The History of God and Other Religious Myths

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The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:36 am

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Background

Tectonic forces began splitting east Africa apart 25 million years ago resulting in today's Great Rift Valley. The rainforest flourished in the east but the western side dried giving way to vast savannah grasslands. Chimpanzees in the west were eventually forced out of the trees to search for food on the ground beginning a 9 million year evolutionary trek ending in humanity. After 5 million years Australopithecus afarensis developed DNA mutations of the feet, toes, legs and pelvis enabling them to walk upright. About 1.5 million years ago Homo erectus, a prehuman ancestor with a larger brain, migrated out of Africa to the Asian continent before going extinct. Geneticist Spencer Wells estimates that Homo sapiens, fully modern-day humans, evolved 60,000 to 90,000 years ago. Two of our earliest intellectual creations were art and religion.

Early Sacred Art

Cave art suggests that early humans conceived of a spiritual realm. These first humans painted and engraved animals they feared (lions, rhinos, etc.) and revered (deer, bison, etc.) on the walls of Altamira in Spain 40,000 years ago and Chauvet in France 32,000 years ago. Looking up at the art produces the same sense of awe you feel from the majesty of a Gothic cathedral. Caverns with drawings lay deep inside the caves indicating they were not used for habitation but possibly to hold ceremonies with devout rituals to insure or celebrate the success of the hunt.
The 35,000 year-old ivory figurines of Venus of Hohle Fels (fertility icon) and Lion-Man of Hohlenstein Stadel (lion head on man's body) were found in caves in Germany. They are symbols of a rudimentary belief in a spirit world. Lion-Man effigies were found in both caves (above) indicating the existence of a cult. Other statuettes were buried with the dead. (Were devotional services held at the death of a loved one or tribal leader?)
In the Fertile Crescent valley of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in southern Turkey 11,600 years ago, nomad hunter-gatherers built circular one-room halls at Gobekli Tepe. Surreal depictions of animals and humans with elongated bodies were carved as bas reliefs on 16-ton, 18-foot-tall smooth limestone pillars that held up the roof. The secret society of elders may have used these sanctums for meetings to conduct sacred rites of passage.

Birth of Religion

Archaeologists estimate there were 15,000 people living in Western Europe at the end of the last Ice Age, 20,000 years ago. There were approximately 500 different groups each with about 30 extended family members. A single elder with experience, intelligence, and strength could coordinate and harmonize the efforts and activities of his small clan. As climate warmed, these hunter-gatherers migrated into farming settlements of 100s, then 1000's, then tens of thousands. One-man rule was no longer adequate to manage the complex relationships of a large community. According to National Geographic magazine (June 2011, page 41), religion arose in one of two ways:
Religion preceded Farming: "People came together for rituals creating the need to grow food for large groups gathering near sacred sites." The mere existence of Gobekli Tepe supports this view since there is no evidence of human settlements nearby.
Farming preceded Religion: "After people began settling in villages and farming, religion arose to promote social cooperation." Michael Shermer prefers this second scenario: "Leaders developed two new institutions to organize and control the affairs of the masses--government with an all-powerful military police and religion with all-powerful gods and goddesses."

First Approximations

Great intelligence and imagination evolved to set us humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. These traits enable us to ponder the answers to two philosophical questions: how the universe works and our place in it. Finding the answers would satisfy our intellectual curiosity, bolster our emotional self-confidence, and insure our basic physical necessities of food, clothing and shelter. For answers we observed Nature: the plants and animals that nourished us, the forces (lightning, volcanoes, and floods) that devastated us, and the benevolence (the sun and stars) that helped us. At this early time our only technology was simple math/geometry and the naked eye. Our measurements were pretty good--good enough to build temples and pyramids. But our conclusions were pretty bad: the Earth was flat (not round) and the Earth was stationary (The Sun circled Earth.). There were huge gaps in our knowledge so we played make-believe: we projected our own emotions and motives onto Nature creating human-like persona to explain/understand how Nature works. (This is called the anthropomorphic principle.) In hindsight we confused and thus blended Nature with the Super-Natural, turning a purely intellectual inquiry into a religious one.
People all around the globe were trying to figure out the answers to the two questions, but all failed miserably.
3000 BC Southern England: Circular wooden structures predate the megaliths erected 2200-2400 BC at Stonehenge--an astronomical observatory of the rising and setting sun. While precise measurements may have helped the ancients plan their farming to maximize harvests, G. T. Meaden suggests the site was a place to worship the sun.
1500 BC Iraq (ancient Babylon): Astrology was devised to determine the destiny of a person from the positions of the star constellations at the time of birth.
500 BC Germany/Scandinavia: The god Thor swung his war hammer to produce lightning and thunder to punish human misdeeds.
500 AD Southern Peru: The Nazca lines extend from the plain by the ocean miles into the mountains. Using precisely placed rocks, large outlines of animals mirroring the star constellations were drawn but could only be viewed and appreciated by someone (or some god) positioned hundreds of feet in the air above. Could the lines and animals contain spiritual significance?
1200 AD Hawaii: Hawaiians thought their goddess Pele made the Kilauea volcano erupt when she was angered by their actions.
1300 AD Central Mexico: The Aztecs believed the sun had died four times and now was on its fifth and possibly last life cycle. To ensure the sun remained alive, they sacrificed slaves by cutting out their beating hearts and offering them to their gods. They slaughtered thousands on a single day.
These first approximations of reality were made with a minimum of technology resulting in many bizarre and some brutal religious misinterpretations. The divine nature of these early concepts could not be disproved so the leaders of society could use them to support the authority of religious institutions. Starting 400 years ago science through technology provided the valid insight of reality we enjoy today even though some of these illusory religious concepts persist.

History of God and Other Religious Myths--Middle East

After Gobekli Tepe there is a gap of 9,000 years until the advent of writing provides a glimpse of religious doctrine in the Middle East--religious practices were passed down from generation to generation via word-of-mouth and repetition of rituals. When writing first appeared in Sumer (cuneiform, 3000 BC) and Egypt (hieroglyphs, 2300 BC), religious concepts were highly developed thus we cannot be certain of the time and place of the rise of religious ideas but we can draw some logical conclusions. The main point of this article is that there is an unbroken historical timeline showing that spirituality was first conceived by Ice-Age cavemen 35,000 years ago, then developed by nomad hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago and (presented below) embellished by prehistoric pagans 5,000 years ago--three groups that have no credibility for establishing the reality of god or any spiritual belief.

In Secret Origins of the Bible (pages 6-39) Tim Callahan presents the Babylonian, Greek and Hebrew religious stories of the creation of the universe. His research shows that all three stories contain four basic concepts:

  1. Supreme Being: a supernatural all-powerful god, gods and goddesses.
  2. Eternal Water: seas, rivers, and rain did not have to be created but always existed.
  3. Chaos: the natural order of the pre-universe was disorder.
  4. Humans: god created humans out of earth, soil, or clay.


The similarity in the three creation myths is no coincidence. The three cultures resided within a 500 mile radius: they knew each other well through trade and war. Their creation stories are similar. Lacking hard evidence these cultures borrowed and copied the best of each other's ideas in an attempt to understand their own origin. Callahan estimates that the Babylonian myth was written 1600-2300 BC; that the Greek myth dates from 800-1000 BC: and that the Hebrew Genesis story was written 600-900 BC. Since the Babylonian story is the oldest we might conclude it is the source of the other two. But concurrent with the Babylonian writings there is a pagan superstition containing all four concepts that may be the original source for the other three--and that is the Egyptian creation myth. The ancient Egyptian empire is the oldest, richest, mightiest, most productive and longest-lived superpower in recorded history, lasting from 3100-332 BC. Starting in 2300 BC with pharaoh Unis, the Egyptians drew and chiseled the beliefs of their creation myth, the famous "pyramid texts," on the stone walls of their pharaohs' tombs, displaying the first truly religious scriptures before writing them down on papyrus in their Book of the Dead.

Egyptian Creation Myth

In the beginning Amun created himself above the eternal waters of Chaos. The Egyptians believed the Mediterranean Sea and Nile River always existed and did not have to be created. When Amun masturbated where his semen fell became land: thus originated the myth of the Supreme Being or all-powerful god. Amun created many other gods and goddesses, important among them was his sister Nut, goddess of the Sky. Nut bent over the land with her feet on the east side of the Nile and her hands on the west side. She raised her nude body high up with her elongated arms and legs, and formed the sky. Stars shone from her bare torso at night. The Egyptians believed that at sunset the sun vanished because Nut swallowed it. During the night it passed through her digestive tract and in the morning she excreted it at sunrise allowing the sun to traverse the sky again.

Egyptian Myth of Human Creation

There are two parts to the myth of human creation: how the pharaoh was created, and how ordinary people were created.

Creation of Pharaoh
Amun had sexual relations with many of his sisters and produced second and third generation deities. Important among these were two brothers, Set and Osiris, and their sister Isis. Set murdered Osiris, cut his body into pieces, and threw them away in the desert. Wherever a body part landed, an oasis was created. Isis gathered the pieces of Osiris and put his body back together. She turned herself into a bird, and flapping her wings she resuscitated him back to life but (in one version of the story) he could live for only one day on Earth; thus originated the Resurrection myth. The Egyptians drew and chiseled on the walls of their temples the story of how Osiris impregnated Isis, who gave birth to a son Horus who was part human and part divine; thus originated the myth of the Virgin Birth. The pyramids were tombs for the pharaohs. The Egyptians became excellent pyramid builders designing passages inside leading upwards and downwards. One small passage (4 inches by 4 inches) from the chamber holding the pharaoh's body led diagonally up and out of the pyramid so the pharaoh's soul could travel up to the sky and become a new star; thus originated the myth of Heaven. Osiris ruled the afterlife and sat in judgement of humans after they died. The Egyptians developed mummification since they believed that the soul ceased to exist if the body decayed leaving only the skeleton; thus originated the myth of the Soul and the Accountability of humans to god in the Afterlife (heaven and hell). Horus redeemed Osiris by killing Set and became pharaoh ruling over the Egyptian people. Generation after generation Horus-Pharaoh married one of his sisters and their first born son became pharaoh, part human and part divine. The Egyptians believed in the tri-part unit of three gods: God the Father, God the Son and Goddess the Sister-Wife-Mother; thus originated the myth of the Trinity. Certain numbers (such as three, seven, nine and twelve) were important to the Egyptians. The number twelve was especially important because they measured time by this number: 12 hours of day, 12 hours of night, and 12 months of the year (30 days in each month with 5 or 6 holidays to balance out the year).

Creation of Ordinary Humans
Ordinary humans were created when the god Ptah took clay from the ground and molded it into human form on a potter's wheel. Ptah used an ankh to breathe life into humans through their nostrils.

Borrowed Ideas

The ancient Egyptians formulated four basic religious concepts: supernatural Supreme Being, eternal waters, pre-universe of chaos, and human creation from earth. Having no better insight, ancient cultures arising after or concurrently with the Egyptians borrowed these ideas and made them central to their ethnic religion. But peripheral concepts were borrowed too.

The Greeks
The Greeks borrowed the Egyptian number twelve for their counsel of twelve gods on Mount Olympus and devised a story about the twelve labors of Heracles. Heracles was part human and part divine by a virgin birth, having the god Zeus as father and a human, Alcmena, as mother. The Greeks were the only culture to incorporate incest into their religion: Kronos and Rhea were brother and sister--and husband and wife--who had children, Zeus and Hera, who married and produced offspring.

The Hebrews
The Hebrews borrowed the Egyptian number twelve for their twelve Tribes of Israel. Cain murdering Abel is reminiscent of Set killing Osiris. They also copied several ideas from the Babylonians.

  1. Creation Myth. There were six generations of Babylonian giants: the sun and moon were created during the fourth generation and humans were created during the sixth generation. In the Hebrew Genesis story, the sun and moon were created on the fourth day and humans were created on the sixth day.
  2. The Hebrews copied two Babylonian stories to describe their prophet Moses:
    a. Sargon was born of humble birth. His mother put him in a basket and floated him down the river. The queen of Babylon rescued him and raised him in her household. Later he became king.
    b. The Babylonian king Hammurabi went up into the mountains and received the laws of his code from God.
  3. The flood and ark stories come from ancient Babylonian mythology 1000 years before Noah.


The Christians
The Christians appropriated several Egyptian myths into their religion: the number twelve for the Apostles of Jesus; the Osiris resurrection myth for Jesus; the Egyptian trinity was modified into God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost; the duality of Horus-Pharaoh for Jesus being part human and part divine; and Isis' virgin birth (or a Greek version) for Mary.
The Christians also borrowed from the Hebrews, adopting their entire bible (Tanakh) as the Old Testament and claiming Jesus was a direct descendant in the lineage of the House of David.

The Muslims
By the time Islam arose 622 AD, the Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek religions had vanished with the military destruction of their empires. Christianity and Judaism were well-defined, intertwined and central to the powerful Roman/Byzantine Empire headquartered in Constantinople (Istanbul). While Muslims had Arab precedents, they adopted the core beliefs of Christianity and Judaism: one god, the soul, heaven and hell.
The Hojjatieh sect of Shia Islam borrowed the Egyptian number twelve for their apocalyptic Twelfth Imam. The Muslims appropriated the Jewish founder Abraham as their patriarch and recognized Jesus as a prophet but not the divine son of God. The Muslims borrowed the Jewish/Christian messenger angel Gabriel saying he whispered the words of the Koran into Muhammad's ear.

Summary

The ancient Hebrew religious thinkers and leaders accepted as fact the Egyptian myths of a Supreme Being and a human soul because they were intellectually the smartest common sense answers, and emotionally the most optimistic motivators of the time. Since the Hebrews established their religion 2000 years after the Egyptians, the Hebrews were more realistically grounded: they eliminated the pantheon of gods, the animals and the pornography, and developed the concept of one omnipotent, omniscient god. The Muslims followed their example believing in just one god while the Christians held on to the ancient Egyptian concept of the Trinity in modified form. The prehistoric pagans of 5,000-year-ago Egypt borrowed their basic idea of a spirit world from 10,000-year-ago hunter-gatherers who in turn inherited it from 35,000-year-ago cavemen, preparing ancient Hebrews, Christians and Muslims to mistakenly perceive many natural events as miraculous happenings. With so many borrowed ideas (from cavemen, hunter-gatherers, Babylonians, Egyptians), and so many misinterpretations, Genesis, the Gospels, and the Koran, cannot be considered the word of god. That is the history of the idea of god and other religious beliefs.

Conclusion

Today nobody would believe in the Egyptian religion because it contradicts what we understand about the world around us: gods don't swallow the sun and birds can't bring anything back to life. These blatant misinterpretations of Nature discredit the validity of the pagans' core Super-Natural beliefs: a Supreme Being, a human soul, and heaven and hell. If they could be so wrong about the obvious, how could they be right about the obscure? These four Egyptian supernatural beliefs are as frivolous as the Babylonian giants, and acquire substance in only one context: the weird, imaginary Egyptian religion. All of the Egyptians' fanciful beliefs are just fuzzy thinking; to believe in something that science cannot verify to exist runs the risk of believing in nothing at all. Over the last 400 years as science explained the mysteries of the universe, the mysticism of religion should have declined. As we figured out the mechanisms of Nature, faith in Super-Natural miracle should have declined. As human self-confidence grew through science and technology, reliance on prayer should have declined. As modern scientific insight made more and more sense out of the universe (with quantum mechanics, Einstein's relativity, the Big Bang, evolution, and our expanding universe), all ancient religious beliefs should have become obsolete because they are no longer needed to explain our universe, they are no longer needed to define us humans, they just no longer make sense. Yet curiously people today do believe in the four superstitions of religion: god, soul, heaven, and hell. Apparently their origin has been erased by time. Would modern day Jews, Christians and Muslims discontinue belief in these four superstitions if they realized their dubious origin: Ice-Age cavemen, wandering hunter-gatherers and pagans? Or is faith an unreasonable emotion?

To be continued...



http://infidels.org/kiosk/article/the-history-of-god-and-other-religious-myths-907.html


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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:57 am

Eilzel wrote:Fascinating stuff Star.

Zack, you still haven't addressed the fact that gods should not be limited by natural laws. God (if we accept one as real) MADE things this way. He could have done things any other way, with less destruction but still with balance- but god CHOSE this way, the way of chaos amd violence.

Funny how the atheist is always talking about God and the Muslim talks about science.

Anyway - I'll play your game as you clearly haven't followed my posts.

Yes, God is all powerful. And not bound by natural law. That's what a miracle is. Doing something outside the bounds of natural law (or physics, if you don't know what natural law means).

Perhaps you're so insecure that you want God to change natural laws just to make sure you have no obstacles and are always happy.

The problem there is that life wouldn't exist without these natural laws, configured precisely as they are.  So changing them all the time would mean no life. And no Les to ask silly questions.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:09 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Fascinating stuff Star.

Zack, you still haven't addressed the fact that gods should not be limited by natural laws. God (if we accept one as real) MADE things this way. He could have done things any other way, with less destruction but still with balance- but god CHOSE this way, the way of chaos amd violence.

Funny how the atheist is always talking about God and the Muslim talks about science.

Anyway - I'll play your game as you clearly haven't followed my posts.

Yes, God is all powerful. And not bound by natural law. That's what a miracle is. Doing something outside the bounds of natural law (or physics, if you don't know what natural law means).

Perhaps you're so insecure that you want God to change natural laws just to make sure you have no obstacles and are always happy.

The problem there is that life wouldn't exist without these natural laws, configured precisely as they are.  So changing them all the time would mean no life. And no Les to ask silly questions.

Natural law is the concept that some form of law exists naturally and universally, beyond the laws created by governments and societies, and beyond the observable laws of physics and mathematics. It is most closely associated with the concept of objective morality: the belief that some actions will always remain moral or immoral, regardless of the attitudes of individuals, societies or governments to these actions.


The claim to your god or any god is based on an assumption where again religious people try to make a myth fit science. The point you misss is that clearly if this God exists, it either does not care one shit if anyone suffers, being able to do something about it or does care and is unable to do something about it. So again the points stand to reason, that simply this deity cleary either does not care or is unable to do anything to intervene.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:15 pm

Richard The Lionheart wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:

Funny how the atheist is always talking about God and the Muslim talks about science.

Anyway - I'll play your game as you clearly haven't followed my posts.

Yes, God is all powerful. And not bound by natural law. That's what a miracle is. Doing something outside the bounds of natural law (or physics, if you don't know what natural law means).

Perhaps you're so insecure that you want God to change natural laws just to make sure you have no obstacles and are always happy.

The problem there is that life wouldn't exist without these natural laws, configured precisely as they are.  So changing them all the time would mean no life. And no Les to ask silly questions.

Natural law is the concept that some form of law exists naturally and universally, beyond the laws created by governments and societies, and beyond the observable laws of physics and mathematics. It is most closely associated with the concept of objective morality: the belief that some actions will always remain moral or immoral, regardless of the attitudes of individuals, societies or governments to these actions.


The claim to your god or any god is based on an assumption where again religious people try to make a myth fit science. The point you misss is that clearly if this God exists, it either does not care one shit if anyone suffers, being able to do something about it or does care and is unable to do something about it. So again the points stand to reason, that simply this deity cleary either does not care or is unable to do anything to intervene.

I have addressed it:

Instead of suffering, use the word "obstacle". Can you learn anything in life without obstacles? No. So suffering as you put it, is about our own growth.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:17 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Richard The Lionheart wrote:

Natural law is the concept that some form of law exists naturally and universally, beyond the laws created by governments and societies, and beyond the observable laws of physics and mathematics. It is most closely associated with the concept of objective morality: the belief that some actions will always remain moral or immoral, regardless of the attitudes of individuals, societies or governments to these actions.


The claim to your god or any god is based on an assumption where again religious people try to make a myth fit science. The point you misss is that clearly if this God exists, it either does not care one shit if anyone suffers, being able to do something about it or does care and is unable to do something about it. So again the points stand to reason, that simply this deity cleary either does not care or is unable to do anything to intervene.

I have addressed it:

Instead of suffering, use the word "obstacle". Can you learn anything in life without obstacles? No.  So suffering as you put it, is about our own growth.

Actually you have avoided many posts.
So you are saying you need obstacles in order to learn, only by this can you learn?
Sorry but that is plainly absurd.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:18 pm

Richard The Lionheart wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:

I have addressed it:

Instead of suffering, use the word "obstacle". Can you learn anything in life without obstacles? No.  So suffering as you put it, is about our own growth.

Actually you have avoided many posts.
So you are saying you need obstacles in order to learn, only by this can you learn?
Sorry but that is plainly absurd.

Lol!
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:19 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Richard The Lionheart wrote:

Actually you have avoided many posts.
So you are saying you need obstacles in order to learn, only by this can you learn?
Sorry but that is plainly absurd.

Lol!

So that is you bowing out not able to back up your point.

Cool

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:29 pm

Richard The Lionheart wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:

Lol!

So that is you bowing out not able to back up your point.

Cool

Childish on this thread and aggressive on the other. Calm down Didge.

Obstacles is the "best" way to learn and find out who you really are, and not just say you are.

Only people who say otherwise are quite frankly "the pussies of life".
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:31 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Richard The Lionheart wrote:

So that is you bowing out not able to back up your point.

Cool

Childish on this thread and aggressive on the other. Calm down Didge.
False accusations clearly deflecting

Obstacles is the "best" way to learn and find out who you really are, and not just say you are.
Oh now you change it to the best way, quelle surprise

Only people who say otherwise are quite frankly "the pussies of life".

You then end with a really childish comment after just clearly back tracking on your original point.

That is how to easily school a religious robot

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:34 pm

Richard The Lionheart wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:

Childish on this thread and aggressive on the other. Calm down Didge.
False accusations clearly deflecting

Obstacles is the "best" way to learn and find out who you really are, and not just say you are.
Oh now you change it to the best way, quelle surprise

Only people who say otherwise are quite frankly "the pussies of life".

You then end with a really childish comment after just clearly back tracking on your original point.

That is how to easily school a religious robot

You did not even have the guts to ask for a clarification, if you misunderstood.

That just shows the insecurity of atheists.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:38 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Richard The Lionheart wrote:

You then end with a really childish comment after just clearly back tracking on your original point.

That is how to easily school a religious robot

You did not even have the guts to ask for a clarification, if you misunderstood.

That just shows the insecurity of atheists.

I have no insecurities, and how you now again attempt to deflect after your mistake when you do not need always obstacles to learn, which was an error on your part.
I do not need to fear something as you dol, which is an insecurity in itself. You fear this myth, as you need to fear in order to believe.
That is an insecurity.
So how you even attempt to lay claim athiests are insecure shows how little you understand about psychology.
A fear of what you think happens after death, allows your insecurities to govern your belief.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:48 pm

Hi Didge. I agree with your last comment, and we are not insecure, but I will concede that yes we learn by mistakes and obstacles, of course we do, but that isn't the only way we learn. I don't think I need to spell it out.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Eilzel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:18 am

Zack, you aren't telling me anything I don't already know. But you cannot escape the contradiction when you state god can only allow life to exist within the set boundaries of natural laws.

I KNOW life cannot exist outside those laws. If I gained the magical ability to create life tomorrow I know I would have to work within those boundaries too. But even with such powers, I wouldn't be an all powerful, limitless god.

God can do what it wants, so:

Why is he restricted?

If he set the laws, WHY did it set them in such a way?

Don't repeat the science, I know it, what I want to know is why you think god is confined to work within its limits.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Eilzel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:20 am

Incidentally Zack, the reason we atheists continually pursue these subjects is pure bewilderment that people continue to follow especially religious gods. Our questions seek to question that very concept- how and why you can possibly believe in such a thing.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:33 am

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Ben_Reilly wrote:

Seeing as even religious morality is constructed by the human mind, it follows that we can construct morality -- and obviously, we today can construct a better version of morality than something we inherited from people whose lives were little like our own.

Being good simply because we can strikes me as quite beautiful.

If, as you seem to assert, that morality is a human construct that is inherited, does that mean a child raised without any human guidance will not have any sense of morality?
Sorry if this is a point said further on but just reading through the thread  
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:01 am

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Zack, science telld is how and why disasters happen and from that we can understand their role in life.

However, from the pov of a 'god', you have to rationalise why god would choose to create a world which required such destruction, so often, and with such massive lossof life every time. God could find other ways, but chose the path of frequent disasters???

Becuase we live in a universe where you don't have creation without destruction.

You mentioned God. I'm trying to look at this from a scientific position. Aren't we all stardust, the reminants of a supernova? Isn't fertile ground found near volcanoes? This is what "science" tells us. Not religion.
Ahh the difficult question :-)

we are the remnants of something ,just like the sun and stars and planets are remnants of something whether that`s was a supernova  is a question not yet answered

do we live in a universe  you don't have creation without destruction. ?

Mmmm not sure i could agree with that and i would point to my children as evidence of creation without destruction certainly on the cellular level ....interesting question


This is what "science" tells us. Not religion

Now i am a person who does not believe in "god" but that said
i would argue that actually religion did in a way

yes now we can see it scientifically and logically and perhaps it is hard for anybody religious or not to see things as they did then
but river gods ,mountain gods,volcano gods bringing life to the world was the only way they could explain why some places where better than others for crops hunting water
what we now know as scientific facts, food availability,fertilization ,etc etc  was granted by a god because they had no other explanation  
And as with any and all religions Guilt is the grease in which the wheels of the authority turn.
Small Gods

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Mon Jan 11, 2016 8:17 pm

Hi folks. As I've said before, this is a very unstable planet, not a very good creation for a god. Have  look at this site and you'll see what I mean.

http://quakes.globalincidentmap.com/

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:11 pm

@the Op

Religion predates settlement, there can be no argument otherwise as the Rainbow serpent predates all non-nomadic settlements and agriculture and is still around and clearly a religion.  first permanent settlements/structures don't start getting appearing until 6,500 BC. oldest rainbow serpent sites date back to at least 30,000 BC
and the Aboriginals that follow that pantheon didn't 'settle' until 200 years ago when white man forced them to.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:28 pm

Ben_Reilly wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:
Richard The Lionheart wrote:
Ben_Reilly wrote:

This is why it always aggravates me when people call atheists arrogant. We believe we're a happenstance species that evolved on a little chunk of rock that's nothing compared to the vastness of the universe, who live for the blink of an eye and then turn back into the building blocks of matter.

They believe that the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe and all that is good and wholesome within it cares an awful lot about what they think, do, say, and especially what they get up to with their reproductive organs.

But we're the arrogant ones.

Yep, its about as absurd as it can get.
We do not claim to be spcial in anyway and that when we die that it is it.


THIS


But the arrogance of te athiest is THEN
that he would claim there is some imaginary "common good" that we should all work for

that some-one 1000 miles away is just as important as my family

that we are, in some strange and mysterious way, ALL "one tribe"

and yet this goes contrary to ALL experience and past history

IF we ARE mere "animals that can think(abstractly)" then whats the point of being "intrinsically good" other than ...because we can?

you remove "god" from the equation...and replace him/her with an equally nebulous concept of the golden rule?

then your souless "corporations" etc think to inflict THEIR version of that on everyone else in the world ..." we are bombing you for your own good".....

scratch  scratch  scratch

Seeing as even religious morality is constructed by the human mind, it follows that we can construct morality -- and obviously, we today can construct a better version of morality than something we inherited from people whose lives were little like our own.

Being good simply because we can strikes me as quite beautiful.

I think so
although i like to say
"I am kind because I choose to be."
And I choose to be because I am strong enough to make that choice
it is braver to be kind and put ones self out there in a position, knowing but not caring that you could be used and never repaid, then to fear losing small things and never put yourself out to help one less capable.

this extends to all life.
and it has changed my world view or default position.
if i am in a position to be kind, then why not be kind?

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by veya_victaous on Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:39 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Zack, science telld is how and why disasters happen and from that we can understand their role in life.

However, from the pov of a 'god', you have to rationalise why god would choose to create a world which required such destruction, so often, and with such massive lossof life every time. God could find other ways, but chose the path of frequent disasters???

Becuase we live in a universe where you don't have creation without destruction.

You mentioned God. I'm trying to look at this from a scientific position. Aren't we all stardust, the reminants of a supernova? Isn't fertile ground found near volcanoes? This is what "science" tells us. Not religion.
Ahh the difficult question :-)

we are the remnants of something ,just like the sun and stars and planets are remnants of something whether that`s was a supernova  is a question not yet answered

do we live in a universe  you don't have creation without destruction. ?

Mmmm not sure i could agree with that and i would point to my children as evidence of creation without destruction certainly on the cellular level ....interesting question


This is what "science" tells us. Not religion

Now i am a person who does not believe in "god" but that said
i would argue that actually religion did in a way

yes now we can see it scientifically and logically and perhaps it is hard for anybody religious or not to see things as they did then
but river gods ,mountain gods,volcano gods bringing life to the world was the only way they could explain why some places where better than others for crops hunting water
what we now know as scientific facts, food availability,fertilization ,etc etc  was granted by a god because they had no other explanation  
And as with any and all religions Guilt is the grease in which the wheels of the authority turn.
Small Gods

First Law of Thermodynamics
No energy in the universe is created or destroyed, it merely transition between states.
all matter is energy and all energy potentially matter, therefore nothing is ever truly destroyed or created it mere 'becomes' something else.











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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by veya_victaous on Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:30 am

Having read the thread I question the Natural laws
Physics is the only one that is real and we don't know it's limits yet.
Morality is Dubious as how does that affect a tree or grass? surely any universal laws of morality would apply to all life forms. and the only universal law applied to the lifeforms we know on earth is 'survive and reproduce at all costs'

also I have to correct some Atheists here
We do not know the boundaries of life, the top scientists are still debating what Life is.
We really have no knowledge of life beyond what we have found on earth, which is like saying we know what is in the ocean because we looked in a Glass of water. we have no where near a large enough sample to declare anything.


Remember what Bill NYE says

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:47 am

Who questioned the boundaries of life?
I stated quite clearly it is very open as to what might be possible in the future.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by veya_victaous on Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:48 am

Didge wrote:Who questioned the boundaries of life?
I stated quite clearly it is very open as to what might be possible in the future.

Les and Fuzzy

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 12, 2016 4:52 am

veya_victaous wrote:
Didge wrote:Who questioned the boundaries of life?
I stated quite clearly it is very open as to what might be possible in the future.

Les and Fuzzy


So your statement was in error as it should have read:

also I have to correct some an Atheist and a Muslim here

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Eilzel on Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:01 am

Veya, what exactly did I claim that you are correcting?

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:03 am

Eilzel wrote:Veya, what exactly did I claim that you are correcting?


Sorry if you did not say Eilzel, I actually thought it was Zack who claimed boundaries on life and have just gone off veya's claim, which when I now think about it, I should have checked.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:16 pm

Hi folks. I see no boundaries to life, except where seeding and flourishing are not encouraged by the local conditions. There are appro' 30,000,000 species of life on our planet which says to me that life, however you define it, is prolific, not only on our planet, but throughout the universe. We human's have become very self-centred and think we know it all, but I'm convinced that there is life out there, both primitive and advanced. We are somewhere in the middle.
With this understanding I see no need for a belief in a god, for nature, however we define it, is prolific, as said, not only on planet Earth but out there in the Universe. One day we will see and find it. The belief in a god/gods is based on primitive ignorance, such as Veya's Aborigine Rainbow Serpent. Aboriginal legend also has two female/sisters, the Wagilak sisters, wandering around the country seeding life.
Just two small examples of trying to explain and understand the world and life-forces, and the need to create god/gods to answer their ignorance of the facts. This notion is world-wide, with hundreds of gods and goddesses. BTW, goddesses outnumber gods.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:46 am

And the answer was: "OUCH!"

Good morning folks. Where are you?

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:48 am

Sorry, kept locking up and I pressed 'send' a couple of times.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:55 am

Morning Stardesk

It seems Veya has bowed out and cannot back up his falkse claimed made onto Eilzel.
Sorry mate, will find another religious theme article to stoke your interest

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:10 am

Morning Didge, I hope you're well.
Yes, I expected Veya to answer but no, perhaps he's done a runner, due to no logical answer or religious excuses.
OK Didge, look forward to further debate.

BTW, thinking about my last comment about gods/goddesses, I counted in my files 190 gods and 290 goddesses! Wow, take a back seat God, the Lady has the floor.


Last edited by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:13 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:13 am

I am well Stardesk, and hope you are too.

Now worries, will find something good, so hope to catch you later

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:15 am

Didge wrote:I am well Stardesk, and hope you are too.

Now worries, will find something good, so hope to catch you later

OK mate, I look forward to that. Coffee calls, see ya.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:16 am

Didge wrote:I am well Stardesk, and hope you are too.

Now worries, will find something good, so hope to catch you later

OK mate, I look forward to that. Coffee calls, see ya.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:03 pm

Eilzel wrote:Zack, you aren't telling me anything I don't already know. But you cannot escape the contradiction when you state god can only allow life to exist within the set boundaries of natural laws.

I KNOW life cannot exist outside those laws. If I gained the magical ability to create life tomorrow I know I would have to work within those boundaries too. But even with such powers, I wouldn't be an all powerful, limitless god.

God can do what it wants, so:

Why is he restricted?

If he set the laws, WHY did it set them in such a way?

Don't repeat the science, I know it, what I want to know is why you think god is confined to work within its limits.

God is not restricted by anything. If he wanted to, he could have provided a world where nobody suffers, let alone die and where there's only construction and no destruction.

The reason I keep relating life back to science and philosophy, is because there is wisdom in how the universe works. That wisdom allows us to overcome the obstacles in this life, so we can be rewarded with the afterlife where nobody suffers.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:05 pm

Eilzel wrote:Incidentally Zack, the reason we atheists continually pursue these subjects is pure bewilderment that people continue to follow especially religious gods. Our questions seek to question that very concept- how and why you can possibly believe in such a thing.

Your bewilderment shows you lack an open mind. Don't mean that with disrespect. That's just the logical conclusion.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:09 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Zack, you aren't telling me anything I don't already know. But you cannot escape the contradiction when you state god can only allow life to exist within the set boundaries of natural laws.

I KNOW life cannot exist outside those laws. If I gained the magical ability to create life tomorrow I know I would have to work within those boundaries too. But even with such powers, I wouldn't be an all powerful, limitless god.

God can do what it wants, so:

Why is he restricted?

If he set the laws, WHY did it set them in such a way?

Don't repeat the science, I know it, what I want to know is why you think god is confined to work within its limits.

God is not restricted by anything. If he wanted to, he could have provided a world where nobody suffers, let alone die and where there's only construction and no destruction.

The reason I keep relating life back to science and philosophy, is because there is wisdom in how the universe works. That wisdom allows us to overcome the obstacles in this life, so we can be rewarded with the afterlife where nobody suffers.


Soory but I really have a big issue when religious people, no disrespect, who claim to know what their myth of a god wants or knows. Where in any of the scriptures of Islamic of Christian text does it say the above about your deity?
Sorry Zack but you are trying to make religion into science based off opinions Muslims have based off their religion and nothing grounded in the text. This is of course a common problem today where and you are not one that has done so but claims to miricles in the Quran trying again to make the Quran fit science

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:11 pm

korban dallas wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:

Becuase we live in a universe where you don't have creation without destruction.

You mentioned God. I'm trying to look at this from a scientific position. Aren't we all stardust, the reminants of a supernova? Isn't fertile ground found near volcanoes? This is what "science" tells us. Not religion.
Ahh the difficult question :-)

we are the remnants of something ,just like the sun and stars and planets are remnants of something whether that`s was a supernova  is a question not yet answered

do we live in a universe  you don't have creation without destruction. ?

Mmmm not sure i could agree with that and i would point to my children as evidence of creation without destruction certainly on the cellular level ....interesting question


This is what "science" tells us. Not religion

Now i am a person who does not believe in "god" but that said
i would argue that actually religion did in a way

yes now we can see it scientifically and logically and perhaps it is hard for anybody religious or not to see things as they did then
but river gods ,mountain gods,volcano gods bringing life to the world was the only way they could explain why some places where better than others for crops hunting water
what we now know as scientific facts, food availability,fertilization ,etc etc  was granted by a god because they had no other explanation  
And as with any and all religions Guilt is the grease in which the wheels of the authority turn.
Small Gods

I'm sure you had to burn off some food to get the energy to bust your nuts to make your lovely children.

A lot of destruction of food mass into energy to create some sperm, etc.

And I'm not refuting the scientific reasons why land is more fertile in volatile zones. I'm asking "why do people choose to live there if they know the risks?". the scientific reasons gives us wisdom. And therefore we accept the construction and destruction of God.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Fuzzy Zack on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:12 pm

Didge wrote:
Fuzzy Zack wrote:

God is not restricted by anything. If he wanted to, he could have provided a world where nobody suffers, let alone die and where there's only construction and no destruction.

The reason I keep relating life back to science and philosophy, is because there is wisdom in how the universe works. That wisdom allows us to overcome the obstacles in this life, so we can be rewarded with the afterlife where nobody suffers.


Soory but I really have a big issue when religious people, no disrespect, who claim to know what their myth of a god wants or knows. Where in any of the scriptures of Islamic of Christian text does it say the above about your deity?
Sorry Zack but you are trying to make religion into science based off opinions Muslims have based off their religion and nothing grounded in the text. This is of course a common problem today where and you are not one that has done so but claims to miricles in the Quran trying again to make the Quran fit science

No, I'm not trying to make science into relgion. If you believe that, then you haven't understood what I've said about wisdom.
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:15 pm

Sorry again you make assertions to what this deity is or thinks based again off real science itself. Its really nothing more than a cheat and a bad one at that zack, because what you are essentially saying is you know and understand a deity scientifically frokm a religious book written 1400 years ago. Now correct me if I am wrong but is that not blasphemy? Again people will based things on risk factors and what is of the least risk to them, not the highest risk to them, where at present most people enjoy relative calm and not destruction, so even there your point makes no sense. We except there can be the risk of natural problems or even man made problems, which does not require a deity to be needed in that equation

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:16 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
Didge wrote:


Soory but I really have a big issue when religious people, no disrespect, who claim to know what their myth of a god wants or knows. Where in any of the scriptures of Islamic of Christian text does it say the above about your deity?
Sorry Zack but you are trying to make religion into science based off opinions Muslims have based off their religion and nothing grounded in the text. This is of course a common problem today where and you are not one that has done so but claims to miricles in the Quran trying again to make the Quran fit science

No, I'm not trying to make science into relgion. If you believe that, then you haven't understood what I've said about wisdom.


Then show me the religious Islamic text that makes this all clear in Islam about Allah?
Or just as I have said this is the man made interpretations that Muslims have of Allah, again using science.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:49 pm

Naturalism, Fine-Tuning, and Flies (2015)

Aron Lucas

Introduction

Discoveries in cosmology over the past several decades have revealed that if the values of the physical constants and the initial conditions of our universe were just slightly different, our universe would be uninhabitable to life. For example, Newton's law of gravitation is expressed by the equation F=G(m1·m2/r2). G represents the gravitational constant, which takes the value 6.673 x 10-11 N · (m/kg)2. If G were just slightly larger or smaller, the universe would either collapse in on itself or blow apart, making life impossible.[1] G is therefore said to be "fine-tuned." Cosmologists now think that several constants, as well as the universe's initial conditions, are similarly fine-tuned.[2] In the words of Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow:

The laws of nature form a system that is extremely fine-tuned, and very little in physical law can be altered without destroying the possibility of the development of life as we know it. Were it not for a series of startling coincidences in the precise details of physical law, it seems, humans and similar life-forms would never have come into being.[3]


Many theists have argued that these findings reveal divine design in the cosmos. For example, apologist Hugh Ross writes: "Does the fine-tuning imply purposeful design? So many parameters must be fine-tuned and the degree of fine-tuning is so high, no other conclusion seems possible."[4] And it's not just apologists who see teleological implications; cosmologist Paul Davies writes: "It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature's numbers to make the universe.... The impression of design is overwhelming."[5]


The fine-tuning argument (FTA) for theism is typically presented as a Bayesian argument—one that compares the likelihood of actualizing a life-permitting universe (LPU) under theism (T) to that under naturalism (N).[6] A standard presentation of the argument goes something like this:

  1. P(LPU/N) << 1.
  2. ~P(LPU/T) << 1
  3. Therefore, LPU favors T over N[7]


In other words, according to the FTA, the existence of a life-permitting universe is very improbable if naturalism is true, but not very improbable if theism is true, and therefore the fact that our universe supports life increases the probability of theism relative to naturalism. In this paper I aim to challenge the first premise of the FTA.

Is the Existence of a Life-Permitting Universe Very Improbable on Naturalism?

Is P(LPU/N) low? Several philosophers have expressed skepticism that it is. Timothy and Lydia McGrew, for example, have argued that the notion of probability is meaningless in this context because the conceptual space of possible universes cannot be normalized; that is, the probabilities of each conceivable universe do not add up to 1.[8] For the sake of argument, however, I will assume that this problem can be solved and instead focus on another problem with the claim that P(LPU/N) is low.

At the outset, it is important to note that the need for fine-tuning is relative to our specific laws of physics. As Richard Swinburne writes: "Given the actual laws of nature or laws at all similar thereto, boundary conditions [and physical constants] will have to lie within a narrow range of the present [values] if intelligent life is to evolve."[9] Consider the gravitational constant again. The FTA takes the equation for the force of gravity—F=G(m1·m2/r2)—and asks what would happen if we altered G. But why not alter the rest of the equation as well? Why not consider alternative universes with different laws altogether? If we really want to play "what if?" and compare our universe against all theoretically possible universes, then we should also consider alternative universes with different laws entirely. After all, our laws are no less contingent than the values of their constants.[10]


Life-permitting universes may be rare among the limited subset of possible universes that share our laws, but who knows whether they are rare among the total set of possible universes. In other words, even if this ratio is small:
possible life-permitting universes with our laws / total possible universes with our laws
...it doesn't follow that the following ratio is also small:
possible life-permitting universes / total possible universes
But to justify the claim that P(LPU/N) is low, we need to establish that the second ratio is small. For if life-permitting universes took up a large portion of the space of total possible universes, then the fact that our universe supports life wouldn't be all that surprising. This would be true regardless of whether life-permitting universes were rare within the small subset of possible universes that share our laws.

FTA proponents recognize both that the argument only considers a small subset of the total number of possible universes, and that they don't know what would happen under different laws. For instance, William Lane Craig writes:
Maybe in a universe governed by different equations, the gravitational constant G could have a greatly different value and yet life still exist... [but] the correct formulation [of the FTA] concerns universes governed by the same laws of nature as ours, but with different values of the constants and quantities. Because the equations remain the same, we can predict what the world would be like, if, say, the gravitational constant were doubled.[11]


Or consider this comment by Robin Collins:
Our physics does not tell us what would happen if we increased the strong nuclear force by a factor of 101,000. If we naively applied current physics to that situation, we should conclude that no complex life would be possible because atomic nuclei would be crushed. If a new physics applies, however, entirely new and almost inconceivable effects could occur that make complex life possible.[12]


What, then, justifies limiting the FTA to the subset of possible universes that share our laws? As Collins explains, doing so is simply a matter of convenience:
[T]he justification for varying a constant instead of varying the mathematical form of a law in the fine-tuning argument is that, in the reference class of law structure picked out by varying a constant, we can make some estimate of the proportion of life-permitting law structures. This is something we probably could not do if our reference class involved variations of mathematical form.[13]


Here Collins is basically conceding that we have no idea whether or not life-permitting universes are rare among the total set of possible universes. We can only say that they are rare among a small subset. An atheist would naturally object that while it might be pragmatically convenient for the FTA advocate to focus on this subset, doing so robs the FTA of its significance. How can we attach any weight to the conclusion of the argument if it ignores so much relevant information?

Leslie's Fly on the Wall Analogy

Theists have typically tried to answer this question by appealing to an analogy introduced by John Leslie.[14] Imagine that you're in a dark room and you illuminate a limited portion of the wall with a flashlight. In the middle of the illuminated portion is a fly. Suddenly a shot rings out and a bullet kills the fly. Because the fly took up such a small portion of the illuminated space, you assume that this bullet wasn't fired at random. It must have been aimed at the fly. Of course, it's possible that the portion of the wall that you can't see is absolutely covered with flies, such that it's not unlikely that a bullet fired at random would hit a fly. Nonetheless, it is still rational to think the bullet was aimed, even though we cannot see the whole wall, given that the fly was such a small target. Collins concludes: "it seems intuitively clear that the [bullet] hitting the [fly] in this case does confirm the aimed hypothesis over the chance hypothesis."[15]


Just as we cannot see the whole wall, the argument goes, we cannot "see" the whole set of possible universes. However, just as we can infer design when a target is hit in the illuminated portion of the wall, we can similarly infer design when a "target" (i.e., the life-permitting range of values) is "hit" in the subset of possible universes that we can examine.
I do not find this argument to be particularly persuasive. I will admit that we are justified in inferring design in the fly analogy. But why are we justified in inferring it? The reason is that we have good cause to believe that the illuminated portion of the wall is a representative sample of the wall as a whole. But then why can't we also say that the subset of possible universes with our laws is a representative sample of the set of all possible universes? Because we don't think that the illuminated portion of the wall is a representative sample simply as the result of an inductive generalization. That is, our reasoning is not:

  1. This part of the wall isn't covered in flies
  2. Therefore, the rest of the wall probably isn't covered in flies either.


Instead, we think that the wall probably isn't covered in flies because our background knowledge includes extensive experience with walls and flies. We know that it is rare for an entire wall to be covered in flies. We also know that flies don't travel in packs of thousands. Even if we can only see a small portion of the wall, we can safely guess what the rest of the wall looks like. Thus, quite apart from the observation that the illuminated portion of the wall is not heavily populated with flies, we have independent reasons to think the rest of the wall is similar. If we didn't know anything about how many flies there are in the world, or how flies behave, or if we had never seen any walls before, then we would have very little reason to think that the illuminated portion of the wall was a representative sample of the wall as a whole.

When it comes to the FTA, we don't have the requisite background knowledge to say that the "unseeable" universes in the set of possible universes are similar to the ones that we can see. We know that flies don't usually cover entire walls, so we have antecedent reasons to be very confident about what the unseeable parts of the wall look like. We don't have any such antecedent reasons to build expectations about what the "unseeable" universes look like. We also know that people and guns exist, and that people don't particularly like flies. By contrast, we don't already know that there is God who would want to create a life-permitting universe. As Neil Manson writes in his critique of the fly analogy:
This is a fool's game. We are drawn into it only if we are persuaded by Leslie's story of the fly on the wall. That story works, however, only because Leslie illicitly imports a perspective. We know how big we are, we know how big flies are relative to us, and we know what it is for an empty area surrounding a fly to be 'largish' relative to a fly. There is no correspondingly natural perspective when it comes to surveying the space of sets of possible parameter values.[16]


Keith Parsons makes a similar point about our lack of background knowledge in this context:
The alleged improbability of the cosmic "coincidences" is often illustrated by comparing it to extremely improbable mundane situations—such as every gun jamming at once in a firing squad. But such analogies are not apt. We have prior experience of rifles and their performance and, on the basis of that experience, we know how unlikely it is that, say, ten of them would simultaneously jam. We have no similar experiences that would justify such an inference about the cosmic "coincidences."... Once this disanalogy is recognized, the "fine tuning" argument loses all of its intuitive appeal.[17]


Collins seems to hint at the idea that his calculations may not be highly significant after all, for he writes that "because we are considering only one reference class of possible law structures... it is unclear how much weight to attach to the values of epistemic probabilities one obtains using this reference class. Hence, one cannot simply map the epistemic probabilities obtained in this way onto the degrees of belief we should have at the end of the day."[18] This is quite a concession on Collins' part!

Sample Sizes and Representativeness

Conceivably, a theist might ask: "Why can't we simply infer that life-permitting universes are rare in the set of all possible universes because they are rare in the subset that we can examine?" To be sure, scientists routinely use subsets to draw conclusions about a set as a whole. For example, a criminologist may study gang members in a California prison and then generalize his conclusions to gang members in California as a whole. The usefulness of this type of method depends on the external validity of the data—its representativeness. A study that uses a large, random sample of the U.S. population is likely to be reliable because the sample is representative of the country as a whole. Unfortunately, practical considerations often limit researchers' ability to use such an ideal sample. For instance, a psychologist at an Ivy League college may limit her experimental subjects to students in the cafeteria because it's convenient for her, but Ivy League college students are unlikely to be representative of the population at large.
Thus, practical concerns—such as financial limitations, lack of time, or lack of access—often get in the way of obtaining representative samples. This is precisely our situation when surveying possible universes. It is an unfortunate fact that scientists are severely limited in their ability to determine the habitability of universes with alternative laws of physics. They can only make predictions about universes that share our physics, but vary in the values of their constants. And that does not provide a random sample of possible universes. Rather, it provides a small (indeed, infinitesimally small), homogenous sample, which is exactly what researchers want to avoid. Collins himself says that the significance of the FTA will depend on how representative this subset of possible universes is of the set of total possible universes, yet admits that "there is no completely objective procedure for addressing this [question]."[19]
However, when scientists are selecting a sample class, Collins argues, they do not need to have positive reasons to believe that the class is representative. All that matters is that there is no reason to think that the class is relevantly biased. He writes:
Tests of the long-term efficacy of certain vitamins, for instance, are often restricted to a reference class of randomly selected doctors and nurses in certain participating hospitals, since these are the only individuals that they can reliably trace for extended periods of time. The assumption of such tests is that we have no reason to think that the doctors and nurses are relevantly different than people who are neither doctors nor nurses, and thus that the reference class is not biased.[20]


Collins thinks that using doctors and nurses to represent all people is no different than using possible universes without varying their laws to represent all possible universes. But the two are in fact quite different. First, we don't trust these studies simply because there is no reason to think that doctors and nurses are a relevantly biased sample. Collins ignores that our background knowledge is filled with facts indicating that doctors and nurses are relevantly similar to the total population. Doctors and nurses are like all humans in that they all evolved from a common ancestor and have the same physiological makeup. This background knowledge about the shared origins and biology of all humans provides positive evidence that a vitamin that has a certain effect on doctors and nurses will have similar effects on other humans. We have no similar background knowledge regarding possible universes that would provide positive evidence that Collin's sample is representative.
Second, doctors and nurses make up a sample of a finite population. The larger the sample of doctors and nurses, the closer it is in size to the total population. This is why researchers prefer larger samples. The population of possible universes, however, is infinite. No matter how large the sample size of possible universes, it will always be infinitesimally small in comparison to the class of all possible universes.
Thus, even if we were able to determine that life-permitting universes were rare within this sample, we wouldn't have sufficient reason to generalize from this sample to the set of all possible universes as a whole. For this reason, we are simply not in a position to assess P(LPU/N), and therefore cannot justify the first premise of the FTA.

Notes

[1] Robin Collins, "The Teleological Argument: An Exploration of the Fine-Tuning of the Cosmos" in The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology ed. William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2009): 202-281, pp. 214-215.
[2] Some scientists have expressed skepticism over the extent to which the universe is fine-tuned. For example, see: Victor J. Stenger, The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why The Universe Is Not Designed for Us (Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2011); and Fred C. Adams, "Stars in Other Universes: Stellar Structure with Different Fundamental Constants." Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics: An IOP and SISSA Journal No. 8, Article 010 (August 7, 2008): 1-28.
[3] Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design (New York, NY: Bantam Books, 2010), p. 161.
[4] Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2001).
[5] Paul Davies, The Cosmic Blueprint (New York, NY; Simon & Schuster, 1988), p. 203.
[6] For a discussion of the logic and application of Bayesianism, see Richard Swinburne, Bayes's Theorem (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002).
[7] For example, see Collins, "The Teleological Argument," p. 207; and Richard Swinburne, The Existence of God (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 189. For alternative formulations of the FTA, see Neil A. Manson, "Introduction" in God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science ed. Neil A. Manson (New York, NY: Routledge, 2003): 1-23.
[8] Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew, "A Response to Robin Collins and Alexander R. Pruss." Philosophia Christi, Vol. 7, No. 2 (2005): 425-443; Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew, and Eric Vestrup, "Probabilities and the Fine-Tuning Argument: A Skeptical View." Mind Vol. 110, No. 440 (2001): 1027-1038.
[9] Swinburne, The Existence of God, p. 175.
[10] This the crux of David Hume's problem of induction.
[11] William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (3rd ed.) (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2008), p. 159.
[12] Collins, "The Teleological Argument," p. 248.
[13] Collins, "The Teleological Argument," p. 246.
[14] John Leslie, Universes (New York, NY: Routledge, 1989), p. 17.
[15] Collins, "The Teleological Argument," p. 245.
[16] Neil A. Manson, "[url=http://home.olemiss.edu/~namanson/No Adequate Definition.pdf]There Is No Adequate Definition of 'Fine-tuned for Life'[/url]." Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 43, Issue 3 (2000): 341-351, p. 350.
[17] Keith Parsons, "Is There a Case for Christian Theism?" in Does God Exist? The Great Debate ed. J. P. Moreland and Kai Nielsen (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1990): 177-196, p. 182.
[18] Collins, "The Teleological Argument," pp. 240-241.
[19] Collins, "The Teleological Argument," p. 241.
[20] Collins, "The Teleological Argument," pp. 245-246.


http://infidels.org/library/modern/aron_lucas/flies.html

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 2:57 pm

Hi folks. I've said before that Islam and the Koran are a copy of the Bible and Christianity, which, especially in Genesis, is based on non-factual accounts. As for people living in areas prone to disasters etc, let's look at today's problems up north, where there have been massive floods causing chaos, havoc and misery. The area has mostly been dry, safe, and arable, ideal for habitation, now it has suffered. This kind of situation exists around the world, people settled in what appeared to be nice and cosy. Several generations are spawned and then wham! A natural disaster comes along and kills hundreds if not thousands. I've said before that this planet is a disaster zone and considering all possible event-factors no where is permanently safe. God does not come into the equation, if he does, then oh dear, what a mess he made of creation.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by nicko on Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:32 pm

Well said Star
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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:12 pm

Fuzzy Zack wrote:
korban dallas wrote:
Ahh the difficult question :-)

we are the remnants of something ,just like the sun and stars and planets are remnants of something whether that`s was a supernova  is a question not yet answered

do we live in a universe  you don't have creation without destruction. ?

Mmmm not sure i could agree with that and i would point to my children as evidence of creation without destruction certainly on the cellular level ....interesting question


This is what "science" tells us. Not religion

Now i am a person who does not believe in "god" but that said
i would argue that actually religion did in a way

yes now we can see it scientifically and logically and perhaps it is hard for anybody religious or not to see things as they did then
but river gods ,mountain gods,volcano gods bringing life to the world was the only way they could explain why some places where better than others for crops hunting water
what we now know as scientific facts, food availability,fertilization ,etc etc  was granted by a god because they had no other explanation  
And as with any and all religions Guilt is the grease in which the wheels of the authority turn.
Small Gods

I'm sure you had to burn off some food to get the energy to bust your nuts to make your lovely children.

A lot of destruction of food mass into energy to create some sperm, etc.  

And I'm not refuting the scientific reasons why land is more fertile in volatile zones. I'm asking "why do people choose to live there if they know the risks?". the scientific reasons gives us wisdom. And therefore we accept the construction and destruction of God.
Your assuming they new the risks ? No not risks as we know them
they thought there "gods"would be angry if they did this or did not do that and why did they choose to live in places that they may have considered "risky" we you would have to ask them but there dead so that would be impossible however lets look at it logically why do people live in California when it is well known that a catastrophic earthquake is over due

why do people live in the Yosemite national park caldera a super volcano ,or live in Hawaii


probably the same reason

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Eilzel on Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:23 pm

There is nothing lacking in an atheists mind Zack, if we come from a religious background we have technically overcome psychological slavery. There are many obstacles in human life, natural disasters and diseases are more like divine trollng than obstacles to be overcome- from a god believing pov- no disrespect Wink

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by stardesk on Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:01 pm

Nicko, thanks my friend.

Eilzel, how right your comment about religious beliefs bordering on psychological slavery. 'Do as I tell you,' says the Priest, 'or you'll go to hell.' The poor misguided, brain-washed followers basically have fear as one of the foundations of their belief. It's time that humanity moved on from such archaic beliefs and leave them behind as a curiosity to later generations.

Just a quick footnote: Nasa has just said that over 1,000 Exoplanets have now been found. I hope Pater God did a better job than he did with Planet Earth.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by veya_victaous on Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:12 pm

Eilzel wrote:Veya, what exactly did I claim that you are correcting?

that the universe/god has to meet our definition of life, that we DON'T HAVE!

this is important.
because if you are going to reject Abrahamism then the presumption of humanities and earth importance is also gone.
NO GOD MADE US IN HIS IMAGE we are but the product of chaotic symphony of the universe and every discovery about our universe has not created some boundary it has done the opposite it, where we set limits because they were the limits out minds could perceive at the time, we have found there is no boundary, the limitation was in us.

We do not know that the universe has absolute limitations at all, but we know that Homo sapiens have lots of limitation.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Guest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:14 pm

veya_victaous wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Veya, what exactly did I claim that you are correcting?

that the universe/god has to meet our definition of life, that we DON'T HAVE!

this is important.
because if you are going to reject Abrahamism then the presumption of humanities and earth importance is also gone.
NO GOD MADE US IN HIS IMAGE we are but the product of chaotic symphony of the universe and every discovery about our universe has not created some boundary it has done the opposite it, where we set limits because they were the limits out minds could perceive at the time, we have found there is no boundary, the limitation was in us.

We do not know that the universe has absolute limitations at all, but we know that Homo sapiens have lots of limitation.


Sorry but that is your own interpretation of what he said

I looked back and only zack said there was boundaries

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by Raggamuffin on Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:15 pm

stardesk wrote:Nicko, thanks my friend.

Eilzel, how right your comment about religious beliefs bordering on psychological slavery. 'Do as I tell you,' says the Priest, 'or you'll go to hell.' The poor misguided, brain-washed followers basically have fear as one of the foundations of their belief. It's time that humanity moved on from such archaic beliefs and leave them behind as a curiosity to later generations.

Just a quick footnote: Nasa has just said that over 1,000 Exoplanets have now been found. I hope Pater God did a better job than he did with Planet Earth.

I don't know why you're always obsessing about people's religious faith. Perhaps you should mind your own business.

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Re: The History of God and Other Religious Myths

Post by sassy on Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:17 pm

veya_victaous wrote:
Eilzel wrote:Veya, what exactly did I claim that you are correcting?

that the universe/god has to meet our definition of life, that we DON'T HAVE!

this is important.
because if you are going to reject Abrahamism then the presumption of humanities and earth importance is also gone.
NO GOD MADE US IN HIS IMAGE we are but the product of chaotic symphony of the universe and every discovery about our universe has not created some boundary it has done the opposite it, where we set limits because they were the limits out minds could perceive at the time, we have found there is no boundary, the limitation was in us.

We do not know that the universe has absolute limitations at all, but we know that Homo sapiens have lots of limitation.


That's very true.  Men have always believed that they are superior to animals, and yet the more we find out about animals, the more we know just how advanced they are.  We could just be an experiment in the test tube of an unlimited universe, being tested to see how far we will descend, or how high we will climb.  At the moment, we ain't doing too good.

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