The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Can an Infinite, Designer, Creator God be Brought Within the Realm of Science?  (Read 15868 times)

Offline Gordian Knot

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
One interesting topic that has not come up yet is that there is a subset of archaeologists who, while not attempting to find scientific proof of God, they DO concentrate on trying to find scientific proof of historical and miraculous events that are mentioned in the bible.

Such things such as why the Nile turned red, how the sea of Galilee was parted, what was the star that appeared over Bethlehem; all of these and many more have been theorized. Most of these archaeologists are serious scientists that are attempting to take the stories in the bible and find the historical reality behind them.

It seems to me that if there is any way to bring god into science, deriving scientific proof of his/her/its actions is as close as science is capable of getting.
 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Proving that there is red mud in the Nile river doesn't mean that it was in fact God or anything supernatural that caused the Nile to flow red.  Quite the contrary, all it indicates is that the stories could have been based on true events, and there are some very non-supernatural explanations for the the stories.

Keep in mind, Christianity has also stolen ideas and stories from other religions, so red mud in the Nile might not have even occurred at the same time as the struggle between Egyptians and Hebrews, but could have been stolen from quite a different story.
 

Offline Gordian Knot

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
Clifford I agree. I was stating information, not putting my spin on that information.

And I have always considered the Christian God a plagiarist since he stole so many pre-Christian myths and put it in His bible claiming them to be his.
 

Offline namaan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 195
    • View Profile
The anthropic principle is often part of theories of everything that describe many (or infinite) universes, each of which has different parameters.  The hope is that these theories will be testable at some point, and if we can observe these other universes, we'll have some confirmation that the anthropic principle is the reason for the fine-tuning.

But at the moment, there's not really evidence for it.

That makes sense, but it doesn't really explain why this principle is brought in when considering existential arguments; in fact it seems irrelevant to such arguments. Maybe I'm not getting it but even if there were many or infinitely many universes and this would allow for one of these many to be coincidentally fine-tuned such that it produces conscious life to examine the fine-tuning, I don't see how that at all explains anything existentially. All it seems to accomplish is to add a layer of complexity to the existential argument and having now to explain where all these other universes, including ours, came from.

I find it reasonable to apply Occam's razor here...why would explaining where many or infinitely many universes came from be easier then explaining where one came from?
 

Offline namaan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 195
    • View Profile
What you can't do is to look at existing observations and try to figure out what kind of god fits those details and call that your "theory of god."  Looking at existing observations is a good place to start when formulating a new hypothesis, but it's not scientifically sound to use existing observations as evidence that your new theory is right. 
Could you elaborate on this? I mean, I think I get what you're saying, sort of like looking at an ominous dark cloud and betting your pal that it's gonna rain and then saying "I told you so!" as if were anything special? If so, then that isn't how I'm approaching it. I'm not thinking to myself "the universe looks awfully fine-tuned, if there was such a thing as a creator God, what sort of being must it to account for this fine-tuning?". The specifics of my approach are probably beyond the scope of this forum. That's not meant to contain any insulting subtext; it's reasonable from my perspective to assume that it won't make for appropriate discussion on a science forum, and I respect that.
The fine tuning of constants is a good example.  You can look at them and say "that's evidence of god," or "that's evidence of the anthropic principle at work," but neither of these are sound scientific theories.  They might lead to testable hypotheses (in the case of the anthropic principle, we could look for other universes or parts of our universe where the parameters aren't fine-tuned). 
Is it reasonable to expect then that if there existed a well-formulated "theory of God" before the scientific observations of universal fine-tuning took place, and that made predictions about universal-fine tuning, etc. then such observations could then be used as supporting evidence?

Also, there is another idea that's been hovering around me for some time; the idea of emergent/non-reducible systems. By that, I don't mean conceptual emergence, as in "emergent technologies" or "emergent meta-information", etc. Rather, I mean to refer to a hypothetical 'force' in the universe that acts in opposite direction to the 'reductionist forces' such as strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational which act 'bottom-up'. If, hypothetically, evidence of such a top-down force were produced, would this in your understanding be in anyway capable of lending support for the idea of intentional design?
« Last Edit: 31/01/2012 06:11:50 by namaan »
 

Offline JimBob

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6564
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • Moderator
    • View Profile
Lets move out of the realm of religious mythology. Personal experience, bolstered bu the information in two books I read at a relative young age that open up the "veil" of mythology  common to all religions that hint at the reality of just exactly what the term "God" refers to.

The two books are "Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature" a book by the Harvard University psychologist and philosopher William James (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Varieties_of_Religious_Experience) and i"Cosmic Consciousness" by the Canadian Psychiatrist, Richard Maurice Bucke, also writing in the late 19th-early 29th century time period.

Joseph Campbell, a Professor at Vassar? had a couple of Public Broadcasting System series about 20 years ago that did an in-depth investigation into this subject. It is of the same caliber as the books - very high - and very accurate according to my personal experience.

Please, unless you have investigated this personally, all the conjecture adds nothing to this subject. First educate yourself, then practice the suggestions for 6 months, see what the results are and then make up your mind.   

There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
   which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
   to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is
   contempt prior to investigation."


--------- William Paley (1743-1805)

 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
...
 Richard Maurice Bucke, also writing in the late 19th-early 29th century time period.


Stone me! And I thought I was a slow writer and he was one hell of an old git to boot!

Sorry JB, I just couldn't resist that FOG!
 

Offline Gordian Knot

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
JimBob does make a cogent point. One of the flaws I believe many God believers make is that they do not wish to look beyond anything other than their flavor of God. Gods have been around for millennia. For hundreds of years before Christ whole nations believed in Norse Gods. Were they all wrong? Before them there were Egyptian Gods. Before them there were Sumerian Gods.

In order to talk competently about God, I believe one has to be educated in the history of Gods thru-out human history, as well as all the Gods various nations currently adhere to. My conclusion from that study is that we humans make God in our image, not the other way around.
 

Offline Don_1

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6890
  • Thanked: 7 times
  • A stupid comment for every occasion.
    • View Profile
    • Knight Light Haulage
My conclusion from that study is that we humans make God in our image, not the other way around.

I couldn't agree more.
 

Offline namaan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 195
    • View Profile
Odd, I guess I'm supposed to appreciate the patronizing? I've been trying to intentionally avoid a discussion on the specifics of religion, etc. yet here you all are making assumptions of what I know and don't know.

There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
   which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
   to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is
   contempt prior to investigation."


--------- William Paley (1743-1805)

This works both ways of course:

"2:6 Remember that those who have chosen denial in advance, it is all the same to them whether you apprise them (of the consequences of their actions) or apprise them not. They will refuse to acknowledge the truth."
 

Offline imatfaal

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • rouge moderator
    • View Profile
Odd, I guess I'm supposed to appreciate the patronizing? I've been trying to intentionally avoid a discussion on the specifics of religion, etc. yet here you all are making assumptions of what I know and don't know.
.  Jimbob's post was very much on religion in general - and sometimes gaps in knowledge are quite apparent .

There is a principle which is a bar against all information,
   which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail
   to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is
   contempt prior to investigation."


--------- William Paley (1743-1805)

Quote
This works both ways of course:

"2:6 Remember that those who have chosen denial in advance, it is all the same to them whether you apprise them (of the consequences of their actions) or apprise them not. They will refuse to acknowledge the truth."

Strange quote when you consider the next line
"2:7 Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom."  That's rather condemnatory for a supposed forgiving god - the obvious reading of the words is that you get one chance, and after that you are doomed to burn with no possibility of repentance.  Nice - that's why I tend to loath the misandric rantings of those in bronze age Judea and medieval Mecca
 

Offline Gordian Knot

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 165
    • View Profile
Western gods tend to be forgiving on many things, but not when it comes to worshipping them. This has always struck me as odd. Why are supposed Supreme Beings so insecure?????
 

Offline namaan

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 195
    • View Profile
Quote
Strange quote when you consider the next line
"2:7 Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom."  That's rather condemnatory for a supposed forgiving god - the obvious reading of the words is that you get one chance, and after that you are doomed to burn with no possibility of repentance.  Nice - that's why I tend to loath the misandric rantings of those in bronze age Judea and medieval Mecca
You're not really leaving me with much choice. Let me explain, then, why I've been avoiding the use of "Islam", "Qur'an" and "Muslim" (i.e. the "specifics of religion" as I have been putting it). First off, the correct translation for that verse along with the translator's comments in square brackets is as follows:
Quote
God (His Law of Cause and Effect) has sealed their hearts and their hearing, and on their sight there is a veil. And theirs will be a tremendous suffering. [Khatm or Taba’ from God, seal on the hearts, is a natural consequence of one’s deeds. Blind following, adamancy, being unjust due to selfish interests and arrogance render the human perception and reasoning unreceptive to Divine revelation. Thus, one loses sensitivity and the ability to perceive reality. It is easy to see how damaging this fall from the high stature of humanity can be, a tremendous suffering that is built-in as the logical consequence of such attitude. 4:88, 17:46, 18:57, 40:35, 45:23, 83:14]
Now, I hear you say where did the "(His Law of Cause and Effect)" come from? And why is it in parentheses - seems like a rather convenient way to make it more compatible with modern thought. And further, how do I gather that the above is the correct translation? The problem here lies in the fact that I'm using a translation that is in some respects quite different from prevailing ones. For example, I could also give verses like this:
Quote
21:30 Are the disbelievers not aware that the heavens and earth used to be one solid mass and We exploded them asunder? And that out of water We made every living thing? Will they not, then, acknowledge the truth? [Here is a clear allusion to the Big Bang theory. Numerous celestial bodies came into being and started swimming along in their orbits. Almost all modern astrophysicists believe that this Universe has originated as one entity from one single element, hydrogen that, in stages, became consolidated with gravity and then broke apart into celestial bodies. 21:33, 24:45, 36:40, 79:30]
41:11 Likewise, He is the One Who designed well the Sky when it was Smoke (Nebulae of gas). And He said to it and the earth, "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly." They said, "We do come, obedient." [Thumm = Afterward, then, so, likewise, similarly, in the like manner. The Cosmic bodies coming into their orbits willingly or unwillingly indicates their being inherently subservient to Divine laws, unlike humans who have been granted free will. 3:82, 13:15]
51:47 And it is We Who built the Universe with power, and certainly, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. [Samaa = Sky = Heaven = Allegorically the Universe. Bi-Ayidin = With both hands = With power. The expansion of the Universe was first proposed by the Belgian cosmologist Georges Lemaitre and the Russian scientist A. Friemann. In 1929, it was observed for the first time by the American astronomer Edwin Hubble. The Qur‟an had given us this knowledge 14 centuries ago! 55:5, 36:38-40]
I'm hearing someone say that these are just lucky guesses (i.e. fall down to the stopped clock principle) and/or convenient reinterpretations of the original verses to fit modern science and/or simply vague enough in detail to give it the "ah-ha!" quality.

I could argue in return that the Qur'an declares itself timeless (as is relevant here), internally consistent, free of contradictions, and crucially an autoderivation (made up the word to mean self-derived) as such the context for any verse is every other verse in the Qur'an, and that the message and context of the Qur'an is, again, not found within a single verse or even a partial set of verses, but in the whole Qur'an. So breaking down a single verse out of context doesn't convincingly show anything. But then you might naturally find it unreasonable for me to expect you to read the whole Qur'an to make a single point. I could also argue that in order to understand why some verses have been translated differently would require the development of relevant historico-liguistic and contextual understanding of the message of the Qur'an, the history of how it was scribed, the circumstances in which the first 'Islamic histories' were recorded, and culture and historical traditions of Islam (in particular the tradition of Hadith and its relation to the Qur'an). But then you might say that this is just a convenient end-all argument that says that your translation is incorrect and the use of some of the nonsense ascribed to Islam found in the Hadith to be unqualified.

Do I think that western translators mis-translated the Qur'an intentionallly, or that it is western propaganda, or otherwise some sort of conspiracy? Certainly not. It would be unreasonable to hold to account western translators and even many Muslim translators since Muslims by and large don't possess an accurate account of their own history. I know this both experientially as well as anecdotally being born in Pakistan to a Muslim household. I was surprised to recently learn, for instance, that most Muslims in Pakistan actually and sincerely believe that certain men from around 13-14 centuries ago lived for up to 300 years. This would be inspite of them having obtained a university or masters degree. They also believe that a whole range of other fanciful strange events were actually part of their history, much like Jesus having walked on water or performing various "miracles" for his people of Christian faith. It's when actual history is tainted with all these fables and fabricated stories that a crucial context for the understanding of some verses is muddled. On a side note, there is a clear reason why it seems the religious books seem to have borrowed/plagarised from each other, and it's the same reason the Qur'an refers to Christians and Jews as "people of the book".

And all this just brings us back to square one. I find your presenting of prevailing Qur'anic translations as well as any from Hadith as evidence against Islamic reasoning to be misdirected, and you will naturally find a request to brush up on accurate Islamic history and the Qur'an itself to be unreasonable so we're getting no where. All this, again, is not to suggest that I think everyone here has just made up their minds and can't think critically from the other side. I just don't find it to be a fruitful discussion, which is why I was trying to approach a question that I was interested in without bringing in these religious arguments.
« Last Edit: 01/02/2012 17:55:14 by namaan »
 

Offline imatfaal

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • rouge moderator
    • View Profile
Quote
Strange quote when you consider the next line
"2:7 Allah hath sealed their hearing and their hearts, and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be an awful doom."  That's rather condemnatory for a supposed forgiving god - the obvious reading of the words is that you get one chance, and after that you are doomed to burn with no possibility of repentance.  Nice - that's why I tend to loath the misandric rantings of those in bronze age Judea and medieval Mecca
You're not really leaving me with much choice. Let me explain, then, why I've been avoiding the use of "Islam", "Qur'an" and "Muslim" (i.e. the "specifics of religion" as I have been putting it). First off, the correct translation for that verse along with the translator's comments in square brackets is as follows:
Quote
God (His Law of Cause and Effect) has sealed their hearts and their hearing, and on their sight there is a veil. And theirs will be a tremendous suffering. [Khatm or Taba’ from God, seal on the hearts, is a natural consequence of one’s deeds. Blind following, adamancy, being unjust due to selfish interests and arrogance render the human perception and reasoning unreceptive to Divine revelation. Thus, one loses sensitivity and the ability to perceive reality. It is easy to see how damaging this fall from the high stature of humanity can be, a tremendous suffering that is built-in as the logical consequence of such attitude. 4:88, 17:46, 18:57, 40:35, 45:23, 83:14]
  You continue to protest that you are being forced to do this or quote that - but you introduced the koran.  The fact that you need to find an alternative translation speaks volumes - and no I do not think they are lucky guess, they are deliberate re-interpretations.

.../snipped

Quote
And all this just brings us back to square one. I find your presenting of prevailing Qur'anic translations as well as any from Hadith as evidence against Islamic reasoning to be misdirected, and you will naturally find a request to brush up on accurate Islamic history and the Qur'an itself to be unreasonable so we're getting no where. All this, again, is not to suggest that I think everyone here has just made up their minds and can't think critically from the other side. I just don't find it to be a fruitful discussion, which is why I was trying to approach a question that I was interested in without bringing in these religious arguments.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums