop coming across to the average observer as so completely hollow, untenable, and foolish.

    I don't agree that a natural/abstract concept of god necessarily deserves this kind of "ridicule". Let us assume that all living beings share a (varying-in-degree) primordial sense of belonging, or being part of a greater unifying entity, something that they "instinctively" want to look up to (a shared origin, in a sense our common ancestor, the universe that spawned us), a kind of gut feeling that all our ancestors might have sensed since the proverbial dawn of time. That in itself would not be a misplaced " intuition", right? It will also not be far-fetched to further assume that this sense of "awe" or "belonging to" has, throughout history, mistakenly manifested in all sorts of primitive superstitions that later developed into more organised religions, i.e. a misplaced (or misdirected) sense of spirituality so to say. Thus, by making a mind shift from believing in- and/or worshipping a supernatural deity (or deities) to reconnecting to that same primordial sense of belonging to- or harnessing a power of appreciation for a greater natural force is surely a step in the right direction. And why not call it god? After all:


    Conceptions of God in monotheist, pantheist, and panentheist religions – or of the supreme deity in henotheistic religions – can extend to various levels of abstraction:

    • as a powerful, human-like, supernatural being, or as the deification of an esoteric, mystical or philosophical entity or category;
    • as the "Ultimate", the summum bonum, the "Absolute Infinite", the "Transcendent", or Existence or Being itself;
    • as the ground of being, the monistic substrate, that which we cannot understand; and so on.

    Some pantheists equate god to nature, others equate god to the universe, others equate god to energy. Basically it boils down to very much the same thing though...


    Consider the likelihood of a block universe, i.e. that ever-existing, deterministic, all-encompassing entity/environment that all of us experience a tiny part of as we move through our embedded life line...which in itself has always been- and will always stay part of it. Is it not something to marvel at (like Einstein did)?

  9. I am not sure that using instruments is any different than using our senses. They are just instruments for observing the world.

    Referring to this ^ and the OP:

    Gravitational waves...do they not substantiate the existence of space-time?

    Also what about this: NASA Announces Results of Epic Space-Time Experiment?


    PS. Sorry, I just noticed that Gravity Probe B was already covered in the first few posts of this thread.

  10. Very interesting narrative/analogy. Block-Universe Determinism/Eternalism suggests that the accident depicted in the referenced movie would have been unavoidable. The character has indeed, since the day he was born, moved along his "predetermined" or "fixed" personal path through a static environment/universe, experiencing his reality (his life) spacetime-slice at a time, towards that particular (inevitable) spacetime-slice of reality, that directly experienced qualia...the accident and the time that followed it. Similarly he would have no free will in determining his next step...it has already happened...he has just not experienced it yet.


    Allegedly our brains have highly evolved mitigating mechanisms to alter our sense of reality so that we can cope with our experiences in a "meaningful" (or "chronological") way...i.e. we perceive "our reality" as events unfolding around us (randomly) with the passing of time. Which is why we "instinctively" feel uncomfortable with the notion that it is in fact us who are moving through- and experiencing different slices of our static (deterministic) world line.


    A deterministic universe does not necessarily imply a supernatural designer/god. Admittedly one could argue in favour of a deistic or pantheistic "god", but a personal and/or involved god would hardly fit such a paradigm.


    There seem to be quite a few parallels with the other ongoing thread "Is Space-Time a Physical Entity or a Mathematical Model?"


    PS. The irony of it is that a deterministic block universe could also be compared to a movie...it is a done event, we can rewind or forward, watching any part thereof but nothing will change...

  11. Bottom line is that scientists have made the mistake of tossing the word "God" around lightly when discussing various issues, but I think that it is gradually dawning on people that it is not the best term to use, given its wide range of connotations.

    I agree. The "God particle", "genetic Adam & Eve", et al, were all a bit disingenuous.

  12. I am familiar with this point of view and there is plenty of merit in it...not that I necessarily buy into it. It stems from broader pantheism and the rationale behind it is that energy is the universal constant (omnipresent), it is part and parcel of everything that exist within the universe (in one form or another), it sustains life (and thus "consciousness") and it can be argued to be the first cause and the last effect as (most importantly), in accordance with the first law of thermodynamics, it cannot be created nor destroyed. This kind of god concept should not be confused with an anthropomorphic deity; it is just an abstract entity...that does not rely on worshipping or that gets "personally" involved.

  13. ^ Your definition hints at something supernatural whereby god > nature..? Why would that be necessary? Why not: nature has been (and still is) creating (or rather revealing?) nature, it has- nor needs no ruler, and morality is a result of natural evolution?

  14. I am hesitant to poke my nose into the above discussion, but it may be prudent to just cut to the chase and agree that, generally speaking:


    Religion implies some form of theism.

    Polytheism = many gods; monotheism = one god.

    There is merit in the opinion that people could be regarded (or see themselves) as religious by (cultural) association even though they are not religiously active or staunch believers (in fact some of them may be of very questionable integrity...think along the lines of various Mafia movies...as illustrated by this actual news article: Italian Catholic Church scrambles to explain its role in lavish Mafia boss funeral).


    And my own opinion: religion = organised superstition.

  15. Religion is a human-made construction which has no objective or scientific basis in reality. Also science and especially physics, chemistry and biology heavily contradicts religion. So if scientific theories about the world are true than religion cannot be true. They cannot both be true. It's either science or religion and I think that rational people should pick science.

    If it was possible to vote part of a post up and another part down, I would have. Let me just say that I agree with this part of the post, but not necessarily with the rest of it.


    Christianity is immoral because it based on the notion that an all-powerful, all-knowing deity holds imperfect human beings accountable for the "sins" of the first two individuals in existence. He holds them so accountable, in fact, that there is a place of eternal conscious torture in fire you will go to (by default when you are born) unless you submit fully to the revelation, observe the correct rituals, believe the correct things, etc.

    Absolutely and the really sad part of it is that each Christian generation will (knowingly or unknowingly) pass this insane (fictional) curse on to their own children, as well as others that they interact with within their social-cultural environment.


    It plays on people's sexuality, fears of the unknown/afterlife, and ignorance.

    I suspect that it impacts on much more than what you listed above. It is a sick and psychologically disturbing archetype of a paternal figure, further complicated by the suffering son.


    Whoever wrote these religions had to know that if people examined their claims critically in terms of evidence, they religion would be dead no time. That's why they have to play upon these fears and human prejudices and ignorance to even have a way to control people's lives. It is the most asinine thing I could ever imagine.

    With the exception of Islam within the Abrahamic religions, nobody sat down and wrote the scriptures with a deliberate plan of action to achieve what you described above (although it is conceivable that some of the OT scribes might had such ulterior motives). The theology behind Christianity, for example, developed from the dogma's of what was probably a minority Jewish sect, the Essenes preached by John The Baptist and Jesus, adapted by Saul of Tarsus, reinterpreted by Augustine of Hippo, Irenaeus, formalised by virtue of the Council of Nicaea, backed and enforced by Constantine and further manipulated through the ages up to the Reformation and beyond. This is a useful read: The History of Christianity. This is probably an entire discussion on its own though.


    I find it really hard, impossible in fact, to look at the world and all of the competing, mutually contradictory religions in the world that claim to be the revealed word of God, and are at each other's throats about which imaginary friend is the real one, and think there is a god behind all of this that is even remotely competent or ethical, much less all-powerful, all-wise, or all-perfect.

    Amen brother.

  16. I think I will end up repeating what I have been saying all along which is a personal belief, based on my limited understanding and reasoning and also following my education. I have doubts, I have asked myself questions which I cannot answer. As far as I can ascertain, the Abrahamic God Yahweh, Ela/Allah are the same. It was the God that called Moses to duty. I am not going to argue that one religion gave rise to the later two. Let people believe what they want to, as a fundamental human right. IMO, I disagree with the idea of an interfering God. However, I do believe in the illusion of freewill which provides a sufficient condition for a choice which then has consequences which are specific to the choice (this sounds more and more like Harry Potter, I know). IMO, God made the Universe as a single act in which everything was predetermined. My prayers which get answered or not, all predetermined. The creation of evil people to show others what is good, predetermined. This is my personal opinion.

    Thank you for this explanation, jimmydasaint. It clearly seems like a personal belief, your own God tailored from the Abrahamic one into something that you feel (cognitively and spiritually) comfortable with. You have done it in such a way that the traditional version(s) of said Abrahamic God is almost unrecognisable, which begs the question as to why bother with the tag? It is almost as if you are afraid to let go... Your approach seems akin to the kind of freedom of interpretation that the Bahá'í Faith exhibits. I don't have an issue with personal spiritualism/faith and if you prefer to stay within the comfort zone of the familiar (culturally inherited) God-identity, it is perfectly understandable. There are, of course, certain repercussions of this kind of religious freedom of interpretation as is evident from evangelistic movements and other fringe religions/sects (Jehovah's, Preterits, Mormons, etc), but no harm if it is merely your own personal spirituality. I find your inclination towards a deterministic environment interesting. It is reminiscent of the Block Universe theory and would be equally valid within a Pantheistic mind set. The underlying (scientific and/or cognitive) challenges of sticking to the Abrahamic God are extensive, but then I am sure that you would have toyed with all of these ideas already. For example your references to the illusion of freewill and to evil being predetermined. I trust that it would then also imply no hell..? From where I am standing and as an evolutionist I see humans and animals alike, as part of nature, so not only do I agree with you re the illusion of freewill and evil (sinful nature), but also that all religions (aka superstitions) are but human inventions.


    I have met people of other faiths who are truly religious and call themselves as such. I find some common features in them and myself:

    1. a moderate nature,

    2. tolerance to all other people,

    3. a thirst for knowledge,

    4. compassion to people and animals

    5. care for the environment

    6. easily emotional (not in anger) in kindness and empathy to others


    Why is it that I find these to be typical features of religious people and others don't see them?

    These attributes are definitely not exclusive to religious people, most secular-thinking people exhibit these same features. In fact, most staunch religious people are typically known to be more conservative, ignorant, pro-hunting/anti-environmental, gun lobbyists, homophobic, in favour of the death penalty, to name a few.


    I believe from some points of evidence: philosophical (cosmological principle), scientific (Big Bang theory with evidence) and a number of other scientific and non-scientific factors that there is a God, a creative principle that is my choice based on my limited reasoning. f you replace the word God by Nature then I respect your choice. Let's agree to disagree. My head hurts...

    For now let me not get involved in all of the aspects of this discussion apart from highlighting this specific part of the previous post. For me it makes sense to replace God with Nature or to equate God to Nature...but to seriously consider any one of the Abrahamic God versions (which one?) as a contender for the ultimate divine power who created and who still manages nature, as well as getting personally involved with a particular species on one small planet at a specific time in (evolution) history to a point of conjuring up this strange sequence of events in order for them to worship God (and hope it is the right one) so as to qualify for eternal life in heaven opposed to eternal damnation in hell as a result of same intervention...seems all very nonsensical.

  18. SimonFunnell first insisted that he was not-, but then shouted out that he was indeed a creationist which he then followed up with a number of outrageous claims and nonsensical statements. I smell a T R O L L so best not to feed the beast.

  19. Unlike some others I don't think your beliefs make you stupid or intelligent.

    They are after all subjective BELIEFS, and have a foundation in your life experiences and circumstances.

    I guess it depends somewhat on just how stupid or intelligent those beliefs are, no..? If you really believe in a 6-day creation six or seven thousand years ago, well...

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