вторник, 16 юли 2019 г.

Bible Arguments 14

By DeYtH Banger


"And if a nonbeliever replies honestly, “I don’t know why there is something rather than nothing,” believers will crow: “Aha! You don’t have an answer, and I do!” This is known as a “god of the gaps” argument, or an argument from ignorance. Any mystery can be “solved” without doing any work, simply by plugging the hole with magic.
But let’s be charitable and fair. On its face, the question is not necessarily religious. The motives of those who ask, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” may be honest and sincere, and even if not, that alone is no reason to dismiss their conclusion. Since something cannot come from nothing, their argument goes,…"

- Dan Baker

"If there is nothing, then there has to be something.
So, “can something come from nothing?” really means “can something come from something?” and that is a no-brainer. “Can something be what makes it different from what it is not?”
“Nothing” is just a word we use to identify absence. It is a concept, not a thing. The concept of absence can apply to things that are real as well as to things that are imaginary. The absence of Neanderthals and the absence of leprechauns arenot measured the same way, but they end up the same. Absence is absence.
Since “nothing” is a concept, and concepts are a result, not a cause, of a brain, asking if something can come from nothing is like asking if a brain can come from a thought it is thinking."

- Dan Baker

"Why do we assume that reality, unmanaged, collapses to nothingness? Is it like gravity? The path of least resistance? From whence comes the great power of the void? (And if the void has this power, then it has something.) Perhaps it is the other way around: the great power of matter and energy is holding back the void. “Nature abhors a vacuum,” Aristotle thought.
But that all seems pretty silly, because something/nothing is not a proper yin/yang. They are not balanced opposites of a composite whole. If they were, then zero would be the reciprocal for every other number and math would be meaningless. But one thing we do know—and if there were a god, he/she would know it too—is that something indeed does exist, so there is no argument. Reality has not decayed into nothingness, or remained in such a state, not in the natural world or the supernatural world (if there is such a place). In fact, if there were truly nothingness, there would be no reality at all, natural or supernatural. We are aware of the reality that something does exist. That’s what reality means. Whatever the Theory of Everything (TOE) turns out to be, there will come a point where we simply have to refer to a brute fact—perhaps strings or branes or quantum wave potential, or something else. That is exactly what theists do when they refer to their brute fact of…"

- Dan Baker

"Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking thinks our entire universe, not just particles, has arisen from the void. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist,” Hawking writes. “It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

- Dan Baker

"Therefore, nothing exists. Putting the two bad-grammar arguments together, we could prove that God is Utter Nothingness…"

- Dan Baker

"In the beginning there was nothing. God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”
—Ellen DeGeneres20
Notice that when we ask “can something come from nothing?” we are playing a loaded game similar to “who caused the thunder?” We are swallowing the claim that something, anything, always has to “come from” something or someone else. If we do that, we are forced to look for a “what” or a “who.”
When we ask “can something come from nothing?” what do we mean by “come from”? I think there are two normal usages of that phrase: impersonal and personal. In ordinary usage, “comes from” means something physical and impersonal. A house “comes from” lumber or stone or building material. The lumber comes from trees, the stone from quarries, the bricks from mud, the nails and hardware from metal. A tree comes from a seed, the stone and metal comes from physical processes in the earth and the stars. And so on. These are all sufficient answers. So asking where the universe “came from” in that sense would be asking for the location of a huge quarry or forest of materials from which the construction materials…"

- Dan Baker

"…cause of its own existence and even the cause of the existence of God. (Not supernatural, but “naturalsuper.”) I have no reason to believe that contrived scenario, but it is no less fantastic than theism…"

- Dan Baker

"God is a spirit.
—John 4:24
There is no good reason to believe in a god, but if such a being exists, he also should ask himself, “Why am I here? Why is there a god instead of no god?” Most believers will claim that a god would never ask where it came from because a god is a great spirit outside of nature. The “great spirit” is above the law: you can’t haul in the king for questioning, they insist. A spirit, they say, unlike us physical creatures, can indeed exist without an explanation, timeless, causeless, not needing a frame of reference or context. They imagine that there are actually three states of existence: nothing, something, and spirit. It is spirit that mediates between nothing and something, they claim. Spirit can cause something to come from nothing. God was looking around one day, saying, “There is nothing, and I don’t like it, so I am going to turn nothing into something. Fiat lux ex nihilo. Lo, behold, now something exists!"

- Dan Baker

"A spirit, whatever it is, must be either something or nothing. If it is not something, it is nothing.
By the way, if God is defined as “a spirit,” then spirit is something that God is made of. So spirit is not God. It is something more basic, otherwise God could not be “a spirit.”
Some believers will reply that a spirit is indeed “something,” but it is not “something natural.” The question “can something come from nothing?” really means “can something natural come from nothing?” The supernatural or spiritual realm (which they have conjured out of nothing) is exempt from the question, they insist. Their three states of existence really are: nothing, nature, and spirit. We are natural creatures asking a natural question—a question about the entire notion and existence of “natural”—and the only sensible answer, they claim, must come from outside."

- Dan Baker

"If nothing comes from nothing, and if God came from nothing, then God is nothing.
Most believers insist that that is equivocating. We can’t compare God and the universe like that. God is a special case: he is great and personal and powerful and, unlike the impersonal lifeless universe, he has the ability to create himself. But how does that help their argument? If they say that “nothing comes from nothing” really means “nothing except God-who-is-great comes from nothing,” well there you go. They are back to question begging, inserting the conclusion into the premise. What could be a clearer example of circular logic? If you already believe in a god before you make the argument, then you don’t need the argument at all. It should be discarded. If believers agree that they don’t need the argument, but think that we atheists do—as a tool of evangelism—then they still need to convince us to embrace their “except God” qualification before we can get the argument off the ground, and if we did, we wouldn’t need the argument because we would no longer be atheists."

- Dan Baker

"He is the Creator. He is all-powerful. The king does not ask “who is above me?” God is “I am that I am” who needs no explanation.
But when believers say God is “big” and “powerful,” what do they mean? Those are words of dimension, force, and time. Can the word “big” mean something without measuring along dimensions? Can the word “power” be understood without plotting work across a span of time? If God is truly outside those dimensions, then what does it matter if he is called “big” and “powerful”? Those words have no meaning outside of the natural world, if it is possible to be “outside” of the natural world."

- Dan Baker

"We may as well say “God is bliphish and pomthical.” God talk is nonsensical. He is the holy iDot.
If God is truly outside of somethingness, he is nothing at all…"

- Dan Baker

"“Without God, We Are Nothing.” Pell was the Archbishop of Sydney. Today he is Number 3 at the Vatican, as the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, Pope Francis’s new finance ministry. If anyone is an expert in the faith, it would be “His Eminence Cardinal Pell.” (I couldn’t bring myself to use that title: he called me “Dan,” so I called him “George.”) During the debate, he used the word “spirit” and “spiritual” a number of times, so during cross examination, I asked him this question:
Dan: Can you define for us, using positive terms, what is a “spirit,” and how that would differ from nothing at all?
George: I just said that I can’t define “God,” but I can say something useful about “spirit.” I believe in the reality of love. I believe it’s a spiritual quality. I believe honor is something that is real. Disgrace is real. Forgiveness is real. Something spiritual is invisible, but sometimes it can be very powerful. The love of a husband and wife, the love between parents and children, they are probably the most important realities in many people’s lives. They are spiritual realities.
Dan: Let me follow up. I can define all of those things, like love, family, and feelings, in purely natural terms, as functions of an organism. But why were you not begging the question by saying that the definition of “spiritual” is love, which is spiritual? I want to know what it is. Does it occupy space? Does it occupy time? Does it have a weight? Can you measure it along a dimension? How would you know that your “spirit” is not just a concept as opposed to an actually existing thing in reality?
George: Well, you can’t measure a spirit. It is certainly not material. But the examples that I have given are very real and very powerful. Once there was an Australian poet who said that sometimes people can be at a concert and be like dogs at a concert. They hear every sound but have got no understanding of the music, because the music is something that is spiritual and beautiful and real. They can’t be reduced. They are connected with physical activities, but they can’t be reduced to those physical activities.
So I’m a dog, but I take that as a compliment. Notice that Pell said “spirit” is immaterial and invisible and can’t be measured, but it has power. Does he not know that power is measured materially? He sidestepped telling us what a “spirit” actually is. When believers are asked to define what “spirit” actually is—not to list synonyms like ghost, vision, or poltergeist; or attitudes like enthusiasm, love, emotion, or determination; but to describe the actual substance of the entity—they always define it by what it is not: intangible, noncorporeal, immaterial, ineffable, non-natural. (They might even say “the spirit is the ethereal essence.”) They never tell us anything positive. "

- Dan Baker

"Even if spirit does exist in some unknowable way—in spite of my impertinence in asking for a definition—what do believers mean when they say it is “outside” of nature? Exactly where is that? If a spirit is outside of nature, it still must be somewhere, in a region “beyond.” And that is still a place. Something might indeed be outside our own observable universe in the wider cosmos, but how can anything be outside of nature? Universes within the multiverse would certainly be outside of each other, but they would still be part of the natural cosmos. If we don’t have a coherent definition of “outside of nature,” then it is meaningless to suggest that that is where the spirit or supernatural exists.
Some think that to be outside of nature is to be in another dimension. But that is incoherent. Dimensions are used to measure natural things. Dimensions are what we mean when we say something is natural: the object occupies space and time, which are charted in four dimensions, at least. The amounts of space and time that an object occupies are measured along those dimensions compared to other objects, or the distance between other objects, which…"

- Dan Baker

"“Can something come from nothing?” might be unanswerable because it is unaskable. Logically, mathematically unaskable…"

- Dan Baker

"“What is s/0?” Don’t even try to reply. It is not a valid question.
The reason we cannot divide by zero—the reason it is a nonsensical question—is because “divide” means to “share.” It’s where we get the phrase “divvy up.” How can three children share twelve cookies? By giving four cookies to each child. But if you don’t have any children who want the cookies, then it makes no sense to talk about sharing the cookies. You can only share (divide) when you have a positive nonzero number of divisors (children). If the number of numerators (cookies) is negative, we are talking about sharing a debt, which is the same thing in obverse. If the number is zero, we can’t…"

- Dan Baker

"Ultimately, when the cause or source of the cosmos gets down to the simplest brute fact—when the divisor finally shrinks to one—the question will be “what is something divided by one?” The answer will be “itself.” Since believers think “God divided by one” is a valid question while “God divided by zero” is not, why do they not allow me to think the same of the cosmos?
There actually is a sneaky way to do an end run and “divide by zero” without causing a crash, and that is to divide zero by itself. This is a trick because we can’t actually divide by zero, and would never need to, but based on the axiom that any number divided by itself (n/n) is 1, we might logically (not mathematically) conclude that 0/0=1. This checks out because 1x0=0. So if 0/0=1, then “nothing from nothing” equals something. Something from nothing. If nothing truly existed (0/0), it would be something…"

- Dan Baker

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