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  #151  
Old 04-29-2018, 02:30 PM
k9bfriender k9bfriender is online now
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Does science have much to say about why life began in the first place? Not so much how, or how evolution changes things, but why? I don't know that religion provides a very good answer either, but I believe this has always been a blind spot for science.
Depends on what you mean exactly when you say "Why", but there is some thought that life exists for the purpose of increasing entropy.

I found this article, but it was not the one I was really looking for, about how it is hypothesized that life began in order to turn carbon dioxide into methane, which would increase the entropy of the system.

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So I explained a little to Mike (now we are buddies) what I was trying to understand, and he immediately said “Ah, that’s easy. The purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide.”
This is not fully accepted by a consensus, but the view is gaining popularity. Life does in fact increase entropy far more than a sterile ball of rock does.
  #152  
Old 04-29-2018, 02:38 PM
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Does science have much to say about why life began in the first place? Not so much how, or how evolution changes things, but why? I don't know that religion provides a very good answer either, but I believe this has always been a blind spot for science.
One thing for sure, though. Whenever science says, "I don't know (yet)", you can be sure someone will come along and claim, "Because: God!"
  #153  
Old 04-29-2018, 03:12 PM
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Depends on what you mean exactly when you say "Why", but there is some thought that life exists for the purpose of increasing entropy.
That is not the right way to see it. The fact that life increases entropy is what allows it to exist, there is no purpose to it. But the existence of that niche - where something could be speeding up entropy using a mechanism to do it - means that over an infinite timespan and infinite number of tries in a chaotic enough environment, something could get randomly assembled that will then copy itself endlessly and occupy that niche.
  #154  
Old 04-29-2018, 03:24 PM
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Depends on what you mean exactly when you say "Why", but there is some thought that life exists for the purpose of increasing entropy.



I found this article, but it was not the one I was really looking for, about how it is hypothesized that life began in order to turn carbon dioxide into methane, which would increase the entropy of the system.







This is not fully accepted by a consensus, but the view is gaining popularity. Life does in fact increase entropy far more than a sterile ball of rock does.


Interesting. We're really just small components in a great chemical reaction from that perspective.
  #155  
Old 04-29-2018, 03:59 PM
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Does science have much to say about why life began in the first place? Not so much how, or how evolution changes things, but why? I don't know that religion provides a very good answer either, but I believe this has always been a blind spot for science.
This is a case for where two words are intertangled. How? The laws of physics permitted it when the conditions were right. Why? The laws of physics permitted it when the conditions were right.

You seem to be again making a mistake of definitions--everything happens for a reason, but not everything happens for a purpose.
  #156  
Old 04-29-2018, 04:00 PM
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That is not the right way to see it. The fact that life increases entropy is what allows it to exist, there is no purpose to it. But the existence of that niche - where something could be speeding up entropy using a mechanism to do it - means that over an infinite timespan and infinite number of tries in a chaotic enough environment, something could get randomly assembled that will then copy itself endlessly and occupy that niche.
But life does increase entropy more than no life does. Earth gives off higher entropy electromagnetic radiation than would be reflected off of an empty rock. This is due to life.

Just as the a Rayleigh–Taylor instability develops complexity in the interface between two different fluids to increase the rate of mixing, life gets involved in those complex processes and speeds up the breakdown of differences between two states.

You can look at it as asking, what is the purpose of the complexity of an R-T instability? It may be an emergent phenomenon due to the mixing of differing fluids, but it is also a phenomenon that increases that mixing. Without it, if differing fluids just diffused along their point of contact, it would take far longer to achieve full mixing.

And if it can be shown that early life did originate in these strata that chemically hydrolyzed co2 into methane, then it can be said that that is indeed the right way to see it.

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  #157  
Old 04-29-2018, 04:17 PM
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Does science have much to say about why life began in the first place? Not so much how, or how evolution changes things, but why? I don't know that religion provides a very good answer either, but I believe this has always been a blind spot for science.
Life exists because it can. “Life” has no motivation. No entity is granted de facto preference over any other entity. A living thing will eat any other living thing if it can. A typhoid-XDR pandemic could, theoretically, wipe out all of humanity and rest its metaphorical foot on humanity's metaphorical corpse and that would be that (though, in all likelihood, the pandemic will probably kill less than a third of us).

We are not special in the grand scheme of things, beyond the fact that we are capable of abstract reasoning. Perhaps when we are evolved to the state of humans depicted in Vonnegut's Galapagos, there will be a new dominant Earth species – probably some descendant of the corvidae family. And “god”/“life” will go on, not caring, as is the case today.
  #158  
Old 04-29-2018, 04:24 PM
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Does science have much to say about why life began in the first place?
That's not really a scientific question.
  #159  
Old 04-29-2018, 05:39 PM
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Does science have much to say about why life began in the first place? Not so much how, or how evolution changes things, but why? I don't know that religion provides a very good answer either, but I believe this has always been a blind spot for science.
As my friend's father used to say, why is a crooked letter. Why must there be a why?
If you get a self replicating molecule that can replicate with errors, you are on the path. The "how" question is interesting, but not the why. Why is that rock there? Why did that weed grow in one place rather than another. Often there is no why.
  #160  
Old 04-29-2018, 06:18 PM
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This is a case for where two words are intertangled. How? The laws of physics permitted it when the conditions were right. Why? The laws of physics permitted it when the conditions were right.

You seem to be again making a mistake of definitions--everything happens for a reason, but not everything happens for a purpose.

So what is the reason Life emerged at all, apart from the carbon dioxide thing?
  #161  
Old 04-29-2018, 06:25 PM
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That's not really a scientific question.


See, if I was a scientist, I would be fascinated with the Why of things. Perhaps that's why I'm not a scientist.
  #162  
Old 04-29-2018, 06:33 PM
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Well, there's always a why, but sometimes (very often?) the why is a reason and not a purpose.

Beginning from "everything must have a purpose" is not an honest way to go about things.
  #163  
Old 04-29-2018, 07:49 PM
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See, if I was a scientist, I would be fascinated with the Why of things. Perhaps that's why I'm not a scientist.
No, you would probably be interested in the how.

Why do the major intelligent species on our planet look like us? We know how we evolved, but the why is probably random. Through a series of random events - like the asteroid hitting - some primates became intelligent. If you demand a why you wind up with theistic evolution. Which explains nothing beyond what secular evolution does.
  #164  
Old 04-29-2018, 08:10 PM
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Well.. the Gospel of John says Jesus is God, and in John 14:6, Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." so yeah, God=Jesus and Jesus=Life, therefore by the transitive property of equality, God=Life. </sarcasm>

Back when I was on my way to becoming an atheist but hadn't quite got there yet, I often considered the analogy My Body : My Self :: The World : God. I can plainly see that my body is comprised of lots of tiny pieces, each of which are somewhat alive but have no consciousness, no self, no identity, yet taken as a whole *I* do have a consciousness. It is reasonable to suspect that Earth (being comprised of lots of tiny pieces, some of which are alive) may have a conscious self as well, but it's on such a higher level that we humans are no more able to communicate with it than my white blood cells are capable of communicating with me. Or maybe the universe itself has a consciousness. You could call it God, or Life, I suppose.

But where does that get us? Not very far, actually. Just because Earth or the universe *might* have a consciousness doesn't prove that it *does*. And since my consciousness did not create my body but rather my body created my consciousness, then our analogy suggests that God did not create the universe but rather the universe created God. And if this consciousness does exist, we have very little hope of communicating with it or even trying to figure out what it wants, let alone being able to please it and gain its favor. And there'd be absolutely no reason to believe in life-after-death, let alone have rules spelled out about what you have to do to earn a ticket to heaven. Whatever we have described here bears very little resemblance to the "God" as meant by most people alive today. It certainly isn't all-powerful, or all-knowing, and it didn't even create the world. Not much of a "God" there, huh. Maybe it could qualify as a god-with-a-lowercase-g. Maybe.

This thought experiment gets us nowhere close to anything described by any mainstream religion. At best, it gets us to Animism. Personally, I have no problem with Animism. I'm just saying, if you wanted to get from "Earth might be alive" to "You must be baptized in the spirit to earn a ticket to heaven", then I'm sorry but you still have a loonnngggg way to go.

I'm an Atheist. I believe there is no God. I mean there is no all-powerful all-seeing creator who judges us and hands out rewards and punishments. Put another way, in order to make it into something I could believe in, you'd have to twist the definition of "God" so far that you'd end up with something that really doesn't deserve to be called "God" at all. This God=Life stuff is an example of that twisting.
  #165  
Old 04-29-2018, 08:12 PM
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So what is the reason Life emerged at all, apart from the carbon dioxide thing?
I already answered that question--because the laws of physics allow self-replicating molecules to form given the right conditions. The same way that snowflakes can form. And solar systems. And oxbow lakes. And cubical pyrite crystals. Because life is one of the options that every once in a while a planet has the right environment for that complex chemical reaction to happen. I'm sorry that you seem to need to heR something more profound and meaningful and mystical than that, but you aren't going to hear it from me.

Also, I have no idea what "that carbon dioxide thing" means.

Last edited by Darren Garrison; 04-29-2018 at 08:15 PM. Reason: Autocorrect thought cubical pyrite crystals were cynical
  #166  
Old 04-29-2018, 08:48 PM
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Well.. the Gospel of John says Jesus is God, and in John 14:6, Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." so yeah, God=Jesus and Jesus=Life, therefore by the transitive property of equality, God=Life. </sarcasm>

Back when I was on my way to becoming an atheist but hadn't quite got there yet, I often considered the analogy My Body : My Self :: The World : God. I can plainly see that my body is comprised of lots of tiny pieces, each of which are somewhat alive but have no consciousness, no self, no identity, yet taken as a whole *I* do have a consciousness. It is reasonable to suspect that Earth (being comprised of lots of tiny pieces, some of which are alive) may have a conscious self as well, but it's on such a higher level that we humans are no more able to communicate with it than my white blood cells are capable of communicating with me. Or maybe the universe itself has a consciousness. You could call it God, or Life, I suppose.

But where does that get us? Not very far, actually. Just because Earth or the universe *might* have a consciousness doesn't prove that it *does*. And since my consciousness did not create my body but rather my body created my consciousness, then our analogy suggests that God did not create the universe but rather the universe created God. And if this consciousness does exist, we have very little hope of communicating with it or even trying to figure out what it wants, let alone being able to please it and gain its favor. And there'd be absolutely no reason to believe in life-after-death, let alone have rules spelled out about what you have to do to earn a ticket to heaven. Whatever we have described here bears very little resemblance to the "God" as meant by most people alive today. It certainly isn't all-powerful, or all-knowing, and it didn't even create the world. Not much of a "God" there, huh. Maybe it could qualify as a god-with-a-lowercase-g. Maybe.

This thought experiment gets us nowhere close to anything described by any mainstream religion. At best, it gets us to Animism. Personally, I have no problem with Animism. I'm just saying, if you wanted to get from "Earth might be alive" to "You must be baptized in the spirit to earn a ticket to heaven", then I'm sorry but you still have a loonnngggg way to go.

I'm an Atheist. I believe there is no God. I mean there is no all-powerful all-seeing creator who judges us and hands out rewards and punishments. Put another way, in order to make it into something I could believe in, you'd have to twist the definition of "God" so far that you'd end up with something that really doesn't deserve to be called "God" at all. This God=Life stuff is an example of that twisting.

I like the way you explain things. I also like the concept that the universe created God rather than the other way around. Something to explore there.
  #167  
Old 04-29-2018, 08:51 PM
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I already answered that question--because the laws of physics allow self-replicating molecules to form given the right conditions. The same way that snowflakes can form. And solar systems. And oxbow lakes. And cubical pyrite crystals. Because life is one of the options that every once in a while a planet has the right environment for that complex chemical reaction to happen. I'm sorry that you seem to need to heR something more profound and meaningful and mystical than that, but you aren't going to hear it from me.

Also, I have no idea what "that carbon dioxide thing" means.

That carbon dioxide thing is me grossly misunderstanding the entropy argument, probably because it's over my head. You don't need to offer up anything more mystical on my account, and the ideas you've proposed so far give me much to ponder. So thank you for that.
  #168  
Old 04-29-2018, 08:52 PM
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… And since my consciousness did not create my body but rather my body created my consciousness, then our analogy suggests that God did not create the universe but rather the universe created God.…
Every event that happens has one or more preceding causes. So the premise is that the deity is cause prime. Hence, if the universe created the first cause, but the first cause had to precede the creation of the universe, you end up with a paradox that can only end with: they created each other, reflexively. Which, in the realm of mysticism, is not untenable.

Or you could surmise that time itself is not that simple, that the universe has always existed and always will, in terms of how we are able to understand it. Beginnings and ends make sense to us, so that is how our theories are structured. We could be misinterpreting the data due to some missing component that would change our point of view.

If the universe were not ever created, it would not require a prime cause, and it would not make sense for such an entity to have emerged. Although, I have to admit that the Earth has given rise to some frightfully odd lifeforms with some seriously superfluous features, so it might not be unreasonable to imagine that the universe has formed some sort of vestigial appendage. Maybe they even form and dissolve with regularity. But any deity is still going to be superfluous.
  #169  
Old 04-30-2018, 03:15 AM
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You mean, he IS actually an atheist who's posing as a religious writer to get his point across? I'm not familiar with him but it's the impression I got from what you posted.
Not necessarily. He could simply subscribe to a concept of the Divine which supposes that religion is an inappropriate human response to It.
  #170  
Old 04-30-2018, 10:02 AM
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Perhaps your definition of God needs revisiting. Or your definition of Life.
Or perhaps I'm merely not interested in attaching labels to things that don't really fit those labels?

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So why must "God" be defined in some manner that, for example, makes no sense to me? Who decides what constitutes "God" anyway? Who died and made them boss?
If someone comes up to you and says, "Do you believe in God", what do you think they mean? Is it likely they mean "do you believe in Life"? Or "Do you believe in the universe"? Or do you think they mean "Do you believe in an anthropomorphic supernatural entity that can intercede on the behalf of humans who may or may not have any number of important supernatural qualities, depending on which religion we ascribe to"? Because you wouldn't ask someone if they believe in life. Or if they believe in the universe.

You can define "god" any way you want. Just like I can define "chair" as "a sharp knife propped up vertically". Or "dog" as "large, aggressive apex predator with stripes who has been starved for three days". It's just that when I sit you down in a chair and let my dog into the room, you're going to end up very, very confused. Because while it's true that words have usages, not meanings, and while it's true that you can use words any way you like, if you want to communicate with other people, they'd better understand those usages.

And some words contain baggage. For example, if I say "chair", I usually mean something comfortable to sit on. And if I say "god", I usually mean some form of supernatural, intelligent deity. Because that's how damn near everyone ever has always used the word! And when I say "god is life", I'm taking a word that has a ton of baggage and using it in a completely weird way. There's just no reason for it, unless you're desperate to believe in something you can call "god", but extremely uninterested in maintaining a coherent definition of said thing. Case in point:

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For me, God=Life is one way to reconcile my RC upbringing with my more atheistic leanings as an adult. No need to prove whether or not life exists.
Okay, but the roman catholic god is CLEARLY NOT LIFE. Like, they're not even close to the same thing. The roman catholic god has a hell of a lot of qualities not shared by life! Like timelessness, omniscience, omnipotence, and a hatred for men boning each other.

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I agree that words tend to have meanings that we can all pretty much agree to, but I also think "God" is one of those terms that has as many interpretations as there are people.
This is, again, a deepity. There is a trivial manner in which it is true - ask two Christians about their god in detail, and sooner or later you're going to reach a different answer - and the non-trivial implications are just downright false - ask a hundred people what the word "god" immediately implies to them, and you're going to come up with some consensus implying that they're talking about a deity, not "life" or "the universe", unless your sample size is severely skewed in favor of new age hippies.
  #171  
Old 04-30-2018, 03:34 PM
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Or perhaps I'm merely not interested in attaching labels to things that don't really fit those labels?







If someone comes up to you and says, "Do you believe in God", what do you think they mean? Is it likely they mean "do you believe in Life"? Or "Do you believe in the universe"? Or do you think they mean "Do you believe in an anthropomorphic supernatural entity that can intercede on the behalf of humans who may or may not have any number of important supernatural qualities, depending on which religion we ascribe to"? Because you wouldn't ask someone if they believe in life. Or if they believe in the universe.



You can define "god" any way you want. Just like I can define "chair" as "a sharp knife propped up vertically". Or "dog" as "large, aggressive apex predator with stripes who has been starved for three days". It's just that when I sit you down in a chair and let my dog into the room, you're going to end up very, very confused. Because while it's true that words have usages, not meanings, and while it's true that you can use words any way you like, if you want to communicate with other people, they'd better understand those usages.



And some words contain baggage. For example, if I say "chair", I usually mean something comfortable to sit on. And if I say "god", I usually mean some form of supernatural, intelligent deity. Because that's how damn near everyone ever has always used the word! And when I say "god is life", I'm taking a word that has a ton of baggage and using it in a completely weird way. There's just no reason for it, unless you're desperate to believe in something you can call "god", but extremely uninterested in maintaining a coherent definition of said thing. Case in point:







Okay, but the roman catholic god is CLEARLY NOT LIFE. Like, they're not even close to the same thing. The roman catholic god has a hell of a lot of qualities not shared by life! Like timelessness, omniscience, omnipotence, and a hatred for men boning each other.







This is, again, a deepity. There is a trivial manner in which it is true - ask two Christians about their god in detail, and sooner or later you're going to reach a different answer - and the non-trivial implications are just downright false - ask a hundred people what the word "god" immediately implies to them, and you're going to come up with some consensus implying that they're talking about a deity, not "life" or "the universe", unless your sample size is severely skewed in favor of new age hippies.


Given that, in all cases, the Christian God is pretty much always the invisible man in the sky, I don't think it would be at all surprising to find as many different variations of God as there are people. Combine that with the thousands of gods that humans worship, and I think it's much more than new age hippies who have different versions of god. For many of us, God is simply Life itself. I don't see why that assertion should be so upsetting.
  #172  
Old 04-30-2018, 03:53 PM
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Given that, in all cases, the Christian God is pretty much always the invisible man in the sky, I don't think it would be at all surprising to find as many different variations of God as there are people. Combine that with the thousands of gods that humans worship, and I think it's much more than new age hippies who have different versions of god. For many of us, God is simply Life itself. I don't see why that assertion should be so upsetting.
It's not so much upsetting in itself as it is nonsensical. It doesn't mean anything and has no basis in anything resembling observable or even commonly accepted definitions of the two words. May as well go around saying Soap is Radio. Feel free to do so if that makes you happy, but don't expect everyone to jump on board with your free word association.
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  #173  
Old 04-30-2018, 05:36 PM
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The problem with treating "god" and "life" as synonyms is that various people have certain ideas about what "god" means, and various ideas about what "life" means.

If we try to equate them, we're going to find that lots of people carry over their ideas about "god" and think that those ideas now apply to "life" and vice versa.

So let's list some of those ideas about god:
Eternal
Uncreated
Creator of the Universe
Performs miracles
Throws thunderbolts at people who annoy him
Is a him
Was incarnated as a human being at one point
Is an uncaused first cause
Is a person
Thinks thoughts
Listens to people's thoughts
Hears prayers
Answers prayers (sometimes with "no", but still)
Has a long list of rules for people to follow
If you don't follow the rules as per above you're in trouble with God
Inspired a bunch of people to write stuff
We know what stuff is divinely inspired and what isn't
Carries around a big hammer to smite frost giants
When he incarnated as a human being he had blue skin
Ordered people to cut off some skin on their penises to prove their loyalty to him
Castrated his father with a sickle on the orders of his mother
Turned into a swan and totally boned some lady

Now, not everyone has all these ideas in their heads when they're talking about god, and some people would stridently deny that these ideas belong on the list. But they'd agree that some people did have those mistaken ideas about god, but those people were wrong.

But when we say that God is Life, do we mean that life carries around a big hammer to smash frost giants? I don't think so. But we do smuggle in some concepts about god. Especially things like "God is a person that thinks thoughts and cares about people".

People who talk about an uncaused first cause are guilty of the same thing. OK, either there was an uncaused first cause, or the universe existed eternally, either way it's kind of weird. But labeling the uncaused first cause "God" is an attempt to imply that we know a lot about this unknown uncaused first cause about which we actually know nothing. I mean, that uncaused first cause didn't have a long white beard. He doesn't sit on an ivory throne. He's not a he. The universe began existing at some point, but naming the cause of the universe "God" confuses everything and explains nothing. It doesn't add to our knowledge, it destroys our knowledge. So it's a bad practice. What's wrong with, if we believe in an uncaused first cause, or if we speculate about an uncaused first cause, just using the phrase "uncaused first cause"? Then we know precisely what we're talking about with no hidden assumptions built in. There are assumptions built in to the concept, but there' not nearly as hidden as if we called it "God" or some other more confusing name.
  #174  
Old 04-30-2018, 06:37 PM
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It's not so much upsetting in itself as it is nonsensical. It doesn't mean anything and has no basis in anything resembling observable or even commonly accepted definitions of the two words. May as well go around saying Soap is Radio. Feel free to do so if that makes you happy, but don't expect everyone to jump on board with your free word association.

You know, in some ways Soap IS Radio...
  #175  
Old 04-30-2018, 07:19 PM
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Of course, you should all accept that Radio is this guy that lives the next town over from me and had a movie made about him.
  #176  
Old 04-30-2018, 07:32 PM
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  #177  
Old 04-30-2018, 07:52 PM
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You know, in some ways Soap IS Radio...
In some ways, Shit is Shinola...
  #178  
Old 04-30-2018, 08:54 PM
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In some ways, Shit is Shinola...
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Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.
-- Groucho Marx
  #179  
Old 05-01-2018, 10:48 AM
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Given that, in all cases, the Christian God is pretty much always the invisible man in the sky, I don't think it would be at all surprising to find as many different variations of God as there are people. Combine that with the thousands of gods that humans worship, and I think it's much more than new age hippies who have different versions of god. For many of us, God is simply Life itself. I don't see why that assertion should be so upsetting.
Care to sit in my chair and pet my dog?

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For many of us, God is simply Life itself.
What qualities does "god" have? Can you define "god" for me?

There's two options here.

Option A: "god" is equivalent to "life". In that case, there's no reason to use the word god. It achieves literally nothing that just saying "life" doesn't, except attaching a lot of unnecessary baggage to the term.

Option B: "god" is similar to "life" but has some notable differences. In this case, there's no reason to use the word life, beyond saying "it's sorta like life, but...". It's just confusing to call god "life" when god clearly isn't life, but rather something that means something that is either somewhat or entirely different.

Language is about usages, but I'm asking you, why are you using language this way?
  #180  
Old 05-01-2018, 10:58 AM
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Language is about usages, but I'm asking you, why are you using language this way?
I submit post #174 for your consideration and conclusion.
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  #181  
Old 05-01-2018, 11:22 AM
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Perhaps what the OP is trying to get at is the notion that the deity is composed of midichlorians?
  #182  
Old 05-01-2018, 03:08 PM
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Care to sit in my chair and pet my dog?







What qualities does "god" have? Can you define "god" for me?



There's two options here.



Option A: "god" is equivalent to "life". In that case, there's no reason to use the word god. It achieves literally nothing that just saying "life" doesn't, except attaching a lot of unnecessary baggage to the term.



Option B: "god" is similar to "life" but has some notable differences. In this case, there's no reason to use the word life, beyond saying "it's sorta like life, but...". It's just confusing to call god "life" when god clearly isn't life, but rather something that means something that is either somewhat or entirely different.



Language is about usages, but I'm asking you, why are you using language this way?

Even though I love metaphor, I think simile prolly works better here for reasons that many have cited. Hence I'd lean toward your option B.
  #183  
Old 05-01-2018, 03:09 PM
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Perhaps what the OP is trying to get at is the notion that the deity is composed of midichlorians?

That's it!! The midichlorian count is off the charts for the deity.
  #184  
Old 05-01-2018, 07:31 PM
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So okay, I just got here, and reading through the thread has failed to clarify one basic point I'm wondering about.

What's the point you're trying to arrive at, exactly?

I mean, yes, you're attempting to equate the terms "God" and "life" and making the claim that "many" people equate the terms (which is probably true if "many" means "more than twenty"). Most of the people here aren't particularly interested in playing this semantic game, because this sort of thing has traditionally been used in flagrantly invalid semantic arguments that make a mockery of rational thought.

For myself, I'm actually okay with recognizing that the term god is really badly defined - I meet the definition, as does a styrofoam cup I once owned. (It had styrofoam cup powers.) The word "god" is a shitty word, that imparts with it very little meaning, is what I'm saying.

But among the meanings it does have is that it's almost universally agreed upon as referring to an entity, rather than a concept. A god is a thing, a discrete thing. The thing in question may be omnipotent or not, eternal or not, immense or not, bearded or not, intelligent or not, magical or not, sentient or not, or real or not. But it's still a discrete thing.

Which makes the idea god=life a little hard to swallow, because life isn't a thing - it's actually an activity. Sometimes we refer to the collective set of things engaging in the activity by the same term, but any one of those things can exit the set of living things rather easily, simply by stopping living.

But, for the sake of argument, suppose I were to entertain the idea that the collective, constantly changing and shifting set of things that are alive, can be referred to by the term "God". Where do we go from here? This set of things is entirely disjoint and disconnected (in my opinion), and there's nothing particularly magic about it; it's just a bunch of things that happen to be behaving in the activity we call "living". You could alternatively define "God" to be equal to the set of things that are currently tumbling down hills and it would be equally magical and sublime - as in, not at all.

Of course, you probably disagree with that, but if you do, what do you think we should get out of the practice of collecting a bunch of disjointed disconnected stuff together and assigning them a misleading label?

Last edited by begbert2; 05-01-2018 at 07:32 PM. Reason: typo
  #185  
Old 05-01-2018, 08:00 PM
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So okay, I just got here, and reading through the thread has failed to clarify one basic point I'm wondering about.

What's the point you're trying to arrive at, exactly?

I mean, yes, you're attempting to equate the terms "God" and "life" and making the claim that "many" people equate the terms (which is probably true if "many" means "more than twenty"). Most of the people here aren't particularly interested in playing this semantic game, because this sort of thing has traditionally been used in flagrantly invalid semantic arguments that make a mockery of rational thought.

For myself, I'm actually okay with recognizing that the term god is really badly defined - I meet the definition, as does a styrofoam cup I once owned. (It had styrofoam cup powers.) The word "god" is a shitty word, that imparts with it very little meaning, is what I'm saying.

But among the meanings it does have is that it's almost universally agreed upon as referring to an entity, rather than a concept. A god is a thing, a discrete thing. The thing in question may be omnipotent or not, eternal or not, immense or not, bearded or not, intelligent or not, magical or not, sentient or not, or real or not. But it's still a discrete thing.

Which makes the idea god=life a little hard to swallow, because life isn't a thing - it's actually an activity. Sometimes we refer to the collective set of things engaging in the activity by the same term, but any one of those things can exit the set of living things rather easily, simply by stopping living.

But, for the sake of argument, suppose I were to entertain the idea that the collective, constantly changing and shifting set of things that are alive, can be referred to by the term "God". Where do we go from here? This set of things is entirely disjoint and disconnected (in my opinion), and there's nothing particularly magic about it; it's just a bunch of things that happen to be behaving in the activity we call "living". You could alternatively define "God" to be equal to the set of things that are currently tumbling down hills and it would be equally magical and sublime - as in, not at all.

Of course, you probably disagree with that, but if you do, what do you think we should get out of the practice of collecting a bunch of disjointed disconnected stuff together and assigning them a misleading label?

Good question. My objective was to simply start a conversation based on an idea I'd read about in one of Neale Donald Walsch's books—the idea that God and Life could be synonymous. Though I've grown up RC, I've found the traditional God-concept lacking. Maybe God should be a verb moreso than a noun; an action as opposed to a thing, which fits with what you just stated about Life. I don't think the God concept is binary, one which you must accept or reject. I think the meaning of God evolves as we evolve. I don't like to get too hooked up on semantics. Just thinking out loud really, and enjoying the feedback while I'm at it.
  #186  
Old 05-01-2018, 08:36 PM
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So we could say, “Oh, go god yourself”.
  #187  
Old 05-02-2018, 12:03 AM
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Even though I love metaphor, I think simile prolly works better here for reasons that many have cited. Hence I'd lean toward your option B.
Okay, so in your eyes, god isn't life. It's something else. What is it?
  #188  
Old 05-02-2018, 12:23 AM
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Okay, so in your eyes, god isn't life. It's something else. What is it?

I dunno. I think perhaps it's that life force that gives rise to life, which may well be Life itself. I don't profess to be the expert here. I'm just asking some questions. So far I haven't really heard from anyone, past or present, that totally knows how to answer the question. So I will keep looking.
  #189  
Old 05-02-2018, 01:40 AM
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I dunno. I think perhaps it's that life force that gives rise to life, which may well be Life itself. I don't profess to be the expert here. I'm just asking some questions. So far I haven't really heard from anyone, past or present, that totally knows how to answer the question. So I will keep looking.
Until you get an answer you agree with? "I think perhaps it's that life force that gives rise to life, which may well be Life itself." The trouble with using personal definitions for words and phrases is that you cease communicating with others in any meaningful way.
  #190  
Old 05-02-2018, 03:27 AM
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I dunno. I think perhaps it's that life force that gives rise to life, which may well be Life itself. I don't profess to be the expert here. I'm just asking some questions. So far I haven't really heard from anyone, past or present, that totally knows how to answer the question. So I will keep looking.
Okay. And around and around we go again: what qualities does "god" have? Can you define "god" for me? Option A) or option B), we run into the exact same problem! Because, fundamentally, what you are describing really isn't "god" in any classical sense, and calling it "god" doesn't convey any real information. Is it conscious? Do you worship it? Does it share anything in common with what people generally understand as "god"? If not, you're really just confusing people.

Let me propose a solution to your quandry. You're looking for the qualities of something that doesn't exist, and are trying to fit various things into this label without good reason. Why? Maybe there is no such thing as "god". Maybe the whole point of the label is the baggage that any rational person would leave behind.
  #191  
Old 05-02-2018, 07:32 AM
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I dunno. I think perhaps it's that life force that gives rise to life, which may well be Life itself.
Okay, now I know that you are using one of these.
  #192  
Old 05-02-2018, 07:32 AM
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I dunno. I think perhaps it's that life force that gives rise to life, which may well be Life itself. I don't profess to be the expert here. I'm just asking some questions. So far I haven't really heard from anyone, past or present, that totally knows how to answer the question. So I will keep looking.
I can't say whether or not this is an intentional effort on your part but it's very much like the efforts of countless pseudo-science peddlers like Deepak Chopra to hide God behind working scientific theories and popular hypotheses. It's an effort to put God out of reach of scientific explanation, in order to then be able to blame science for not having an explanation for this new extra-super-caladocious prime mover. It sounds meaningful to those who don't understand scientific methods and who are easily convinced that since science doesn't have an answer or explanation for this manufactured sophist argument, therefore science can't prove it's not true, thus proving it TRUE. When in fact, it's just a trite gotcha; it's - worth repeating - deepity. But by all means, keep looking. And don't forget to check behind the sofa.

ETA: heh, ninja'd by DR.

Last edited by QuickSilver; 05-02-2018 at 07:33 AM.
  #193  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:29 AM
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Okay. And around and around we go again: what qualities does "god" have? Can you define "god" for me? Option A) or option B), we run into the exact same problem! Because, fundamentally, what you are describing really isn't "god" in any classical sense, and calling it "god" doesn't convey any real information. Is it conscious? Do you worship it? Does it share anything in common with what people generally understand as "god"? If not, you're really just confusing people.



Let me propose a solution to your quandry. You're looking for the qualities of something that doesn't exist, and are trying to fit various things into this label without good reason. Why? Maybe there is no such thing as "god". Maybe the whole point of the label is the baggage that any rational person would leave behind.


Maybe. Or maybe there's more to God and more to Life than the way they're traditionally defined. For me it's more of a hunch at present, and it's fine with me if you don't agree. Like I said before, Neale Donald Walsch's writing resonates with me, which is where the idea came from. I don't think of God as a person, haven't for a long time. More of a life-force to be honest.
  #194  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:31 AM
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Okay, now I know that you are using one of these.

Perhaps. Your body alleviates exponential opportunities.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:31 AM
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I can't say whether or not this is an intentional effort on your part but it's very much like the efforts of countless pseudo-science peddlers like Deepak Chopra to hide God behind working scientific theories and popular hypotheses. It's an effort to put God out of reach of scientific explanation, in order to then be able to blame science for not having an explanation for this new extra-super-caladocious prime mover. It sounds meaningful to those who don't understand scientific methods and who are easily convinced that since science doesn't have an answer or explanation for this manufactured sophist argument, therefore science can't prove it's not true, thus proving it TRUE. When in fact, it's just a trite gotcha; it's - worth repeating - deepity. But by all means, keep looking. And don't forget to check behind the sofa.

ETA: heh, ninja'd by DR.
Thanks for explaining this a bit, but it seems like the tired argument that you understand the scientific method and we don't therefore you can't know. Then accuse us of a tactic that requires us to know what you just claimed we don't know. It is a illogical statement that leads to a false conclusion.

What we have here is 2 of the 'greatest' questions of all times, and a conjecture. What is God, What is Life and are they the same. Relating this then dismissing it based on the scientific method and it's understanding does not prove anything, it is a attempt to dismiss the premise without consideration. In this the scientific method is really irrelevant as there is currently no answer provided by it, yet the questions and I'd say even the conjecture is ancient in their nature (therefore countering your claim that this was intentionally just placed outside the reach of science). The workings of it is explored in the field of philosophy, spirituality and if you must religion. As such it is not 'proof' that is the goal, it is understanding of how that applies to the world as we see it from those standpoints.

What can be said of scientific advancements is that they an be used to relate concepts, ideas, to help communicate thoughts better. It is also my believe that science is pattern based, and those patterns repeat across fields for a reason, and that allows concepts to be conveyed. As such, with my former statement, all science is scripture, and to quote the bible, "All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,..." which pretty much describes science, the scientific method in a universe under God.

Last edited by kanicbird; 05-02-2018 at 09:33 AM.
  #196  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:33 AM
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I can't say whether or not this is an intentional effort on your part but it's very much like the efforts of countless pseudo-science peddlers like Deepak Chopra to hide God behind working scientific theories and popular hypotheses. It's an effort to put God out of reach of scientific explanation, in order to then be able to blame science for not having an explanation for this new extra-super-caladocious prime mover. It sounds meaningful to those who don't understand scientific methods and who are easily convinced that since science doesn't have an answer or explanation for this manufactured sophist argument, therefore science can't prove it's not true, thus proving it TRUE. When in fact, it's just a trite gotcha; it's - worth repeating - deepity. But by all means, keep looking. And don't forget to check behind the sofa.

ETA: heh, ninja'd by DR.


Or the curtains. https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...d73a9809eb.jpg
  #197  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:34 AM
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More of a life-force to be honest.
There is no such thing as a "life force." That is meaningless mumbo-jumbo gibberish.
  #198  
Old 05-02-2018, 09:54 AM
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Maybe. Or maybe there's more to God and more to Life than the way they're traditionally defined.
Okay, then define those words.

Oh... Wait...

Look. When we talk about god, we're generally not doing something like looking at an object and saying, "We need a word for this object". We're starting with a concept. "God" is less like "rock" or "stick" and more like "two" or "peace". Can you point to something and call it "peace", or point to something and call it "two", and have that make any sense if those concepts are not already defined? Not really.

So what you're saying here is kinda word salad. It literally makes no sense. "Maybe there's more to <this thing that only exists as a concept we define> in order to examine than the way they're defined". That's nonsense. Without a definition or an object to attribute a label to, the word means nothing. You cannot explore the definition of an object that doesn't actually exist or which we have no information about. You might as well argue about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin for all the good it does.

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I don't think of God as a person, haven't for a long time. More of a life-force to be honest.
What qualities does "god" have? Can you define "god" for me?

There's two options here.

Option A: "god" is equivalent to "life-force". In that case, there's no reason to use the word god. It achieves literally nothing that just saying "life-force" doesn't, except attaching a lot of unnecessary baggage to the term.

Option B: "god" is similar to "life-force" but has some notable differences. In this case, there's no reason to use the word "life-force", beyond saying "it's sorta like a life-force, but...". It's just confusing to call god "life-force" when god clearly isn't life-force, but rather something that means something that is either somewhat or entirely different.

Why do you insist on using the term "god" to describe something that has virtually nothing in common with the way most people use the term? What does that accomplish?
  #199  
Old 05-02-2018, 10:42 AM
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From some earlier postings:
God is a Rotary Engine: This I would consider idol worship, worshiping a non-living thing that has no ability to help.

God is Skiing: This I would consider Religion, It's expressing an aspect of 'really living' but only for some people, it 'saves' those who really live this way (read the word 'live' here as 'really come alive', not in a biologic sense but in that one finds life is really worth living sense - which I believe puts the OP's conjecture into perspective). As a religion it also tends to force itself onto others who can't 'live' this way (use the same definition of 'live' as above here), it is closed minded because some have found God, the assumption is that is the only way to do it. It is missing that 'really living' is God, and that comes in many forms for each person. This ridged believe, called religion, could cause wars. This is the break between religion and God IMHO. But if one were open to the good aspects of religious teachings, seeing that yes these people have found God, they are living life, one can accept that, but see how skiing is not the universal answer, but just part of a bigger picture.

Last edited by kanicbird; 05-02-2018 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 05-02-2018, 10:54 AM
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I can see relations of life=God, but first lets define life, and see if I can answer some questions that have been raised.

I think to make this connection we can not talk about biological life, but 'living'. We see people often in zombie life states. Those working at jobs that take the life from them. We also see people doing what they love, and prospering. It is that type of life that I can see equates to God. It is also what urges life on, as opposed to just a sexual drive or a biologically programmed asexual reproduction. We also know that depression can suck the life out of people, but the goal is to really 'live'. It is that form of life and living which I can equate to God.

The Jewish people in their scriptures equate the word worship and work. While modern translations usually chose one or the other, I believe it is both, when we do what we are made to do, what our heart sings about, it is where we have the most life, and are closest to our 'god selves'. It is worship of life to do the work one has the heart to do. It is also the worship of God, because that definition of life is God.

Since we are capable of this form of life, yet not everyone achieves it, we are capable of being our god self. Therefore God is in us to the degree that life is in us.

In some earlier posting it was put forth that the universe existed before life. Some of Buddha's teachings are that consciences and sensory perception is needed for the universe (or anything) to exist. Therefore life is needed, and this live created the universe, which is one definition of God (creator of the universe). Again life is God.

Jesus states I am the life, and that does go into life eternal, but also is the life for this world and who we are. Really doing what we are meant to do, which we see the fantastic adventures of the apostles, Much more 'life' then fishing or tax collecting.

Last edited by kanicbird; 05-02-2018 at 10:56 AM.
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