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#1 2002-11-14 16:59:20

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

We exist. Therefore, other species, not of our planet, also exist. Probably, there are also space-borne entities. After all... I seem to remember HUBBLE discovering organic matter in a nebula.

Am I insane?  big_smile


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#2 2002-11-14 19:52:56

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

Yeah ... probably.

    But then, it's the only way to be. Leastways, I enjoy it!  big_smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#3 2002-11-15 01:49:13

AltToWar
Member
Registered: 2002-09-28
Posts: 304

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

We exist. Therefore, other species, not of our planet, also exist. Probably, there are also space-borne entities. After all... I seem to remember HUBBLE discovering organic matter in a nebula.

Am I insane?  big_smile[/quote:post_uid0]
Humans presumably evolved out of a mix of the right conditions and a good amount of luck, yes smile

Odds are that if life evolved here, that in the great vastness of the universe life evolve somewhere else as well.

But what are those odds exactly?
does 1 out of 10 suns hold a planet with life?
1 out of 1,000,000?
1 out of 10^100?


Thats why the search for life on mars is so essential.

If life independantly evolved on mars, then we can expect the universe to be filled to the brim with life.  We can begin to speculate that life is not an oddity, or some fluke, but a natural and common progression across the universe.

If not, it's still anyones guess how common or rare life is.


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau

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#4 2002-11-15 09:55:24

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

*Yes, I think there's a good reason for wondering about this:  Wonderment is what impels mankind to learn, assimilate, evolve, grow, etc.  Stasis sucks!  wink

As for "Isn't the question answered, after all?"  Good grief, radio telescopy is only a few decades old; our best optic telescopes, including Hubble, are still -- in the history of humankind -- new.  I think it's extremely premature [and even that's an understatement] to think the question has been answered!  That'd be like 15th century explorers building a boat and only "sailing" 3 feet from the shoreline, then deciding "the question is answered, there are no new lands, other peoples, etc."  smile

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#5 2002-11-17 02:44:30

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

We exist. Therefore, other species, not of our planet, also exist. Probably, there are also space-borne entities. After all... I seem to remember HUBBLE discovering organic matter in a nebula.
[/quote:post_uid0]

I also subscribe to the idea that if life arose on Earth it probably did other places to.  The universe has proven again and again that it likes redundancy when it comes to physical processes and form.  Just recall all those people who not very long ago thought that stars having planets was a rare occurence in the universe.  A lot of people are eating their words as we speak.  And since planets appear to be common entities around stars it's probably not far fetched to think that a number of those planets are home to life.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#6 2002-11-17 03:39:01

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

Makes perfect sense to me, too!
                                                    smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#7 2002-11-17 15:17:19

Auqakah
Member
From: England
Registered: 2002-07-13
Posts: 175

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

I think there is a point to wondering what sort of other life is out there, yes, and where it might be - but I don't see the point in asking the question "Is there other life out there?" - and thats what I meant.  big_smile


Ex Astra, Scienta

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#8 2002-11-18 16:43:16

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

Life outside our planet is far from "certain". Life outside our solar system would still be an unknown probability even if life is discovered on another planet.

The issue of intelligent life is even further from the realm of statistical certainty in all regards too.

If one wishes to contemplate the composition of life, or primarily intelligent life, you must begin with assumptions based on environment.

Remember, humanity, and all the species of life that currently exsist, or ever exsisted, were the direct product of their environment. Even our social cultures throughout the history of man are a reflection of the environment that people lived in.

Consider what humanity might have developed into if our environment was less hostile, or perhaps more hostile- apocolyptic visions of the future show man as hard-nosed, scrabbling for scarse resources- in chaotic conflict with others. Perhaps a resource abundant world and slow population growth would lead to a world of peace and prosperity for all- perhaps a world where there are no predators leads to a different psychological make-up of would be aliens- they have different instincual responses other than our traditional fight/flight response.

The possibilities are endless- what would an alien be like if they had no concept of "hearing" or "smell".

If aliens perceive the universe in different ways than us, how can we hope to understand them?

The day we meet an alien culture unlike our own is the day we visit upon the "other". That which exsists, but defies understanding.

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#9 2002-11-18 18:32:47

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

You say that even if we discover life on another planet it still won't constitute good evidence that there is abundant life out there.   It would be an interesting exercise to deduce the probability of only two planets in the entire universe giving rise to life.  Lets see here, we know there are billions of stars in our own galaxy.  We know that there are about as many galaxies out there as there are stars in our Milky Way, galaxies which themselves have billions and trillions of stars.  We know that it relatively common for stars to have planets so there's billions of galaxies out there hosting trillions of stars that likely cling to quadrillions of planets.  And the basic building blocks of life as we know them, water and carbon, are very common throughout the universe so we can't make any claims that we're made of highly rare materials like plutonium.  Care to run the statistical odds of only two planets in the entire universe independantly giving rise to life using those numbers?  Even if only one star per billion gives rise to a civilization, it'd still take you many lifetimes to count them all one by one.  The fact itself that we exist puts the statistical odds of life existing in the universe above zero.  If the odds aren't zero in our neck of the woods, then going on the idea that the universe obeys the same set of physical laws throughout, the odds are above zero throughout the universe.  I don't remember what the probability that statisticians and scientists have agreed on that constitutes an impossible event, but if our planet is truly the only place in the universe with life, that statistical threshold has probably been either exceeded or comes very close to it.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#10 2002-11-18 22:25:17

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

There are more stars in the Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. - Carl Sagan


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#11 2002-11-19 11:15:13

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

There are more stars in the Universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. - Carl Sagan[/quote:post_uid0]

Might Carl Sagan have had the Book of Genesis in mind when he said/wrote that? I have long felt that whatever Sagan's public beliefs were, he knew the Bible texts backwards and forwards.

Here is an excerpt from a story I am writing:

“Class” she began, “Let me read to you a short passage from the Book of Genesis. It is a passage found in the 15th Chapter”

[b:post_uid0]Then Abram said, “See, you have given me no descendants. [/b:post_uid0]

She paused and skipped down a few lines and read further,

[b:post_uid0]Taking him outside, Yahweh said, “Look up to heaven and count the stars, if you can. Such will be the number of your descendants.”[/b:post_uid0]

. . .

He said “The text says to ‘count the stars, if you can.’ At face value this strikes me as saying Abraham . . . I mean Abram . . . was promised as many descendants as there are stars in the sky, whether Abram could count them or not.”

“But I suppose what we really need to ask whether this promise was meant symbolically or literally?”

Tim answered, “There is another passage, found a few sections before the one you read, which reads as follows:

[b:post_uid0]‘And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants could also be numbered.’”[/b:post_uid0]
[/quote:post_uid0]

Whether you accept the Bible as the [b:post_uid0]Word of God[/b:post_uid0] or whether you believe these stories merely are stories invented  by a bunch of desert nomads or whether you see these stories as falling somewhere between these two extremes - the stories of Genesis remain very powerful stories indeed.

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#12 2002-11-19 11:49:14

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

Whether you accept the Bible as the [b:post_uid3]Word of God[/b:post_uid3] or whether you believe these stories merely are stories invented  by a bunch of desert nomads or whether you see these stories as falling somewhere between these two extremes - the stories of Genesis remain very powerful stories indeed.[/quote:post_uid3]
*The Genesis [and other biblical] stories are very similar to many other stories of varying myth cycles in numerous cultures around the world.  Generally speaking, the only distinct differences in the telling of these myths relate to names, geographical locales, and cultural/ethnic idiosyncrasies.  Make of that what you will, i.e. either "God" is attempting to impress "Himself" on the peoples of the world via these striking similarities...or most human minds work similarly, stories are "recycled" and handed down to the next generation and myth becomes confused with fact, etc.

Refer to Carl Jung, Robert Graves, and other notable scholars of myth cycles, comparative religion, and etc.

Just some comments; I'm not looking for a long-winded debate.  We can all study these matters for ourselves and draw our own opinions.  smile

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#13 2002-11-19 13:21:23

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

.  Generally speaking, the only distinct differences in the telling of these myths relate to names, geographical locales, and cultural/ethnic idiosyncrasies.  Make of that what you will, i.e. either "God" is attempting to impress "Himself" on the peoples of the world via these striking similarities...or most human minds work similarly, stories are "recycled" and handed down to the next generation and myth becomes confused with fact, etc.[/quote:post_uid0]

IMHO - the Jewish stories did add a few new wrinkles to materials they obviously were given by other cultures:

(1) Progressive time. A one way arrow of time in contrast to endless rounds or cycles of birth - death - renewal. This is an essential pre-condition to the idea of "progress" which is at the heart of the Enlightenment and I assert is uniquely Jewish in origin.

(2) A special or chosen people. Perhaps a good innovation or perhaps a bad innovation. ???

(3) I am less sure about this, but did earlier/other myth cycles assert that humans were formed in the "image and likeness" of God? Daniel Dennett of Tufts (hardly a religionist) has observed that the value Westerners place on each and every human life -may- have arisen from the belief that we are all children of God.

Jung, Joseph Campbell, Freud & others have all plainly asserted that the Jewish stories are myths no different than the myths of other times/cultures BUT whether they are correct in that assertion is a much harder question.

A question we are not likely to give any final answer to. smile

Oh, Cindy - I saw a quote about Voltaire you might appreciate - - >  "Voltaire was a philanthropist masquerading as a cynic."  Historian Peter Gay.

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#14 2002-11-19 14:29:35

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

(3) I am less sure about this, but did earlier/other myth cycles assert that humans were formed in the "image and likeness" of God? Daniel Dennett of Tufts (hardly a religionist) has observed that the value Westerners place on each and every human life -may- have arisen from the belief that we are all children of God.[/quote:post_uid3]
*Not that I'm aware of.  I know of a Native American tribe [can't recall which one] who believed humans crawled up out of the ground like gophers and that's how we came to be.

The "image and likeness of God" is patriarchal and monotheistic [a fairly "new" development of religious thought in the history of mankind, just a few thousand years old]; pagan religious beliefs didn't agree with it, being that paganism embraces both male -and- female deities. 

It seems to me that many religious creation stories are either vague or extremely fantastic [people like gophers; men already being on earth somehow -- not explained how -- and women descending from clouds to mate with the men; etc.].  But it's been a while since I studied in the matter indepth, and I'll admit I'm rusty in this regard.

--Cindy

P.S.:  Voltaire was indeed a philanthropist...a great humanitarian.  I don't think he was cynical, just realistic; he had an optimistic streak in him.  His 308th birthday is just a few days away, 11/21.  smile  Watch out for some special posts about him in my 18th Century thread in the Free Chat folder this coming Thursday!


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#15 2002-11-19 14:45:23

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

The "image and likeness of God" is patriarchal and monotheistic [a fairly "new" development of religious thought in the history of mankind, just a few thousand years old]; pagan religious beliefs didn't agree with it, being that paganism embraces both male -and- female deities.[/quote:post_uid0]

Patriarchial? I suppose, if we see God as having the male gender. IMHO - if there is truly a God, I believe "male and female" would be pretty much irrelevant to God's nature. Which is part of why I see "sexism" as being so patently illogical.

Whether Jesus was white or brown or had black hair or red hair is also essentially irrelevant, IMHO. tongue

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#16 2002-11-19 15:11:40

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

The "image and likeness of God" is patriarchal and monotheistic [a fairly "new" development of religious thought in the history of mankind, just a few thousand years old]; pagan religious beliefs didn't agree with it, being that paganism embraces both male -and- female deities.[/quote:post_uid3]

Patriarchial? I suppose, if we see God as having the male gender.[/quote:post_uid3]
*Judaism, most Christian sects/denominations I've known of, and Islam all view God as a single male entity...or a 3-fold male entity, as in the case of Christianity [Father, Son, Holy Ghost].  Also each of these religions preach that men were created first, and thus they were put in charge -- and that women are to be subject to men as their masters.

That's what I mean by "patriarchal."

Some sects of Christianity may be softening their stance on this.  Actually, St. Paul was rather confused:  On the one hand he demanded that women have -no- say in church matters, and that women are to be submissive and obedient to their husbands because of Eve [which is as politically motivated and stupid as seeking to eternally punish all blue-eyed Caucasians because of what Hitler did...of course, that's -if- you believe the story of Adam & Eve, which I don't]...then he later stated that "there is neither rich nor poor, male nor female, but all are One in Christ."  Oneness cannot have schism or separation, so I don't know where the submission/obedience factor on the part of the female can logically be factored into the male-female relationships.  It can't.

Wow, we're getting off topic.  smile 

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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#17 2002-11-19 22:46:57

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

I like reading creation stories.  I think the myth that comes closest to our current theories of the origin of the universe is the Hindu idea that the universe is constantly being destroyed and reborn.  And if you think about it, the Genesis account is patriarchal in that God created man in his image and that image was, well, a man.  It's in essence saying the ultimate authority in the universe is male.  Woman was just kind of an add on to the original divine image.  There are creation stories that are more matriarchal in nature where the creator is seen more like a great mother giving birth to creation.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#18 2002-11-20 00:55:39

AltToWar
Member
Registered: 2002-09-28
Posts: 304

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

I like reading creation stories.  I think the myth that comes closest to our current theories of the origin of the universe is the Hindu idea that the universe is constantly being destroyed and reborn.  And if you think about it, the Genesis account is patriarchal in that God created man in his image and that image was, well, a man.  It's in essence saying the ultimate authority in the universe is male.  Woman was just kind of an add on to the original divine image.  There are creation stories that are more matriarchal in nature where the creator is seen more like a great mother giving birth to creation.[/quote:post_uid0]
Actually the word for god used to discribe the creator in the origional Hebrew was 'Elohim'

'Eloh' is a Feminine word, basicly meaning Goddess.

'im' is a masculine suffex indicating the noun to be plural.

Theological debates abound about the exact meaning of this word, most of them christian apologists.

The hebrew biblical authors took their language seriously.  If they intended the name of god here not to be a hermaphoditic plural one, they would not have used this name to discribe them here.

If you explore jewish mysticism, you will find even more relations between the hebrew creation myth and other eastern ones.

Anyhow my point is, contrary to popular belief, the biblical creator of the universe was both sexes and more than one individual.

I'd love to elaborate, but it would take a few posts.


If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau

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#19 2002-11-20 11:06:35

clark
Member
Registered: 2001-09-20
Posts: 6,278

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

You all seem to get it.

The problem is a matter of "literalism".

Do you like lawyers?

A word is a symbol- it is meaning. However, words can have different meanings. Singular words, even the phenome structure of a word (the basic element of words and language) have meaning- yet, when multiple phemomes, or words are combined, different meanings can result- this is the gradual development of complex symbology and abstract thought.

Man was made in God's image.

Well, is that Man as in the gender man, or is that all mankind?

Literalists see it one way, and are justifed since the words do support their statement- however, it neglects a certain amount of contextual evidence which can demonstrate that the term should not be taken so litleraly.

Then we have the word image- as in apperance? Or in ability?

So next we spar over interpretation.

In my opinion, we simply bring the meaning to whatever text we read- how we interact with it is a reflection of ourselves, not of the actual substance of the text.

We create our own gods and monsters, our own creation, our own destruction, based on how WE, as individuals, decide to understand what we are reading.

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#20 2002-11-20 22:58:25

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

In my opinion, we simply bring the meaning to whatever text we read- how we interact with it is a reflection of ourselves, not of the actual substance of the text.

We create our own gods and monsters, our own creation, our own destruction, based on how WE, as individuals, decide to understand what we are reading.[/quote:post_uid0]

Very true.  There's a whole school of literary thought that follows this philosophy.  But I think Alttowar might be onto something though.  If he's right that the references to the Almighty in the original, untranslated text were in a feminine or androgynous/sexless form (and he seems to know more about it than I do)  than I think we might be victims of translators who are putting their spin (either consciously or unconsciously) on the "maleness" of God.  But even if God is referred to in the feminine it still begs the question of why the first human created was male.  Why not female or both at the same time?  There still seems to be patriarchal aspects at play.  Of course Shaun seems to be closer to God than any of us because he already knew that "he" was a "she." smile


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#21 2002-11-21 19:08:13

Shaun Barrett
Member
From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

Phobos writes:-

Of course Shaun seems to be closer to God than any of us because he already knew that "he" was a "she."  smile [/quote:post_uid12]

    Ha Ha Ha !!   big_smile

    Nuthin' to do with it, Phobos. Just tryin' to avoid gettin' my ass shot off by some gun-totin', wild-eyed, saliva-drippin', feminazi !!
    That's all !
                                         big_smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#22 2002-12-05 15:01:01

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

Heh, I'm surprised at how popular the Face on Mars threads have been. Over 5500 collective viewings. Amazing. Not the biggest thread (with the most posts), though. Just... ‘most interesting,’ I guess?


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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#23 2002-12-05 15:14:23

soph
Member
Registered: 2002-11-24
Posts: 1,492

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

my question about god would be, who created god in the first place?  where did "god" come from.  i dont believe in god as a being, more as a force, or catalyst.  not something to be worshipped, but just the spark that set off the big bang.

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#24 2002-12-05 20:04:54

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

my question about god would be, who created god in the first place?  where did "god" come from.  i dont believe in god as a being, more as a force, or catalyst.  not something to be worshipped, but just the spark that set off the big bang.[/quote:post_uid0]
It seems like a cheapshot, but I know some people who are very devout and everytime we get into arguments about whether God created the universe or not, they always argue that the universe needed an intelligent designer that it couldn't just evolve on its own.  So I ask them who created God and there answer is always "God just always was."  So I'm supposed to swallow the idea that God, a complex and intelligent and all powerful organization of matter or energy or whatever, could just exist and pop out of nowhere in the infinite past and that this is a better explanation for the origin of the universe than thinking everything could just pop into existence in a chaotic manner.


To achieve the impossible you must attempt the absurd

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#25 2002-12-05 20:29:57

Palomar
Member
From: USA
Registered: 2002-05-30
Posts: 9,734

Re: Is there any point in wondering? - Isn't the question answered, after all?

So I'm supposed to swallow the idea that God, a complex and intelligent and all powerful organization of matter or energy or whatever, could just exist and pop out of nowhere in the infinite past and that this is a better explanation for the origin of the universe than thinking everything could just pop into existence in a chaotic manner.[/quote:post_uid3]
*Which is just about the same danged supposed happenstance anyway...something complex from nothing.

--Cindy


We all know those Venusians: Doing their hair in shock waves, smoking electrical coronas, wearing Van Allen belts and resting their tiny elbows on a Geiger counter...

--John Sladek (The New Apocrypha)

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