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Izzy
post May 3 2007, 12:39 PM
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This more or less all came from a conversation two friends and I had on our way to school this morning. One of them invited me to go to church with her. In my life, I've never been to church, or at least not that I can remmeber. My other friend decided that I should go to church with him as well. One is Catholic and the other is Christian. My mom if Christian and my dad is Catholic, but I've never really been into religion or believed in God, an consider myself athiest. But that's not really important.

What is important is one of the things that came up.

1) Someone mentioned that god and the devil may not exactly be people, but more of an essence of good and evil. I can see myself believing that.

2) Then someone mentioned JJ Thompson and the enlargement of the lightbulb. At first the people didn't understand what it was, and thought 'oh, it must be gods will, god's touch, etc.' Later electrons were discovered, which misproved the God theory.

There were a few more points that came up, but the bell is going to ring in two minutes and don't have time to type them out, and they are relatively unimportant.

The point is, what if, like the electrons, humans, other species, and all the life on Earth (other plantets too?) was really just evolution, but like JJ Thompson, we don;t yet have the technology to prove it yet?

Anyways, I'm not trying to say religions and stuff and totally dumb, not needed, and change your views, but to know what you think of this.

And there's the bell...


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Felander
post May 3 2007, 07:25 PM
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As a scientist, I believe in a creator. I cannot fathom how everything in the world was created purely based upon random chance. I literally cannot get my head around it. Looking at the complexities of the human body, the processes of protein synthesis, DNA replication, selective reabsorption in the Loop of Henle etc, I just can't understand how someone can say they were not deliberately designed. They are so... brilliant that the mere notion they were created by chance is, quite frankly, insulting.

However, what I don't believe in is an omniscient, omnipotent, loving God that presides over all mankind, yadda yadda yadda. So, yeah, I'm not exactly what you'd call your average theist.
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MisterJ
post May 3 2007, 10:41 PM
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It's kinda confusing for m at the moment, cuz' I'm growing up in a religious family, and I beleive in God, to an extent. You see, when this get hard and stuff, I'm the kindaof person to look to God for support by prayer or something. But I also have a fairly strong beleife in the scientific side. Like that the world may very well have been created by the big bang, and that we evolved from apes. And I also beleive that even for God, there are rules, like, God can't directly make a thunder storm happen on que, for things like this, you would be able to look back and find the clouds passing over other countries days before it got to you.
It's just like what our religioun teacher says to us, the bible isn't meant to be taken literally, many of the stories are not entirly true, except for the moral meaning.

Anyway, I'm on a bit of both, I'm pretty much a theist, and a scientific beleiver. smile.gif
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Mata
post May 3 2007, 11:25 PM
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I can see how this world and all life on it came from random chance... Or, to be more precise, how it didn't. Life isn't a random process, and we've done a good job of discovering how many things around us are governed by very sensible and logical rules that naturally lead to immensely complex entities.

To put it another way, I've never heard a convincing argument against evolution, despite other theories having the entire history of mankind as a head-start.

As I've said in other places, I do believe that there is a general 'ideal' method of living life, and that this somehow reflects a view of the world that pursues harmony and happiness. Taoism is the best expression of this view that I have found, because it rejects attempts to interpret the divine and instead focusses on living a good, peaceful life.

I was quite Christian when I was young, but the more I read, the more I found that I generally disagreed with the way that the Bible was interpreted. To me the new testament seems to be a very base corruption of what (as far as can be told through the layers) was a very reasonable way of living. I agree with all of the basic messages of Jesus, I just find myself sickened by the spins that have been put on it.


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sirdudly
post May 4 2007, 12:14 AM
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The Catholic Church gets a lot of heat these days, it sometimes makes it difficult to admit your faith when there is soo much hate out there targeted at you and your fellow believers.
There's a lot of ignorance around regarding Catholicism. It's a very common misconception that evolution doesn't work with Catholic teaching. All Genesis means to me is that God created everything, it doesn't need to explain specifics, the people the story was made for wouldn't understand them.
Altough I believe in the Catholic faith, I do have problems with the Church. As an institution made by man, it possesses the negative qualities of man.


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Wookiee
post May 4 2007, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE (Felander @ May 3 2007, 08:25 PM) *
As a scientist, I believe in a creator. I cannot fathom how everything in the world was created purely based upon random chance. I literally cannot get my head around it.


And you're a scientist? Have mercy.

If the great minds of generations past and present had said, "Ooh, I cannot fathom this. It must have been a creator!", and left it at that, boundaries would never have been pushed and advancements never made. If a new generation of minds are going to start positing seriously on the notion of Creationism Intelligent Design, then science is going to throw in the towel. What's the point in searching for answers when you can just say, "Oh, we don't know. A Creator must have done it." ?

Bad Science makes my brain sick.

QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 4 2007, 01:14 AM) *
It's a very common misconception that evolution doesn't work with Catholic teaching. All Genesis means to me is that God created everything


As an ex-Catholic, I'm happy to commonly misconceive that Darwin and the Pope just don't mix, because it's true. They really don't.


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Daria
post May 4 2007, 12:24 PM
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Izzy, when you say your mum is "Christian", what do you mean? Catholicism is also Christianity, just a different spin than, say, Baptism.

I have never believed in a God or any one religion. I don't understand how people can get comfort from religion when it has been the root of so many deaths, blind faith scares me, and I especially don't like religion being pushed onto me. I went to a Church Of England primary school where we would say the Lord's Prayer in assembley three times a week, where we used to all trudge up to the village church for services around Easter and Christmas, and where RE lessons would be learning about Christianity. (It may have just been the curriculum, though). My parents were not religious at all- the closest I got to religion in the home was when I was introduced to family friends who were witches and magicians. My highschool was also leaning towards C of E, but not quite so much- although I was once given an F on an essay paper for writing about Hinduism (correctly, I may add) instead of Judaism- because the class hadn't learnt about Hinduism and it would have given me an unfair advantage if I had got an A. Apparently.

I have some odd views on energies (what some people may refer to as a soul, but not really that), nature, magic and that life is predetermined (but we can choose what path by which we get there). But then I look at them all and think "What a load of rubbish" and have no views on life, other than we should be good people- in a sense that we are not causing harm to others.

Religion made sense years and years ago when people needed answers for things but were not scientifically advanced enough to find them out- so they created stories to explain why the sun goes across the sky, why it rained lots, and why women should stay in the homestead because the men want them there. Religion is not law, and it sickens me when you come across people who believe that religion comes first, over the laws of where you live. Apart from Tibet, where the Chinese should just f*** off.


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Moosh
post May 4 2007, 12:32 PM
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I don't believe in any God as posited by religion. I believe that there are beings (many, many of them) who are "superior" to us, in the sense of being higher-dimensional, and therefore able to do things that we cannot.

However, I don't think they have ever had anything to do with us, and they were created when we were, with the 'big bang' (I hate that term) start of the universe etc.

I feel perfectly happy for the universe to come about by random chance. Note this does not apply to evolution, evolution isn't random. As I see it, we miraculously live in a universe which has the constants tuned so that we are able to live in it. However, we have no knowledge of how many other universes there have been which we couldn't live in, and therefore didn't. If something is a billion-to-one chance, and then the events happen a billion times, is it that surprising that it works once?


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Witless
post May 4 2007, 04:09 PM
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Can't promise to keep this short.. cos my thoughts are multiple and many on this subject.

First off, I certainly don't accept literal interuptations of organised religion. Catch me in the right mood and I'll happily mock them until a christian/muslim/hindu/other religious person that conveniently ignores the parts in their religion that say violence is bad to step out of the shadows and punch me.

However sometimes you can see interesting messages and truths in them if you look at them in the right way. my only problem with that is that you can normally see messages in most things if you look at them in the right way, so that's our perceptions rather than the religions themselves. But nonetheless many good people have gained their ideals from their faiths (many bad people too). So I'll elevate religion to a pedastal above normal moral stories that people through time have traditionally passed down to teach lessons.

Evolution and randomness.. that's an interesting one.. since it really pushes the word random a bit. On one hand the human body didn't come about through random chance. It wasn't like "throw loads of genetic code together one trillion times and through the random chance of probablity you'll get a human at least once".
But then evolution didn't design us with an end goal in mind first. It wasn't like "Hmm.. I have a single cell, and I want to end with a human.. lets see how long it takes to get from one to the other!"
Humans evolved through trial and error, not every genetic change that every creature had was beneficial, infact it's most likely that almost every genetic change was bad except for a small minority that through 'luck' gave them an advantage. But that means there were a million other possible ways that we could have evolved. In a sense it was random chance we evolved into humans, even if it isn't random chance that evolution itself takes place. (Wonder if anyone followed that.)

I don't believe in a conciousness behind the universe (well not in the human sense anyway). But I would regard god and universe/multiverse as two words for the same thing. The universe is too particularly exact in it's make up sometimes. Example.. according to the theory of relativity at the centre of every black hole space is ripping apart, and the normal laws of physics break down. So by that notion everytime a black hole is formed all kinds of creepy messed up new laws of existence should come spilling out into our universe to mess up the our status quo. But then handily do black holes form an event horizon beyond which nothing not even light can escape. This means any weird stomach churning physics breaking stuff that occurs inside will be "censored".

There's a billion examples of the universe having all these self regulating systems that would cause everything to fall apart if only they weren't there. There's no reason scientists can find why these regulating systems 'need' to exist. No mathematical laws are broken without them, but for some reason they just do, and it's thankful too, because complex life as we exist wouldn't be able to come into being with any of those things not in place to keep us here.

I also marvel at the amount of effort that went into putting me here sometimes. Stars had to explode, new ones had to be born, atomic fusion had to occur to make the elements in my body (tee hee, I was forged), gravity had to exist to keep this rock near enough to a star to make sure the temperature was in the right range. Life had to start (for that matter, a particular arrangement of molecules had to be capable of life in the first place), and then ungodly amount of years of evolution had to occur, in which not one of my direct ancestors died before they passed on their genetic code (they even lived through whatever killed the dinosaurs the tough b*stards). All that to make me! I get the pleasure of existing for however long I get and just as if what I got up until now wasn't quite good enough, I got cool bonus features! I got a brain (most complex structure known to humans in the universe) capable of self awareness and the high level thought. Well b*gger me if that isn't a neat feature, so now I get to actually not only be lucky but clever enough to realise it and ponder about the universe I currently live in.

So! I do think there is something pretty ace about existence. I think universe and god are interchangable terms. I think that sometimes things just seem far to coincidental, the laws of physics don't break down if things were only a little different, but yet that slight change excludes our existence. Of course there could be an infinite number of universes all slightly different and we just exist in the one that's just right, that makes a universe like ours envitable, but I feel nonetheless lucky. I mean why is there a configuration that allows us at all. Why not have infinite universes all that don't have a configuration for life supporting physics and chemistry to work?

My beliefs are complicated and long indeed.

I believe in many possibilities and refuse to tie myself to one, I like many of the possibilities it would be a shame to only believe in one. I'd feel I miss out on exploring all kinds of interesting things.


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SPEAKERfortheLOS...
post May 5 2007, 12:31 AM
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I'm not sure if this really ties in with the thread or not, but here goes!

I am a fan of a work by Scott Adams, namely a short story called "God's Debris". It describes how there is no "god" in the normal sense but rather we are just debris of this omnipotent being who rather unfortunately, or fortunately depending on the aspect of the reader, exploded (big bang style) and thus created life. In life we are attempting to recreate this "god" by increasing our knowledge of the surrounding world and ourselves. The Internet plays a key role in all of this as it signifies the consciousness of this being. I suggest you go read it, its a free download e-book!


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sirdudly
post May 6 2007, 06:49 AM
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QUOTE (Wookiee @ May 4 2007, 02:39 AM) *
QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 4 2007, 01:14 AM) *

It's a very common misconception that evolution doesn't work with Catholic teaching. All Genesis means to me is that God created everything


As an ex-Catholic, I'm happy to commonly misconceive that Darwin and the Pope just don't mix, because it's true. They really don't.

Umm, no, they do.
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Daria
post May 7 2007, 12:01 PM
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The subject of one of our "impossibly intelligent" conversations last night was on there being just one god, and all religions are just different ways of worship.

I like this idea, even though I don't believe there to be "one god".


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Pixelgoth
post May 7 2007, 12:07 PM
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QUOTE (Daria @ May 7 2007, 01:01 PM) *
The subject of one of our "impossibly intelligent" conversations last night was on there being just one god, and all religions are just different ways of worship.

I like this idea, even though I don't believe there to be "one god".


I'd like to think this is a possibility. I don't believe in just one god but perhaps there is one "entity" and the definition of this differs from religion to religion. For example, Christians would say it was one male god with 3 aspects but Pagans might say it's a female and male god and a variety of aspects.

Who's to say which religion is right which is what causes all these problems. Wouldn't it just be easier if a big hand come down from up above (kinda like the lottery hand) and pointed it all out for us?!!?? laugh.gif


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Izzy
post May 7 2007, 12:16 PM
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QUOTE (Daria @ May 4 2007, 08:24 AM) *
Izzy, when you say your mum is "Christian", what do you mean? Catholicism is also Christianity, just a different spin than, say, Baptism.

I have no clue. I just know she's Christian, mainly because she's told me.

Ok, church was weird, but in a good way. It wasn't one of those 'Oh, praise the lord, blah blah' churches. It was more of sciency psychisy stuff. The opening question was 'Does god exist?' and then they showed a bunch of quotes, went over quantum psychics, said something about the big bang, said some other stuff, and then everyone got food.

We don't start phsyics 'til 8th grade (well, pfft, unless you count briefly going over it in 5th?) so on the most part I was kinda lost. Steph's in 8th grade now, so she was wispering a bunch of stuff that made no sense so I could get what's going on.

But they mentioned one of Einstein's quotes.

"Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."

In all honesty, I'd much rather be lame than blind.

I still don't find myself beleiving in god, or in any gods because I don't find myself beleiving in things that don't make sense of having a blind faith. Even when the church people mentioned that, if an atheist is right, the religous peoples will have nothing to lose. But if whoever is into the whole religion thing is right, then the atheist will have everything to lose. According the church people, if you beleive in nothing, you will die and find nothing. If you believe in god, you will die and find him/her/it/ w/e. So, in my point of view as an atheist, I'm not losing anything. I'll just die and find nothing. Which is what I'm planning to find anyway.


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Moosh
post May 7 2007, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 6 2007, 07:49 AM) *
QUOTE (Wookiee @ May 4 2007, 02:39 AM) *

QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 4 2007, 01:14 AM) *

It's a very common misconception that evolution doesn't work with Catholic teaching. All Genesis means to me is that God created everything


As an ex-Catholic, I'm happy to commonly misconceive that Darwin and the Pope just don't mix, because it's true. They really don't.

Umm, no, they do.
http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9703/art...s/johnpaul.html


Hmmm. Reading the above, I'm not sure I agree with you. It is clearly an attempt by the Church to be more modern in its viewpoint, and not to ignore the huge amounts of evidence for scientific theories, but it doesn't actually endorse Darwinism.

The pivotal statement is this:

"In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points."

On condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points

It goes on to explain these points, which can be summarised as saying "Man is composed of the body, which could have evolved, and the soul, which definitely didn't. The soul comes from God. No argument."
Which isn't very Darwinist, and definitely isn't science.


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Greeneyes
post May 8 2007, 10:00 AM
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QUOTE (CheeseMoose @ May 7 2007, 07:06 PM) *
QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 6 2007, 07:49 AM) *


Hmmm. Reading the above, I'm not sure I agree with you. It is clearly an attempt by the Church to be more modern in its viewpoint, and not to ignore the huge amounts of evidence for scientific theories, but it doesn't actually endorse Darwinism.

The pivotal statement is this:

...

"Man is composed of the body, which could have evolved, and the soul, which definitely didn't. The soul comes from God. No argument."
Which isn't very Darwinist, and definitely isn't science.


Exactly what is it that you disagree with here? I mean, no, it isn't Darwinist, and it's not science, but then why would it be? The point is that it doesn't actually oppose these things, just has something they do not. It no longer is ignoring the, as you say, "huge amounts of evidence", and since souls don't come into evolution, is it not agreeing with everything the theory of evolution says?


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Moosh
post May 8 2007, 04:50 PM
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QUOTE (Greeneyes @ May 8 2007, 11:00 AM) *
QUOTE (CheeseMoose @ May 7 2007, 07:06 PM) *

QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 6 2007, 07:49 AM) *


Hmmm. Reading the above, I'm not sure I agree with you. It is clearly an attempt by the Church to be more modern in its viewpoint, and not to ignore the huge amounts of evidence for scientific theories, but it doesn't actually endorse Darwinism.

The pivotal statement is this:

...

"Man is composed of the body, which could have evolved, and the soul, which definitely didn't. The soul comes from God. No argument."
Which isn't very Darwinist, and definitely isn't science.


Exactly what is it that you disagree with here? I mean, no, it isn't Darwinist, and it's not science, but then why would it be? The point is that it doesn't actually oppose these things, just has something they do not. It no longer is ignoring the, as you say, "huge amounts of evidence", and since souls don't come into evolution, is it not agreeing with everything the theory of evolution says?


Souls do come into evolution. There are two possibilities, either souls do not exist, or every living thing has a soul, as part of the point of evolution is that man is no different from any other animal, and came from the same source. Therefore either we have souls, and so do they, or they don't have souls and neither do we. Neither of these views is allowed by the above Church view.


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Greeneyes
post May 8 2007, 07:37 PM
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QUOTE (CheeseMoose @ May 8 2007, 05:50 PM) *
Souls do come into evolution. There are two possibilities, either souls do not exist, or every living thing has a soul, as part of the point of evolution is that man is no different from any other animal, and came from the same source. Therefore either we have souls, and so do they, or they don't have souls and neither do we. Neither of these views is allowed by the above Church view.


Ah, interesting. My mistake.


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sirdudly
post May 9 2007, 01:01 AM
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The either or approach makes zero sense to me. How is it not possible for man to have a soul and animals to not? All JPII states is that the vessel of the human soul, the body, has changed over time to better adapt to its environment. This, in a nutshell, is the textbook definition of evolution, change over time. Could it possibly be that the human soul itself is what defines man as a species?


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Witless
post May 9 2007, 10:53 AM
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Here's some food for thought. There's a theory linked to the inflationary universe theory that in certain universes, conditions arise for small areas (like smaller than atoms) explode outwards.. or more accurately inflate. Basically they become universes (or just verses I guess) in their own right. Our 'verse' formed inside another verse and will spawn more of their own.

Here's the fun part, let's assume for n instant that it's possible to become technologically advancd enough to start this process ourselves. In these new universes the constants of physics and nature need not be the same as our own, and infact we may be able to choose what they are!

From that stand point god or the gods may just be the beings that put our universe into motion, and we could in turn with enough how do the same! It would be like propagation on an entirely new level to what we'd normally consider it.

We could make universes where conditions are more or less favorable to the evolution of life (and I would guess we would make our one as favorable to complex life developing as we could.

Life in each verse becomes the creators of every 'baby verse' they go on to spawn. I like that thought too, it's nice. It would mean even universes were evolving since life would be engineering the most likely universes to form being the ones that spawn complex intelligent life rather than leaving things to chance.

Tis a cute possibility.


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"All generalizations are dangerous, even this one."
"You are unique, just like everybody else."
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Moosh
post May 9 2007, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE (sirdudly @ May 9 2007, 02:01 AM) *
The either or approach makes zero sense to me. How is it not possible for man to have a soul and animals to not? All JPII states is that the vessel of the human soul, the body, has changed over time to better adapt to its environment. This, in a nutshell, is the textbook definition of evolution, change over time. Could it possibly be that the human soul itself is what defines man as a species?


But why is man different to the animals, and have asoul ? There is no way for this to happen without some kind of supernatural answer, ie. God. You'll say that Darwinism doesn't forbid God, but I think it does.

It's generally accepted, that, for God to create us, or even just to give us a soul, He must be more complex than we are. But complex beings must have evolved, Darwinism allows no other way for them to exist. So God must have evolved. But God is singular, He does not breed, He is eternal. So He can't have evolved. So, by Darwinism, He can't be a complex being, and therefore cannot have given us a soul.

Witless:

I like the budding universes theory. I haven't really looked inot it, but I've heard the idea from other sources and I like the sound of it. One theory I heard is that black holes are budding universes. This would allow the budding to happen naturally, and allows the possibility, if the baby verses can somehow copy the fundamental constants from their parents, and if there is the possibility of copying errors, of natural evolution of universes. Which would be good.


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Wookiee
post May 10 2007, 12:22 PM
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I think, essentially, when you start to qualify your views on science with words like "God" and "soul", you should probably just put science down and go play with something less challenging.
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Witless
post May 10 2007, 01:12 PM
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QUOTE (Wookiee @ May 10 2007, 01:22 PM) *
I think, essentially, when you start to qualify your views on science with words like "God" and "soul", you should probably just put science down and go play with something less challenging.


Haha, why do so many of your posts consist of saying what someone else shouldn't do or shouldn't have done?

You could try posting your own opinions and thoughts too tongue.gif.

Hmm.. I shall attempt to unspammify this post now...
I was thinking some more about the budding universe idea. If it were possible for life to start a new universe and even have control over how that universe worked (the natural laws and the such). I was started writing another short story about a guy living in a universe where they routinely created universes with different conditions.

This one guy is basically a low level tech guy, that reads about fairies and stuff, and decides to make a universe (without his superiors knowing) where fairies and stuff come into being.

If I like it, it may be a final year uni project for me smile.gif


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"I'm an introvert, I think you're wonderful and I like you, but please now shush"
"Science is just organised common sense"
"All generalizations are dangerous, even this one."
"You are unique, just like everybody else."
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Moosh
post May 10 2007, 04:58 PM
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QUOTE (Witless @ May 10 2007, 02:12 PM) *
Hmm.. I shall attempt to unspammify this post now...
I was thinking some more about the budding universe idea. If it were possible for life to start a new universe and even have control over how that universe worked (the natural laws and the such). I was started writing another short story about a guy living in a universe where they routinely created universes with different conditions.

This one guy is basically a low level tech guy, that reads about fairies and stuff, and decides to make a universe (without his superiors knowing) where fairies and stuff come into being.

If I like it, it may be a final year uni project for me smile.gif


Have you ever read Science of the Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen? It involves a fair amount of irrelevant stuff, but also the people in it creating a universe, and observing it and helping it and interfering in it. Also, I've got to pimp it here 'cos it's Discworld.


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Math, my dear boy, is nothing more than the lesbian sister of biology.
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Wookiee
post May 10 2007, 05:30 PM
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QUOTE (Witless @ May 10 2007, 02:12 PM) *
QUOTE (Wookiee @ May 10 2007, 01:22 PM) *

I think, essentially, when you start to qualify your views on science with words like "God" and "soul", you should probably just put science down and go play with something less challenging.


Haha, why do so many of your posts consist of saying what someone else shouldn't do or shouldn't have done?

You could try posting your own opinions and thoughts too tongue.gif.


My opinion really is that when you start to qualify your views on science with words like "God" and "soul", you're probably an idiot! That and CheeseMoose's very articulate posts on the Pope/Darwinism article were pretty much what I wanted to say, and I saw little point in repeating him.

I can just about tolerate people of a religious bent when they're not being totally ridiculous about it. When you start trying to put religion in the same field as science, you get phenomenally stupid declarations like, "The Earth is five thousand years old!" and "Life begins at conception!", and then you end up with America, and no-one wants that. Not ever.
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