T Nation

Origins (Atheist view)


#1
I hope this can be another productive post.  I am curious to hear from all atheists how the earth came to be, and what is our purpose here?  I would love to hear everyones thoughts.

I am hoping we can keep the flames to a minimum and just have a decent conversation. Thanks


#2

In the beginning,
there was nothing.
A void... of darkness.

Haha. Any Seraphim Shock fans? Or maybe if you've seen Legend recently that would be familiar...

As far as the beginning of the Earth, I would like to believe that some divine power had a part in it, but given the odds of a planet like ours being created with the complexity and ability to support known life was just a matter of time. One in a million? One in some ridiculously large number? Well, the universe is unfathomable in its immensity. Purpose? To survive, to evolve. The purpose differs from person to person now that survival in many areas is not an unkown factor. You could be hit by a car or die for some other reason, but basic survival is given to us. Those who have a purpose tend to live longer, right? If it is their job, family, church, or what ever they believe they are here to do, it gives them the psychological advantage to fortify themselves to withstand the rigors of life for an extended period of time. Sometimes when feeling depressed, this from personal experience, I felt purposeless. I felt spiritualy nomadic. Wandering, looking for a philosphy that inspired. Someone that brought a piece to the puzzle, something that I could live my life for. So purpose? It is relative. So much is relative. Nearly everything is relative in fact. Human purpose? Survival and evolution. Keeping in mind that generalizations have a tendency to erroneous in their conception...
\Keep on the lookout for blood type C...


#3

Okay, bro. Easy answer. I'm atheist, so I'll help ya out. Ready?

I don't know.

Nobody does. We all have our pet theories, of course. I mean, it had to come from SOMEWHERE at SOME TIME, but no one knows when or how it happened. Now, I don't want you to think this is a cop-out answer, 'cause it's not. It's the truth.

I guess I'm weird, because, believe it or not, the fact that I don't know the answer to life, the universe, and everything, or even have much of an opinion about it doesn't bother me at all. I just see the futility of worrying about such things. I don't know, never will, and that's just ducky with me. I just think that my time could be spent so much better concentrating on things in which I CAN make a difference. Being a man of action is indeed everything it's cracked up to be. :slight_smile:


#4

I'll take a swing at this. :slight_smile:

Lets start with the world formation on first. I don't even believe in the big bang theory. We'll pull up some good old Al Einstein for this. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. The Universe has and always will exist. No one started it, noone will end it, it simply is. (Not trying to be rude, but in case of argument for god(s) creating universe; who created them? This is a whole different debate though.)
Things shift in the universe, of course. Planets orbit stars, stars nova and supernova, dust flies everywhere. Quasars in space collect dust and start new stars. (gravity pools and fusion starts) Big cycle, we got that. Sorry kids, I believe in evolution. Where there is the proper atmosphere and elements, life can happen. Here we are now.

Why we are here? No reason at all. I am a nihilist. When you die, you are dead. I fully believe this and I am comfortable with it; I am ready for death at any time. (though I do not seek it) There is no point. The only eternity there is is through the mark you leave.


#5

I believe that everything is just here. I see no reason why someone or something had to create it. Because that begs the question: who created the creator? If "God" just IS, then why can't the universe just EXIST?


#6

as you may have guessed, im not very religious. however this is still a question i have absolutely no idea of how to answer. honestly, i dont think there is one.


#7

Too insulting to one`s intelligence.

IMHO, I call it the fast food or fashion of thinking through life: Most people do it, yet few question it or its real origins or the originator`s motives. Context matters.

I read that religion was just an easy tool to control non-thinking population segments through images (calling to the imagination).

Using peoples fears and hopes as a way to control them to do what those in power (instigators of religions) wanted , and seeing how it works, is worthy of one thing, though: the greatest sales job of the history of humankind.

Example.

Lets sayGod` said: thou shalt not eat pig.

Any follower of God wont question it. And will comply, simply because its Gods word. Hell, Fire and Brimstone to those who dont listen or believe. YIKES!

It requires far less thinking and explaining to use people`s emotions and conditionning than saying, in the time and context when it originated:

Think about it, dude. We`re in desert-like settings, and vegetation is a scarce thing. Now if start having pigs for company or business reasons, we all know your pig is going to eat all vegetation in sight, roots included, to stay alive. Thus pigs are dangerous for our common future welfare and should not be kept under any circumstances, not even for food.

Now, whats the most efficient method? What willsell` the most? What appeals to Crowd thinking?

Yep, you`re right. Religion. The greatest sales job of all times. Compared to religion, Coca-Cola, the biggest business marketing success of all time, is a joke.

Sorry. Religion is just not my cup of tea. Too insulting.


#8

(shaking head in disgust)


#9

I don't have enough faith in "random chance" to be an atheist.


#10

The head shake was in response to the original poster. When I posted it there were no other comments visible on the board.


#11

I can try to tackle this I do think and meditate on it quite a bit. Ok since I believe that the 3rd dimension or the physical universe is only one of many parts that make up the whole (god). the physical universe in my opinion did have a start and may have an end, allthough time is a funny thing for us, for the creator the entire 3rd dimension could be like a cd rom that (shim) can plug into any point that shim wants to so it could have a beginning and an end but that is not certain.

The big bang in my estimates was very real, actually I think there may be more than one universes in existance in the 3rd dimension possible millions or trillions. The universe is expanding, that is basically a known fact, I am partly into astrology and they have basically measured how fast the universe is expanding. If it is expanding, then it must have been closer together all the way back to where everything is lumped into one solid mass.

Ok so earth was created quite randomly, watch the discovery channel some time, they have specials on the creation of stars and planets all the time. Basically shortly after the big bang, heavy clumps of gas and matter began drawing other clumps into them, at that point the basic elements of the universe were probably hydrogen and a few other basic atomic structures. When these clumps got so massive that they imploded, the force of the implosion set off a hydrogen bombe only it was with the raw materials of roughly ten times the sun, this created a supernova. (I think) The supernova created other elements in its forge, thus creating most of the elements and maby others we do not know of. When clumps again started to form, with sufficient hydrogen and other elements solar systems began to form and suns began to burn.

The creation of a solar system is much more detailed than that but from memory that is all I can come up with for now, you will have to research it if you are interested.

The start of everything, that is a different story. When did it happen? Now, I mean time is only a 3rd dimensional idea, movement from Point a to point b takes x where x is time. other dimensions operate entirely different. I don't know if any of you watch andromeda. One episode they jump into another dimension and in that dimension what you think becomes your reality. if you think about going to a place you will go there, if you think about something you want or need you will have it. Other dimensions might work this way, no real physical existance, just a pure extension of thought.

ok so how it all got created that was the question. OK shim, God whatever was all that there was, it was perfection, all knowing. One problem, god only knew that which was god for god was all that is. god did not truly understand godself because all that god had ever experienced was being god. Now god is all powerful, pure unbridled power, no limits. So what god did was to divide himself into an infinite amount of entities, then god removed his god knowledge from those entities (by different degrees mind you) then god took other parts of godself and made things for his smaller selfs to experience, he created all sorts of different environments. Really every environment god could think of he made, Which is infinite by the way. then god gave those smaller little god parts a way to interact with those brand new environments. God also made a system where those little god selfs could communicate the experiences they had back up to god, god could also communicate down the ladder if god so chooses. So now god has an infinite number of little god selfs running around in an infinite number of environments, sharing all they experience with god. this is why good and bad exist, god needs to know what bad feels like so god can truly understand what good feels like. if all that was ever felt was good, it would not be good at all it would be quite mundane and boring.

ok i'm taking a break now.


#12

Thanks for all the replies. I would like to present some ideas and see what everyone thinks.

Atheists argue that matter is eternal, that the Universe is self-created, ad that all living organisms have evolved from a common primitive acestry over millions of years. On the other hand, theists contend that matter is not eternal, that the Universe was created by a nomaterial, Personal Force (God) and that the asic "kinds" of living organisms were created distinctly several thousands of years ago. Neither of these views can be demonstrated scientifically, for the matter of origins is eyond human experience and thus is not subject to the scientific method. Each of these views may be examined to determine which is more closely alligned with current scientific data.
One of the criteria by which scientific theory is judged is its predictive value. When one formulates a theory, he generally postulates that if his theory is true, the certain expectations likely will be realized. If his predictions are true then the theory was good. If the predictions constantly fail, he assumes that his theory is a poor one.
If the atheistic view of origin of the Universe were true, one might expect careful study of the available evidence would indicate that matter has some creative or regenerative property, which would argue for its eternality. If the creationists view were correct, one might predict that evidence exists which would suggest that the Universe is ot eternal, and that matter does ot possess self-creative capability. The 1st & 2nd Laws of Thermodyamics reveal that (a) matter is not being created and (b) the Universe is running down, is not eternal.
Atheism asserts that "life o earth arose spontaneously form non-living matter" (George Simpson) Sice atheism subscribes to the rigid concept of uiformitarianism (sees past and present processes as a uniform operation sufiecient to explain the origin and development of all things), this model would predict that life could be generated spontaneously from nonliving material today. Creationism affirms that life originally derived from an eternal, on-physical Life-Source by means of miraculous acts ot repeated beyond creation week. Creation theory predicts that life is not being generated spontaneously on Earth today.
"Life: An Introduction to Biology" by evolutionists Simpson, Pittedrigh, ad Tiffany discussed at length experiments of Francesco Redi and Pastuer, and commented that, "It was demonstrated that microorganisms are carried through the air and that spontaneous generationdoes not occur in any known cases." In "The Sciences", Joel Gurin declared: " It is almost impossible to conceive of such a system arising spontaneously by chance."
Everyone knows that Charle Darwin advanced the monophyletic theory of evolution by means of natural selection, which suggests that from the first living cell, over a period of millions of years, there evolved complex, multi-celled organisms. Within the nuclei of the cells of living organisms are chromosomes. If there has een a gradual evolution of all creatures from the simple to the complex, the evolutionary scheme should predict that there would be an increase in chromosome number ad quality up the ascending evolutionary scale. The creation model would view the basic "kinds" of living creatures as have been made independently, would ot predict ascending the scale of chromosome composition. Evidence reveals that there is absolutely no pattern of chromosome development from "so called" simple organisms to "complex".

Chromosome Count
Fern-512
Crayfish-200
Dog-78
Reptiles-48
Bat-32
Man-46

"The number of chromosomes does not appear to be assoctiated with the the degree of complexity of an organism." (Ashley Motagu)(an evolutionist)
Sice the biblical record teaches that God made all living creatures "after there kind," creationsist would expect the fossil record to reveal distinct classes of organisms, with no transitional forms connecting them. IF evolution were true, the geologic record should contain a finely graded chain of transitional fossils from one kind to the next, all alog the evolutionary scale. However, the fossil record indicates everything but that. Simpson acknowledges that there is a "regular absence of transitional forms" among "almost all orders of classes". The famous evolutionist from Harvard, Jay Gould confessed: "All paleontologists know the fossil record cotains precious little in the way of intermediate forms; transitions betwee major groups are characteristically abrupt." (The Return of Hopeful Monsters)
Creationist believe the earth is realitively young. Atheism expects that there are indications of vast eras of time.
There is a constant rate of cosmic dust etering our atmosphere from outer space. Oe scientist estimated that about 14 million tos settle on Earth each year. (Peterson, Scientific American) If the Earth is 5 billion years old, there should be a layer of meteoritic dust approximately 182 feet deep covering the entire world. Evolutionists speculate that it has ee dissipated through the erosion processes of wind and water. On the moon where erosion is not a factor, meteoritic dust would be quite deep. When we landed on the moon the spacecraft did not sink.
Just some information I found when writing a paper. Interested in what everyone thinks.


#13

Why would you expect an athiest--in virtue of his athiesm--to have an answer to one of the most fundamentally difficult questions ever?

I certainly do not know, nor do I even know how to wrap my head around the question entirely. Kant has a term for this subject, though it escapes me now...but his point is that you can make equally effective contradictory arguments regarding the universe's beginnings.


You obviously ask this question because your answer is that God created it (if I'm wrong, then I'm sorry, but it is my assumption). In that regard, your position turns into an infinite digression with the question of God's origins. Saying he's always existed does not work (as we cannot comprehend this idea of an infinite being), nor does the position that God created himself (clear logical contradiction), as my 5th grade teacher told me when I asked her this question. In the 5th grade I had my doubts, and they were never sufficiently answered by any of the religious influences in my early life, nor were they answered by the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas and other great philosophers.

Claiming "God" (whatever that term refers to...?) created the universe is a cop out in my view. It is a difficult question, and I think humility is in order...let's all say it -- WHO KNOWS!!!


#14

Gotta go with RSU on this one...I'm ignorant, you're ignorant, we're all ignorant (as in lacking knowledge, not in the pjorative sense!).

But, that being said, my not so humble opinion is that it is intellectually dishonest to find fill the holes in our knowledge with this concept of a god. Can't figure out where all this stuff we call the universe came from? Why, it's God! Can't figure out how life started? Why, that was God, too!

But this just gives rise to a whole new set of questions. Who/what somehow managed to break all the Thermodynamic rules in order to create this "god" out of vast nothingness? An uber-God, perhaps? And if so, then who created the uber-God?

Seems to me that atheists acknowledge the unknowable for what it is: forever beyond our mortal grasp. Theists bump up against the unknowable and posit some sort of middleman to wipe clean their slate of doubt/ignorance. And we all end up in the same place: either an infinite, unknowable universe or an infinite, unknowable "god."

Me, I'll cut out the middleman and revel in my ignorance.

And as to the purpose of life? As far as I know, it's like the Nike slogan: "Just Do It." Love your friends/family, laugh when you can, don't fuck with people unless they deserve it, and try leave this world just a tiny bit smarter than you were when you arrived. Other than that, who knows?

And besides, what choice do we have??


#15

Fnord is incorrect. The NET amount of matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. But it is possible to create particles with opposite spins and charges (thus being a net of zero). Thus, matter and energy coming from nothing is possible in physics... as long as we have equal amounts of anti-matter etc wandering around out there, somewhere. Physicists of the board, please feel free to jump in and correct.

There is no need for an atheist to believe in an eternal universe. There is also no need for a Christian to believe that God created the world in a way that violates the very laws of physics He created.


#16

Vegita-
Have you been hitting the bong again?
Just kidding, I always enjoy what you have to say!

DanC
I find it strange how on the political threads, I really did not agree with your views, but on this thread I think you are right on the mark! Keep posting, I enjoy reading them.


#17

DAN C: You might want to read Totem and Taboo for a more psychological rationale behind religion. While using religion to prop up societal norms/expectations is certainly easily explainable, the fact that people are naturally religious to begin with is an interesting topic.


#18

fun and fornication.


#19

I have looked up alot of stuff and I have never heard anything about Net energy. Could you point me to a source? Everything I have read states the following:

1st Law (Law of Energy Conservation): in a closed system no energy is either created or destroyed, though it can and does go through various kinds of transformations

2nd Law: in a real process, in a closed system, the entropy must increase.

These laws are based upon more evidence and are more universally applicable than any other principles in science. They have been confirmed by countless experiments ranging in size from the nuclear to the astronomic. There is no exception to either of them. You stated," There is also no need for a Christian to believe that God created the world in a way that violates the very laws of physics He created." Your exactly right. He did not. Evolution teaches that all thigs have been developed from primordial beginnings y means of present processes ad thus that "creation" is continous. Creationists believe creation is now over thus the 1st and 2nd Laws are now ineffect but were not during creation week. The 1st Law tells us that the world has always existed in its present form or that it was specially created in the past. The 2nd Law tells us that it caot always have existed in its present form or else it would already have completely disintgrated ad died. The universe must have a beginning, and all things lead to special creation.

Some problems with the Big Bang

I the Big Bag scenario-according to evolutionists' assumptions about iitial conditions-the Universe ca contain no more than 10% protons, eutrons, ad other ordinary matter such as is found in stars, planets, etc. What makes up the rest of the matter 90-99% of the Uiverse- still a mystery. Cosmologists do not know what it is, ad have not found direct evidence of its existence. One suggestion is that it consists of "cold dark matter". It can not be see or react with other matter (except gravitionally). Evolutionists desperately need this matter to allow for expansion and galaxy formation. If this extra matter did not exist, then the ordinary matter of the Universe would have scattered into the empty reaches of space without ever coming together to form galaxies. The Universe is also Lumpy. Cold matter cannot account for this, and circumventing this problem is what the current controversy is all about.


#20

I guess in the end I'm like alot of people,I'm not sure.Thats the reason I'm agnostic.