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Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?

Posted by Dick 
Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 07, 2015 11:13PM
I'm not talking about "all this" as in all this mess on the SelectSmart discussion boards." I'm talking about "all this" as in everything. Here are three possibilities:

Either the universe (read: all that is with the exception of a creator of the universe should a creator of the universe exist) has always existed or was created from absolute nothingness or popped into being from absolute nothingness.

But if the universe was created then the creator of the universe itself either has always existed or was created from absolute nothingness or popped into being from absolute nothingness.

Unless you somehow can live with an infinite regress (i.e., this was created by that which in turn was created by that which was created in its turn by that . . . turtles all the way down, etc.) then either things have always existed or they popped into being from nothingness.

Dismissing infinite regresses leaves us with two remaining possibilities, then: either the universe or god has always existed or popped into being from absolute nothingness.

But if God has always existed then you admit the proposition that something can have always existed, right? And if you admit the proposition that something can have always existed, why then cannot that something be the universe in some pre-Big Bang form?

[Big Bang theory is not a way out of this conundrum. The Big Bang doesn't say nothing existed prior or before or on the other side of the Big Bang. It merely says that all that exists now, as far as we know, was contained in a singularity at the beginning of the Big Bang. IOW, what is here now, was here then even if it was in an unbelievably teeny tiny massive state. The Big Bang really only says that today's physics cannot describe what the universe was like before it began to expand at the Big Bang. It doesn't say that it was nonexistent before that point.]

Same goes for the other possibility. If you admit that something can pop into existence from absolute nothingness then why cannot the pre-Big Bang version of the universe have popped into existence from nothingness?

Either way you go, to say that God exists eternally or that God popped into existence from nothingness, you're adding what seems to be an unnecessary hypothesis to that which we are attempting to explain. Adding unnecessary hypotheses to theories is never a good thing. So after eliminating the unnecessary hypothesis we're left with either the universe, at some point, popped into existence from absolute nothingess or that the universe, in some form, has always existed.

At present it seems extremely unlikely that we will ever determine which of these two remaining hypotheses is correct, so it more or less comes down to personal preference.

Personally, I find it very difficult to dismiss the old metaphysical adage that "from nothing, nothing comes." As a result, I prefer the notion that the universe has always existed in some form or other. This means that "absolute nothingness" has never been the state of reality and for some reason, or I suppose actually for no reason, can never be.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 07, 2015 11:25PM
Not sure why you invoke personal preference.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 07, 2015 11:45PM
You can ignore that part if you want since it's not a part of the informal argument I'm making here; an argument which concludes btw with the proposition that God is an unnecessary assumption in "How did we get here?" theories.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 07, 2015 11:50PM
That was a very nicely written post Dick, although I remain confused as to how your observation is supposed to support your argument.

Of course you are right that the universe itself, or the universe+god, must either have always existed or popped into existence from nothing.

You go on to present the notion of something always having existed as being an idea that is holding people back from an atheistic viewpoint. I don't see the connection. I have never met a religious or non-atheist person who cited this basic conundrum as a influencing factor in their beliefs.

People believe in a purposeful universe because they see the nature of their existence as purposeful.

The basic problem all human beings have - be they atheistic, theistic or agnostic - with the mutual incomprehensibility of both the infinite and the finite (when it comes to space and time) has nothing to do with people's belief system. It is, I believe, a fundamental limitation of the human mind.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/07/2015 11:53PM by TheThorn.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 12:05AM
TheThorn wrote: You go on to present the notion of something always having existed as being an idea that is holding people back from an atheistic viewpoint. I don't see the connection. I have never met a religious or non-atheist person who cited this basic conundrum as a influencing factor in their beliefs. 

I might not understand your point here, thorn. Are you saying that the question "Was the universe created?" is not to your knowledge an important one in theological or philosophy of religion discussions or are you raising some other point?
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 12:18AM
Quote
Dick
TheThorn wrote: You go on to present the notion of something always having existed as being an idea that is holding people back from an atheistic viewpoint. I don't see the connection. I have never met a religious or non-atheist person who cited this basic conundrum as a influencing factor in their beliefs. 

I might not understand your point here, thorn. Are you saying that the question "Was the universe created?" is not to your knowledge an important one in theological or philosophy of religion discussions or are you raising some other point?

No, I'm not saying that... my post was only eight sentences long, would it have been that hard to just read it?

I'm saying that I don't see how the idea that the universe started at some point particularly supports either a theistic or atheistic view point, or how the idea that the universe has always been there particularly supports either a theistic or an atheistic view point.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 01:01AM
I believe that there has always been something. I don't believe that the Big Bang started from nothing and no time. There was something before the Big Bang. There was always something.

.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 01:15AM
Pondy's right - there cannot be nothing. The key is in your basic sea shell - the golden mean. There was nothing but a point in space/time. That pushed out to form a golden mean. From there all it took was billions (trillions?) of years of big bang, evolution, etc...

Then someone (smiling smiley) came and terraformed us.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 02:23AM
Quote
Ponderer
I believe that there has always been something. I don't believe that the Big Bang started from nothing and no time. There was something before the Big Bang. There was always something.

I don't know if 'belief' is the right word to use here since there's no evidence to substantiate that position, but I think I know how you feel. I feel the same way. It's more of a feeling that if there were ever a point at which absolutely nothing existed then how could it be that anything ever began?

At the same time, what does it mean to say that everything has always existed? Why is there something instead of nothing? Why can't we wrap our minds around this question?
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 02:44AM
TheThorn wrote: No, I'm not saying that... my post was only eight sentences long, would it have been that hard to just read it? 

I'm saying that I don't see how the idea that the universe started at some point particularly supports either a theistic or atheistic view point, or how the idea that the universe has always been there particularly supports either a theistic or an atheistic view point.


Are you really so stupid as to believe I didn't read your miniscule post? Don't you think it's more likely that it was unclear to me what you were trying to convey by it? I mean, isn't the fact that I began my reply to you by writing, "l might not understand your point here" kind of a clue that I might not have understood your point???

The only thing I know for certain is that you didn't read the OP, because had you, you would already know why I think both arguments for "how things began" support the atheist position and you would have had no need to ask your question in the first place.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 02:57AM
Discounting the 20% chance we're all sims of course. In which case - there would be a "god" - the programmer.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 05:20AM
.



There

Has

Always

Been

Now.




.

.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 06:55AM
.




Lucy


is


everywhere.






.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 11:52AM
The basic problem all human beings have - be they atheistic, theistic or agnostic - with the mutual incomprehensibility of both the infinite and the finite (when it comes to space and time) has nothing to do with people's belief system. It is, I believe, a fundamental limitation of the human mind. - Thorn

Bingo. That's why we can't wrap our heads around it, Dick. We just can't. We have all kinds of limitations.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 12:34PM
Quote
Dick
TheThorn wrote: No, I'm not saying that... my post was only eight sentences long, would it have been that hard to just read it? 

I'm saying that I don't see how the idea that the universe started at some point particularly supports either a theistic or atheistic view point, or how the idea that the universe has always been there particularly supports either a theistic or an atheistic view point.


Are you really so stupid as to believe I didn't read your miniscule post? Don't you think it's more likely that it was unclear to me what you were trying to convey by it? I mean, isn't the fact that I began my reply to you by writing, "l might not understand your point here" kind of a clue that I might not have understood your point???

You took a guess at what I was saying that bore absolutely no resemblance to what I had said. That doesn't happen when people actually read posts.

Quote

The only thing I know for certain is that you didn't read the OP, because had you, you would already know why I think both arguments for "how things began" support the atheist position and you would have had no need to ask your question in the first place.

I did read every word of your post, my response to it was in sequence with it, and that would have been impossible had I not read it.

I read that you believe both positions support the atheist position, what I was saying that I did not see that you had made an argument as to why.

You concluded that without making any argument to support it, that was my point.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 05:44PM
Guess you either didn't read this or didn't understand it: "Either way you go, to say that God exists eternally or that God popped into existence from nothingness, you're adding what seems to be an unnecessary hypothesis to that which we are attempting to explain."

The question is "How did the universe get here?" To posit the answer, "God created it . . . er, somehow" in no way answers the question "HOW did the universe get here?" Why should anyone be satisfied with such a trivial answer as "Somehow or other, God created it"? It's no good to say that God magically created the universe. No one believes in magic. If you're going to say that you don't know how God created it, then you may as well admit that you do not know how the universe began and drop the unnecessary God hypothesis altogether.

And oh btw, by positing the vague and unhelpful answer "God created it . . . er, somehow" you also now have the mystery of God's origin to deal with . . . that is, after you establish that such an entity exists or existed in the first place. . . IOW, has God always existed or did God pop into existence from nothingness or was he himself created by some previously existing God or Gods?
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 06:01PM
Quote
Dick
Guess you either didn't read this or didn't understand it: "Either way you go, to say that God exists eternally or that God popped into existence from nothingness, you're adding what seems to be an unnecessary hypothesis to that which we are attempting to explain."

I read it. I don't see where the argument is in it. Breaking it down, you're saying:

1. Whether or not you believe in God, we face the same problem that the universe/God either must always have been there, or have popped out of nothing.

2. Therefore you should not believe in God.

It's non sequitur.

Quote

The question is "How did the universe get here?" To posit the answer, "God created it . . . er, somehow" in no way answers the question "HOW did the universe get here?" Why should anyone be satisfied with such a trivial answer as "Somehow or other, God created it"? It's no good to say that God magically created the universe. No one believes in magic. If you're going to say that you don't know how God created it, then you may as well admit that you do not know how the universe began and drop the unnecessary God hypothesis altogether.

Admitting that you don't know the nature of the universe is an agnostic approach.

Atheism is replacing one hypothesis "the universe has a purpose" with another "the universe has no purpose".

What is it with the blind spot atheists seem to have, whereby they fail to see that that are asserting a positive hypothesis.

Quote

And oh btw, by positing the vague and unhelpful answer "God created it . . . er, somehow" you also now have the mystery of God's origin to deal with . . . that is, after you establish that such an entity exists or existed in the first place. . . IOW, has God always existed or did God pop into existence from nothingness or was he himself created by some previously existing God or Gods?

So we are back where we started. Whether you are a theist, atheist or agnostic - we cannot fully comprehend space and time. Why does this favour an atheistic position?
Sam
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 07:04PM
"Therefore you should not believe in God." Yes, because K.I.S.S.


Nothingness = Energy plus potential = singularity. The potential for something to happen always exists. That's not a hard thing to wrap my head around. Add the factor of (unlimited) time (going backward in time forever is as easy to imagine as going forward in time forever) and something coming from "nothing" must eventually happen because the potential was always there. And it did. With a big bang.

This is obviously an amateurish view but it's how it makes sense to me.
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 07:50PM
Quote
Sam
"Therefore you should not believe in God." Yes, because K.I.S.S.


Nothingness = Energy plus potential = singularity. The potential for something to happen always exists. That's not a hard thing to wrap my head around. Add the factor of (unlimited) time (going backward in time forever is as easy to imagine as going forward in time forever) and something coming from "nothing" must eventually happen because the potential was always there. And it did. With a big bang.

And what makes one hypothesis more of less simple than the other? Neither Dick's original observation, or your subsequent argument seem to favour one or the other.
Sam
Re: Anybody want to talk about how all this got here?
February 08, 2015 07:58PM
"God" is an unnecessary explanation for anything therefore the simpler and more likely explanation need not include it all other factors being equal. Otherwise, it's like saying here's the recipe for a cake and then here's another one for the same cake with identical ingredients and instructions except we will sprinkle invisible magic dust on this one and then say that's why it tastes better. Nonsense.
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