# Confession: Yes, FtB has been stacking the place with diversity

From the very beginning. Intentionally. It was my very first demand when Ed Brayton proposed building this network: that we make a special effort to bring in good bloggers who weren’t old white dudes like us. That wasn’t a handicap at all, because there is no dearth of diverse godless authors with all kinds of backgrounds, so we just had to pick the cream of the crop from a wide pool. So like Jason says, not one of us is a token.

It does create some amusing situations, though: like where this network is accused of being a hivemind and an echo chamber — sometimes simultaneously with being accused of making affirmative action hires. Yeah, ’cause Greta and Mano and Ian and Maryam and Sikivu are just talentless hacks we brought in to fill a quota, rather than great writers we were thrilled to bring on board (and we were also thrilled to get the other old white dudes, too, every one of them). One virtue of all that is that whenever someone accuses us of being an “echo chamber” I can roll my eyes and immediately recognize that I’m dealing with a moron.

Jason explains why we’re doing this at length, but I have a shorter answer, a single phrase that is appropriate for a militant atheist: combined arms. I pushed for people who aren’t like me on this network because I am fully aware of the obvious weakness of stacking our army with nothing but artillery: we need infantry and armor and sappers and engineers and cooks and air force and gunboats and communications experts and spies. We aim to conquer, you know.

We’re currently planning to slow down and consolidate the network for the near future (although there will be a few additions coming up soon), but we’re always on the lookout for new members to complement the ones we’ve got: if you know of a good godless blog that provides a different point of view and also has a record of sustained excellent writing, feel free to let us know. We may assimilate them someday.

1. 'Tis Himself, OM says

Pharyngula is the token popular blog.

2. Crudely Wrott says

As someone who grew up during the civil rights movement and as a child watched the fire hoses and dogs and batons that were suffered to make a better future for every one with even a wisp of conscience to appreciate what humanity has accomplished during the last several decades, >inhale< I appreciate the way you think, Professor.

And you, along with all the bloggers and commenters here, have my appreciation and admiration.

Together we are a strong force. Way to go, PZ. (need a thumbs-up emoticon)

The road stretches out before us . . .

3. freelunch says

I guess you would have to add a token bigot to add diversity.

4. janine says

Freelunch, I know you are joking but if you want to see what that is like, go to ERV.

Not so funny now, is it?

5. says

Diversity FTW! Can we have a token gay atheist man next? Someone like Brandon Thorp? (I’m not sure if he is an atheist or not, but he is the one who exposed George Rekers and he has worked with James Randi.)

6. janine says

Joe.My.God. is a gay white middle aged atheist that I would love to see here but it seems that he is doing quite well on his own.

That said, it is good to see a couple of write middle straight men, PZ and Ed, back their rhetoric with action. Some of the bloggers I already knew and followed. Some I started reading, if not commenting on, because they are here. It is great to be able to easily see just how many ways there are of people escaping and lifing a live with out a godist dogma.

7. Sastra says

I pushed for people who aren’t like me on this network because I am fully aware of the obvious weakness of stacking our army with nothing but artillery: we need infantry and armor and sappers and engineers and cooks and air force and gunboats and communications experts and spies. We aim to conquer, you know.

Well, okay … but there’s bound to be a full-scale battle now for the role of Freethought Blogs “cook.”

Plus, “spy” sounds interesting.

As for suggestions, I’ll bring up Nimukta — “Promoting Science, Freethought, and Secular Humanism in India.” The problems with Hinduism — especially with its rampant religion-based pseudoscience — are often neglected by atheists — and the arguments can often do double-duty against New Age claptrap. Besides, they’ve got Meera Nanda.

8. dogfightwithdogma says

“We may assimilate them someday.” (HELP! I can’t figure out this damn blockquote system.)

“Resistance is futile. You will be assimiliated.” – Borg

I have ended all resistance to the musings of the great and mighty leader of Pharyngula. I have joyfully and willingly become assimiliated. I urge all others to do likewise.

But on the topic at hand, diversity is wonderful. I love all the bloggers at FtB. Let’s diversify more. Let’s do a lot more assimilating. I am all in with PZ on this. I love old white dudes (being one myself). But loving the same over and over and over again get’s pretty damn monotonous. In fact, without diversity dogma sets in and if you ain’t figured it out from my moniker, I get pretty damn testy and snarly about dogma.

9. Reginald Selkirk says

Oh sure, you’ve hired for diversity in gender, sex and color… but where are the Creationist atheists? Not even one?

10. mutantdragon says

You could see if Jerry Coyne of Why Evolution is True would be willing to join. You never know.

11. slc1 says

Jason Rosenhouse over at the Scienceblogs evolution blog. Although he is a mathematician by trade, he often writes about religion.

12. roddg says

I’d like to see Eric MacDonald’s “Choice in Dying” over here.

13. says

Oh, and why not give Christina from WWJTD her own blog here?

14. ChasCPeterson says

the role of Freethought Blogs “cook.”

Jerry Coyne

you’d have to rename it Freethought Websites first.

15. 'Tis Himself, OM says

No. I have no interest in either burn-your-mouth food nor the New York Yankees.

16. Moggie says

Richard Carrier today had a post about Tai Solarin, a prominent Nigerian atheist – and mentioned that atheist groups are on the rise across Africa. I’ve bookmarked Freethought Kampala. Given how often we see depressing or alarming stories about the influence of religion on the continent, I think it would be good to get someone from (say) Uganda on board. (You already have someone who writes lucidly on the Congo, so the DRC is covered).

17. Moggie says

Oh, and why not give Christina from WWJTD her own blog here?

But they’re so cute together!

18. slc1 says

I would personally like to see Mr. Brayton talk his best commenter, Michael Heath, into starting a blog in this community, although, as a middle aged white guy, he doesn’t add any diversity. He does add a perspective of being a former born again Christian who, like Mr. Brayton and a couple of the other bloggers has found atheism. He also runs a business (he is a developer in Michigan) which adds the prospective of an independent business man to the mix.

19. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

Don’t you realize that by embracing diversity, you’re excluding bigots?? How can you be so hypocritical!

20. says

He also runs a business (he is a developer in Michigan) which adds the prospective of an independent business man to the mix.

Ah yes the white middle aged successful man. There’s someone that desperately is under represented.

21. says

To me, the weirdest bit about the current controversy over “tokens” involved Natalie Reed. She not only presents a different angle on things, but she’s also one of the best writers on this site, period. I guess that would have been diversity too, a good writer to balance out the clumsy and overly pedantic prose that Loftus produced, but we don’t have that problem anymore… do we?

22. anchor says

“…this network is accused of being a hivemind and an echo chamber.”???

I’m aghast.

How DARE they accuse this network of being a hivemind and an echo chamber!

I would strongly dispute any accusation of this network being a hivemind and an echo chamber.

I don’t see any evidence at all for any hivemind behavior or echo chamber echo chambery.

23. says

@anchor: And then 25 people chime in to agree, which disproves you?

The reality is that “this network” is a place of generally shared values, if not shared opinions. There are disagreements, but they happen either where people of good faith honestly see things from different perspectives, or where lousy people show up to try to spread their hate and fear and evil among those people of good faith.

24. speedweasel says

How’d the ‘communications experts’ work out last time around?

Oh, that’s right. Never mind…

25. Azkyroth says

Yeah, really. I’ve seen actual hive minds and echo chambers and FtB doesn’t make the cut.

26. anchor says

@23 Improbable Joe says: “And then 25 people chime in to agree, which disproves you?”

Huh? Disproves WHAT? What the fuck are you talking about? 25 people who haven’t chimed in, or a disproof of a non-existent claim?

Reading something extra into it again, hmmm?

You know? I think that might just be even lousier than when “lousy people show up to try to spread their hate and fear and evil among those PEOPLE OF GOOD FAITH”. Or when they bug “PEOPLE OF GOOD FAITH [who] honestly see things from different perspectives…”

DANG! There goes that echoshit again. Say, you’re a severely serious fellow, aren’t you? Well, relax. Nothing in it any more serious than a hiccup. Hiccup.

27. says

Is anchor doing dadaist poetry? Can I give a try?

28. Brownian says

I’ve seen actual hive minds and echo chambers and FtB doesn’t make the cut.

Yes, they are nothing like this consortium of individual workers.

[Engorges self with nectar and then scurries to the King’s Chamber to tend to Ed Brayton‘s eggs.]

29. says

I prefer to think of us less like bees and more like Gelth.

30. scifi says

I find it ironic that PZ Meyers is on a ‘freethoughtblog’ because the only thoughts he is interested in are those that match his own. If they don’t then he calls the person with a differing thought an idiot and blows them off his site even though he cannot prove his belief.

31. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

I find it ironic that PZ Meyers is on a ‘freethoughtblog’ because the only thoughts he is interested in are those that match his own. If they don’t then he calls the person with a differing thought an idiot and blows them off his site even though he cannot prove his belief.

I think you’re confusing “freethought” with “uncritically putting up with bullshit, and only disagreeing in the gentlest of tones.” I’m not sure how you made that mistake; the two are basically opposites.

32. says

Yes the dungeon is just SO full.

33. says

I find it ironic that PZ Meyers is on a ‘freethoughtblog’ because the only thoughts he is interested in are those that match his own. If they don’t then he calls the person with a differing thought an idiot and blows them off his site even though he cannot prove his belief.

No, what’s ironic is that people who subscribe to a religion that explicitly, and repeatedly, refers to its followers as “sheep” would come here and castigate us for being a “hivemind.”
Fucking herd animals.

34. Brownian says

I find it ironic that

…this is exactly how almost every dolt begins the hive-mind complaint.

I’d suspect sockpuppetry if I weren’t already aware of just how many people in the world consider themselves the only conscious human in a world of sheep.

35. scifi says

Casandra,
Let me give you an example. In Paul Davies book, he states that there are two views. The Theist states that the there are so many required finely tuned parameters that life of any kind could not exist. For example, if gravity was 1 millionth of a percent stronger, the big bang would have collapsed on itself. If 1 millionth of a percent weaker, then no planets or stars could form, only dust. I.E., no life of any kind could exist. The Theist suggests that this would make a creator necessary. The physicist counters that an infinity of universes would handle this problem in that a few of them would have all the required parameters for life to exist. The problem with this is that there is no proof whatsoever of multiple universes and that this actually would add to complexity more than a creator would. Yet PZ Meyers thinks this is idiotic even though he has no proof how our universe started and managed to have all the extremely fine tuned parameters required for life. And no, the person he blew off his site was not abusive, but very polite. And your comment that it was because of bullshit is off base. That is only in the mind of PZ. Free thought is supposed to entertain differing views.

36. scifi says

freeboy12

“No, what’s ironic is that people who subscribe to a religion that explicitly, and repeatedly, refers to its followers as “sheep” would come here and castigate us for being a “hivemind.”
Fucking herd animals.”

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I am an agnostic first, in that I admit that I have no proof, but I can reason why a creator could be in the cards. The same is true about the declaration that multiple universes is the answer. Again, no proof, but there seems to be a double standard here in that it is OK to speculate on a natural means of this happening, but not OK for a speculation for a creator. So, I ask you, where is the ‘free thought’? One more thing, I feel that all religions are man-made and do not subscribe to any of them.

37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

The problem with this is that there is no proof whatsoever of multiple universes and that this actually would add to complexity more than a creator would.

Citation needed. Personally any creator adds a billion fold complexity compared to the multiverse adding only a little. After all, the answer to how the creator was created must absolutely be considered…Let the bullshit begin…

38. says

There are two views One is the theist one that If things were different things would be different!

39. says

The Theist states that the there are so many required finely tuned parameters that life of any kind could not exist.

Yet PZ Meyers thinks this is idiotic even though he has no proof how our universe started and managed to have all the extremely fine tuned parameters required for life.

First of all, do you have any reason to believe those “parameters” can actually be different than what they are? And has it occurred to you that, rather than a bunch of different parameters all needing to be right, that those parameters are interrelated, affect each other, and you can’t change one without changing others? And that maybe life evolved, and tuned itself to the parameters rather than vice-versa?

And no, the person he blew off his site was not abusive, but very polite.

“The person?” Are you shitting me? That’s not even an anecdote. If you have a specific example, use a name. Otherwise, it’s sheer asswipery, and nobody really feels like watching.

40. Azkyroth says

I find it ironic that PZ Meyers is on a ‘freethoughtblog’ because the only thoughts he is interested in are those that match his own. If they don’t then he calls the person with a differing thought an idiot and blows them off his site even though he cannot prove his belief.

PZ does have a handful of facepalm-inducing blindspots, but for the most part he is quite willing to engage with thoughts that don’t match his own.

It’s hardly his fault your regurgitations don’t meet that standard.

41. Brownian says

The problem with this is that there is no proof whatsoever of multiple universes and that this actually would add to complexity more than a creator would.

No.

We’ve already got one universe that we know of. Whatever process spawned it could easily have spawned others. There’s not much complexity added by multiverses.

A creator (and the creator’s creator, and the creator’s creator’s creator ad nauseum) adds a whole host of complications (first and foremost, how does this creator manipulate/affect the universe?)

At least with multiverses, we can look at what is an posit more of the same, albeit with different parameters.

But there is absolutely no pre-existing model for a creator. You’ve conjured up a being (is it a being?) with indescribable powers ex nihilo, and claimed it’s ‘simpler’ because it suits you to do so.

42. Azkyroth says

For example, if gravity was 1 millionth of a percent stronger, the big bang would have collapsed on itself. If 1 millionth of a percent weaker, then no planets or stars could form, only dust. I.E., no life of any kind could exist.

Citation fucking needed Bull.

Fucking.

Shit.

How could that possibly be calculated? Our measurements of the gravitational constant itself are only certain to about 1 part in 8,300, for fuck’s sake! (Source) Even on the off chance it was true (which, frankly, is implausible), there’s no way we could know.

Would it really kill you to exercise a teensy tiny bit of skepticism?

Also, why do you claim to be an agnostic if you find these “MUST be a creator” arguments so persuasive?

Maybe you apologists should stick to

Fucking herd animals.

43. Brownian says

but I can reason why a creator could be in the cards.

Please do so without invoking gaps in secular cosmological theories.

44. Azkyroth says

…oh, uh, 1 millionth of 1 percent is 1 part in 10^8.

…uh, 1 part in 100 millio…

Uh…it’s, like a really big number, d00d!

45. Azkyroth says

So, I ask you, where is the ‘free thought’?

46. Brownian says

Please do so without invoking gaps in secular cosmological theories.

The reason I stipulate this is because I’m absolutely uninterested in hearing more “Well, science doesn’t have all the answers, so why can’t it be Jesus?”-type whining (and I don’t give a flying fuck whether or not Jesus is your favourite flavour of goddidit or some other deity is.)

What I am interested in is hearing whether or not you’ve got a cogent concept of a deity that has the power of creating universes before I allow you to declare that your conception is on par with multiverse theory.

47. scifi:

The Theist states that the there are so many required finely tuned parameters that life of any kind could not exist.

And the realist would say, “Nobody fucking knows what ‘finely tuned’ really means.” Sure, you can vary one parameter slightly, and things would be different. But the truth is, you have many different parameters, that, should they all vary, end up with many different possible interesting universes. The whole “finely tuned” argument is just another argument from ignorance.

Vary all the parameters, and it appears that there are many variations that result in interesting universes. They all wouldn’t look like ours, but some of them would be far more hospitable to life. So don’t give me your “fine-tuned” fuckatude. It just doesn’t work.

“Fine-tuned” is an argument for folks who wish for an argument for God, but can’t find a decent one.

48. scifi:

. So, I ask you, where is the ‘free thought’?

It’s somewhere between accepting everything you’re told, and thinking you’re a brain in a jar.

Which you apparently are. Pickled.

49. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

scifi, your long post has no relevance to what I said aside from demonstrating its correctness – you’re confusing “freethought” with “letting bullshit arguments slide.” It’s not our fault you have been suckered, and it’s not a demonstration of “freethought” to have no intellectual rigor or standards. I never said your mystery commenter (name names, fuckwit) wasn’t polite, and I wouldn’t give a fraction of a fuck if xe was. And you spelled both my nym and PZ’s name wrong.

50. Brownian says

One more thing, I feel that all religions are man-made and do not subscribe to any of them.

Oh, jeez. Religion is true spirituality corrupted by man, is it?

I hate to break it to you (I’ll bet you’re between 16 and 26 and think you’re the first one to come up with this), but belief in a deity is religion, no matter how strongly you wish to believe that your conceptions are different. In fact, your brand of agnosticism is pretty common, and that’s meant as no insult to you. I can tell you that there are others here (myself included), who thought much that way themselves.

The harshest critics of poorly thought out ideas are often those who once held those ideas themselves.

51. Brownian:

The harshest critics of poorly thought out ideas are often those who once held those ideas themselves.

I remember back in the heyday of usenet, I used to think I had this brilliant idea of how quantum mechanics (specifically, uncertainty + entanglement + pygmies) could lead to free will.

Yeah. I used to be that kid.

Strange what a little aging can do. Like fine cheese, I just get sharper, drier, and far less reliable.

52. Brownian says

Yeah. I used to be that kid.

Um, I think we all did.

Like fine cheese, I just get sharper, drier, and far less reliable.

S’funny: when I think of those adverbs I don’t think of cheese.

I think of bowel movements.

53. Ichthyic says

I think of bowel movements.

sharper??

ouchie.

Guess I picked the wrong week to stop eating broken glass?

54. says

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I am an agnostic first, in that I admit that I have no proof, but I can reason why a creator could be in the cards. The same is true about the declaration that multiple universes is the answer.

Okay, so you’re not really a “fucking herd animal.” But you do seem to be plodding up a well-worn trail, imagining yourself to be breaking new ground. Warning: when you arrive at your secret watering hole, you’ll find a veritable zoo already drinking there.
I suppose I could “reason,” or at least find reasons, why a creator could be in the cards, but it really requires some serious ad hoc assumptions to make any sense–and I’ll never understand how people fail to realize what a leap is involved in the creator scenario. Why think there is some kind of conscious being involved, and why assume that the universe comports itself to any sort of analogy with anything we understand? That’s just grabbing easy, comfortable models from our own narrow, constrained existence, that so far have mostly turned out to be useless in understanding how the universe works in areas outside our direct experience.
The multiverse scenario, on the other hand, starts with observations that indicate our universe began in some almost unimaginably small, super-dense state and expanded; add to that observations that this universe has natural processes going on that create small, super-dense objects, and maybe it’s not such a stretch to make a connection there. No proof, but it’s an idea with at least some relation to actual observations.
Seriously, a lot of us have been where you seem to be. And we all thought, I’m sure, that we were boldly going where no man had gone before.
Ever notice how, when Kirk and Spock actually beamed down to a planet, they always found people there already?

55. scifi says

“Personally any creator adds a billion fold complexity compared to the multiverse adding only a little. ”

Not according to Paul Davies. He states that it is the other way around, i.e., an infinity of multiple universes with every possible combination of parameters, in reality, adds more complexity than a creator.

56. Ichthyic says

I can reason why a creator could be in the cards

If I thought, in any way, that you would provide something novel to laugh at, I’d certainly encourage you to show your work on that one.

I can reason why you would instead bore me to tears, though.

57. Brownian says

sharper??

I’m not big on chewing. This has led to…problems.

Guess I picked the wrong week to stop eating broken glass?

Yes, you probably did, Lloyd.

58. scifi:

Not according to Paul Davies. He states that it is the other way around, i.e., an infinity of multiple universes with every possible combination of parameters, in reality, adds more complexity than a creator.

And Paul Davies is wrong. A creator adds at least on othervdimension to something we already knows exist, whereas multiple universes is merely an extension of what we already know exists. Whether or not it’s a logical extension is irrelevant. It doesn’t require adding anything new, whereas a creator adds at least one new attribute (two, as I see it).

Therefore, a creator adds far more complexity than multiple universes. (Especially because we have at least three different plausible mechanisms for multiple universes, and no plausible mechanisms for a creator.)

59. Ichthyic says

Not according to Paul Davies. He states that it is the other way around, i.e., an infinity of multiple universes with every possible combination of parameters, in reality, adds more complexity than a creator.

I await with baited breath the source of this.

do recall that Davies has received grants from the Templeton Foundation.

there’s a reason for that.

60. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

Not according to Paul Davies. He states that it is the other way around, i.e., an infinity of multiple universes with every possible combination of parameters, in reality, adds more complexity than a creator.

Excellent rebuttal! Or I imagine it would be, if you’d actually written a rebuttal instead of a bare assertion backed by an appeal to authority.

61. says

Wait wait wait wait wait wait.

Not according to Paul Davies.

And you honestly use that as the basis of your ‘there’s no freethought here you sheeple!’?

FFS when you idiots come in whining about sheeple don’t start out with an argument from authority

Not according to Paul Davies. He states that it is the other way around,

Paul Davies clearly suffers from a lack of imagination and/or knowledge.

62. says

Hey everyone, this guy I like says you should stop listening to authority figures like mindless sheep!

63. scifi says

feralboy12,
“First of all, do you have any reason to believe those “parameters” can actually be different than what they are? And has it occurred to you that, rather than a bunch of different parameters all needing to be right, that those parameters are interrelated, affect each other, and you can’t change one without changing others? And that maybe life evolved, and tuned itself to the parameters rather than vice-versa?”

What you say is all well and good, but you are, just like me, speculating. Where’s your proof. Check out the Anthropic Principle. Physicists have stated that these parameters are all required for life of any kind to exist. And they don’t appear to be interrelated. Even Kenneth R. Miller, a really good evolutionist who was a witness at the Dover, PA trials against the school board attempting to teach creationist as an alternative to evolution in the science class, stated in his book, Finding Darwin’s God, that the Anthropic Principle provides a good argument for a creator and he equates the multiple universe argument to organic natural selection, which he does not buy.

64. Ing:

And you honestly use that as the basis of your ‘there’s no freethought here you sheeple!’?

Well, you have to admit that thought is a lot free-er if actual thought isn’t a pre-requisite.

65. says

Even Kenneth R. Miller, a really good evolutionist who was a witness at the Dover, PA trials against the school board attempting to teach creationist as an alternative to evolution in the science class, stated in his book, Finding Darwin’s God, that the Anthropic Principle provides a good argument for a creator and he equates the multiple universe argument to organic natural selection, which he does not buy.

You fucking idiot.

You know what. What has Miller done that makes him a good evolutionist? Do you know it at all? DO you know anything form his work or is THAt the only fucking thing you bothered to look up?

66. says

Scifi you have one post to give an original thought or actual citation to hard data rather than an appeal to authority or I will personally eat a kitten live…tail first.

67. says

I also demand you change your nyme from scifi into something more fitting like syfi

68. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Not according to Paul Davies.

You fail to show why I should be believe a word Paul Davies (or you) says? Evidence that he has a point…Or any real evidence to back up your lack of point…All I see is bald assertions…

69. Ichthyic says

Check out the Anthropic Principle.

ROFLMAO

yes, LET’S DO.

I am BEGGING your pardon, but I have to say you don’t understand THE QUESTION.

to put it another way:

I think you are chasing your own tail…

70. Azkyroth says

Not according to Paul Davies. He states that it is the other way around, i.e., an infinity of multiple universes with every possible combination of parameters, in reality, adds more complexity than a creator.

Paul Davies has already asserted that our universe would be impossible if gravity differed from its actual value by an amount <which is 1000 times smaller than the precision with which we know the actual value. I explained, at least summarily, why that assertion cannot even in principle be supported with our level of knowledge – because the calculations to establish it cannot be done with our level of knowledge.

It should be pretty obvious that he’s just throwing big numbers and bold assertions around to impress stupid people. Even to the sort of stupid person who’s impressed by big numbers and bold assertions in the first place. He is either telling a lie, mindlessly repeating a lie, or knowingly repeating a lie (which is the same as telling one).

Anyway, aside from being scientifically illiterate, possibly innumerate, and dishonest, what traits does Paul Davies have that should cause us to give a flying fuck what he says?

71. scifi:

Even Kenneth R. Miller…

Who is also a very strong Christian.

sigh

At least bring up someone like Hawking when discussing the anthropic principle. At least then you’ll have both an atheist and a physicist on your side of the argument.

But then I reckon you’d have to be acquainted with Hawking’s take on the anthropic principle, and not just the opinion of some God-did-it Christian.

72. says

Also how does one jump from Paul Davies to Ken Miller as equal citations of authority other than “they both say what I want to hear?”

According to Noble Laureate(s) aliens communicate with humans in the form of glowing raccoons

73. Azkyroth says

Check out the Anthropic Principle

Please state the anthropic principle as you understand it.

74. scifi says

Feralboy12,
“But you do seem to be plodding up a well-worn trail, imagining yourself to be breaking new ground. ”

I’m sure I’m not, but I think it is worth bringing up because neither the Theist nor the Atheist can prove their sides and these have been brought up in books that are not all that old. All I’m trying to do is point out that atheists can reason how a finely tuned universe came into existence by reasoning, and so can the Theist. I know science has pretty much shot down past gods like the sun god Ra pulling the flaming chariot, but these were gods invented by people who were trying to understand natural occurrences. That said, there is no reason why a creator could not be assumed due to evidence of extremely fine tuned parameters that would be difficult if not impossible to all fall into place by chance. At the same time, I submit to you that if this creator does exist, it would be so complex and impossible for anyone to figure out what it would be like.

75. Ichthyic says

so scifi comes in here, claiming most here are RWA’s relying on authoritarian arguments….

and then does nothing but provide authoritarian arguments.

the projection! it is blinding me!

76. Ichthyic says

Theist nor the Atheist can prove their sides

false equivalency. Only one side has anything to prove.

Better tie it down with some straps.

77. scifi:

All I’m trying to do is point out that atheists can reason how a finely tuned universe came into existence by reasoning, and so can the Theist.

Right. And one has evidence and logic on their side. The other doesn’t.

Guess which is which.

78. says

Second time I’ve seen RWA. What does that stand for?

“But you do seem to be plodding up a well-worn trail, imagining yourself to be breaking new ground. ”

I’m sure I’m not, but I think it is worth bringing up because neither the Theist nor the Atheist can prove their sides …

FFS your name should be Cliche. You’re not unwelcome because you think different. You’re unwelcome a) because you don’t think you parrot and b) you’re incredibly PAINFULLY boring.

79. Ichthyic says

I know science has pretty much shot down past gods like the sun god Ra pulling the flaming chariot, but these were gods invented by people who were trying to understand natural occurrences.

ROFLMAO.

man, you are so oblivious.

thanks.

Here I was thinking that the trolls today were not going to make me laugh at all.

80. scifi:

At the same time, I submit to you that if this creator does exist, it would be so complex and impossible for anyone to figure out what it would be like.

And can you tell me how finely-tuned that creator must be?

81. says

All I’m trying to do is point out that atheists can reason how a finely tuned universe came into existence by reasoning, and so can the Theist.

Begging the question. Hidden Assertion. False Dichotomy.

82. Ing:

Second time I’ve seen RWA. What does that stand for?

Right-Wing Authoritarian. It’s used in (among other writings) Robert Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians.

83. says

Also what the fuck is the theist position? There is no such thing.

“oh something created the universe we see somehow….maybe intentionally”

No, you’re arguing a CHRISTIAN position, while claiming agnosticism. WTF?

The Hindu theist position =/= even at all the cosmology of the Abrahamic one.

84. Azkyroth says

Scifi, respond to my fucking posts. Your failure to do so is telling.

85. scifi says

“All I see is bald assertions…”

Really? Why do you say that? What about the fact that there are very finally tuned parameters for which the odds of them occurring are extremely minute, if impossible, and without them no life of any kind could exist? Reason alone would allow for the possibility that a creator could be the cause. The other argument for multiple universes cannot be proven and like Davies states, adds more complexity than a creator does.

86. Ichthyic says

You’re unwelcome a) because you don’t think you parrot and b) you’re incredibly PAINFULLY boring.

but it’s just so adorably, laughably, predictable!

it’s nearing fractal wrongness levels, too.

don’t kill it until it’s mature?

87. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

I know science has pretty much shot down past gods like the sun god Ra pulling the flaming chariot, but these were gods invented by people who were trying to understand natural occurrences. That said, there is no reason why a creator could not be assumed due to evidence of extremely fine tuned parameters that would be difficult if not impossible to all fall into place by chance.

How do you know that it would be difficult if not impossible for them to fall into place by chance? You seem to me to be begging the question.

88. says

Nerd “All I see are bald assertions”

Really? Why do you say that? What about the fact that there are very finally tuned parameters for which the odds of them occurring…

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone loose an argument with themselves.

89. scifi:

The other argument for multiple universes cannot be proven and like Davies states, adds more complexity than a creator does.

And as I state, that’s bullshit. I even presented an argument why that’s bullshit, which you have not countered (and neither has Davies).

What have you presented, other than appealing to authority?

90. says

It’s like watching someone try to patch a life boat…with a drill

91. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

What about the fact that there are very finally tuned parameters for which the odds of them occurring are extremely minute, if impossible, and without them no life of any kind could exist?

Assertion. Not a fact. What I have seen is that the numbers can vary quite a bit and still come up with biopolymers. So, show us your work. I think you’ll find that they aren’t that fine tuned…

92. Ichthyic says

Really? Why do you say that?

the argument from authority angle for one.

Normally, I would say something like, “Why should we care what Ken Miller has to say about quantum mechanics? He’s a fucking cell biologist! Tel me what he has to say about the evolution of the golgi complex, and I’m listening.”

well?

93. scifi says

Ichthic,
“Only one side has anything to prove.

Really? The atheists have no evidence for their argument either. Like I said, there are those who think it is OK to insist proof from the Theist’s side, but at the same time they think they are immune to this requirement. Not so.

94. Ichthyic says

I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone loose an argument with themselves.

LOL!

damnit, I need to go wash the dishes.

95. Ichthyic says

The atheists have no evidence for their argument either

you don’t get it.

the atheist position DOESN’T NEED EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT IT.

Do I need to prove to you that purple flying unicorns do not exist?

of course not.

fuck, you’re an idiot.

keep going though, I haven’t laughed this much all week.

96. says

Syfi’s Highschool debate cough: “I must apologize for Syfi. We have trained him wrong. On purpose. As a joke”

97. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

Scifi wrote:

Reason alone would allow for the possibility that a creator could be the cause.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

98. says

wow we’re going to hit a critical Geek Reference level soon. Anyone know what level we’re at now?

99. DLC says

I like the diversity here, it makes for interesting reading.

Re: Scifi and Paul Davies.
I’m confused as to why you think Davies’ version of the so-called privileged planet argument has any novelty, or even any veracity, but I suspect that it is because you are not so well up on your mathematics or physics, and you seem to be somewhat lacking in your philosophy as well.
That said, allow me to say this in counter to Davies : If this or that attribute of the universe were different than it is, it only means that the universe would have formed differently, and that as a result life, if any, would have arose differently, and would have a different form than we know. I could speculate as to how, but it would be an indulgence in sophistry, and I’m not up for that now. I suggest to you that you need further reading.

100. Azkyroth says

What about the fact that there are very finally tuned parameters

Far less than 1 millionth of 1 percent of the volume of the universe consists of spaces life as we know it can inhabit.

That’s some pretty shitty fine-tuning. If an intelligent being created the universe in order to produce life, it’s incompetent and inefficient on a scale even Microsoft can’t aspire to.

So I guess you’re an Idiot Design Theorist?

for which the odds of them occurring are extremely minute,

Calculations supporting this assertion about probability or GTFO

if impossible,

Obviously not, since I’m here, alive, and arguing with an idiot.

and without them no life of any kind could exist?

Support for this assertion?

Reason alone would allow for the possibility that a creator could be the cause.

Reason alone would suggest that time is invariant.

…oh, shit, you know so little about physics you’re impressed by assertions of impossible precision and think the Anthropic Principle means there must have been a designer. Well, um…

The other argument for multiple universes cannot be proven

They can be supported, however.

and like Davies states,

Davies is demonstrably a liar with no relevant expertise; acknowledge this or fuck off.

adds more complexity than a creator does.

Support this assertion.

Arguably, if the universe entails complexity “x”, n universes entail complexity n*x, whereas a creator would probably entail, at minimum, x^2, the creator’s creator would entail x^3…

So we have Sum(x^n) from n=1 to infinity.

Well, shit.

Hint: that’s bigger than n*x.

101. Azkyroth says

Really? The atheists have no evidence for their argument either. Like I said, there are those who think it is OK to insist proof from the Theist’s side, but at the same time they think they are immune to this requirement. Not so.

Yes, dumbass, the same way a person accused of a crime doesn’t have to PROVE he didn’t do it, but the prosecution has to PROVE he did.

102. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

Scifi wrote:

The atheists have no evidence for their argument either.

Here’s a thought, Scifi: instead of telling us what you think the atheist argument is or isn’t, how about you ask us what we think it is, and then respond to that?

Because as it is you’re coming across as very, very stupid.

103. says

I’m going to sleep. I suspect that since he seems to be going through the logical fallacies list as a strategum that I’ll miss the hilitary of mr “YOU STUPID SHEEPLE” bringing up the argument from popularity or tradition.

104. scifi:

The atheists have no evidence for their argument either.
You think there’s an argument. That’s so cute.

There’s no argument, Sweet Pea. There’s an assertion without evidence. That’s not an argument. I could claim there’s a troll in your clothes drier that lives on socks. It’s an invisible troll, so you’ll never see her, but she lives on socks, which is why your socks to missing, or end up with holes in them.

You’d never be able to prove me wrong, now, would you? But there’s hardly an argument, even if it’s undeniable that your socks end up missing.

The same situation applies here. Some folks think there’s something special. But they have nothing for evidence, except feelings or ignorance. And that’s all the fine-tuned argument is: an argument from ignorance.

We have ideas of how a fine-tuned universe might come to be, but that presupposes we are in a “fine-tuned” universe. Models indicate that all of our constants can vary, and there are still huge swathes that end up with interesting universes. Would everything look exactly like our universe? No. But that’s not the point. Interactions would be irregular, and that’s all you need for an interesting universe. Just because we can’t imagine what that universe would look like doesn’t mean it wouldn’t result in something resembling intelligent life. It just wouldn’t result in life that looks like us.

Your reliance on such a well-worn cliche of an argument indicates you really haven’t given this much thought. If you think an interesting universe requires fine-tuning, you haven’t begun to consider the fine-tuning required to make an intentional being capable of designing and implementing a finely-tuned universe. That is, after all, exactly what you are suggesting: solving some contrived “fine-tuning” problem with something capable of solving a fine-tuning problem.

You’ve just introduced infinite complexity to solve a problem of only moderate complexity. Way to go, Chief.

“Creator” indicates intention. Intention requires intelligence. Intelligence implies information processing. Information processing implies a logical substrate. Once you’ve reached that point, you have something that is as finely-tuned as an interesting universe.

So, what problem are you solving, exactly?

105. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

Really? The atheists have no evidence for their argument either.

Oh, you’re hilarious. And by hilarious I mean sad. You’ve never heard of the burden of proof before?

106. Azkyroth says

the hilitary

I think we have a new community meme.

107. Fucking blockquote fail.

Y’all can figure it out. scifi bores the living fuck out of me, and I’m going to bed.

108. scifi says

Because they make good sensible arguments.

109. says

hilitary?

I am clearly way way too drunk and sleepy to do…..word….finger….type….things.

110. says

Because they make good sensible arguments.

You used 6 words when you could have used 1 and said the same thing.

111. says

As a gift: sci-fi let me ask you. Would you accept that reason from someone who was asked “Why do you accept Dawkins, Hitchens, or Stalin as authorities?”

112. Azkyroth says

Because they make good sensible arguments.

Scifi.

I have proven that Davies is a LIAR.

Are you regular illiterate as well as scientifically illiterate?

113. kevinv says

For example, if gravity was 1 millionth of a percent stronger, the big bang would have collapsed on itself. If 1 millionth of a percent weaker, then no planets or stars could form, only dust

I believe the origination for this was from Brian Greene’s book and NOVA special about the possibility of multiple universes, however he was not talking about gravity but the strength of dark energy in our universe. I don’t know what Greene based this on.

Nowhere does he talk about a creator or the possibility of one.

Without access to other universes with differing parameters we cannot know the possibility of life due to various parameters. It is clear that the current parameters are sufficient to produce some life. There may be parameter values that produce more life.

114. says

@Ichthyic: I await with baited breath the source of this. I think you probably meant bated. But if I’m wrong, then I advise you to lay off the bait. It may very well be tasty, but it’s not safe! It’s a trap!

115. scifi says

Wowbagger,
Please don’t patronize me. I read both sides of the argument. I know what the atheist argument is. Quantum Mechanics supposes that nothing is unstable and results in matter appearing from nothing and then expanding into the big bang. To try to answer how we could come up with the requirement that a universe be so extremely finely tuned in order for life of any kind to exist, it is speculated that there are an infinite number of these universes with all possible combination of parameters with some that can promote life.

But, don’t let me stop you. I am interested in what you have to say.

116. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

I know what the atheist argument is.

“It is not necessary to invoke a God to explain the universe, and no evidence for one has been provided.”

117. Ichthyic says

I’m confused as to why you think Davies’ version of the so-called privileged planet argument has any novelty, or even any veracity…

shh! Davies is a well-respected physicist, dochtya know! What more needs be said?

obviously nothing, according to our little pet goober here. Wny, since Davies is “one of us” (read: A scientist), then surely we must just accept his arguments at face value?

And Ken Miller, being also a scientist, surely knows everything about quantum mechanics, even though he’s a cell biologist, so he can’t be wrong, right?

RWA’s are so cute. OTOH, sometimes I think they’re like fucking Tribbles, in every sense of the word.

118. Azkyroth says

Scifi, it’s quite clear by now that you are deliberately ignoring my posts.

Whassamatter, chicken? Buck buck buck buck…

119. says

Should I bait him some more? Everyone seems to be having fun.
Really, scifi, if the fine tuning argument and the anthropic principle is the best you can bring to the table, expect a beating.
If you were a mud puddle, and that’s the conclusion I’m heading toward, you would think that hole was just perfectly designed to fit you.
The anthropic principle is not a great argument for a creator. It’s a great argument for itself, right up until it crawls up its own butt.
There is no reason, nothing ever observed, that gives any reason to posit any sort of conscious being that somehow exists outside our ability to detect. And yes, an explanation that starts out with an actual mind is more complex than one that starts out with anything like a singularity. Complexity that is created by natural processes over time isn’t what matters; it’s the complexity of the starting conditions, and the size and quantity of your ad hoc assumptions.
And a creator god-type being is one giant magic dingleberry that adds no explanatory value, predicts nothing, and never will.

120. scifi says

Kevinv,
“I believe the origination for this was from Brian Greene’s book and NOVA special about the possibility of multiple universes, however he was not talking about gravity but the strength of dark energy in our universe. I don’t know what Greene based this on.”

Yes, that is one of them. The gravity argument was presented by Paul Davies in his book, “The Mind of God”. Also, Kenneth Miller, in his book, Finding Darwin’s God, mentions the Anthropic Principle, which mentions gravity, weak nuclear force and one other.

121. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

Scifi,

Because they make good sensible arguments that I feel support the beliefs I hold for purely emotional reasons, and help me deal with the cognitive dissonance that results.

FIFY.

122. Azkyroth says

shh! Davies is a well-respected physicist, dochtya know! What more needs be said?

Seriously? Which fucking diploma mill gave a physics degree to an asshole who’s fool enough to assert that anything can be known about the effects of changing a constant by less than the precision to which we know it?

123. Ichthyic says

LOL

How is it possible NOT to? FFS, talking to you is like talking to a cat!

124. the requirement that a universe be so extremely finely tuned in order for life of any kind to exist

someone needs to acquaint themselves with Stenger’s work, I see.

125. FFS, talking to you is like talking to a cat!

hey, cats are far less prone to say stupid shit.

126. Ichthyic says

Should I bait him some more?

yes, I can has moar troll plz?

I don’t think it’s too fat yet, is it?

besides, I need to do another load of dishes.

127. Azkyroth says

Scifi: Still waiting on you acknowledging the point about Davies’ numbers you quoted, you dishonest little shit.

128. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

Scifi wrote:

I know what the atheist argument is. Quantum Mechanics…

BZZZZT! Wrong!

What does quantum mechanics have to do with atheism?

129. Ichthyic says

hey, cats are far less prone to say stupid shit.

i dunno, my previous cat used to say some pretty stupid shit.

Would jump in the window, and randomly string cries and mews together for about 5 minutes, for no apparent reason whatsoever, then just lie down and go to sleep for a couple of hours.

I’m sure it was trying to con me into going outside to beat up one of the other cats, but I never fell for it.

130. Ichthyic:

FFS, talking to you is like talking to a cat!

Do you suppose if we all sang Soft Kitty, scifi would doze off and stop the flow of stupid for a while?

131. i dunno, my previous cat used to say some pretty stupid shit.

my cats have plenty of intelligent things to say (usually on the topic of whether fat-free yoghurt qualifies as food)

132. anteprepro says

I know what the atheist argument is. Quantum Mechanics supposes that nothing is unstable and results in matter appearing from nothing and then expanding into the big bang.

What the fuck?
One, that’s intentionally terrible phrasing, bordering on Ray Comfort-level straw man of the Big Bang theory.
Two, that’s what science says, not the atheist argument. The fact that you have used actual science as an example of an atheist argument, in order to support your argument that the atheists don’t have any evidence, though, leaves you in a strange position. You either blatantly contradicted yourself or believe that science doesn’t count as evidence. Either option is ridiculously stupid, yet predictably so, given the rest of your braying stupidities and demonstrated inability to fucking read.

133. Ichthyic says

Do you suppose if we all sang Soft Kitty, scifi would doze off and stop the flow of stupid for a while?

purr purr purr.

134. Ichthyic says

I read both sides of the argument

Five bucks says even if that were true, which I doubt, you only LISTENED to one side.

In fact, you’re probably only programmed TO listen to one side.

135. Azkyroth says

I read both sides of the argument

Insofar as you have failed to address the fact that Davies’ claims about the effect of changing the gravitational constant are impossible, it has been established that you cannot read.

136. anteprepro says

He read both sides of “the argument”, but not for comprehension. And we all know which side of “the argument” benefits from that little caveat.

137. Rey Fox says

That said, there is no reason why a creator could not be assumed due to evidence of extremely fine tuned parameters that would be difficult if not impossible to all fall into place by chance.
What about the fact that there are very finally tuned parameters for which the odds of them occurring are extremely minute, if impossible, and without them no life of any kind could exist?
To try to answer how we could come up with the requirement that a universe be so extremely finely tuned in order for life of any kind to exist

Goldfish memory.

Again, no proof, but there seems to be a double standard here in that it is OK to speculate on a natural means of this happening, but not OK for a speculation for a creator.

Yeah, why must we deny speculation a seat at the table? They get no respect anywhere!

Oh wait, no. It gets respect and ass-kissing everywhere else.

At the same time, I submit to you that if this creator does exist, it would be so complex and impossible for anyone to figure out what it would be like.

Wait. Weren’t you just arguing against the multiverse hypothesis because it introduces too much complexity? Come on, try to stay on message here.

138. Ichthyic says

Which fucking diploma mill gave a physics degree to an asshole who’s fool enough to assert that anything can be known about the effects of changing a constant by less than the precision to which we know it?

it’s irrelevant where he got his physics training, since now he’s instead in the business of selling lies to himself. Just like the fact that UC Berkeley’s Molecular and Cell dept. gave Jonathan Wells his degree is irrelevant to the fact that he never intended to actually use it as anything other than a rag to wipe his ass with.

yes, there are scientists that are RWA’s too. Much lower percentage, but enough so that the cognitive dissonance they experience inevitably results in them saying really stupid shit.

Yes, I’m on the Altemeyer bandwagon today.

or does that sound too RWA-ish?

:P

139. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

At the same time, I submit to you that if this creator does exist, it would be so complex and impossible for anyone to figure out what it would be like.

Why is it that the people who make this sort of asninine claim never show up on Christian blogs to tell them that they’re wrong to believe in God for this very reason?

As I’ve said – many, many times before – one of the foundations of contemporary liberal religious belief seems to be the intellectually dishonest practice of happily clinging to the idea of the benevolent interventionist, miracle-performing, heaven-hosting god when you’re with your faith-buddies – while just as happily claiming belief in an outside-of-science deist god when arguing with atheists.

140. Azkyroth says

At the same time, I submit to you that if this creator does exist, it would be so complex and impossible for anyone to figure out what it would be like.

…and yet far less complex than multiplying the universe by n. Suuuuuurreee.

141. says

What does quantum mechanics have to do with atheism?

Would any of us even be on the Path of Athiesm without quantum tomatoes?

142. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

Asninine – like asinine, only more so. All hail Tpyos!

143. Aratina Cage:

Would any of us even be on the Path of Athiesm without quantum tomatoes?

Possibly. I do know I just can’t manage the garden without the all knowing wisdom of the quantumn tomatoes anymore. Damn things are addictive. And controlling.

144. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

Returning to the topic for a moment: Native Skeptic is a really good blog written by a person who’s really passionate about science, with occasional ventures into the perspective of a Native American skeptic.

Now, please return to your irregularly scheduled stupid-person mocking. (I won’t even call scifi a troll because it’s clear he’s sincere in his idiocy.)

If Scifi doesn’t watch out, he’s going to WAKE THE SHEEPLE. And that would be Not Good.

145. janine says

Why does the funny little syfy troll think that being an agnostic means that one accepts arguments for woo?

146. says

I just can’t manage the garden without the all knowing wisdom of the quantumn tomatoes anymore. Damn things are addictive. And controlling.

Tell me bout it, Caine! I just can’t bear to eat my A-gz in the morning without a heavy dose of quantum catsup.

147. Brownian says

To try to answer how we could come up with the requirement that a universe be so extremely finely tuned in order for life of any kind to exist it is speculated that there are an infinite number of these universes with all possible combination of parameters with some that can promote life.

But the multiverse concept is not invoked to answer fine-tuning. It’s invoked because it’s a likely consequence of a system in which universes form naturally. Fine-tuning isn’t the issue it’s made out to be.

There’s no reason to assert that the universe could have been different, unless you posit that there’s a population of possible universes to which probabilities apply. If that’s the case, that there is a population of possible universes to which probabilities apply, then it would be inconsistent to assert that this universe happened to be the only one out of that probability space to have ever existed. Note that universes for which a configuration of parameters would cause immediate self-annihilation are still possible in this probability space, since if infinite, it would necessitate both self-annihilating and life-bearing universes, as long as the probabilities of each are non-zero.) So, unless there’s some larger process by which the existence of one universe precludes the existence of others (some natural law that we haven’t/may not be able to detect) there’s no reason to preclude the existence of multiverses. They’re not a new complication, they’re a natural extension of applying the concept of probability to the phenomena of physical parameters (just as universes with life capable of asking about the universe are). There’s no need to invoke teleology in this view.

If, on the other hand, you make some sort of teleogical claim that no, this universe just isn’t one of a limitless number of possibilities (and one of a least one observations deemed to be a ‘success’, if the production of life is considered to be a success condition by its admittedly self-serving observers)—it was made the only way it could have been, and done so by another entity whose existence and motives cannot even be reasonably speculated about (which theists are all too happy to admit when pressed for details), then you lose the ability to talk about probabilities. There’s no overarching population from which one could talk about probabilities. Probabilities come from natural laws, and deities defy natural laws by at least one condition the deity we’re talking about seems to have–the ability to perform miracles, no causality applied. You can’t pick a methodology from secular science and apply it to an entity and its actions to justify the idea that there exists an entity not bound by the laws that science describes. What does it mean to say “the physical parameters of the universe are necessarily thus for the existence of life” if a miracle-working being wishes life to exist? The physical parameters of the universe are not such that bushes can burn indefinitely without being consumed, and yet that’s the sort of thing this worldview claims occurs on occasion. Now likelihood is supposed to matter?

Here, the two systems are incompatible. The secular position has no need of an introduced teleological entity, and the religious position is not advanced by messing about with concepts like ‘fine-tuning’, since they aren’t necessary for the plaything of an entity who can suspend natural laws at a whim.

And since the concept of fine-tuning is only made possible by cherry-picking incompatible concepts from each worldview, it’s a non-issue.

148. John Morales says

[meta]

<sniff>

149. Shiroferetto says

Crap. I tried to read the whole comment thread, but my scalp actually started to go numb somewhere at the 3/4ths mark. Don’t worry, I’m going to see my new-age, crystal-waving, homeopathic ‘doctor’ tomorrow (don’t worry, she’s fully trained in 19th century literature and has the PhD to prove it).

This is why I hate the word ‘freethinker’ (also ‘freethought’). There are so many morons out there who have no idea what it actually means. And even those that actually know what it means don’t always agree. It drives me batshit. For serious.

Many people just assume ‘freethought’ means you can think of the aforementioned purple unicorns, and THAT’S OKAY because you’re exercising your mind or something. Look, if you want to exercise your mind, go write a fiction novel.

In that vein, I think scifi is aptly named.

150. slc1 says

Re Scifi @ #35

Let me give you an example. In Paul Davies book, he states that there are two views. The Theist states that the there are so many required finely tuned parameters that life of any kind could not exist. For example, if gravity was 1 millionth of a percent stronger, the big bang would have collapsed on itself

If Davies made such a comment, he’s full of crap. The expansion of the universe is dominated by dark energy, not by the value of the gravitational constant.

151. slc1 says

Re Scifi @ #119

Quantum Mechanics supposes that nothing is unstable and results in matter appearing from nothing and then expanding into the big bang.

Excuse me, if the matter in the universe appeared as a consequence of a discontinuity in the quantum vacuum, it did not appear from nothing. The quantum vacuum is not nothing.

152. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

re Brownian’s entire #154.

Damn. Now I have to get in line.

153. Lyra says

I feel like people who go on with the whole, “It is extremely unlikely that the universe could have come into being with a nature that would allow it to support life, therefore GOD!” don’t understand statistics. I’m going to paraphrase a ball argument that I got from somewhere, but I can’t remember where.

Let’s say that you have a red ball in your hand. Just what is the probability that you would end up with a red ball in your hand compared to the possibility that you ended up with some other color?

The answer is that this isn’t an intelligible question. We have a sample size of one. You can’t calculate probability with a sample size of one. Maybe the ball is the only ball in existence, and it is red. Maybe there are billions of balls, and they are all red. Maybe there are billions of balls, and they all differ sightly in color.

Any of these could be true, and the ball in your hand would still be red. You need to expand your sample size if you want to talk about the likelihood of it being the way it is.

But this is not the only misunderstanding of statistics that this argument depends on; it also depends on people improperly assigning low probability to things that they think to be significant. For example, if a person rolled a six sided dice six times and got the rolls 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, they would be inclined to say, “Wow, that’s really rare!” But if they rolled a 5, 6, 4, 4, 1, 6, they would think this was not rare, despite the fact that the probability of getting either set of numbers is exactly the same. Even if we decide that there is only one universe and that it’s physical properties are dictated by chance rather than necessity (and I don’t see how anyone could legitimately argue this, given our lack of knowledge), the fact remains is that a roll of the dice that equals life is no less likely than any other given roll of the dice.

154. Anri says

scifi:

I know a lot of people are tossing things at you, and so you might not see this, but I’ll ask anyway.

Based on the best available observations of the real world, what is the approximate probability of the gravitational constant varying from the accepted value?

Note: this is only a trick question if you do not understand what is being asked.

155. abb3w says

@0, PZ Myers:

I am fully aware of the obvious weakness of stacking our army with nothing but artillery: we need infantry and armor and sappers and engineers and cooks and air force and gunboats and communications experts and spies.

Hm. So, does the last explain why Hemant Mehta joined Patheos instead of FTborg?

@76, Icthyic:

so scifi comes in here, claiming most here are RWA’s relying on authoritarian arguments

Quibble: I’m not sure if he’s trying to paint the pharyngulates as more high-RWA or more high-SDO. He doesn’t seem nuanced enough to make such distinction.

@143, Icthyic:

yes, there are scientists that are RWA’s too. Much lower percentage, but enough so that the cognitive dissonance they experience inevitably results in them saying really stupid shit.

I’d note that there are also some in the Atheist community, too. Contrariwise, the data from the Hunsberger and Altemeyer study “Atheists” suggests the distribution for atheists tend to be shifted low-RWA relative to the overall population.

Nohow… the H+A study didn’t check atheist SDO tendencies, and I’m not aware of any published studies including that narrow question. Lack of specific data aside, the idea would seem just-so-story unsurprising that a large part of the atheist community might be relatively low-RWA (disinclined to follow convention) and relatively high-SDO (willing to follow their own ideas). That atheists subjectively seem more disgustedly the stupidity of creationists than worried about their political threat also seems suggestive — see (doi:10.1002/per.614). Haidt’s OurMorals dataset might allow checking atheist SDO levels relative to the non-Atheist population (I think its inquiries include some overlap there), but his groups doesn’t seem to have published anything on that exact question.

Furthermore, a couple additional puzzle pieces. The one study I’m aware of on the topic (doi:10.1016/S0191-8869(99)00048-3) suggests a 50% genetic component (versus 35% unshared environmental, 15% shared environment/assortative mating) to the RWA tendency. Various studies of religion in the US indicate most Nothingarians in society are not the result of an nonreligious upbringing, but rather come from deconversion where the parental religious upbringing didn’t take; irreligion isn’t outgrowing religion because we’re out-breeding them, but because we’re converting the kids of the religious. The combination thus suggests that even if it isn’t a crisis now, and while the atheist social environment may limit the phenotypic expression, the predisposition is likely to increase.

Unfortunately, it seems difficult to raise this issue here without being labeled a “concern troll”, which increasingly seems to be used as source derogation to avoid message scrutiny. The (doi:10.1002/per.614) study indicate both SDO and RWA tend to be prejudiced against dissident groups, but I’m hoping that it’s just an expression of SDO tendency rather than symptomatic of a growing number of Altemeyer’s “Double Highs” in the community.

On the upside, this subjectively looks like a long-term problem — a few decades before it gets to crisis levels.

156. jesus says

Sorry this is comment is late, but I have a suggestion. PZ, surely you’ve heard of Pastor M? When you said “spies” I immediately thought of him. Someone at FtB should extend a hand to him.

For those of you who are not familiar, Pastor M is an atheist pastor who blogs anonymously because he can’t yet afford to look for a new job. I recommend subscribing to his blog:

http://paganpreacher.wordpress.com/author/paganpreacher/

157. says

Why is the fine-tuning argument so compelling to these non-thinkers?

syfi:

Regardless of how sensitive the physical constants are, if they weren’t amenable to life developing then there would be nobody to observe the universe. The fact that we exist means that we should not be surprised to find physical constants suitable for the development of life. This implies nothing about a creator.

As there’s no evidence for a creator, especially one who has a personal interest in certain stupid ape-like creatures inhabiting a planet circling an average star in a backwater of an average galaxy, one among 100 billion galaxies, we needn’t add such an assumption into our theories.

Jesus is the answer, the theists say. To what question? They frame the question so it gives the answer they already wrote. Evolution? Flood. Light from distant stars? Wacky cosmology. Abiogenesis unexplained? God did it. And in your case Syfi, the values of obscure physical constants somehow lend themselves in support of your pet theory. Sounds like argument from conclusion to me.

Come back when you can explain the magic, and why that fucker hates gays.

158. says

Is syfy what’s his name who had novella length threads dedicated to NDE and creationism but was totally an agnostic?

159. says

I feel like people who go on with the whole, “It is extremely unlikely that the universe could have come into being with a nature that would allow it to support life, therefore GOD!”

Not only is it a failure to understand statistics, it’s a failure at imagination, skepticism, and inquiry.

Even if true the answer is not ‘therefore god’ which is a ethnocentric abrahamic religious view…it’s therefore SOMETHING full stop end thought. If we investigated and found out that it was “therefore Azaroth the Blind Idiot God” I doubt theists would count that as “God”

160. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Is syfy what’s his name who had novella length threads dedicated to NDE and creationism but was totally an agnostic?

That would be *makes sign of crossed tentacles* Shiloh the village idjit. Doesn’t appear to be. Agnostic my ass. He was a presuppsitionalist, but wouldn’t admit it since he was intellectually dishonest.

161. says

@Nerd

Syfy sounds like an angry Shiloh…including the Agnostic, but I hold a specifically Christian cosmology.

162. Rey Fox says

Not annoying enough to be Shiloh. And once again I ask, why is it that every time an idiot with a pedestrian view on cosmology or whatever the subject is comes in, people have to start combing the troll database to check for matches? Is it really that hard to believe that there is a near endless supply of people with these views, and that they’re gonna keep coming?

163. says

@Rey Fox

Piltdown man ensures that cross checking the database is now a default position.

164. Brownian says

And once again I ask, why is it that every time an idiot with a pedestrian view on cosmology or whatever the subject is comes in, people have to start combing the troll database to check for matches?

I have to admit that the heart of the analyst/data manager-with-OCD in me skipped a beat when I read ‘troll database’, and then I realised there really isn’t one and you were being metaphorical.

165. Brownian says

Piltdown man ensures that cross checking the database is now a default position.

So, where is this database? And does it need—[Shudders, as eyes briefly roll back]—cleaning?

166. says

@Brownian

…If you’re hooked up to the Neuronet Collective it’s in the public directory, right below feminazi marching orders and next to photo/rats

167. Brownian says

…If you’re hooked up to the Neuronet Collective it’s in the public directory, right below feminazi marching orders and next to photo/rats

[Accesses database, sees text fields full of all sorts of non-normalised data, squeals with pain and delight.]

168. says

Now when you first connect you may find side effects such as psychosis, hallucinations, songs you don’t know getting stuck in your head, paranoia and the sensation that everything tastes like bacon and sounds blue

169. Brownian says

Now when you first connect you may find side effects such as psychosis, hallucinations, songs you don’t know getting stuck in your head, paranoia and the sensation that everything tastes like bacon and sounds blue

So, it feels like a regular Tuesday morning then?

170. says

Back on topic…
I’ve seen a fair amount here (well, more on other blogs than here) about the justice system and its problems. Do we have any FTBers who’ve done time or do we know where to find any?

171. scifi says

Nigelthebold,
“But the truth is, you have many different parameters, that, should they all vary, end up with many different possible interesting universes. ”

You are ignoring what I said about the parameters. If gravity was a hair stronger, the big bang would have collapsed and no universe would have formed and if a hair weaker, no planets nor stars would have formed, just dust. In both cases, there would be no life of any kind. The same is true about the weak nuclear force. A hair too strong and the atoms would be held too tight and no compounds could be formed. A hair too weak and the atoms would fly apart. Again, no life of any kind could be formed. And no “interesting universes”.

172. says

In both cases, there would be no life of any kind. –scifi

:/ How do you know?

173. scifi says

Brownian,
“We’ve already got one universe that we know of. Whatever process spawned it could easily have spawned others. ”

Yep, and what spawned it could be a creator. You can only speculate that quantum mechanics would spawn it and multiple universes as well. Where’s your proof? A creator producing matter from nothing and expanding it into a finely tuned universe seems to make more sense than matter appearing from nothing all by itself and then expanding all by itself into multiple universes like some organic being giving birth to numerous offspring. So long as you have no proof for your speculation of multiple universes, you cannot simply throw out the speculation of a creator. I see later you mention Jesus. I didn’t suggest that any religion knows what this creator, if it does indeed exist, would be like. On the contrary, I said that no one can know what this creator is like, only that it is far beyond anything anyone can imagine.

scifi @ #180:

Yep, and what spawned it could be a creator.

Except that, as multiple people have pointed out, the process by which the universe occurred can be used to explain other universes. The idea of a creator requires a new theory to explain the creator’s origin AND also how the creator is able to interact with its creation.

A creator is a much more complicated theory, and given the lack of evidence for it, highly unlikely. And before you try to dazzle everyone with an amazing display of intellect and say “BUT WHERE’S THE EVIDENCE FOR MULTIVERSES?”, I’ll go ahead and answer it:

This universe. As Brownian said, the processes that created this universe could have created multiple ones, and this does not require the introduction of a whole new and entirely superfluous element (i.e., a creator) to the theory.

175. scifi says

“All I see is bald assertions…”

Yes, but speculating that matter came from nothing and expanded by itself into an extremely finely tuned universe is just as bald an assertion. Nether one can be proved, especially that there are oodles and oodles of these universes. Show me the evidence. You can’t.

176. scifi says

Nigelthebold,
“Right. And one has evidence and logic on their side. The other doesn’t.”

Really? Then show me the evidence that matter by itself came from nothing and expanded into multiple universes. Number one, I know the atheist doesn’t have the evidence nor the logic on his side. But maybe you know something I don’t.

177. Azkyroth says

relatively high-[Social Dominance Orientation] (willing to follow their own ideas)

Wait, WHAT?

178. scifi says

“This universe. As Brownian said, the processes that created this universe could have created multiple ones, and this does not require the introduction of a whole new and entirely superfluous element (i.e., a creator) to the theory.”

You are assuming that quantum mechanics dictates that nothing is unstable and can result and appearance of matter. Show me the proof. Also, if this is actually right, then once one universe is formed, there no longer is nothing and therefore, there is not instability, so no other matter will appear from nothing for expansion into more universes.

179. scifi says

correction: result in appearance of matter.

180. Azkyroth says

You are ignoring what I said about the parameters. If gravity was a hair stronger, the big bang would have collapsed and no universe would have formed and if a hair weaker, no planets nor stars would have formed, just dust.

Scifi, you lying scum, this claim has been rebutted several times in this fucking thread.

181. Azkyroth says

Since the lying, sneering little pig fucker apparently has no intention of pausing his porcine copulations to respond to any but a handful of people, I’m posting the following for the benefit of any readers on the fence.

We are not “assuming,” we are extrapolating from known processes. The Thereforegodists are not extrapolating from known processes, they are simply making shit up. “Simplest” does not mean “easiest for an idiot to understand intuitively,” it generally means the least extra assumptions. While it’s not clear that ANY extra assumptions are really necessary for a quantum/multiverse explanation, the creator thing raises all sorts of questions (like “where did it come from,” “what created IT,” “how was it able to act when time, distance, and other parameters of action didn’t exist yet,” and so forth) that our ill-mannered, livestock-loving guest has yet to even acknowledge, let alone attempt to answer, despite their being stated repeatedly.

182. Azkyroth says

Also, in a just world, the jawdropping, oozing hypocrisy of his complaining about anyone else ignoring anything he’d said would be answered by the universe itself with the spontaneous generation of a banana peel and a running woodchipper.

scifi @ #185:

You are assuming that quantum mechanics dictates that nothing is unstable and can result and appearance of matter. Show me the proof.

I’m not assuming that. My claim is that there are processes (albeit not fully understood) that resulted in the universe as we know it, and that, to our knowledge, there is no reason why this process cannot occur multiple times.

Your claim, on the other hand, is that the possibility of an entity complex enough to create the universe is a valid possibility because you don’t understand the first thing about scientific epistemology.

Forget what idiotic preconceived notions of “quantum physics” or “universal parameters” you have. Until you can suggest a theory that a) explains how the creator came to be; b) explains how the creator creates and c) explains both a) and b) in a manner that is simpler than our current understanding of how the universe came to be (i.e., the big bang theory).

184. Brownian says

I am so fucking sick of agnostics who’ll do backflips to defend a deity. You may be a particularly cowardly, stupid and unimaginative theist, scifi, but you believe in a god.

And if you’re unable to comprehend my comment, dumbfuck, then say nothing. Don’t insert a fucking creator when I’ve already demonstrated why one is superfluous, and then waffle on about how we do t know anything about it. You want to think there’s something greater than yourself? Go ahead. You’re pretty shitty, so the list of things better than you is fairly long.

Go back to claiming irony or whatever, idiot. You’re too fucking stupid to have this conversation.

185. says

I am so fucking sick of agnostics who’ll do backflips to defend a deity. –Brownian

Quite. What bugs me the most is how they posit that a creator deity is even possible without the slightest idea of how a deity would even work. They might as well say that a teapot could have created the universe.

To scifi: “Get in the Fookin’ Sack!”

Azkyroth @ #184

relatively high-[Social Dominance Orientation] (willing to follow their own ideas)

Wait, WHAT?

That’s what I thought too. Social Dominance Orientation has little to do (AFAIK) with “following their own ideas”, and a lot to do with making other people follow them (i.e., the high SDO individual, not the ideas), regardless of ideology (assuming “I want to be the big boss” doesn’t count as ideology”)

187. Ichthyic says

“All I see is bald assertions…”

Yes, but

there is no but.

you failed.

YOU are a failure.

you explain nothing, predict nothing, are… nothing.

just a waste of space.

188. You are ignoring what I said about the parameters.

well, considering you’ve confused dark matter with gravity, there really were only two choices: ignore or ridicule

189. Ichthyic says

Social Dominance Orientation has little to do (AFAIK) with “following their own ideas”, and a lot to do with making other people follow them (i.e., the high SDO individual, not the ideas), regardless of ideology

correct. Hence how Aletemeyer describes especially egregious politicians who will say anything to motivate evangelicals to vote for them as “double-highs”, meaning they score highly as both RWA AND SDO.

I’m not … exactly … sure what Abbey was getting at.

But hell, I’ll take a stab at it:

It’s a poke at the bloggers who formed FtB and a poke at those who attack her over the side she took on the elevatorgate issue.

I’m sure she thinks that there are way too many SDOs in the Atheistosphere.

I think she’s more projecting than deducing.

Love to hear clarification from her on it though.

190. Ichthyic says

…it would be far more amusing than scifi’s drivel, in any case.

I do so love watching Abbey paint herself into corners.

191. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

@ scifi 180

Yep, and what spawned it could be a creator.

Or we could keep it simple. We can show that at least one universe exists. We can not show that a single (or multiples of a) creator exists.

Knowing that the universe exists, makes it reasonable that there may actually be a cause. We do not know whether your hypothetical “creator” exists in the first place and therefore cannot honestly ascribe it as a cause of anything.

Do you understand at least this much? I can write more slowly if it helps…

(More difficult: Given that a single universe exists, can you see that it is not unreasonable to hypothesise that perhaps multiple universes could exist. There are zero proven creators at present. They can therefore not poof anything at all into existence, never mind a universe.)

192. Azkyroth says

…wait, abb3w is ERV? O.o

193. 'Tis Himself, OM says

Yep, and what spawned it could be a creator.[emphasis added]

“Could” implies maybe, perhaps, possibly, if the wind’s blowing in the right direction, probability is not zero, and all the other synonyms and euphemisms for “I really want this to be true so I’ll pull it out of my ass.”

194. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Yes, but speculating that matter came from nothing and expanded by itself into an extremely finely tuned universe is just as bald an assertion.

Nope, it is fact. Bald assertion is when you make a fuckwitted claim and fail to back it up with citations to the peer reviewed literature. Like your mental masturbatory claim that a creator is needed for anything in science. Never was needed, never will be needed. You need to provide solid and conclusive physical evidence to confirm that the creator (your imaginary deity) exists. The burden of proof is upon you to confirm existence to be scientific. NADA, NIL, ZIP, ZERO. NOTHING. So, that is a bald faced claim by a known liar and bullshitter. Welcome to science.

195. Louis says

This thread has gone on this long and no one has mentioned puddles?

Gosh, this hole in the ground does seem to fit me rather well. It must have been made specifically so I, a puddle, could form in it. All praise the great Hole Maker, for he caused me, a puddle, to be.

Louis

196. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

This thread has gone on this long and no one has mentioned puddles?

I wanted to, but… then feralboy did!
Sorry Louis :P But to be fair, it did quite deserve to be brought up again.

197. Louis says

Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM, #203,

In the immortal words of the Prophet Mohammed:

BUGGER!

I apologise profusely for claiming priority where I did not have it. Feralboy deserves the plaudits. I go now to complete an act of penance and self flegellation…

…erm….does it still count if I enjoy it?

Louis

198. Louis says

Flegellation? Hmmmm I’ll try flagellation instead.

Louis

199. John Morales says

[OT]

scifi specimen pontificates:

Yes, but speculating that matter came from nothing and expanded by itself into an extremely finely tuned universe is just as bald an assertion.

But that matter came from some magical being and expanded due to this magical being in a finely tuned manner (tuned by what? Oh, sorry, my bad: by the magical being) is in no way a bald assertion.

200. Ichthyic says

…wait, abb3w is ERV? O.o

just a guess.

201. Brownian says

Yes, but speculating that matter came from nothing and expanded by itself into an extremely finely tuned universe is just as bald an assertion.

Say ‘extremely finely tuned universe’ again. Say ‘extremely finely tuned universe’ again, I dare you, I double dare you motherfucker, say ‘extremely finely tuned universe’ one more goddamn time!

202. John Morales says

scifi:

Click on “play Video”

No.

(Stab yourself in either eye with a fork)

Here Paul Davies explains the problem he has with the speculation of multiple universes.

Well, clearly he impresses the rubes such as you. :)

203. Brownian says

Hey scifi, do you let just anybody shove their hand up your ass and use your empty skull as a puppet, or just the people you’re in love with?

No matter. I skimmed through the video (I fucking can’t stand listening to people talk on video: like I’ve got all day to listen to you hem and haw—write that shit down so I can read it in a fraction of the time), and heard this (paraphrasing):

The problem I see, is that you’re trying to explain the universe we see by appealing to an infinite number of universes we don’t see.

Fair enough. But, if you were an actual thinking human, scifi, you’d have read how I fucking addressed that in comment 154. Read it again.

Because the creationists (yes, that’s what you are) are doing the exact same fucking thing when they claim fine-tuning, only they’ve obviated multiple universes, so they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too.

If you don’t at least acknowledge some sort of probability space in which multiple universes which differ from each other may exist, then you can’t use a probabilistic argument to claim that this one is unlikely.

Got that?

You can’t talk about probability for an occurrence that has an N of one. It doesn’t make sense. It’s dishonest, and it’s cheating.

So, I’m totally cool with acknowledging that we have no evidence (and may never have evidence) for multiverses, but that means you don’t ever get to use the term “finely tuned” again.

If all of this is too hard for you to comprehend, then why don’t you continue to do what you’ve been doing all along and let Davies speak for you, only shut the fuck up and get out of his way?

204. Brownian says

More from Paul Davies on ‘multiverse theory’

Here’s the deal, dumbshit: if you can’t at least attempt to paraphrase him, then you clearly aren’t capable of understanding him.

Fuck off.

205. Brownian says

So, I’m totally cool with acknowledging that we have no evidence (and may never have evidence) for multiverses, but that means you don’t ever get to use the term “finely tuned” again.

That’s poorly written. If you don’t allow for a probability space in which theoretical multiple universes (like theoretical dice throws) exist, then you don’t ever get to use the term “finely tuned” again. The concept of multiple tries, of which there are successes and failures depending on the outcome of interest, is a consequence of appealing to probability.

206. John Morales says

[meta]

Brownian, um, that should be ‘multiverse'; it’s singular because it refers to the ensemble of universes.

(Yeah, it’s a nitpick)

207. Brownian says

Thanks, John. That’s undoubtedly not the only terminology I’ve gotten wrong.

[Checks wiki.]

“The multiverse (or meta-universe, metaverse) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes (including the historical universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them” [emphasis mine]

Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean. It’s the “and can exist” that is necessitated by the appeal to probability part of the claim of fine-tuning.

208. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

@ CCCP {Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher) (Puellae)}

no one has mentioned puddles?

I wanted to, but… then feralboy did!

According to Xenophon, Socrates used the puddle argument for GAWD. (The earliest instance I can recall.):

Essentially god placed one’s nose near one’s mouth so that one can smell tasty food. One’s arse is placed far from one’s nose because it stinks. (And on and on in similar vein) … therefore GAWD!

@ John Morales

We know that at least one universe exists. We can posit a metaverse that is larger and that spawned it – and potentially many others. At worst we know for certain, at very least, that the metaverse = our universe. It may be bigger than we know … or not – that is the question.

There is no evidence for god in the first place, so we simply cannot have the same discussion about him as we do for the metaverse.

209. John Morales says

[meta]

theophontes, you’re one of us, but I still snicker when you write ‘him’ about some supposed singular being.

210. theophontes, Hexanitroisowurtzitanverwendendes_Bärtierchen says

@ John Morales

“It” most certainly has a penis. I am just trying to be consistent here.

(A deist might conflate “multiverse” with “GAWD”. But goddists claim to know of which they speak.)

211. scifi says

OK Jokers, you’ve forced me to leave comments from Paul Davies book,The Mind of God, since the web site quotes from him are not nearly as good. Paul states that in spite of the power of the many-universes theory to account for our universe having all the finely tuned elements required for life, the theory faces a number of serious objections. The first flies in the face of Occam’s razor, by introducing vast (indeed infinite) complexity to explain the regularities of just one universe. Paul finds this blunderbuss approach to explaining the specialness of our universe scientifically questionable. There is also the obvious problem that the theory can explain only those aspects of nature that are relevant to the existence of conscious life; otherwise there is no selection mechanism. Many of the examples he gave for design, such as the ingenuity and unity of particle physics, have little obvious connection with biology. It is not sufficient for the feature concerned simply to be relevant to biology, it has to be crucial to its actual prevalence.

Paul goes on to say that one could, perhaps, imagine an ensemble of universes with a selection of laws. We could then, perhaps, imagine an ensemble of universes with a selection of laws, so that each universe comes with a complete and fixed set of laws. We could then, perhaps, use anthropic reasoning to explain why at least some of the laws we observe are what they are. But this theory must still presuppose the concept of law, and one can still ask where those laws come from, and how they “attach” themselves to universes in an “eternal” way. Paul concludes that the many-universes theory can at best explain only a limited range of features, and the only if one appends some metaphysical assumptions that seem no less extravagant then design. In the end, Occam’s razor compels him to put his money on design.

212. janine says

Syfy, no one forced you to do shit.

213. Brownian says

In the end, Occam’s razor compels him to put his money on design.

If that is the case, then Paul Davies doesn’t understand Occam’s razor.

214. Brownian says

The first flies in the face of Occam’s razor, by introducing vast (indeed infinite) complexity to explain the regularities of just one universe.

And if Paul Davies doesn’t like the complexity of the multiverse, then he is welcome to stop invoking it by referring to probability with regard to this one.

215. Brownian says

In case this is all still over your head, scifi, let me make it simple:

You don’t get to ask How come the universe is this way and not some other way? and then say that the very concept of “some other way” violates Occam’s razor.

216. Ichthyic says

you’ve forced me to leave comments from Paul Davies book

translation:

I have no clue what Davies is talking about, but it sounds good to me, so you argue with him instead of me, ok?

OK, we will.

you can bugger along home, little scifi boy, and we’ll take on your hero single handed (one hand tied behind back and all).

it’s pretty clear YOU don’t have anything to say.

217. scifi says

Sorry Brownian but I’m afraid that Davies has beaten you to the punch. Atheists are so quick to invoke Occam’s Razor when a creator is suggested. Brownian makes a good point here. But in the end, I will summarize the facts here. Number 1, my suggestion of a creator is speculation and I admit I have no proof. That said, your suggestion that all the extremely finely tuned parameters is possibly due to multiple universes is a good one as well, but, just as my suggestion that a creator may be required is speculation with no proof so is yours. The difference between you and me is that though you have no proof either, you wont own up to it.

Ichthyic, you need to grow up. You sound just like some immature high school student. You brag that you can respond to Davie’s assertions, but you that is all it is bragging. Doesn’t cut it.

BTW, my name scifi refers to the what the theory of multiple universes could very well be, Science Fiction. I challenge you to prove otherwise. I already know you can’t.

218. consciousness razor says

Number 1, my suggestion of a creator is speculation and I admit I have no proof.

You also don’t even have a coherent idea of what your “creator” is supposed to be. At least, I’ve never heard of one in my entire life of listening to jabbering godbots. Consider it a challenge, if you like; or I’d be surprised if you’d acknowledge that “god” is nothing more than a meaningless word. Yet you use it as if it means something and as if it would explain anything. It certainly looks to me like your “speculation” is by definition (because you don’t have one) complete and utter bullshit. You’d be in much better shape if you merely lacked evidence.

That said, your suggestion that all the extremely finely tuned parameters is possibly due to multiple universes is a good one as well, [blah blah blah].

You even said Brownian made a good point — did you immediately forget it? In order to even suggest the parameters are “finely tuned” (as you are claiming, not me), then you are proposing that it’s possible in principle for the parameters to have other values. If you pick a different value, you in effect pick a different universe out of the “possibility space.” You don’t get to also claim that it isn’t possible for any of those other universes to arise via physical processes. So we’re left comparing how you purport to explain this universe’s parameters (given other possibilities) with “goddidit” to how others could actually explain it with physics.

I’d like you to address how you know that alternate forms of “life,” or any other interesting features, couldn’t exist if (somehow, assuming that’s even possible) some or any physical parameters were different than what they are. I don’t mean whether or not our form of life could exist, if for example gravity were stronger or weaker. Your claim has to be about any kind of life (or intelligent life, or however strong you want to make the claim) — and no one has any way to know that’s the case.

You also have no way to know whether there could be more or fewer parameters than the ones we have in this universe. If there were other parameters in other universes, then changing the ones equivalent to ours (assuming they’re even present) may not have the kinds of effects we would expect to see without considering these hypothetical parameters. Again, I’m not claiming any of that actually exists. You’re the one making existence claims from a bunch of possibilities, then failing to take all the possibilities and their explanations into account.

219. scifi says

Consciousness razor,
“You also don’t even have a coherent idea of what your “creator” is supposed to be.”

Call it what you will, but to me it is a possible necessary creator. And, I already stated that if such a creator exists that created the whole world, there is no one who can possibly imagine what this creator would be like. So, I’m not even going to try.

“If you pick a different value, you in effect pick a different universe out of the “possibility space.”

And one without any possible kind of life. I already gave you the example of gravity parameter which if 1 millionth of a percent too strong and the big bang would have shortly collapsed on itself and, therefore, no kind of life whatsoever could have formed. If 1 millionth of a percent weaker and no stars or planets would have formed. All you would have gotten is cosmic dust. Again no life of any kind could form. If the weak nuclear force had been a hair stronger, no compounds of any kind could have formed, again no life either. And if a hair weaker, atoms would shortly fly apart, again no life of any kind. And there are many other parameters like dark energy which, like gravity, a hair weaker or stronger, then no life of any kind could have formed.

The point I’m trying to make is that there are too many parameters that must be finely tuned for life of any kind to have formed. Therefore, I feel that a intelligent creator was necessary. Physicists will argue the spitting out of multiple universes, with one of these numerous universes coincidentally having all the parameters perfectly tuned by chance. Paul Davies argues that that is a stretch and goes against Occum’s Razor. He feels that a creator makes more sense, and so do I.

220. janine says

Syfy, the thing that lived in only one thread.

221. consciousness razor says

Fuck, scifi didn’t address a damn thing I said. Too bad. Let’s review.

-Doesn’t know what the fuck “god” is.
-Doesn’t know whether the universe is “fine-tuned” (whether any parameter could be different).
-Doesn’t know whether there could be other parameters than the ones considered.
-Doesn’t know whether changing any parameter (if they could be changed) would have any relevant effect on the existence of any kind of life.

In other words, scifi doesn’t know shit and thinks that explains why the universe exists. The only thing that tells us is that some part of this universe contains at least one ignorant godbot, which we already knew. Go wank somewhere else, where it will be appreciated.

222. says

And one without any possible kind of life. I already gave you the example of gravity parameter which if 1 millionth of a percent too strong and the big bang would have shortly collapsed on itself and, therefore, no kind of life whatsoever could have formed. If 1 millionth of a percent weaker and no stars or planets would have formed. All you would have gotten is cosmic dust. Again no life of any kind could form. If the weak nuclear force had been a hair stronger, no compounds of any kind could have formed, again no life either. And if a hair weaker, atoms would shortly fly apart, again no life of any kind. And there are many other parameters like dark energy which, like gravity, a hair weaker or stronger, then no life of any kind could have formed.

And we keep telling you that we’d love to know how you can be so certain about how the outcome of an event we haven’t the math to properly describe would be different if a constant were changed by an amount several orders of magnitude smaller than the precision to which it is currently known. Really, we would love to know; at the very least, the most likely possibility (if you actually know it) is that you’re from the future and in your time the math to describe the Big Bang has been solved and the gravitational constant is known to far more places than it is now, and I for one have had at least one friendship that could be saved if the present me had a time machine.

223. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Call it what you will, but to me it is a possible necessary creator.

But you haven’t made the case for the existence of said creator, just waved your hands. Vague suggestions are worthless. You need the full story, including how your imaginary creator was created….Until you have the full story, with solid and conclusive physical evidence to back it up, all you have is incoherent blather. And it shows. You blather incoherently with such a vague and irrational idea.

224. John Morales says

Nerd,

You need the full story, including how your imaginary creator was created…

Heh.

Funny how these specimens never realise the bleeding obvious.

(Reason ain’t their strong suit)

Occum’s Razor

<snicker>

“O cum, all ye faithful…”

225. scifi says

““O cum, all ye faithful…””

Yep, those spouting multiple universes with no proof whatsoever, are doing exactly that. Basing it on faith. I repeat, there are quite a number of parameters that have to be within an extreme tolerance. You can close your eyes and say there is no proof of a creator, therefore, that is not an option, but then you would also have to say that there is no proof whatsoever for multiple universes, therefore that is not an option either. There is one other possibility, and that is pure chance with one universe, but anyone knowing anything about probability would realize that the odds are impossibly slim.

226. janine says

Yep, those spouting multiple universes with no proof whatsoever, are doing exactly that. Basing it on faith.

Syfy, just because you do not understand the math does not mean that they are just basing it on faith.

Congratulations, “Agnostic”, you have just entered creationist territory.

227. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Basing it on faithUnsupported allegation. Citation needed fuckwit, as is has all along.

I repeat, there are quite a number of parameters that have to be within an extreme tolerance

Unsupported allegation, citation needed fuckwit, as it has been all along. This is science, not religion. You can close your eyes and say there is no proof of a creator, therefore, that is not an option, Saying there is no creator is always an option, since it doesn’t exist. You haven’t supplied the necessary background, like how your imaginary creator came to exist, with conclusive physical evidence for it. All you do is make unsupported allegations baed on presuppostion, like Shiloh the village idjit did. Where is your conclusive physcial evidence? It isn’t in the physcial constants, so tell us where to point our telescopes and what to look for.

228. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Dang, didn’t preview, so blockquote fail #236. Unlike total logic and science fail for scyfy for each and every post.

229. scifi says

“Saying there is no creator is always an option, since it doesn’t exist.”

Oh really? Ok, I am waiting with bated breath for your proof that a creator doesn’t exist.

230. scifi says

” I repeat, there are quite a number of parameters that have to be within an extreme tolerance

Unsupported allegation, citation needed fuckwit, as it has been all along. This is science, not religion. ”

I’m talking science here, not religion. I assume you have heard of the Anthropic Principle.

231. Matt Penfold says

Oh really? Ok, I am waiting with bated breath for your proof that a creator doesn’t exist.

Have you never heard of the null hypothesis ?

Unless and until evidence is produced that a creator does exist then the assumption must be it does not.

This is basic stuff. You are supposed to know this, so why don’t you ?

232. Brownian says

Sorry Brownian but I’m afraid that Davies has beaten you to the punch. Atheists are so quick to invoke Occam’s Razor when a creator is suggested. Brownian makes a good point here. But in the end, I will summarize the facts here. Number 1, my suggestion of a creator is speculation and I admit I have no proof. That said, your suggestion that all the extremely finely tuned parameters is possibly due to multiple universes is a good one as well, but, just as my suggestion that a creator may be required is speculation with no proof so is yours. The difference between you and me is that though you have no proof either, you wont own up to it.

The difference between you and me is that I have some inkling of what the words I use mean and the concepts I invoke entail.

233. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

Yep, those spouting multiple universes with no proof whatsoever, are doing exactly that.

Hmm. If one does not know the math inside and out then one cannot accept the word of those who do? And whose work can be checked? Interesting.

Okay, scifi, let me see you mathematical proof that a change, either way, of 1 millionth of a percent in the way gravity works would have made life impossible in this universe. Please show the math.

Or admit that you are holding others to different standards than that to which you hold yourself.

234. Brownian says

Yep, those spouting multiple universes with no proof whatsoever, are doing exactly that. Basing it on faith.

Look, you dumb asshole: if you’re not going to read what other people have written, then get the fuck out of here you fucking waste of skin.

235. Brownian says

And stop calling yourself an agnostic, you dishonest, lying sack of stupid.

236. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Oh really? Ok, I am waiting with bated breath for your proof that a creator doesn’t exist.

Sounding even more like Shiloh the village idjit. It was very big on proving that negative. Negatives can only be proven if they sufficiently well defined that they can be falsified. No typical definition of a creator is well enough defined that it can be falsified. More lies and bullshit by the presuppsitionalist.

I’m talking science here, not religion. I assume you have heard of the Anthropic Principle.

Nope, it is used wrongly by religionists like yourself, but not by scientists, who recognize it does nothing for your imaginary creator. Your deity doesn’t exist, no evidence for it, and you havn’t presented any real evidence for it. You have nothing but presuppositions, and we know that.

237. scifi says

“Unless and until evidence is produced that a creator does exist then the assumption must be it does not.”

In that case the same would hold true for multiple universes. Both are speculations, but null hypothesis doesn’t prove either one as false.

238. scifi says

“The difference between you and me is that I have some inkling of what the words I use mean and the concepts I invoke entail.”

Brownian, don’t flatter your self because you are so full of it your eyes are brown. Hmmm, seems to fit your name.

239. Matt Penfold says

In that case the same would hold true for multiple universes. Both are speculations, but null hypothesis doesn’t prove either one as false.

It does. You really are not very good at this are you ?

I note you could not explain your ignorance, not did you have the decency to apologise for inflicting it on us. Not a good attitude.

240. scifi says

“Negatives can only be proven if they sufficiently well defined that they can be falsified.”

If you feel you cannot prove a negative, then why are you making the assumption and statement that a creator DOESN’T exist? In that case, instead show me proof for multiple universes.

241. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

In that case the same would hold true for multiple universes. Both are speculations, but null hypothesis doesn’t prove either one as false.

No, the same does not hold true for multiple universes. Yes, they are a hypotheosis. A possibility. Some of the mathematics exporing the universe at the beginning seems to point in that direction. They may be a mathematical construct, but there is at least an inkling of evidence showing that multiple universes might exist. Which is an infinite amount of evidence more than that showing the existence of god. Or gods. Or an intelligent creator. Or an intelligent designer.

242. scifi:

Yep, those spouting multiple universes with no proof whatsoever, are doing exactly that. Basing it on faith. I repeat, there are quite a number of parameters that have to be within an extreme tolerance.

Which parameters would those be? What would the universe look like if those parameters were varied? I don’t mean one at a time. I mean all at once. In the entire multi-dimensional problem-space of potential variables, what is the ratio of interesting universes to uninteresting universes?

Second, just as various infinities are different, there’re different kinds of lack of proofs. I have lack of proof of a single-horned horse. I also have lack of proof of ghosts. Those are two wildly different lacks.

243. John Phillips, FCD says

syfy, the problem for you is that as we already have one universe we know of, i.e. ours, thus a multiverse theory need only hypothesise about variations on a theme. However, when you add your creator into the mix, there is nothing to base that speculation on, i.e. we have not even one extant god to base our speculation on. And that is without the problem of introducing something infinitely more complex, i.e. your creator, into the mix. So again, by Occams’s razor, we go with the speculation that requires the fewest assumptions. Your creator doesn’t come close to meeting that requirement.

Now, as it happens, there are of course limits on what we know and only so far speculation can take us. Though saying that, there is possibly some weak evidence for the multiverse theory in the CMB, which if confirmed, takes us back a bit further yet and could confirm some of the maths behind the multiverse thery. Though I will be the first to admit that it is very early days yet and until then, I am quite happy to say that I don’t know. However, even saying that, we are still working from actual knowledge and observation and not just some loose speculation about an incredibly more complex creator, or is it turtles all the way down.

And as to your ‘if any of the variables were different’ argument, like somone up thread suggested, read up on Victor Stenger’s work and have a play with his online model. It actually allows you to tweak the various parameters and, surprise, surprise, the ones in our universe are not the only ones that lead to viable universes.

244. janine says

Oh really? Ok, I am waiting with bated breath for your proof that a creator doesn’t exist.

You really are not very good at this logic thing, “agnostic”. The burden is upon you to prove a creator.

245. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

If you feel you cannot prove a negative, then why are you making the assumption and statement that a creator DOESN’T exist?

Fuckwit, there is no positive evidence for your imaginary deity. Hence the blanket statement. DUH, any non-presuppositionalist knows that. What’s your exuse for such abject stupidity?

246. Brownian says

That said, your suggestion that all the extremely finely tuned parameters is possibly due to multiple universes is a good one as well

Are you illiterate, or just stupid? First of all, we’ve no evidence for ‘finely tuned parameters’, so your continued insistence on using the term is pure, self-serving dishonest faith in a creator. Unless you can demonstrate these terms, stop using them, lying asshole.

Secondly, did you notice the part where I talked about probibility, not actual universese? Clearly you didn’t, so maybe have an adult read my comments to you then, dumbass. When you’ve found a non-stupid adult willing to read to you rather than slapping your face for your dishonesty, have them consider this:

I roll a six-sided die. It comes up six. Now, we’re at a quandary. Is the six I’ve rolled a result of probability, or of the teleological actions of a deity? Frankly, we cannot know. However, the only way to describe the likelihood of such a roll is to invoke probability, which necessitates that we consider a theoretical space in which different outcomes have different likelihoods. If we don’t do that, then we cannot talk about likelihood.

Do you get that? I’ve written it a number of times, but you seem unable to understand it, hence my repetition. But this is an important concept.

You see, the only way you can ask “Why six? Why not five, four, three, two or one?” is to assume a probability space in which those other outcomes are theoretically possible. It’s only then that you can do a little figuring, and realise that the likelihood of rolling a six is $\frac{1}{6}$

Note that we have not yet invoked other actual rolls of a die. We’ve just assumed that they are possible. Again, if we do not assume so, then we lose the ability to talk about likelihood, and you can’t say “finely tuned” anymore.

But now that we’ve done so, so that we’re able to talk about the likelihood of the universe being the way it is and not some other way, we’ve run into a sort of solopsistic issue.

The problem of solopsism states that it’s not possible to prove that you’re not just a very obnoxious and annoying figment of my imagination; an illusion; made up sensory input fed directly to my brain which is sitting in a vat. Of course, there’s also no reason to actually think this is the case, but it’s not provable either way. Assuming I’m not a brain in a vat being fed bullshit, I seem to think I have evidence that there are other actual people with other minds, but again, it could all be a trick of my singular perspective.

Well, we’ve encountered a similar problem with the universe. We’ve had to invoke probability in order to likelihood of the universe being the way it is and not some other way, and that means assuming the multiverse: a theoretical probability space in which universes with different physical characteristics could potentially exist. (Remember: this is the thing you and Davies invoke by appealing to probability and fine-tuning: if you don’t want to invoke the multiverse, you need to stop referring to fine-tuning or the anthropic principle.) Again, there is no proof that other universes actually exist, just as there is no proof that other people and their minds actually exist. Similarly, there is no reason to assume that other minds or universes or rolls of a die don’t exist: we already know of one universe and one ‘mind’ and one roll of a die, so it’s not a multiplaction of entities (and therefore does not violate Occam’s razor) to assume that they do.

Note that this is not the case for a deity: we have no examples of an extant deity (and wailing that you can’t even imagine such a deity doesn’t solve this issue), so to invoke one out of nothing does violate Occam’s razor.

So again, the problem is yours: you cannot claim the appearance of fine-tuning (assuming the appearance even exists and is not an artifact of bias) without appealing to probability which then invokes a multiverse—remember, the multiverse is the theoretical existence of other possible universes, not necessarily actual universes themselves, much like the probability of a die roll refers to possible theoretical die rolls, not necessarily actual die rolls themselves.

And at this point, I’m not writing this for you: you’re an idiot who’s glommed on to someone else’s argument, are incapable of even comprehending that argument and it’s flaws, and you’re unwilling to learn anything new. I’m writing this for the benefit of others who actually are interested in discussing this issue. The only thing I have to say to you is fuck off.

247. Brownian says

Second, just as various infinities are different, there’re different kinds of lack of proofs. I have lack of proof of a single-horned horse. I also have lack of proof of ghosts. Those are two wildly different lacks.

Did you get this part of nigel’s comment, scifi?

Read it again. This is another important concept that is necessary for you to understand before you can take part in this kind of conversation.

248. Brownian says

Brownian, don’t flatter your self because you are so full of it your eyes are brown.

Oh, gee. Another tired, worn cliché from you. What are the odds?

Hmmm, seems to fit your name.

I am unsurprised that the reference to a stochastic, probabilistic process escaped you.

249. Brownian says

So, is the fucking idiot scouring Paul Davies’ websites for a response shklee can cut ‘n’ paste, or will we have to hear again how shklee misunderstands Occam’s razor and probability?

250. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

So, is the fucking idiot scouring Paul Davies’ websites for a response shklee can cut ‘n’ paste, or will we have to hear again how shklee misunderstands Occam’s razor and probability?

Maybe both? Not at the same time, of course, but the alternatives presented are not mutually exclusive.

251. Brownian, #258:

I suspect scifi is busily constructing a beautiful straw argument with decorative touches of appeal to authority, and a colorful splash of not-getting-it. He’s like the Martha Stewart of logic failure.

252. Antiochus Epiphanes says

It’s kind of fun to conceptualize deities that don’t defy Occam’s Razor.
Kneel before the man in the Sasquatch Costume!

253. Brownian says

I suspect scifi is busily constructing a beautiful straw argument with decorative touches of appeal to authority, and a colorful splash of not-getting-it. He’s like the Martha Stewart of logic failure.

I don’t know. There’s utility and style in Martha Stewart’s creations.

A better analogy for scifi would be a skipping record, since it repeats itself until you want to hit it to get it to move on.

254. All intelligent beings we have seen are t5he result of multiple independent units working together to generate a mind. Basically a mind has a lot of moveable parts. It is inherently complex. From all induction a god would have to be made up of numerous individual modules akin to neurons that are used to codify and generate intelligence.

Furthermore all intelligence we have seen are the result of natural selection for the purpose of problem solving..any creature that is omnipotent would have no problems every faced and thus could have no intelligence as we know it.

Intelligent design presents an origin that requires either a phenomina never seen before or a being of incredible complexity.

Thus Occams razor it is a huge assumption that we should not jump to

255. Brownian says

Thus Occams razor it is a huge assumption that we should not jump to

To put this in scifi’s terms, I cannot be sure that this cut-off sentence was the result of a typo on Ing’s part or an issue with FtB’s commenting system, but I also don’t know that it isn’t the result of some sort of god with unimaginable powers and characteristics and since me and Paul Davies wish that to be the case, I am an agnostic.

256. Its a result of Ing not being able to edit posts well on a phone :P

257. Brownian says

Its a result of Ing not being able to edit posts well on a phone :P

But, I have that problem. Assuming that a potentially infinite number of someone elses do too violates Occam’s razor. It’s much simpler to say ‘Goddidit’, therefore I agnostically believe in a creator deity.

Don’t ask me to describe it—that would be beyond the capacity of any human alive—but despite its unimaginable complexity, it’s the simpler explanation, since it uses fewer words.

258. Antiochus Epiphanes says

… it’s the simpler explanation, since it uses fewer words.

Occam’s toothbrush.

259. Therrin says

I thought the Candlejack meme had jumped thre

260. You know it always seemed like a reasonable hypothesis to me was that spontaneous generation of existence was possible and inevitable.

Ontological inertia and the laws of conservation of matter/energy are properties of extant mater. If we say that Nothing lacks the properties of Something than it may lack ontological inertia/causality. Meaning that it’s quite possible for it to spontaneously generate stuff until it generates something that has said inertia and thus you have a singularity as once that property is established you can no longer back track to Nothing.

Is that at all similar to what I’ve heard some physicists say of “Nothing is inherently unstable due to having infinite symmetry.”?

261. scifi says

John Phillips, FCD,
“the problem for you is that as we already have one universe we know of, i.e. ours, thus a multiverse theory need only hypothesise about variations on a theme. ”

That really isn’t a bad point. A few questions come to mind, however. As the Quantum Mechanic theory goes, when there is nothing there is instability which results in matter appearing out of this nothingness. However, once we have one universe, we no longer have nothing, so if there is no longer nothing, wouldn’t this instability be eliminated. But let’s go back to before matter popped out of nothing way before any universe was created due to nothing causing instability based on the laws of quantum mechanics. Can we really say that quantum mechanics or any other law of physics would be in effect before anything exists? In that case, it would appear that a creator would then be required.

“Though I will be the first to admit that it is very early days yet and until then, I am quite happy to say that I don’t know. However, even saying that, we are still working from actual knowledge and observation and not just some loose speculation about an incredibly more complex creator”

I understand that and I realize that many things that were believed to be caused by a god like Ra pulling the flaming chariot across the sky to explain the sun, ultimately a natural explanation has been determined, that does not mean that a creator shouldn’t be at least considered. Adds more complication? Maybe, but matter appearing from nothing and expanding into a universe, with many parameters within the required extremely narrow range, by itself by chance is also a stretch as well. BTW, I listened to Victor Stenger debating William Lane Craig and though I agree with him that the Christian god and the Muslim god are man-made, he actually stated he could not completely rule out a god. He mentioned that some changes to parameters could result in different life like silicon base which Craig took him to task that silicon could not garner life, and he actually backed off on it and suggested something else, though didn’t say what. What he failed to address was those parameters such as gravity or weak nuclear force which only a hair off would result in no planets and stars being formed and no life of any kind. Oh, one other thing, Stenger seems to deviate from Hawkings and others who believe that matter came from nothing and expanded into the big bang. Stenger seems to believe that our universe was always here.

“we are still working from actual knowledge and observation and not just some loose speculation about an incredibly more complex creator, or is it turtles all the way down.”

Oh, definitely turtles all the way down. LOL! Seriously, I wish there was some way to go back in time and to determine what happened. Maybe science will eventually find a way to obtain an answer. Until then, we can only speculate. I’ve given you my reasoning for a creator, but at the same time, I admit that your explanation could be the right one. At least,you and, I quickly add, me, both are willing to say “we don’t know.” Too many on this board, though they cannot prove it, think they know the answer without a doubt and are not willing to admit that they really don’t know.

262. John Morales says

scifi:

… that does not mean that a creator shouldn’t be at least considered. Adds more complication? Maybe, but matter appearing from nothing and expanding into a universe, with many parameters within the required extremely narrow range, by itself by chance is also a stretch as well.

Now you have to explain both this putative creator and its putative creation — or do ya think goddiddit is explanatory?* :)

(And why is this putative creator singular? Why ain’t it a committee?)

* It’s about as explanatory as “just because”.

263. John Morales says

scifi:

Too many on this board, though they cannot prove it, think they know the answer without a doubt and are not willing to admit that they really don’t know.

I call rhetorical bullshit.

Care to name names?

(Hell, care to name but one name?)

264. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Still no solid and conclusive physical evidence by the proven liar and bullshitter SyFy that it’s imaginary deity/creator/designer really exists. Until said evidence is provided, the null hypothesis of non-existence is the by-word. Sad, but typical case of presupposition. Can’t put up, and can’t shut the fuck up like a person of honesty and integrity would. Pitiful.

265. scifi says

John Morales,
“Care to name names?

(Hell, care to name but one name?)”

Easy. Nerd of Redhead and Browning.

266. John Morales says

scifi:

Easy. Nerd of Redhead and Browning.

I put it to you that you are wrong and that they’ve never claimed to “know the answer without a doubt”.

(Care to try to sustain your claim?)

267. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

I’ve given you my unreasoning for a creator,

Fixed that for you. There is no reasoning for a creator. Only presupposition for one. Until you have conclusive physical evidence for one, there is no solid argument for one. And speculation is used by mental masturbators to decide how many unicorns can sit on the head of a pin. Reality, separates the real thinkers from the bullshitters like SyFy.

268. says

Easy. Nerd of Redhead and Browning.

So easy you only fucked up half the names you listed.

269. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Note to lurkers. Syfy thinks his imaginary creator is philosophical construct, and can be proven by sophistry. What he is claiming is an actual physical being who should have left it’s detectable imprint upon the cosmos in more than just the (allegedly fine structure), and it is up up to Syfy to define said creator so it can be properly falsified. By not even defining the creator and it’s properties, Syfy is essentially saying his being is philosophical, and tacitly acknowledges it isn’t real. Science doesn’t deal with philosophy. But philosophy must deal with reality of science. And he refuses to do that.

270. John Morales says

[meta]

Nerd,

so it can be properly falsified

Sloppy, for a scientist.

I’m pretty sure what you meant to express is “so it can be properly falsifiable”.

(But then, I’m better at language, and you’re better at science. :) )

271. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

(But then, I’m better at language, and you’re better at science. :) )

I won’t argue that point.;)

272. consciousness razor says

But let’s go back to before matter popped out of nothing way before any universe was created due to nothing causing instability based on the laws of quantum mechanics.

Let’s imagine a time before the existence of time and a location outside of space. Well it clearly wouldn’t make any sense to do that, much like a disembodied intelligence doesn’t make any sense.

Oh, one other thing, Stenger seems to deviate from Hawkings and others who believe that matter came from nothing and expanded into the big bang. Stenger seems to believe that our universe was always here.

It isn’t simply matter which expanded into that state. The big bang wasn’t like an explosion, because it involved the expansion of spacetime as well. I don’t know enough about Stenger’s work to know what differences there may be, except to say that Hawking has proposed a singularity, like what a black whole is supposed to be, and some don’t think that idea works.

In any case, your ignorance is showing: no knowledge of physics, deities, fine tuning, or the extent of your own ignorance. Just like everyone else who has ever made a fine-tuning argument.

273. scifi says

How’s this for irony?
Ockham devised a “principle of economy” known as “Ockham’s razor,” which relied for its effect on disposing of unnecessary assumptions and accepting the first sufficient explanation or cause. Here is the irony. Ockham anticipated the coming of true science when he agreed that it was possible to know the nature of “created” things without any reference to their “creator.” He stated that it cannot be strictly proved that god, if defined as a being who possesses the qualities of supremacy, perfection, uniqueness, and infinity, exists at all. However, if one intends to identify a first cause of the existence of the world, one may choose to call that “god” even if one does not know the precise nature of the first cause.

274. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

However, if one intends to identify a first cause of the existence of the world, one may choose to call that “god” even if one does not know the precise nature of the first cause.

Sophistry, just like the rest of your “argument”. Where is your solid and conclusive physical evidence??? I see nothing presented by Syfy, simply excuses…The conclusion is obvious…He has no evidence, and should shut the fuck up if it is a person of honor and integrity…evidently not, just another presuppositional liar and bullshitter.

275. scifi says

consciousness razor,
“It isn’t simply matter which expanded into that state. The big bang wasn’t like an explosion, because it involved the expansion of spacetime as well.”

I already stated this. I said expanded, not exploded. I’m quite aware of this. It was something like a balloon being inflated.

I think the real ignorance is those here who try to ignore the fact that there are parameters that have to be within an extremely narrow range or no life of any kind could come about. Even Hawkings mentions these narrow requirements.

276. consciousness razor says

However, if one intends to identify a first cause of the existence of the world, one may choose to call that “god” even if one does not know the precise nature of the first cause.

You can call it “my hairy ass” too if you want; but that doesn’t make it intelligent, benevolent, or powerful. That doesn’t even get you to the point where you know that this alleged thing you’re calling “my hairy ass” even exists. You could be talking about a physical phenomenon or nonsensical gibberish or any combination thereof. There’s no way to turn that into a valid explanation, since part of your own claim is that the term “god” doesn’t mean anything. I don’t give a shit if you insist on complete vacuousness or which impossible properties you decide to give it. However you slice it, it’s completely fucked as a legitimate concept.

277. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

I think the real ignorance is those here who try to ignore the fact that there are parameters that have to be within an extremely narrow range or no life of any kind could come about.

No, the problem here is with presuppositionalists like yourself who must pretend without evidence that their imaginary deity fits in that small gap. Where is your evidence??? Your scientific evidence isn’t in that close range. It is your excuse to positing your imaginary deity, and everybody here knows that. Which is why you are failing big time. Conclusive physical evidence, like an eternally burning bush…put up or shut the fuck up. Welcome to science, where evidence, not bullshit, reigns.

278. consciousness razor says

I already stated this. I said expanded, not exploded. I’m quite aware of this.

You referred only to matter:

matter came from nothing and expanded into the big bang.

By the way, as I understand it, “nothing” in this context means a quantum field, which probably isn’t what you would mean in ordinary language.

I think the real ignorance is those here who try to ignore the fact that there are parameters that have to be within an extremely narrow range or no life of any kind could come about.

That isn’t a fact but an assertion, and it isn’t being ignored. I and others have addressed it above. You haven’t given an adequate response, which isn’t surprising.

Even Hawkings [sic] mentions these narrow requirements.

Citation needed. Hawking may have been talking about life as we know it and only known physical parameters, based on the assumption that they could independently be different; but if you’re going to shift the terms around to distort the issue however you like, perhaps he was talking about invisible pink unicorns. Who knows?

279. John Morales says

scifi:

Even Hawkings [sic] mentions these narrow requirements.

So, you go by his authority?

Then thou art hoist by thine own petard:

Far from being a once-in-a-million event that could only be accounted for by extraordinary serendipity or a divine hand, the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, Hawking says. “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist,” he writes.

“It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going,” he finds…

280. Brownian says

Easy. Nerd of Redhead and Browning.

Jesus Christ, but you’re a stupid, lying fuck. As I said before, if you’re incapable of reading and comprehending my comments, then don’t, you dishonest, cherry-picking piece of shit.

281. Brownian says

Too many on this board, though they cannot prove it, think they know the answer without a doubt and are not willing to admit that they really don’t know.

Honestly, is this fucking waste of skin infuckingcapable of comprehending that a probability distribution, necessitated by any invocation of the concept of likelihood, probability, or chance (which is exactly what the concept of ‘fine-tuning’ does) is not the same as actual, observed outcomes?

YOU invoke a theoretical probility distribution for which we have no evidence every time you use the term ‘fine-tuning’, you stupid asshole. YOU. I’m not claiming that we have evidence for such; I’m telling you that it’s a mathematical necessity for YOU to even open your mouth and use the words ‘fine-tuning’, you miserable idiot.

Don’t you ever try to fucking put words in my mouth again.

282. Antiochus Epiphanes says

[semi-OT]
I’m about ¾ through Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing and much of this shit is explained eloquently. It is concise yet highly readable for the layperson. I recommend it unflinchingly.
[/semi-OT]

“Browning”

*facedesk*

283. Brownian says

“Browning”

*facedesk*

To be fair, others have been referring to scifi as syfy (like the channel’s new name.)

I haven’t, but it’s hardly appropriate to call shklim out for doing what others have done (even if I have, in this very thread, linked to the inspiration for my ‘nym.)

284. Weed Monkey says

[semi-OT]
I’m about ¾ through Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing and much of this shit is explained eloquently. It is concise yet highly readable for the layperson. I recommend it unflinchingly.

A Universe From Nothing – I keep that one in my bookmarks. Highly recommended for everyone.

285. scifi says

John Morales,
“the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics”

The question is where did the laws of physics come from.

286. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

The question is where did the laws of physics come from.

Not from your unevidenced imaginary creator!!! As any semi-intelligent fool would know. What’s your explanation (there is no excuse) for your ignorance?

287. scifi says

Antiochus Epiphanes,
“I’m about ¾ through Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing and much of this shit is explained eloquently.”

Cool! That is the next book I plan to read, in fact it is on my shelf, after I complete Christopher Hitchen’s book God is not Great. To balance Krauss’ book out you should also read The Mind of God by Paul Davies.

288. Weed Monkey says

The question is where did the laws of physics come from.

We don’t know.

There are some hypothesis, and the one with a deity is not the one that explains most.

289. scifi says

“Not from your unevidenced imaginary creator!!!”

I didn’t ask you where the laws of physics do not come from. I asked where they come from. Stop side stepping the question. All I get from you is not a creator, but you provide no alternative answers. All you can say is that I have no evidence, but you don’t have evidence for a natural means either. Why don’t you just admit it that you don’t know and leave it at that.

290. Antiochus Epiphanes says

The question is where did the laws of physics come from.

1. This doesn’t seem to be empirically ascertainable.
2. Also, this kind of argument is often used as a plodding step in a regress ultimate leading to “must have been God”. I’d just as soon represent that kind of god honestly by saying who the fuck knows, because that concept of god is indistinguishable from my concept of hopeless ignorance.

To balance Krauss’ book out you should also read The Mind of God by Paul Davies.

I did sometime in the mid-90s, and I even owned it. I don’t remember being all that impressed, but my memory of that book is hazy*.
*Lots of my memories from the mid-90s are kind of hazy. Good times.

291. scifi says

Weed Monkey,
“We don’t know.

There are some hypothesis, and the one with a deity is not the one that explains most.”

Thank you for your honesty. You are right we don’t know. Paul Davies in his book, The Mind of God, he states that he feels that multiple universes are less likely than a creator. I tend to agree, but, like you, I admit I don’t know and my belief that it could be due to a creator could be wrong, but so could the belief that it was multiple universes instead. That said, I understand the scientific mind set that natural means should be looked for first. Yet, there are scientists out there that still feel that a creator was necessary as the first cause.

292. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

I asked where they come from. Stop side stepping the question.

I did answer your inane and presupppositional question (the fallacious presupposition that something was created, ergo a creator is required), by pointing out the lack of evidence for your presupposed and imaginary deity/creator. There doesn’t need to be any creator, for either the universe, or the laws of physics, which are descriptive of the universe. They would be there without your imaginary creator.

Now, where the fuck is your solid and conclusive physical evidence for said creator, like an eternally burning bush or equivalent? Why do you avoid said evidence like the plague? Perhaps because we both know you don’t have any?

293. Weed Monkey says

scifi, don’t mangle my saying “we don’t know” as an admission that “it’s unknowable” or “it’s beyond our understanding, therefore God”.

We simply don’t know, at least yet. And you seem to need a reminder: the deity hypothesis doesn’t explain much.

294. I don’t believe Syfy read a single book he listed other than Mind of God.

295. Why are agnostics so married to the idea of Yahweh?

And why do they always ignore questions. Concerning their presumptions and highly western ethnocentric veiw?

296. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

I don’t believe Syfy read a single book he listed other than Mind of God.

How can god have a mind if it doesn’t exist? We know it can’t, but Syfy doesn’t.

297. Brownian says

Why are agnostics so married to the idea of Yahweh?
And why do they always ignore questions. Concerning their presumptions and highly western ethnocentric veiw?

It’s related to their complete lack of awareness. Like when they insist that “nobody really knows” but go on to use terms like “extremely finely-tuned” without any qualifiers, since nobody really knows what would happen in a different universe with different parameters.

298. scifi says

Why do deadheads hang around this board? I already stated that I don’t believe in any religions, that they are man-made, but the local village idiot insists that I believe in Yahweh. He also is a patronizing sack of shit who, in reality doesn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground. You got a a person who claims to be a scientist, but who is nothing but a wally one note “A god doesn’t exist, it is imaginary”, but when I try to put his feet to the fire and ask what then is the answer, I get back it isn’t a god. I didn’t ask that. And no, you never answered the question, and I have yet to see any evidence that your claim to be a scientist is anything but imaginary. I’m sorry, but your brains are a wasteland.

299. Why do deadheads hang around this board? … I’m sorry, but your brains are a wasteland.

I will get by.

300. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

I already stated that I don’t believe in any religions, that they are man-made, but the local village idiot insists that I believe in Yahweh

Why should we see a proven liar and bullshitter such as yourself as a truthteller? You are pushing for an imaginary deity/creator. That is a religious opinion being expressed. Now, given that reality, why should we believe a word you say? I don’t and won’t. Too many lies and misunderstandings on your part that don’t come from real thinking.

You got a a person who claims to be a scientist, but who is nothing but a wally one note “A god doesn’t exist, it is imaginary”, but when I try to put his feet to the fire and ask what then is the answer, I get back it isn’t a god. I didn’t ask that.

No, you asked a typical loaded religious question, and I gave the answer you didn’t like, because it is true. You haven’t shown any evidence for your imaginary deity/creator, and until you demonstrate said conclusive physical evidence, it doesn’t exist. Welcome to science. Oh, my disseration in a science is found at Dissertation Abstracts. It’s been there a while. Where is your dissertation, if any, published?

I’m sorry, but your brains are a wasteland.

Typical stupid troll describing themselves in a vain attmpt to insult one of us. Your brain is the wasteland Syfy, since it fails to understand the concept of presuppositional arguments, which is all you have presented to date. Presuppositional arguments can’t be used to convince anybody, except yourself, but especially those who can see through them like we do here, of anything. You should just give up your futile and stupid efforts, and fade into the bandwidth.

301. Brownian says

I will get by.

Oh, snap.

302. Oh, snap.

Gotcha! Don’t worry, got myself with that, too. I’ve listened to it twice and it’s still stuck in there. I’m going to have to go jar it loose with something else. I’m thinking some Skindred should help clear it out.

303. consciousness razor says

I already stated that I don’t believe in any religions, that they are man-made,

Religions are man-made, therefore they exist, therefore you’d be a fool not to believe in religions. There’s no need to contradict yourself. If you believe in religious entities like a deity, and your belief is in fact made by you (a human), then your religious belief is by definition a religion, even if you are its only adherent. That you’d like to set yourself above the fray (of every other religious believer who has ever been) doesn’t make it so. In other words, if you do believe, stop kidding yourself; just go ahead and admit it.

when I try to put his feet to the fire and ask what then is the answer, I get back it isn’t a god. I didn’t ask that.

The answer is that we don’t know why shit exists. That “we” includes you and everyone else. Happy? Kind of a tough question, don’t you think?

We are slowly making progress, though: part of the answer is that the likelihood that everything was created by a supernatural being, assuming one is even possible (because we don’t know it is), is next to zero. And I don’t mean the chances are one-in-a-hundred or a one-in-a-million. No, it’s much, much, much, much, much …. [gasps for breath] much, much worse than that, so for all intents and purposes it is zero.

Don’t mind me, I’m just going to place these links here: Ex Nihilo Onus Merdae Fit and The God Impossible

304. scifi says

consciousness razor,
“The answer is that we don’t know why shit exists. That “we” includes you and everyone else. Happy? Kind of a tough question, don’t you think?

We are slowly making progress, though: part of the answer is that the likelihood that everything was created by a supernatural being, assuming one is even possible (because we don’t know it is), is next to zero”

Am I happy? Only that at least you admit you don’t know. I don’t know either, but I can reason why a creator could be possible. From what you say above, you disagree. Seems a bit inconsistent. You admit not knowing, but you know there isn’t a creator. If you don’t know what the first cause is, then it only makes sense that you cannot be as certain as you claim that the possibility of a creator is next to zero. In the case of arguing that Christianity is false, I can show hard facts to back my beliefs up. In your case, you cannot.