My God, It's Full of Stars

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Y'all can fill in the requisite line about how NASA should be private; I'll just link this image of the early universe recently captured by Hubble and observe that it's pretty cool. The early universe apparently looks like one of those novelty sparkle-domes you get in airport gift shops.

NEXT: Death Cult in America

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  1. Some will say this image proves the existence of a god. Others will say it proves exactly the opposite. Such divergent opinions in the face of reality is why religion on Earth is indeed the great cosmic joke.

  2. Actually, the greater joke is the belief that the universe formed all by itself, as the result of natural processes that were formed all by themselves, using matter that cannot be created or destroyed but had to get here somehow.

  3. Reason writers excel at the tasteful movie reference.

    Congrats, Julian. Way to open the pod bay door.

  4. Eric,

    If you require proof of “who” made the universe,
    please first explain “who” made your god, if indeed you cling to that belief.

  5. critic,

    Eric is still parroting his fallacious argument from design theory.

  6. Ok Eric, I’ll bite. Why is it a joke that universe was always there, but it isn’t a joke that the great cosmic creator was just always there? If God made the universe, who made God?

  7. Critic,
    Please explain how the universe created itself.

    JB,
    Not parroting anything, just exposing the obvious flaws in another one.

  8. Eric, some groundrules should probably be laid in terminology, so we don?t compare apples to oranges.

    What do you define ?matter? as? Are you referring to atoms? Atomic particles? Sub-atomic particles?

    Please inform.

  9. Oh good one Eric (except for the part about conservation of matter, that’s sooooo 19th century). It’s too wonderful and glorious to have formed by natural process. I just has to be the deliberate result of God’s creation.

    One question. Since God is presumably even more wonderful and glorious than the universe he created, who created God? Did he form all by himself, using supernatural forces formed all by themselves? Or a God that’s neither created nor destroyed yet somehow is? Or maybe you created Him.

  10. Egad, are we really going to do this on a H&R thread?

  11. God must exist.

    God doesn’t exist!

    Prove it.

    You prove it!

    HEY!!! DID ANYONE NOTICE THAT WE CAN SEE THE OTHER SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE NOW??? ISN’T THAT COOL???

  12. Eric

    Please explain how God created himself.

    critic and Mo pretty much asked the question already but you don’t seem to want to answer.

    I’d really like to know.

  13. Jason-

    You would prefer we just sit back and count the stars (which were made for the sole purpose of giving humanity a way to practice counting)?

  14. If the Hubble is twice as powerful as it needs to be to see the far side of the universe, would it be able so see itself due to the curvature of space-time?

  15. Argument from design debunked:

    The Argument from Design (teleological argument) is a common argument used by religionists in defense of their various god figures. In essence it claims that because of the order of the Universe, or the odds against abiogenesis, it seems unlikely that the Universe was not designed.

    What are the flaws in this argument?

    Regarding abiogensis, one flaw in this is that there view is merely concerned with one planet (the Earth); assume the following equation – the chances of abiogenesis occurring anywhere in the Universe multiplied by the size of the Universe and the amount of time in the Universe’s timespan, and the probability becomes far more reasonable.

    Another fatal assumption of the religionist crowd is that large organic molecules developed in a blink of an eye. However, abiogenesis does not require this. The simpler organic molecules such as sugars and amino acids would have formed first, and once they had formed, the probability of DNA and other large organic molecules forming would show a marked increase.

    Another common type of the argument from design is known as the “watchmaker analogy”:

    One finds a watch laying on a bench; as it is orderly one would assume that it was created by a watchmaker; they apply this analogy to the orderliness of the universe.

    One of the most glaring errors is trying to apply this analogy to life; since, unlike living beings, the watch is not a self-replicating structure with factors to modify the structure and selective pressures to regulate which structures are preserved (SEE Dawkins’ “Blind Watchmaker”).

    The Watchmaker analogy applied to the Universe as a whole is especially startling in its absolute worthlessness, since the assertion that the Universe is strikingly orderly is absolutely without basis, due to the fact that there is no backdrop to which we can compare the Universe.

  16. You all have to answer my questions first. Still waiting.

    Darwinism is also soooo 19th century, but many of you obviously still cling to it.

    kmw, I refer to matter in the most general sense, the basic stuff that everything is made up of.

  17. Brian:

    >HEY!!! DID ANYONE NOTICE THAT WE CAN SEE THE OTHER >SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE NOW??? ISN’T THAT COOL???

    That is SO SWEET.

  18. Getting … sucked … in ….

    Eric,

    The point is that since you invoked the idea of uncreated matter as a criticism of modern cosmology, you are on the hook for explaining why the same problem doesn’t apply to god. If you get to have an uncreated creator, the other side can as easily claim that the laws and energy that form the universe has always existed.

  19. Brian,
    Yes, it is very cool. It’s rather humbling and awe-inspiring to see such a dramatic visual of the tiny speck we occupy in the universe.

  20. Darwinism is sooooo 19th century. I can’t believe you losers still fall for it. I’ll bet you secular humanists even buy into crap like the Laws of Gravitation (which is soooooooo 16th century) and the theory that nuclear fission can produce big dangerous bombs (which is so 1940 it makes Frank Sinatra look positively modern.)

    Next thing you know I bet you start quoting that ancient Greek dude who first suggested these things called ‘atoms’ exist. Why must you strive so desperately for these outlandish explanations of existence when God can explain it in one fell swoop? How I pity all whose eyes are blinded to the greatness of the Lord.

    (Used to be an atheist but got Saved this morning. Praise Jesus, at least until Satan reclaims his own.)

  21. Eric,
    There is a contradiction inherent in your question, rendering it a pseudo-question.
    “Please explain how the universe created itself.” is a nonsense request — why must the universe be a created entity, rather than an ‘always existent’? Is the universe properly considered an entity at all?
    And, based on your remarks in a later comment, if matter is “the basic stuff that everything is made up of.”, what kind of answer could possibly be made to your request? If all matter is part of the universe, and matter is the basic stuff out of which everything is made, well, you figure it out…

    Theism is just soooo 1million BC.

    Shirley Knott

  22. Because it’s a silly question, Eric. Obviously, nobody knows. So what?

  23. Jennifer,
    That’s your best and funniest post yet.

  24. Jason,
    Not quite. A sovereign, eternal god need no creation, and can create the matter and the scientific laws that govern it. That, to me, makes much more sense than matter being created by itself, in violation of natural law, by natural processes created by themselves, and that it all worked out by chance to produce what we see today.

    You all obviously think matter is eternal – why is it such a stretch to believe that God is?

  25. Isaac, etc.,

    Do you remember the myth concerning the endless turtles that supposedly support the Earth? Eric’s answer is to place another, very large turtle under that endless set of turtles. 🙂 He doesn’t answer the question, he merely shifts it. This is known as the “argument from first cause,” BTW. Or as the cosmological argument; Aquinas and Aristotle both proferred such arguments.

    In my opinion, the fundamental flaw in the cosmological argument is found in its rather absurd conclusions about time and causality. As modern cosmological says that the start of the Universe is the beginning of time; this is the temporal a frame of reference; thus the beginning of time (and thus the beginning of the Universe) lacks a “cause” as we normally think of such.

  26. Jesus is so 1st century. Why don’t you get with the times and praise Joe Smith or, newer still, David Koresh.

    I bet the night sky looks pretty f’ing cool in that part of the universe. Our constellations are getting kinda old.

  27. Warren-

    It wasn’t meant to be funny, and you’re going to Hell for suggesting otherwise. “There are none so blind as those who shall not see.”

  28. You all obviously think matter is eternal

    Knock. knock. knock. Relativity calling HELLLOOOOO!

    No semi educated person thinks that.

  29. Jesus, where are the desists in this argument?

    You can believe in a creator and still follow the laws of physics.

  30. Eric,

    “A sovereign, eternal god need no creation, and can create the matter and the scientific laws that govern it.”

    So what created that God? You are claiming, after all, an “uncaused cause,” and thus it is reasonable and wholly rational to demand of you that you explain “What caused God?”

  31. Mo,

    Well, it doesn’t look that cool over there now because the universe is currently the same age there. We are just now seeing a really, really old state of affairs over there.

    Eric:

    “You all obviously think matter is eternal – why is it such a stretch to believe that God is?”

    Occam’s Razor?

  32. I blame ed for this entire divergence from a really cool picture of the universe to a completely idiotic debate about whose turtle is on the bottom.

  33. Julian,
    If no one knows, then there sure are a lot of folks who are convinced they know how it DIDN’T happen. Awful lot of certainty out there for something no one knows.

  34. / / LOL. “desists”?!

    You know what I meant….hopefully. 🙂

  35. “A sovereign, eternal god need no creation, and can create the matter and the scientific laws that govern it. That, to me, makes much more sense than matter being created by itself..”

    Did Occa live in vain?

  36. Eric,

    Answer the question.

  37. Jason wrote:

    > If the Hubble is twice as powerful as it needs
    > to be to see the far side of the universe,
    > would it be able so see itself due to the
    > curvature of space-time?

    Sure. Just give it several billion years for the light to propagate that far. Of course, by then, the sun will be dead and the earth will be a forgotten piece of charred rock.

    NB: I am a zymurgist, not a physicist.

  38. That’s awe inspiring indeed. Apparently not awe enough to STFU about God’s (non) existence though.

  39. Eric,

    I’ll answer your question.

    I don’t know how the universe started. I am open to well-reasoned theories, scientific inquiry, the willingness among researchers to amend, rethink, expand and strengthen their arguments.
    What I will not accept are emotional entreaties based on childish fairy tales with no basis in reality.

    Mo,

    Bite me.

  40. I know Jason, I’m just in a silly mood today. Everyone know all the action is at the galactic core nowadays.

  41. PS
    Jennifer started it.

  42. Typo fix:
    “A sovereign, eternal god need no creation, and can create the matter and the scientific laws that govern it. That, to me, makes much more sense than matter being created by itself..”

    Did Occam live in vain?

  43. Warren,
    Fine – then explain how matter and the universe created itself. No one has done that.

    JB,
    I am saying no one created God – he is eternal. This is where faith comes in. But your belief also requires faith, just of a different kind.

  44. Eric wrote:

    > You all obviously think matter is eternal – why
    > is it such a stretch to believe that God is?

    Let’s back up for a second here. Questions of the “eternalness” of matter aside, at least we can easily demonstrate the *existence* of matter. We cannot do so for god.

    If you view god as an abstract concept which people believe in, then that concept exists as long as there are people to believe it. If you view god as an actual entity, then that entity’s rules of existence are unknown to us.

  45. Eric,

    In other words, you can’t answer it. Actually, my ideas do not require faith at all. You see, as a “weak atheist,” unlike yourself, I am not dogmatic; I am open to idea of the existance of God(s) (though I do not believe in God(s)), and thus my position is provisional.

    Let me re-phrase your query:

    “Fine – then explain how God created itself. No one has done that.”

    All you have done is shifted the debate to another point; you really haven’t answered the question at all. In other words, for no apparent reason, the Universe is assumed to not be self-sufficient, while God is assumed to be so, which simply shifts the locus of the “Uncaused Cause” rather than resolving it.

  46. Ed,
    “I am open to well-reasoned theories, scientific inquiry, the willingness among researchers to amend, rethink, expand and strengthen their arguments.”

    So am I. Based on the scientific evidence currently available, I’ve reached the conclusion that the universe could not have been created or formed by itself, but required a creator to do it. That ain’t so unreasonable, folks.

  47. shanep,
    Just because one questions Eric’s statement doesn’t mean that one doesn’t believe in God.

    ed,
    Chill. I guess I should have slipped a 🙂 in.

  48. Yes, this argument goes ’round and ’round, but my experience shows that the best and liveliest and most entertaining posts on H&R are those addressing this issue, what I referred to above as “the great cosmic joke.”

    Those who wish instead to discuss boobies surely will have their chance.

  49. Eric,

    Furthermore, arguendo say I accept the argument for an external “Uncaused Cause,” your position that this cause must be a God is a non sequitur.

  50. Eric,

    “So am I. Based on the scientific evidence currently available, I’ve reached the conclusion that the universe could not have been created or formed by itself, but required a creator to do it. That ain’t so unreasonable, folks.”

    Given your rather un-scientific statements above, I sincerely doubt your statement.

  51. No offense taken, mo 🙂

  52. Eric,
    The origins of energy (matter e.g.) are unknown. The proposition that energy sprang from nothingness on it’s own, is preferable to the proposition that God created the Universe. Because the latter raises all sorts of other questions (such as “where did god come from?” “can he create a rock so big even he couldn’t lift it?” and “why does he sound like Charlton Heston?”) that are not required of the former.

  53. Damn, I’m supposed to be WORKING.
    I blame the devil.

  54. Has anyone ever read the book entitled “The Three Christs of Ypsilanti”? It’s a real case study about an insane asylum where three men all believing they are Jesus Christ are put together in the same ward and made the interact.

    Do you think any of them convinced the others that they aren’t themselves Christ by using “reason” and “logical arguments” against lifelong devotion and a deepseated sense of personal mission?

    At least *those* people were smart enough to give up eventually.

  55. Of course, it would be more libertarian, i.e. fair, to have the HST privately funded and operated, instead of just contracted out to private firms paid with government money. Also it, is entirely likely that space exploration in general would be a lot more productive and interesting if it were done by private, and voluntary means.

    But we can still appreciate and study these cool results. One of the amazing things about this image is that all of those points of light are galaxies! (with the exception of the few, I count four, that have perpendicular spikes coming out of them, which are stars)

    The previous record for a deep look was the “Hubble Deep Field”, which came from the area of Ursa Major (the big dipper), as opposed to this “Hubble Ulta Deep Field”. I couldn’t find in the very interesting press release about the image at hand:

    http://observe.arc.nasa.gov/stsci/hubbledev/newscenter/newsdesk/archive/releases/2004/07/text/index.html

    from which area of the sky it came.

    Also, this press release says that they spotted galaxies, “that lived just 400 million years after the birth of the universe”. How long did it take these galaxies to form? Is there enough time? Will theory have to be changed here?

  56. Warren,

    Excellent post. 🙂

  57. Eric

    After reading this, you are seriously irritating in your lack of ability to comprehend the “eternal universe” argument.

    You begin with the faulty premise that SOMEONE or SOMETHING must have CREATED the universe. You yourself have claimed to believe that “matter can neither be created nor destroyed”, except, in your case, you think some transcendant being who can violate his own laws can create matter.

    Unitl you realize that “Who created the universe?” is the same kind of question as “Do you still beat your wife?”, you’re not going to get it. Stop asking loaded questions and listen.

  58. All y’all’s fallacy: Assuming logic and its dependents are sufficient to answer every question.

    More human arrogance…your day is coming.

    Enjoy the pretty stars.

  59. I started nothing; God starts through me, His humble vessel.

    It is quite obvious to believers like me that there are two possibilities:
    1.the cold scientific notion that some sort of inanimate matter has somehow existed without cause,
    –or–
    2.the virtuous notion that a rational, intelligent, recognizably anthropomorphic all-powerful Deity has existed without cause. We all know which one makes the most sense.

  60. Being a scientist myself, I had a glimmer of hope that I could debate this subject with Eric scientifically. His strawman answer convinced me the futility of attempting it.

    No matter how badly I want to, I can?t teach calculus to a two year old

  61. Eric,

    Why do you believe God is eternal? Because the Bible says so? Because it “feels” right? Because it makes the most sense? I’m not trying to be facetious here, I simply want to know why you believe that to be true. Also, have you always believed that idea (at least since childhood), or was it an idea that wasn’t completely formed until you were an adult?

    I have trouble accepting that idea right now, but if the evidence demands it, I will have to reevaluate my beliefs. I would suspect that most scientists would do the same.

    Shawn S.

  62. From the collected geek files of my youth. Thought it belonged here. Enjoy:

    Babelfish
    The Babelfish is small, yellow, leachlike and probably the oddest thing in the universe. If feeds off brainwave energy, absorbing all unconsious frequencies and excreting, telepathicly, a matrix picked up by the speech centres of the brain. A practical upshot of which is that f you put one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. It is so bizzarely inprobable that something so mind bogglingly useful could evolve naturally that some thinkers have decided to use it as the final clintching proof of the non-existance of god. The arguement goes something like this:

    God: I refuse to prove that I exist, for proof denies faith, and without faith i’m nothing.
    Man: Ahh, but the babelfish is a dead givaway isn’t it? It proves you exist aand so therefore you don’t.
    God: Oh, I haden’t thought of that…
    …and promptly vanishes into a puff of logic.

    Most leading theologans believe that this is infact a load of dingos kidneys and the theory was dismissed. However this didn’t stop Oolon Kahloofid Making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best selling book: “Well that about wraps it up for god.”

  63. Eric:

    “Darwinism is also soooo 19th century, but many of you obviously still cling to it.”

    What?? We aren’t talking about fashion here. Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion are soooo 17th century! (early 17th century at that). The age of theories is no reason to reject them.

    “Please explain how the universe created itself.”

    Please explain how the God created itself.

  64. Can’t we all just get back to talking about my tit please?

  65. Well, Darwinism isn’t really 19th century; its rather current actually.

  66. I have trouble believing that a god who supposedly created this magnificent sight could also “get lonely” and create several billion little buddies here on earth so that he could, apparently, torment most of them until they die.

    Doesn’t make much sense to me.

    But as to the photo, WOW!!!

  67. Eric,
    You wrote –

    “So am I. Based on the scientific evidence currently available, I’ve reached the conclusion that the universe could not have been created or formed by itself, but required a creator to do it. That ain’t so unreasonable, folks.”

    Fair enough. We’ve played this before but since you have now revealed yourself to be open to scientific evidence answer this question – Based on the scientific evidence currently available, how old is the Earth ?

  68. Jennifer @ 02:28 PM,

    Don’t you suppose that your qualifying those two notions as “cold” and “virtuous” respectively, indicates your lack of objectivity in evaluating them. This is how we might account for your unsubstantiated claim that; we all know that the theistic notion is the one “which makes the most sense”.

  69. This is fun….

    Why don’t we ask IBM to build “Deep Thought,” once and for all so we can STFU once and for all about the childish semantic game of how the universe “got here.” Really, when here is here, how would it “get here,” anyway?

    🙂

  70. Beware the false God. I am the true God.

    I exist, you idiots. I created myself. I am who am. You don’t need a burning bush to tell you that. Get a fucking clue.

    One point I need to clear up: the morons who wrote Genesis got it wrong. Adam and Eve’s offense wasn’t eating an apple. They ripped off my stash. When I caught them smoking I threw them the hell out. It’s not about “temptation”, “alienation”, “knowledge of good and evil”, or “free will” at all. It’s very simple.. keep your fucking hands off my shit.

  71. Ms. Jackson:

    Your teet offended Me. I will curse it to hang low, wither, and be pierced with sharp objects..

    oh wait..

  72. Be gentle folks (MA in History, not Physics). If the universe exists in space-time, it does not have a “beginning” or “end”. It just exists, right? So, the universe was not created by anyone or anything and all this is moot. (tho entertaining 🙂 )

  73. Rick Barton–

    Am I to understand that you are seriously questioning my objectivity as a born-again Christian?

  74. WLC,

    Well, that goes to my earlier comments, and is one of the reasons why the cosmological argument is bogus. 🙂 There are much better arguments for theists to make than either the cosmological one or the argument from design; I think they get stuck on the latter two because they are generally poorly educated in these matters.

  75. Cosmically speaking, this topic is a black hole, sucking in all posters who venture near it, at the expense of other topics. Survival of the fittest, dontcha know.

  76. Jean,

    Thanks! (I was never sure whether I understood the concept correctly and usually got blank stares when I asked anyone).

  77. Good grief, I suppose this is what I get for challenging some orthodoxy on a web site that is intended to do just that.

    Warren,
    “The origins of energy (matter e.g.) are unknown. The proposition that energy sprang from nothingness on it?s own, is preferable to the proposition that God created the Universe. Because the latter raises all sorts of other questions (such as ?where did god come from?? ?can he create a rock so big even he couldn?t lift it?? and ?why does he sound like Charlton Heston??) that are not required of the former.”

    Christians have been dealing with the questions you ask (the first two, at least) for quite some time. Answers are out there, if you look. I also doubt your proposition, because stipulating that energy sprang from nothingness also raises questions, like How? and from where?

    Ayn,
    “You yourself have claimed to believe that “matter can neither be created nor destroyed”, except, in your case, you think some transcendant being who can violate his own laws can create matter.”

    I believe the same God who created the universe created the natural laws that govern it. God is sovereign over both the universe and the laws. I believe he created the universe first, then the laws, so God created the matter.

    “You begin with the faulty premise that SOMEONE or SOMETHING must have CREATED the universe.”

    I don’t think it’s faultier than the contention that no one or nothing created the universe.

    Rick,
    “What?? We aren’t talking about fashion here. Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion are soooo 17th century! (early 17th century at that). The age of theories is no reason to reject them.”

    I agree. I was mocking Warren’s post way back in the beginning. Here it is: “Oh good one Eric (except for the part about conservation of matter, that’s sooooo 19th century).”

    You asked me to explain how “God created itself.” I already answered that (he is eternal) but you, nor anyone else, have not answered my question: how did the universe create itself.

    Shawn Smith,
    I believe God is eternal for a few reasons. Yes, the Bible says so. But also because it makes more sense than anything else I’ve read or heard, paricularly on this thread. That’s also not an unscientific view – many, many scientists are Christians and believe as I do.

    SM,
    I freely admit to not knowing how old the earth is. In fact, I’m not all that concerned about it. But, to give an answer, I don’t think it’s as old as commonly accepted, nor as young as some other Christians think.

  78. Jennifer,

    No; I was questioning your objectivity concerning the matter of your post at 02:28 PM. How could I even possibly question your objectivity as a born-again Christian, since I wasn’t aware that you are a born-again Christian?

  79. Rick–

    Did you read my post at 1:45 pm, and then Warren’s at 1:47? If you did, you might find my question to you a tad less baffling.

  80. Eric,

    Just answer the question.

  81. What the hell do all you people do for a living?

  82. Already did, JB. Now why don’t you answer mine?

  83. Eric,

    No you haven’t; you have consistently avoided it.

  84. Douglas: I make universes so complex that I can’t understand them. And at night I make rocks to heavy for me to lift.

    Jennifer: Was your first birth so unsatisfactory? Maybe I’ll invent a legal remedy for those who must at some point be forced to change their minds. It is discomforting, and therefore tortious.

  85. JB,
    Here’s what I wrote earlier: “I am saying no one created God – he is eternal.”

    Got it? Clear enough?

  86. “What the hell do all you people do for a living?”

    ROTFL!!!

    *runs back to work*

  87. Eric,

    Which again isn’t an answer.

    As I wrote earlier, all you are doing is shifting the locus of debate; you are not answering the question.

  88. Yes, it does, JB. God is eternal. Therefore, he did not need to be created. Therefore, no one created him.

  89. Eric,

    Which again isn’t an answer.

    As I wrote earlier, all you are doing is shifting the locus of debate; you are not answering the question.

  90. Eric:

    “(he (God) is eternal) but you, nor anyone else, have not answered my question: how did the universe create itself.”

    I know that there are quantum type theories that posit matter being created in the vacuum of empty space. Also, perhaps the universe (space-time) is eternal and does not require a “creation”. How can this entity, which you claim, created the universe (God) be eternal? What evidence makes you believe that?

    “I don’t think it’s (the universe) as old as commonly accepted, nor as young as some other Christians think.”

    Hmmm. Eric; are you a politician? 🙂
    Could you at least give us some reasons? Or, just a range perhaps?

  91. God or no
    stars twinkle
    unaware of our questions

  92. Not having the time (or desire) to get heavily into Quantum Physics, I could be wrong in the following. I’ve heard something like vacuum fluctuations providing a possible explanation for matter (subatomic particles) to come into existence from “nothing”. Any physics majors out there who know any more, or where to point me to any more complete information?

    Btw, Eric.

    I didn’t mean to imply that many scientists don’t hold that view. I intended to state that it is the nature of science to toss out ideas if/when evidence contradicts those ideas. If I didn’t do that, my bad. I’ve found it’s difficult for many people to radically change their views, especially if there’s a lot of emotional, intellectual, or financial capital wrapped up in those views. It’s certainly true in my case. In my opinion, that is one of the things that makes science hard for some people in this country, because it offers no certainties other than the observations it makes.

    Shawn S.

  93. As they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    I think it?s safe to say Eric just doesn?t get the paradox being presented to him.

  94. Jennifer,

    Sorry, my bad. It slipped by me. I not only find your “question” less baffling. I find it quite amusing.

  95. “Christians have been dealing with the questions you ask (the first two, at least) for quite some time. Answers are out there, if you look. I also doubt your proposition, because stipulating that energy sprang from nothingness also raises questions, like How? and from where?”

    Way to refuse to get the point ever after it’s been spelled out for you. All questions raised by the ‘Self Created Universe’ theory, are also present in the ‘God Created Universe’ theory (i.e. How was God created? From Where?). However, there are a whole host of questions, inherent in the GCU that have no meaning in the SCU and therefore avoids the necessity of resorting to dogma/faith/myth or whatever you call those untestable things you believe.

  96. Warren,

    Its readily apparent that Eric is unwilling to engage in honest discourse; or we can go with kmw’s theory. 🙂

  97. Hey, quit ganging up on Eric!

    Within your logic, he can’t win. Within his logic, you can’t win. Is your logic better because there are more of you on H&R?

    Did I miss it, or have we forgotten to mention the Game Theory argument that it makes more sense to have faith? That’s logic from the gang’s perspective that supports Eric’s (and Jennifer’s?) underlying belief.

  98. Is it just me, or has thoreau not made an appearance on a physics related thread. Something is not right in the universe …

  99. Mark,
    In this country H&R boards are the only place where our logic is more common. I have no problem with Eric’s religosity, I also believe that a higher being created the universe, but I recognize that the position begs the same questions than the universe just being there does. I think that is the issue most of the posters seem to have.

    A wrench in the game theory argument is if God gets angrier at you if you worship a different being than if you simply didn’t believe at all. Then you have to measure the probability of being right.

    Then you can play the game of is a 100% chance of being in the 1st circle of hell worth a 30% chance of heaven and a 70% chance of a lower level. 🙂

  100. Jason,
    I wondered the same. Maybe his liberal friends found out he was hanging out w/ a bunch of damn libertarians.

  101. Mark Fox,

    Do you mean Pascal’s Wager? That is one of the more deeply flawed arguments for theism.

  102. E’rybody jus cheel. All of these questions and more will be revealed soon. That’s one of the points of the Hubble; to look into deep space and figure out what happened when the Big Bang took place. And at the rate they’re going, we’ll hopefully be able to dispel this ‘God’ nonsense in about 5-10 years.

  103. Casual Science Guy:

    I thought that there is a point (about 300,000 years after the Big Bang) where it would be impossible to “see” what happened, because the Universe would have been opaque to light. Is there some recent research that indicates something different?

    Shawn S.

  104. Well Mo, the real wrench is that we have no way of knowing what god is going to reward if he does exist. I’ve always thought he’d punish us for doing something so completely irreverant as beleiving in him. He gave us these wonderful, amazing minds, and then we go and do something with them like beleiving a boogie man in the sky is waiting to paddle us for trivial indiscretions. What an insult to what is no doubt one of his most marvelous creations.

  105. Whether or not the universe was created by God that important of a question. Even if you assume (or have faith in) a created universe, it says nothing about the nature of God’s influence over the world since then, nor does it say anything about the afterlife… it probably implies something about the nature of God, but what these implications are is a mystery to me. And a non-supernatural creation doesn’t say much about God either.

    Anyway, those stars sure are pretty, regardless of how they got there.

  106. Mark Fox:

    “Hey, quit ganging up on Eric!”

    Can’t help it, it’s just a numbers thing.

    “Is your logic better because there are more of you on H&R?”

    It’s more like; we’re on (most all of us) H&R because out logic is better. Very possibly, Eric’s as well. (on other issues)

    “…supports Eric’s (and Jennifer’s?) underlying belief.”

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who missed Jennifer’s sarcasm.

    Also, I don’t think Eric has argued his position too well, but I also think that his position is harder (obviously) to maintain.

  107. Shawn,
    I don’t think casual science guy has any idea what he is talking about.

    Anyhow, regardless of any discoveries about the ‘what happened at the beginning of the universe?’ it will not be enough to satisfy people of faith since it will not address the question ‘what happened before the universe?’ or ‘how the universe?’ which are, as Jean-Bart and others have mentioned, meaningless questions.

    Summary: All of us will be co-habitating with people of faith for a very very long time, so it’s best to just let them think as they will (as long as they’re not hurting anyone) and avoid ridiculously pointless debates like the one above.

  108. My editing has gone awry…

    “Whether or not the universe was created by God that important of a question.”

    That was supposed to read “in not that important of a question”. Not like anyone’s reading this thread anymore anyway…

  109. Rich,

    Unless, of course, you (and your debating partner) enjoy these ridiculously pointless debates. Hey, take whatever enjoyment out of this life you can, as long as you’re not hurting anyone.

    Shawn S.

  110. Damn me, 112 posts in a little over six hours? Why aren’t you all living by the sweat of your brows? Get to work!

  111. Yah-fuckin’-weh,

    Don’t go to slashdot.org. You might have to get Sodom & Gomorrah on their ass.

    Shawn S.

  112. Hittin’…

    Consider the following proposition:

    “God” and “Universe” are synonymous. They (or It)are (is) eternal, were never created, will never be destroyed. All creation myths are just that – myths. The Universe being a self-perpetuating entity, it contains all the “intelligence” — in the form of the physical laws, for example — built in to form and reform itself eternally (via Big Bang, Big Crunch), and probably to establish a near-infinite number of parallel universes (or sub-universes, if you prefer), just to contain all the possibilities presented by random variation. No religion necessary here — but not to be discouraged either, as long as it is not an excuse for coercion of any kind. Whatever gets you through the night…

    …and runnin’.

  113. Of course, if one ponders the story of Adam and Eve and its “tragic” conclusion, one would have to wonder why our loving God gave us a brain, and then commanded us not to use it.

    Just a (forbidden) thought.

  114. Mo: If only I could cross the thresholds of faith and divine certainty, I would know god’s disposition, and wager appropriately. But could I believe just because it was the smart choice?

    JB: I knew it was one of your kinsmen, just not sure which one. No wonder the theory is flawed…God is clearly not French. 😉

    Rick: H&R draws logical thinkers, certainly. Being skilled at sophistry wins debates, but doesn’t reveal truth. If the scent of Theism wasn’t woven into virtually every aspect of society and government, arguing about the unknowable would be truly silly.

  115. Damn, and I was too busy praying to catch this post on the upswing.

    Everyone’s so focused on the light side of the force. I was raised to believe that Satan’s greatest cunning was the doubt in some human minds that he exists: if you don’t believe in him, the Sisters would say, you can’t armor yourself against his seductions. Add to that the fact that “Lucifer” is from lucem ferre, “bringer, or bearer, of light,” better known to us in the west as the day star or morning star.

    What do you get?

    1) A telescope that sees Lucifer’s manifestations in all their radiance, which now anyone with a TV, internet connection, or subsrciption to Time can ogle.

    2) An organization (NASA) that could build such a powerful supernatural instrument.

    3) No discussion of Satan on this H&R (because the aforementioned cunning works, natch).

    To hell with the creator. I just proved the existence of the adversary.

  116. Good boy, Andrew. Have a lollypop.

  117. Mark Fox,

    Pascal is a testament to what a waste religion is; he spent most of effort on theology, but even the minor amount of time he spent on mathematics and physics allowed him to blaze a significant trail in that field.

  118. Wait a minute. What if God is the universe and the universe is God? Whoahhhhhhh…

    This thread certainly doesn’t help with the perception that most of the posters here spend all day stoned in their grandmothers’ basements.

  119. Whoa, man, how’d you know where I live, man? Are you God, dude?

  120. The whole of the history of science
    teaches us today one thing we can be certain of:
    almost everything we have thought we understood
    has been proven ultimately in error.

  121. And just where is Thoreau? Being both a man of Science (physics) and a man of religious faith (Catholic), he might well provide some interesting views to this discussion and give us of no faith something to think about. Don’t they have an Internet connection at Walden Pond?

  122. I am one of those who love space exploration, especially when it impinges on some of the big cosmological questions as it does with the Hubble Space Telescope. But; it is clearly not an ethical for it to be financed by the government. I cannot justify forcing others to pay for the entertainment of my intellectual curiosity. It isn’t any more fair to those who don’t share my interest to force them to subsidize it then it is to force taxpayers to subsidize the building of new stadiums for NFL franchise owners.

    The most expensive tools of astronomical exploration used to be the huge telescopes and they were largely funded with non-government money. Many people love space exploration and it seems that their numbers and enthusiasm would afford many commercial and charity avenues for the financing of space exploration. There are currently private satellite launch companies in operation as well as hundreds of organizations for astronomy/space enthusiasts.

    If space exploration were privatized there would be a motivation for those doing it to both educate the lay community about it as well as to cater to their scientific interests in order to generate donor support from them. This dynamic would tend to more actively involve the general public in the enterprise then they are with the taxpayer funded space program.

    The political power wielded by those who receive tax dollars for the government space program could well prove a formidable obstacle to eliminating it. Perhaps a way to over come this obstacle and transition into private space exploration would be to give tax credits to those make donations to non-government space exploration during the transition period.

  123. Julian Sanchez-

    For failure to condemn anything NASA-related, and for failure to use this opportunity to demand immediate, overnight privatization that benefits a politically-connected corporation, you are hereby ordered to the reprogramming camp.

  124. Remember: God created all of that six thousand years ago, for the sole purpose of giving humanity a pretty night sky to look at!

  125. I thought it was seven thousand years ago.
    What are you, Jennifer, a heretic?

  126. NASA’s efforts to squash private space exploration notwithstanding, I gotta say that this is pretty cool. The HST is the best thing NASA has done in a long long time.

    IMAO.

  127. Cool pic.

  128. yo peepll a crezy! get a life!

    (and that French fucktard Bart is a hoot)

  129. Rick Barton,

    I like your idea of private funding for any scientific endeavor, including Space research and exploration. The main problem I see with the transitionary period would be that the government would probably not offer anyone any tax breaks for contributing to said research. The opponents would say the government is “losing money” to address more “pressing” concerns here on Earth.

    P.S. Thanks for bringing us back on topic.

    Shawn S.

  130. Shawn, with all due respect to Rick, he’s no more on topic than the God squad. The topic is stars, not private vs. public funding for space exploration. Apparently the majesty of the HST pics is secondary to our puny (and I mean PUNY) concerns about who pays for what. Think about it, topic boy.

  131. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

  132. Andrew,

    Well, I consider myself knocked firmly back into my lurker status. 🙂 I would have thought that the topic was whatever we (H&R posters) wanted it to be. I suppose the fact I’m still waiting for our $1100 tax refund was on my mind at the time, and that prompted my comment.

    Shawn S.

  133. Shawn,

    Perhaps the transition tax credit could be sold as “a chance for each American to participate directly in the adventure of science”. The loss of revenue to the government, it could be pointed out would be defrayed, at least down the line, with the cuts in the space and other scientific government spending.

    Andrew,

    I was going to say, just for the sake of argument, that the funding of HST and the space program in general is at least little more “on topic” than God, no-God speculations but, never mind. I’m not sure I can make that case. Any way, one of the charms of H&R threads is the tendency of some of them to meander. For a post about stars see the one at March 10, 02:16 PM

  134. The early universe looks like the intro to the Blake’s 7 sci-fi series. (and I always thought the view was stupid looking- turns out they were ahead of their time)

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