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Vicky Smith

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Was the universe created by God, or by the Big Bang Theory?

i believe both to be true, but i wanted to know what your views are on this. Physics is such a subject where it is difficult to prove anything, therefore we rely on our own views/religions. The big bang sill remains a theory , and there is no way was can 100% say this is how it exactly started

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    Jan 14 2012: Vicky
    Creation stories have been around since the dawn of man. Because no one was around when the world was created, we can reasonably be sure no one really knows how it all started. Because no one really knows how it all started, humans developed creation stories. These creation stories became a way to explain to outsiders what the values, morals and beliefs were of the people that created the stories. When two groups of people came together in the past, the exchange of creation stories was part of the diplomatic exchange as different peoples got to know one another.

    This is still true today.

    Both of the creation stories you have given us to choose from reflect the values, morals, and the beliefs of the people who ascribe to them.

    People who believe in the 'big bang' as you call it value scientific information. Reductionist techniques to achieve truth. Truth is external to the person and can be proven and experienced by more than one person.

    People who believe in the creation story found in the Bible, value faith and belief. Striving towards a greater being than just human. Truth here is found between the individual and God or some higher being.

    That being said, closer inspection of the Biblical creation story really illustrates this story comes from a people subjugated in slavery and really they just wanted a day off.

    It is very worth your while to investigate creation stories across cultures and times and look for those values, beliefs and assumptions. If you look closely, you will find an interesting description of the environment from where the people come from. Values and morals.

    True understanding would require you to let go of any creation story as truth. Then investigate creation stories and return to your truth. It is actually fun.
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      Jan 14 2012: Hi Linda,

      Nice contribution.

      I would like to suggest we sometime conflate the words "truth" and "fact."

      Science may be looking for the truth but it is probably a different "flavour" of truth than that which religion, myth, music or poetry are offering.

      In science, "truth" is provisional. In religion, it is absolute.

      Also, the Sabbath was (likely) instituted, not to afford slaves a day off but to draw a clear distinction between the Jews, who were then enslaved in Babylon, and their overlords. Kosher diet and circumcision were also used to establish their identity as a separate people.
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        Jan 14 2012: Oh I agree Mr. Jones. The whole "One God" thing was too. Moses knew what he was doing. I really like your clarification of truth but I would also posit that some in science view it as absolute. Elusive perhaps, but absolute.

        I was speaking of philosophical Truth for clarification.

        I also wanted to point out that in the past, when people exchanged creation stories, there was not the expectation that the listeners would embrace the tellers story as truth (or that their story really happened). Actually that assumption is relatively new. This is a recent phenomena that my creation story is more true than your creation story. I would like to point out what I said in the beginning, no one really knows. That is beautiful.
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        Jan 15 2012: The conversationis very interesting, but we should be careful with assertions. Just for a correction, circumcision was not imposed by the jews, it's been imposed to Abraham, who was not reffering to himself as a jew, but rather a God seeker and believer.
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          Jan 15 2012: Hi Ousame,

          You might want to read up on the history of the Bible. Circumcision, Kosher diet, and obeying the sabbath (as well as the Genesis story and so on) were all written into "The Word of God" in about the year 600 BCE. For the reasons I stated.

          And circumcision, as a practice, is not unique to the Judeo-Christian faith.

          "Abraham" is likely a constructed figure, a composite of more than one person, or perhaps just a literary creation.
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        Jan 16 2012: Well it's good to know that the torah has been written about 600 years BC, but it does not mean the the belief of these people started only then. All that we have on the subject are mostly theories , some relevant and some others that can be doubted.
        Unless it is proven scientifically that Abraham did not exist in reality, I do not think any intellectual should assert his"non-existence".
        Some people mostly say, they believe in these thoeries because they trust the anthropologists who assumed out of their works that certain biblical figures never existed, but at that point you may agree with that they are no more in the absolute truth as are the people who beieve in the "holy" scriptures.
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          Jan 16 2012: Ousmane,

          The Torah was not written in 600BCE. It was edited and added to in 600BCE.

          Unless it is proven scientifically that Abraham did exist in reality, I do not think any intellectual should assert his "existence"...

          There are many holy scriptures and the Bible is not the only one to lay claim (by its adherents) to the absolute truth.

          Your position seems to be we should apply different standards of truth to secular and religious knowledge. If it's in the Bible and relates to a faith-based belief, we SHOULD accept that it is absolutely true ... even though there is no evidence that it is.

          For example, many characters in the Bible can be verified as having been "real people."

          How?

          Because they are also mentioned in other accounts of the time. They may appear in historical treatises, on monument inscriptions, and so on. Some characters can be demonstrated to be compilations of other, real and literary, figures; and some may simply be characters invented to tell a story.

          Of course, the further back we go, the harder it tends to be to find independent confirmation of a person's existence.

          So should we attribute veracity to a person's existence simply because they are mentioned in the Bible? Or should we at least accept that some of the people so mentioned might be the creations of their authors?

          Religious folks might favour the former. Scholars favour the latter.
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        Jan 17 2012: Oh sorry Mr. Jones. My bad. I have an issue with names and I do apologize. Thank you for understanding.
        '
        I really am not interested in studying the Qur'an but thank you for the offer. There is this scientific theory that posits there are parallel universes. Something like 11 of them. I think the Bible and Qur'an might be a good illustration of two of them:)

        (I also think that the heat and cyclonic action of the clothes dryer can open portals between the universes and that's where one single sock goes;) Be happy.
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          Jan 17 2012: Hi Linda,

          Oh, it wasn't an invitation to study the Qur'an; just a suggestion we would have better luck having such a conversation on TED than if we try to open a conversation on the Bible.

          Yes, I believe it has been proven, empirically, that clothes dryers do just as you say and transport socks (and "smalls") to other dimensions.

          I think it is called The Maytag-Onerariam Effect.
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        Jan 17 2012: He dear Thomas,
        I have not said that Abraham existed for you, all I meant is that you can not argument against faith. You have it or you don't. It's part of the way we function as intelligent beings. We may put our faith in so many things beside God.
        Coming back to the subject of this conversation, the answer depends on your faith in God. Besides, there will always an enphase as per your understanding or your experience of God. And what you should put in the balance is that all the people of the world do not have the same experience of the religions. As you study the ancient religions, you will see that it exists so many "stories of cosmogony", certain with similarities, others with nothing in common. It all lays in theory and expect on beliefs. It does'nt obstruct the way to the Big Bang Theory.
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          Jan 17 2012: Hi Ousmane,

          Thanks for your comment but I am not arguing against faith; I am saying, amongst other things, that the Biblical character Abraham is likely a literary invention.

          You're right, some will assume he was a real person and they will base that assumption on faith - faith in the Bible, faith in God, and so on.

          In the same way, some will assume Adam and Eve were "real people" and base their assumption on faith as well.

          Does that mean Adam, Eve, or Abraham really existed?

          No, it does not.

          Whether they existed or not; and faith; are two different discussions.

          And I agree with you: religious stories do not obstruct the Bib Bang Theory although that has nothing to do with my comments about Abraham ... and there are many who would disagree with you. One or two folks here, right on TED, think the Big Bang could not have happened.

          Why?

          Because it does not conform to the Biblical account of how God created the universe in six days.

          They too have faith.

          ---

          PS How are things in Abidjan? I spent some time there in the 1990's. I liked it. I understand there have been many challenges in the last few years.
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        Jan 18 2012: Well for me to close my argument on the creation of the univers by God or result of the Big bang, I would say this: whether someone believes in God or not, we all agree that we do not choose the gender we will be coming to this world, we do not fix the time to come, nor the place, neither the family in which we are born. We all agree that before the spermatozoïd and the ovule get inmixed, our chromosoms are not complete to be human. We all agree that even our parents don't have much choice yet as per how we would look like.
        So many questions to be answered, and yet scientists helped us understand how all these biological transformation, but they have no answer as per the lottery taking place in the split of what make us all particular. Us, who believe in something bigger than ourself, say it is the spirit, but those who refuse this argument say nothing to replace it. One thing is sure and all of us agree on that too: there is a nutural order governing the transformations in us and through us the nature we are living in. The effect of the moon on earth and all living beings, the affect of sun on life and the solar system. All this order is set some how, and according to what we believe, we might give the credit of the creation to a factor that goes beyond our understanding; then some will say God, some other Providence, some will jsut say nothing as they do not have a courage to just give credit to something they don't know or understand.
        That is what makes life a beautiful adventure. If it is God, as transformation is permanent and continuously overwelming, Then God or the Providence by Himself is the best of scientist or the SCIENCE itself. So for people not believing that it does confort the bible's point of view I would ask them to add more imagination to their lecture: if God is cappable of anything, why could'nt He cause the big bang in order for the Light to be, as before the big bang we had a drak mass of nothing. Light came with the revelation of their God
    • Jan 15 2012: Well argued Linda,
      i am assuming that you don't wholly believe in god, however if people just made this all up then why is it that billions of people across the world believe in god? Believe that he created this supreme universe? There must be some truth in it? in fact i have heard real life stories where the power of god had been showered upon certain true devotees - last year i went to the capital of India - Delhi, and for some medical research i came across somebody who had cancer and was in last stages. There was no hope for her, however her faith in god was above anything in her life and she prayed everyday since a young age. She prayed whilst taking her last breaths and then a miracle happened and her cancer was removed, the doctors just did not know what happened. in fact it was in the news, and i myself had seen this.....it was something i will never forget, thus my opinions vary when discussing god.
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        Jan 15 2012: Wow Vicky. I must brush up on my communication skills if you came to the conclusion that I do not believe in God after my posting.

        I believe in the experience that people call God. In whatever framework they understand it.

        I have many many years of experience at the bedside of the dying. It is in that moment that the capacity for the human spirit to transcend circumstance is evident. What I can tell you is they are all right.
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        Jan 15 2012: Vicky,

        There are millions of people with terminal cancer. Virtually all of them believe in God (most people do) and I would expect that all, or at least most, of them pray when they are diagnosed with the disease.

        Just by virtue of the numbers involved, some will recover ... and likely attribute their recovery to God and to prayer.

        These are "the stories" we hear about.

        The people who prayed up until their dying breath, and actually died, are simply not here to tell their story.

        By the way, do you know if the person you referred to was praying to Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, or just to "God?"

        If God is responsible for this woman's recovery, is He not also responsible for the others' deaths?

        Why single one out over the other?
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          Jan 17 2012: Hello Mr. Long. Did you get censored again? If so, I hope that I did not contribute to the outcome. Peace
        • Jan 17 2012: Well arugued thomas, however these 'stories' we hear about were ones i myself did not believe, however, this story was one i saw with my own eyes.

          Yes, he may be responsible for the deaths of others, but is there not a reason for this? Perhaps this woman was one similar to saint, never told a lie, always prayed, always thought of the well beings of others, prayed for her enemies. What about those who died have committed sins?
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          Jan 17 2012: Vicky,
          Like I said, I've seen this type of thing more than once. What I can tell you is that half of my brain has no explanation and categorizes the experience as 'must be God.' This is normal and human and God has been the recipient of many things that we cannot explain. It's what we do.

          The other half of my brain goes 'wow this is really cool, I wonder what happened' and starts to run tests to find out in an attempt to duplicate. This side is looking for a rational explanation and it posits, well maybe her immune system finally kicked in and was able to eradicate the disease in spite of me. I wonder how that happened and can I figure out how she did it and help others do it too.

          Sometimes both sides of my brain are right. That is probably the hardest thing to come to terms with.
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        Jan 15 2012: I beautiful story Vicky.

        These things happen, not often but they do. Why would you think it has anything to do with what the Westerner call God wheteher this is an idea, ideal or reality in their minds?

        Believe is a mighty force that proverbial can move mountains. Believe can directed in many ways and point on many things. For those that can't comprehend abstracts a story is needed. For some it's the ancestor, for others father in heaven. Little difference, is there, and names of the character can vary likewise as Krishna or Christ. It doesn't matter really, what matters is trust in the universal healer.
        • Jan 17 2012: I totally agree with your Frans, as the woman in the story had supreme 'trust' in god, she was able to survive a cancer even i knew could never be cured it was to far into its stages.
          It is exceptionally true that whether it is krishna or christ, the names may be different though there is only one god.
          Thank you for replying.
          Do you believe in god powers and the true story i explained above?
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          Jan 18 2012: Vicky, from an atheist perspective, this more abstract concept of one god with many names, perhaps with different religions providing insights or glimpses of the true nature of this being, is more plausible than any literalist belief in any religion with all the specifics, myths, dogma etc.

          Variants of this see this more or less as an impersonal force or more or less as a self aware conscious person type entity.

          A related strand might be a deist view where a god being made the universe but is not involved in the way you and Franz suggest.

          I've even heard that god beings may be highly evolved life forms from a previous big bang.

          The variety of world views we have on these matters is amazing. I tend to think this relates to our over developed primate brains trying to make sense of a very big, old, complex universe. Again, these views will reflect the ideas you've come across in life and perhaps melded or developed in a way that makes sense for you. As have I.

          I suggest these type of views better fit what we now know of the universe than the 6000 years believers or Zeus followers etc, but seem at least as speculative as an atheist view.

          I enjoy meditating, exploring my consciousness etc the human mind is amazing. Also was a born again Christian as a young teen speaking in tongues, casting out demons, healing many heightened emotional psychological experiences. Perhaps I have had glimpses of the personal experiences religious or spiritual folks have, but see these as products of our brain etc.
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        Jan 17 2012: You may have noticed that I don't like the word "God" for it is associated with too much silly thoughts. I also do not need that word to see and explain the sustaining forces of existance and their origins.

        I would rather say, if God is everywhere you are God to me as I can see God in all and everything.
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        Jan 17 2012: Hi Vicky,

        Yes it's possible the people who died, died because they were sinners, and so God did not answer their prayers; and the woman who lived, lived because she was saintly and God did answer her prayers.

        Personally, I find that explanation somewhat unsatisfying and not very probable.

        For example, if it were true, we would find that people of faith would probably recover more frequently that agnostics.

        We would find that prayer actually aids in recovery, and so on.

        Agnostics and atheists also recover from terminal illnesses; and prayer does not contribute to greater recovery rates. There were a couple of studies that indicated prayer did help (they still get cited) but there were follow up studies (with controls, etc) and, as it turns out, prayer seemed to have a negative effect on recovery.

        Our brains like to find patterns that conform to our beliefs ... we tend to notice the stuff that matches our expectations and ignore or discount the rest.

        It's very difficult for us to NOT do this. That is why we use "the scientific method" and require research to be peer reviewed, it controls for our biases.
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        Jan 18 2012: Interesting question Vicky: "why is it that billions of people across the world believe in god?"

        I would add why is it so many people have believed in gods in the past that no one believes in now?
        Why is it so many people believe in contradictory gods?
        Why do so many people believe in the gods that happen to be popular in the time and place they were born.

        One possibility is there is some sort of god or gods involved with humans, but humans just don't seem to be able to get the specifics right.
        Another is they are all man made ideas, that have developed and evolved over time and are very sticky in our cultures and societies.
        And everything in between and beyond these two points.

        Why are these type of beliefs so enduring if they are false firstly in the specifics and secondly if there are no creator or interventionist type gods. Not enough space, but suggest anyway with some understanding of history, sociology, psychology etc can come up with a reasonable explanation.
        On the details side we tend to believe the norm views in our particular society e.g. the world is flat, unless new information surfaces that challenges this.
        We construct world views from the ideas and experiences we are subjected too. We may develop these further ourselves.

        Perhaps some parallels with language. With other supernatural or superstitious beliefs, black magic, evil eye - absorbed from our cultural environment etc.

        Sounds like an amazing and powerful experience in India. I believe things like that happen. Not sure if this is overwhelming evidence of an occasional and selective interventionist god. Or some other yet to explained natural phenomena. Simple positive thinking and visualising goals without god seems to make a difference in peoples lives even without religious overtones. I suggest there are many more people with equal faith and are equally deserving who pray to no avail. I'm still working through these sorts of things. The human mind and our body are amazing
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    Jan 14 2012: Neither are definitive answers, that is the beauty of it. To be constantly enraptured in the wonder of the universe is what is unique to the human condition.
    • Jan 15 2012: Thank you brittney,
      I agree with your statement. The universe is a real 'beauty' though it is this 'wonder' which aggravates me since i just want to know how it all happened. i hope in the near future time machines will be invented...haha
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      Jan 16 2012: very true...but this does not mean that we just come up with answers to fill in the empty void....this also does not mean that we should have to willingly accept and then respect other propositions just because it is the status quo of the day...there is no wonder if one group claims to have all the answers and then is sheltered from criticism due to acceptable social norms...

      but as you mentioned, neither is definitive and that is actually the true beauty of such a topic....if you ask me it is sort of like a paradox.....
  • Jan 14 2012: I think it must have been a big band consisting of the finest musicians alive at the time. Musicians are powerful people. Maybe we oughta turn political power over to the musicians. Or poets. I can't figure out which universe you are referring to. I think of myself as living in the USA, Earth, Sun, Milky Way, Universe Alpha. I assume you are referring to our universe. I hope we get the answer to this quickly so I can sleep peacefully tonight. I need to know this so I can know what to do tomorrow. Happy Today.
    • Jan 14 2012: . Had you been more of the intellectual kind, you would have noticed that it was a minor spelling error and a majority of people can see i meant Big Bang - ok so i had written ' Big Band', but obviously there are parallels and you can easily make out what it is.
      Apologies if this seems a bit rude, i do not mean to be - perhaps you are under-educated in the Earth & Space Topic, i suggest you read upon the Big Bang theory, though a short definition is:

      Scientists have gathered a lot of evidence and information about the universe. They have used their observations to develop a theory called the Big Bang. The theory states that about 13,700 million years ago all the matter in the universe was concentrated into a single incredibly tiny point. This began to enlarge rapidly in a hot explosion, and it is still expanding today
      • Jan 16 2012: 13,700 million years ago! WOW! Thank you for writing what you wrote above. Happy Today.
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    Jan 18 2012: As some have already stated, we really, really, really do not know the for sure, for sure, for sure answer.
    Can you tell I am not a scientist, or one of the eloquent contributors to TED?

    Remember the Tootsie Roll Pop commercial of long ago? It went like this: An owl asks: "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop?" One?, two?, three?.......the world may never know"

    I do think the world of mankind will eventually know the answer to your question Vicky. Some will not like it. Others will go....YES!! Others will go...I told you so.

    So, many people throughout history and into the present, have researched creation, oops, nature. What we have found is marvelous. The order, the beauty, the awe-inspiring magnificense all around us. We silently say....WOW...this is too much to take in. My brain cannot contain what I am experiencing, but I am so glad I am experiencing it. And still the question persists....What is the purpose of all this?

    Meditating on life, and the uniqueness of all living beings is quite rewarding in and of itself.

    Regardless if one has developed a personal relationship with a mighty being who has revealed himself to us through our diligent search for him OR we just decide to enjoy life and all that it encompasses, we all do well to meditate on questions such as this one. Thank you Vicky...or whoever you are...for asking this question.
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      Jan 19 2012: You assume some members of mankind do not already know.
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    Jan 18 2012: Vicky,

    Sorry to start this way, but there are a few problems with your intro.

    1. A theory cannot start anything, thus it should be "or by a Big Bang". I know that this might be just being puntillious, but I can't help it. (I have issue too with "God" rather than "some god(s)" in your first of the two alternatives offered.)

    2. I think this is a false dichotomy. It could be neither. Maybe the Big Bang is incorrect, but there is another completely natural explanation. (Also because if it was not natural, it could be that there is no "God," but be a different god or several gods.) [EDIT: or it could have been some god(s) through a Big Bang.]

    3. While in physics it is hard to prove things other than going through the math and then making predictions and then testing if the predictions hold, that is no reason to shrug and rely on our own views and religion.

    4. "Just a theory" is an equivocation, Commonly, in science a theory is not a mere guess.

    Anyway, what do I think? It was some natural process(es) that started the universe. I see no reason to put a god into something we don't know well just because it might still be a mystery. Let alone such a specific god as "God." Why? Not mere feelings I am afraid, rather experience. We humans have put gods everywhere for no other reason but lack of understanding. Started with things like volcanoes, oceans, storms, thunder, long chain. In the end, natural phenomena explained all of those things. Why should we just update the gods and put them on top of the next thing we don't understand?

    Best,
    --G
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    Jan 16 2012: who created the big bang? What do you mean by God?
  • Jan 16 2012: I don't see a reply link on your last post Peter so this post is not correctly attached in reply to your own.

    You said...

    (quote) We are getting a little taste of life without God, that's what we asked for, that's what we've got; thankfully it's only temporary. :-) (unquote)

    1. Race? To which race are you referring?

    2. Your use of the royal 'We' is misplaced. It is an unfair trick of debate and it is used to demonstrate that there is a tacit agreement between all of the concerned parties, where no such consensus exists. Your view is that your proposition must be true despite being one viewpoint among billions. There is no logical reason why your view is the only view of worth.

    3. With which of my sentiments do you sympathise and why?

    4. If god is not prepared to deal with his own rather too well fed and extremely wayward clergy, to whom does the responsibility fall?

    5. Your phrase after the semi colon, (quote) thankfully it is only temporary (unquote), is full of certainty. Really? You must KNOW something that I and billions of other people do not. I suspect that you don't really KNOW anything about that which you have so easily claimed, but you probably have very strong feelings and unshakeable beliefs anent religious matters and it is these which you rely on to append the corollary to your stated position.

    All things are subject to entropy and change is always inevitable... whether it happens in quite the way you hope remains to be seen. Faith is based on belief without evidence and it cannot be tested to ascertain the truth. Debates and arguments about articles of faith are entirely futile because opinions (in argument) can never be 'wrong'.
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      Jan 16 2012: Hi Jeff

      1. Human Race.

      2. The majority of people don't want God bothering them, so by 'we' I mean the human race.

      3. I understand your view that god should do something about the suffering. It is a natural human reaction which most humans share.

      4. The clergy's superiors & the justice system.

      5. Last time I checked everybody dies, so the problems of this world are temporary.

      I'm a big fan of entropy, can't understand folks who insist we are on an upward evolutionary spiral.

      :-)
      • Jan 16 2012: Peter,
        1. Race is the ascription of phenotype traits to a group of people who share the same traits. All humans do not share the same phenotype traits so it is unusual to categorise all humans as belonging to the same race. Humans belong to the hominid subspecies, Homo Sapiens Sapiens.

        2. This is pure hyperbole; for which you have not one iota of evidence. How many of the planet's seven billion souls "don't want god bothering them"? Please refer me to the relevant citation. Absent the appropriate references, how do you KNOW your statement is true?

        3. If god represents love, then permitting mass suffering, especially when it can so clearly be put right by an omnipotent being, is a tragic act of dereliction of moral obligation to one's flock. (a flock of sheep and a wise shepherd caring for the flock is the correct analogy) If god is so powerful, then I want to know why he/she/it insists on bullying people and making threats relating to the afterlife if they don't follow the one true way.

        4. The pope is the highest position in the catholic church: His illustrious history includes being a member of the Hitler youth and for two years he trained and served as a Luftwaffenhelfer and the German Infantry. Hardly an appropriate figure to censure (let alone pursue and/or prosecute) the errant priests who delighted in sexually abusing the children in their charge... ostensibly because the priesthood were so powerful, no sane person would lodge a complaint against a so-called man of god. I lived in Ireland for 6 years and I can underline that experience with my own horrific stories.

        5. hmmm... I will let this pass but I will mention that it came across somewhat differently to what you are now presenting. More a case of some religious event (the apocalypse?) while being overlaid with the sort of smug certainty that one finds in people who will not debate an issue on its tangible merits.
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          Jan 17 2012: Hi Jeff
          1. Sorry, to me we are all God's children. Simple misunderstanding.

          2. On checking, apparently 51% believe in a god of some sort. Let's say non-believers don't like god bothering them. I wish some of the 3.5 billion would back me up on this site.

          3. This will be sorted on the day of judgement. God takes the long view. You can debate with him then.

          4. The Pope is appointed by men. His predecessors happily slaughtered millions of Christians in the past for not towing the line. http://www.reformationsa.org/articles/What%20Every%20Christian%20Should%20Know%20About%20the%20Inquisition.htm
          I doubt if god considers the pope as his earthly representative.

          5. Oh I have lots of ideas on the apocalypse, but this isn't the place.

          :-)
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        Jan 17 2012: Most people do not want God bothering them?

        You see God as a "bother" Peter?

        Oh my!

        ---

        QUOTE: "I'm a big fan of entropy, can't understand folks who insist we are on an upward evolutionary spiral."

        Hmmm ... maybe you cannot understand it because evolution and entropy are not - in the conventional sense - related concepts.

        And the term "upward" is, of course, problematic.

        Your view of the universe seems, literally and figurative, somewhat parochial.
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          Jan 17 2012: Hi Thomas

          The universe is a literal entity. Most of us simple folks take it literally.

          Biology is just as susceptible to entropy as everything else, & I've got the knees to prove it.

          :-)
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        Jan 17 2012: Hi Peter,

        I'm not following you: what does the decline of an organism (you) have to do with an upward spiral of evolution?

        I find your logic to be generally inconsistent. For example, the entropy/evolution thing; and you denigrate the Pope and yet you revere those who shaped the Bible that you read.

        The good folks who compiled what you have come to know as the Bible are, of course, the Pope and his bishops. And then a few disgruntled folks made one or two editorial changes to give you your 66 book version of the Bible.

        So, were the Catholics doing okay until they wrote the Bible and they kind of screw up AFTER that?

        Before, they got it all right ... including the Bible ... mostly? After ... not so much.

        You see the inconsistency?

        But I expect it will mean nothing to you ... it's a miracle ... those deluded souls in the Catholic church can't get much of anything right but, praise be, God directed their hand when they compiled the Bible and, at least, they got THAT right! ... well, except for those few extra books that the Protestants decided to leave out ... the rest they got right. That's right!

        Right?

        ---
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          Jan 17 2012: Hi Thomas

          Everywhere we look entropy is destroying things. The operation of specialised equipment in living beings can reverse this tendency long enough to produce new life, but then that new life deteriorates as well. As evolution has no specialised equipment to drive it, but relies on natural forces (random mutation/natural selection), why should it not succumb to the same fate as everything else that relies on natural forces ?

          The catholics didn't write the bible. They had a hand in compiling the list of books, along with many others. Like most other organisations they have their good days & their bad days, & their history reflects that.

          My only beef is with those who tell me that because the Pope takes a certain line, then I should as well. I am a Christian; I follow Jesus, not any Pope or Bishop. If the Pope is a Christian then he follows Jesus as well. Neither of us need any intermediary, these days are long gone. If you find me inconsistent, then tell me when I am out of step with Jesus.

          http://www.blinkx.com/watch-video/fox-news-does-us-stand-with-christians-in-egypt-martyr-christian/c1aouHVZLV3SuPkPniF7Fw
          Some things never change..
          Are we still on-topic ?

          :-)
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        Jan 17 2012: Hi Peter,

        Yes I understand entropy. Thanks. It's your application of it I am questioning.

        And you are right, the Catholics did not write the Bible. They COMPILED it by selecting and rejecting a whole range of documents. If they had not done so, you might now be studying the Gnostic Gospels, and so on. You're not (presumably.)

        Have you read the Gnostic Gospels or any of the apocrypha?

        They are lovely. I recommend them.

        When are you out of step with Jesus?

        Well, I doubt you could walk on water.


        ---
        I do not find you inconsistent, you are very consistent. I find your logic inconsistent. You apply it selectively. It's fascinating to watch.
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          Jan 19 2012: "I do not find you inconsistent, you are very consistent. I find your logic inconsistent. You apply it selectively. It's fascinating to watch"

          Douglas Adams level wit... Bravo!
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    Jan 14 2012: From Wikipedia: A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians.

    To me, this does not appear to be a universe creating phenomena.
    • Jan 14 2012: It was a minor spelling mistake and i have edited it, however it was fairly easy to spot this and it was obvious was i was talking about, therefore your definition was unnecessary.
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    Jan 14 2012: What is The Big Band Theory? Does that include String of Pearls Theory? What a fun typo! You should edit your spelling or more bad jokes are sure to come. Thanks Vicky. P.S. I, and others, believe God created everything; while others don't know; and the rest say that it all started with Nothing which then became the Universe.
    • Jan 14 2012: Yes slight typing error, however i am sure you could all make out what is it.
      Thank you for your response. Although you may believe in 'god created everything' I am not convinced that and 'others' also believe in thins, thus speaking on their behalf is pointless, for example see Xavier Belvemont's response above.
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        Jan 14 2012: Well, between the three of us we have each of the three positions represented. You will find Vicky that the Universe-from -nothing folks are typically more willing to criticize the other positions. I agree with you that we should each be well-informed on the merits of our own position and let others speak for theirs.Thanks Vicky.
  • Jan 14 2012: Throughout history, everything has at some point been attributed to a gods involvement and never once has it actually been true and it has always been demonstrated to have a perfectly natural explanation that alluded us due to our technological inability to see the bigger picture.
    So the fact that 100000's of statements as to what 'god did' in the universe can be permanently crossed out every time gives me little enthusiasm for the idea that what is essentially: 'you see those few things that haven't been crossed out yet? well god did those ones'..
    Its simply a 'god of the gaps' argument or classically known as 'the argument from ignorance'.

    The issue I tend to have with the line of pre-assuming that god was responsible, is that when its proven to be otherwise (atleast as it always has so far), the people who assumed it are far less likely to accept the facts infavor of their desired position; An example is the current conflict with Evolution in the religious world, no justified reason beyond 'no my god did it, therefore its wrong, so lets lie to try and hold evolution back';
    and ofcourse it then gets infuriating when such people eventually (after years of lying to cover up their inaccuracy) eventually concede and then twist and distort their own belief system so that they can once again claim that 'my religion is true afterall'.

    You have to wonder exactly how many times people are going to rip out the pages of their holy books (or atleast place a new spin on it) before they realize that perhaps the book isn't as good of a guide to reality as once believed.
    I know thats not the case for everyone (and probably not yourself) but it tends to be the general sequence of events and it tends to be awfully counter productive to the pursuit of truth.
    • Jan 14 2012: so in conclusion to your argument, is the big bang theory what you believe in ?
      Just a quick question...Do you know of any science which has proved god to be unreal or real?
      • Jan 14 2012: 'so in conclusion to your argument, is the big bang theory what you believe in ?'
        I believe that the big bang theory is currently the best explanation for why the universe exists in its current state. Do I believe that the big bang was the beginning of all actual existence? Concepts like the multi-verse can throw that into potential doubt, but there is not enough information from the appropriate time period to determine what the true answer is.

        'Do you know of any science which has proved god to be unreal or real?'
        Attempting to prove something isn't real (especially in this case) is a waste of time for the same reason I can't prove that an invisible pink dinosaur doesn't live on Mercury or that a hobbit doesn't exist somewhere on earth, especially when the the followers of the being can just continuously change its characteristics and location to allow an apologetic as to why it wasn't found, no matter how many times we look.
        For example, many religions believed God to live above mount Olympus, but once we were there he then moved to living in the sky, then when we reached the sky he moved into space, and now that we reach space, many current god believers claim he lives outside of the universe.
        Its a never-ending shift of the goal post.

        However, if a person is willing to maintain a consistent claim that god exists and what he's doing (such as god created man literally through the adam and even scenario) then we can prove that the being isn't real.
        There is currently no science or legitimate logic/reasoning to support the idea of a gods existence and pretty much everything on the contrary.

        I also don't find it to be coincidental that the people most likely to believe in a god are those from poorer/uneducated/unthinking lifestyles and that what god a person believes in (if any) is usually reliant on what their parents brought them up to believe.
        Not that necessarily applies to you ofcourse. Just a casual observation of those around me.
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    Jan 18 2012: Before answering or may be debatting would be the better word for it,I will pose a question for u whether do u believe in God or the Big bang theory......well both the things can't be true or may not be false too,no such theory or proof exists.
    • Jan 18 2012: i believe in god.
      Yes there is such a theory which exists called the big bang. my question is all about one individuals faith and belief and whether or not you choose to belief one or the other or none that is up to you.
      alothough no scientific evidnce can prove god there are many things in life which some people experience, you may want to read my story in a reply to another person
      • Comment deleted

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          Jan 18 2012: Why "believe" in anything that cannot be proven?

          We seem to have a hard time simply saying, "I don't know."

          We're uncomfortable not knowing ... and then we invent a whole range of explanations that create the illusion we do know ... and believe in them.
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        Jan 18 2012: @ T. Jones, or whoever you are.

        How boring to answer all debate questions with "I don't know".....Imagine a presidential debate with the candidates answering thought provoking questions with "Gee, golly I just don't know". Instead, what do we hear? Lies....yes, lies. Everyone knows they are being lied to. But some humans enjoy being lied to everyone once in a while. What's wrong with that?

        Truth, we can't handle the truth. Just let us say what we believe, without psychoanalyzing our responses.....we are aware that our current beliefs can/will change sometimes. But in the meantime let us have our fun.
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        Jan 18 2012: @ T. Jones or whoever you are

        You asked: "Why believe...?"

        One final thought:

        There are two kinds of people in the world,
        Those who go through life asking Why?
        And those who go through life asking Why not?
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          Jan 19 2012: C Sarrin (or whoever you are),

          If we do not know - and there are many things we do not know - the appropriate response is to say, "I do not know."

          Now, if there is something we believe in and do not know, we may accurately say, "I believe."

          And so on.

          And I do not believe the purpose of intellectual enquiry is to insulate you from your boredom.

          You might not agree with me.

          My name happens to be Thomas Jones and that is my picture ... whoever you are.

          And as to your final thought: First, it isn't your thought, second, I doubt it will be the final thought you have. And, third, do you really think there are only two kinds of people in the world?

          The comments and question are rhetorical (meaning: you are not expected to reply.)

          ---
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        Jan 19 2012: 100% agreed that the theory of big bang exists but there certain things that is still not yet clear i.e.,
        according to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics. They are thought to exist at the core of "black holes." Black holes are areas of intense gravitational pressure. The pressure is thought to be so intense that finite matter is actually squished into infinite density (a mathematical concept which truly boggles the mind). These zones of infinite density are called "singularities." Our universe is thought to have begun as an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense, something - a singularity. Where did it come from? We don't know. Why did it appear? does it really happened? We don't know
  • Jan 18 2012: Peter, your point about the pope is interesting. It appears to add support for one form of christianity (your belief system) while smearing catholics. It is (in my opinion) rather lazy to provide hyperlinks instead of debating an issue but space is limited.

    I am providing a link to the crusades. http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/the-crusades.htm
    ...which you will no doubt be aware is about the way that christians went about the task of slaughtering people who did not toe the line.

    If god exists, then I think it is highly unlikely that he/she/it will require any representatives on earth.

    In any event, it won't be any of the senior religious people who surround themselves with the rather ostentatious trappings of high religious belief; while apparently continuing to live a rather good life on earth.

    qv The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Pope, The Chief Rabbi et al.
  • Jan 18 2012: Peter, please ensure that your responses have a Reply link because it is difficult to respond in sequence and it makes the conversation hard to follow. Your responses appear to be the only ones with no Reply link appended.

    Your uncritical acceptance of numbers is not easy to understand. You quoted an international survey carried out by IPSOS/Reuters and published on April 26th 2011 by the Christian Post. Participation was from 25 countries (13%) of the 193 countries recognised as such.

    The world's population reached 7 billion this year. The old British measurement for a billion was a million million but we now follow the US and use the term for one thousand million. The survey involved 18,000 participants.

    Findings:
    51% believe in god
    18% don't believe in god
    17% are undecided
    This represents 86%of 100% sampled.

    Nothing is said about the missing 14%, whom I presume must adopt one of the positions listed.

    Using an old UK billion: 0.0000002571% of the world's population were surveyed.
    Using the USA billion: 0.0002571429% of the world's population were surveyed.

    Either way, not even 1 percent of people were asked. The larger number using the USA definition of a billion is not significant until we get down to ten thousandths of the percentage population and the smaller number using the old UK definition of a billion is not significant until we get down to millionths of the percentage of people.

    25 countries surveyed leaves 168 countries remaining (87%) from where data was not collected.

    You have generalised your position from numbers which are insignificant.
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    Jan 17 2012: The Big Bang Theory, is the best guess we have as to how this universe was formed. God is the best guess as to why. The Big Bang Theory directly violates the scientific law of conservation of energy, why?

    If you're religious, you believe, that god did it. If you're not, you believe there is probably something human beings don't understand, about the way mass works.

    My personal theory is that a big bang exists beyond the event horizon of a black hole, and that universes, are constantly reproducing... But, that's just my personal hypothesis, it's as based in faith as the idea of a creator. Science will never be able to fully answer the question of why there is something, instead of nothing. That's the realm of religion/philosophy. I don't see how The Big Bang Theory, contradicts the existence of a creator at all, but I'm not personally religious.
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    Jan 16 2012: Vicky:

    Everyone on this thread should be intellectually honest enough to say that WE DO NOT KNOW THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION that you ask...

    But there is much evidence and reason to state that the big bang did actually occur but it would be nearly impossible to say for sure at the moment being that no one was actually there to witness it, let alone all the gas and dust that prevents us from viewing the early universe (Carbon Microwave Radiation is one theory that support the big bang theory).

    As for if God was responsible...I guess I would have to wait til I die to see if God ever existed in the first place but that's just me.
  • Jan 15 2012: Well obviously they are not mutually exclusive, if god existed then he could have caused the big bang but placing god as the creator of the universe doesn't solve any mystery.

    The obvious line of conversation being;

    If god created the universe then what created god?

    God always existed.

    If something just always existing is a satisfactory answer then why can't we just have said that the universe just always existed? God as an explanation is completely superfluous and unhelpful.

    That is not to say there are not other arguements and reasons for god which are worth considering but I don't believe existence itself is one.
  • Jan 15 2012: Evidently, the very thought of the existence of the god who created the universe is pretty much a mind blowing concept to believers and infidels alike... maybe that is why so many of us are simply blown away....
    • Jan 15 2012: that is indeed true. I am simply 'blown away' by the concept of god, and yet although it seems unrealistic i think it may well be truer than any science
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    Jan 15 2012: The first question you need to get answered is: Was the universe created?

    If the answer is yes you have to look for a creator, if no than not.

    The ancient peoples that started to wonder about their existance came to the notion that the world they saw was the body and all energies that shaped that world were spirits of the one being that exists, the one we call the universe.
  • Jan 15 2012: Vicky, the theory which we have labelled as 'the Big Bang' is predicated on the notion that the visible universe is constantly expanding. It raises the question... why is the universe expanding. The big bang and accurately dating physical phenomena while observing their individual chemical constituents, appears to support such a theory.

    The creation of mankind, in a single moment, without any intervening evolutionary steps and ostensibly at the whim of god, does not appear to be supported. Assume, for the sake of the debate, that god did create mankind in a single moment in time, why did he create us as imperfect? Why did he create us to glorify himself? Why did he oversee our terrible pain and suffering? God appears to be a psychopath.

    The notion of an all seeing, benevolent god does not fit with the observable chaos I see around me... starvation, illiteracy, violence and aggression. What purpose do these things serve, given that they suggest that there is no such entity as god? As for being a part of a belief system which acts punitively for any minor infraction of the rules as presumed to have been laid down by god... I would rather not have anything to do with a deity who apparently has no problem with punishing the wayward. 'Tis a great pity that god's self appointed agents won't subject themselves to a scrutiny of their own foul and immoral behaviour. Whichever flavour of god is the one true flavour and why are there so many different flavours?

    The usefulness of storytelling to our young can be seen in analogy and fable and by this means we can possibly educate them for their future and pass on our collective wisdom. My children don't ever hear me rant nor do they get punished for being children, who unsurprisingly have insufficient experience to foresee what happens next. Punishment has no place in my personal version of a loving parental relationship. God appears far too ready to punish people for me to believe in his benevolence.
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      Jan 15 2012: Hi Jeff
      Why is the universe expanding?

      Job 9:8 (NIV)
      He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

      Psalm 104:2 (NIV)
      The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent

      Isaiah 40:22 (NIV)
      He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

      Etc. etc.

      The reason for the chaos is that we use our free will to go our own way. God has fixed it, but we still have the free will to refuse his help.

      :-)
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        Jan 15 2012: Very reasonable for people living in a desert like country that didn't know any better.
      • Jan 15 2012: Peter, thank you for your response. The observable universe _is_ expanding if we are to judge by all of the scientific measurements we can bring to bear on the subject. There would be no need for a deity to create the effect for mankind if we accepted as a given that God created a fully developed male and female (mankind) without any need to resort to evolution.

        The quoting of selected phrases, presumably from one of the many versions of the bible, does not provide any answers... it is merely donning the mantle of an authority to which you have no title. God has fixed nothing. The millions of innocent people from around the globe, who have become the casualties of needless wars and petty greed, did absolutely nothing to offend god so I can only conclude that letting them suffer is an immoral act... committed by an all seeing and all powerful god who according to believers would have the power to stop the suffering.

        What right-minded deity would have permitted the wholesale sexual abuse (by the clergy) of children brought into the catholic church to worship... and then do nothing about it as well as letting the clergy suppress it? Sadly, religions of all shades have been the largest initiator of death and destruction since time began. Whose god is better, more godly, more powerful and worthy of my consideration. I find it hard to care about the issue of god. When a powerful god has the temerity to make it clear to me via the priesthood that I will be punished for not believing, I call that bullying on a grand scale.

        Fear is among the worst tools with which to educate people. God-fearing is a term that religious people use a lot. Why should we be fearful of being loved? I refuse to engender fear in my children and I don't understand any would-be god who seeks to create a climate of fear. As for worship... please don't get me started on the need to make obeisance a cardinal cornerstone of belief.
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          Jan 16 2012: Hi Jeff
          I sympathise with your sentiments. Fact is that as a race we have dispensed with God & chosen to go our own way. Yes he could blast the cardinals, but if he did he would probably come knocking on your door & mine as well. We are getting a little taste of life without God, that's what we asked for, that's what we've got; thankfully it's only temporary.

          :-)
      • Jan 15 2012: I really do admire your religious beliefs peter.. well argued here!
        do you remember those quotes off by yourself or were they looked up?
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          Jan 16 2012: Hi Vicky,
          Thanks for your encouragement, that's a bit thin on the ground here, but I love the cut & thrust.

          I tend to remember the words & then rely on my sturdy bible app to find where they are.

          Luke 21:15 (NIV)
          For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.
          Mark 13:11 (NIV)
          Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

          :-)
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    Jan 14 2012: There's not at all any conflict between the mechanical "Big bang" theory and belief in a being who uses the mechanism of big bangs to start new universes. Since astrophysics and cosmology are limited to explaining mechanism, and are based on "objective" measurement and calculation (with some theoretical filling-in-the-holes), it can never deal with the question of supposed transcendental or spiritual agents behind the mechanism. That, for the time being, is up to you and me.

    So believe confidently.
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    Jan 14 2012: "The big bang still remains a theory, and there is no way was can 100%"

    You don't understand the meaning of theory. Do you know, besides the big bang, what else is a theory? Gravity. Do you believe in gravity?

    Theories are the results of seemingly endless scientific testing and supported by a large body of evidence. No, we can't know for sure, but that's what's great about scientific discovery. Based on the evidence at this time, we can assume a large explosion created the know universe we inhabit: the big bang.
    • Jan 15 2012: Hi Austin,
      Thanks for the contribution, however i do understand the meaning of the theory, i have studied it well and many other theories besides this.
      There is also the oscillation theory, alongside the theory in which the universe is getting smaller. Although the big bang has supported evidence there can never be a definite theory can there? Thus people's belief in god seems to be the solution to most answers, what do you think?
      'Do i believe in gravity'? Yes, however the main question in this would be where did gravity start? How did it some about? Spontaneously? Or was it god? What are your views?
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        Jan 16 2012: Hello Vicky,,

        I am sort of perplexed as to why God would be responsible for the big bang....For example, If Science tends to be more about the naturalistic and God more about the metaphysical and the Universe, being physical in nature, then how does god, being non-physical, plays an active role in the physical universe?

        The only answer I can think of is that the true nature of the universe is non-physical (but this only makes sense when we talk about quantum mechanics in relation to sub-atomic particals, which themselves may or may not be physical in nature)

        I'd be interested into what you think
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    Jan 14 2012: Hi Vicky,
    I believe the God of the bible made the universe exactly as He tells us. Todays scientific establishment are obliged to answer these questions from materialistic sources only. The solution cannot be supernatural, that is not allowed. It's a bit like asking where a car comes from, but the answer cannot be a factory. The obvious answer is off limits.
    So the BB is the current best guess. It is amazing that anyone should believe that such an explosion could result in such a complex universe, and at the same time reject outright any possibility of an intelligent creator.

    :-)
    • Jan 14 2012: 'The solution cannot be supernatural, that is not allowed.'

      No, It doesn't count as at no point has anyone on the side who claim it exists has ever provided anything of value to the subject despite how big and how many claims are made and no matter how 'obvious' it is to the third world camel herders but entirely devoid of measurement, testing, viewing, senses and logic.

      Its very easy to bastardize science with logical fallacies from an arm chair, not so easy to actually provide something thats usable or verifiable and adds something to the subject, which is where the idea of god,supernatural and religion tend to fail in all time periods on all occasions.
      Science doesn't reject the supernatural as impossible, it rejects it as an unsubstantiated concept that hasn't evolved since the Witch doctors of the Bronze age and ideas dont suddenly gain validity just because its something you're accustomed to.

      Sorry, but thats why scientists are scientists and preachers are not.
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        Jan 15 2012: Hi Xavier
        There are many scientists who would disagree with your position.

        :-)
        • Jan 15 2012: Thank you for your response peter. I must admit i totally agree with you. The 'intelligent creator' is one who many people underestimate, and i believe faith is what would answer my question.
          Do you believe strictly the christian religion or do you agree with aspects of all religions in terms of what is written ?
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          Jan 16 2012: QUOTE: "There are many scientists who would disagree with your position."

          There are many scientists ... actually all of them ... that disagree with your position too, Peter, but it doesn't seem to affect you in the least.
        • Jan 16 2012: 'There are many scientists who would disagree with your position.'

          and how much money would you like to bet on that, exactly, Peter?
          Because in my entire life I have never come across or even heard of any reputable scientist of any field that considers the 'supernatural' to be a viable explanation for anything that can be tested to any extent. Nor have I come across a single peer-reviewed paper that concludes 'the being who knows all did it' or anything of a supernatural nature.
          The reality here is quite simple, Science in and of itself is a usable method that explains phenomena using things known as Evidence, facts, proof and logical consistency, All of which do not fit the characteristics of the belief you hold.
          Therefore your position is to complain at science for not arbitrarily accepting your personal belief system as viable over that of, lets say , The Baghavad Gita or a rambling man on the street. (Sorry, but when comparing substantiation of any of the above, the differences are arbitrary and the likelyness of one over can only be deteremined by commiting a sting of logical fallacies).

          You're free to have your beliefs and free to maintain them, but one thing that won't slide is the attempt to incorporate it into reality and expect it to have some kind of merit to anyone beyond those who are already inclined to accept your answer due to their own equally questionable beliefs and/or try to bastardize the fields of research that shrug it off for the mythology that (for all values of evidence and available truth) it most certainly is.

          In essence, let science do science and if you can't actually add anything to the fields, don't try and add something.
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi Xavier,

        Google it yourself. Or try http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-scientists.html

        :-)
        • Jan 16 2012: ..and not a single one being a cosmologist or a physicist of any sort.
          Although there are plenty of Zoologists listed....Their credentials will come as great help if the universe turns out to be designed by a Marmoset...
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          Jan 17 2012: Wow Peter, that is pretty impressive. There are about 600 "scientists" who dispute evolution.

          Very convincing.

          Of course, there are between 500,000 and 750,000 scientist in the United States alone; and it is estimated that 99.9% of them support evolution.

          But still, 600 support creationism ... that must be comforting.
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi Thomas

        Sorry I can't get closer.

        Well isn't that what the verse says. Jesus is one with the father, it's all the same guy. Basic Christianity; we worship Jesus Christ. Surely you must have come across that before?

        I cannot prove anything, I can only present a point of view.

        There must be loads of sites on both the Trinity & the age of the earth; what can I say?

        :-)
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          Jan 16 2012: Interesting: The earth is 6000 years old and Jesus made it.

          Are you aware of the point in the narrative of the Christian religion that Christ "merged" with The Father?

          So you present yourself as "scientific." And you present the Bible as inerrant.

          Are there any accepted laws of nature or science that you do not believe in?

          For example, do you accept the speed of light is 299 792 458 m / s; Copernican heliocentrism; Newton's laws, and so on?

          Aside from evolution (which we know you think is a fairy tale) are there any other laws or theories you do not accept as facts?
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        Jan 17 2012: Hi Thomas

        I am quite happy to accept anything which can be backed up by repeatable experimental evidence. In this way we can prove natural selection & adaption within a species, but as yet are unable to substantiate the theory that creatures can 'evolve' into substantially different creatures.
        Likewise with the age of the planet, we have clues on both sides, but no way of experimenting which would be conclusive.

        Never heard of Jesus merging with father, but as you appeared surprised that he had a couple of days ago, I will find it difficult to take any revelation too seriously. Try me by all means.

        :-)
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          Jan 18 2012: Hi Peter,

          So do you accept there are natural laws that are not violated in the Bible?

          If you do, do you accept that if the Bible is inerrant, it would not contain any accounts that violate these laws?

          Or is your position, "God can do want He wants so any violation of a natural law is God's will?"

          You see were I'm going here, right?

          If you believe in science and natural laws, you would have to accept that any violation of a natural law recorded in the Bible would be an indication that it is not inerrant. But if your position is God can do what he wants, laws be damned, then there is simply no reasoning with you.

          So what is it?

          Are there some laws you accept as factual, laws that are corroborated by science and not violated in the Bible?

          How about:

          - The speed of light? Yes or no?

          - A heliocentric planetary system? Yes or no?

          - Gravity? Yes or no?

          - Newton's laws? Yes or no?

          ---

          As to Christ and the Father "merging," I was speaking colloquially of the evolution and transformation of Christian doctrine. Do you know at what point in the history of the Christian church it was decided that God and Jesus were one? How about the Holy Spirit? When was it determined Christ was divine, and so on? (Note: You cannot use the Bible to find the answers to these question - using the Bible, the answer is, "always." However, the Bible was modified to appear to have always supported the theological doctrine of later "Church fathers." The adaptations were guided by God's hand no doubt ... but still, at what point did God direct these doctrinal changes be adopted by the Church and included in the Bible?)

          ---
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        Jan 18 2012: Hi Thomas
        You're repeating yourself, & there's only a couple of days to go. I take it you are leading up to errors in the bible. There are pages of them, & pages of rebuttals. We really need to stick to the topic. I got zapped again.

        :-)
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          Jan 18 2012: Discussing scientific laws, and the Bible, is actually "on topic" as we are discussing if the universe was created by "God" or by the "Big Bang Theory."

          I know the TED conversation team does have a hard time making connections - "Oh, look, they mentioned the BIble, let's delete the comment or thread."

          Another way to get deleted is to comment on their lack of sophistication.

          (Watch.)

          Anyway, I do think it is safe, for now, to acknowledge if you accept these laws of science as factual and, if you like, agree if they are absolute ... in the secular sense.

          If you acknowledge there are pages of errors in the Bible, how can you say it is inerrant?

          Magic thinking?
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        Jan 19 2012: Hi Thomas

        I don't acknowledge that there are errors in the bible; only that there are lots of cases of people claiming there are errors, & there are rebuttals. There may be the odd dodgy translation in some of the many versions I grant you.
        What I have found is that discussion gets bogged down if we start down that trail. There are plenty websites to get answers. If folks have a specific problem it is one thing, but mostly Atheists just want to rubbish the book, so if one point is answered, it is quickly replaced by another. Life's too short.

        You may not have noticed, but I seldom bring up the subject of the bible. I am much more interested in why folks believe the whole Big Bang / Evolution scenario; just on the science. So often I am trying to get scientific answers & all I get is a complaint about God or the Bible.

        For instance. At the Big Bang we have hydrogen shooting off in all directions. The gas laws oblige hydrogen atoms to get as far away from each other as they can. The theory says that the hydrogen 'clumps' together to form stars. Why do they think it should do that ? I have read up on several proposals, but none really holds water. Any idea ?

        :-)
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          Jan 19 2012: Hi Peter,

          I can understand why you don't bring up the Bible, if you did you would have to defend it, which you know you cannot do (saying you believe it to be inerrant is not a defence.)

          My interest in the Bible, as it relates to this conversation, is it is upon its authority you base your rejection of science. You support your position (creationism) by selecting a few scientific enigmas (Carbon-14*, etc) that you think implies ALL OF SCIENCE is in doubt - or at least enough of it is doubt so that we might need another source for our answers to some vexing questions ... like, "How was the universe created?" And, if we can cast some doubt on science, we can (apparently) confer a degree of objective credibility on the belief the Bible might answer these "thorny issues."

          So let's quit the equivocation:

          Do you accept that the following statements relate to inviolable, scientific facts:

          1) The speed of light is 299792458 metres per second. Yes or no?

          2) The earth exits in an heliocentric planetary system. Yes or no?

          3) Gravity (or something like it) exists. Yes or no?

          4) Newton's three laws of motion are valid (at the macroscopic level under normal conditions.) Yes or no?

          ---

          Do I have any ideas? Well I have several ... one is, it's really easy to say "God did it" when we get to questions we don't have answers for at the moment. God used to (magically) cause disease, you know? And then we discovered viruses and bacteria. Etcetera.

          ---

          * Carbon-14 isn't really an enigma ... you apparently just don't understand the explanation. Or you don't want to.
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        Jan 19 2012: Hi Thomas

        No equivocation; I'm sure I've answered this before; my answer to all 4 is yes.

        So the answer to the clumping of hydrogen is "God did it ?" Why on earth (exc.pun) would God want to clump Hydrogen ?

        I'm not trying to score points; I really want to know why folks think that hydrogen in space should collapse under its own gravity when the gas laws say it shouldn't as far as I can see. Nothing religious, just a straight question on a forum on that very subject. Somebody ?

        :-)
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          Jan 19 2012: Hi Peter,

          So your answer to all four question is "yes."

          That's good.

          Now, what if there is something - even one thing - in the Bible that violates one or more of these laws, would you accept that as evidence that the Bible is not inerrant?

          Or would you simply say, "God can do anything, so any violation of these natural laws is His will?"

          And if the Bible is not inerrant, we might have some wiggle room to question whether God actually created the universe 6000 years ago.

          So let me repeat the question: If the Bible contains accounts of events that violate one or more of these inviolable, scientific facts, would you accept that as evidence that the Bible is not inerrant? Yes or no?
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        Jan 19 2012: Now Thomas, you are just being silly. We can prove that we cant walk on water, raise the dead, levitate etc. There are supernatural happenings all over the bible, that my friend is the point. I got zapped again without even a trace left that I had answered the guy's question. I am not here to defend God, he is perfectly capable of doing that Himself. The answer must be NO.

        Sorry admin. I'm between a rock & a hard place.

        :-)
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          Jan 19 2012: You say the universe was created 6000 years ago and you're asking me not to be silly?

          And I wasn't going for the parlour tricks - like walking on water, lots of folks have done that* - I was going for some of the BIG stuff - like having heavenly bodies in the wrong place and the really tricky stuff like that. But your retort will be "God can do anything" ... so I won't waste my time. And ...

          We're not talking about defending God, we are talking about if we can use the Bible as a viable source document to explain the creation of the universe. One way to evaluate that is to see if it violates any scientific laws you accept to be "inviolable."

          The answer appears to be ... well, somewhat confusing ... unless I have misunderstood your "NO."

          You say the laws are inviolable but your "NO" seems to be saying the laws are not inviolable at all - God can violate them if He wants to. (This is an example of the selective application of logic I was referring to.)

          Any violation of these inviolable laws will not be seen (by you) as an indication the Bible is, in fact, riddled with errors, it will be seen as evidence of God's sovereignty and of the Bible's perfection.

          And, to that, there is no reasonable response - that is, reason will not penetrate such a position.

          Peter, I beseech you, please abandon any pretence of scientific credibility. Your arguments against science are embarrassing. You're like the kid who points at the fly poop in the sugar bowl and says, "See, I told you sugar wasn't white." (Oh look! Carbon-14 this, hydrogen that ... yeah, yeah, yeah.)

          I get it: You believe God created the earth and everything else in six days.

          It seems that when He did that, He somewhat ingeniously created a whole range of testable, measurable and observable phenomena that would yield evidence - to those of us with lesser faith, that is - that the universe was actually created 13.7 billion years ago. Talk about a sense of humour! What a Guy!

          ---
          * According to written records.
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        Jan 20 2012: Hi Thomas

        Biblical models for the creation of the universe are totally different from mainstream Big Bang etc,
        The earth was created before the sun. The earth was made from water; it did not form as a molten mass & cool down; for example.
        So if you are going to use the Big Bang model of creation to judge the scientific accuracy of the bible, then you will judge the bible as lacking. The BB model is around 100yrs old, it will be followed by another model in due course. Every generation thinks they have the scientific truth, but we are constantly learning; that's what it's all about.
        Believing scientists have assessed the biblical model & it is just as viable as the BB model. One side starts with the bible, the other starts with anything but the bible. I do my best to see both viewpoints, so that I can understand why people believe stuff.
        But yeh, if you measure the bible by the BB then it hasn't got a leg to stand on; likewise if you measure the BB by the bible ditto. I promise not to be embarrassed by my six day creation if you promise not to be embarrassed by life coming out of a muddy puddle.

        :-)
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          Jan 20 2012: No, Peter, the Biblical model is not as viable as the BB. And "believing scientists" is an oxymoron.
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          Jan 20 2012: I have to distill this, because I could talk for days on the subject, but very simply put:

          Biblical models are not different from the Big Bang. They're different perspectives of the same event. Peter, please don't disparage evolution by condescending words like "muddy puddle" - God created us out of "miry clay"

          Thomas, both models are viable, and "believing scientists" are not oxymorons - in fact, I'd call them oxy-intelligentsia. Listen, your desbelief in "all-things-Bible" is well documented in your TED posts, but you are highly intelligent and I for one would be interested in seeing your ideas in support of the nacent BB theory more than Biblical antagonism.

          My stance: Big Bang is God breathing universe into existence. The universe is older than we can imagine (waaaaaay longer than a simple 6000 years). Science is nothing more than humans trying to wrap their heads around the incredible majestic complexity of God's creation. Let's debate healthily . . . but please let's not insult each other (and I'm referring to Peter's "embarassment at yr muddy puddle" comment and Thomas's dismissal of scientists who believe in God.)

          Peace to you both, and to us all.
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          Jan 20 2012: Mr. Gherulous
          Please allow them to have at it. It is much like watching two puppies and a rope. Much growling and fierceness but each is grounded enough in their beliefs that no real harm is done (I hope). The rest of us learn a a lot about both sides of the equation as they debate. Remember Ad Hominem signals they are getting close to finishing.

          Then they'll both drop the rope and go get the washcloth...

          (All kidding aside I do enjoy your debates Mr. Law and Mr. Jones)
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          Jan 20 2012: Hi Peter,

          This is for Verble Gherulous and Linda:

          Linda, I am glad you enjoy and learn from the exchanges.

          I do not think Peter or I have ever engaged in ad hominem attacks. We are discussing ideas, for example, in this case, creationism and BB (which, in my mind, simply represents "science" ... I am not particularly attached to the model itself.) I do believe we both enjoy the exchanges. I wouldn't participate if I didn't ... and I assume this is true for Peter as well.

          Verble Gherulous, no, both models are not viable. One posits that the universe was created in six days, 6000 years ago (this is the specific model that I am referring to; this is the model, and the interpretation of it, that Peter asserts to be true and accurate.)

          And, you misread my comments and generalize much too freely. I do not disbelieve "all-things-Bible." And "believing scientists" really IS an oxymoron. Scientists who believe in young-earth creationism are not scientists.

          What I "disbelieve" is that the Bible is inerrant. It isn't. What I "disbelieve" is that the Bible offers a viable alternate - scientific - explanation for the universe and the world we live in. What I "disbelieve" is that the folks who wrote and compiled the Bible knew what Christ was teaching. And so on.

          "Science is nothing more than humans trying to wrap their heads around the incredible majestic complexity of God's creation."

          Your statement is presumptuous: Many scientists do not believe in God. That you do, does not compel them to live in the universe of your imagining. And, yes, while many scientists do believe in God, and some of them believe in the Bible, for them to earn the sobriquet "scientist" they would have to subordinate belief to the scientific method. Now, as God cannot be disproven, belief in God will never be "threatened" by science; but the claims of the Bible's inerrancy can be, and have been, proven to be false. So, in that sense, to repeat myself: "believing scientists" IS an oxymoron.
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        Jan 15 2012: Hi Vicky
        What made me take notice was the way the bible squared with real history, real prophecy, etc. I believe it is literally true & has stood the test of time. Consequently I believe that Jesus created the universe.

        Hebrews 1:2 (NIV)
        but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

        I haven't found another book like it. Jesus claims to be the only way; I'm inclined to agree with him.

        :-)
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          Jan 15 2012: These last days last a long time don't you think, almost two thousand years now.
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          Jan 16 2012: Okay Peter, now you are just getting downright freaky.

          You believe Jesus created the universe?

          You believe Jesus created the universe?

          Not God the Father?

          You believe Jesus, the Son of God, created the universe?

          Fascinating.

          And, no doubt, you can prove this just like you can prove the earth is 6000 years old, right?
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      Jan 14 2012: "God of the bible ..."

      I'd love to be able to believe that, too, but there are so many holy books that it's difficult to choose which god said what when. You've no doubt made your choice on some intelligent basis, like most Christians and Muslims and Jews and ...
      But isn't it odd how the choices they make seems to have a connection with where and how they're brought up? You'd almost think they just believe whatever they were told when they were little.
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        Jan 15 2012: Hi Paul

        I didn't become a Christian until I was 35. I spent most of my life thinking that evolution was the most likely, lthough I was never completely convinced. We can only follow the evidence as it presents itself to us, but to write the bible off is a big mistake.

        :-)
        • Jan 15 2012: Could i ask what changed your mind at 35 to become a true Christian?
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          Jan 16 2012: No disagreement there, Peter. The Bible is an important record of a people.
          But I see no conflict between evolution and belief in God. When you study biology and biological history deeply, biological evolution just can't be denied. It has happened for hundreds of millions of years. The evidence is overwhelming.

          Charles Darwin, who had a degree in theology, never lost his faith in God, and when he realized that the fact of evolution (which he earlier had doubted) could no longer be ignored, he felt awe at the power of God to use such a complex and self-sustaining program for his creation of life. He felt even more awe at the fact that God had allowed man to develop a brain that would eventually unravel this marvelous facet of God's work.

          It has unfortunately been the Christian tradition to deny findings of science that seem to conflict with their interpretation of received truth, as they see it. But in each case the church has eventually come around when the evidence has become incontrovertible. Unfortunately, the fact of biological evolution is the latest such example of boneheaded resistance. Darwin was surprised and deeply disappointed at the negative reaction of the church at the discovery that creation followed God's program of evolution of new forms.

          The evidence, as I said, is now totally convincing to the biologically knowledgeable, but unfortunately much of it is beyond the grasp of ministers, priests and bishops. Nevertheless, even this boneheadedness shall pass in time, and the church will adjust again.
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi Vicky

        My wife was a serious asthmatic. The ambulance was a regular nighttime visitor. She had been speaking to our Christian neighbours, & on one ambulance trip promised god that if she survived, she would follow him. (she is still with us & much better. I am now 61)

        Home life was cracking me up, with all this goodness in the place. Something had to give, so I set out to prove the bible wrong. After all, I was smart, I knew about evolution. She was quietly confident that I would fail. Needless to say I couldn't prove the bible wrong. After a while I just got on my knees & gave up. That did it, I had my questions answered over a while, & a deep reassurance that Christ had died for me & everything was ok.

        :-)
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          Jan 17 2012: So if she had believed in Allah, you would now be a Muslim?

          "Needless to say I couldn't prove the bible wrong."

          Of course you could have. It is "wrong" on innumerable counts. It is not even internally consistent.

          You just don't want to.

          QUOTE: "That did it, I had my questions answered over a while, & a deep reassurance that Christ had died for me & everything was ok."

          Now Peter, I know I am rather direct but this comment is unassailable: You had your question answered; you felt a deep reassurance, etc.

          This is your subjective experience. No one can argue it.

          However, when you "back it up" with claims that the Bible is inerrant or the earth is 6000 years old you (in my opinion) cheapen it.

          I say, you do not have to believe the Bible is inerrant to experience "deep reassurance" in Christ.

          I know many Christians who share your believe in Christ but who do not share your belief in the infallibility of the Bible.
        • Jan 17 2012: Wow paul, an interesting story, whether you pray to the bible or the Qu'ran, at least you pray and appreciate that god has given you life and a good living standard, and that is the main thing for as in this vast busy world, people just dont seem the time to stop and think about what they have or havent got.
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi Paul
        Evolution is totally at odds with the bible. Of course some other god may have used it to produce people, but not Jehovah of the bible.

        I am often told that evidence for evolution is overwhelming, often also with the subtext that I may not be educated enough to understand it. I know for a fact that I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I am willing to try. Give me your best bit of evidence & I will do my best to understand.

        Or perhaps I am doomed to a life of eternal hope; what a shame. :)

        :-)
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          Jan 17 2012: QUOTE: "... perhaps I am doomed to a life of eternal hope..."

          Sadly, this may be true.

          My father used to say, "Hope is dispelled in fruition."
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      Jan 14 2012: Actually what is "amazing" is that anyone would believe that, even if God did create the universe, He did so in a way that can not be deduced by science.

      What is amazing is that people who believe God created the universe, would also believe He did so 6000 years ago ... in 6 days.

      Do you know how we "know" the earth, and everything else, is 6000 years old?

      Because:

      "Bishop James Usher, a seventeenth-century ecclesiastical figure in Ireland, using the Bible's 'inerrant words' and its internal dates, including the nine hundred and sixty-nine years that Methuselah was supposed to have lived, asserted that creation actually occurred on October 23 in the year 4004 BC. One of his later contemporaries, added the note that it was at 9:00 A. M. Greenwich Mean Time." - John Shelby Spong


      Now, seeing as we're discussing creation, do you know when the Creation Myth entered the narrative that we call the Torah?

      And the Torah, as most will know, was expanded upon, added too, and evolved into what we now call The Holy Bible.

      So was the story of creation a part of the Torah "at the beginning?"

      No, it was not.

      The scriptures began their evolution sometime around 1000 BCE. Over the next five centuries or so, there were four separate "threads," including a massive editorial revisioning (not to imply the revisioning stopped then.)

      The four threads were written by what have come to be known as the Yahwists, the Elohists, the Deuteronamists, and the Priestly Class.

      It was the Priestly Class who added the Genesis story. They did so sometime around 600 BCE - four- to five-hundred years after the Yawists laid down "the first draft" of the Torah.

      Why?

      To accommodate the political and social realities of the time - at the time the Jews had been enslaved in Babylon. They needed something that would solidify their identity as a separate race. And what would do that better than saying what was happening was a part of God's plan and had been a part of God's word from the beginning?
      • Jan 14 2012: @Thomas Jones.
        On the subject of the creation supposedly beginning at 4004BCE, October 23rd,
        You may like this video
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWjtRFNSl2s&feature=channel_video_title

        It details a scarce, but informative view of historical human society for the millenia that led UP to the day the church claimed 'creation began'.
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          Jan 14 2012: Thanks Xavier.

          I'd like to have a look but I live in China and Youtube is not available here.
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        Jan 15 2012: Hi Thomas

        What happened to the bible conversation ? Did we get censored ?

        The 600 years is easily worked out from the genealogies from Adam to Jesus. Doesn't need Bshop Usher.
        Your version of bible roots sounds a bit more cynical than what I remember. Either way I trust God can preserve his writings, but you can use it as mitigating circumstances on th day of judgement.

        :-)
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          Jan 15 2012: Hi Peter,

          The first conversation on the Bible was removed as being too vague. A new, less vague conversation has been opened. It's still there.

          Of course, someone other than Bishop Usher COULD have done the math but in 1800 years he was the first one known to do so and, in all likelihood, if he had not done it it, you would not know about it (you would not "do the math" yourself.)

          I am not in the least cynical about the Bible. I actually like it. What amazes me, Peter, is that seemingly intelligent people would turn off their "God-given" intellect as a badge of faith and of honour.

          And your veiled, third-person threats are the sign of a childish and weak intellect - (my Dad is bigger than your Dad.)

          Your trust in God, to "preserve His writings" is also juvenile ... there is not one credible Biblical scholar who thinks the Bible has been "preserved."

          The Bible evolved. It was revised and changed by successive generations of men to accommodate the social and political realities of their time.

          That is why we have more than one version of the creation myth. That is why we have several versions of the Ten Commandments, etcetera.

          There is a certain religious train of thought that assumes the BIble "sprang into existence" fully formed (often bolstered with the passage, "in the beginning was the Word ...)

          This religious frame of mind further adds that believing this to be true is a badge of honour, a sign of faith, the responsibility of a true believer. Something to be proud of.

          People who think their eternal life depends on believing this type of nonsense will do so.

          No matter how many times it can be demonstrated that the Bible is "errant," they will not believe.

          You are one such person.

          I am cynical about your thinking, and thinking like yours ... not the Bible.

          ---

          This is exactly the type of debate I opened the other conversation for. ... EDIT ... Except it too has been deleted.

          (You forgot the capital "H" ... will you go to hell for that?)
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          Jan 16 2012: Hi Peter,

          You should read the book called Quantum Enigma.....it talks about how quantum physics encounters the non physical, supernatural, spooky stuff that made Einstein himself get goosebumps (for more on this you should look up EPR theory, Bell's Theorem and the Alice and Bob cart theory).

          in other words, not all science focus on the materialistic aspect of the world.
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi. Thomas,

        Doing the math is Christianity 101. Basic stuff, it's also cool the way all the names & ages are there & can be checked out if one could be bothered. If I was writing a fairy story, I would be sure to steer clear of that sort of stuff.
        "......childish superstition." ? At last you're getting the idea Thomas.....

        Matthew 18:3 (NIV)
        And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

        :-)
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          Jan 16 2012: Peter do you think these little deflections are in any way bolstering your claim that the Bible is inerrant or that they will sway my opinion at all?

          I very likely know more about the Bible than you do.

          And I do not need to believe that it is inerrant to derive benefit from it.

          You're saying the Bible is valid as an historical document and it can be used as a scientific reference book?

          Is that correct?

          And you believe Methuselah lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years?

          Methuselah notwithstanding: if the BIble is inerrant, is there anything in the Bible that would not conform to natural laws?

          Is there anything in the Bible that would contradict scientific facts?

          That last one interests me:

          Is there anything in the Bible that would contradict scientific facts?
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi Orlando,
        I've had a look at this quantum stuff before. It's way beyond my pay scale, my brain just refuses. Lol.
        I would not be surprised if, at the end of the day things get infinitely smaller & infinitely larger. It certainly seems that the more we learn, the more we realise we don't know.

        I love this quote :- The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human conciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment. (Bernard d'Espagnat)

        :-)
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        Jan 16 2012: Hi Thomas

        I accept that you may know more 'about' the bible than me.

        The history seems to stack up, but I would not say it is a scientific reference book.

        I go with the biblical age of Methuselah.

        The miracles & resurrection seem to contradict natural law. The creation probably does as well.

        That all depends on what scientific facts we are talking about. It would seem to contradict evolution, which you may treat as a fact.

        :-)
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          Jan 16 2012: Hi Peter,

          The history does not "stack up" as you put it; and you do seem to use it as a science reference book. In fact, it seems to be foundational to your "science."
    • Jan 19 2012: Hi Peter,

      I just want to know something. Why do you thing that the god from the Bible is the only and truly god?. You know, as your believe, there are a lot of different believes in the entire world. There is a problem of christian people and is that they don't study the bible the way a person that doesn't believe in god do( not all of then but a big part). My entire life i have been trying to understand how is god. I believe that god exist because by logic something had to create us and that is what i call god but I dont really think that is a loving creator as is describe in the bible. Why people have to think of god as a person or similar to a person. There is no logic in believing that god have feelings or is in a way forced to contact us. Maybe we will never know how is god, but we can assume is the way that is describe in the bible because we don't any other proof that a book written a long time ago.

      Pd: My english is not very good =) so sorry if you doesn't understand something or everything.
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    Jan 14 2012: I am also interested in knowing more about creation of God as well actually!
    • Jan 14 2012: Me too, it is a topic in which i am hugely intrigued, and peoples perspectives on this are particularly interesting.
      What are your religious views upon this, and judging upon your name, you must be a hindu?