When the veil of human ignorance is taken away, we find out what has been happening all along: that we only seemed to be the questioners, the teachers, the testers, the judges, the knowing ones acting like scientists looking for God in a test tube. In reality we are the questioned, the tested, the students, the judged, the known ones. When God asks a question he either is the answer or the answer lies within him. That is the nature of God, which man does not have. Truth is not simply around God or known by him, truth is him. This is why when we answer his question, it does not leave us lost, but found. And not only found, but joined to the Truth himself. People who observe the world around us with the intent only to know ourselves better (our origins, our present condition, and our future), are still left with uncertainty, for who knows what new discoveries will confuse the present ones and suffer man to redefine himself once again. If men observe the world and ask the question, “Who is God?” instead of, “Who is man?”, we can obtain certainty. For this reason, belief in God is not religion, it is the discovery of the true nature of reality, for God is reality. Reality based on man is fictional, delusional, a fairy tale: as evidenced by the absence of satisfying truth in man based answers. Questions that originate in man leave us lost at sea. Questions that originate in God set us on dry land.
Atheist is like a child holding right hand….a scientist of logical intelligence ……left brain and the theist is like a child holding left hand …… a scientist of emotional intelligence ….right brain and mother is holding them like cosmic intelligence ….. mind of God …… everyone’s childhood friend.
-quote taken from (Here)
The scientist who’s logic leads him to be an atheist can also possess great emotional distress. Thinking with his logical mind first, his emotional response to God is varied and skeptical. Thinking inwardly that God may be real he tests theories and evidence to find notions of him. Finding the worldly evidence can only point to God indirectly, he cannot be logically inconsistent in ignoring other possibilities. Because, in his mind, those possibilities are just as legitimate or more so, he is disinclined to believe in God. God is not “needed” in the world, but the feeling that God is needed in the heart the atheistic scientist cannot escape. For, if God was real, great purpose and meaning and value could be given to man beyond the scope of his imagination. It is a fantastic feeling to think that he could be caught up in a greater purpose that began before there was time, encompassing not just the world, but the entire universe. The intellectual mind, however, will not let this hope tread into the realm of logic. Logic must be cold, calculating, impartial. Some purely logical minds are not aware of this tension within, but for others, it relentlessly troubles the deep recesses of their heart.
If you cringe at authority concerning other things in life the way you do at religion you would have to be content to know nothing all of your life. Most of the things we know in this world come from authority. All this really means is that you believe certain things because you get the information from a trustworthy source. People believe in the concept of the solar system, the existence of the atom, and evolution because a scientist or teacher explained it to them. In fact, every historical statement in this world is believed because of authority. No one alive today was present during the Revolutionary War. We believe it happened because we are told it happened.
The point here is that information that is passed to people throughout history is done so on the sole basis of authority. It is a legitimate way of receiving information, otherwise we must be content to only know the things we experience or witness direct from an original source. We would have a closed-minded life indeed if we did the latter.
So, what’s the problem with God then? Why do some people not believe in him? The strange thing is, people are less inclined to believe in God, yet they have no problem believing in the existence of the atom, though most of them have never seen one. It still takes an authority to explain the atom. Nevertheless, the ones who have seen the atom first hand must accept another’s authority in scientific fields they themselves are not authorities in. So, it would seem, there is an endless need for authority. Let’s not forget, however, that these authorities are just as fallible as you and I.
We accept one authority and reject another, but why? We heap to ourselves teachers that tell us what we want to hear. We are always learning, but much of the truth we believe we will never witness to be true ourselves. Sadly, truth takes a backseat to our agenda. Truth then, only stays truth if it happens to fit our views of life.
Does God exist or not? Well, that depends on who you are listening to, and who you trust. It is still up to each man to make his own decision, regardless of what fallible authorities say. Only a first hand experience with God can convince you otherwise, and that takes a little faith. I wouldn’t cringe at the word “faith” either. You already have faith in the authority of your teachers. You can’t say you don’t have any. It’s just a matter of where you place it.
***Update*** See Side Notes April 27, 2010
Bob, you are right. Simply looking at the beginning of everything we cannot draw a God-conclusion or a non-God-conclusion. However, before I go further let me point something out.
We are in a game of chess that can never really end with one of us taking the king, neither can we put each other in checkmate. Don’t get me wrong, there has been some damage done. Here and there a pawn or bishop has been taken. And your last argument may seem like a pretty good ending argument. But, there is still more ground to cover. We can just end it here, and agree to disagree, or keep going. So, if you would like to go further, here is my next move:
The next logical place to go in this argument is whether or not truth exists, and whether or not we can know it. To say that it does not exist presents a logical fallacy. For the statement itself is presented as a truth. Either the statement, “There is no truth.”, is truth itself making the statement silly, or it is false making truth itself a reality. And what are we trying to do here if not live the truth we see and hope it matches with reality. Now, if we are agreed that truth exists, we must also be agreed on its nature. That nature is exclusivity. A rock cannot be a duck. A tree cannot sing the blues. A black car is black and not gray. We call these things truth, for they remain the same to all who perceive them.
Now, there can’t be a God and not a God at the same time. One statement is true and one statement is false. But, can we know the truth? If we can find truth in our day, we must look for clues that point to that truth. As I said before, it is not the job of science to either point to the existence of God, or the existence of evolution. It is our bias that we are stating if we say that it does. We attain our bias through choice. So, before we even see the evidence, our perception is already guided in a direction of our own choosing. It would then follow that what we perceive and how we do it is very important.
Some people look at the world and see order. Others see chance. Although it is your right to hold either perception, one of them is wrong and one is right. I can do nothing about someone else’s perception, but I can make mine as reasonable as possible. I think you already know my position. I see order, and therefore perceive that this order points to a Creator. I’m sure you can pick up the argument from here.
The Mid-Ocean Ridge.
It is 10,000 feet high; 500 miles wide; 40,000 miles long. It is the largest geological feature on the face of the earth. This picture provides a view of what the volcanic eruptions can do to the ocean floor.
Pictured here is the space between the American and European sides of the Mid-Ocean ridge located in the Atlantic.
Scientists descended into the ocean depths to view the floor along the Mid-Ocean Ridge and investigate a curious spike in heat in that area. Volcanoes from below the earth’s surface had broken through with violent rage, and destroyed all life on the ocean floor. This is a frequent event along the ridge.
The lava spewed out from the earth and hardened. It then retreted back into the earth and repeated the process. Layers of rock were formed quickly. However, they saw one thing they had not expected to see… life.
This life form attached itself to a lava hardened structure that still had lava flowing through it. The temperature inside the rock was 700 degrees Fahrenheit – hot enough to melt lead.
A few years later, scientists once again visited the floor along the ridge and were amazed at what they saw. Visits to other locations along the ridge revealed the same curious event: Not only was the terrain structure growing at an unimaginable rate, but life was flourishing as well. The structure of the ocean floor provided a feast for shrimp and other animals. One scientist said, “It was very difficult to imagine that these structures were not created for the animals inside. The bowls are so perfect to serve up the soup of bacteria for the shrimp to eat. Everywhere we went, the geology was as if alive, massive structures growing, not in millions of years, but almost before our eyes.”
“This was truly an extraordinary place like no other on earth. It had seen… years of darkness yet there was no night. It was a place without seasons, without rest, without time. A world driven by the rhythms of the inner earth.”
Feel free to click on any image for a bigger version you can use as wallpaper. The information listed below and these images come from the documentary Direct From The Moon by the discovery channel.
Kaguya, Japan’s lunar explorer, launched on September 2007. Since then it has sent back information and pictures in high definition quality. Previous photographs could only identify craters that were 1,500 feet in diameter. Kaguya can identify ones that are 30 feet in diameter and render them in 3D. This spacecraft is helping to unlock secrets that have eluded scientists since the early days of humanity.
Whenever man looks at the night skies, he only sees one side of the moon. The near side, as it has come to be called, contains soil with a higher density as indicated by the Kaguya and it’s shifting orbit. The far side of the moon contains soil with low density. The answer to why there exists a difference between the two sides is no longer elusive now that the Kaguya can analyze underneath the surface of the moon. It has allowed them to come up with a theory of how the moon was formed:
4.5 billion years ago a rogue planet the size of Mars smashed into our planet.
It superheated the Earth and created debris that collected around the orbit of the earth. This debris connected at one point and the moon was born.
In the early days of it’s formation, the moon had a closer orbit than it does today. As a result, Earth’s gravity pulled on the moon so that it became an egg shape.
As the moon moved further away in orbit, Earth’s gravitational force dragged softened rock to one side which contained uranium and other radioactive deposits and the moon became more cylindrical.
The patterns on the face of the moon are craters that were long ago filled with dark lava which was pulled toward the near side. There is hardly any trace of dark lava on the dark side(or far side) but there are many craters. The gravitational force is greater on the near side and weaker on the far side.
On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the Sea of Tranquility on the surface of the moon.
Never before in the history of mankind have two men ever been further from home. The astronauts could only stay for about two hours. The moon’s mass contains high deposits of uranium (very radioactive) and reaches temperatures of negative 280 degrees Fahrenheit.
On November 1969, the Apollo 12 mission reached the Ocean of Storms region on the moon and spent eight hours on the surface.
Apollo 13 launched in April of 1970 and planned to visit the Fra Mauro region, but turned back when an oxygen tank exploded.
Afterwards, the Soviet Union sent two lunar rovers to the moon to gather information, calculate the exact distance between the Earth and the moon, and measure continental drift.
On December 1972, Apollo 17 visited The Valley of Taurus Littrow.
This expedition marked the end of the Apollo program and no human has set foot on the moon since. However, a curious discovery was made on the Apollo 17 mission by Jack Schmidt, a geologist. He discovered an orange colored soil. The secret contained in this soil would not be unlocked for more than 40 years. Collectively, the Apollo missions brought about half a ton of moon rocks back to the Earth for study. Man is going back to the moon to stay in the year 2020 the date set by NASA.
Since it’s launch, the Kaguya has discovered 40 more pockets of the orange soil. Fortunately, the mystery of this soil was unlocked by Dr. Alberto Saal. He used his mass spectrometer to analyze the soil and found an unknown chemical substance and water. This sparked a theory:
The impact of the mars like planet vaporized Earth’s water. Most of the vaporized water settled back on earth because of the strength of earth’s gravity. The water contained in the fragments of the explosion that eventually formed the moon releases out into space except for some of it that was trapped in the volcanic rock which eventually form craters. Scientists calculating the age of the craters on the moon by using the depth and width of neighboring craters as a reference point believe that the moon’s craters are four billion years old. However, the number of craters cannot be explained by dating methods alone. So, scientists came up with another theory:
Many of the craters were formed mostly by asteroids from the asteroid belt on Jupiter. Jupiter’s orbit apparently shifted slightly and sent asteroids hurdling towards the moon and the Earth.
The asteroids hitting Earth create enough pressure to form amino acids; the building blocks of life. Asteroids contain mostly iron. Tests have been conducted by smashing certain elements together at speeds of 2000 miles per hour. These tests showed that if iron, carbon, water, and nitrogen (the elements found on Earth) collide under pressure, an amino acid is formed. This may have been the catalyst that started evolution on its journey.
An alternative viewpoint:
This whole story seems very one sided. This evidence fits only partly into the theories propagated by these scientists. I don’t see scientists trying to fit these pieces into other explanations. Certainly, there are many more religious people than there are scientists. We should honor those theories and see how the evidence fits into them as well.
Also, there is another word for theories that support theories – fiction. We need to recognize these are theories and not facts that support beliefs or conclusions. Again, how you handle truth effects your knowledge of the beginning of life.
Interestingly enough, scientific theories of how life begins always start with a great violent act. Maybe we’re employing the wrong scientists. Since when does order come out of chaos?
The world was flat, now it’s round;
created, now evolved;
empty, now overpopulated;
the center of the universe, now it’s off to the side somewhere;
evidence that God exists, now evidence that nothing previously existed;
comfortable, now too warm;
big, sometimes small;
worshiped, now analyzed;
standing still, now moving;
existing, or depending upon our perception.
The world never really changed, everyone else has. Ever think we’re all just over informed? All we really know is that it was here before we were born. Oh, but let’s just keep making our own meaning in life ’cause we’re good at that. So, now I ask you a question. How old is the earth?
Christian evolutionists believe that God created the world and evolution is the way in which he did it. I just have one question, well maybe more. At what point in time during the evolutionary process did we stand in need of salvation? I’ve been thinking about this for a couple days and I have my own theories about what Christian Evolutionists may think. I apoligize for my lack of research in this area. Usually I take from a few sources and form an opinion. However, before I share my own I would like to hear from the reader. A further question on top of the previous is: Would this mean that the species leading up to humans were without sin? At what point did sin enter the world? Does this mean the Bible is to be taken figuratively?
Meaning, as a concept, seems to be woven into the fabric of our lives. Just look at the latest magazines on the shelves. Everyone is searching for meaning. You’d think that if we all evolved that there would be some folks without a purpose. By mere chance, there has to be someone out there whose life doesn’t mean a thing. Not everyone needs to live a meaningful life in order to contribute to humanity. That is, if you believe that we are here on the earth by chance. The fact remains that everyone, down to the last pathetic human being, searches for and believes that there is meaning in their lives. And meaning is linked to purpose. Find what action you are supposed to fulfill and your life will be fulfilled.
But is there inherent meaning in our lives, or is this all just a lie we make so we can continue living? Nietzsche says that even rocks have a purpose. A rock can stop you from occupying the same space as itself. It exerts a force upon you, however passive, and stops you from going so far. As humans, we also give things around us names. By naming something, we give it a supposed meaning. We aren’t content to find meaning in our lives, but we look for meaning everywhere else.
Now you may say that we superimpose meanings on our lives and everything around us, but there is no real meaning. Usually, those who say this say that we can find meaning in the actions we do throughout the day, but there is no “one” meaning or “one” purpose for our lives. While no real meaning is involved, we imagine meaning. However, if there is no real meaning, I might as well stop writing at this very moment and quit life in general.
Either there is inherent meaning in everything or there is not. If there is inherent meaning, then the universe has a purpose. If it has a purpose, there is a cause. If there is a cause, there is a causer. And this causer is responsible for everything. If there is no meaning, then we all live in delusion. We suppose meaning that isn’t there. We must all question our sanity. Why would we not live in reality (whatever that is)? Have we adapted throughout evolution just to stay alive? But why stay alive? Is it so important that we breathe and move? What is life anyway if we are all just tissue, bones, blood, and organs moving about? Give me one good reason to go on living if we all just live in delusion. Life for the sake of life has no meaning. The world will never accept such a thesis.
The search for meaning in our lives is a search for God–clear and simple. Even the atheist goes on living. Now, why would he do that?
Warning: This is not light reading.
Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.
- I. J. Good (Statistician)
Mathematician and computer scientist Vernor Vinge:
What are the consequences of this event? When greater-than-human intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid. In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve the creation of still more intelligent entities – on a still-shorter time scale.
In 2000, AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky and entrepreneur Brian Atkins founded the Singularity Institute to work toward smarter-than-human intelligence by engaging in Artificial Intelligence and machine ethics research. Yudkowsky states:
The Singularity is beyond huge, but it can begin with something small. If one smarter-than-human intelligence exists, that mind will find it easier to create still smarter minds. In this respect the dynamic of the Singularity resembles other cases where small causes can have large effects; toppling the first domino in a chain, starting an avalanche with a pebble, perturbing an upright object balanced on its tip. All it takes is one technology – Artificial Intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, or perhaps something unforeseen – that advances to the point of creating smarter-than-human minds. That one technological advance is the equivalent of the first self-replicating chemical that gave rise to life on Earth.
What, then, is the Singularity? It’s a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Although neither utopian or dystopian, this epoch will transform the concepts that we rely on to give meaning to our lives, from our business models to the cycle of human life, including death itself. Understanding the Singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future. To truly understand it inherently changes one’s view of life in general and one’s own particular life.
The term “singularity” was first used to describe all matter in the universe that converged at some finite point in the past. From there it expanded over time into the universe we have today. The next event that was comparable to that was the right conditions and right amount of proteins and various chemicals for life to begin on earth. This was the start of evolution. It seems today that this quest for the next cosmic event dubbed the singularity is man’s attempt to take evolution to the the next step. There is no need to wait for evolution to do its job, man can create more advanced life.
I do not prescribe to evolution or the philosophies presented above. However, I do have thoughts on the matter. If greater-than-human intelligence changed every aspect of our lives, it would not preclude us from answering the age old questions that still haunt us today. Also, we have access to greater-than-human intelligence in God. If you happen to not believe in God, well… that’s just too bad for you because the questions of life can only be answered by the greater-than-human intelligence found in the Creator. Advanced life created in the world by the abilities of man would still have no outside-of-the-universe knowledge. Therefore, answers gained by looking at the “box” of the universe may be more complex, but ultra-intelligent life still would not gain any more truth than we would. We all look at the same “box”.
I’m not pronouncing doom on the singularity project. Certainly, progress in technology changes our lives for the better. However, the plight of humans will continue until time is over. Nothing will change that.
The Singularity Summit is a meeting by scientists and mathematicians alike that report on the progress of technology toward the singularity.
The first Singularity Summit was held at Stanford in 2006 to further understanding and discussion about the Singularity concept and the future of human technological progress. It was founded as a venue for leading thinkers to explore the subject, whether scientist, enthusiast, or skeptic.
Here is a link to the Singularity Summit videos. I found them extremely interesting.