Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Basics Expanded

The ideas first drafted here as The Basics has been evolving in my head for a while.  I've adapted the post and incorporated it into my Philosophy of Religion courses as some background material for discussions about God.  I've been adding to it as time permits. So here's the latest version of what I take to be the basics about cosmology, evolution, and the history of humanity that we must take as our starting point in discussions about the existence of God.  That is, any reasonable person who believes in God needs, at a minimum, to give some account of how the existence of that being fits in with these facts:

The Basics



Every time I turn around, WELL oft times, I find someone else has discovered Hay Zeus ain't.

Ain't that something?

Unknown said...

what's the harm of little idiots?

Unknown said...

It has been my observation that most Christians, fundamentals to liberal, do not care about the facts. They have a mind set and a will to believe regardless of the datum. I have heard fundamentals claim regarding the fossil record, that it was God who put the fossils there to make us think that the universe is older than 6000 years. I would suggest that Christians, seminary students or theologians have not read Descartes’ Mediations. Descartes’ clear and distinct innate ideas are based on the concept that God is not a deceiver. Descartes asserts problems of error and evil are brought about my humans do to free will. It hardly seems plausible that scientific theories that are well confirmed by good evidence, are erroneous because of free will. If God is not an evil genius, but a being that doesn’t deceive, then we must accepted the big bang theory. I did not say believe in the BB. Christians want us to believe or not to believe which shows their ignorance of science. Anybody with intellectual integrity would say I accept or don’t accept the theory of gravitation or relativity. Stating I don’t believe in Newtonian gravitation theory is being brain dead.

Truth Seeker said...

1-If incompatible hypotheses are confirmed or disconfirmed according to the theorem of total probability then neither a theist nor an atheist must necessarily show that their atheism or theism 'fits' all the 'basic facts.' Rather, an atheist or theist must show that on our total available evidence, atheism or theism is better confirmed. So, I think both the atheist and the theist have the burden of proof of showing that on our total available evidence their hypothesis is better confirmed even if all the basic facts don't align to one side.

2-It is relatively easy for the theist to show that the basic facts 'sit well' with theism by simply pointing at that it is plausible (not merely possible) that the LAWS OF NATURE we know of in our universe are in fact metaphysically necessary (and thus hold in all possible worlds):
See ex-apologist link-

Unknown said...

It is one of the best known principles of confirmation theory that hypotheses are more easily refuted than confirmed

1) [(H ⋅ C) ⊃ P] premise (deduction of prediction)
2) ~P premise (observed result)
3) C premise (initial conditions true)
4) ~(H ⋅ C) 1,2 Modus Tollens
5) ~H ∨ ~C 4, DeMorgan's Laws
6) ~H 3,5 Disjunctive Syllogism

From an hypothesis (H) and initial conditions(C), a prediction(P) is deduced. An experiment or observation is then performed to see whether that prediction holds true. If the predicted event does not occur, either the hypothesis is wrong or the initial conditions were not what they were held to be. If the initial conditions were indeed what they were held to be, the hypothesis is falsified.

The God hypothesis is easier to refute than scientific theory.

Anonymous said...

great theatre of ruin

what's the harm of little idi*ts?

Unknown said...

The Great Theatre of Ruin

Unknown said...

The Great Theatre of Ruin

Ron Cram said...

Hi Matthew,

It has been a while since I have visited your blog so I am glad to see you have posted a few new top postings. I agree with your approach regarding getting to the basics. We need some bedrock data that everyone can agree on for any thoughtful discussion to advance.

Unfortunately, you have left out some of the most basic and well understood aspects of the universe and exaggerated the evidence for others.

What is the most certain knowledge we have about the Big Bang? I will sum up:

1. It happened approx. 13.77 billion years ago.
2. It resulted in an extremely low entropy universe. 3. The entropy is higher now than at the beginning.
4. The universe is going to expand forever and is headed toward heat death, no shining stars and no warmth.
5. The Big Bang also resulted in an extremely fine-tuned universe. There are approximately 100 parameters which have set values not required by any theory. If these values were off by 1 percent, the universe would cease to exist as we know it. Many of these values are interrelated with other values so that if the ratios are off by one percent, the universe would cease to exist as we know it.
6. Every atheist physicist, except Victor Stenger, admits this fine-tuning has the appearance of an intelligent design.
7. No naturalistic explanation for the Big Bang is plausible because naturalistic explanations such as vacuum fluctuations can result in a low-entropy universe. A naturalistic cause of the Big Bang would certainly result in a high entropy universe like a black hole.
8. Atheist physicist Roger Penrose calculated the chances of a naturalistic cause of the Big Bang resulting in a low entropy universe as 1 chance in 10 to the power 10 to the power 127. If you wrote out that number in standard notation and wrote a zero on every neutron and proton in the visible universe, you would not have enough zeros.
9. There is no "creation field" as in Steady State Theory. The Big Bang happened only once. In nature, nothing happens once. In physics, a one-time event is known as a miracle.

I can bring the same type of evidence to bear on the issue of abiogenesis but do not have the time right now. But you should know that life cannot come from non-life. No attempt to explain abiogenesis scientifically even comes close. Darwin's theory made sense in his time because we did not know how complex life is. The more we learn about the complexity of life, the less feasible abiogenesis becomes. Also, Darwin's idea of "last universal common ancestor" has been refuted. You should read Koonin's papers on Darwinism in the Light of Genomics. Koonin is proposing a "forest of life" rather than a "tree of life." Anyway, this makes abiogenesis all the more unlikely because now the miracle has to happen many times.

That should be enough to get the conversation moving.

Ron Cram said...

I just came across a very good video by John Dickson who points out a number of historical errors by the "new atheists." His point is that when they make so many errors in his field, he has to wonder about the number of errors they make in regards to other scholarly fields.

Check it out.