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SiriMurthy
2004-Jun-30, 07:03 PM
Honestly, I don't want to start another war here. I know issues like this are sensitive in nature. BA, feel free to lock this thread whenever you like. Just don't ban me.

During lunch today I got into some argument with a couple of my coworkers who are pretty deep into religion. Naturally claims on God's creation came up.

Eventually I said the following (in summary):

Everything as we know of, space and time, started with Big Bang, then the universe expanded, cooled down, organized itself into galaxies, stars and planets and so on. Then it just so happened that the third planet from the Sun happened to have just the right ingredients and conditions for the life to begin, which is quite by accident. I mean, the chemistry was just right.

Quickly they jumped on me asking who created the molecules, who created the strong, weak and other forces, who put the Earth third from the Sun, who made the living conditions right on Earth (it just can't happen, you see) and eventually, who created the Big Bang itself?

I happen to mention that you cannot create something from nothing, to which their response was "then how BB occurred" - someone has to create the matter so that BB can occur. I did not know what to say to that.

Also, it seemed to trouble them that man came from monkies/primates. I mean, we had to be superior, right? They argued that carbon dating can never be accurate beyond 5000 years. It didn't convince them when I mentioned that half-life of C14 by itself is 5730 years and dating technique using C14 is accurate upto about 70,000 years and there are other isotopes that can measure upto a few billion years into the past.

I don't want this thread to counter religion, but just that how do you counter some of their claims, such as who created BB?

Their parting shot was: if you take a wrist watch apart completely and put all these parts into a box and start shaking it. Eventually will you have a running watch?

Actually, I said that was an excellent example because the probability of a watch putting itself together is very very close to zero, just like the evolution of an intelligent life on a planet.

#-o There, that makes me feel better.

mike alexander
2004-Jun-30, 07:14 PM
Sounds like a losing proposition. If your colleagues can't or won't understand the fairly straightforward idea of radioactive half lives you might be best off discussing Boston's chances against the Yankees this year.

SciFi Chick
2004-Jun-30, 07:28 PM
SiriMurthy: Having been where you are many times, I can tell you that your first mistake is buying into the idea that if you can't prove something, their alternative is the only answer.

Secondly, if they are willing to deny scientific data, you cannot win.

If you get dragged into this conversation again, you might turn the tables on them and ask them who they think created the universe.

When they say god, ask them which one. When they say the God of the Bible, ask them how they know it's that god, etc., etc.

There is a theory that everything has already existed. If something can't come from nothing, where did their god come from?

Of course, this is only if you enjoy arguing. You will NEVER convince them of anything. Sorry. :(

soupdragon2
2004-Jun-30, 07:54 PM
Science is in no position to challenge religious faith in its broadest sense - creationism and fundatmentalism aside - and religion is in no position to challenge science.

They are different subjects.

Science is based on empiricism, with its obvious limtations.
Religion, by its own admission, is based on subjective faith.

Arguments as to the potential existence of a creative force/forces are philosophical by their very nature.

Philosophy is a big, big subject in its own right. I wouldn't trust a scientist with these issues anymore than I would trust a Priest with my nieces. And I wouldn't trust a philosopher with a test tube either, BTW.

Gullible Jones
2004-Jun-30, 08:01 PM
The only problem with what you are saying, Soup, is that science and religion try to cover the same ground - they try to explain how the universe works. They're only compatible with a great deal of rationalization.

cyrek1
2004-Jun-30, 08:08 PM
cyrek1 reply

siri
Next time you get invoved in the same argument with your friends, ask them who created the Bible?
If they say man. then you can say man created God!

soupdragon2
2004-Jun-30, 08:10 PM
Well, I am saying that they are incompatible, basically, and rationalism is also a big subject within philosophy, anyway.

Sc and Rn may appear to have some overlap, but when you get into subjects like causality, et al, your head starts to hurt.

Quartermain
2004-Jun-30, 08:13 PM
Soup, the argument that science and religion are in no position to argue with one another is old and naive. Science is in every way positioned to challenge the truth of religion. Questions deemed unanswerable are answered. Answers deemed unquestionable are questioned. Indeed the very nature of science is to eliminate faith which is the heart of religion.

Jerry
2004-Jun-30, 08:15 PM
Actually, I said that was an excellent example because the probability of a watch putting itself together is very very close to zero, just like the evolution of an intelligent life on a planet.

#-o There, that makes me feel better.
Reading puts some useful arrows in your quill - Voltaire (Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.) Mega Minor, Jay Gould's The Panda's Thumb and Richard Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker. But the most important concept is to remind them science tries to figure out the how's and whens, not the why's, and if they are happy with plagues of dipthe,,,, you know what I am saying.

Oh, and whenever I run into a member of the 6,000 year-old-earth club, the best thing to do is laugh and say " yea, all this stuff lying around, I would swear is millions of years old, do you think someone is trying to trick us? Why would they do that?

tofu
2004-Jun-30, 08:20 PM
Here are two things for religious people to take into consideration: First, remember that well-meaning people, who had read the bible and had lots of faith in it, once thought (because of what they read in the bible) that the Earth was flat. If you could debate it with them, you might show them pictures taken from the Moon. But their response would be, "the Bible mentions the foundation of the Earth and talks about its corners Ė I believe what my Bible tells me!"

As I said, these were good, well-meaning people who were just standing on faith and believing what they read. However, they were wrong. Does that mean that the Bible is wrong? I'm not going there and that's not my point. My point is that their interpretation must have been wrong because we all know that the Earth is not flat.

There was a time when good, well-meaning people of faith earnestly believed that the Sun and planets went around the Earth. If you could go back in time and debate this with them, they would show Bible verses that seem to suggest that the Earth is the center of creation and they would say, "I believe what my Bible tells me!"

However, they too were wrong. Does that mean that the Bible is wrong? Well, I'm not suggesting that and I'm not attacking their religious beliefs. But one thing is clear, their interpretation was wrong.

Many modern religious people do not believe in the Big Bang because it seems to contradict what the Bible says, and they earnestly want to believe the Bible. So the first thing I would say to these people is that it's ok to consider the validity of the Big Bang. If it turns out to be true, it does not have to mean that the Bible is wrong. As has happened before, the discrepancy can be attributed to faulty interpretation. So essentially what I'm saying is, don't feel threatened by the idea of the Big Bang.

The second thing that I like to point out is that if the Big Bang is accurate, it means God is an engineer and not a painter. Many people like to believe that God put everything in its place in much the same way it is today. That's similar to the way a painter works. A painter can stand on the beach in San Fransisco and paint a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. The engineers who actually designed the bridge however, had a much much deeper deeper understanding of the physics involved and most certainly worked a lot harder than the painter.

Isn't it better to imagine god setting everything up just the way he wanted it so that a billion years later there would be a beautiful blue world for us? I think it is. In a way, it reminds me of the fact that, when they put the last piece of the Golden Gate Bridge into place, they actually had to wait for the sun to warm the rest of the bridge so that the metal would expand and allow that piece to fit into place. That's how well they designed that bridge.

Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Gullible Jones
2004-Jun-30, 08:24 PM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Knowing the cruel and depraved tendencies of the Biblical God, I would say no.

Lance
2004-Jun-30, 08:28 PM
Not too long ago I got into a discussion with a minister friend of mine about the "nature" of God. (which I will not get into here) But being agnostic myself, what is wrong with the concept of the BB, evolution, etc., simply being the mechanism by which God chose to do his work?

Doesn't this make everyone happy?

SciFi Chick
2004-Jun-30, 08:38 PM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Does that mean he's responsible for the waste center and the pleasure center being in the same place? Seems like a pretty bad engineer in that case. :wink:

soupdragon2
2004-Jun-30, 08:39 PM
Soup, the argument that science and religion are in no position to argue with one another is old and naive.
Really? :lol:


Science is in every way positioned to challenge the truth of religion.
Every Way? How about Ethics and Aesthetics, on which religions have made valuable contributions?

What do you mean by the 'truth of religion'?


Questions deemed unanswerable are answered. Answers deemed unquestionable are questioned.
Causality? Ethics, again.


Indeed the very nature of science is to eliminate faith which is the heart of religion.
Well, science provides insights into the 'Hows', but doesn't really get close to the 'Whys'!

Eye-Zee
2004-Jun-30, 08:54 PM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Does that mean he's responsible for the waste center and the pleasure center being in the same place? Seems like a pretty bad engineer in that case. :wink:

That's an old engineering joke - What Kind of Engineer is God?

Mechanical: Who else could arrange the complex system of levers and motors in musculature and skeletal structure?

Hydraulic: Who else would go for the Main Pump and vascular system?

Electrical: Who else would devise the neural pathways and the brain?

Civil: Who else would put a sewage line through a recreational area?

SciFi Chick
2004-Jun-30, 08:56 PM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Does that mean he's responsible for the waste center and the pleasure center being in the same place? Seems like a pretty bad engineer in that case. :wink:

That's an old engineering joke - What Kind of Engineer is God?

Mechanical: Who else could arrange the complex system of levers and motors in musculature and skeletal structure?

Hydraulic: Who else would go for the Main Pump and vascular system?

Electrical: Who else would devise the neural pathways and the brain?

Civil: Who else would put a sewage line through a recreational area?

Ah yes. I remember now. I knew it was a joke. I just couldn't remember it, and I figured an engineer would come along to correct me. 8)

Quartermain
2004-Jun-30, 09:14 PM
Well, science provides insights into the 'Hows', but doesn't really get close to the 'Whys'!

There is only one 'Why'. Everything else is 'How'. Everything is causality. The application of 'Why' to anything but the beginning of existance is naive. Not even religion can answer 'Why'.

Kesh
2004-Jun-30, 09:20 PM
Not too long ago I got into a discussion with a minister friend of mine about the "nature" of God. (which I will not get into here) But being agnostic myself, what is wrong with the concept of the BB, evolution, etc., simply being the mechanism by which God chose to do his work?

Doesn't this make everyone happy?

Unfortunately, no. In fact, it pisses off some Fundamentalist Christians if you even suggest such a thing.

My great-uncle is a prime example. The Bible is divinely inspired, which means it cannot be wrong! Therefore, the Earth is 6000 years old, dinosaur bones were put in the dirt by Satan to confuse us, and if you were to run out in the street and throw yourself under a bus, it's because "God willed you to do that." According to him, anyone who fails to believe the exact words of the Bible is a sinner doomed to hell.

Lurker
2004-Jun-30, 09:21 PM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Does that mean he's responsible for the waste center and the pleasure center being in the same place? Seems like a pretty bad engineer in that case. :wink:
Well really now... one little mistake and some people will never let you live it down!! [-(

:wink:

Cougar
2004-Jun-30, 09:27 PM
Everything as we know of, space and time, started with Big Bang, then the universe expanded, cooled down, organized itself into galaxies, stars and planets and so on. Then it just so happened that the third planet from the Sun happened to have just the right ingredients and conditions for the life to begin, which is quite by accident. I mean, the chemistry was just right.
This isn't too bad of a summary. I might add that the "chemistry" need not be exactly right - ie., a fairly broad range of molecular mixes might all produce life. The key is enough molecular diversity. And what was once thought to be driven by complete accident (the right molecules coming together, etc.) now appears to be not so accidental - we're just beginning to find natural laws of self-organization, where pockets of molecular order naturally spring from molecular chaos, given enough molecular diversity.


Quickly they jumped on me asking who created the molecules, who created the strong, weak and other forces...
Well, the atoms and molecules derive directly from the big bang - after the initial bang. As for the forces and the big bang itself, to my knowledge science has no answer as to what touched it off. The big bang theory is built up from evidence that logically leads one to think that there must have been a big bang scenario. But the evidence only goes back so far. Where science has no evidence, science makes no claims.

I have no major problem if your friends want to believe based on sheer faith that some "god" lit the match, so to speak, that set off the big bang. But as SciFiChick said, they then have the problem of defining a god that could pull off such a feat. Some supreme intelligence, outside of space and time? Well, maybe, but the tooth fairy would be just as valid a speculation.

And after the big bang, I don't think godly or magical explanations are any longer needed. All indications are that natural processes can explain the subsequent evolution of the universe without recourse to metaphysical speculations.


I happen to mention that you cannot create something from nothing, to which their response was "then how BB occurred" - someone has to create the matter so that BB can occur. I did not know what to say to that.
Actually, matter/energy IS being "created" out of the void of empty space all the time. These are virtual particles that do exist - if only for extremely brief moments of time. But there are phenomena that can affect such particles during their brief existence, resulting in something lasting being "created" from nothing.


Also, it seemed to trouble them that man came from monkies/primates.
We didn't "come from" them; we have a common ancestor. I mean, come on, look at the fossil record, particularly that of the hominids. If your friends deny biological evolution, then they're simply burying their heads in the sand.


They argued that carbon dating can never be accurate beyond 5000 years. It didn't convince them when I mentioned that half-life of C14 by itself is 5730 years and dating technique using C14 is accurate upto about 70,000 years and there are other isotopes that can measure upto a few billion years into the past.
Well, carbon dating IS limited, so you just use a different element. Carbon dating is only one bullet in the radiometric dating aresenal. Look up "radiometric dating" on google. As you say, similar methods using other elements can go back billions of years and are very accurate.


Their parting shot was: if you take a wrist watch apart completely and put all these parts into a box and start shaking it. Eventually will you have a running watch?... Actually, I said that was an excellent example because the probability of a watch putting itself together is very very close to zero, just like the evolution of an intelligent life on a planet.
This is a very old argument at least as old as Rev. Wm. Paley in the early 1800s. Quoting from the TalkOrigins archive, "At basis, this argues that the complexity and good design seen in natural systems could only be attributed to a superlative designer. Centuries ago, David Hume argued that one can only separate designed from non-designed entities via experiential comparison and contrast. Hence, since we only have one universe, we have no point of reference to argue that the universe is designed (or not designed). More recently, Richard Dawkins has written an excellent summary of at least one way in which good design does not imply the existence and action of a designer."

HERE (http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CI/CI100.html) are some additional arguments against this old, flawed analogy argument.

And how do you know that the evolution of intelligent life is improbable? If someone said life is nearly inevitable given enough molecular diversity, could you prove him wrong? Check out Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe.

soupdragon2
2004-Jun-30, 09:52 PM
There is only one 'Why'. Everything else is 'How'. Everything is causality. The application of 'Why' to anything but the beginning of existance is naive. Not even religion can answer 'Why'.
Why is there only one 'Why'?
Why do you keep using the term 'naive'?
What do you mean by 'naive' in this context?
Why have you not answered most of my previous questions?

SiriMurthy
2004-Jun-30, 10:22 PM
When they say god, ask them which one. When they say the God of the Bible, ask them how they know it's that god, etc., etc.
Their answer always was "it's in the bible". According to them the Bible is the "God's own words". "He" made whoever it is to write it. So, it must be God's own work. You can't argue it. :x


There is a theory that everything has already existed. If something can't come from nothing, where did their god come from?
According to them their God always existed. He is outside of the BB because otherwise He becomes finite and he is not finite. So He created the BB


Of course, this is only if you enjoy arguing. You will NEVER convince them of anything. Sorry. :(
You are right! I found it out the hard way.

SiriMurthy
2004-Jun-30, 10:24 PM
cyrek1 reply

siri
Next time you get invoved in the same argument with your friends, ask them who created the Bible?
If they say man. then you can say man created God!
Actually, it came up today and I happened to mention the same thing. Surprisingly they didn't counter my statement at all. They moved on to something else.

SiriMurthy
2004-Jun-30, 10:29 PM
Many modern religious people do not believe in the Big Bang because it seems to contradict what the Bible says, and they earnestly want to believe the Bible.
One of my coworkers quoted the bible where it says something like "...then He expanded the universe...", which according to him is a mention of Big Bang. So, at least be believes that BB occurred. But then, once BB occurred, there is no need for God to play any of his cards any further because things will fall into place naturally as it has.

SiriMurthy
2004-Jun-30, 10:31 PM
[quote="Lance"]Not too long ago I got into a discussion with a minister friend of mine about the "nature" of God. (which I will not get into here) But being agnostic myself, what is wrong with the concept of the BB, evolution, etc., simply being the mechanism by which God chose to do his work?quote]
Bingo! That's exactly what they said - the mechanism which the God uses to do his work.

SiriMurthy
2004-Jun-30, 10:54 PM
Everything as we know of, space and time, started with Big Bang, then the universe expanded, cooled down, organized itself into galaxies, stars and planets and so on. Then it just so happened that the third planet from the Sun happened to have just the right ingredients and conditions for the life to begin, which is quite by accident. I mean, the chemistry was just right.
This isn't too bad of a summary. I might add that the "chemistry" need not be exactly right - ie., a fairly broad range of molecular mixes might all produce life. The key is enough molecular diversity. And what was once thought to be driven by complete accident (the right molecules coming together, etc.) now appears to be not so accidental - we're just beginning to find natural laws of self-organization, where pockets of molecular order naturally spring from molecular chaos, given enough molecular diversity.
I agree with that. At the moment I was quoting Carl Sagan's Cosmos and Broca's Brain. Oh, speaking of Sagan, they claimed that Sagan lived a life of lies and self deceit because on his deathbed (or sometime during his last few days) he said to a friend "pray for me". So their contention was that in his innerself, Sagan knew there was a God and being the man of science didn't want to admit it. What do you say to a thing like that?



science makes no claims.
To them that's not enough and no reason to say "we don't know".


...And after the big bang, I don't think godly or magical explanations are any longer needed. All indications are that natural processes can explain the subsequent evolution of the universe without recourse to metaphysical speculations.
To them the natural processes does not explain the evolution. For example, what was said was "look there was nothing, no intelligent life for until about 65 million years ago (considering he believes dynosaurs once existed) and even after their extintion, for a long time there was still no intelligent life. Suddenly there is this "man" who ate a fruit from the tree of life. Now how do you explain that?". It's not easy arguing with them.



I happen to mention that you cannot create something from nothing, to which their response was "then how BB occurred" - someone has to create the matter so that BB can occur. I did not know what to say to that.
Actually, matter/energy IS being "created" out of the void of empty space all the time. These are virtual particles that do exist - if only for extremely brief moments of time. But there are phenomena that can affect such particles during their brief existence, resulting in something lasting being "created" from nothing.
I understand that. What I meant was creating something like a magcian (so to speak) just by waving a wand.



Also, it seemed to trouble them that man came from monkies/primates.
We didn't "come from" them; we have a common ancestor. I mean, come on, look at the fossil record, particularly that of the hominids. If your friends deny biological evolution, then they're simply burying their heads in the sand.
When I say "come from" what I meant was the "common ancestor".



They argued that carbon dating can never be accurate beyond 5000 years. It didn't convince them when I mentioned that half-life of C14 by itself is 5730 years and dating technique using C14 is accurate upto about 70,000 years and there are other isotopes that can measure upto a few billion years into the past.
Well, carbon dating IS limited, so you just use a different element. Carbon dating is only one bullet in the radiometric dating aresenal. Look up "radiometric dating" on google. As you say, similar methods using other elements can go back billions of years and are very accurate.
Exactly, such as Radiometric dating which involves the use of isotope series, such as Rubidium-Strontium, Thorium-Lead, Potassium-Argon, and so on which have extremely long half-lives, typically billions of years.




Their parting shot was: if you take a wrist watch apart completely and put all these parts into a box and start shaking it. Eventually will you have a running watch?... Actually, I said that was an excellent example because the probability of a watch putting itself together is very very close to zero, just like the evolution of an intelligent life on a planet.
This is a very old argument at least as old as Rev. Wm. Paley in the early 1800s.
I did not know this was an old argument.


And how do you know that the evolution of intelligent life is improbable? If someone said life is nearly inevitable given enough molecular diversity, could you prove him wrong? Check out Stuart Kauffman's At Home in the Universe.
I was referring to Drake's equation. Even in Cosmos initially Carl Sagan comes with a number of 10 in the Milky way galaxy. ET intelligent life is definitely possible, but I was just wondering about the probability of such an existance - that's all.

dgruss23
2004-Jun-30, 11:05 PM
Cougar: Actually, matter/energy IS being "created" out of the void of empty space all the time. These are virtual particles that do exist - if only for extremely brief moments of time. But there are phenomena that can affect such particles during their brief existence, resulting in something lasting being "created" from nothing.

Hmmm .... matter creation .... :wink: :)

Gullible Jones
2004-Jul-01, 01:44 AM
The problem is that the length of time they stay around is inversely proportional to their mass.

Leaves
2004-Jul-01, 01:51 AM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Does that mean he's responsible for the waste center and the pleasure center being in the same place? Seems like a pretty bad engineer in that case. :wink:

More to the point, what kind of painter puts the waste and recreation center in the same place? Satirist?

Quartermain
2004-Jul-01, 02:02 AM
Why is there only one 'Why'?

In your original post, the word 'Why' represented intervention (of God I assume). You said, "Well, science provides insights into the 'Hows', but doesn't really get close to the 'Whys'!". In that context the only place where I will accept the possibility of 'Why' is at the very beginning of existence. And since there is only one beginning then there is only one 'Why'.

But let's just drop this "How and Why" business. It's too confusing unless everyone is privy to the special context. We ask "Why is Sally crying?" and we ask "How did the Earth form?". Both situations leading up to those questions were based in causality so in a more real context 'How' and 'Why' mean the same thing.

My major disagreement with you is in the proposal that systems, such as those which govern Thought, can not develop from causality. My argument, without going into detail, is that they can and do.


Why do you keep using the term 'naive'?

Childish, ignorant, closed minded, naive. Which would you have me use?


What do you mean by 'naive' in this context?

See above. There is no secret context. It is as it sounds. Though the word naive is far less insulting.


Why have you not answered most of my previous questions?

I answered all of your questions. Your mind is just closed to my answer.

Some people (a great many actually) insist that thought processes such as those which define Ethics could not have arisen from causality and that there is an undefinable characteristic about Esthetics and other emotions which are forever undefinable and therefore must be proof of intervention.

My argument, mundane as it sounds, is that these are systems. And Systems arise from causality based on the nature of the particles within them. Ethics, esthetics, love, anxiety, hate, fear, pain.. are all characteristics of the nature of the universe. We are not more than the sum of our parts.

So why is Science in a position to challenge religion? Because Philosophy seeks to define purpose in things that we perceive as undefinable where as Science seeks to challenge the notion of what is undefinable. Without the undefinable Philosophy is snuffed out like a cup over a flame. Now I'm not saying this proccess won't take a million years or more. Religious people tend to be very impatient when it comes to science. But that is the direction we're heading. The eventual elimination of the unexplained.

Cougar
2004-Jul-01, 02:45 AM
I don't care what he said on his death bed. I think he got it right when he said, "Ethical rules... were not originally invented by some enlightened human lawgiver. They go deep into our evolutionary past. They were with our ancestral line from a time before we were human." -- Carl Sagan.

It's also interesting that one of the few indicators that we take to indicate that our distant ancestors were evolving (or had evolved) into modern humans is cave paintings.

Jerry
2004-Jul-01, 04:26 AM
Where science has no evidence, science makes no claims.
Ah, Cougar and we were on the same page for so long. Science should make no claims. Unfortunately, every once in a while a Piltdown man ends up in a tree, and dark energy in a distant galaxy...



Actually, matter/energy IS being "created" out of the void of empty space all the time. These are virtual particles that do exist - if only for extremely brief moments of time. But there are phenomena that can affect such particles during their brief existence, resulting in something lasting being "created" from nothing. "Appears to be created out of a void is better: since we haven't nailed down the exact nature of every known force, including the dark ones, leaving this as an open observation and not wholely understood event encourages the development of a more mature and encompassing theory.
Very good essay, Cougar =D>

harlequin
2004-Jul-01, 05:07 AM
Oh, speaking of Sagan, they claimed that Sagan lived a life of lies and self deceit because on his deathbed (or sometime during his last few days) he said to a friend "pray for me". So their contention was that in his innerself, Sagan knew there was a God and being the man of science didn't want to admit it. What do you say to a thing like that?

I would say that almost certainly we have some lying here. Fundamentalists have a long history of repeately inventing deathbed conversion stories about non-fundamentalists. The most famous is Charles Darwin (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hope.html).

harlequin
2004-Jul-01, 05:15 AM
Well, carbon dating IS limited, so you just use a different element. Carbon dating is only one bullet in the radiometric dating aresenal. Look up "radiometric dating" on google. As you say, similar methods using other elements can go back billions of years and are very accurate.

A Radiometric Dating Resource List (http://www.tim-thompson.com/radiometric.html) is a good resource.

I rather like the T.O. Isochron FAQ (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/isochron-dating.html). It is too bad that no one has written a T.O. FAQ for Concordia-discordia, or Argon-Argon methods.

2004-Jul-01, 08:33 AM
There is only one 'Why'.


Why am I here?

Why are you here?

Why is the Universe we live in so finely-tuned for carbon-based life?

Why do I feel that I'm more than a collection of atoms, ions and molecules? IMO, religion and philosophy are full of "why" questions that science will never answer.

Is it really naive to suggest that science stick to the "hows" whilst leaving the "whys" to philosophy and religion?

Only my opinion?

#-o #-o #-o #-o #-o #-o #-o

captain swoop
2004-Jul-01, 09:34 AM
I can see locks appearing again.

Why not try the talk.origins newsgroup?

in fact talkorigins (http://www.talkorigins.org/) website is an ideal place to look for information.

For discussions etc try the Pandas Thumb (http://www.pandasthumb.org/)

soupdragon2
2004-Jul-01, 09:37 AM
In your original post, the word 'Why' represented intervention (of God I assume).
Hmmm. A very big assumption! And I didn't use the word 'Why' in my first post.


I answered all of your questions.
Really?


Your mind is just closed to my answer.
All I did was ask questions in order to try and clarify your position, as you were knocking a lot of 'big' words around!


The eventual elimination of the unexplained.
Sounds good to me, even if a little ambitious! :lol:

Eye-Zee
2004-Jul-01, 01:08 PM
Where science has no evidence, science makes no claims.
Ah, Cougar and we were on the same page for so long. Science should make no claims. Unfortunately, every once in a while a Piltdown man ends up in a tree, and dark energy in a distant galaxy...


Come on, JJ, Piltdown was an intentionally perpetrated fraud. It hoodwinked the community (though I won't claim I know how much) for a time, and it was exposed through investigation as a hoax. Dark matter and energy is a compnent of a current theory in the process of investigation. To equate the two is disingenuous.

2004-Jul-01, 02:03 PM
When did science [or, at any rate, some scientists] stop making claims without evidence? 8-[ 8-[ Is there any evidence to support the, very popular with New Agers, claim that there's such a thing as a "multiverse"?

IMO - scientists and religious leaders alike will always be making claims; whether or not those claims are justfified by any evidence.

Are we not all [alien impostors excluded of course] only human? #-o #-o #-o

Bounced Check
2004-Jul-01, 02:24 PM
No offence folks, but I thought this board's FAQ and TOS and general rules say that we should avoid religious discusions. There are pleanty of other places to talk about that stuff:

Religion and Ethics BBS (http://disc.server.com/Indices/175790.html)

FWIS (warning, not for the easily offended !) (http://www.loresinger.com/FWIS)

I know there are much better places to talk about stuff like this. Please move this to one of those places, but leave THIS board to the science of astromomy and directly related subjects.

(Ok, off the soap box now. I hate having to remind people about things they obviously already know. Makes me feel like an old f@rt.)

(Edited to fix the hanging tag I left on the end. I'm not as good at this kind of stuff, so bear with me.)

Jerry
2004-Jul-01, 03:11 PM
J J that's not fair...

Sorry.

The real problem with the Piltdown man was how far the investigators, who wanted desperately to place England and themselves at the forefront of the field ran with the ball. Even though there was a great deal of evidence the piece was out-of-context, it was easy to miss because of their preconceptions. Yes, I would have missed it to.

The stubborn refusal of the principle architects of the BB to recognize the mounting evidence of intrinsic redshifts in very brilliant objects is outstanding. There is a big red flag out there: Ring after Copernican Ring.[/quote][/quote]

Jerry
2004-Jul-01, 03:13 PM
J J that's not fair...

Sorry.

The real problem with the Piltdown man was how far the investigators, who wanted desperately to place England and themselves at the forefront of the field ran with the ball. Even though there was a great deal of evidence the piece was out-of-context, it was easy to miss because of their preconceptions. Yes, I would have missed it to.

The stubborn refusal of the principle architects of the BB to recognize the mounting evidence of intrinsic redshifts in very brilliant objects is outstanding. There is a big red flag out there: Ring after Copernican Ring.

Eye-Zee
2004-Jul-01, 03:28 PM
J J that's not fair...
Sorry.

Well, I didn't say it wasn't _fair_, I said it (likening Piltdown to BBT) wasn't an honest comparison.



The real problem with the Piltdown man was how far the investigators, who wanted desperately to place England and themselves at the forefront of the field ran with the ball. Even though there was a great deal of evidence the piece was out-of-context, it was easy to miss because of their preconceptions. Yes, I would have missed it to.


The real problem with Piltdown was that it was an intentional hoax. It's perpetrators knew it was false from the outset and it's _purpose_ was to fool the community. That is simply not the case with the BB.

That Piltdown succeeded for a time with some possibly large portion of that community is in fact immaterial, because it was the scientific community and the scientific method that exposed the hoax in the end.



The stubborn refusal of the principle architects of the BB to recognize the mounting evidence of intrinsic redshifts in very brilliant objects is outstanding. There is a big red flag out there: Ring after Copernican Ring.

This fails to move me. If intrinsic redshifts are actually there, then the evidence will continue to mount until its preponderance convinces more people and it moves into and or modifies the mainstream. Time and data will prove you right or wrong. As long as knowledge and understanding is increasing, it bothers me not at all that it's progress is slow and careful.

SciFi Chick
2004-Jul-01, 04:18 PM
Wouldn't you rather god be an engineer than a painter?

Does that mean he's responsible for the waste center and the pleasure center being in the same place? Seems like a pretty bad engineer in that case. :wink:
Well really now... one little mistake and some people will never let you live it down!! [-(

:wink:

One wonders what you would consider a big mistake. :lol:


More to the point, what kind of painter puts the waste and recreation center in the same place? Satirist?

Ah... but if you created it, what would you be satiring?

Eye-Zee
2004-Jul-01, 04:23 PM
More to the point, what kind of painter puts the waste and recreation center in the same place? Satirist?

Ah... but if you created it, what would you be satiring?

It would imply that cynicism, irony, and humor are divine gifts, and individuals with hightened senses in those categories are Chosen.

Quartermain
2004-Jul-01, 05:14 PM
In your original post, the word 'Why' represented intervention (of God I assume).
Hmmm. A very big assumption! And I didn't use the word 'Why' in my first post.

First? Second? Don't be picky. If that is going to be the depth of this conversation then don't bother to reply. And if you did not mean God (ie intervention of a supreme being) then what did you mean?



I answered all of your questions.
Really?

Again causality answers your questions. Ethics for example formed, not by design, but from systems based on the nature of the particles within the universe.



Your mind is just closed to my answer.
All I did was ask questions in order to try and clarify your position, as you were knocking a lot of 'big' words around!

There is no need to clarify a simple point and I will not go into concepts which are so utterly intuitive as to be stupid to repeat time and again on these forums.



The eventual elimination of the unexplained.
Sounds good to me, even if a little ambitious! :lol:

If you agree then you have to submit to the original argument that Science is in a position to challenge religion. If not then don't stifle the debate with sarcastic innuendos.

soupdragon2
2004-Jul-01, 05:48 PM
In your original post, the word 'Why' represented intervention (of God I assume).
Hmmm. A very big assumption! And I didn't use the word 'Why' in my first post.
First? Second? Don't be picky. If that is going to be the depth of this conversation then don't bother to reply. And if you did not mean God (ie intervention of a supreme being) then what did you mean?
How exactly does using the word 'Why' imply some kind of divine intervention? This is your inference, so you justify it.


Again causality answers your questions. Ethics for example formed, not by design, but from systems based on the nature of the particles within the universe.
Are you aware of the implications of this statement? Determinism!




Your mind is just closed to my answer.
All I did was ask questions in order to try and clarify your position, as you were knocking a lot of 'big' words around!
There is no need to clarify a simple point and I will not go into concepts which are so utterly intuitive as to be stupid to repeat time and again on these forums.
:o




The eventual elimination of the unexplained.
Sounds good to me, even if a little ambitious! :lol:
If you agree then you have to submit to the original argument that Science is in a position to challenge religion. If not then don't stifle the debate with sarcastic innuendos.
I have to submit? :o

Astronot
2004-Jul-01, 06:22 PM
Their parting shot was: if you take a wrist watch apart completely and put all these parts into a box and start shaking it. Eventually will you have a running watch?

Back to the OP. My answer to the watch parts in a box analogy is to turn it around. First, say that the watch represents a human, a highly developed and finished mechanism, as that seems to be the belief of the young earth creationist in making this argument. Then claim that any sort of machine that could be formed from the various parts would show the fault in the analogy, it need not be a watch.

Start by setting terms, atoms are known to have affinities for certain atoms and are repulsed by others, molecules are the same. This makes the molecules akin to watch parts that fit together only in a certain way. For example, a nut will only fit on a machine screw a certain way.

Compare the parts of the watch to the building blocks of life, such as amino acids. If they start arguing about the chemistry, point out that amino acids have been created in certain closed environments thought the application of energy to other chemicals known to exist without the presence of life.

Now if one takes billions of watch parts in a shaker bin that shakes various areas with differing vigor you have an analogy for a solar system. Then take billion of other bins, each slightly different from all others, and put them in a larger bin, a galaxy. Follow that process again until you have billions of galaxies. Now turn on the power and let them shake for a few billion years.

What is the probability that any one bin will produce a machine during any particular year, slim. But what are the odds that some sort of machine will assemble in at least one bin from all this?

Usually people using the watch analogy have not thought this through and are unprepared to provide a rebuttal. Since the point is simply to counter an analogy, just leave it as a question at this point. Moreover, of course any real odds are incalculable, because of the number of assumptions required. Never the less the usefulness of a powerful analogy (to creationist) has been called into doubt.

Any response that challenges the physics or chemistry of the argument can be answered with the charge that it is their original analogy, so any errors in the analogy apply equally to both arguments, undermining their original proposition. A response that the experiments that created amino acids in a closed environment did not replicate the original conditions on earth (I donít recall the details, but is a popular argument with creationist) should be welcomed in that it simply raises the range of conditions under which the building blocks of life will occur.

Another Phobos
2004-Jul-01, 07:48 PM
SiriMurthy - well, at the very least, kudos on braving such a debate.


Quickly they jumped on me asking who created the molecules, who created the strong, weak and other forces, who put the Earth third from the Sun, who made the living conditions right on Earth (it just can't happen, you see) and eventually, who created the Big Bang itself?


Interesting to note that their in-going, axiomatic assumption is that everything was created by a being that resembles us (i.e., "who created...?" instead of "what created...?"). Reminds me of one of Douglas Adam's speeches (see "Salmon of Doubt") in which he talks about Man the Maker...since humans are tool-makers and can modify the environment, it's natural for us to extend that idea to everything.




I happen to mention that you cannot create something from nothing, to which their response was "then how BB occurred" - someone has to create the matter so that BB can occur. I did not know what to say to that.


Pre-BB is unknown. Could have been nothing. Could have been something (e.g., see string theory). Could have been God. No one knows for sure.



I don't want this thread to counter religion, but just that how do you counter some of their claims, such as who created BB?


As was said earlier, you probably won't convince them of anything (at least, not all at once). It's probably best to simply state the facts (e.g., radiodating), acknowledge the uncertainties (e.g., source of the BB), correct their errors (e.g., uses of carbon dating, watchmaker analogy), and get them to think about their interpretation of things. And it may help to note that science is not anti-God.



Their parting shot was: if you take a wrist watch apart completely and put all these parts into a box and start shaking it. Eventually will you have a running watch?


That watchmaker example is simply irrelevant to how the universe works. It's a false (strawman) analogy. Natural laws (the bahavior of the universe...things like gravity, chemistry, natural selection, etc.) are a driving force that can generate order out of chaos. If they can acknowledge things like the law of gravity, then they should understand that means the universe is not random shaking of parts. There are preferred pathways for the parts to fall into.

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Jul-01, 08:17 PM
Here we have a prime example of one of the two reasons I don't allow discussions of religion on this board (the other, for the record, is that they tend to dissolve into arguments quickly).

We started with a post that actually was specifically about astronomy, and it has degenerated into a discussion of god, straight religion, and personal belief.

These discussions never stay on target. Never. And when they wander, they start to tread on the other reason I disallow such threads.

Locked.

And one more time: DO NOT DISCUSS RELIGION ON THIS BOARD. :evil: