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Is there any difference between belief in the Big Bang and religion?

According to religion, God gave us the universe; according to science, Chance gave us the "Big Bang". In society today we can choose between a modified Intelligent Design (Deism) where the odds are so stacked against a physical cause of the universe being “coincidental i.e. Chance” as to border on fantasy.

Instead the BB, a pseudo-religion, wants society to pay homage to astrophysicists and mathematicians who bring us the “God” of Chance.

“Religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances…”*.

There is very little difference between religion and mainstream belief in the BB.

Even when we see old galaxies literally a few hundred million years after the BB "which shouldn't be there"---oh wait---we can appeal to another "adjustable parameter", if we are to believe in the sanctity of the BB at 13.7 billion years ago..

Astrophysicists try to determine the nature and purpose of the universe and they rely on the supernatural agency of Chance. They also engage in devotional and ritual observances. These are conferences and articles where the assembled are required to profess their faith in the BB

“He (Dr. Tom van Flandern) opened his abstract with the words, ‘The Big Bang has never achieved a true prediction success where the theory was placed at risk of falsification before the results were known.’”.

I was wondering if others would find the devotion to Chance as the causal mechanism of the universe any different from Deism as the cause of the universe.

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    Oct 26 2011: i believe science and spiritualism or closer then we might care to realize.
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      Oct 26 2011: It is certainly where I derive my life's meaning from. I think its important to differentiate the scientific method (which is simply a tool) from philosophies made based on scientific data. As human beings it is impossible for us not draw conclusions and try and find patterns and meaning as we learn.
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        Oct 27 2011: Letitia i thought you where an atheist? i believe quantum mechanics might explain things that where once left to religion such as been connected universal, afterlife, if you look at what science tell us i believe there are similar such as we are all forms of energy, and as you know energy can not be destroyed only transferred and more specifically quantum entanglement can explain that we are all quite possible connected at the sub-atomic level everything is interconnected and information moves instantly across vast distances to each other and everything else within the universe, and there also the measurement problem where by a atom is spread at everywhere until you observe it so in other words the observer are conscious been create it by simply been an observer. been conscious of the universe creates it? or can you not have a universe without a conscious been?
        Also it was discovered that the atom is 99.999999999% empty of matter. This is important in the paranormal because it shows that what we think of as solid is really an illusion (just as all the great religions taught) and that it would be perfectly possible for other solid worlds operating at different frequencies to exist in the same space as ours (just like different radio or television signals co-exist)
        and since subatomic particles or energy packets have been found to be blinking on and off -in and out of our reality- the question arises where do they go when they are not here? Quantum physics suggests that when they are not existing in our reality they are existing in other parallel universes that we are unable to sense and measure. This is important for the afterlife because it opens the possibility of worlds which are just as solid as our own.
        I believe that this corresponds alot with buddhist teaching thou i know only the basics but also Quantum physics suggests that at the deepest level there is no matter, only consciousness. This is a theoretical basis for the existence of God
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          Oct 27 2011: Hi Steven. I am an atheist. But more importantly, I am a Scientist. My classification of myself as an atheist isn't my belief system. I didn't sign up for atheism or decide I don't 'believe' in God, there just isn't any proof of one so why would I bother? I guess what I'm saying is that if we uncovered scientific proof of God, I would absolutely accept it. Good scientists don't just make their minds up, they are open to new facts. Maybe quantum physics will get there, maybe it won't.

          My point was just that as human beings we draw conclusions about scientific data, turning facts into philosophies and I think that's how we get closer to ideas that some people consider spiritual in nature. This tends to lead to the criticism that Science itself is a sort of religion. My argument is that the Science is still Science but people's conclusions are naturally drawn to finding meaning, and may be 'spiritual'.

          For example: It is a fact that all life shares a high percentage of DNA means that we descended from common ancestors (Scientific fact, not religion)

          That fact makes me feel very connected to other species on this planet (Meaningful conclusion and arguably a spiritual philosophy)

          I think your point may have been the opposite actually: that the data itself may be getting closer to touching on religious topics? Correct me if I'm wrong.
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          Oct 27 2011: Its funny you mention that Steven

          I'm actually studying the correlation between quantum mechanics and its relationship with consciousness/brain (because I believe that all mental and conscious activity is reducible to the brain although I am well aware that consciousness itself has not be reducible to the brain). There is a book called the "Quantum Enigma" that talks about everything you mentioned if of course you have not heard about that.

          I will admit that I am quite perplexed by the observer effect. I mean it implies that we in a way already know what we are trying to observe and that the questions that we have and the intentions that we have is what allows us to see things the way they are. I'm not so sure about this being that. On a sub-atomic level I understand how the observer effect my work but I still do not understand how this applies on a macro-level? perhaps you may no more about it than I would
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          Oct 28 2011: Hi Orlando
          Here's some interesting reading about how the quantum level effect real life. Basically if shows that birds actually find their way by quantum entanglement. Now if birds access the quantum level then surely our brains uses it too.
          http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20927963.000-quantum-states-last-longer-in-birds-eyes.html
        • Oct 28 2011: Steve,

          Your observations have real practical significance when it comes to research. If we assume that communication with extraterrestrial life is through radio waves then SETI makes sense. If communication in the quantum world is what's really happening instantaneously involving thought wouldn't that suggest we should spend at least as much money on psychology experiments as SETI? In other words wouldn't our limited resources be better spent on targeted psychology experiments than on SETI?
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        Oct 27 2011: Yes that is my point that the science is getting closer to touching on religious topics. Do you agree??

        Orlando I am Glad your studying the correlation between quantum mechanics and consciousness/brain it is such an interesting topic, i know i enjoy a sch a fascinating subject, unfortunately i was not aware of the book "Quantum Enigma" I will have to read it now. as for the observer effect, it really posses far more questions then answers in fact it just gives questions? i know there a few theories such as i have mention earlier but let me know if come to any conclusions.
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          Oct 27 2011: I don't agree or disagree since I don't understand quantum theory very well. It seems to be that there are more questions than answers in this field right now. It has typically been human nature to fill unanswered questions with religious explanations so I am cautious about that approach.

          I feel like Scientists don't do enough research about why we ARE spiritual. I think that understanding consciousness whether through neurobiology or quantum physics will shed more light on this topic, as could more evolutionary studies about WHY humans are religious.
        • Oct 28 2011: If you are a deist (moi) then observation by an intelligence a million years more advanced than us, a very real possibility, would result, perhaps, in a much more significant "observer effect". If we extend the concept to its logical conclusion, what would the impact of "God" observing the universe be?

          Wouldn't that observation result in the physical world being able to support life, hence the foundation for the spiritual world in this universe?
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        Oct 28 2011: as to why where religious there is research into that area and i only have little understanding of the research but it it is interesting and it has something to do with the part of the brain where you identify with yourself and if your brain realizes that you are you and your alive and you can die that create a lot of anxiety there for there is another part of the drain to deal with this anxiety and that when spiritualism and after life come from. i think that is the basics of it, but that could be the scientific data to your analysis of we will see or look for spiritualism in patterns or scientific data which is also an intriguing thought
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          Oct 28 2011: The studies about why we are religious can be split into two broad categories: physiological and evolutionary.

          The psychological explanations are of the 'we are social and get lonely, we miss the guidance of our parents once they pass on, we're afraid of dying, we have lots of unanswered questions' kind

          whereas the evolutionary explanations are interested in the actual evolution (survival benefit?) of religious belief. It seems that rather than be advantageous on its own, religion probably evolved as a bi-product of some other advantageous human trait like altruism, or creativity. These are the questions I have been most interested in.

          But it is interesting to think about the way that religious ideas and symbolism could actually be tied into our consciousness as it may be structured according to the laws of quantum physics. Food for thought...
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          Oct 28 2011: Dear Letitia:

          On the evolutionary camp, if you understand religion as a Meme, it by definition does not need to give it’s host any evolutionary advantage (as long as it does not kill it’s hosts faster that it can find a new one/s to replicate).

          Also there is the discussion about the usefulness of religion as a population control mechanism, that could explain why elites have tried to impose it or force it to their inhabitants as well as others as a means to expand their power.

          Regards!

          JB
  • Oct 28 2011: Where we see confluence betwee science and religion is over pathological skepticism.

    Here is a list of the means used by those who exhibit “Pathological Skepticism”. From Beaty, W.J. 1996. “Pathological Skepticism” website called closemindedscience we see the following procedures well known to cold fusion researchers:

    1) hostile emotional attacks,
    2) circular reasoning,
    3) dehumanizing of the ‘enemy’,
    4) extreme closed mindedness,
    5) intellectually dishonest reasoning,
    6) underhanded debating tactics,
    7) negative gossip,
    8) all manner of name-calling and character assassination.

    These are the same tactics used to prosecute heretics during the Inquisition.

    “Examining the negative aspects of the social dynamics of science.”

    “Skepticism is a primary tool of science. We’d be hypocrites if we never directed a skeptical eye towards pathological skepticism itself. Denied imperfections and errors are free to grow without limit and Skepticism is not immune to this problem. Unbridled gullibility can destroy science, but unbridled disbelief is no less a threat because it brings both a tolerance for bias and ridicule as well as the suppression of untested new ideas. Better to take a middle road between close-mindedness and total gullibility. Practice pragmatism, pursue humility and maintain a clear, honest and continuing view of ourselves and the less noble of our own behaviors.”

    A basic characteristic of pathological denial or pathological skepticism is the use of theory to dictate facts. Observations trump theory not vice versa.
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    Oct 28 2011: Ill just say that if anyone is claiming that "chance" gave us the big bang, they are not scientific.
    There is no way to know (so far) what spurned the big bang so anyone rational and scientific cannot claim it was "chance" - whatever that means.

    The best and most honest answer would we - we dont know what caused the big bang.
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      Oct 28 2011: big bang is slightly incorrect anyone its all "effect" and no "cause" everything in the universe works i n cause and effect, in the inflation theory makes better suggestions of the birth of the universe better yet string theory and its ten dimensional collapse where our 4th dimensional universe broke of created the birth of universe we know, your right thou there all theories no one knows for sure
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        Oct 28 2011: Im not talking about the big bang theory itself. Im talking about that absolutely wrong and baseless conclusion/idea that it was created by "accident".

        There is no way anyone can know that.
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        Oct 28 2011: Science has a way to resist change just like all humans do. That is why even though Chaos and quantum theory is on the raise so many don't want to think that the universe is not cause and effect. The universe is more than a giant clock. The Newtonian way of thinking is wrong yet so many "religiously" defend it still because it raise the option that they don't understand the universe after all...

        So yes, science is very similar to religion in this sense. Scientific dogma does exist. For example many scientist will still say that consciousness is just a clever trick caused by a complex cause and effect bio computer. They will ague this point even when quantum research are showing how consciousness can effect the quantum level. There's even been research that shows that the brain can get information from the quantum level. This breaks the chemical brain model all together.
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    Oct 27 2011: Scientists do not follow any doctrine or worship any deity they simply try to understand the universe ,it's creation and it's future , they also don't claim to know everything which is what religion claims.

    feel free to correct me if i'm wrong!
  • Oct 27 2011: One thing that the BB and any god have in common is that neither can be experienced directly by your mind. You have to rely on ideas when it comes to think about those issues. Then you have the problem of complex concepts and language. If you don't talk the language you won't be able to understand the concepts. Whenever we reach the limit of our understanding we need to trust. Most religions are based on that specific kind of trust that is faith. Sometimes you need faith for things as ordinary as crossing a bridge, since you are not able to check for yourself if the bridge will sustain you.

    The thing with the BB is that it relies on evidence you can check and re-check if you care to do so, and you can actually get quite convinced that things are the way the say they are. It is not like they are hiding anything or trying to deceive you. You just have to know the language of math to understand. Plenty of people do and that's why we have computers and planes and so on...

    Obviously you cannot get anywhere near to this kind of evidence for any god described in any sacred book. That's a lot of diference for me.

    What I reckon about this whole issue is that, if this is a problem of trust, then people has lost faith in science. And I don't find that difficult. There are a lot of great thinkers working in the world for the wrong goals, in the eyes of a lot of religious believers at least. On the other hand, you mostly have despise of everything god-related in science. Science should be fascinated by the natural need in the human for supernatural explanations.

    I am writing all this w/o reading all comments because this thing about how our idea of god is evolving through generations is something that I find very interesting and I wanted to "focus" on how I perceive things. Sorry. I will proceed to read your comments now! I was just looking another TED video when this thread called my attention...

    Oh! And I actually think religion and science can evolve hand in hand :)
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      Oct 26 2011: Well, another reason why the big bang theory is different from religion then: Scientific articles don't have hidden meanings ;)
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          Oct 26 2011: I agree with many of the points you made except for one: Evolution has been proven: over and over again. Some of Darwin's ideas that pertained specifically to the evolution of "humans" (Sorry, I find "man" sexist) were incorrect (such as his theories about the evolution of different races), but the evolution of species by natural selection is without a doubt, factual. Examples include: the fossil record, development, the discovery that DNA is the inherited genetic material, DNA sequencing, Breeding, and examples of evolution happening within our own lifetimes such as antibiotic resistance. If you disagree, then why don't you tell me why evolution isn't a foregone conclusion? Because every single experiment done to test evolution since its proposal 150 years ago has supported it. What more do you want? That's as close as you can get to fact to me, but I'd be happy to hear about why I'm only "believing" in Evolution.
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          Oct 27 2011: Well, at the end of the day, you can believe what you like. But let me ask you this: Do you believe in antibiotic resistance? Or do you suppose that God purposely intervenes and creates new strains of bacteria that aren't affected by drugs just to I don't know, punish people for sinning or teach people a valuable life lesson?

          Because I think a more likely explanation is that when you take drugs, they sometimes don't work perfectly. Sometimes they kill lets say 95% of the bacteria in your infection. So then there's this 5% left that were less susceptible to the penicillin or whatever you took. Well now, they're going to proliferate and spread, and because all of the new bacteria came from from that small population that were less susceptible, and they are the 'offspring' (same genes) as them, they are ALSO less susceptible to drugs. Repeat, and you wind up with a whole population of bacteria that are harder to kill: they have a different quality than the original population!

          This is how evolution works: in really small steps. Accumulate these small steps over a long time and you can accumulate enough changes that you actually have a different species.

          There is no doubt that in our history, humans and other apes had common ancestors that split into two populations in the same way. Why else are we so similar?

          Who aught to be in charge of proving a Scientific theory if not a scientist?

          And I don't understand what you mean about your soul evolving through the animal kingdom but I would be interested in hearing you out. Do you mean like reincarnation?
    • Oct 27 2011: From the online Bible, "Genesis 2" "15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall die."

      Did Adam ask God, 'Why?' The answer is that Adam had faith in God and saw no reason to ask the question, "Why?"

      "Genesis 3" "Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God say, "You shall not eat from any tree in the garden"?' (2) The woman said to the serpent 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden (3) but God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, no shall you touch it, or you will die." (4)

      "But the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not die; (5) for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, * knowing good and evil.'

      (6) "So when the woman saw the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her and he ate."

      It sure looks to me that the Serpent used logic to convince Eve to betray Adam and God.

      We also know that three geniuses instinctively viewed logic as evil. First Stanley Kubrick with HAL, a super computer in "2001 a Space Obyssey" had HAL try to kill off his human cargo.

      Gene Roddenberry created Spock eminently logical who was referred by McCoy as the "pointey-eared devil" i.e. Gene intuitively associated logic with evil.

      Steve Jobs sold his first computer for $666.66. Why did Jobs choose this sales price unless he also intuitively see the assocation of computers (pure logic) with evil?

      Now philosophers and mathematicians using logic and reason seek to drive God out of the universe-creating business.
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    Oct 23 2011: The biggest problem with discussions about religion is that most people confuse myth with religion.

    Mythology is not a literal interpretation of existence. It never has been.

    I like to think of the bible as George Santayana described it: Literature not dogma.

    People can point to so-called evidence regardless of their position on this matter. In the end, it doesn't matter as long as you stop expecting others to believe the same thing as you.

    I believe in people over both science and God. We created them both to serve a purpose, after all.

    As for the beginning of the universe, who cares? We're here, now.
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    Oct 23 2011: No, there really isn't a difference at all. The Big Bang theory is really nothing more than a godless creation story. It has about as much of a solid base as any other myth about "the beginning".

    Like wise, there isn't any difference between naturalism and other dogmas. We seem to think we've changed our way of thinking in the past century, that we're somehow now "free thinkers". Sure, maybe atheism is in and gods are out, but the whole structure of religious faith is still with us. Naturalism is just a preconditioned way of viewing the world, a philosophy, really not based in any kind of scientific fact. That science is seen as some institution of authority, encompassing naturalistic philosophy (all this "science vs religion" garbage), paints ironically a whole new religion of a sort. Not to upset any of my fellow atheists (though this really will), all atheists basically believe the same thing.

    The mighty atheism/naturalism/"Science" institution is the new religion.
    • Oct 23 2011: I disagree for pretty much the reason I said below.

      Science doesn't claim to know the absolute truth. It is founded upon skepticism.

      The big bang 'theory' is so widely accepted because no one has definitively proven it is wrong, but
      lots of evidence supports its existence (including pictures of it).

      Now the big bang could be absolutely wrong. But its existence is predicated upon evidence.

      Now lets be clear: I don't hate the institution of religion... as long as it preserves empathy, openmindedness, and a willingness to be wrong.

      Not all nontheists believe the same thing.
      -some are skeptic about the existence of god just like they are skeptic of santa clause
      -some aethists use logic and reasoning to disprove god (though it is arguable to what degree)
      -some are merely not spiritual
      -some obviously just don't 'buy it'

      To demonstrate my point, imagine you are walking upon the earth for the first time.
      You see the sun: something you don't understand.
      If you are religious , you may believe the sun as a god. any accusation otherwise is blasphemy.
      if you are a scientist, you might conclude that it is fire in the sky, but you keep pondering whether or not it is true. you run experiments, and change your answer until you arrive upon a conclusion that you cannot disprove.
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        Oct 23 2011: Science doesn't claim to know anything... which is why I put it in quotes. :) Science in a way is just a procedure by which to establish facts about the universe. But science can also refer to our body of knowledge, these established facts, and that's where I'd argue subtle crossovers can be made into dogma. "That science is seen as some institution of authority, encompassing naturalistic philosophy (all this "science vs religion" garbage), paints ironically a whole new religion of a sort." I also put this as "atheism/naturalism/'Science'", with science in quotes. To reiterate, I think we often attribute things to science which aren't scientific at all, such as atheism and naturalism. Thus we may follow this new institution, which we wrongly think of as science.

        The Big Bang theory is largely accepted in scientific circles... well, by most of the world's scientists. But why is it accepted? Maybe it has to do a little with authority, but I think for the most part people are just happy to have a naturalistic explanation for the origin of the universe. Really, it's accepted in part for the same reason every creation story has been accepted... but it's unique in that it's inspired by an almost burning desire for a non-theistic explanation. I see where the conclusions (or assumptions) can be made, but for the most part whatever observations may suggest its accuracy fail to support the burning, irrational passion that people defend it with. It's really a loose case (I doubt you can more than suggest it with microwave radiation and red shift). Even if the Big Bang theory is correct, it hardly answers anything about the origin of the universe, except that it erupted with a bang (which sounds a lot like the beginning of the Bible).

        All four of your bullet points apply to pretty much every atheist. :P Forgive me for being an agnostic. Can I suggest that naturalism is just the West's rebound girlfriend after such an abusive relationship with Christianity?
        • Oct 23 2011: Good points. I guess it all depends upon how you define religion. I can totally see how your definition of religion fits atheism. My main point would be that science tends to challenge itself, and grow whereas religion is more about sticking with a belief.

          I don't pretend to be an expert in the Big Bang, but there is a considerable amount written about the subject. Not all scientists buy into the Big Bang, and try to come up with alternative explanations. After all, if you happen to be the scientist that finds a hole in the theory, you would get a lot of recognition. A considerable amount is also written about holes in the theory, but none are definitive.

          I think that what you say about an emotional attachment to the theory is valid. Its kinda what makes some scientists human and frustratingly stubborn at times. I think partly why they are defensive is because many religious people might proclaim the theory false without offering any counter-evidence or even examining the evidence in detail.

          It is widely accepted merely because no one else has come up with a better scientific explanation.

          Personally I have no stance upon the position. I have not really covered big bang in deep, so I obviously am not sold on it.
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        Oct 23 2011: Just so you know, I am a religious skeptic to the bone. I also happen to believe in the Bible, which, when studied, is also anti religion. The whole old testament is, well a testament to the failure of religion and the need for relationship and not religion. The idea that anyone who believes in theism on any level isn't a critical thinker is really starting to depress me. I came to my meeting with God through critical thinking, not through religion. Religion (and by this I refer to the ceremony, rites, laws etc that are free of relationship) is not a good thing IMHO, however many people are very religious, I do not ridicule them for holding to it. Paul is very specific in Romans that what is good for the goose might be really bad for the gander. To each their own. Nor do I continually ridicule those without belief for lacking the ability to think. Please respect that.

        And to a lot of people science is indeed Science and not just a method for understanding the physical world.
        • Oct 23 2011: That is wonderful.
          Sorry if I was implying that religious people cannot think. Obviously they can.
          I am not trying to ridicule those who lack an ability to think. Ridicule never does any good.


          I totally do not hate religion as long as it does not interfere with our ability to think, empathize and think rationally. Where I have a problem is when religious people begin to ignore rational argument, and shy away from intellectual conversation with people who think differently. In this case, religion is extremely dangerous to society, so yes I hate that particular aspect of religion (but I don't ever hate those people).

          I find that whenever I have a conversation with someone with a different view, something rubs off on me (in this case I gained a new perspective of how religion could be redefined).

          Personally I am an atheist (obviously) because I am satisfied with living life full of uncertainty. This doesn't mean that I shouldn't read the bible, koran, or any other religious texts. As a skeptic, I must consider any religious text as a valid text. I think there are many areas where religious texts outline very strong points.

          Thanks for the conversation.
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    Nov 3 2011: No. Both boil down to faith propositions. Yes, that's right the Big Bang boils down to faith.

    Now, answering this question gets tricky because by BB, you could mean the cause for the universe's existence, evolution, science, or all of the above. Let's assume you only mean the cause for the U's existence.

    In which case, the BB is even more like religion because it can't be demonstrably proven in a test tube. The BB was (supposedly) a historical event that happened once in time never to be recreated. No amount of empirical evidence is ever going to prove the BB with all certainty.

    Furthermore, David Hume proved all knowledge comes down to faith 200 years ago. It's one of the greatest epistemological quandaries known today: nothing can be deemed as 100% certain. Not even Science.

    With that said, I don't see a problem with saying that Jesus exists and the BB happened too. If Jesus is the creator of the Universe I certainly believe that he is capable of creating the BB as we know it. I mean we're talking about God here - who upholds the universe by the palm of his hand.

    Why is it that so many people assume science and religion are diametrically opposed? Personally I find that the world is much more easily understood through my relationship with Jesus. It allows for science, philosophy, morals, ethics, etc. Christianity is much more inclusive of how this world works. Science, on the other hand, as an absolute authority is a much more narrow and a less encompassing worldview.
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    Nov 1 2011: Oops, I meant that to be a reply not new post!
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    Nov 1 2011: Hey Steven, I've enjoyed your comments in this and other threads and I'd love to chat about evolution with you. I have been on both sides when it comes to neo-evolution.

    Just to be clear we're talking about the idea that humanity has somehow moved beyond the normal pressures of evolution by basically creating our own environment and are therefore not under the pressures of natural selection anymore but are evolving in a fundamentally different way from other species. Presumably we are at a point where we may be able to manipulate our biology not just through the creation of our environment, but directly through genetic engineering and other technologies.

    As far as evolution goes, I think it makes perfect sense excluding two groups: bacteria and humans. I think we have a lot in common actually! Both of us speed up adaptation by unlimited exchange of information, unhindered by generation time. While bacteria do this in the usual way by sharing DNA (but asexually by exchanging plasmids), humans do this by exchanging ideas (or memes if you prefer).

    I do think that humans have got something unique going on in the way of cultures, and its definitely a gap because we don't even understand how it works now, let alone how it evolved with us! I think that an understanding of the brain and of consciousness is the last BIG frontier of biology. I'm not convinced that the answer is in the neurons: I don't think that cell biologists will figure it out. We are looking for some sort of pattern...maybe physics has the answer. With the genetic material, it was at least a debate between protein or DNA. With consciousness, we don't even know where to look.

    If our consciousness is what defines the human species and we don't even have a scientific mechanism of how it works or where it is exactly, then I think that is the biggest gap in understanding our evolution. Do you agree or did you have other ideas about links?
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      Nov 1 2011: I agree with you on everything that you have said i believe with have similar ideas and thoughts on the subject and i love reading your posts but i also wanted to talk to you about specific human only genes but i need to do my research to remember the specific ones and ill have to get back to you on that but i do have a hypothetical question for you if you could use gene therapy to add any genes to yourself what would you do?
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        Nov 1 2011: The first thing I would do is remove all of the genetic predispositions for disease. I might stop there though...what about you?
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          Nov 1 2011: i am a bit of a mad scientist and if i could simply add new genes and not worry about side affects i thing i would so a lot after eliminating disease i would have to work on increasing strength then increase all of my senses and i would love to work to give myself neurogenesis, and limb regeneration bit crazy i know but I have always wanted to be a superhero lol if these where possibilities and i believe one day they will be alot of people will be tempted to go that way and that would be true neo evolution
        • Nov 3 2011: Hi Letitia!

          What is your take on selective abortion of girls in societies like India and China brought about by the misuse of sonograms?
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        Nov 3 2011: I think its a good reminder that all of the technological advances we make get used in a cultural context. I don't think the science is to blame here since these societies are still able to (and do) get rid of unwanted girl children after their birth, but it is unfortunate that improved technology contributes to this issue. Ethics will obviously be a major concern for the use of genetic engineering on humans too.
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      Nov 1 2011: Letitia,

      May I suggest a book, The Adventure of Consciousness by Satprem about the life and philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. Perhaps if you look at the whole instead of the parts it will make more sense.
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        Nov 2 2011: Thanks for the suggestion Craig, I will look that up!
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    Oct 28 2011: Hi Richard!

    Let’s assume that I agree with you and have to choose between two beliefs systems.

    You have on one hand authority figures (Parents, school, priests, etc) that tell you to believe in a 2000 year old book that talks about stories involving morals and magic.
    On the other hand you have people that study reality and come up with models, then test those models and come up with new models and so on.
    The first ones use their “relation” with magic being/s and focus on reinterpreting this 2000 old book.
    The second ones use mathematics, observation and experiments.
    The first ones are sure they are right (like you), the second ones think that the current explanation is the best so far, but can change if new evidence or a new theory (with better prediction power)arises.

    I personally would choose the second camp.

    The same scientific method that invented my car, that powers my computer, that takes care of my health, etc, why should it work on some topics (like vaccines, or planes, or electricity, etc) but not work on others?

    Regards!

    JB

    PS during my comment I assumed you where Christian, but you could believe in any other of the available gods, so, sorry if you are Hare Krishna, shamanist, scientologist, etc. in any case I assume you are sure that you worship the right god/s and that all other religions are wrong.
    • Oct 28 2011: Hi Julian,

      A long time ago I turned into a C & E Christian; now I am just a deist. What I propose is a middleground between religion and science. In other words in this middleground we could stipulate a belief system based on "proof" a higher power and/or the paranormal realm, but not provable within the framework of science.

      The middleground I propose is the best examples of paranormal activity. Clearly the Committee for Scientific Investigations of Claims of the Paranormal or CSICOP is not an objective arbiter of the paranormal realm. Consider that in astrology there was a clear correlation of people borne in two positions ("Mars Rising" and "Mars Transitioning") which should show a 17 % chance of European sports champions being borne in that time period. In actuality it was more than 22%. To a statistician it is highly significant. Enter CISCOP.

      Then according to Robert Anton Wilson, "The New Inquisition" CSICOP engaged in a delberate faulty statistical approach to dismiss the finding.

      "Rawlings and Professor Scott, you will remember, discovered the statistical fallacy."

      The Committee refused to publish a letter by Rawlins about the matter, even though he was Associate Editor of their journal.

      "He ran into a stone wall, and calls the behavior of CISCOP executives a 'cover-up' and compares it to the Watergate affair in politics."

      The complete lack of objectivity to observe the paranormal realm and build a bridge between science and religion, is evident in the Amazing Randi, a self-proclaimed "objective" skeptic who doesn't approach the paranormal realm with an objective attitude. Thus CISCOP has devolved into "just another dogmatic blind faith."

      We need a non-scientific, objective arbiter of fact dealing with "miracles" and evidence of the paranormal realm; clearly it is not CISCOP.

      The single biggest problem with this is that most paranormal activities are field experiments that cannot be replicated in the laboratory. Why should they?
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    Oct 28 2011: both religion and BB are just theories based on current evidence. BB however has much more proof of evidence wheras religion make claims with far less evidence. so belief in a religion requires a lot more belief and a certain degree of ignorance.
  • Oct 25 2011: Hi Kathy,

    God essentially told Adam, :"Have faith in me i.e. don't question why I tell you what to do." Satan said to Eve in effect, "Listen to me." Then Satan used logic on Eve to convince her to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Hence the use of logic to destroy faith in God is original sin.
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    Oct 25 2011: Richard,
    This is response to your replies since I am unable to continue on the thread that we were discussing on so here we go:

    First things first, as Letitia Falk pointed out, we were both on the path (you actually did as a matter of fact) of condemning science so I'll back off a bit on all the scientific jargon (Thanks for pointing that out Letitia). Also as Letitia mentioned, you are using Hitler as an example of all scientist. Hitler was not a scientist. He was a politician and social leader. All accounts of Hitler talks about him being a politician. Did he hire scientist to carry out his diabolical plans or did they do it out of fear? Perhaps its a bit of both but this does not make "ALL" science or anything with a logical basis bad. More to the point, Hitlers scientific experiments has nothing to do with Newtons laws of gravitational attraction.

    Secondly his notions about Eugenics and Aryan Supremacy was not based off logic and scientific reasoning. It was racial as well as a method of control (the socioeconomic conditions that Germany was in, he had convince them that they were destined for greatness). It is purely a social construct.

    Now to the meat of my argument: Your are making the mistake of trying to apply intelligent design to physical cosmology as well as physics and astronomy. On one hand you are talking about universal expansion and the age of the universe and on the other hand you are talking about God and Satin, Good and Evil and Eternity. What is even more perplexing is your trying to merge the tenets of Buddhism to support your claims about the apocalyptic battle of good and evil. Physical cosmology and astronomy are not concerned about value questions such, as you put it, "testing good and evil".

    I really must ask: what does the death of Satan and a objectively good, spiritual universe have to do with the big bang? In other words what does any of this have to do with your original question about the correlation between religion and BB?
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      Oct 25 2011: Oops, I actually meant that Richard was "both" condemning and also using science in his arguments which was confusing (also a bit hypocritical), not that "both" you and Richard were condemning science. But its true that we've been arguing over scientific facts when the question isn't whether the BBT is right or not, but whether it is similar to a religion. Thanks for getting things back on track.
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        Oct 26 2011: That makes much more sense. I actually went over the it after reading your post and realized where you were coming from so my apologies and thanks for clarifying things.

        But your correct, we should be focusing on BBT and its relationship to religion. That is where I was attempting to come from at first and then I got perplexed when he was bringing up God, Hitler, Satin and the afterlife and was passing it off as absolute truth, which does not

        But your welcome no problem
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        Oct 30 2011: hey Letitia this is a bit off topic but I am curious to your thoughts on neo evolution or homo evolutis whatever term yo prefer to use and also on the origins of humans i believe there's some strange gaps in or missing links in humans i am not against evolution i am all for it and love it in fact i believe me and you could have a great conversation about such things.
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          Nov 18 2011: Well, I think we'll have nothing but gaps now because we are no longer subject to the pressures of natural selection. I think that we've experienced two major shifts in human evolution away from natural selection: The first was when we began to manipulate our environment rather than letting it manipulate us, and the second (which we are in the middle of) is directly interfering with our genes (on-purpose).
  • Oct 25 2011: Here is an independent confirmation of my basic premise that the BBT is no differenf from religion. Consider this article by W.J. Beaty, 1996. "Pathological Skepticism" from the website called closemindedscience,

    Pathological Skeptisim consists of:

    "1) hostile emotional attacks,
    2) circular reasoning,
    3) denumanizing the 'enemy',
    4) extreme closed mindedness
    5) intellectually dishonest reasoning,
    6) underhanded debating tactics,
    7) negative gossip,
    8) all manner of name-calling and character assassination."

    "Skepticism is a primary tool of science. We'd be hyprocrites if we never directed a skeptical eye towards closeminded itself. Denied imperfections and errors are free to grow without limit, and Skepticism is not immune to this problem. Unbridled gullibility can destroy science, but unbridled disbelief is no less a threat because it brings both a tolerance for bias and ridicule as well as the suppression of untested new ideas. Better to take a middle road between total close-mindedness and total gullibility. Practice pragmatism, pursue humility, and maintain a clear, honest and continuing view of ourselves and the less noble of our OWN behaviors."

    Pathological skepticism today is no different from the tactics used during the European Inquisition.
  • Oct 25 2011: The temperature of the background radiation of a steady-state universe is similar to the value determined by Eddington for starlight.

    You appeal to a mystical view of the BB i.e. "the second law of thermodynamics does apply" yet we magically have additional zero point energy added as space expands which violates the conservation of energy. We also see in this universe an anti-entropic tendency called life---maybe that is the true "dark energy".

    Halton Arp has shown the existence of an "umbilical" cord of matter connecting high redshift quasars to low-redshift galaxies; there is clear evidence they are intimately connected but showing radically different red shifts. Clearly there is some mechanism that permits quasars to exhibit high red shifts that have nothing to do with recession of the object.

    Also over the span of forty years it is possible to demonstrate the angular separation of quasars from associated galaxies requires them to separate at rates vastly greater than the speed of light. Again disproving a one size fits all approach to the red shift---and, of course, there are those who favor the "tired light" hypothesis.
  • Oct 24 2011: Dear Leticia,

    When it comes to biology and geology, evolution is the hardest of all hard sciences. It has proved to be the most outstanding predictive model of any branch of science. The BBT is a retrodictive discipline where facts are ignored or falsified (see below) and astronomers who do not toe the line are marginalized. There is every bit as rigid adherence to the BBT as to any religious dogma.

    The BBT is an extreme example of mathematization of science where science, scientists and facts are subordinated to elegant mathematical theories where the sole purpose of astronomers is to validate some version of the BBT. This is religious devotion to a theory and the punishment of the non-believers.

    Here is an excellent example of how the scientific method is corrupted: “The much vaunted “perfect fit” curve published by Mather et al in 1991 is indeed a wonderfully precise match the result of years of intense scrutiny.” “The questions seldom asked are, ‘How accurate were the COBE readings’ and ‘is a blackbody in fact predicted.’”

    “Robitaille, an acknowledged and acclaimed authority in the field of radiation measurement, gives an intense appraisal of the design failures of that particular instrument, leading to the shocking revelation that methods employed by the COBE team were so flawed as to be utterly misleading.”

    “Despite popular belief to the contrary, COBE has not proven that the microwave background originates from the universe and represents the remnants of creation.”

    “A direct treatment of all these systematic errors would lead to ~ 64 mK error bar in the microwave background temperature. The FRIAS team reported ~ 1 kM despite the presence of such systematic errors.”

    “… all errors were essentially transferred into the calibration files.”

    See “The Static Universe Exploding the Myth of Cosmic Expansion” by Hilton Ratcliffe.

    Thus the FRIAS team deep-fried the data.
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      Oct 25 2011: "The BBT is an extreme example of mathematization of science" This is an interesting point. So I think your point is that if the BBT has been misleadingly portrayed as being a more robust theory than it really is, and if people are "believing" in it based on false or manipulated data, then it is requiring belief in the same way as religion? I see your point.

      I still think that the BBT is in a different category because the majority of the public have at least been lead to understand that it is based on factual evidence, and would presumably change their minds if evidence was presented against it, whereas blind faith is glorified by religions.

      I do think it shows how important personal knowledge is in determining what we believe.
      • Oct 25 2011: Hi Letitia!

        You phrase it extremely well. What I see going on in the BB religion is that it admits to no reasonable ability to be falsified. Look at the response of an astrophysicist when confronted with the presence of old galaxies appearing shortly after the BB allegedly occurred. His response was not, "Gee this really falsifies the BB." No, his first response was, "What adjustable parameter can I appeal to that explains this anomalous data?"

        I can again quote a dozen or more adjustable parameters that have arisen every time data contradicts the BB.

        What we have in physics is a complete renunciation of the scientific method, a procedure that has survived for centuries. When you combine the ability to ignore, suppress or falsify data and its legitimate proponents, with a theory as malleable as clay, a slavish media that has been led to believe that grandiose is good, the military/industrial/physics complex that values physics more than any other discipline of the sciences and we have a perfect storm to prevent falsification of the theory.

        Thus physics has brought us the modified scientific method, MSM, a method that prevents and denies falsification of dogma---just like religion.
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        Oct 25 2011: Hey Letitia, thanks for the heads up and the clarification in the other post.

        After going through this I do see the point his is trying to make about a belief in the big bang. I would never had caught that.

        Anyhow I would also like to add to Richard that BB is not a religion as is stated. Also he mentioned that BBT is arrogantly thought to be unfalsifiable. Now I am not a scientist but isn't one of the aspects to the Scientific method the verification and falsification of a particular theory? In this case, if there was new evidence to support that the BBT was completely wrong, it would have to be subject to modification right? And the scientist that are concerned or engaged in BBT will welcome this change and implement it into this new found theory otherwise it would not be science? It is mentioned that BBT is based purely off mathematical theory but there are images of Carbon Microwave Radiation (which is not purely based off math but actually observation). His statements maybe intriguing but I think its incorrect.

        Now Richard talks about physics and the new language that it is creating in the scientific world. I find this very interesting when talking about issues relating to some sort of quantum enigma. This I am not to sure about and I'm sure there is someone on here that Can understand it and explain it to me but based off the previous conversations that I have had with Richard, I have one question:

        If the BBT can be proven to be incorrect, why is the only other alternative to the origins of the universe is intelligent design? What are the other possible alternatives if there are any?
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    Oct 24 2011: Belief versus facts is an issue that goes beyond a simple answer. Facts are true regardless of belief. If I jump off of the Empire State Building I will be a wet spot on the pavement and that is a fact. Belief which turns into religion is a belief held regardless of observation, facts, testing, mathematics etc. Religion is personal belief that can be held by many people or no one and society is little impacted. Belief is to some degree that way as an example many believed our current president was going to fix the nation so that all social, moral, ethical, financial ills were righted. Many still believe that it will happen against all facts, numbers, proofs to the contrary. No one person can fix a national issue by himself.
    The Big Bang Theory is just that a theory, an explanation for what is observed. Explanations a fungiable and changeable when they are not facts. Thus, it stays in the area of belief until it can be tested using the scientific method. Some have even said the Universe is shrinking using the same data and methods. It cannot be falsified because it is a belief not a fact.Religion is pure belief since we have no measuring stick, no way to test any of the worlds religions. We can really only say HMMMMmmmmmmmm.
    The Big Bang theory is also a funny TV show and it is just as believeable as the scientific theory to some degree. (That will stir up some comments)
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    Oct 24 2011: Yes there are lot differences.
    Belief in religion just need unconditional believe , even blind believe is enough....
    While belief in Big Bang needs support of lots of evidence, logic, reasoning & understanding of different branch of science.
  • Oct 24 2011: Hi Letitia,The Big Bang theory has been falsified by a large number of dissident scientists; thus your statement that, "...if the Big Bang theory does turn out to be wrong or incomplete, as a scientific theory it will be rejected and then the scientific community will move on to the next explanation." When the theory is proven wrong will BB enthusiasts say that they have misled the scientific community for 80 years?

    Here is the basic problem with what the BB theory has done: It has turned the whole nature of science on its ear where instead of a predictive model we now have an ad hoc adjustable parameter, retrodiction model. Mathematicians tell astronomers what they should or should not see. They simply ignore data that contradicts the BB theory.

    "The 'New Inquisition' as it has been called by Rober Anton Wilson consists not of cardinals and popes, but of the editors and reviewers of scientific journals, of leading authorities and self-appointed skeptics, and last but not least of corporations and governments that have a vested interest in keeping the status quo and it is just as effective in suppressing unorthodox ideas as the original" What you have is an ideal situation for self-perpetuation i.e. survival of the species. BB proponents have consistently violated basic scientific methodology by systematically refusing to permit falsification of the theory by meeting every new conflicting piece of data with an "adjustable parameter".

    As long as falscification is not permitted, then the theory will persist forever. What do we need to challenge the 13.7 billion year age of the universe? We already see old galaxies forming a few million years after the big bang, etc. Here you see clear falsification yet the first response of an astrophysicist seeing the data for the first time was to invoke an adjustable parameter.Astrophysicists have corrupted the very way that science has operated under for hundreds of years and substituted a whole new way of "conducing" it.
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      Oct 24 2011: Hi Richard. My apologies if I oversimplified the matter: true that except in the case of really exceptional findings, theories are replaced or proven wrong over years and through many experiments. However, even though this process may be slow it still moves constantly closer to the truth because it is based on facts that can only be explained away in a non-working model for so long.

      I will admit that as a Biologist I don't keep up on the Astrology and Physics literature as much, but I am familiar with the peer-review process for Journals and even if it is a lot more corrupt than the field of Biology, the publications about the BB theory at least have their roots in data unlike the bible (or many other religious texts) that are story-telling.

      I don't think that the issue being discussed here is whether the BB theory is correct or not though: I think it is whether is is similar to a religion. And I would argue that correct or incorrect, it is a scientific theory and not a religion.
  • Oct 24 2011: Deism, which I promoted in the first post, is a belief in the absence of the utility of religion. Thomas Paine is one of my heroes. When we look at both Islam and Christianity we see a history steeped in blood, hence my preference in no religion. My belief in a higher power is from a close encounter, not reading the Bible. It is a nice read as a novel, contains interesting wisdom on occasion, but I tend to believe it reflects the wisdom of the individual whose provenance is unknown.

    The Bible warns against the dangers of reliance on logic. Isn't it amazing that no one has picked up (to the best of my knowledge) that the Bible warns of logic embodying it in the form of Satan? And here hundreds of years later we see a concerted effort of scientists and philosophers using logic and reason to destroy a belief in God i.e. getting God out of the universe-making business. Tit for tat!

    My intuition tells me that the origin of the universe will always be unknown and can only be "solved" mathematically with one or more major 'adjustable parameters' i.e. fudge factors.
  • Oct 24 2011: Science and Religion, both take a lot of study and education to even understand. You go to school to learn Science, you must do bible study to know a Religion. Science suggests that there was a moment of creation, BB. Religion suggests the same, a creator (god) created the BB. If the Universe was started at one point and is expanding, theory says that it should be slowing down, but instead its speeding up. Galaxies are moving away from each other with astonishing speed. At some point the universe will end, run out to who knows where, as in Religion there is also an end. But Religion says that we will go on if we are faithful (believe) to that Religion. Can Science say the same? Maybe there is another place that Galaxies go to that we don't know of yet. A Parallel Universe? Another dimension? Science is probably working on those question as we speak.
    Before Science there was Religion, maybe without Religion we would have a different view of Science. A case in which Science quotes Religion has been around for 60 years, but has just recently been upgraded to fact, "Neurogenisis," the "creation of new neurons in a brain that has been damaged." They knew of this in young children through experiments and examples, but did not think of it in older brains. (Thermodynamics?)
    This has me thinking;
    Is Science proof, knowledge without faith?
    Is Religion faith, knowledge without proof?
    The story goes on..............
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      Oct 24 2011: Sorry but I don't understand what you mean by "A case in which Science quotes Religion"?
      • Oct 24 2011: Has a Religious theme in the name.
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          Oct 24 2011: Oh, you mean the "genesis" part of "neurogenesis"? I'm pretty sure that the term used in either Scientific or Religious circles, comes from the Greek root meaning origin or source and doesn't necessarily mean that neurogenesis is connected to the Bible's Genesis. There are lots of terms in Developmental Biology in particular with this suffix: "Tumorogenesis" and "Organogenesis" for example. These coincidences are probably related to the history of our language more than a recent merging of Science and Religion.

          Although there are lots of exciting discoveries being made in Neurobiology right now (such as restoration of neurons in adult brains), I'm not sure what it is in this field that you are saying has "just been upgraded to fact"?
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    Oct 24 2011: Does the BB theory tell you how to live your life? Give you the promise of an afterlife? Take collection? Encourage community events? I don't see how the two are interchangeable at all. And if someone does start a church of BB please let me know so I can attend. That's the whole point though: scientific theories don't require missionaries because they just make sense. You don't have to convince people to "believe" in them.

    On the other hand: even if the BB theory does turn out to be wrong or incomplete, as a scientific theory it will be rejected and then the community will move on to the next explanation, unlike in Religion where people hang on to old outdated ideas well after the evidence has been presented against them.
  • Oct 23 2011: My religious views are based on experience with the paranormal realm subject to interpretation of course. Here is a falsifiable prediction:

    Every so-called constant will be determined to be a non-linear term. This includes the speed of light, the fine-structure constant, the gravitational constant, and units of mass, length and time. According to Gleick, "To solve system of non-linear equations was impossible..."

    In my article in the Mensa Bulletin in 1995 I stated, "Constants evolved, in part, to make the math accessible to the scientific community. If we eliminate constants most modern physics is imposslble. Mother Nature did not design this universe for the convenience of scientists, yet it is an unfortunate commentary on modern science that many constants have arisen not as a vehicle for promoting truth but out of intellectual sloth."

    Because we live in a universe of non-linear terms all attempts to define the origin of the universe with mathematics are doomed to failure. We already see problems with the speed of light and the fine-struture constant. Change the speed of light and then units of measurement fall i.e. the length of a meter.

    God gave us this universe with the expressed purpose of proving the hubris of mathematicians and astrophysicists. The best that mathematicians will ever do is approach the truth much as they might approach knowledge of the so-called singularity at the instant of the big bang.
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      Oct 24 2011: I enjoyed this post and I agree that what we think we know of the universe is always changing. I personally have been a vocal opponent of the theory of relativity, much to the amusement of everyone who hears me out. The math might look good, but the theory itself has never made sense to me. We measure time with physical objects that are effected by the forces exerted on them, that doesn't mean time is actually effected. Just my two cents.
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    Oct 23 2011: There is enough evidence to support the big bang theoryuniverse expansion but more important than that is something called Carbon Microwave Radiation (which you can look up images on google). There is also enough evidence to suggest that many (if not all) religious accounts of the orgins of the unvierise are false. They also leave out a lot of information. For example, if the bible was written by the creator of the universie, then why would the creator of the universe forget to mention other planets, galaxies, dark matter, quantim mechanics, etc

    I'll be honest, there really is nothing wrong with us being here by chance. We are here, we have profound experiences and we should do everything that we can to enjoy the time that we have here. What scares people the most about us being here by chance is that it would seem to deprive meaning in our lives. Such a statement would come off as being nihilistic. As humans, we tend to create many symbolic meanings to fill this void due to this fear of life not having a meaning to it.

    What I will say is what we know for sure is that no one knows the true orgins of the universe but I highly doubt that it was intellegently designed.
    • Oct 24 2011: There is plenty of evidence that there is no big bang expansion starting 13.7 billion years ago. Clearly the background radition is consistent with a steady state universe as indicated by Eddington. The red shift as Arp showed, has potentially multiple causes only one of which may be due to expansion.

      The Creator of the universe left us a puzzle to solve i.e. its origin. Once it is verified that neutrinos travel faster than light special relativity falls, and, also general relativity. We already knew this because Einstein repudiated general relativity on his scientific deathbed a matter of considerable significance. This has profound implications for the origin of the cosmos.

      The reliance on the God of Chance is every bit us unsupported as a deistic origin. It is intersting how scientists dismiss all miracles as not having a "scientific" origin. Even if there is proof of miracles scientists would have you believe they are not the product of a higher power.

      The creation myth of the big bang mirrors creation myths in many cultures e.g. read Paul LaViolette's, "Genesis of the Cosmos The Ancient Science of Continuous Creation."

      The Bible as literature is interesting. When you see timeless wisdom, for example, that God said he was the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. God never said he was the middle. This is the mystery we now face---what is in the middle of eternity?

      Scientists and philosophers have tried to drive God out of the universe-creating business. One thing is clear--the Bible clearly identifies logic as evil. Before science existed, the Bible had already "knew" it was a threat and equated logic with Satan's persuasion of Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The simple Adam was given faith by God i.e." believe in me". Satan took the more sophisticated Eve and said, "Listen to me." "Listen to me" is a prelude to logic---the basis of science.
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        Oct 24 2011: You've made the mistake of thinking that I'm saying the big bang is the true cause of the origin of the universe. All I said was that there is much evidence to support this theory, more so than intelligent design. But I'll not arbitrarily impose this notion on you. Plus nothing is steady about the universe.

        So you've given me all this scientific language in your second paragraph. I understood what you said but this by no means supports your claim about The Creator of the Universe existing, let alone his/her/its intention of leaving us perplexed. You said once it is verified that Neutrinos move faster than the speed of light then special relativity fails. This is funny being that Neutrinos may be responsible for the existence of dark matter and if neutrinos traveled faster than light, then the universe would not be how it is today, thus life would not exist(due to dark matter not holding the universe in place). that would be a big mistake

        I'm not a scientist. I was coming from a philosophical and psychological perspective. Secondly I was not referring to any sort of higher power. I said I see nothing wrong with us being here by chance and I stated why people create symbolic or existential meanings to their lives because being here by chance would be an almost nihilistic claim. I never once said that we were here by chance. No one knows why or how we got here for sure. All I know is that I exist and that I am experiencing life. That is all I can know. All because there is no evidence to support us being here by chance, does not make science any less credible.

        There is no middle of eternity since eternity, by virtue of its definition is timelessness. There would be no sense of time. But let me ask you this: What is so special about eternity and what is really wrong with going to hell?

        I can't believe you actually said that about logic. Of the top 100 atrocities in history, 13 have been religious. Tell me how many atrocities were due to too much logic
        • Oct 24 2011: Hitler was a scientist. He set forth an hypothesis that of Aryan Supremacy. He performed an experiment---the extermination of the Jews, gypsies and mentally ill---and he got publishable results e.g. vivisection experiments and hypothermia experiments to death. Some scientists want to use the data that Nazi's obtained to save lives.

          The universe can exist quite nicely if you believe as I do in MOND i.e. that gravitational attraction according to Newton breaks down at very low acceleration. Using MOND you can eliminate the need for dark matter and it fits the data better than dark matter.
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          Oct 24 2011: Richard are you really using Hitler as a general example of a Scientist? Apart from the fact that you are both condemning scientific reasoning (Hitler's "scientific" experiments) and using it in your arguments (Newton's laws of physics), Orlando just finished explaining that he is coming from a philosophical/psychological perspective and that the question here is whether a Scientific theory should be considered interchangeable with a creation myth/explanation.
        • Oct 25 2011: If the BB theorists are correct then a predictable fate of this universe is to experience a steady growth in the "IQ" of the universe because life, as we know it, can only survive with second generation stars. This just means that intelligent life has been a very recent addtion to the universe because it took 3.7 billion years to go from the origin of life to us.

          If we assume that as civilizations throughout the universe increase in sophisticaltion, we could define a datum as "now" i.e. God's concept of absolute time. The average "IQ" of the universe might be "1". In one billion years it might be 10. In another billion years it might be 100 and in another billion years 1000.

          Can we rule out the possibilty that humanity will become like the "Q" of Star Trek with the ablitity to alter entire planets like moving the earth to a higher orbit when the sun becomes a red giant?

          Suppose that God and Satan have one common goal---that of becoming part of the physical world with the sole purpose of testing good and evil. In this universe the physical world is consumed with a direct drop in a corresponding part of the physical world.

          Evil is food for the good spiritual world. Slowly we are converting evil into the good spiritual world. Eventually all that exists will be the good spiritual world. Evil will cease to exist and Satan, who thinks he is immortal, will die. Then invoking the faith of Bhuddism the universe renews itself and the process begins anew
    • Oct 24 2011: I highly doubt Relativity has fallen (but I am not saying it is impossible that it has). Thousands of experiments have shown how mass increases with speed, and that at the speed of light mass becomes infinite, which means it is not possible that a particle be accelerated to or at the speed of light for it would require infinite energy (you could say that that is not neccesarily true if E=mc2 was proven wrong, but this will be adressed in this post later) Thousands of experiments have measured the rate of which time dilation increases, and they have led to the very sound conclusion that an object stops aging once it reaches this critical speed. So if somthing goes faster than light speed, the thermodynamic arow of time (the arrow of time that indicates weather entropy increases or decreases with time) would be flipped backwards (meaning entropy would decrease) and that violates the second law of thermodynamics which is extreamly well proved. E=mc2 cannot be false since if it were, we wouldn't have the atomic bomb or nuclear energy, and stars wouldn't exist. The quantum mechanical phenomanon of the creation of virtual particals from energy fluctuations in regions of space, whose effects have been measured, are the reason for observable Hawking Radiation, and are essencial to the unification of the three nongravtional forces of nature, would be left without an explination if E=mc2 were to be wrong. There is absolutly nothing about the Cosmic Backround Radiation that indicates that the universe is at a steady state. And I would love to hear the other possible explinations to the red shift observed in galaxies, for I cannot think of any. Pardon me if there are any spelling mistakes. My spell checker is not working and I have horrible spelling.
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        Oct 24 2011: Great explanation,

        You may know more about this than I but speaking about the red shift in galaxies and the expanding universe, isn't the fact that the universe expanding a bad thing? I mean once the galaxies get far enough away from each other the universe that we can observe and know at the moment is going to cool down. One of the only reasons why we are here is because its warm enough for life to sustain itself at the moment..I could have misinterpreted this but I was just curious.
        • Oct 25 2011: That is one possible scenario ( called the Big Chill) that would arise if the curving of spacetime of the whole universe is not enough to make it collapse into the big crunch. But this would happen in a very long time.
      • Oct 24 2011: The second law of thermodynamics does not apply apparently to the big bang because zero point energy of space is increasing as the universe expands.
        • Oct 25 2011: You have not answered my question on what other explinations exist for the observed red shift in galaxies and you have not defended your claim that the cosmic backgound radiation suggests a steady state universe. And the second law of thermodynamics does hold for the big bang. This law says that entropy must increase with time. At the big bang (or whatever started the universe) there was very little entropy, but with time it has been increasing. Since this is all the law requires, there is nothing about the big bang that suggests that the second law is not applicable.
      • Oct 25 2011: I have seen how "time dilation" have been "proven" correct i.e flying a jet in the direction the earth rotates and opposite to the direction of rotation; however, I have seen experts who dismiss this test as fraudulent because the jet thought it was "flying" when it was still on the ground. It also treats the earth as a preferred reference frame thereby violating one of the basic tenets of special relativity that there are no preferred inertial reference frames.
        • Oct 25 2011: I personally never liked the fact that they used these planes to prove time dilation. But, there are other proofs. When particles are accelerated at speeds close to those of light, it has observed that they last longer than if they were moving at slower speeds. Also, the only reason why GPS can be accurate is because the engineers take into consideration the effects of time dilation on earth's surface caused by gravity when building the satellites. So time dilation is most definitely well proven to the point where it is even necessary.
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    Oct 23 2011: if you set yourself the task to follow up on every piece of evidence we have for the big bang, you are beginning a long journey. you will need to understand quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. for these, you will need to understand tensors, hilbert spaces, operators, nonlinear geometry and other stuff. for these, you will first need to understand university level mathematics, differential equations, analysis, probability theory. it is a long journey, and not everyone is able to make it. but if you follow that path determined enough, you will finally understand it. there are thousands out there who have a good understanding, and there are millions who have an understanding of some level. they could go further if they really wanted to, but they chose to do something else.

    on the other hand, religion entirely lacks evidence. there is zero persons on the earth who have better information. no matter how hard you study, who you talk to, you will never ever get any closer to any reliable information that would reinforce religion. you have to believe it.
    • Oct 23 2011: It is interesting to me that you reply in vague generalizations i.e. that if I could only understand mathematics better I would better understand the origin of the universe. Concept must precede mathematics. Every piece of evidence to falsify the Big Bang Theory is met with an adjusable parameter to explain the anomalous data. Here are a few specific, not generalized problems, with the fantastic BBT.

      1) Eddington calculated the tempreature of the static universe as 3 degrees Kelvin, later revised downward to 2.7 degrees Kelvin which is the observed "temperature" of the so-called background radiation,

      2) "Element abundance predictions using the Big Bang require too many adjustable paratmeters to make them work."

      3) "The universe has too many large scale structure (interspersed 'walls' and voids) to form in as short as 10-20 billion years",

      4) "The ages of globular structure appear older than the universe.",

      5) "The BB requires sprinkling galaxies, clusters, superclustes and the universe with ever-increasing amounts of this invisible, not yet detected 'dark matter' to keep the theory viable.",

      6) Anomalous redshifit associated with quasars has clearly been shown to occur uequivocably to any one who is a scientist who observes, processes and intepret data which is an idea foreign to mathematicians.

      &) As indicated there are old galaxies that were already in existence at the "origin" of the BB.

      9) For the universe to be exactly balanced so that it didn't get crushed back out of existence or fly apart far faster than observed requires it to be balanced to one part in 10^59th power,

      10) "The BB violates the first law of thermodynamics that energy cannot be created or destroyed by requiring that new space be filled with zero point energy continually created between the galaxies,"

      11) Inflation is a retrodiction

      Please show me one fact about the BB theory that was PREDICTED that would have permitted the falisfication of the theory before it was observed.
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        Oct 23 2011: now give me a similar list about religion. you can not, because religion is not based on observations and theories aimed at describing those observations.

        we can have this conversation exactly because science is observation based. you can raise objections to the BB theory, because you can interpret the data differently. science always deals with the uncertain.

        on the other hand, religion is not based on observation, it does not explain the world, different interpretations are not allowed, and there can be no meaningful debate about it.
  • Oct 23 2011: Hi Albert,

    There has never been, to the best of my knowledge, any discipline whose proponents have consistently tried to prove itself right than adherents to the BB. EVERY major idea in the Big Bang theory has been a retrodiction i.e. first the data is collected, only then is the theory tweaked i.e. an adjustable parameter is added. The BB requires over a dozen adjustable parameters.

    Here is how a recent corruption of the acts is done i.e how BB proponents use an adjustable parameter to fit the data. I could quote a dozen others.: First the "red desert" is an area of the universe which is as close to the BB "origin" as anywhere in the universe i.e. all the galaxies should be young. Instead of young galaxies we see "old" galaxies that were not predicted. Naturally it takes an adjustable parameter to explain them.

    What we see with the BB theory is an attempt to consolidate the theory with whatever means necessary. First astrophyscists refuse to acknowledge the data exists. For decades Halton Arp proved that the redshift associated with quasars didn't jibe with their being distant objects. For his effort Arp was denied observatory time i.e. he was cut off from his research tools; this was a deliberate attempt to stifle the truth.

    Next we see adjustable parameters for such things as why we see massive clusters and voids in the universe. Based on observed velocities of galaxies these clusters and voids would take anywhere from 100-250 billion years to form. Naturally adjustable parameters can explain everything

    When you combine adjustable parameters with retrodictions any set of "truths" can arise. Add to this the refusal to believe the facts collected by astronomers like Arp, and you have the ingredients for a New Inquisition which is very bit as effective as the original. Wealth, power and prestige is the driving mechanism for the BB, not the truth.

    BB proponents have persisted with this fantasy to avoid falsification ot their life's work.
  • Oct 23 2011: Religion presumes upon being correct, and doesn't seek to prove or disprove itself.

    Science is not founded upon the assumption that it has to be right, and it constantly seeks to prove itself wrong.
  • Oct 23 2011: "There is very little difference between religion and mainstream belief in the BB."

    FALSE

    Once you understand the meaning of the word "theory" you can understand the difference between the Big Bang and a faith-based religion like Christianity. (Maybe)

    To help you,
    THEORY: "a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural and subject to experimentation, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact."
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      Oct 23 2011: "There is very little difference between religion and mainstream belief in the BB."

      The wording is a little antagonistic but I see his point. Faith isn't exclusive to religous belief, we all have faith every day in things, that our car will work, that the plane we're on won't crash, etc. I know what you're thinking, "that's not faith, it's science!" and yes you're right, but faith isn't always blind. It should be based on our reason and experience. My faith isn't blind at all, I have the history of the Jewish people to look at to see that God has been faithful to them and my own experience to show he has been faithful to me.

      Belief in some of the really big theories relies on similar faith in what we currently know of our world. We base our ideas on the history that has shown that our science is reliable in this area and we have our own experience with said areas of science to back it up. At the end of the day though, neither God nor the Big Bang can be proven outside of that faith.

      You might not agree that that makes them similar, but I believe it might be the point he's after. I mean no disrespect by this either, it's a world view issue really. If you see the world as being made by God, that's going to color how you look at things. If you see the world as being absent a creator, that too is going to color how you look at it. Once it's a worldview thing, it's hard to argue it. Besides, arguing never changed anyone's mind.
      • Oct 24 2011: My point is that the difference lies in the definition and no matter ones faith, that faith does not change definitions.

        The Big Bang is a theory and subject to conjecture and to experimentation while religion (except for the history and interpretation of it) is not.

        And argument can change minds because it is the process of introducing facts, justifications and the resulting conclusions to people.
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        Oct 24 2011: I understand where you are coming from but I do not think we really have "faith" that our car will work or that a plane wont crash or that the sun will shine. If anything these are just assumptions(or at times hopes) that we are making which is not synonymous with faith. I would even go as far as to say on a more practical and realistic sense that we have good reasons to believe that our car will work the next day (i.e. it was working well the previous day, there is gas in the tank, etc). In this case we can say we have good evidence to believe that our car will work the next day based on its functioning in the past. By your logic (or at least from what I understood) we might as well say that we have faith that the sun will rise every morning.

        You examples about the Jews may be grounded in history and evidence but your notions about the existence of god is not, and the two should not be correlated. You mentioned that Jewish history is what allows you to know that god has been faithful to you (and them). But later you stated that Gods existence cant be proven. Life is full of bad things and we really have to take the good with the bad. the History of Jews does not provide evidence of an existence of God being that in this case, God has not always been benevolent. Also believing in the Big Bang does not require faith at all (that is not the reason why I or anyone I know believe in it). There is much evidence to support the claims made about BB (Carbon Microwave Radiation, Red Shift, Dark Matter, etc) and if we keep an open mind we'll accept any modification that comes about it.

        I do agree with you though. This is a matter of worldviews and peoples minds may not change. More importantly it is the exchanging of ideas. I will say I have learned a lot from the discussions Ive had on here.
    • Oct 23 2011: I have seen how theory drives facts. In my article on plate dynamics, I presented the idea that srong models corrupt weak men and women i.e there is a strong desire to see that their data doesn't rock the boat. In cosmology observations falsify the theory, yet the theory persists. There is a definite belief amongst mainstream cosmologists that they have "proved" that the theory of the BB is settled science and that opponents are "crackpots".

      BB proponents make a living promoting the BB. Opponents don't get funding, access to trade journals whose editors are BB proponents or coverage in the media. If BB proponents worked for the tobacco companies they would swear that nicotine is not addictive---despite what the facts say.

      Tom van Flandern has published "The top 30 problems with the Big Bang" in "Infinite Energy" magazine. Now he is up to fifty.

      Mathematicians have driven cosmology whereas facts that falsify the theory are consistently ignored and/or ridiculed. Mathematicians dictate what the universe should look like not what is actually observed.

      What is the difference between cosmologists who introduce as many adjustable parameters and Ptolemy's epicycles? The theory has been consistently falsified yet it persists to the benefit of thousands of its adherents who would lose wealth, power and prestige if a new paradigm was accepted---and they start losing tenure track positions, access to the trade journals and a loss of millions of dollars of funding.

      Theory does not exist in a void. You cannot separate the model from the milieu.