Approaching God from a scientific point of view

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Whitedragon
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Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Whitedragon » April 16th, 2018, 12:11 pm

Approaching God from a scientific point of view

I’d like open this thread by asking a question: would atheists be willing to entertain the idea of a god notion if god was scientifically approachable?

Important, I do not aim to discuss any doctrines or religious views or teachings here.

First of all I’d like to touch on immortality. There are a few ideas I’d like to borrow from Star Trek, which are in accordance or quasi accordance with scientific theory.

Number one, Time dilation. We all should be familiar with the fact that traveling at relativistic speeds could change time and that one might return to a world that could be much older than you. In the episodes of Star Trek Voyager, “Gravity” and “In the blink of an eye,” similar situations were encountered. In the episode “Gravity” Tom Paris, the Doctor, and Tuvok crash-landed on a desert-like planet, only to discover later that there was a time difference between them and Voyager. They spent months on this world, while in reality only a few days went by for the rest of the universe. On the episode “In the blink of an eye,” Voyager came across and was caught in orbit of a planet with a high rotation, which had the same effect on them. The people of this planet viewed them in the beginning as a new god/star, which they revered. Voyager literally saw civilizations rise and fall, until the inhabitants of the planet eventually achieved the technological ability to help them break orbit.

Secondly, there was another double episode on ST Voyager, called, “Year of Hell,” where voyager encountered a species with temporal technology. In this double episode, there was a “time-ship,” capable of altering history by erasing planets and other objects from time. What I’m interested in this episode, is how the crew from the time ship managed to stay free from the change they caused. Their temporal shields kept them out of alignment with space-time, which granted them, (in a sense), immortality.

Lastly, I’d like to consider our life-span to that of certain animals. Some animals have very short life spans, whereas other creatures may live much longer than we do, yet we inhabit the same planet and space-time.

Drawing from all this information, could a being exist for whom time passes differently than us? Also, could that being be viewing the rest of the universe from a place or dimension that exists in time dilation to ours? Lastly could a being exist, whose DNA is free from the defect of aging?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Halc » April 16th, 2018, 4:24 pm

Whitedragon wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 12:11 pm
Approaching God from a scientific point of view

I’d like open this thread by asking a question: would atheists be willing to entertain the idea of a god notion if god was scientifically approachable?
I don't see how the rest of this post is on topic, but maybe there's more coming. Star Trek is not a scientific point of view.
First of all I’d like to touch on immortality. There are a few ideas I’d like to borrow from Star Trek, which are in accordance or quasi accordance with scientific theory.

Number one, Time dilation. We all should be familiar with the fact that traveling at relativistic speeds could change time and that one might return to a world that could be much older than you. In the episodes of Star Trek Voyager, “Gravity” and “In the blink of an eye,” similar situations were encountered. In the episode “Gravity” Tom Paris, the Doctor, and Tuvok crash-landed on a desert-like planet, only to discover later that there was a time difference between them and Voyager. They spent months on this world, while in reality only a few days went by for the rest of the universe. On the episode “In the blink of an eye,” Voyager came across and was caught in orbit of a planet with a high rotation, which had the same effect on them. The people of this planet viewed them in the beginning as a new god/star, which they revered. Voyager literally saw civilizations rise and fall, until the inhabitants of the planet eventually achieved the technological ability to help them break orbit.
The writers of Star Trek have not even a nodding acquaintance with relativity. Being in a gravity well or high rotational speed makes the rest of the universe age more, not less. Being on or near a planet with enough gravity for significant time dilation would kill a human. Any planet rotating on the order of once per hour would fling the planet apart. It would take a rotation of only seconds to get to where relativity begins to have effect.

Immortality via dilation is possible, but it is no more immortality than is cryonics, both of which might have you around centuries from now, but not with a single additional day of life experienced. You still have the same subjective life expectancy.
Drawing from all this information, could a being exist for whom time passes differently than us?
We have no way of comparing the subjective experience of the rate of time passage between any two being. We presume that humans experience at reasonably the same rate, but there is no evidence of even that.
Also, could that being be viewing the rest of the universe from a place or dimension that exists in time dilation to ours?
It could be viewed by a different being that is way out somewhere else, but it would not be the local thing here. Somebody could for instance watch our television broadcasts as they get to some distant place. Time dilation of the observer has some effect, but red/blue shift would be a greater effect. If the observer was approaching, the blue shift would speed up the experience far more than dilation would slow it.
Lastly could a being exist, whose DNA is free from the defect of aging?
Naked mole rats come to mind. Aging is not a defect. The only reason bacteria can evolve so quickly to resist new antibiotics is because the breed and die so quickly. A being with long lifespan cannot breed quickly. The most adaptive creatures are the ones that age the fastest.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Whitedragon » April 17th, 2018, 5:25 am

Hulc said :
I don't see how the rest of this post is on topic, but maybe there's more coming. Star Trek is not a scientific point of view.
No, ST is not a pure scientific point of view, it deals with some theories of science and adapt them according to narrative. But when you say it's not a scientific point of view, do you mean it's bogus science, or science we haven't explored yet?
The writers of Star Trek have not even a nodding acquaintance with relativity. Being in a gravity well or high rotational speed makes the rest of the universe age more, not less. Being on or near a planet with enough gravity for significant time dilation would kill a human. Any planet rotating on the order of once per hour would fling the planet apart. It would take a rotation of only seconds to get to where relativity begins to have effect.
Agreed, but the planet in question had other properties than that of a simple planet.
Immortality via dilation is possible, but it is no more immortality than is cryonics, both of which might have you around centuries from now, but not with a single additional day of life experienced. You still have the same subjective life expectancy.
Could you expand more on that?
It could be viewed by a different being that is way out somewhere else, but it would not be the local thing here. Somebody could for instance watch our television broadcasts as they get to some distant place. Time dilation of the observer has some effect, but red/blue shift would be a greater effect. If the observer was approaching, the blue shift would speed up the experience far more than dilation would slow it.
What I meant was, it is speculated that each universe resides inside a black hole, they further speculate that time slows significantly inside a black hole in comparison for someone that is outside it.
Naked mole rats come to mind. Aging is not a defect. The only reason bacteria can evolve so quickly to resist new antibiotics is because the breed and die so quickly. A being with long lifespan cannot breed quickly. The most adaptive creatures are the ones that age the fastest.
Is biology the only form of life? Also to expand on your statement of creatures evolving faster with shorter lifespans, does evolution eventually slow down or come to stand still when it has reached its evolutionary purpose? In other words, let's assume my hypothetical immortal being was more primitive, like bacteria, many billions of years ago and has reached a state where it no longer needs to evolve to such an extent. Moreover when you take a look at human DNA, some say it hasn't changed much over the last few hundred thousand years.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Halc » April 17th, 2018, 8:28 am

Whitedragon wrote:
April 17th, 2018, 5:25 am
Hulc said :
I'm Hulc now. Greta didn't get it right either. I think I need to change it. I just wanted something short.
No, ST is not a pure scientific point of view, it deals with some theories of science and adapt them according to narrative. But when you say it's not a scientific point of view, do you mean it's bogus science, or science we haven't explored yet?
Well, they're apparently referencing relativity (only when convenient to the plot), but doing it incorrectly, so that's bogus. They also make a complete hash of Newtons third law of motion. Stuff like the medical miracles is more on the order of undiscovered science.

It's entertainment. It was never meant to be scientifically accurate. Space-2001 attempted that, and few movies since. No television series that I know has attempted it. Star Wars threw science (and post-WWI military tactics) out the window before ever starting. Ratings wins out over accuracy ever time. This is as it should be.
Could you expand more on that?
Relativity says you are always stationary in your own frame, meaning that you will subjectively experience your ~80 years (if nothing kills you early, and plenty does in ST). I can travel quickly to a distant place and then come back and find that an arbitrary amount of time passed back home, but those years are theirs, not mine, so the effect is more like teleporting to the future. Sure, the calendar says the date is year 3000, but is that immortality if I didn't live those extra years? Ditto with cryonics, which is more a direct teleport to some future date (to Y3000, exactly the plot of the pilot episode of Futurama). None of the time in the tank is experienced, so in either case, have I lived any longer? Is it immortality then? Depends on your definition I guess.
What I meant was, it is speculated that each universe resides inside a black hole, they further speculate that time slows significantly inside a black hole in comparison for someone that is outside it.
The physics says there is no meaningful comparison of time between inside and outside. Perhaps you mean near a black hole where the concept has meaning. Time does not slow for anyone since as I said above, subjective flow of time is the same for any subject. But to an observer away from the black hole, the person near it appears to age slower via time dilation. That means to the person near the black hole, the universe runs faster, not slower as you said in the ST episode. And being near a smaller black hole is fatal. One can approach a large one, but in either case, it requires quite the technological feat to stay out of it.
Is biology the only form of life?
ST was excellent science on this front. They explored all sorts of strange life forms (gas clouds, planets, stars?, minerals). I suppose it is a linguistic choice if the the word 'biology' is to be applied to any life, or only to Earth native life (we don't know it is native to here), or only to Carbon-DNA life forms, or only wet-gloppy life.
Also to expand on your statement of creatures evolving faster with shorter lifespans, does evolution eventually slow down or come to stand still when it has reached its evolutionary purpose?
There's a purpose? A niche creature tends not to evolve much (think sharks), but is then dependent on the continuity of the niche environment. Humans are a train wreck as far as physical evolution goes, but our adaptability won over that, at least in the short term. Time will tell if humans survive the Holocene mass extinction event.
In other words, let's assume my hypothetical immortal being was more primitive, like bacteria, many billions of years ago and has reached a state where it no longer needs to evolve to such an extent.
Bacteria is already immortal. How old is the average individual? It wasn't born, so it is technically millions of years old. The concept of aging only applies to beings with a distinct beginning of life. If bacteria stopped evolving, it would be a stationary target for the antibiotics and would be wiped out.
Moreover when you take a look at human DNA, some say it hasn't changed much over the last few hundred thousand years.
I suppose that depends on what you would consider a significant change. We've not changed our number of arms or anything, no. I think we (Homo-Sapiens) did absorb the Neanderthals in that time span, which is a helluva change. Only one small tribe in Africa remains with none of that DNA at all, which is a pretty amazing feat of isolation.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Atreyu » April 29th, 2018, 4:10 pm

Whitedragon wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 12:11 pm
Drawing from all this information, could a being exist for whom time passes differently than us? Also, could that being be viewing the rest of the universe from a place or dimension that exists in time dilation to ours? Lastly could a being exist, whose DNA is free from the defect of aging?
I believe the subjective experience of time is different for different entities. For example, for an insect, a summer is experienced as a lifetime. Literally. For a dog, about 7-10 years. For another type of being, our lifetimes might be experienced as a second or two. This seems obvious and incontestable to me. For a microorganism, a day is like a lifetime for a large animal.

So certainly there could exist entities in the Universe that might live for billions of years, yet their experience of it would be akin to our experience of 70-80 years. Take a galaxy for example. If it were a conscious entity, it's lifetime would be around a few hundred billion years, which for it would be like a lifetime, comparable to our 70-80 years, or a microbe's single day. The experience of time is relative.

DNA is not applicable to all forms of life. However, all living things must die, even God. Nothing can live forever. But again, if we imagine God as being the Conscious Universe, then God might live for trillions of years, a virtual eternity by our standards.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by JamesOfSeattle » April 29th, 2018, 9:05 pm

I wonder if the Star Trek “blink of an eye” episode was influenced by Robert Forward’s novel Dragon’s Egg. That story is about life developing on a neutron star. A ship from earth shows up to study the star and happens to witness the development of the inhabitants from an early agrarian society into a space-faring society. (That’s about where it ends).

So to answer the OP questions:
could a being exist for whom time passes differently than us?
Based on the neutron star concept, in which the inhabitants can process information significantly faster due to their physical makeup, thus being able to experience and think faster, I would say theoretically yes.
Also, could that being be viewing the rest of the universe from a place or dimension that exists in time dilation to ours?
Dimension? No. Place? Sure, but as explained by others, the rest of the universe could only go faster, not slower. Also, it could only “view” a certain amount of the universe, due to speed of light issues.
Lastly could a being exist, whose DNA is free from the defect of aging?
Yes, and in principle, that being could be you. Given a certain level of technology, specifically, technology that can go into each of your cells and get rid of bad stuff, repair errors, and tidy up in general, there’s no reason that you can’t be relatively immortal. Relatively because at some point you run into the heat death of the universe.

*

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Erribert » May 1st, 2018, 1:13 am

Well, if one believes in relativistic time dilation, proving God exists is a snap!

Let’s take the astronaut example. So, the astronaut travels away at close to the speed of light and comes back. It is said that according to relativity he would come back younger. Hold on a second! According to Einstein’s own first proposition (assumption) in special relativity, each frame of reference experiences the same physical laws. Therefore, according to the astronaut, the earth travels away very quickly and comes back. So, the earthlings would be younger than the astronaut. So, where is this time dilation? Nowhere to be found. And I don’t want to hear the overused GPS example because that one runs into the same relative problem, is the satellite going around the earth, or is the earth going around the satellite? Your choice which clock would be slower. The actual finding that a satellite’s clock is slower can be explained through the potential energy of gravity, not special relativity. Thank you Einstein for the confusion. :-). Oh, and don’t get me started on his idea that light has to be constant and limiting. If time dilation happened to a photon, it would have to be everywhere at its same time and therefore never move. That would be a timeless photon, never going anywhere. Actually, that sounds kind of sci-fi. Not much to make a TV show out of though. ;-)

I am all for designing experiments to prove a God. I would first need to know your parameters of such. That is, what properties are we testing for.

Let’s say, as an example, that God is Nature. And why not, Nature sure seems to have a lot of commandments controlling us, like gravity. So, can we prove Nature exists? Of course not, because we are part of Nature. To prove something objectively, one has to reside outside of that thing. Nature proving Nature (which is what we are trying to do) is like a finger pointing at itself. So much for the idea that god is everything, logically unprovable.

Still, God could be many things. I would enjoy describing experiments which would prove the God of your choice. Seriously.

Just joined, so I hope I am following the rules which I accepted without reading (oops, it’s my itchy fingers).

Cheers

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Halc » May 1st, 2018, 6:59 am

Erribert wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 1:13 am
Well, if one believes in relativistic time dilation, proving God exists is a snap!

Let’s take the astronaut example. So, the astronaut travels away at close to the speed of light and comes back. It is said that according to relativity he would come back younger. Hold on a second! According to Einstein’s own first proposition (assumption) in special relativity, each frame of reference experiences the same physical laws. Therefore, according to the astronaut, the earth travels away very quickly and comes back. So, the earthlings would be younger than the astronaut. So, where is this time dilation? Nowhere to be found.
If you find an obvious contradiction like that, it would have been shot down by the physicists long ago. This is a clue that your understanding of the theory is wrong. So yes, SR says that the laws are the same in each inertial frame, so in the astronaut's outbound frame, the Earth ages slower, not faster, but it doesn't ever come back. In the return frame, the Earth also ages slower, but it never went away. In neither frame does it go out and come back, which is what it takes to compare clocks to one that is stationary in the selected frame. There is not astronaut inertial frame since the astronaut is stationary in no frame for the entire trip.
If time dilation happened to a photon, it would have to be everywhere at its same time and therefore never move.
Time dilation doesn't happen to a photon because it moves at the same speed in any inertial frame, and is stationary in none of them.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Halc » May 1st, 2018, 7:49 am

A reword of one sentence above, which turned out to be a grammatical train wreck. The lack of edit button on this site annoys me.
"There is no 'astronaut's inertial frame' since there is no inertial frame in which astronaut is stationary for the entire trip."
Erribert wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 1:13 am
So, can we prove Nature exists? Of course not, because we are part of Nature. To prove something objectively, one has to reside outside of that thing. Nature proving Nature (which is what we are trying to do) is like a finger pointing at itself.
This line of thinking is right on track. I think it totally disassembles the validity of "Cogito, ero sum".

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Halc » May 1st, 2018, 7:50 am

Argh! Another typo. Ergo. What is this ero???

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Tamminen » May 1st, 2018, 10:02 am

Halc wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 7:49 am
Erribert wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 1:13 am
So, can we prove Nature exists? Of course not, because we are part of Nature. To prove something objectively, one has to reside outside of that thing. Nature proving Nature (which is what we are trying to do) is like a finger pointing at itself.
This line of thinking is right on track. I think it totally disassembles the validity of "Cogito, ero sum".
I also thought for some time that the insight of Descartes was trivial, and that he only found that he is the subject of his own thoughts and his own thinking. But now I am beginning to understand that what he really detected, perhaps not really seeing it himself clearly enough, was the subject of all objects, a precondition of the being of "things in themselves". So his insight was genuinely ontological, and it was later adopted by Kant, Husserl and others who developed it in their analysis of subjectivity and its relation to the objective world, also known as nature.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Halc » May 1st, 2018, 3:52 pm

Tamminen wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 10:02 am
So his insight was genuinely ontological,
I wonder. My conclusion went the opposite way, that ontology only supports ontology, a finger pointing meaninglessly to itself.

I can prove platonic existence of abstract numbers that way.
p1 An infinite number of the positive integers are prime.
c1 There are infinite positive integers
c2 There are integers (from c1)

But c1 seems not to follow from p1. It inserts ontology where there was none before.
Cogito ergo sum seems to use the same logic. Thinking implies thinker, but one must postulate thinking-is before one can conclude thinker-is. Presumption of ontology precedes conclusion of ontology. What's the point then?

Pretty controversial. Not expecting you to agree with this. I can find no reference to someone proposing such a line of reasoning.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Tamminen » May 1st, 2018, 5:32 pm

Halc wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 3:52 pm
Tamminen wrote:
May 1st, 2018, 10:02 am
So his insight was genuinely ontological,
I wonder. My conclusion went the opposite way, that ontology only supports ontology, a finger pointing meaninglessly to itself.

I can prove platonic existence of abstract numbers that way.
p1 An infinite number of the positive integers are prime.
c1 There are infinite positive integers
c2 There are integers (from c1)

But c1 seems not to follow from p1. It inserts ontology where there was none before.
Cogito ergo sum seems to use the same logic. Thinking implies thinker, but one must postulate thinking-is before one can conclude thinker-is. Presumption of ontology precedes conclusion of ontology. What's the point then?

Pretty controversial. Not expecting you to agree with this. I can find no reference to someone proposing such a line of reasoning.
What I was in fact suggesting was that this is not really a logical conclusion but a phenomenological intuition of the nature of the subject, its ontological status in our reality. Descartes saw a little deeper than others, starting the tradition of reflective thinking.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Whitedragon » May 3rd, 2018, 3:49 am

Atreyu wrote:
April 29th, 2018, 4:10 pm
Whitedragon wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 12:11 pm
Drawing from all this information, could a being exist for whom time passes differently than us? Also, could that being be viewing the rest of the universe from a place or dimension that exists in time dilation to ours? Lastly could a being exist, whose DNA is free from the defect of aging?
I believe the subjective experience of time is different for different entities. For example, for an insect, a summer is experienced as a lifetime. Literally. For a dog, about 7-10 years. For another type of being, our lifetimes might be experienced as a second or two. This seems obvious and incontestable to me. For a microorganism, a day is like a lifetime for a large animal.

So certainly there could exist entities in the Universe that might live for billions of years, yet their experience of it would be akin to our experience of 70-80 years. Take a galaxy for example. If it were a conscious entity, it's lifetime would be around a few hundred billion years, which for it would be like a lifetime, comparable to our 70-80 years, or a microbe's single day. The experience of time is relative.

DNA is not applicable to all forms of life. However, all living things must die, even God. Nothing can live forever. But again, if we imagine God as being the Conscious Universe, then God might live for trillions of years, a virtual eternity by our standards.

Thank you for your post, just one question: if the universe, (like some say), repeats a cycle from the big bang into a crunch, reoccurring, what would that imply?
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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Re: Approaching God from a scientific point of view

Post by Whitedragon » May 3rd, 2018, 4:11 am

Thank you all for your replies,
I think the greatest issue we have with any magic/miracle is "don't tell me it came from nowhere." I believe everything comes from somewhere.

If you will allow me to take another example: an electric eel is able to produce a current for defensive and hunting purposes. To some primitive people it may seem magical; it may even seem more magical if they knew it was electricity, but didn't know how it works, yet it is perfectly normal to the eel, since it is part of its native evolutionary makeup.

If I may introduce a few new ideas. To reiterate, I believe everything must come from somewhere. Some bloggers in this post have already acknowledged the possibility of "immortality." Let's look at this example, the increase of the bread and fish miracle. Again, in Star Trek they have replicators diverting energy into matter via a machine. However, an electric eel produces its current without the use of technology. Is it possible that there could be some creatures that can influence energy in this fashion without technology?

Secondly, when Neelix died in ST Voyager, Seven of Nine resuscitated him using nano probes to repair the damage of his narcotized tissue. He was dead for more than three days, I think.

I know this is all pseudo science, but doesn't all science start out this way? I think most people's qualm with miracles are that people claim it comes, again, from "no where," but what if it does come from "somewhere" and it is scientifically explainable?

We began this post debating about beings whose lifespans exceed ours by billions of years, isn't it logical to assume that those beings my have technology which they internalized so much that it has become part of who they are?

Just a few ideas, let me know what you think.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

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