Steve3007 wrote:So, Harris, going back to my post #26, and removing the apology to which you objected. Here's my question, from that post, again:
If you look back at this slender thread, I guess you can probably see why I asked if you were saying that God decided to create himself. "Having the power to decide what to be and what not" as an answer to Present awareness's question certainly does look a bit like that, doesn't it?
(Note: I'm not trying to put words into your mouth here.)
I had given the response, which you have ignored.
“In nature, conscious being is a prerequisite for intelligence. Absence of conscious being signifies absence of intelligence, not vice versa.”
To this I add that power of decision-making is conditional as it is subject to the state of intelligence.
-- Updated October 24th, 2017, 8:05 am to add the following --
Present awareness wrote:
Science has the ability to look back about 13.7 billion years, but after that, they don’t know what was there. Ignorance of what was there proves nothing. Let’s go back 100 billion years. No, let’s go back 1000 billion years. What was there? Until we develop instruments capable of looking that far back, we will never know,
I agree that ignorance is not a proposition affirming or implying the existence or extinction of something. Present day science has inadequate potencies to look beyond Big Bang. Therefore, science is not capable to affirm or reject something beyond Big Bang. Science is also incapable to handle phenomenon that have no physics. For example, pain is a phenomenal experience and science has no tools to explain pain and its pertinent qualia no matter how intimate it is and how good we understand it.
Despite being ignorant about metaphysical facts that transcend physical sciences, we have a quality of phenomenal judgment that we can use to obtain logic. Science has given us enough evidence that nothing in the Universe is uncaused. Logically, that brings to a conclusion that if nothing in the Universe is uncaused then Universe itself is uncaused. But what caused the Universe is a mystery for physical sciences. Here again if we use Logic we can easily understand whatever is the cause of Universe is God. If you say, Natural Selection Caused the Universe then I say Natural Selection is God.
Present awareness wrote:
Space IS nothingness, just two names for the same state of emptiness. I’d love to hear exactly how space and nothingness differ?
In his forward to Jammer’s seminal Concepts of Space: The History of Theories of Space in Physics, Albert Einstein explicates the distinction between reductionism and substantivalism in these terms:
“These two concepts of space may be contrasted as follows:
(a) Space as a positional quality of the world of material objects;
(b) Space as a container of all material objects.
In case (a), space without a material object is inconceivable. In case (b), a material object can only be conceived as existing in space; space then appears as a reality which in a certain sense is superior to the material world.”
Space is held to have an existence and structure distinct from that of things in space. Space ‘IS’ not NOTHINGNESS.
-- Updated October 24th, 2017, 8:07 am to add the following --
Steve3007 wrote:Presumably, if the expansion of the Universe from a point, 13.7 billion years ago, is an expansion of spacetime then it can't possibly mean anything to even ask what was happening 100 billion years ago. A bit like trying to consider a point on the surface of the Earth that is a million miles away.
I doubt whether any of us here fully understand the physics that is used to describe these ideas, and the way that it is tied to observed reality. But we can still consider the philosophical questions that appear to arise from it. We tend to try to make sense of the world by extrapolating from our own experiences. This includes making sense of time. Our experience of time is of steadily ticking clocks. Extrapolating means assuming that clocks must just keep ticking indefinitely into both the past and the future. It's impossible to intuitively imagine time being anything other than a thing which stretches without end in both directions. A background framework on which events - chains of causes and effects - happen.
Time is the motion from point A to point B and/or change in state from C to D. Physically changing world is the necessity to the sense of time. Suppose that somehow you suffer a loss of physical world including your own physical being and left only with consciousness and awareness in empty homogeneous space. How would you determine the existence of time in such a circumstance?
Everything in the world (including your body) is changing but not your consciousness. Your invariable consciousness is trapped in your physical body, which is continuously changing and giving the impression of aging and thus the impression of time. In my opinion for standalone consciousness time does not exist.
-- Updated October 24th, 2017, 8:09 am to add the following --
Present awareness wrote:Well said Steve!
The difficulty with the concept of time, is that it could NOT have a beginning or ending, because just like with the concept of numbers, we could always add one more digit or one more second. If time were infinite though, an eternity of time would have to pass, before we could even be born. I believe that is why it makes sense to say that time started about 13.7 billion years ago, but if time had a start point, does that mean it also has an end point?
Without the concept of time, there is only the infinite present moment. Everything here, everything now. However, that viewpoint does not take into account our experience of change, happening over time.
We may only experience things from one viewpoint, our viewpoint. The entire universe is reflected in our brain and our conscious awareness of that reflection, allows us to react to any important changes. Conscious awareness of thinking and thought patterns, allow us to formulate concepts that will help with survival and give us ways of making sense of the world. Regardless of what we think though, it will have no effect on reality, only on our concept of reality.
Our lives are dependent over our physical and environmental conditions. Life above 100 years is rare in today’s world. If we strive for the survival of thousand years, the chance is very low that these efforts would bring some benefits to us. Even if we somehow live for thousand years then after passing of thousand years, can we escape the reality of death? Most of our activities are focused on how to make our lives satisfactory and pleasurable and in this struggle majority of us totally fail to recall or completely ignore the fact that nothing in the known Universe is eternal. It is better to use logic and focus on the question “why we are appearing in this world for the time that is almost infinitesimal and absolutely insufficient.”
-- Updated October 24th, 2017, 8:13 am to add the following --
...stuff about "because a quantum fluctuation did this or that" doesn't answer it. Why is there a quantum fluctuation rather than nothing?
I agree that this doesn't answer it. But I think it illustrates that nothing
can answer it, therefore it's kind of a non-question. The answer "because X" can always be followed with "why X?" (where X = anything).
To me, that illustrates why the question "why is there something rather than nothing?" is not actually very intriguing. At least not for very long. To me, interesting questions are ones that have potential answers. Or at least they lead to ideas that we can play with and which make us think of things that we hadn't considered before.
But, of course, the question of what is intriguing and what isn't is about as subjective as it gets.
Among atheists, it becomes a fashion to ask, “Why there is something rather than nothing,” which was raised by Leibniz.
Why does something exist instead of nothing? If you do not believe that the universe simply popped into existence uncaused out of nothing, then the answer is simple. Something exists because there is an eternal, uncaused being for which no further explanation is possible. Leibniz has identified this being with God. Leibniz is a strong supporter of the idea that God has created everything ex nihilo. Paradoxically only few atheists realise this fact while quoting “Why there is something rather than nothing.”
-- Updated October 24th, 2017, 8:16 am to add the following --
Present awareness wrote:Instead of something as abstract as the beginning of the universe, how about something more personal, like your own personal beginning? At what point in your own life, did you become aware of yourself? Was it in the womb or early childhood? Was it a gradual awareness or a sudden realization? Even prior to making it to the womb at conception, we were existing in the potential state of egg and sperm.
It is my belief that everything which is here and now, existed in potential prior to this moment. The universe which is here and now, existed in potential prior to it’s estimated 13.7 billion years age, otherwise, how could it be here, now? Although that which is, and that which might be, appear to be completely different, in reality, they are both the same thing, in a different form.
There is no such thing as a permanent form, everything is temporary and will come to pass. The point of life is to enjoy it, while it is here, because this moment is the only moment that we may take action in.
Where is the proof that this life is the only life we have?