Saturday, April 30, 2011

Genocide is moral, if God commands it?

This is a strange situation, where a seemingly sane Christian ends up supporting genocide, the killing of men, women, and children, just because it's in the Bible.

Well, you see, he believes God exists, and he believes that the Bible is God's word, and he believes that God is good. In fact, he defines God as being perfectly good. Therefore, if it's in the Bible, it must be good.

You see? It's all perfectly logical and perfectly crazy. That's because his initial premises are wrong. Either God does not exist or the Bible is not accurate or God is not good. (Or all three.) But if you simply won't accept any of those things, then you either have to ignore much of what's in the Bible or explain it away. Or accept it.

Here's an excerpt from PZ Myers' comments at Pharyngula, with a link to the post:
It's always interesting when some god-walloper honestly follows through on the logical implications of his beliefs — he basically is compelled to admit that if you worship a tyrannical monster, you have to end up rationalizing monstrous tyrannies. The latest to enlighten us with excuses for bronze age barbarisms and brutalities is William Lane Craig, who thinks that tales from the Bible of God's Chosen People slaughtering babies is A-OK:
Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God's grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven's incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

Therefore, if I station myself outside a church door with an AK-47 and murder all the happy saved Christians exiting the service, I am doing the Lord's work. Well, gosh, Willie, not only do I get to be a mass-murderer for fun, I can be self-righteous about it, too! It's too bad I'm one of those atheists who doesn't believe in a Happy Fun Land for the dead, so I can't honestly do that in good conscience.

I will be interested to see if Craig now has a Christian perspective on abortion, that is, that it is a process that releases blameless innocents to heaven's incomparable joy, and is therefore to be encouraged.

Greta Christina has a great post on this, too. There's a lot to it, but here's an excerpt:
I want to make something very clear before I go on: William Lane Craig is not some drooling wingnut. He's not some extremist Fred Phelps type, ranting about how God's hateful vengeance is upon us for tolerating homosexuality. He's not some itinerant street preacher, railing on college campuses about premarital holding hands. He's an extensively educated, widely published, widely read theological scholar and debater. When believers accuse atheists of ignoring sophisticated modern theology, Craig is one of the people they're talking about.

And he said that as long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to kill pretty much anybody. It's okay to kill bad people, because they're bad and they deserve it... and it's okay to kill good people, because they wind up in Heaven. As long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to systematically wipe out entire races. As long as God gives the thumbs-up, it's okay to slaughter babies and children. Craig said -- not essentially, not as a paraphrase, but literally, in quotable words -- "the death of these children was actually their salvation."

She's right. William Lane Craig is one of those supposedly "sophisticated" believers. I've seen him debating Christopher Hitchens, and he comes off as knowledgeable, urbane, even charming.

Greta Christina makes another good point:
See, here's the thing. When faced with horrors in our past -- our personal history, or our human history -- non-believers don't have any need to defend them. When non-believers look at a human history full of genocide, infanticide, slavery, forced marriage, etc. etc. etc., we're entirely free to say, "Damn. That was terrible. That was some seriously screwed-up shit we did. We were wrong to do that. Let's not ever do that again."

But for people who believe in a holy book, it's not that simple. When faced with horrors in their religion's history -- horrors that their holy book defends, and even praises -- believers have to do one of two things. They have to either a) cherry-pick the bits they like and ignore the bits they don't; or b) come up with contorted rationalizations for why the most blatant, grotesque, black-and-white evil really isn't all that bad.

As she points out, if you decide to cherry-pick what you want to believe and what you don't, then how do you decide which parts are right and which parts are just fairy tales, just superstition? And when it comes to that point, what's to keep you from realizing that there's really no reason to believe any of it? After all, that's why most of us are atheists, because the evidence just isn't there.

Here's one more excerpt from Christina's post:
I've made this point before, and I'm sure I'll make it again: Religion, by its very nature as an untestable belief in undetectable beings and an unknowable afterlife, disables our reality checks. It ends the conversation. It cuts off inquiry: not only factual inquiry, but moral inquiry. Because God's law trumps human law, people who think they're obeying God can easily get cut off from their own moral instincts. And these moral contortions don't always lie in the realm of theological game-playing. They can have real-world consequences: from genocide to infanticide, from honor killings to abandoned gay children, from burned witches to battered wives to blown-up buildings.

As just one example among so very many: Look at the Lafferty brothers, Mormon fundamentalists who murdered an innocent woman and her 15-month-old daughter because they thought God had commanded them to do it. At many points in their journey across the continent on their way to the killings, they questioned whether brutally slaughtering their brother's wife and her infant child was really the right thing to do. But they always came to the same answer: Yes. It was right. They thought God had commanded it -- and that settled the question. It ended the conversation. It stopped their moral query dead in its tracks.

But don't just look at sociopathic murderers from a bonkers religious cult. That's too easy. Look at Mr. Theological Scholar himself, William Lane Craig. In this piece, Craig says that the Canaanites were evil, and deserving of genocide, because (among other things) they practiced infanticide. The very crime that God ordered the Israelites to commit. I shit you not. Quote: "By the time of their destruction, Canaanite culture was, in fact, debauched and cruel, embracing such practices as ritual prostitution and even child sacrifice." (Emphasis -- and dumbstruck bafflement -- mine.) And he says the infanticide of the Canaanite children was defensible and necessary because the Israelites needed to keep their tribal identity pure, and keep their God-given morality untainted by the Canaanite wickedness. Again, I shit you not. Again, quote: "By setting such strong, harsh dichotomies God taught Israel that any assimilation to pagan idolatry is intolerable." As if an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good god couldn't come up with a better way to teach a lesson about assimilation to pagan idolatry than murdering children.

Incredible, isn't it? Now Craig wrote that piece to answer a couple of questions, one wondering about Muslims justifying violence as the will of God. What's Craig's answer to that? He says that Muslims are perfectly justified in thinking that way. Their only error is that they've got the wrong god! Heh, heh. Really!

How does he know they've picked the wrong god? Well, because it's not the one William Lane Craig believes in, of course. It's not that one commands murder to be done and the other doesn't, no. Because they both do that. But in one case it's perfectly justified and in the other, it isn't. It's all a matter of being lucky enough to be born in a country and to a family where they worship the right god. Yeah, good luck with that!

Now if you're curious, here's Deuteronomy 20, one of the places where God - the right one, according to Craig - commands this particular bit of nastiness. Now I'm certainly no Biblical scholar, but I thought it was quite interesting.

You see, God doesn't command genocide against everyone. That's reserved for the five tribes he particularly dislikes, where "thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth." For everyone else, he's much kinder. In those situations, when a city resists, God just commands that every single male be killed.

The women and children, though, are to be enjoyed:
14But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

It's sure good that this is the right god, isn't it, because otherwise this would be kind of a nasty thing.

Keep this in mind the next time your god wants you to kill, rape, or enslave someone. It's perfectly moral as long as you're sure you've got the right god.

Now me, I don't have a god at all, so I'm going to decide on morality for myself. And I'm not going to pretend that nasty shit like this is moral!

21 comments:

Paul Harris said...

God is not good (Part I)

There is a general misconception about God that He is good, but actually He is not. God is neither good, nor evil, He is beyond good and evil. If God is the ultimate being, then that God cannot be good. When we are saying that God is good, we are passing some judgment on God, we are saying that He is good. But by what standard of goodness are we judging him good? From where has it originated? As believers say that their God is the all-thing and everything that was there, therefore this standard of goodness could have originated from God only, and not from any other source, because except that God there was no other source from which it could have originated. So we are judging God good by His own standard of goodness. But this is a dangerous principle. Because if this principle is being followed in other cases also, then there will be complete chaos. Then everybody will start claiming that he should be judged for his action by his own standard only, and not by the standard of other people, society, or state. And he can legitimately claim this, because he will say that God has made man in His own image. So the principle that is followed in case of God should also be followed in case of each and every single human being. Why should there be any deviation from that principle in case of man? Is he not created in God’s own image? So, after killing six million Jews Hitler will claim that he is innocent, because he thought it absolutely necessary to efface their race from the surface of earth, in order to save mankind from future disasters. Therefore by his own standard of goodness and badness he has done nothing wrong.
Therefore the above principle will have to be abandoned and we will have to seek for some other principle. In that case if we say that God is good, then we will have to admit that the standard by means of which we judge God good has not originated from Him, but from some other source. Here there are two possibilities:
1) This standard is prior to God,
2) It is coeternal with, but not originated from, God.
In none of the two cases above, God is the all-thing and everything that can be there. So believers cannot claim that their God is the all-thing and everything that is there, and at the same time claim that He is good.
Bertrand Russell, although an atheist, has already shown that God cannot be good, for the simple reason that if God is good, then there is a standard of goodness which is independent of God’s will. Here Russell is also admitting that if God is to be judged good at all, then He will have to be so judged by a standard that should not, and must not, have originated from God. In Hindu mythology, Brahma (Supreme Being) is said to be beyond good and evil. He is neither good, nor evil. But both good as well as evil have originated from Him, who is neither good nor evil.

WCG said...

Well, gods weren't always good. Look at the ancient Greek gods, for example. Human conceptions of godhood have differed and continue to differ. So all of this depends on the individual believer's idea of his god. You really can't generalize about that.

I don't believe that any gods actually exist, of course (because of the lack of evidence that they do). But I would judge a god by my standards of good and bad, just as I would any other creature. (And "good" is an English word, developed by human beings to communicate a general idea, though specific ideas of what's "good" might have changed considerably since then.)

Naturally, other species can act in ways that I wouldn't condone among humans. That might still be "good," in the sense that it helps that species survive, but it's hard to imagine that as an ethical issue.

And I could even imagine another sentient species doing something I wouldn't condone among humans, but wouldn't necessarily consider "bad" for them. So all in all, I have little interest in debating "good" as a philosophical concept. There's just nothing solid to grab hold of.

I'd rather decide what's "good" when it comes to specifics. That's not necessarily going to be much easier, but it's also not completely like debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. But it's always going to be my own conception of good, not someone else's.

And ordering human beings to commit genocide is evil, whether ordered by a god or by a human dictator. I would be hard put to think of a reasonable justification for that. God's only excuse, I'm afraid, is that he doesn't actually exist.

Paul Harris said...

God is not good (Part II)

The main problem is that most of the believers are irrational people. They attribute to God many properties that cannot be attributed to Him legitimately. A God who is one cannot love, cannot hate, cannot be cruel, cannot be merciful, cannot be benevolent, cannot be all-loving, cannot be just, etc. If we say God is love, then before creation whom did He love? So if we say that God is love, then it can only be self-love. If we say that God is cruel, then we will have to admit that He is cruel to Himself. If we say that God is all-loving, then we will have to admit that this all is coeternal with God, and that therefore He has not created us at all. So we should not revere Him, for the simple reason that he is not our creator! Perhaps due to their fear of eternal hell-fire after death some people try to appease God by repeatedly saying that He is Good, whereas in reality He is not good. But does that mean that God is evil? No, not at all. Einstein has said just the right thing here: Subtle is His way, but He is not malicious!
In one sense it can be said that the creation of the universe was God’s greatest wrongdoing. It was His biggest blunder. Because with this creation came hunger, misery, death, suffering, sorrow, slavery, murder, rape, treason, torture, and what not! Now we cannot undo what God has already done, because it is not in our power to destroy the entire universe. But we can at least destroy the earth; science has given us that much power. So it is up to us to decide what we should do. But if we do not destroy the earth, then in a sense we also become responsible for all the future evils on earth. We do not destroy the earth because we love life, thus allowing evil to run its course as before.
The principle that God is to be judged good by His own standard of goodness is intrinsically a bad principle. Because in that case we are giving unlimited license to God to decide what is good for Him. And He can arbitrarily choose any act as good for Him that is abhorrent to others. Here believers will say that God is of such a nature He can never act badly. By saying so believers are admitting that God’s acts are good not because those are God’s acts, but because God always acts conforming to some moral code. So Russell is correct in saying that there is a standard of goodness that is independent of God’s will.
Another reason can be given as to why God cannot be good. If God is good then the question “who created God?” cannot be answered properly and there will be an infinite regression. Believers are very clever people indeed. When this question is raised, knowing very well that they have no answer to this, they cunningly place their God outside the causal space-time universe, and then claim that causal rule does not apply there. But when the question comes as to whether God is good or evil, they blissfully forget that they themselves have placed their God outside the causal universe where not only the causal chain, but also none of the other categories of the created world would apply: goodness/badness, love/hate, justice/injustice, beauty/ugliness, compassion/cruelty, benevolence/malevolence, big/small, high/low, etc. & etc. And they will take no time to declare that their God is pure goodness itself, thus showing their utter inability to think consistently.

Paul Harris said...

"God's only excuse, I'm afraid, is that he doesn't actually exist."
Thanks for raising the issue of God's existence here, thus giving me some scope for writing on this. Here it is:


Does God exist?

If existence means existing in space and time, then definitely God does not exist, because God is neither in space nor in time. As God is neither in space nor in time, therefore God, and God only, will be having the properties of spacelessness and timelessness simply by default or by logical necessity alone, and nothing else in this universe can ever have these two properties, because everything else other than God will always be in space and time. But in spite of that we find that light is having the properties of spacelessness and timelessness. At least the following two equations of special theory of relativity, if they are not incorrect or false, say so:
l1 = l(1-c2/v2)1/2
t1 = t(1-c2/v2)1/2
As like everything else in this universe light is also placed in space and time, therefore light can never have these two properties by any natural means, and the only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that these two properties have been imposed on light from outside. As nothing else other than God, who is neither in space nor in time, can have these two properties in any way, therefore it is only from God, and from nothing else, that light can have these two properties. So the fact that light has the properties of spacelessness and timelessness proves that there is a God.
Scientists boast that they can explain almost everything through scientific enquiry, and without the need to invoke a God to fill in the gaps. But we must say that this boasting is baseless, because here there is such a gap that cannot be filled in without invoking God. Perhaps nobody has drawn their attention to this gap earlier. Also it may be that they themselves have never thought that such a gap does really exist. However, it is high time now that they should no longer be kept ignorant of this gap.
A thing may have the properties of spacelessness and timelessness by natural means in three conditions only. These are as follows:
1) In case it is placed in a world where there is no space, no time,
2) In case it is placed in a world where there are enough space and enough time, but if it is artificially deprived of space and time,
3) And lastly, in case it is trapped in a black hole. But a black hole is as good as a world where there is no space, no time. So the third condition is no different from the first one.
(Regarding the second condition mentioned above, I must confess that I have not the slightest idea about how anything can be artificially deprived of time, but I have at least some idea about how it can be deprived of space. Let us suppose that an electric bulb is wrapped up with a piece of heavily thick black cloth in such a way that not a single ray of light will emerge from it when it will be switched on. Here light will be there, but as it has been artificially deprived of space, therefore it will not be able to make any movement.)
So we can say that in only two conditions a thing can naturally have the above two properties. But in case of light none of the above two conditions apply. Light is neither placed in a world where there is no space and no time, nor is it artificially deprived of space and time. So there is no natural explanation as to why light will have the properties of spacelessness and timelessness. But despite this we find that light is having these two properties. As there can never be any natural explanation for these properties of light, therefore we have got every right to go for a supernatural explanation here.
Reference:
1)God, Scientists and the Void, by H. S. Pal, Scientific God Journal, Volume 1, Issus 6 (http://www.scigod.com)
2) Climax, Ibid, Volume 1, Issue 7.

WCG said...

Blogger keeps flagging your comments as spam, Paul, so that's why they don't show up immediately. I have to go in and change that manually. Are you, perhaps, posting the same text to multiple websites?

I'm also wondering because your "Part II" comment doesn't seem to reference my reply at all, and none of this really pertains to my original post, not directly at least. But let me reply to some of it, anyway:

"So we should not revere Him, for the simple reason that he is not our creator!"

Why should we revere him anyway? More importantly, why should we obey him, whether he created us or not? Maybe we should obey him out of fear of his power, but then why would you revere someone who held a gun to your head?

"But if we do not destroy the earth, then in a sense we also become responsible for all the future evils on earth."

Nonsense! Refusing to do a greater evil does not make us responsible for all other evils.

"If existence means existing in space and time, then definitely God does not exist, because God is neither in space nor in time."

Whether God exists or not, however you want to define existence, you need to show evidence of that. And if he has any effect on our universe at all, there should be evidence to find.

True, you could imagine a god outside our universe, having no effect on us whatsoever, but how could you possibly have any evidence of that? And without evidence, why should anyone believe it?

"As God is neither in space nor in time, therefore God, and God only, will be having the properties of spacelessness and timelessness simply by default or by logical necessity alone, and nothing else in this universe can ever have these two properties, because everything else other than God will always be in space and time."

Wrong. Puff the Magic Dragon is also neither in space nor in time. Therefore, she also has the properties of spacelessness and timelessness.

I'm sure you must agree that Puff the Magic Dragon exists, right? I mean, I just explained it to you, just like you explained God to me.

[This is too long for one comment, so I'll continue below.]

WCG said...

"At least the following two equations of special theory of relativity, if they are not incorrect or false, say so..."

Right. Relativity is the modern "abracadabra." Purveyors of every kind of woo in the world explain it with relativity these days, because they know that no one will understand a word of it. (They almost always add Einstein in there somewhere, too.) Therefore, any gobbledygook at all will suffice to sound sciency.

Of course, if it were true, then theoretical physicists would be the most fervent believers of God in the world. Since that's far from true, this is clearly just bullshit. Pardon my French.

"As nothing else other than God, who is neither in space nor in time, can have these two properties in any way, therefore it is only from God, and from nothing else, that light can have these two properties."

That's at least three assumptions you haven't proven at all. I just told you that Puff the Magic Dragon is neither in space nor in time, so either God is not there or more than one thing can be outside time and space. And you really haven't demonstrated much of anything about light. You've just claimed that it's so.

Again, if any of that were true, theoretical physicists would be the world's most fervent believers. This argument probably convinces people who really want to believe it, but it's just gibberish to them. And to me. And, I suspect, to anyone who really does understand special relativity.

I've seen this same thing from creationists, only I know enough about biology - not much more, admittedly - to recognize how wrong it is. But people who don't know that much tend to eat it up. After all, it sounds so smart.

"Scientists boast that they can explain almost everything through scientific enquiry, and without the need to invoke a God to fill in the gaps."

Wrong again. Scientists don't know everything, and they admit that. After all, if they did know everything, they would stop doing science. But they also know that "I don't know" doesn't automatically mean "God did it."

I could "fill in the gaps" with Puff the Magic Dragon, too, but why would you believe that? If you don't know something, then "I don't know" is the only valid answer. If you want to claim that God - or Puff the Magic Dragon - did anything, then you have to show evidence in support of that.

And you know, throughout history supernatural explanations have regularly been replaced by natural explanations, once we learned better. Never once has this happened the other way around. We've never needed to replace a natural explanation with a supernatural one. Never, in all of history.

It makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Jim Harris said...

God is a concept that some people want to exist and they will use whatever rationalizations they can to prove God's existence. It is both impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God, so I don't try. I believe that God is a human invented concept and not an observation about reality, but I can't prove that.

The more I study the great religions of the world the more confident I am that those descriptions of God are made up. But I can't prove that either, and I don't try.

Also, the more I study science and realize just how immense reality is, I find it hard to believe that there could be a single entity that is bigger and older than reality that could have "created" it. Any attributes about God in the history of religion have always been smaller than reality.

There are things we can know, things that we don't know, and there is fantasy speculation. Of the three, I think all the versions of God that people have created have always fallen into the third category.

The reason why so many people want to believe in God is because they don't want to believe in death. So we're not really trying to prove the existence of God, but the existence of immortality.

WCG said...

I agree, Jim, though I don't demand proof, just evidence. Admittedly, I can't imagine what evidence would point clearly to a deity, rather than, for example, to an alien with advanced technology.

After all, almost anything would be more plausible than an omniscient,omnipotent supernatural being.

Jim Harris said...

I just finished Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K. Dick which retells the gnostic idea of Christ in a alien/science fiction motif. Poor PKD, he wanted to find the truth so badly.

I feel no need for concepts about God when studying cosmology. The universe is just too big. The immensity of reality is just so overwhelming - and by reality I don't mean the universe produced by the big bang, but everything in all times and dimensions. At some point reality is always beyond what we can comprehend. It's bigger than any God we can imagine, no matter how many super powers we give the divine.

Paul Harris said...

Let us say that the universe has originated from Puff the magic dragon, and this Puff the magic dragon is neither in space nor in time. So naturally it will have no space and no time, and therefore it will naturally have the properties of spacelessness and timelessness. It will not be having these two properties because it has received them from any external source. Rather it will be having these two properties simply because it is neither in space nor in time, and because in consequence it is having no space and no time. So in a sense we can say that it is having these two properties simply by default. But in case of light the picture is entirely different. Light is placed in a universe where there are enough space and enough time. So we can in no way say that light is not having any space, any time. Neither has it been artificially deprived of space and time. So there is no apparant reason as to why light in our universe will have no space and no time, and therefore further there is no reason as to why it will have the properties of spacelessness and timelessness. But in spite of that we find that light is having these two properties. Yes, we can say this with some confidence if we have enough faith in science, and if we believe that the two equations of special theory of relativity are not giving us bluff in any way. I think it is now crystal clear that light cannot have these two properties by any natural means, and therefore the only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that it has received these properties from some other external source. But if it is the case that this external source also has received these properties from another external source, then there will be infinite regression. In order to stop this infinite regression let us suppose that the external source is Puff the magic dragon which will be having these two properties simply by default, and not due to the fact that it has received them from some other external source. But even if we say that the universe has originated from Puff the magic dragon, then also our problem will not be solved. Here Puff the magic dragon will no doubt have the properties of spacelessness and timelessness, but that does in no way explain as to how anything in the universe originated from Puff will automatically have the properties of Puff. Because Puff will be having these properties by virtue of its being neither in space nor in time, but nothing in the universe originated from Puff will have the same status of Puff, because all of them will be in space and in time. So although it is true that all of them have actually originated from Puff, it is also true that none of them can automatically have the properties of Puff. So where is the solution? The only solution is that if Puff is having some sort of consciousness, and if Puff itself has for some reason or other decided to give its own properties to light, then only light can have the properties of Puff. In no other conceivable way can it have these properties. So the ultimate conclusion is that if the universe has originated from some sort of consciousness, then, and then only, light can have those properties that it is actually having.
You may think that multiverse theory can help us here in seeking for a natural explanation, in place of a supernal one, for the so-called properties of light. But it can be shown within a few seconds that it is nothing but a day-dreaming. This is due to the fact that no universe can form without space and without time. So in each and every member of this infinite number of universes light will always be placed in space and time, and therefore in none of these universes there can naturally arise in light the above properties of spacelessness and timelessness. So even if we increase the total number of universes from one to infinity, the problem will remain the same as before.

WCG said...

Paul, first of all, you haven't demonstrated that light has "the properties of spacelessness and timelessness" or even what you mean by that. And you haven't demonstrated that light must have received those properties - assuming that part really is correct - from an external source.

Sure, you've thrown around the term, "special relativity," but that's Greek to me, and to everyone reading this, I'm sure - and to you, too, I suspect. The fact is, you've constructed an enormous, elaborate logical edifice with a foundation built on sand. Well, that seems to be a specialty of religion.

But let me try to make my objections as simple as possible, so we can actually understand what we're talking about.

According to current theory, I believe, the Big Bang was the beginning of space and time in this universe. If there are other universes, presumably there would be space and time in them, and countless beings could live outside of our space and time without having "spacelessness and timelessness."

Whatever the qualities of light in this universe, we can't assume anything about other universes, if they actually exist. Of course, Puff the Magic Dragon could live in another universe, or not, could be outside of space and time, or not, and could have created our universe, or not. We don't actually know any of this.

It's hard to conceive of anything before the Big Bang, since "before time began" seems to be meaningless. But whether or not there are other universes, if the Big Bang was a natural process, then there's no reason the properties of light - whether you consider them spaceless or timeless or not - couldn't have been started then. There's absolutely no reason a conscious entity must have deliberately invented light.

The fact is, we don't know anything about how the Big Bang came to happen. Maybe someday we will, or maybe not. But there is no evidence that any kind of god did it. There is no evidence that it was caused at all, rather than just being spontaneous, as subatomic particles supposedly appear and disappear spontaneously in space.

Absolutely nothing you've said changes that. And indeed, Stephen Hawking, who knows far more than both of us put together about relativity, disagrees with you completely. Check out this very short video that explains his thinking quite clearly. And then please explain why I should believe you, rather than the experts in this field of study.

Paul Harris said...

In my post I have written: "Yes, we can say this with some confidence if we have enough faith in science, and if we believe that the two equations of special theory of relativity are not giving us bluff in any way."
Who am I to demonstrate that light is having the properties of spacelessness and timelessness? Rather the two equations of special theory of relativity (Please go to my earlier posting "Does God exist". There these two equations have been mentioned.) clearly demonstrate that light is having these two properties. But with a condition:if they are not giving us bluff. And I think I have already given enough reason as to why light cannot have these properties by any natural means. And I do not want to repeat them again.
Regarding Hawking it can be said that as a scientist he is great no doubt. But in matters other than science he is naive and a fool. His foolishness came to the limelight when he said: As there was something like gravity, so no God was needed to create the universe. Gravity itself can create the universe from nothing. When we the believers said that God has created the universe, then atheists and scientists raised the question: If God created universe, then who created God? Now it is our turn to pose the question: If gravity created the universe, then who created gravity? Hawking must have to answer this question if he wants to remain consistent in his denial of God.

WCG said...

Paul, I don't know what Hawking really said about gravity, and it doesn't matter in this discussion. You agree that he's a great scientist. Obviously, he knows more than you and I put together about physics, and that's what you're trying to use for your "proof of God."

I asked a physicist - a believer, in fact - about your "proof," and he said that it's nonsense. He said you clearly don't understand special relativity. Well, I can't fault you for that, since I don't, either. But it seems pretty obvious that your proof doesn't hold water.

(He noted that your equations aren't even labeled. He thought they might be "somewhat mangled" versions of real equations, but without that, it's hard to tell. And even if they are real, they don't prove what you think they do.)

You ask, "Who am I to demonstrate that light is having the properties of spacelessness and timelessness?" But then, in the very next line, you claim that "the two equations of special theory of relativity... clearly demonstrate that light is having these two properties." No, they don't. And if you admit that you don't understand what you're saying, how can you claim that they do?

I appreciate your comments here. It's been interesting. But you haven't presented any evidence that a god or gods exist, let alone proof. There are holes throughout your argument, as I've tried to explain, and just copying two unknown equations doesn't help at all.

Well, it was highly unlikely that we'd come to an agreement on this anyway, wasn't it? If it was that easy to prove God existed, everyone would believe it (especially scientists). As it is, scientists are far less likely to believe than the uneducated. So I've got to think that you're never going to "prove" your religious faith using science.

Anonymous said...

Does the universe need a God?

Does the universe need God? Yes, the universe needs God if it can be shown that everything in the universe cannot be explained naturally. Scientists claim that there is no fact, no event, no natural phenomenon in the universe for which they cannot provide a natural scientific explanation. But this claim is untrue. We can show that there is at least one fact in the universe for which they will never be able to give any natural explanation. This fact is that light has got some very peculiar properties if we are to believe that the following two equations of special theory of relativity are not giving us bluff in any way:
t1 = t(1-v2/c2)1/2
l1 = l(1-v2/c2)1/2
The first equation shows that for light time totally stops, and the second equation shows that for light any distance it has to travel is reduced to zero. For light even infinite distance is reduced to zero. These two equations together show that as if light has no space as well as no time to move. But light cannot have these two properties naturally. Or, these two properties cannot naturally arise in light. If one asks “why”, then we will give three reasons:
1) like everything else light was also created after the big bang,
2) like everything else light was also placed in a universe full of space and time,
3) light has in no way been artificially deprived of space and time.
A thing may naturally have the two properties of spacelessness and timelessness in following two cases only:
1) if it is placed in a world where there is no space, no time;
2) if placed in a world full of space and time it is artificially deprived of space and time.
But light is neither placed in a world having no space, no time, nor is it artificially deprived of space and time. So there is no apparent reason as to why light will have these two properties. In spite of these facts we find that light is having these properties. So if it is having these properties, then it is having them not naturally, but by some unnatural means. Anything being placed in space and time cannot naturally lack space and time until and unless it is artificially deprived of them. So it is an enigma that light in spite of its being placed in space and time will still be having no space and no time. At least the above two equations of STR are saying so. And here I am challenging the whole scientific community all over the world: let them bring any damn scientific theory here – relativity theory, quantum theory, string theory, M-theory, multiverse theory, parallel universe theory, or any other theory that they can think of – and let them show with their theory how there can naturally arise in light those two properties of spacelessness and timelessness. And I am saying with full confidence here that they will never be able to do that. This is only because there will always be two constraints due to which the properties of light can never have any natural explanation, and these two constraints can never be overcome by any scientific theory. I have already mentioned what are those two constraints: a) light is placed in a universe full of space and time, and b) light is not artificially deprived of space and time. This is the only gap that can never be bridged by any scientific explanation. This is the only gap that will require a supernatural explanation.

Anonymous said...

Was it predetermined that space and time in our universe would be relative? Was it predetermined that light being placed in a universe full of space and time would still exhibit such characteristics as if it were having no space, no time? I believe that in both the cases scientists will say "no". Therefore there must have to be some natural explanation for both the two cases. And I am very much eager to get these explanations from them. But I know very well that they will never be able to give them. I think that I have already given reasons as to why they will never have a success here. If it is the case that I have not been able to make my points sufficiently clear in my earlier post, then I will have to try again.
Like everything else light was created after the big bang. Like everything else light was placed in a universe full of space and time. Being placed in this universe light has not been artificially deprived of space and time. Last of all it was not predetermined that light will behave in this universe as if it was having no space, no time. When a prisoner is put into a prison cell, he is deprived of all the space lying outside of his prison cell. But he cannot be deprived of the space lying inside his cell. Being inside the universe light should naturally have all the space available in the universe. If the universe is infinite, then light should also have infinite space. Why should it show such characteristic as if this infinite space is no space at all for it? How does light naturally acquire such characteristic if it was not predetermined, or predestined, that it would have such characteristic?
One may think that perhaps multiverse theory will rescue us here. But even if there are an infinite number of universes, still then there will not be a single universe out of these infinite number of universes which will be without space, without time. So in each and every member of these infinite number of universes light will be placed in space and in time, and in each and every member of these infinite number of universes light will not be predetermined to have those characteristics mentioned above. So for each and every universe one will have to explain how such characteristics can naturally grow in light.

WCG said...

Anonymous, that's pretty much exactly what Paul Harris already posted, so I'm guessing that you're both copying from the same website (and that you didn't read the previous comments here).

Clearly, you don't know what you're talking about. People who do understand the physics of this disagree with you, so why should we believe some anonymous internet commenter, instead?

Well, I'm not going to bother going through all this again, especially since you apparently didn't even bother reading my previous replies. But I'll just point out that your initial statement is wrong. Scientists don't know everything and they know they don't know everything.

But because we don't know something now, that doesn't mean we'll never learn it. Science is an ongoing process. If we already knew everything, there would be no need for science.

Furthermore, not knowing something is not evidence that a god did it. The ancients used to think that the sun was a god driving a golden chariot across the sky. After all, what else could it be? Your error is exactly the same as theirs.

Anonymous said...

Philosophy is dead. Is Logic dead also?

How did the scientists come to know that an entire universe could come out of nothing? Or, how did they come to know that anything at all could come out of nothing? Were they present at that moment when the universe was being born? As that was not the case at all, therefore they did not get that idea being present at the creation event. Rather they got this idea being present here on this very earth. They have created a vacuum artificially, and then they have observed that virtual particles (electron-positron pairs) are still appearing spontaneously out of that vacuum and then disappearing again. From that observation they have first speculated, and then ultimately theorized, that an entire universe could also come out of nothing. But here their entire logic is flawed. These scientists are all born and brought up within the Christian tradition. Maybe they have downright rejected the Christian world-view, but they cannot say that they are all ignorant of that world-view. According to that world-view God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. So as per Christian belief-system, and not only as per Christian belief-system, but as per other belief-systems also, God is everywhere. So when these scientists are saying that the void is a real void, God is already dead and non-existent for them. But these scientists know very well that non-existence of God will not be finally established until and unless it is shown that the origin of the universe can also be explained without invoking God. Creation event is the ultimate event where God will have to be made redundant, and if that can be done successfully then that will prove beyond any reasonable doubt that God does not exist. So how have they accomplished that job, the job of making God redundant in case of creation event? These were the steps:
1) God is non-existent, and so, the void is a real void. Without the pre-supposition that God does not exist, it cannot be concluded that the void is a real void.
2) As virtual particles can come out of the void, so also the entire universe. Our universe has actually originated from the void due to a quantum fluctuation in it.
3) This shows that God was not necessary to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going, as because there was no creation event.
4) This further shows that God does not exist.
So here what is to be proved has been proved based on the assumption that it has already been proved. Philosophy is already dead for these scientists. Is it that logic is also dead for them?

WCG said...

Well, Anonymous, scientists go by the evidence. If you want to know what evidence, I suggest you get an education.

You believe what you've been told all your life, by family and pastors who don't have any better reason for believing it than you do.

If you'd been born elsewhere, and solemnly assured all your life that some other religion was the correct one, you'd be just as sure of that. Well, that's because you have no way to correct your errors, when you simply believe what you want to believe.

Your four steps are laughable. Frankly, you're the last person who should be talking about logic. But considering the fact that you completely ignored my actual post, I won't waste my time.

WCG said...

Oh, and regarding God being "omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent," you might want to check out my post on the three characteristics of God.

Anonymous said...

God of the gaps

I will begin this article with two postulates: 1) God has created this universe; 2) He has brought man in this universe with some purpose.
I am not claiming here that these two postulates are true, or that I can prove them to be true. But I want to show here that if these two postulates are true, then God will always be the God of the gaps. Anyone who will be reading this article should not forget that there is an “if” clause in the last sentence.
Now I will begin with the supposition that God has created this universe. If God has created this universe, then He could have created it in four different ways: 1) He created it in such a way that there was no necessity for Him to intervene in it after creation, 2) After creation He intervened in it, but these interventions were a bare minimum, that is, He intervened only when these were absolutely necessary. In order to clarify my point here, I will say that He intervened only when He found that without His intervention the universe would come to a standstill, 3) He created the universe in such a way that in order to keep it going He had to make very frequent interventions in it, 4) God's total intervention after creation.
If it was the purpose of God to keep mankind crippled in every possible way, then He would have adopted either the third or the fourth way while creating the universe. This is because in these two cases man, in spite of his having sufficient intelligence and reasoning power, will fail to unveil the secrets of nature, because in almost every phenomenon of nature that he will decide to study he will ultimately find that there always remains an unknown factor, for which he will have no explanation. For him the book of nature will thus remain closed for ever. But if it were God's purpose that man be master of His creation, then it is quite natural for Him that He would try to keep the book of nature as much open to him as possible, so that with the little intelligence he has been endowed with man will be able to decipher the language of nature, and with that acquired knowledge he will also be able to improve the material conditions of his life. In that case God will try to adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal from His creation. He will create the universe in such a way that without His intervention the created world will be able to unfold itself. However that does not mean that He will never intervene. He will definitely intervene when without His intervention the created world would become stagnant. In such a scenario man will be able to give an explanation of almost all physical events in scientific language. But in those cases where God has actually intervened, he will fail to do so.
So I think there is no reason for us to be ashamed of the "God of the gaps" hypothesis. Yes, if God has created the universe, and if God’s purpose was that man be master of His creation, then He would try to keep as little gap in His creation as possible. But the minimum gap that would be ultimately left can never be bridged by any sort of scientific explanation. God will also reside in that gap. Why should we be ashamed of that?
Therefore, I can conclude this article in this way: If God created this universe, and if God wanted man to be the master of His creation, then God would willingly choose to be the “God of the gaps”.
So it is quite logical that a God who will create man with some purpose will always prefer to be the God of the gaps.

WCG said...

Heh, heh. Anonymous, that's a perfect example of the flights of fancy which occur when you use "logic" without basing it in evidence.

Keep in mind that there's no evidence whatsoever for either of your two postulates. Ordinarily, when you begin a logical argument like that, it's to demonstrate that your postulates can't possibly be true. But no, you never actually address that.

And if you don't understand why you should be ashamed of the "God of the gaps" thinking, well, you don't understand very much, then. It seems that your god is a giant Cheshire Cat. Whenever we think we see him, we look closer and find out that it was just an illusion.

And it's always this way. We never once find anything but our own mistaken assumptions about "God." Every gap which scientists close shows no sign of a god at all. And yet,... you still believe. Despite a complete lack of evidence, you still believe what you really, really want to believe.

Well, if your god wants to remain hidden, who are we to object? If he doesn't want us believing in him, I'm happy to oblige. Apparently, we atheists are following God's will better than you believers are, huh?