Hawking vs God



  • ... is apparently REALLY popular on CNN - even the folks on other planets are up in arms!


    [img]http://i51.tinypic.com/14uuxid.png[/img]


  • I'm impressed that there was enough of 'the world's oldest beer found in shipwreck' for 7,489 people.



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    I'm impressed that there was enough of 'the world's oldest beer found in shipwreck' for 7,489 people.
     

    And that it was still good.



  • Hawking is not in any shape to take on God. He doesn't have the intelligence.



  • @SilentRunner said:

    Hawking is not in any shape to take on God. He doesn't have the intelligence.

     

    On the other hand, if you don't show up to court, you automatically lose. Hawking has a significant advantage in that I'm much more confident that he exists.



  • @dhromed said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    I'm impressed that there was enough of 'the world's oldest beer found in shipwreck' for 7,489 people.
     

    And that it was still good.

    cnn.com is a site based in the USA. I would not make that assumption.



  • And yet an argument that God does not exist, simply because the existence of God is unnecessary, given our current understanding of the laws of physics, for the existence of the universe is flawed.

    Our current understanding of the laws which govern the universe is woefully incomplete.  I think perhaps that Hawking's current circumstances may have undue influence on his current theories and thinking.



  • Medezark: you should use your clearly superior understanding of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics to prove him wrong, instead of saying he's wrong because he's disabled. That's just not cool.

     Or you could just declare that he is wrong, just because you don't want to believe it. Oh hey, welcome to the magical world that is religion.



  • Before you start on the whole 'does god exist' debate, would anyone care to take a stab at a reason why an answer either way should change anything?



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    Before you start on the whole 'does god exist' debate, would anyone care to take a stab at a reason why an answer either way should change anything?
    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    Before you start on the whole 'does god exist' debate, would anyone care to take a stab at a reason why an answer either way should change anything?

    Because Hawking's conjecture is the direct opposite to Medzark's.  Hawking is saying that while we don't know all the laws of the universe, it appears at this point that we know enough of the laws to be able to make the statement: "The creation of the universe does not require any entity outside of the laws we know of."  Turn that into a CNN headline and you get: "God doesn't exist."

    Being able to prove that at a mathematical level is significant scientific progress.

     



  • @fourchan said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    Before you start on the whole 'does god exist' debate, would anyone care to take a stab at a reason why an answer either way should change anything?
    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.

    Would it? What kind of thing are you imagining exactly?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @fourchan said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    Before you start on the whole 'does god exist' debate, would anyone care to take a stab at a reason why an answer either way should change anything?
    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.

    Would it? What kind of thing are you imagining exactly?

     

    Pretty much what John Lennon suggested we all imagine: that there's no heaven, no hell below us, above us only sky.  And I seem to recall him talking about the song once and saying that if that were the case, it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference how people treat each other.



  • God FTW



  • @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.



  • @fourchan said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    Before you start on the whole 'does god exist' debate, would anyone care to take a stab at a reason why an answer either way should change anything?
    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.

    Would it? Why should the existence or otherwise of a god make me change the way I behave? Why should I care what it thinks?



  • @dhromed said:

    @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.

    How so? The Myanmar government would have a lot less trouble in dealing with unruly Buddhist monks if it could prove that they were wrong.



  • @__moz said:

    @dhromed said:

    @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.

    How so? The Myanmar government would have a lot less trouble in dealing with unruly Buddhist monks if it could prove that they were wrong.

    Absolutely. Similarly, once we prove that Osama is wrong, he'll just apologize and go home and we'll have no more problem from him.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @__moz said:

    @dhromed said:

    @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.

    How so? The Myanmar government would have a lot less trouble in dealing with unruly Buddhist monks if it could prove that they were wrong.

    Absolutely. Similarly, once we prove that Osama is wrong, he'll just apologize and go home and we'll have no more problem from him.

     

    I don't think anyone has suggested in this thread that Osama bin Laden is mistaken about anything at all.

    The significance of the monks is that they depend on the generosity of others to maintain their lifestyle. Who would donate to a man who chose to devote his life to chanting mumbo jumbo? And who would go with him when he wanders the countryside? Osama bin Laden, by contrast, has plenty of money, and does not need to wander anywhere to make a point.



  • @__moz said:

    @b-redeker said:

    @__moz said:

    @dhromed said:

    @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.

    How so? The Myanmar government would have a lot less trouble in dealing with unruly Buddhist monks if it could prove that they were wrong.

    Absolutely. Similarly, once we prove that Osama is wrong, he'll just apologize and go home and we'll have no more problem from him.

     

    I don't think anyone has suggested in this thread that Osama bin Laden is mistaken about anything at all.

    The significance of the monks is that they depend on the generosity of others to maintain their lifestyle. Who would donate to a man who chose to devote his life to chanting mumbo jumbo? And who would go with him when he wanders the countryside? Osama bin Laden, by contrast, has plenty of money, and does not need to wander anywhere to make a point.

    Oh, Osama, not Obama. Makes more sense now than the first time I read it. Don't see why people shouldn't give money to Buddhist monks anyway. We fund a) charities and b) philosophy departments of universities.



  • @BC_Programmer said:

    Medezark: you should use your clearly superior understanding of quantum mechanics and theoretical physics to prove him wrong, instead of saying he's wrong because he's disabled. That's just not cool.

     Or you could just declare that he is wrong, just because you don't want to believe it. Oh hey, welcome to the magical world that is religion.

    My statements were ill-worded.

    Hawking hasn't "proven" the non-existence of God, he really hasn't "proven" anything. He has created reasonable conjecture concerning the nature of the universe, within the boundaries of man's current best guess as to the nature of reality.

    I did not say that he is "wrong because he is disabled", I don't think he is "disabled". My statement was that his condition has an influence on his work. There can be no doubt that it influences his career in many ways. He is far from disabled, however. He seems to live a much richer life of mind that you or I. No human being can separate their condition and circumstance fully from their thought processes without a great deal of effort, and even then the separation is not complete.

    It seems foolish to me, however, to think that physics has reached the point where a declaration of "God Does Not Exist" can be made with absolute certainty, when we haven't figured out the relatively simple thermodynamic engine that is earth's climate, or even tell whether a Cat is dead or not.



  • @__moz said:

    @b-redeker said:

    @__moz said:

    @dhromed said:

    @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.

    How so? The Myanmar government would have a lot less trouble in dealing with unruly Buddhist monks if it could prove that they were wrong.

    Absolutely. Similarly, once we prove that Osama is wrong, he'll just apologize and go home and we'll have no more problem from him.

     

    I don't think anyone has suggested in this thread that Osama bin Laden is mistaken about anything at all.

    The significance of the monks is that they depend on the generosity of others to maintain their lifestyle. Who would donate to a man who chose to devote his life to chanting mumbo jumbo? And who would go with him when he wanders the countryside? Osama bin Laden, by contrast, has plenty of money, and does not need to wander anywhere to make a point.

     

    what is godwins law but with Osama bin Laden called?

     



  • @Helix said:

    @__moz said:

    @b-redeker said:

    @__moz said:

    @dhromed said:

    @fourchan said:

    It would certainly change the way many people treat others.
     

    lol naive.

    How so? The Myanmar government would have a lot less trouble in dealing with unruly Buddhist monks if it could prove that they were wrong.

    Absolutely. Similarly, once we prove that Osama is wrong, he'll just apologize and go home and we'll have no more problem from him.

     

    I don't think anyone has suggested in this thread that Osama bin Laden is mistaken about anything at all.

    The significance of the monks is that they depend on the generosity of others to maintain their lifestyle. Who would donate to a man who chose to devote his life to chanting mumbo jumbo? And who would go with him when he wanders the countryside? Osama bin Laden, by contrast, has plenty of money, and does not need to wander anywhere to make a point.

     

    what is godwins law but with Osama bin Laden called?

     

     

    The __moz law maybe?

    __moz law, mozilla - get it? Ha! Ha ha! Ha! Ha ha ha ha! Ahem.



  • @Medezark said:

    It seems foolish to me, however, to think that physics has reached the point where a declaration of "God Does Not Exist" can be made with absolute certainty
     

    1) that's not what he said. He said:

    @Stephen Hawkins said:

    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.
    It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

    See how that's (not so) subtly different?

    2) without knowing the extent of your physics knowledge, I feel pretty safe predicting that Hawkins knows more about the point physics has reached.

     

     



  • @b-redeker said:

    @Medezark said:

    It seems foolish to me, however, to think that physics has reached the point where a declaration of "God Does Not Exist" can be made with absolute certainty
     

    1) that's not what he said. He said:

    @Stephen Hawkins said:

    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.
    It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

    See how that's (not so) subtly different?

    2) without knowing the extent of your physics knowledge, I feel pretty safe predicting that Hawkins knows more about the point physics has reached.

    You're quite correct, there is a difference between God being a required external force, and saying there is no God.

    And, you are also correct that Stephen Hawkins knowledge of the current state of physics is greater than mine.

    And, my inability to get this simple comment entry to recognized line feeds and put my comments in as anything other than WallOfText format illustrates that even better.

    I have ordered the book, as I have been commenting based on other's more inflamatory out of context interpretations of excerpts rather than the book as a whole.  I would put the blame on too much caffeinne and too little sleep, however must ultimately accept responsibility for my own stupidity and haste to judgement.



  • I've always seen the whole "religion vs science" debate as something that can partially be paraphrased as "science aims to describe what the universe is and how it works; religion aims to explain why the universe exists and therefore guide our interactions with the universe."

    If we have an amoral universe, then most of society breaks down because the only fundamental guiding principles are the laws of physics - so there is no rational impetus to strive for the greater good, or even for the preservation of the species, because as far as physics is concerned there is no difference between having a species and not having one; the laws of physics are unchanged.

    If there is "something more" than the physical laws, then that provides a basis by which value can be placed on decisions. Physics places no value on anything, so is not useful for such discussions.  I think that's what people are hinting at with the statements regarding "would (proof of the existence or not) of God change the way people act?"  If there is no moral authority, then why should people bother with social conventions? If there is moral authority, does physics explain it?  (I don't think that I'd buy "emergent behavior" as a valid explanation for how physics could give rise to a moral mandate.)



  • @Medezark said:

    You're quite correct

    You're no fun debating :(



  • Pure science will never provide moral guidance, sure. In fact, it doesn't provide guidance on anything, including on whether or not people should follow their instincts, accept science, accept religion, etc. Morals, and even the motivation to do anything at all, must be provided on some level by belief. You seem to be talking about people who believe in physics and absolutely nothing else, but such people would have no idea what to do.

    In practice, most people will always have some sort of belief that supports moral standards. The difference for Atheists or Agnostics is that they may have to accept that their reasons are ultimately philosophical.



  • As I said earlier in the thread, I don't see why the existence of a god absolves anyone of the responsibility to make moral choices. Deciding whether or not to follow that god's laws should not simply be a matter of whether he exists or not: he has to be able to justify them, and an individual then has to make a moral choice to accept that justification or not. Hellfire is just bullying, not a reason to do what the bully wants.



  • @b-redeker said:

    @Medezark said:

    You're quite correct

    You're no fun debating :(

    Sorry, I gave up because

    (1) my brain started working again.

    (2) I realised I had not read the source material and therefor was not capable of presenting a clear and rational comment.

    (3) A debate mixing philosophy, theology, and physics is only fun when alcohol, women, and other mind enhancing substances are involved.

    (4)

    (5) Profit.

    Wait.  What?



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    As I said earlier in the thread, I don't see why the existence of a god absolves anyone of the responsibility to make moral choices. Deciding whether or not to follow that god's laws should not simply be a matter of whether he exists or not: he has to be able to justify them, and an individual then has to make a moral choice to accept that justification or not. Hellfire is just bullying, not a reason to do what the bully wants.

    The existence of Hell as a place of eternal torture/punishment is a relatively new idea in the Judeo/Muslim/Christian religions, as is the existence of Heaven as a place of eternal Reward.  Some religions get by without any concrete description of an AfterLife.



  • @PeriSoft said:

    @SilentRunner said:

    Hawking is not in any shape to take on God. He doesn't have the intelligence.

     

    On the other hand, if you don't show up to court, you automatically lose. Hawking has a significant advantage in that I'm much more confident that he exists.

     

    I have not personally met Stephen Hawking. I have not personally met God. I have read books allegedly written by Stephen Hawking- Although, if the stories about him are true, he likely dictated the book or had other assistance with the actual writing. I have read books allegedly by God, if again, you count dictating or "divinely inspiring" others to do the actual physical writing. I have spoken to people who claim to have spoken to Stephen Hawking. I have spoken to people who claim to have spoken to God.

    Other than the myth of Stephen Hawking saying he is a human instead of an all-powerful superbeing, and my personal experiance suggesting that humans are, in fact, real, I'm not sure that Stephen Hawking is that much more plausible than God. And even that only puts him on the same level as Arthur Pendragon or Barack Obama- Some people claim them to be real, but I have no direct evidence.

     



  • @Medezark said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    As I said earlier in the thread, I don't see why the existence of a god absolves anyone of the responsibility to make moral choices. Deciding whether or not to follow that god's laws should not simply be a matter of whether he exists or not: he has to be able to justify them, and an individual then has to make a moral choice to accept that justification or not. Hellfire is just bullying, not a reason to do what the bully wants.

    The existence of Hell as a place of eternal torture/punishment is a relatively new idea in the Judeo/Muslim/Christian religions, as is the existence of Heaven as a place of eternal Reward.  Some religions get by without any concrete description of an AfterLife.

    Precisely. Unless you think of god as a super-bully, and are so craven as to submit to his/her/its bullying, then the existence or otherwise of a god makes no difference to the way you should make moral decisions. The implication of that is quite amusing - if there is to be such a thing as a Day of Judgement, it's going to have to work both ways: we won't be able to accept that god should judge us until after we've judged him/her/it. I can tell you, I'll have a few questions if that is the case. I also note that this is a view that will make proselytic Christians' heads explode as an answer to 'Repent, sinner, what will you say to God when you stand before him on Judgement Day?' and even offer a Jesuit a few difficulties: it's hard to argue with a viewpoint that the existence of god doesn't need to be proven because it's irrelevant.


  • @cdosrun said:

    I have not personally met CDOSRUN. I have not personally met God. I have read posts allegedly written by CDOSRUN- Although, if the stories about him are true, he likely dictated the posts or had other assistance with the actual writing. I have read books allegedly by God, if again, you count dictating or "divinely inspiring" others to do the actual physical writing. I have spoken to people who claim to have spoken to CDOSRUN. I have spoken to people who claim to have spoken to God.

    Other than the myth of CDOSRUN saying he is a copy of the old ELIZA program instead of an all-powerful superbeing, and my personal experiance suggesting that humans are, in fact, real, I'm not sure that CDOSRUN is that much more plausible than God. And even that only puts him on the same level as Arthur Pendragon or Barack Obama- Some people claim them to be real, but I have no direct evidence

    FTFY



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    @Medezark said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    As I said earlier in the thread, I don't see why the existence of a god absolves anyone of the responsibility to make moral choices. Deciding whether or not to follow that god's laws should not simply be a matter of whether he exists or not: he has to be able to justify them, and an individual then has to make a moral choice to accept that justification or not. Hellfire is just bullying, not a reason to do what the bully wants.

    The existence of Hell as a place of eternal torture/punishment is a relatively new idea in the Judeo/Muslim/Christian religions, as is the existence of Heaven as a place of eternal Reward.  Some religions get by without any concrete description of an AfterLife.

    Precisely. Unless you think of god as a super-bully, and are so craven as to submit to his/her/its bullying, then the existence or otherwise of a god makes no difference to the way you should make moral decisions. The implication of that is quite amusing - if there is to be such a thing as a Day of Judgement, it's going to have to work both ways: we won't be able to accept that god should judge us until after we've judged him/her/it. I can tell you, I'll have a few questions if that is the case. I also note that this is a view that will make proselytic Christians' heads explode as an answer to 'Repent, sinner, what will you say to God when you stand before him on Judgement Day?' and even offer a Jesuit a few difficulties: it's hard to argue with a viewpoint that the existence of god doesn't need to be proven because it's irrelevant.

    Perhaps, those who choose to follow a moral path while questioning the extistence of God ( really questioning, not just closing their minds, sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "la la la - there is no god" ), will be "judged" more lieniently than those who only choose a moral path out of fear of retribution.

    An entity that would be considered "God" (omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient) would consider us, at best, as children with a limited grasp of reality and would recognize our limitations.  And a "God" who had "created" us as well would have a capacity for forgiveness greater than ours. Perhaps even a complete athiest who chooses an ethical path in life would achieve greater "rewards" than a "god-fearing" man whose choices were solely guided by the stick and carrot.  But i don't know.  My personal belief system is ........ complicated.  And would probably, even in this enlightened age, have me burned at the stake as a heretic by all three camps (Believer's, Agnostics, and Athiests).  I have a Wiccan friend who looks at me oddly quite frequently when we discuss these things.



  • @Medezark said:

    Perhaps, those who choose to follow a moral path while questioning the extistence of God ( really questioning, not just closing their minds, sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "la la la - there is no god" ), will be "judged" more lieniently than those who only choose a moral path out of fear of retribution.
    Would you consider a God who did that - without making the terms of the deal obvious up front - would be making judgements we should accept?



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    As I said earlier in the thread, I don't see why the existence of a god absolves anyone of the responsibility to make moral choices. Deciding whether or not to follow that god's laws should not simply be a matter of whether he exists or not: he has to be able to justify them, and an individual then has to make a moral choice to accept that justification or not. Hellfire is just bullying, not a reason to do what the bully wants.
    The real problem is not that those who stop believing in God will believe in anything, but that those who have faith in God can justify doing anything.
    — Simon Morris



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    @Medezark said:

    @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    As I said earlier in the thread, I don't see why the existence of a god absolves anyone of the responsibility to make moral choices. Deciding whether or not to follow that god's laws should not simply be a matter of whether he exists or not: he has to be able to justify them, and an individual then has to make a moral choice to accept that justification or not. Hellfire is just bullying, not a reason to do what the bully wants.

    The existence of Hell as a place of eternal torture/punishment is a relatively new idea in the Judeo/Muslim/Christian religions, as is the existence of Heaven as a place of eternal Reward.  Some religions get by without any concrete description of an AfterLife.

    Precisely. Unless you think of god as a super-bully, and are so craven as to submit to his/her/its bullying, then the existence or otherwise of a god makes no difference to the way you should make moral decisions. The implication of that is quite amusing - if there is to be such a thing as a Day of Judgement, it's going to have to work both ways: we won't be able to accept that god should judge us until after we've judged him/her/it. I can tell you, I'll have a few questions if that is the case. I also note that this is a view that will make proselytic Christians' heads explode as an answer to 'Repent, sinner, what will you say to God when you stand before him on Judgement Day?' and even offer a Jesuit a few difficulties: it's hard to argue with a viewpoint that the existence of god doesn't need to be proven because it's irrelevant.

     

    This viewpoint only makes any sense if you're thinking of the theme park version of the Afterlife.  You know, the one where angels with big white wings sit around on big fluffy clouds playing harps all day while down below, demons with red skin, horns and barbed tails beat people with whips and chains in a dank cavern filled with lakes of fire and brimstone.  I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis's quote:

    @C.S. Lewis said:

    There is no need to be worried by facetious people who try to make the Christian hope of 'Heaven' ridiculous by saying they do not want to 'spend eternity playing harps'. The answer to such people is that if they cannot understand books written for grown-ups, they should not talk about them.

    I'm not sure where Dave gets the idea that Heaven and Hell are recent innovations.  They're referenced in Genesis and Exodus, and the idea of the afterlife and the judgment is explicitly invoked by Job, who is thought to have been a contemporary of Abraham's.  Jesus and the Apostles spoke pretty specifically of judgment, reward and punishment too.

    I think a big part of the confusion comes from the misconception that the afterlife is "the end." We do what we do here on Earth, we die, we get judged for it, and then we end up living happily (or miserably) ever after in some static world of unchanging perfection, either perfect happiness or perfect misery.  That's a vastly oversimplified idea that's been rejected soundly by the vast majority of serious theologians, (at least the Heaven side of it has; I think that might well be a pretty good description of Hell,) but it gets a lot of circulation by preachers for the same reason most of the ridiculous and incorrect political oversimplifications we hear on the media do: because it makes for a good sound bite.

    Allow me to propose an alternative theory that makes a bit more sense.  The afterlife is not The End, but a new beginning. There's more work to be done, on a vastly wider scope than this earth, but it requires people with extreme levels of self-discipline to keep from screwing it up.  (Just look at how few people in our history could ever be trusted with power.  There have been some who it did not corrupt, but not many.)  So he gives us a sandbox world to play around in, and rules that will teach us not to abuse what little power we do have here, if we can bring ourselves to live by them.  Those who show themselves equal to the task of managing terrestrial power responsibly will be judged worthy of handling celestial power and participating in far greater things.  And those who don't? They'll end up with other things to do.  Does that make a bit more sense than Fluffy Cloud Heaven?

    Finally, from the guy who's often quoted (completely out of context) as stating "God is dead:"

    @Nietzche said:

    Companions, the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators, the creator seeks -- those who write new values on new tablets.



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    @Medezark said:
    Perhaps, those who choose to follow a moral path while questioning the extistence of God ( really questioning, not just closing their minds, sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "la la la - there is no god" ), will be "judged" more lieniently than those who only choose a moral path out of fear of retribution.
    Would you consider a God who did that - without making the terms of the deal obvious up front - would be making judgements we should accept?

    Well, it's been made fairly clear in most religions that the plans and decisions of God are not within Man's capability to understand.  Which makes sense, as God would view things from a much different viewpoint than Man.  A much larger scope in all respects.  That's one of the big disconnects between "Religion" and "Faith".  "Religions", in my opinion, put too much weight to items which from a God-Like viewpoint would seem inconsequential.

    Think of some of the recent items which have caused adamant and sometimes violent arguments within and amongst various religious groups.  Would an Omniscient, Omnipresent, Omnipotent being, with a parental concern for Humanity as a special creation, even care about some of them? Stem Cell research using frozen embryos that would never be used to produce children, Sexual Orientation, Polygamy, The exact age of Majority, which end of the egg to break first..... (Bonus points for identifying that last reference).

    I don't know.

    Even some of the ideas that Christianity takes for granted, such as Judas as "betrayer" could be interpreted differently with little effort.  The whole "he who dips bread with me" thing sounds more like drawing lots than prophecy.  The entire idea got filtered through the choice of books to be included in the New Testament, a choice made not by God, but by committee, with a plethora of agenda's and individual preferences and belief's.  But, I wasn't there, so I can never be certain.  Too me, it reads more like "One of you has to betray me." and then a dozen "Not It's" followed by "Fine, whoever dips bread at the same time I do, is It."  Judas makes the "Great Betrayal", necessary to bring about the fullfillment of prophecy and in accordance with the will of God, and the other disciples perform smaller, yet more heinous betrayals afterwards.  Judas' guilt over the Great Betrayal is so much that it drive's him to suicide, something that probably wouldn't have happened if the betrayal had really been driven by motives of simple greed.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    Allow me to propose an alternative theory that makes a bit more sense.  The afterlife is not The End, but a new beginning. There's more work to be done, on a vastly wider scope than this earth, but it requires people with extreme levels of self-discipline to keep from screwing it up.  (Just look at how few people in our history could ever be trusted with power.  There have been some who it did not corrupt, but not many.)  So he gives us a sandbox world to play around in, and rules that will teach us not to abuse what little power we do have here, if we can bring ourselves to live by them.  Those who show themselves equal to the task of managing terrestrial power responsibly will be judged worthy of handling celestial power and participating in far greater things.  And those who don't? They'll end up with other things to do.  Does that make a bit more sense than Fluffy Cloud Heaven?

    Finally, from the guy who's often quoted (completely out of context) as stating "God is dead:"

    @Nietzche said:

    Companions, the creator seeks, not corpses, not herds and believers. Fellow creators, the creator seeks -- those who write new values on new tablets.

    Wow --- Have you read Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein?



  •  @Medezark said:

    @cdosrun said:

    I have not personally met CDOSRUN. I have not personally met God. I have read posts allegedly written by CDOSRUN- Although, if the stories about him are true, he likely dictated the posts or had other assistance with the actual writing. I have read books allegedly by God, if again, you count dictating or "divinely inspiring" others to do the actual physical writing. I have spoken to people who claim to have spoken to CDOSRUN. I have spoken to people who claim to have spoken to God.

    Other than the myth of CDOSRUN saying he is a copy of the old ELIZA program instead of an all-powerful superbeing, and my personal experiance suggesting that old ELIZA programs are, in fact, real, I'm not sure that CDOSRUN is that much more plausible than God. And even that only puts him on the same level as Arthur Pendragon or Barack Obama- Some people claim them to be real, but I have no direct evidence

    FTFY

    You missed one.



  • @Medezark said:

    which end of the egg to break first..... (Bonus points for identifying that last reference).

    Gulliver's Travels. IIRC also the source for the naming convention regarding byte order in processors.

    Even some of the ideas that Christianity takes for granted, such as Judas as "betrayer" could be interpreted differently with little effort.  The whole "he who dips bread with me" thing sounds more like drawing lots than prophecy.  The entire idea got filtered through the choice of books to be included in the New Testament, a choice made not by God, but by committee, with a plethora of agenda's and individual preferences and belief's.

    Actually, the process to select which books to consider canonical was mostly a formalization of what the majority of Christians already believed by that point, under a very serious set of criteria that no one would call arbitrary:  It came after a century or two of intense persecution by Roman authorities.  If the Romans are coming to destroy your scriptures, which ones do you let them get and which ones do you hide in order to preserve them?  You hide the ones you know are important and authoritative.  Those books are probably not all there is--the idea of a "complete, closed canon" has historically always been associated with apostate groups--but their authenticity is written in blood.



  • @Medezark said:

    Wow --- Have you read Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein?

    Nope.  I read a few things by Heinlein, never particularly liked any of it, and didn't read the rest.  Especially since, by all accounts, his writing got a lot worse as he got older. :(



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    If there is no moral authority, then why should people bother with social conventions? If there is moral authority, does physics explain it?

    Your brain is a very complicated object, but everything you believe and everything you do is controlled by a set of laws and a vast set of initial conditions. No-one knows enough about either at the moment to explain why moral authority is so important to you, though.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    @Medezark said:

    Wow --- Have you read Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein?

    Nope.  I read a few things by Heinlein, never particularly liked any of it, and didn't read the rest.  Especially since, by all accounts, his writing got a lot worse as he got older. :(

    You might like that one, or the short wikipedia entry for it if you find Heinlein a pain.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    This viewpoint only makes any sense if you're thinking of the theme park version of the Afterlife.  You know, the one where angels with big white wings sit around on big fluffy clouds playing harps all day while down below, demons with red skin, horns and barbed tails beat people with whips and chains in a dank cavern filled with lakes of fire and brimstone. 
    Not at all. It doesn't make the slightest difference either way, which is kind of the point. Whatever awaits (if anything), the question is whether you will accept that you deserve it. That god is omnipotent is irrelevant: omnipotence is still bounded by logic, so I cannot be forced to agree that something is fair, only persuaded. @Mason Wheeler said:
    I'm not sure where Dave gets the idea that Heaven and Hell are recent innovations.
    I didn't, the nested quotes have confused things. I blame Medezark, myself :)@Mason Wheeler said:
    Allow me to propose an alternative theory that makes a bit more sense.
    You can propose any theory you like, but it's no more than speculation (I assume!). What I'm talking about is that we don't need to know, because it shouldn't make a blind bit of difference. Whilst I like your idea, since we can't know what the real situation is, we have to have a way of living that doesn't require us to know - that is, a way in which, even were we to know for sure, we would not have to change anything as a result.



  • @Mason Wheeler said:

    @Medezark said:

    Wow --- Have you read Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein?

    Nope.  I read a few things by Heinlein, never particularly liked any of it, and didn't read the rest.  Especially since, by all accounts, his writing got a lot worse as he got older. :(

    Heretic, thou shalt BUUUUUUURNNNN!!!!



  • @too_many_usernames said:

    If there is no moral authority, then why should people bother with social conventions?
    Oh, missed that the first time round. Is it overly simplistic to answer 'because the company of other people who bother with them a) requires you to do so and b) is worthwhile'?



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    @Mason Wheeler said:

    @Medezark said:

    Wow --- Have you read Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein?

    Nope.  I read a few things by Heinlein, never particularly liked any of it, and didn't read the rest.  Especially since, by all accounts, his writing got a lot worse as he got older. :(

    Heretic, thou shalt BUUUUUUURNNNN!!!!

    The thing about Heinlein... I like his ideas, but I have trouble reading books where the main character looks and thinks exactly like Heinlein, and is super-rich, and is constantly surrounded by beautiful women half his age, and-- basically it's like bad fan-fic half the time.



  • @davedavenotdavemaybedave said:

    @Mason Wheeler said:

    @Medezark said:

    Wow --- Have you read Job: A Comedy of Justice by Heinlein?

    Nope.  I read a few things by Heinlein, never particularly liked any of it, and didn't read the rest.  Especially since, by all accounts, his writing got a lot worse as he got older. :(

    Heretic, thou shalt BUUUUUUURNNNN!!!!
     

    Yeah, I was wondering how long it would be before someone said that.

    @blakeyrat said:

    The thing about Heinlein... I like his ideas,
    but I have trouble reading books where the main character looks and
    thinks exactly like Heinlein, and is super-rich, and is constantly
    surrounded by beautiful women half his age, and-- basically it's like
    bad fan-fic half the time.

    Exactly, except for the part about liking his ideas.  Especially since some of his ideas, especially regarding incest, are kinda on the squicky side...


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