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Ben Masada

The Atheist's Dilemma

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Br Cornelius

Hi Brother, long time no speak, hope things are going well for you :tu:

On the paragraph here I'm quoting I hope you can indulge me as I attempt to answer your query. First, let us attempt to define "god". A popular definition (regardless of specific dogma) is that "god" is the creator of everything in our universe. If this definition is applicable, then "god" created everything in our universe, including the physical laws and rules that govern it. By definition, then, God exists independently of the rules it created. The concept of Causality (every effect has a cause) is a product of our physical universe, thus there is no reason to think that "god" is subject to the laws of Causality. Thus God can simply have existed forever.

Why can't he same logic be applied to the universe, as you bring up? Simple - in order to hold that view you have to assume that at one point in the universe's history, it must have disobeyed its own laws on Causality! Either it popped into existence from nothing, or it always and forever existed. Either way, Causality is broken.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing "God must have done it", though this is what I believe. There is still plenty of scope for "I don't know" as a reasonable answer. What I'm arguing here is the premise that you can simply interchange the word "god" with "universe" and arrive at the same conclusion, because I see that as untenable - with that logic, as noted, at some point you are having to admit that the universe broke its own universal law on the concept of Causality.

In any case, I hope you have a good week, I'll catch you next time I catch you :tu:

~ Regards, PA

Its called the Big Bang and indeed at the point of singularity the laws of the universe as they currently exist do not exist. However the big bang theory is quasi-religious (I believe it was invented by a priest) and the opposite thing has happened here - the Universe is inferred to have God like properties of been allowed to do thing not dictated by physics. In essence we have only gained one single thing here - and that is we have avoided the human anthropomorphic desire to project human like qualities onto external things (the universe). The only saving grace for science is that we have an example of a singularity where the laws of physics (including time) break down in the form of Black holes. Ultimately this conception of the universe forces us to consider it as a pulsing thing oscillating between a state of pure amorphous energy to a state of semi-pure matter. In none of this do we need to resort to a creator which stands outside the universe and has qualities which we can use to fudge the basic concepts of what the universe actually is.

A more simplistic and somewhat more satisfying explanation, which doesn't require us to resort to a quasi-religious scientific creation myth, is to consider the universe to be both infinite in time and space and therefore the question of creation becomes all but meaningless.

It is human desire to have a father figure to explain everything which makes us resort to the concept of God, this is a response to human biological drives and tells us little about the real nature of existence. We are projecting beyond the available facts which always leads to errors in the final conclusions. If we cannot know the nature of this imagined God then we cannot ever know that he exists, we can desire it to exist but that is in no way comparable. we have hit a wall of human comprehension.

So in answer to your point - science never needs to invoke something outside of the universe to explain the universe - again God is a redundant concept.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius
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Br Cornelius

The Theist, Ben, here imagines that we atheists live in some perpetual state of existential anxiety about the ultimate destination of our souls.

Let me assure him that we do no such thing - once you have climbed over the hurdle of guilt loaded onto us by theism, you arrive at a place of calm and acceptance where unanswerable questions become interesting curiosities. Do I worry about the nature of existence - never.

I sleep soundly at night and fear nothing about my inevitable end other than unnecessary pain.

Br Cornelius

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Paranoid Android

Brother,

Having read your reply I don't think you've really addressed my concern. Well, you did, but only insofar as you acknowledged that the universe may be infinite but science can't explain it. Which is kind of my point. At some point in our past, the universe disobeyed its own rules concerning Causality. Unless the universe is eternal, which still breaks the law of Causality. You've admitted that the universe once disobeyed its own laws, but haven't cited why or how that happened. As I said in my first reply, "I don't know" is an entirely acceptable answer, and I'll "Like" that reply if it were to be the case. I'm not arguing that the automatic answer must be "God did it", because I don't believe in a "god of the gaps" type of argument, that's not what my beliefs are based on or even semi-reliant upon.

Maybe one day science will explain WHY the universe at one point disobeyed is own rules, but at the moment we can't explain it. Whatever the case, my point from the very beginning is that based on the logic I presented in the initial post I made, substituting "god" for "universe" in terms of god/the universe always existing is not a sound premise, provided the definition of "god" I presented is reasonable. If "god" is not the creator of all that is, then that's a different story, but I'd personally argue that if this be the case then it is not appropriate to define said being as "god" to begin with (though perhaps my polytheistic comrades would strenuously disagree with me on that definition of god).

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Br Cornelius

Brother,

Having read your reply I don't think you've really addressed my concern. Well, you did, but only insofar as you acknowledged that the universe may be infinite but science can't explain it. Which is kind of my point. At some point in our past, the universe disobeyed its own rules concerning Causality. Unless the universe is eternal, which still breaks the law of Causality. You've admitted that the universe once disobeyed its own laws, but haven't cited why or how that happened. As I said in my first reply, "I don't know" is an entirely acceptable answer, and I'll "Like" that reply if it were to be the case. I'm not arguing that the automatic answer must be "God did it", because I don't believe in a "god of the gaps" type of argument, that's not what my beliefs are based on or even semi-reliant upon.

Maybe one day science will explain WHY the universe at one point disobeyed is own rules, but at the moment we can't explain it. Whatever the case, my point from the very beginning is that based on the logic I presented in the initial post I made, substituting "god" for "universe" in terms of god/the universe always existing is not a sound premise, provided the definition of "god" I presented is reasonable. If "god" is not the creator of all that is, then that's a different story, but I'd personally argue that if this be the case then it is not appropriate to define said being as "god" to begin with (though perhaps my polytheistic comrades would strenuously disagree with me on that definition of god).

The simple fact is that we have evidence that the universe doesn't obey conventional causality within a singularity (the best example been a black hole as I said), as such your argument is mute simply because science accepts the existence of exceptions without needing to invoke God - it simply observes the exception as been true and an inevitable part of the makeup of the physical universe. You have achieved nothing material by attributing those exceptions to God other than satisfying yourself that you would rather call the exception God than accept it for what it is - a physical inevitability.

This discussion could go round and round for ever, but it all hinges ultimately on the human need to interject meaning (God created the universe for a purpose) into things which don't necessarily have any. That is a human flaw of projection. I find it more intellectually honest to say that the universe simply exists within its own terms.

Br Cornelius

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Paranoid Android

Are black holes a contradiction to the laws of the universe or simply a stretching? I'm no expert on this phenomena, all I know is what sci-fi tv has suggested, that time flows differently in a singularity. That doesn't sound like the universal laws are being ignored so much as being bent (and not in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy way the universe is bent). Assuming my knowledge of singularities is not flawed based on sci-fi, I don't see how your argument holds weight.

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Br Cornelius

Are black holes a contradiction to the laws of the universe or simply a stretching? I'm no expert on this phenomena, all I know is what sci-fi tv has suggested, that time flows differently in a singularity. That doesn't sound like the universal laws are being ignored so much as being bent (and not in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy way the universe is bent). Assuming my knowledge of singularities is not flawed based on sci-fi, I don't see how your argument holds weight.

It is inferred from relativity that time doesn't flow in a black hole - therefore no causality can exist. Matter degrades to pure energy which again exists without the need for time or form. Gravity, strong and weak atomic forces cannot exist in a black hole. Every single law of physics fails beyond the event horizon.

I would assume that all matter will eventually be sucked into a mega black hole - losing all time and all form leaving nothing but an amorphous field of energy without dimensions. This forms the backdrop for a big bang event - which is why I speculated that the universe infinitely oscillates between these two states. The trigger would be that a point in the energy field reaches such a point of potential that it transitions back into matter (as suggested by E<>MC2 which flows in both directions) and this matter speck collapses the amorphous field back into matter - big bang style.

It is observed, from particle accelerators, that when you create a sufficiently strong energy point multiple subatomic particles spontaneously spring into existence from the energy field. The energy wave propagates out from the point of collision in waves. There is no reason to suppose that the whole of the universe could not result from a similar event given a high enough energy field potential. the concept is called zero point energy and it exists at the background level in all corners of the universe as we speak. A single cubic centimetre of this field contains enough energy to boil all the water on the planet - yet it is at a much lower potential than the singularity which is postulated to have created the big bang.

The other alternative is a steady state model where Black holes consume matter but spew it out at some other temporal location (could literally be anywhere in this universe or another parallel universe) leaving the energy balance of the universe constant and negating the need for a creation event such as the Big Bang (the quasi-religious concept). we could be exchanging matter/energy between multiple parallel universes with the equations balancing to such a fine extent that they can exist in balance forever.

The universe beyond the event horizon is incomprehensible and unknownable, but the difference between it and God is that Black Holes are known to exist from observation and first principles physics.

At no point does this process require intent on anythings part and no prime cause need ever exist. The only possible space for a God like concept to interject is in collapsing the energy field - but to relegate a God to such a minicule role in the functioning of the universe seems deeply disingenuous to the concept.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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Stubbly_Dooright

No, I did not. We are not in the start. I have mentioned God here because you have brought a god into the issue. BTW, the Primal Cause mentioned in the thread does not necessarily implies that it was a god; it could be any thing else but, atheists are so paranoid about gods that no matter what one is discussing, the feeling that comes to the atheist heart is that it must be about gods. What is that, fear of some sort?

Ok, SERIOUSLY?! You are not clearly understanding Atheists, are you? I'm not one, and yet I feel I have to explain it again to you. Atheist do not believe, based on no proof. How can they fear the lack of proof of something? Basically, anything you said after the bold makes no sense!

And you cannot see the reason for the "It must be god?"

No, I can't, because it doesn't sound reasonable. 'it must be god' is only conjecture, and conjecture is not proof.
Because atheists are paranoid about gods.
Prove all Atheists are paranoid about gods
It is impossible to talk to an atheist about the origin of the universe without having them pushing gods out of the issue.

Of course it is for you, because you are being one sided about it. And besides, I'm not an Atheist, I'm New Age.

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Quaentum

No, I did not. We are not in the start. I have mentioned God here because you have brought a god into the issue. BTW, the Primal Cause mentioned in the thread does not necessarily implies that it was a god; it could be any thing else but, atheists are so paranoid about gods that no matter what one is discussing, the feeling that comes to the atheist heart is that it must be about gods. What is that, fear of some sort?

When referring to the opening post we are not talking about all the topics you may have made but this topic in particular. The topic where you declared you did not bring god into it but I showed by quoting your own opening post in this topic that you did indeed bring god into this topic. Here let me quote it for you again. Please take note of the bold part.

The Atheist's Dilemma

The atheist's dilemma is his or her struggle to deny the undeniable. When asked for the option to fill in the vacuum left as a result of the removal of the Primal Cause, the usual answer is: I don't know. That's indeed a frustrating dilemma.

Let us avoid the theist method to demonstrate the existence of God to prevent the atheist denial and use Logic which I suppose stands on neutral ground by trying to demonstrate the existence of God by means of a syllogism:

1. First premise: The universe is composed of matter;

2. Second premise: Matter cannot cause itself to exist;

3. Resultant premise: Therefore, the universe was caused to exist.

Now, what could have be the thing that caused the universe to exist? The atheist answer is: I don't know. Yeah, because the only thing they know is that the Primal Cause does not exist. Indeed, a frustrating dilemma which finds explanation only in the atheist struggle to vandalize Theism just for the sake of doing so.

As you can see your first post in this topic is an attempt to demonstrate the existence of who? Why an attempt to demonstrate the existence of god. By your own words you brought god into this topic and no amount of declaration that it wasn't you it was someone else will change that fact.

As far as the issue which I believe by your statement you are including the previous topic we were debating in, I bring your attention to post #11 of that topic quoted below that clearly shows that well before I was ever part of the "Issue", you brought God into it.

God created the universe which is composed of matter. The rest is the by-product of God's work.

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Quaentum

What is this, a cease-fire? Atheist deal with the existence of God only as a reason to cease the fire for some other pretext.

I find it interesting how you try to twist things around. Showing you what atheism deals with and what it doesn't is met with verbal garbage.

Since Logic proves my premises to be true, the conclusion is obviously true.

For this statement to be accurate you would need to add another premise that the universe was caused to exist by a who. Since the cause could be a who or a what, then that premise would not be accurate unless there was evidence to support who over what. Thus your conclusion that utilizes the missing premise is not validated and cannot be said to be true.

Wrong! Not all animals have four legs. I know of a few that have from 3 up to the legs of the centipede.

You do realize that was an example given as part of a dictionary definition to make it more understandable don't you?

You have confirmed my assertion that atheists go according to preconceived notions based on a faithful grudge against the probability that the Primal Cause exists. That's a shame for lack of a better word..

Again you are shown something, in this case that your conclusion has not been validated and your response is more verbal garbage which has nothing to do with what was said.

Now, you are judging Science according to personal conceptions which could be true after all. I doubt though cosmologists would agree with you.

Actually science was not judged just your view that those that do not share your theistic view are some how vandalizing theism.

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Doug1029

Yes, but during the time we live and by means of the law of cause and effect. The Lord is not the God of the dead but of the living.

That's some tortured reasoning.

Could you please demonstrate what you're saying by reproducing your logic on this board. I'll bet you can't do it.

Doug

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Doug1029

At some point in our past, the universe disobeyed its own rules concerning Causality.

No. It was obeying rules we don't yet understand.

Doug

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bacca

Atheists have another problem-who can they blame when everything turns to $...t?

Personally I don't blame anything...sometimes things go wrong, or if something is someones fault i blame them!!! On the flip side is someone does good or has talent I give THEM credit for it not g_d...

As for the OP what was the point? i have not actually seen much other then trying to say people who don't believe in a "creator" or "G_d" are somehow in denial? lacking? not understanding?

I have personally changed my views many times but only once away from the belief in an ulitimate creator...I don't need anyone to blame I don't need the easy answer of god did it...and I can't imagine how being able to say that would make life easier .....

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willowdreams

I have read about half of this stuff, (well there are 6 pages, and it seems i need to work to pay bills, so i am tired :P ), and i do not see where there is any kind of dilemma.. I cannot find it.

What exactly is supposed to be the issue.. someone break it down to a 'dummies guide' for me.

The reason i want it broken down is because I do not comprehend what the problem IS.. as in.. if we do not know the answer to something, how is it an issue or problem? We do not know all there is to black holes, is this a problem? We do not know everything about gravity, is this an issue? NO.

We do not know exactly what cause 'us' as in universe.. world. everything.. to come into 'being', is this a problem? NO. The short answer is.. we do not know. The other side of the coin is.. 'one day, perhaps not in our time, but one day mankind MAY know the answer.. the thing is, every time we find an answer to something, more questions come and more fun in seeking more answers..

What exactly is the issue here? What is the dilemma? after reading most things here i find the real dilemma is not how atheists say 'we do not know, and that is ok'.. the real dilemma is why would anyone have a problem with our answer? What is wrong with it?

We do not know everything. We may never know everything, isn't that what makes science fun?

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White Crane Feather

What kind of parent would leave a Gun and Bullets laying around for a child to figure out to put the two together?

Most people I assume would say a horrible one.

If your God is real? Look at what it left laying around.

You have no business using the word "Logic" for your constant use of the "Argument from Ignorance" fallacy.

Your getting better davros ;)

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White Crane Feather

It is inferred from relativity that time doesn't flow in a black hole - therefore no causality can exist. Matter degrades to pure energy which again exists without the need for time or form. Gravity, strong and weak atomic forces cannot exist in a black hole. Every single law of physics fails beyond the event horizon.

I would assume that all matter will eventually be sucked into a mega black hole - losing all time and all form leaving nothing but an amorphous field of energy without dimensions. This forms the backdrop for a big bang event - which is why I speculated that the universe infinitely oscillates between these two states. The trigger would be that a point in the energy field reaches such a point of potential that it transitions back into matter (as suggested by E<>MC2 which flows in both directions) and this matter speck collapses the amorphous field back into matter - big bang style.

It is observed, from particle accelerators, that when you create a sufficiently strong energy point multiple subatomic particles spontaneously spring into existence from the energy field. The energy wave propagates out from the point of collision in waves. There is no reason to suppose that the whole of the universe could not result from a similar event given a high enough energy field potential. the concept is called zero point energy and it exists at the background level in all corners of the universe as we speak. A single cubic centimetre of this field contains enough energy to boil all the water on the planet - yet it is at a much lower potential than the singularity which is postulated to have created the big bang.

The other alternative is a steady state model where Black holes consume matter but spew it out at some other temporal location (could literally be anywhere in this universe or another parallel universe) leaving the energy balance of the universe constant and negating the need for a creation event such as the Big Bang (the quasi-religious concept). we could be exchanging matter/energy between multiple parallel universes with the equations balancing to such a fine extent that they can exist in balance forever.

The universe beyond the event horizon is incomprehensible and unknownable, but the difference between it and God is that Black Holes are known to exist from observation and first principles physics.

At no point does this process require intent on anythings part and no prime cause need ever exist. The only possible space for a God like concept to interject is in collapsing the energy field - but to relegate a God to such a minicule role in the functioning of the universe seems deeply disingenuous to the concept.

Br Cornelius

Oh dear... Time does certainly flow in a black hole. only PHYSICAL time doesn't seem to as defined by PHYSICS. Two totally different concepts. PHYSICISTS talk in PHYSICAL terms. I wish more people would pay attention to this.

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White Crane Feather

Are black holes a contradiction to the laws of the universe or simply a stretching? I'm no expert on this phenomena, all I know is what sci-fi tv has suggested, that time flows differently in a singularity. That doesn't sound like the universal laws are being ignored so much as being bent (and not in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy way the universe is bent). Assuming my knowledge of singularities is not flawed based on sci-fi, I don't see how your argument holds weight.

No PA they don't violate or even bend them. In fact they are very natural and even less than common and more than rare.

I saw that movie when it came out but me and my wife got so fricken bored we decided to make out instead. Oh ..... Those were the days.

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danielost

You completely fail to understand atheism, and the obvious answer to your "Primal Cause" belief; is that the Universe always existed in one form or another. It should also be remembered that Matter and Energy are interchangeable therefore your First Premise is incorrectly stated; your Second Premise is incorrectly stated for the same reason; THEREFORE; your resultant Premise is a fallacy that does not conform to Logic.

Matter is made up of energy. Energy must have time to exist. There was nothing no time no energy before the big bang. Physics says there was a big bang and it created all of the energy inn our universe. But back to the big bang since nothing existed , what caused the big bang. l

Maybe we are in the aftermath of a explosive. How would we know.

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Paranoid Android

No. It was obeying rules we don't yet understand.

Doug

In other words you're saying that you don't know how it happened. Isn't exactly what I said was a perfectly reasonable answer?

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Paranoid Android

It is inferred from relativity that time doesn't flow in a black hole - therefore no causality can exist. Matter degrades to pure energy which again exists without the need for time or form. Gravity, strong and weak atomic forces cannot exist in a black hole. Every single law of physics fails beyond the event horizon.

I would assume that all matter will eventually be sucked into a mega black hole - losing all time and all form leaving nothing but an amorphous field of energy without dimensions. This forms the backdrop for a big bang event - which is why I speculated that the universe infinitely oscillates between these two states. The trigger would be that a point in the energy field reaches such a point of potential that it transitions back into matter (as suggested by E<>MC2 which flows in both directions) and this matter speck collapses the amorphous field back into matter - big bang style.

It is observed, from particle accelerators, that when you create a sufficiently strong energy point multiple subatomic particles spontaneously spring into existence from the energy field. The energy wave propagates out from the point of collision in waves. There is no reason to suppose that the whole of the universe could not result from a similar event given a high enough energy field potential. the concept is called zero point energy and it exists at the background level in all corners of the universe as we speak. A single cubic centimetre of this field contains enough energy to boil all the water on the planet - yet it is at a much lower potential than the singularity which is postulated to have created the big bang.

The other alternative is a steady state model where Black holes consume matter but spew it out at some other temporal location (could literally be anywhere in this universe or another parallel universe) leaving the energy balance of the universe constant and negating the need for a creation event such as the Big Bang (the quasi-religious concept). we could be exchanging matter/energy between multiple parallel universes with the equations balancing to such a fine extent that they can exist in balance forever.

The universe beyond the event horizon is incomprehensible and unknownable, but the difference between it and God is that Black Holes are known to exist from observation and first principles physics.

At no point does this process require intent on anythings part and no prime cause need ever exist. The only possible space for a God like concept to interject is in collapsing the energy field - but to relegate a God to such a minicule role in the functioning of the universe seems deeply disingenuous to the concept.

Br Cornelius

You know for fact that the Big Bang is caused by a "mega Black Hole" reaching its equivalent of critical mass and exploding out, or is it just a guess? I suspect the latter since there is no way to test your assumptions. The truth is that your guessing and "I don't know" is the best answer you have. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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Paranoid Android

No PA they don't violate or even bend them. In fact they are very natural and even less than common and more than rare.

I saw that movie when it came out but me and my wife got so fricken bored we decided to make out instead. Oh ..... Those were the days.

Thanks for the clarification.

Don't bother with the movie, it kinda sucks. I was referring to the old tv series, which still kicks butt. The book is great also though I'm not sure this particular joke was in the book, it was more of a visual gag.

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StarMountainKid
1. First premise: The universe is composed of matter;

2. Second premise: Matter cannot cause itself to exist;

3. Resultant premise: Therefore, the universe was caused to exist.

What if the universe or the BB was 'caused' by a quantum fluctuation? Quantum mechanics is acausal in that we are unable to identify the causes of quantum events. Do the production of virtual particles in a vacuum or wave function collapse have a specific cause if these events are not predictable even in principle?

If quantum events can occur without an identifiable cause and are the fundamental building blocks of all matter, then perhaps the BB itself need not have a cause in a conventional sense that enabled its existence.

It could be argued that the very existence of the mechanism for quantum events is the cause we're looking for, but this kind of thinking leads to either an infinite regression or some final or original cause uncaused ("original cause uncaused" not necessarily meaning some concept of a 'God'). Either of these lines of reasoning seem to me not satisfying and equally difficult to comprehend or accept.

I think this ultimate question of Existence is at present of course unknown and probably will always remain unknowable. In my view, the ultimate answer to Existence (if there is one) is so counter-intuitive as to remain entirely incomprehensible to any intelligence within that Existence.

Edited by StarMountainKid

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joc

What if the universe or the BB was 'caused' by a quantum fluctuation? Quantum mechanics is acausal in that we are unable to identify the causes of quantum events. Do the production of virtual particles in a vacuum or wave function collapse have a specific cause if these events are not predictable even in principle?

If quantum events can occur without an identifiable cause and are the fundamental building blocks of all matter, then perhaps the BB itself need not have a cause in a conventional sense that enabled its existence.

It could be argued that the very existence of the mechanism for quantum events is the cause we're looking for, but this kind of thinking leads to either an infinite regression or some final or original cause uncaused ("original cause uncaused" not necessarily meaning some concept of a 'God'). Either of these lines of reasoning seem to me not satisfying and equally difficult to comprehend or accept.

I think this ultimate question of Existence is at present of course unknown and probably will always remain unknowable. In my view, the ultimate answer to Existence (if there is one) is so counter-intuitive as to remain entirely incomprehensible to any intelligence within that Existence.

The First Axiom of Dan: Belief is irrelivant with regards to Truth. Truth just is. It is not incumbent upon belief in order to be. It just is.

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Davros of Skaro

Your getting better davros ;)

XD

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Br Cornelius

Oh dear... Time does certainly flow in a black hole. only PHYSICAL time doesn't seem to as defined by PHYSICS. Two totally different concepts. PHYSICISTS talk in PHYSICAL terms. I wish more people would pay attention to this.

You are simply wrong - beyond the event horizon time as we know it, and hence causality, ceases. We cannot know anything about your supposed flow of time within the black hole because we could never measure it. The physics within a black hole is pure mystery and will probably remain so forever. It is therefore beyond your possible knowledge to suppose that any form of time exists there. However everything points to the fact that a black hole has no time.

Br Cornelius

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Br Cornelius

You know for fact that the Big Bang is caused by a "mega Black Hole" reaching its equivalent of critical mass and exploding out, or is it just a guess? I suspect the latter since there is no way to test your assumptions. The truth is that your guessing and "I don't know" is the best answer you have. And there's nothing wrong with that.

I am inferring from the available facts. I am not ashamed to admit that is all it is. Still it is a more evidence based inference than belief in a creator which is pure faith. The ultimate answer will be some variation on what I have suggested - but I really don't care since it is merely an object of curiosity - nothing depends on it for me.

Ultimately you could say they are equally probable - but one follows from the known rules of physics where as the other follows from your imagination. Thats a big difference.

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius

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