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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

My shirt is real; and, the adventures of Columbus and Magellan

Stephen Hawking came out this week and basically said that the rules of physics are such that the universe did not need a God to get it started.
I do respect the mind of Prof. Hawking in many things. But I think he should consider my shirt.
When you look at it from a distance, you can see the designs and patterns on it. You get a picture of its existence and functionality. As you look closer, you can see the weave of the fabric, the interrelationships that make it up. You can see the buttons/snaps/zippers that hold certain areas together. You can note the separate threads that seam it in, keeping it in the form that I am accustomed to. You realize that these threads are like the laws that maintain its cohesion, that make it a shirt and not a random pile of fabric. Looking even deeper, you can see the different materials, the animal, vegetable, and chemical fibers that make up even the almost indistinguishable weave.

I get the big bang, I really have no problem with physics that far. But here's where I have a trouble: where does time start? Either it is eternally ongoing, or it started with the bang. If it is ongoing, that would explain and verify the theory that the big bang happens over and over again. Existence is continually re-writing itself at the urging of time. In effect, time becomes a "god". But isn't time just a part of the fabric of space/time, just points on an imaginary graph, manipulating and manipulated by speed and distance? So, say time is a "god", but timelines have a beginning and end, and you're faced with the question how did time begin?
On the other hand, say time "started" with the bang. Then you are faced with the concept that, in essence, "nothing" exploded and formed existence from an eternal void.

Genesis 1
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

On the other hand, if you say, "No, there was obviously something before," then you have taken the discounting of God from the table, whether your concept of Him is Jehovah, or Allah, or the Tao, or a manifestation of time.

Professor Hawking, consider my shirt. All the wonderful things I described are the way we see our universe. And yet, I never say my shirt made itself. Even though I've never seen the sewers, the fabric cutters, the millers, the machine mechanics, or the someone who gives the order for it to be made, I have ample evidence that they exist. The seams, buttons, and zippers cannot tell me that it made itself.

Now I know that there are those out there that will tell me my reasoning is flawed because of X, that my connection is spurious, etc., etc. But what I do Know is, my shirt is real- and it didn't make itself.


Scrappy and I decided to delve into the mystery of the green hole this morning. It took a fight to keep Mr. Boy from a) pulling me into the slime on the way down, and b) keeping him from charging straight into it. What we found invalidated my earlier theory- there is NO connection to the hole and the river. And whatever connection there might have been to the stream that comes across from Woodbridge is long, long gone. It is just a big circle, several inches full of slimy green water, all by itself with no apparent feed. And it stinks!
We ascended the bowl from the inside and found we were mere feet from river's edge. We went to what we had thought was the stream, but was actually an interconnected line of low swampy spots. So I decided to get out of that mess and go back to where the stream does its dive into the jungle and see if it, at least, made it that far.
The answer was no. By the time it enters the trees, the stream is a stone filled bed that weaves its way about a third of the way to where we came out before; then the rocks stop, and the bed ends in a three foot high ridge. No way does water go from the stream to the hole, unless we flood. So, we ended our exploration with a better understanding of hole geography, several minute green burrs each, and (stuck to me somehow) an address label that reads," Ridgewood, 20-12 Madison Street, Ridgewood, NY, 11385".


  1. Lol, of course I have to comment on this post.

    Hmmm....Where to start?

    Alright, let's tackle the shirt.
    You say that you know that your shirt had a creator even though you didn't see someone make it, because it was obviously designed.
    This statement uses educational experience (You have been taught that people make shirts) to perform inductive reasoning (You skip logical steps that aren't needed so that you can reach a conclusion more quickly)

    Inductive reasoning causes people to run into a lot of problems when they start using it in place of deductive reasoning. I understand that inductive reasoning is beneficial because it allows people to achieve an answer without a lengthy process, but it should not be relied upon for everything.

    It's fine to say that your shirt had a creator, because you have educational knowledge that your shirt was manufactured. Saying that the universe has a creator because it looks like it was designed doesn't fit. You could logically say that the universe "might" have a creator because it looks like it was designed, but without previous knowledge of a creator absolute certainty is illogical.

    Let me give you an example of the fault of inductive reasoning.
    Ex. This water is salty, therefore all water is salty.
    Ex. That person looks uncomfortable, therefore that person is uncomfortable.

    See the problem.
    You're saying
    This shirt that looks designed had a creator, therefore everything that looks designed has a creator.

    The above statement might be true, but the above statement doesn't prove it's self to be true.

    I was going to type more, but I think I'll wait to see a response before I add more

  2. See the problem.
    You're saying
    This shirt that looks designed had a creator, therefore everything that looks designed has a creator.

    Actually, I'm saying that anyone who isn't busy disproving the existance of God to the point that the tree is lost in the forest will say, "the shirt did not make itself." Because nothing in this universe makes itself. Puppies don't appear spontaneously. Nor do blades of grass, continents, or stars. Everything forms from something, so to me its illogical to get to the point of where God might just be the answert and THEN say, oh, it must have made itself.
    I don't need knowledge that the shirt had a manufacturer. Despite what you might surmise, I gave up believing things really pop up out of nowhere fairly early in life.

  3. You are mistaken in the idea that I'm trying to disprove the existence of God. That would be impossible. You can't prove a negative, nor is it my responsibility to. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Claiming that god doesn't exist isn't an extraordinary claim. In fact it's the simplest answer, and Occam's Razor states that given two answers to a problem both with equal probability of being true then the simplest answer is preferred. It is the responsibility of the person claiming the existence of god to prove to me his existence.

    To me, believing in something that you haven't taken the time to prove is lazy and idiotic. If a god does exist then he made us rational creatures. For that same god to then tell us to believe in him with no evidence and to disregard our rational nature is both cruel and illogical.

    If you can give me one piece of concrete evidence proving the existence of god then I'll believe in him, but a god that expects me to worship him based on faith alone is a god that I don't want to worship in the first place, because that god has not earned my worship.

    You are correct in saying that you don't need knowledge that the shirt had a manufacturer, but you do need knowledge that shirts in general are manufactured.

    If you never knew that shirts were manufactured by people and you just assumed that there were, then while you would be correct in your conclusion you would be correct in your logic in coming up with that conclusion. This is the problem of inductive reasoning. While you may come up with the correct answer through inductive reasoning, you also run the risk of coming up with the wrong answer and never realizing it.

  4. Point #1: Here's an earlier quote from you:

    Also I would like to point out that you called me an "Activist Against God". This is close, but not quite accurate. As a Athiest I am a "Activist Against Religion". Just as Christian try to convert people to Christianity, I try to teach people about Athiestism. By giving notice to Christianity I'm implying that it is correct, just that the religion itself exist.

    To me, it would seem that this and "trying to disprove god" goes hand in hand, but this comes from our differing perspective.
    Point #2, again quoting:

    To me, believing in something that you haven't taken the time to prove is lazy and idiotic. If a god does exist then he made us rational creatures. For that same god to then tell us to believe in him with no evidence and to disregard our rational nature is both cruel and illogical.

    The reason we disagree is based on our difference in this statement. In my faith, God did not want to create robots that would be helplessly subserviant to Him. Therefore He gave us free will, which would be useless if we were not also given a choice of whether to choose Him or not.(A free will + only one choice brings us back to robot stage.) Therefore, He shows Himself through personal revelation and nature, so that people like yourself can dispute His existence and people like myself can seek and find Him. That is the idea behind His requiring faith. What He is requiring is my choice to follow Him. If He comes out and gives imperical evidence as you ask for, then what faith is that? You would be that robot, believing because you have no choice. He asks for worship, not slavishness. That cannot be achieved by the kind of god you require. This point also says that that in which you call me "lazy and idiotic" is actually what God loves me the most for.

    Point #3: How many times did Kirk and McCoy tell Spock, "Damn your cold logic?" Spock becomes a better and more effective officer and person when he steps out occasionally from the temple of logic and looks at a different world.

    Point # 4: No, I don't need knowledge that shirts in general are manufactured. The point is that I know that nothing comes from nothing, everything is made from raw material blended together, whether that material be cotton and rayon or bosons and dark matter.

    Point # 5: again, I quote:
    but a god that expects me to worship him based on faith alone is a god that I don't want to worship in the first place, because that god has not earned my worship.
    By definition, a god does not "earn the worship" of mortals, he requires it. Nobody runs for "god", god is not an elected position. Now, I know you'll say something along the lines of "but you elect to worship a particular god." And here I'll agree with you- any god you pick and choose to worship as if buying a cantaloupe at wal-mart is not worth worship. The one I worship revealed Himself to me.

    Hope you had a good Labor day, glad to hear you made your grades.

  5. I hope that you had a good labor day, and thank you for the comment about my grades.

    Now to get back to the topic at hand.
    I like it when we start posting thing with bullet points, it makes it a lot easier to organize.

    Point one.
    I am a activist against religion, but that doesn't mean that I'm trying to disprove god. I just don't believe that someone should base their life around unprovable claims. Doing so tends to lead to ignoring proven scientific theories when they conflict with those beliefs. Evolution is a prime example. Evolution is a widely accepted scientific theory in the scientific community, but because it conflicts with Christian beliefs it is being ignored. Christians are trying to push creationism into scientific classrooms so that "Both sides of the debate are taught". My problem with this is that creationism isn't a side of the debate because creationism isn't a scientific theory.

    Point 2
    In this point you seem to contradict yourself. You say that god revealed himself to you through personal revelation, and yet requires faith. If god has revealed himself to you then there is no faith. Also on that point, if god requires faith then why was it okay for him to reveal himself 2000 years ago to a bunch of cave dwellers. Your god makes no sense. He tells adam and eve not to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but a. how do adam and eve know that it wrong disobey god if that don't have knowledge of good and evil, and b. wouldn't god already know that adam and eve are going to eat the apple seeing as god is all knowing, and if he does then why does he punish them for something that he already knew that they were going to do. To me free will and a all knowing god make no sense. If god already knows what we are going to do then where does the free will come in. And for than matter why does god need our worship in the first place. What could he possibly stand to gain by our worship? He's all powerful, so why would he care if we worshiped him or not.

    Point 3
    Using a fictional character to prove a point isn't a really a good defense. I could simply point out the multitude of fiction characters that were better at their respective role when unencumbered by emotions. Sherlock Holmes for one valued logic above all else and it made him a better detective because of it.

    I seem to be getting a little wordy and have gone over the character limit, so I will be posting the rest of this comment in another post.

  6. Point 4
    This is a point that I can't argue with you because you already have knowledge that shirts have creators, but I could it as a point to show you that the creators aren't always who you think they are.
    What if I show you a modern day shirt 2000 years ago? Would you tell me that a person made it? Probably not, you would probably attribute it to God or use some other supernatural explanation.
    This is my problem with supernatural explanations. Throughout the history of human civilization supernatural explanations continue to be dis-proven and replaced with natural explanations. Flat-Earth Theory, Geocentric Universe Theory, Greek Gods, Egyptian Gods all have been cast aside for either scientific explanations, or religious explanations that don't contradict with scientific explanations. I just can't seem to understand why you think that your religion is any different than the ones that came before it.

    Point 5
    I already touched on this point earlier, so I'm not going to go over it much here. I'll just say that I don't believe that god revealed himself to you. I believe that you believe in your personal god because of upbringing, social pressures, and an underlying fear on death and your own actions in this world. There's a reason that people that are raised Christian are more likely to be Christian and people that are raised Muslim are more likely to be Muslim. If god personally revealed himself to people then why do what people believes beliefs tend to be more dependent on what their parents believed than what those beliefs actually are? If christianity was the one true religion and god personally revealed himself to people then don't you think that statisitics would show a majority of people converting to christianity. What about people in the world who've never heard about christianity? Shouldn't god personally reveal himself to them more often than regular people, and yet I've never heard on a case of someone who's never heard of christianity converting to god after receiving a personal revelation. To only people that I've ever heard of receiving personal revelations are people that are already christians and those to me seem like the people that least need them.

  7. Hey,bub, kinda tired tonight and saving something that fits in with all this for a soon future post, so I'll be brief.
    Point 1: I honestly don't see how it is that evolution is being "ignored", unless by ignored you mean that there is a considerable group of people who don't buy it. However, this fits under that "soon" post, so I'm going to skip it. And as for your openner, I point out what I said-To me, it would seem that this and "trying to disprove god" goes hand in hand, but this comes from our differing perspective.
    Point 2:Because I took a step of faith and asked Him into my heart, He began to reveal Himself to me. Not contradictory at all, you just don't grasp the process (yet, hopefully :)). His mode of revelation changed because man has been under 3 different covenants with God. I hope a discussion of this might be appropriate at some future time- but it isn't where you're at now. The fruit of the tree was to test their obedience, not their knowledge. The last part of your point is valid in that I don't have all the answers; but I don't exactly know all the things that make my car run either, but trust it to do so.
    Point 3: That's a lighten-up moment, capeesh?
    Point 4:2000 years ago I would have given you a more time appropriate metaphor, eh?
    Point 5: Oh, the books I could recommend! But at this point in your life you'd deem them fairy tales anyway, so why bother? I debate you on these points for the long term- that someday, something will occur in your life that will help it make sense to you. That, and Laurie doesn't like to argue and I need to keep in practice. Be on the lookout for that soon coming post- I'll warn you.

  8. Well since you're going to have another post coming up I'll wait until then to finish most of my thoughts on this subject. I'll just say a few things and then I'll be done.

    Point 1
    Evolution is a well documented scientific theory. Saying that you don't buy into evolution is like saying that you don't buy into gravity. Picking and choosing the scientific research that you're going to believe is like picking and choosing the bible verses that you're going to follow (But then again that's exactly what most christians do)

    Point 2
    Why test their obedience when he already knew what they were going to do?

    Point 3
    I don't understand why you're telling me to lighten up on this point. I'm just trying to argue your points as you present them.

    Point 4
    I thought that this point was rather funny. 2000 years ago people sure did love their metaphors :-). The problem is that to me a metaphor is just a roundabout way of saying that you don't know the answer to the question.

    Point 5
    I find it very insulting that you assume that my belief are because of my age, or are something that I'll grow out of. I'm not denying that I view your belief and a collection of fairy tales, but just because I have a set of beliefs doesn't mean that I won't read material that contradicts them. I strive to have a fair and balanced opinion (and not in the fox news kinda way) and that involves reading things that I don't agree with.

    I'm glad that I'm helping you keep in practice with your arguing skills and I'm looking forward to that future post.

    Adios :-)

  9. Point one: See tonight's entry and that soon to come post.
    Point two: Because a Holy God demands obedience first!
    Point three: I'm not telling you to lighten up; I'm telling you I put it in TO LIGHTEN UP THE ORIGINAL POST! An appropriate response would have been something along the lines of "I'd have to turn my pointy ears in," or somesuch.

    Point Five: I remember a discussion in Walt Simonson's Thor Between the hero and the Midgard Serpent where the serpent, like you, said that aphorisms "were the refuge of small minds", which Thor replied that he found them "to often be the gateway to a greater wisdom." And, I always thought the great Philosophers BC loved metaphorical thought.

    Point five: Don't be insulted. It is not an assumption on my part. It is a HOPE. HOPE, HOPE, HOPE, because that's what we as Christians do. And I'm not saying you would refuse to read anything. I'd just rather see you wait until they might do you some (subjective on my part, don't be insulted) good. Certainly not tryiong to insult your intelligence, I value it as it makes you a worthy debater.