What came before the Big Bang?

God's Big BangThe Cosmological argument is one often put forward by the religious as logical proof of the existence of God. For anyone unfamiliar with the argument I’d suggest taking a quick look over the Wikipedia article of the topic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_argument

In a nutshell, the argument is as follows (from Wikipedia):

  1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
  2. The Universe began to exist.
  3. Therefore, the Universe had a cause.

Naturally religious people put forward this argument and then call whatever caused the universe to exist, God.

Now there are all sorts of arguments that have been put forward to discredit this argument (most of which can be found in the Wikipedia article), but for the past month or so I’ve been working over my own argument that I hadn’t heard before. At no point did I think this argument was a new one (and reading Wikipedia now I can see that it isn’t) but it’s one I hadn’t heard and I thought was worth writing up a post about.

Arguments against the Cosmological argument usually take one of two forms. Either the question is asked “What caused the first cause?” or “How do you know the first cause is God?” Both of these are legitimate questions and worth pondering, but in this post I’m going to tackle something a little different, namely point 2 in the above definition, “The Universe began to exist”.

What makes people think that statement is true? Well the obvious answer is ’cause and effect’, whereby if ‘Y’ caused ‘Z’, and ‘X’ caused ‘Y’, then eventually we must get back ‘A’ (which is usually the Big Bang) and something beyond time and space must have caused that.

But here’s the thing people usually don’t realise when making this argument (and I’ve been making this mistake for years). Cause and effect only applies when transferring energy. Think about it. Every cause and effect event we’ve ever witnesses has been a transfer of energy, not the creation of energy. Now that’s not to say cause and effect doesn’t apply to a creation event, only that we’ve never seen one and have no reason to assume it does. Heck, we don’t even know if a creation event is possible!

Another phrase often put forward by the religious is “Something can’t come from nothing”. Well firstly, how do you know? When was the last time you saw a nothing? But more to the point “Something can’t come from anything!” Yes energy can be changed from one state to another, but to the best of our knowledge it’s never created.

Earth

Ha! Finally managed to get some of my own art in here!

This thought first occurred to me when I pondered the question of the post “What came before the Big Bang?” For the sake of argument let’s ignore String Theory and assume there is only one Universe and the Big Bang is at its beginning. The Multiverse Theory only pushes the question back after all.

The Singularity is said to be at the heart of the Big Bang and it is the point where all matter in the Universe is collected and when time = 0. Now if you want to talk about ‘before’ the Big Bang, how does this make any sense? To be able to have a past, present or future you need to have time. Without time there is no ‘before. So to ask about ‘before the Big Bang’ is basically asking what happened before time, which makes no sense as there is no time and therefore no ‘before’.

But that’s just the second part of the question. What about the first part. “What came before the Big Bang?” The ‘what’ here implies there is a ‘something’. But generally when asking this the questioner is asking what came before time and space. If there is no space, where exactly do you intend to put the ‘something’? This part of the question doesn’t make sense either!

So what can we figure out from this. Well honestly not a lot because it’s all hypothetical and based upon data from the forefront of science so it’s still all pretty up in the air. What we can derive from it though is that for the moment at least, there is no room for God in the equations. We can all but get back to the Singularity via math and observation and that logically, asking what came before ‘time=0’ doesn’t make any sense. Logically then, until additional information is presented we need to assume that the First Cause is in fact the Singularity, followed by its expansion, otherwise known as the Big Bang.

String theory jokeThis is the point where we need to return to subjects like String Theory and Quantum Mechanics to get any further. These theories really are the forefront of science and honestly we’re not even sure yet whether they’re in fact true or just mathematical masturbation.

What can be sure though is that the answer won’t be found by postulating an ancient sky man as a beginning. It will be found the same way we arrived at the Big Bang theory. By careful investigation and observation.

 

EDIT: And on a related topic, here’s a video I found about a year ago, lost and found again. It’s a lecture by Laurence Krauss in which, among other things, he tries to explain how something can come from nothing. It’s roughly an hour long, so strap on your thinking cap and get comfortable. It’s a long listen, but it’s a lecture that changed the way I see the Universe. Definitely a must see.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ImvlS8PLIo

-Ignorance is not bliss. Stay inquisitive.

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About Jamie D
I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner working in 3D animation and multimedia. I also have a keen interest in technology and education.

10 Responses to What came before the Big Bang?

  1. ChrisThaLedg says:

    Very nice work mate… an interesting angle and one that I haven’t heard of before.. I hope its all good to disagree on a number of things…
    Wikipedia is an awesome source of information for entertainment.. when its a forum that anyone can make additions to, I never read too much into it for a valued source.. I know throughout its pages that some of what’s written is opinionated and not properly sourced.. which ones, who knows.. but the ones on this site have an intriguining view..
    Reading this awesome P.O.V.. I’m having trouble buying into any concept that nothing created all of what we see.. its hard to see in any way that what we see and are is just ‘is’.. but then I guess its like the ghost argument.. ghosts appear from nothing and people believe in it and there are those that don’t.. although I’ve read a number of scientific hypothesis that ghosts appear from nothing, some that say that ghosts appear from some sort of energy and other hypothesis that say ghosts cannot under any circumstances exist.. I use this as an example of something that appears from nothing like your views on the precursor to the big bang.. nothing created it.. it just happened..
    I’m a Catholic and I’ve read more science pieces that try to disprove god than your average religious person and with theories like the ones you’ve mentioned.. they lack substance.. I’ve read a number of major scientific pieces (none of which I reference sorry because I’m a browser and science doesn’t interest me enough to link anything related).. that talk about string theories and quantum mechanics that in actual fact provide a great deal of room for God’s existence.. again, science leaves the door wide open on this search for our origins because there are so many theories that link together and contradict each other at the same time. From my opinion, its easy to stay away from the lot because it simply doesn’t make sense.. at least majority speaking, religions – beliefs, practices and studies and the like remain pretty much the same.. more than science anyway..
    As for thinking prior to the Big Bang or God or whatever… our brains are incapable of thinking of something without a start.. its like the thought of eternity.. we are drilled in to see things with a start and an end..Realistically, there is a start and end to everything that we know .. whether there is a god or not or everything was through evolution or not.. we as a human race do not know..

    Something can’t come from nothing.. you’ve highlighted that this is a mistake that you’ve made so obviously at some point in time, you’ve believed in that.. on the other hand, you may have made the mistake by thinking that something can come from nothing.. how can we prove that something can come from nothing? This paragraph confuses me..
    “Yes energy can be changed from one state to another but to the best of our knowledge, its never created,”.. that tells me that something did exist pre-big bang.. whatever.. it tells me that the energy had to exist before hand.. this paragraph supports the opposite for what you’re trying to say.. and as from the religious phrase.. you don’t need to be religious to feel that way anyway..
    Interesting view on the “what came before the big bang”.. unless we were there at the big bang, I don’t think we can ever prove whether a god or energy existed before hand.. our brains are programmed to have a start and end to everything that we see.. perhaps, looking beyond the religious mind.. that there is something more unique than we can’t comprehend.. perhaps it is so complex that maybe there is something that we can’t think or know about life.. to me, on that alone, I can’t dismiss a lack of a god..

    • archdragon87 says:

      Hey mate, definitely fine to disagree, this post even more so than usual. This is a relatively new argument I’ve been developing and I’m not even 100% sure if I buy it yet (believe me, there are plenty of atheist arguments I don’t buy). I’ve put this one forward specifically so people can pull it apart and help me figure out where I stand. Hopefully it’ll give some people something new to mull over too, which it seems to have done.

      “Wikipedia is an awesome source of information for entertainment.. when its a forum that anyone can make additions to, I never read too much into it for a valued source.. I know throughout its pages that some of what’s written is opinionated and not properly sourced.. which ones, who knows”

      Okay, couple of things here. First off I always say that if you’re doing research you should source at least 2-3 places and Wikipedia is no exception. That said, comparisons have been done and it’s been demonstrated that Wikipedia is just as accurate as any of the other major encyclopaedias. That’s not to say it doesn’t come without any faulty info, just that all encyclopaedias make mistakes from time to time.
      I’d also add that Wikipedia is more likely to have inaccurate information on controversial topics, such as political views etc. Articles that dip into religion or philosophy are also likely to suffer from this, although when just giving simple definitions Wiki does still tend to be pretty accurate. It’s only on topics that are more opinion related that the waters get muddied.
      I also want to point out that Wikipedia is not completely open to anyone wanting to change pages. I have to be honest and say I have no idea what their policies are exactly, only that people always say “anyone can edit Wikipedia” and it’s just not the case.

      I have to admit in this case I didn’t double check my Wikipedia links with any others, however I’ve heard these arguments many times and was pretty happy to use Wiki as a very brief introductory for anyone unfamiliar with them. But if you’re interested in digging into the questions further, I’d definitely recommend going beyond Wikipedia.

      “I’m having trouble buying into any concept that nothing created all of what we see.. its hard to see in any way that what we see and are is just ‘is’”

      There’s two parts to this point and I’m going to tackle the second part (“what we see and are just is”) first. As far as I can figure at some point in the argument you must reach one of two points. Either something came from nothing, or something is eternal and has always been. You might not be able to wrap your head around a Universe that “just is”, but, being Catholic I assume you’re okay with a God that “just is”? How is that any different?

      As for “nothing created all of what we see” that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid saying. Although some physics models do allow something to come from nothing (seriously, I meant to link Laurence Krauss’ lecture with this post, thanks for reminding me. I shall add it to the post shortly.) I too have issue wrapping my head around that concept and I wanted to try presenting an atheistic argument that didn’t fall back on that.
      What I’m saying actually isn’t all that different from what many Churches would teach, except that rather than saying God is eternal and created the Universe, I’m simply pulling it back and saying that the Universe has always existed. The thing about the Big Bang is that it’s not a creation event. All the energy and matter of the Universe was simply pulled into a single point (the Singularity) and expanded from there. Nothing was created during this process. I’m not actually sure if stuff can be created!

      “string theories and quantum mechanics that in actual fact provide a great deal of room for God’s existence”

      You’re absolutely right and it’s the reason I avoided delving into String theory and Quantum Mechanics. We know so little about these fields that just about anything is possible within them, including the existence of a god. The thing with String theory in particular is that it’s pretty well all maths based logic. In other words there’s no observable evidence to back it up (don’t quote me on that though!). Although String theory is really awesome in that it provides the possibility of multiple universes I think it’s got a long way to go before I can take it too seriously.
      All that aside, what I was trying to get across is that based upon what we know about the Big Bang there’s currently no room for a god. And at present we don’t have a whole lot of reasons to think there’s anything beyond the Big Bang. That said I’m sure many Quantum physicists would disagree with me.
      Only time and a whole heap more research will be able to tell. But to get back to your point, yes, theories that go beyond the Big Bang do still allow for a god.

      “beliefs, practices and studies and the like remain pretty much the same.. more than science anyway”

      Yes they do, but it strikes me as odd that so many people think this is a good trait of religions. Realistically we’re talking about traditions that are very, very old (~6,000 years in the case of Catholicism). With all we’ve learned in the last couple of hundred years it seems pretty unlikely we got the origin story right 6,000 years ago. Even with all our Big Bang theories and Quantum Mechanics I still think we’re a long way off a good answer. To think a couple of shepherds got it right seems unlikely. I think changing your practices is a good thing. It makes it more likely you’ll eventually find the truth.

      “our brains are incapable of thinking of something without a start”

      Again, spot on. It’s why some things in Quantum Mechanics are so hard to understand; when we’re talking about things that are so small (or so big at the opposite end of physics) the rules we take for granted just don’t work the same way. It’s so different from our everyday experiences we have in middle-sized universe. And as you say, the same issue arises when we start talking about eternity; it just doesn’t make sense to such finite beings.

      ““Yes energy can be changed from one state to another but to the best of our knowledge, its never created,”.. that tells me that something did exist pre-big bang.. whatever.. it tells me that the energy had to exist before hand.. this paragraph supports the opposite for what you’re trying to say”

      ‘To the best of our knowledge energy is never created’. But by proposing something pre-Big Bang you’re now saying something did create it. I’m not sure creating new energy is possible.
      And what does ‘pre’ Big Bang actually mean? Remember the Big Bang starts when ‘time=0’, so how can you have a before? That means that time would then equal -1, which as far as I’m aware doesn’t make sense.
      This is the core of the problem I’ve been struggling with. The idea of something without a beginning isn’t appealing to our finite minds, but based upon the current maths the energy of our Universe doesn’t have a beginning; it just is…

      “unless we were there at the big bang, I don’t think we can ever prove whether a god or energy existed before hand”

      But we prove things we don’t witness all the time. Murder investigations is a nice, modern example. Actually anything that goes through the court system is an example. But archaeology, palaeontology, basically any field that digs into the past demonstrates we don’t need to be at the scene to take an educated guess as to what happened.
      That said, if you look into Cold Cases you very quickly learn that the older a case is the harder it becomes to solve. Naturally this will be true of the Universe’s origins too.

      “perhaps it is so complex that maybe there is something that we can’t think or know about life”

      This is something that always depresses me because there’s absolutely no reason to think you’re wrong. It may be that the answers to origins will forever allude us. I really hope that isn’t the case and I don’t intend to stop searching just because it might be true, but it’s definitely something we need to keep in mind as we dig deeper into our past.

      Thanks for the deep post! If you’re interested, here is the talk by Laurence Krauss where he tries to explain how something can come from nothing. It’s an hour long, so make sure you have some popcorn. I’ll also throw a link into the main post for anyone else interested.


      • ChrisThaLedg says:

        Well said there mate.. its a nice new idea to consider and you’ve done a sensational job in picking it apart, putting it out there and seeing what the masses think.. there is some great ideas in it and anyone can base their ideas on where we came from using more than one or two arguments.. at the end of the day.. its all hypothesis until we kick off.. I’m just quietly hoping that no-one devotes their lives to discovering it without doing any living at the same time =P
        You’ve done well the wikipedia argument.. nice work.. it has some good references as such which is nice.. I for one couldn’t base a major argument using it as the main resource.. my faith in it is pretty minimal unless it involves sport or entertainment.. documenting things that have actually happened.. its still good to use all the same..
        You’re right on the argument of a universe and a god that just is.. I’d look beyond the ‘big bang/everything as we see and know coming into existence as a step from something else.. i’d say that this is at the least, a step two.. I’d argue that there was a step one.. being Catholic.. that’s God.. an athiest has every right to support that the big bang theory is the first step and just is.. at the end of the day.. its very complex to think about.. my understanding and interpretation of the big bang theory is that it was a creation event.. that scientists are trying to discover how that happened and everything came into being from one big bang.. yours is the first argument that I’ve come across that has suggested that its always been there .. its all interesting..
        String/Quantum.. I’ll say I know very little about these two and that won’t change as such .. but pulling one argument out there.. religious people are a majority in this world and the pull power in people to say that there is more reason to suggest that there is more than the big bang theory that includes God..
        Practices/belief.. “changing practices is a good thing, it makes more likely you’ll eventually find the truth”.. the difference between religious and scientific types is that religious types have established that what they belief in is the truth.. scientists are forever changing their minds on what they believe is the truth.. religious people don’t change or rarely do.. I agree that some practices need to be changed to move with the times.. but practices shouldn’t be changed just for the sake of.. if it ain’t broken, why fix it? The argument of a couple of shephards seem unlikely.. but it is still probable.. there are thousands of scientific theories that seemed unlikely at one stage or another.. some have pulled through.. thus it makes it probable.. I for one think that its highly unlikely that one big bang formed all that we are.. at the same time, its still probable..
        You hit the nail on the head.. cases do become harder to solve the older it gets.. there are many cases that we can’t solve with investigations.. I doubt that we can prove either way.. not our life time.. and looking at it from a religious perspective.. if God wanted to make the truth obvious.. he would’ve.. I feel that people have the right to make the choice of whether to believe or not to believe..
        I hope that the answer forever alludes us.. no-one on this planet right now can guarantee that they know and can prove the answer and it depresses me that people waste their lives on it rather than living it.. you have put up a great argument ol boy.. I’d love to see the youtube clip but I don’t have sound on the PC 😦

        • archdragon87 says:

          “its all hypothesis until we kick off”

          Even that’s a hypothesis. Kicking off doesn’t guarantee an answer. But exploring these hypothesis while we’re still alive, that just might get us an answer.

          “I for one couldn’t base a major argument using [Wikipedia] as the main resource”

          Frankly neither would I. I’m not sure whether you’re saying I have, so take this with a grain of salt, but my argument didn’t come from Wikipedia (although Wikipedia does also have the same argument, that’s just coincidence). I used Wikipedia simply to explain what the Cosmological Argument is. Whether or not my argument stands or falls is on its own merits. If you are familiar with the Cosmological Argument you can completely ignore the Wikipedia article if you like.

          “I’d look beyond the ‘big bang/everything as we see and know coming into existence as a step from something else…i’d say that this is at the least, a step two.. I’d argue that there was a step one… that’s God”

          Then argue on good sir! 😀
          For me it doesn’t matter whether the step before the Big Bang is God, String theory or anything else besides, you still need to explain what ‘before’ the Big Bang (ie. before time) actually means.
          Then we have to decipher whether or not this ‘before’ thing created the Universe, or if it’s like everything else we’ve experienced and it simply converts one form of energy to another. You see, even if you propose a God (heck, even if you can prove a God) you still need to explain how it managed to create our Universe from nothing. Even God doesn’t get you around the ‘something from nothing’ paradox. There was God → then there was a Universe. Where did that energy sudden come from?

          “my understanding and interpretation of the big bang theory is that it was a creation event.. that scientists are trying to discover how that happened and everything came into being from one big bang.. yours is the first argument that I’ve come across that has suggested that its always been there”

          With all due respect, whoever has been telling you that doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The Big Bang has never been proposed by anyone in the know as a creation event.
          The theory simply says that all matter/energy in the Universe once existed in a single point (the Singularity). The theory has never suggested that this energy was created during the Big Bang, only that it was there when time=0.
          From Wikipedia: “The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that explains the early development of the Universe.[1] According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly.” The emphasis is mine.
          And just so we have something different than Wikipedia, the first two paragraphs of this website say something very similar: http://big-bang-theory.com/

          “religious people are a majority in this world and the pull power in people to say that there is more reason to suggest that there is more than the big bang theory that includes God”

          Sorry, not quite sure what you’re saying here. Are you suggesting that because religion is a popular idea it must have some validity?

          “the difference between religious and scientific types is that religious types have established that what they belief in is the truth”

          Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What bothers me is that so many people aren’t willing to even consider that what they believe might not be the truth. Thinking you’re right is one thing, but closing the books on other possibilities is another.

          “but practices shouldn’t be changed just for the sake of.. if it ain’t broken, why fix it?”

          Simple answer: because you can make it better. The radio worked fine but if people hadn’t pushed we’d never have got the TV. Soccer is a fine sport, but if people hadn’t pushed we wouldn’t have Rugby or the AFL.
          I’d also say that when you have Biblical passages that directly contradict each other you should at least consider it might be broken.

          “The argument of a couple of shephards seem unlikely.. but it is still probable”

          Sorry to be blunt, but this sentence contradicts itself. How can it be unlikely but still probable? I assume you meant possible?

          “there are thousands of scientific theories that seemed unlikely at one stage or another.. some have pulled through.. thus it makes it probable”

          Again, do you mean possible? Because it’s certainly not probable. The odds of delving into a new area of science, creating a theory and getting it right first go are incredibly unlikely. All scientific theories have been put through rigorous testing and been altered over time to accommodate new information. Religion for the most part stays stagnant, but still needs to accommodate new information. It’s very tricky to do and honestly I think religion is failing at it.

          “I hope that the answer forever alludes us.”

          I just can’t wrap my head around why so many people think this. If the answer is ‘yes there is a God’ then fantastic, we can all start preparing for heaven. If the answer is no then we can deal with that reality and spend more time making the most of life and less time praying. Regardless, knowing would be beneficial.
          Why do you hope this? I really would like to understand.

          “no-one on this planet right now can guarantee that they know and can prove the answer and it depresses me that people waste their lives on it rather than living it”

          I actually found this to be the most interesting part of your post.
          What makes you think that cosmologists are wasting their lives? Firstly I’d warrant that they enjoy searching for the answers to these profound questions.
          Secondly over the centuries these kinds of questions have lead us to incredible discoveries. We may not have found the answer to the initial question, but we’ve learned a lot of useful stuff along the way. Many people would say the moon landing was a waste of time for example, but I’ll bet those people would be pretty pissed if you tried to take away their Velcro!
          And finally, just because scientists may dedicate their professional lives to answering these questions doesn’t mean they never leave the lab. Most I’m sure still have personal lives with friends and family. So what is it that makes you think pursuing these questions could be a waste of time?

          But what about the other side of the fence? Catholic priests are a particularly wonderful example. The Catholic Church is one of the few that forbids their clergy to have sex. There’s nothing in the Bible that supports this. They make a personal choice to not have families; they’re not bound by scripture. Seems like they’re missing out on a very large aspect of life.

          What about some other things they do. Prayer for example has been demonstrated to have no effect.
          And even if you believe it does, why does the Catholic Church insist on Saints and the ‘Virgin’ Mary? Again, you shouldn’t expect anything from praying to these people, the Bible doesn’t even suggest Saints and it doesn’t really give any significance to Mary.

          It’s one thing to have faith, but these things doesn’t even make sense from within the faith.

          Now with all that said, I still wouldn’t say these people are wasting their lives. Pursuing questions like these is living (should you choose to make it so), regardless of what methods you use.

          “I feel that people have the right to make the choice of whether to believe or not to believe”

          I’ve left this one for last because it’s tangential to the overall point I’m trying to make. Again, this is something I’ve heard relatively recently, but I think I agree with it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

          I completely agree that people have the right to believe whatever. That said, I no longer think belief is a choice. I think we are presented with evidence and we either believe it or we don’t.
          For example, no amount of choice is going to make me believe the Earth is flat. You might be able to change my mind with new information, but I can’t force myself to believe something I don’t.
          The same goes for God. I can’t just flip a switch and choose to believe. I could certainly go through the motions and pretend I believe (which may eventually lead me to belief) but I can’t change that belief just because I want to. Your thoughts?

          • ChrisThaLedg says:

            Nice work ol’ boy.. looking at some of things that you’ve mentioned.. as a whole.. you’ve got me on most things.. but I’ll see what other insights I can conjur up to each section…
            – Even that’s a hypothesis.. haha, yes.. yes it is.. its my hypothesis like the millions of hypothesises that are out there.. we may just find an answer.. you just never know (hypothesis) =P
            – I know exactly where you’re coming from on the wikipedia front.. I know the side of your argument here was based on other sources.. wikipedia has various sources listed.. my main argument in this case .. not specifically directed in your way.. but I’ve known many to use wikipedia as THE source of their argument.. ‘Wikipedia says this and that’.. that’s fine and dandy.. but its not as reliable as what many claim it to be.. your initial argument is well researched from your readings in general.. you have a good foundation for your post.
            – Pre- Big bang.. as far as my understanding and comprehension of it all.. I believe that there was something pre-big bang.. a God.. that’s where my beliefs are based.. what created that god or energy.. this something that formed the energy to get us to this point had to come from something.. that’s what I believe.. I can’t comprehend something without a beginning..
            – I’ve read a number of scientific studies, blogs and articles have suggested that the Big bang was the creation of what we have come to be.. what you’ve mentioned there has cleared it up.. nice work.. 🙂
            – I would like to think that because there is more people in the world that support religion and life a religious lifestyle that it would have to have some validity.. that may be wrong in the eyes of an athiest but in the eyes of a religious person, they think you’re wrong.. it all comes down to opinion.. if science wants to disprove a god.. they have the biggest task in mankind to do.. that’s where I’m looking at it from .. I’ll tie this to a point that you make later on..
            – At the end of the day.. its a belief system.. from me personally, I don’t believe in what you’re saying is to be the truth, much like my belief that everything about religion is the truth would be disagreed on by you.. there are people in the world that won’t look into religion at all, not even bat an eyelid and dismiss it all together.. there are religious people who don’t look at science.. my argument is that it goes both ways. I disagree with you on many things, but I’m happy to understand and listen to your views as you do with mine.. not everyone can meet half way..
            – Things can be better.. but it does come down to opinion.. you’ve listed the examples of sport.. (nice one).. in my opinion, radio is far better than TV.. but others would say otherwise.. someone invented vanilla icecream, another person thought it was better to add chocolate.. yet that person is happy to not change.. if religion needed a serious makeover and change.. the governing church bodies would’ve done just that.. there are too many opinions for what is better and what isn’t.. having worked on a number of committees with massive politics.. its too hard to change opinions for what is better..
            – Yeah, possible.. oops
            – I think when you’re an outsider looking in, things don’t seem to rosey.. you look in at religion and see many flaws.. I look at science and see the other same thing.. yet we both remain adament that what we believe in goes about the things the right way.. that’s not a bad thing.. that’s a good thing.. you can never judge a book by its cover.. I look at a football club like Lancefield and and they are doing crap on the field.. losing every week, so the way they do things is wrong as a whole and they need to change it to get with the times.. yet, get involved in the club and you see that the mechanics of it has a hard working and successful group.. when you’re part of the group, you understand more..
            -Forever alludes us.. if I had a choice of knowing the answer of whether there was a god or not, I would choose not to.. why? because I’m happy with the life that I have.. praying and living a religious life is another way of life.. at the end of the day, we should live our lifes to the best that we can and make the most of it.. being religious or not is part of how we choose to live it… if you’re not religious, its hard to understand.. its a feeling..
            – You’re right.. I made a mistake on that one.. if that’s part of their lives.. that’s great.. do it.. but on the other hand.. it does go two fold.. what’s wrong with people dedicating their lives to religion and teaching what they feel and believe is the way of life? A scientist can study and devote their lives to science.. share it with the world.. yes, there are extreme religious people as there are extreme religious scientists.. Global Warming.. you’re right.. it isn’t a waste of time.. but can you see where I’m coming from on a religious basis.. Catholic priests dedicate their lives to God and their religion.. are they missing out on sex, families and the like? In our eyes, yes.. because we’re not priests.. in their eyes, people would get more fulfillment dedicating their lives to God.. its personal choice.. if they disagree.. they don’t become a priest.. it’s not uncommon for potential priests to pull out because they choose not to live life the way we live ours.
            I read that piece on prayers and it didn’t take more than two lines to disagree.. prayers are a personal thing.. everyone prays for different reasons.. its security, comfort and builds a relationship with god.. everyone does it for different reasons.. I know those stats and studies is a load of garbage because I get more happiness out of life when I do pray and I can prove that from my standard.. I’m happier when I have a greater connection with God.. everyone is different.. some people feel like they get nothing.. others do.. if you’re religious you understand.. if you’re not, I would find it impossible to explain it.. its a feeling.. if religion contradicts itself, science is no different.. I can say that the whole science world is flawed… but I don’t understand nor believe in it as a lifestyle so I can’t mount a strong argument..
            – Jamie my boy.. you of all people have batted hard with compelling arguments to suggest that science is the way .. the arguments have always been great and well detailed.. yet, I am at the most, able to meet you half way as an understanding.. religion isn’t about the thirst for knowledge.. its about a way of life.. a feeling.. a connection.. people can’t be forced to believe in anything.. you often hear of born-again Christians.. something has happened in their lives completely out of the norm that has naturally opened their eyes to god.. you can’t provide information and details of why believing in God is the way of life.. like science is the way for people.. its like saying that you’re going to fall in love with someone because they tick all the boxes in your ideal partner.. for me, it would have been safe for anyone to think that the girl I fall in love with next was going to be a sports nut and love all the things that I do.. on paper, that’s appealing on evidence.. but feeling wise.. no, not the case.. look at it from that way.. your heart and mind combined is a powerful tool.. I don’t expect you to ever be religious, just as I’d hope you would expect me to be an athiest.. at the end of the day, we believe in something because our heart and mind believe in it.. forget logic..

            • archdragon87 says:

              “I can’t comprehend something without a beginning…”

              Which is fair enough, and often where the Cosmological Argument begins. But if you can’t comprehend something without a beginning, the obvious question is when/where/how did God begin?

              “I would like to think that because there is more people in the world that support religion and life a religious lifestyle that it would have to have some validity.. that may be wrong in the eyes of an atheist”

              Oh, absolutely not. For religions to have survived this long and still be a majority I agree there must be some validity to them. The question is what that validity is and to figure that out I look at what most religions have in common. Notice that none of them agree on an origin story, who the god is, who he/she favours and in the case of Buddhism they don’t even agree on there being a god!

              “if science wants to disprove a god.. they have the biggest task in mankind to do”

              This here is probably the most important thing you wrote. There’s two major points to take away from it.
              Firstly, science doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) want anything except information. Science most certainly never wanted to disprove a god. I’d be willing to bet a fiver that the original scientists (who were mostly believers) began doing science as a way of trying to find the gods.
              You see when you come up with an hypothesis (eg. ‘There is no god) as a scientists you’re not trying to prove it right OR wrong. All you’re trying to do is find the answer. Regardless of the answer you will increase humanities net knowledge. That is the purpose of science.
              There is absolutely no reason why science couldn’t have gone down the path of proving that gods exist. The fact that it didn’t is very telling.

              The other thing that is worth mentioning briefly is that it’s not an atheists job to disprove a god. It’s the believers position the prove the god exists. The burden of proof is always on the affirmative side. The reason for this is that it’s impossible to prove a negative.
              Try this as a thought experiment. I propose that there are fairies in your garden. Try and prove me wrong. How do you go about it? What evidence do you look for? Well if there aren’t any fairies then there won’t be any evidence to collect. But that doesn’t demonstrate there aren’t any fairies, only that you couldn’t find evidence of them. Maybe you were looking for the wrong evidence?
              On the other hand if I were to try and prove my case (that fairies do exist in your garden) I should be able to find evidence to support that. If I can’t then I have no reason to assert it in the first place.
              The same goes for science and gods. You can’t disprove a god because if there is no god there will be no evidence to support the hypothesis. On the other hand it is possible to prove a god because then you can start looking for evidence.
              My next major post is going to be an in-depth discussion of how science works and I intend to cover this point in a lot more detail.

              “if religion needed a serious makeover and change.. the governing church bodies would’ve done just that”

              It depends somewhat on the religion, but I’ll assume we’re talking about Catholicism. In which case I’d say absolutely no way. The thing with religions, particularly the ones with holy books, is that the book takes priority. If you disagree with something in the Bible it’s not that the Bible is wrong, it’s you who is wrong.
              This is the problem, when you believe certain commandments have been handed down by your God you can’t change them, no matter how inhumane they may appear to us. This is one of the things I find really distasteful about religions; they don’t care about your opinion. In comparison to the god, your opinion is moot. To make matters worse these disagreements are often tied into the notion of sin. Therefore anyone who disagrees with Biblical teachings is not only wrong by default, they’re a horrible person who may burn in hell for it.

              “what’s wrong with people dedicating their lives to religion and teaching what they feel and believe is the way of life?”

              Ah, yeah. I think this paragraph was all pretty spot on. No disagreement 😀

              “I read that piece on prayers and it didn’t take more than two lines to disagree.. prayers are a personal thing.. everyone prays for different reasons”

              I would absolutely agree. Simple question though, do you think God heals people who pray to Him?

              “if religion contradicts itself, science is no different”

              The difference is that when science realises its contradictory it first off says as such, then tries to fix the contradiction.
              As I said above, religion is never wrong (again, speaking about Catholicism here). If there’s something ‘wrong’ with the religion…well there isn’t, it’s the questioner who is wrong.

              “I can say that the whole science world is flawed… but I don’t understand nor believe in it as a lifestyle so I can’t mount a strong argument.”

              Well that’s actually a good thing, because science is no more a lifestyle than atheism. Science is a tool and atheism is a lack of belief. Your lifestyle choice is largely irrelevant from either.

              “its like saying that you’re going to fall in love with someone because they tick all the boxes in your ideal partner”

              I dunno, the guys over at eHarmony are making a lot of money…
              But on a more serious note, did you know there is a mathematical equation for beauty? Seriously. Honestly that kind of scares me, but it seems to be true.
              The point I’m trying to make is that if you don’t find your ideal partner by ticking question boxes, odds are you’re asking the wrong questions.
              Which ironically brings us full circle. I think “what came before the Big Bang?” may be the wrong question to be asking.

              “forget logic”

              Not a chance. Without logic we would be truly lost.

              • ChrisThaLedg says:

                And with any body.. religion or other.. some people have the energy to complain more about the people doing the job rather than doing something about it.. if they invested that same energy into getting involved and being part of it instead of complaining about how they are so wrong.. we’d have more do-ers..

                • archdragon87 says:

                  So you think the best way to stop organised crime is to become a criminal and change it from the inside? Or to stop child slavery the best thing to do is become a slave trader?
                  No, sometimes the best thing to do if you don’t agree with a position is to actively stand against it. I for one am a do-er. That’s why I write these blog posts, to encourage thought, talk and education. I strongly believe these three things will go a long way to getting us to the truth.

                  P.S. I haven’t posted your last comment yet because I’m hesitant to have people’s real names used here without their permission. These topics can be very controversial and I don’t want to land people in the shit unintentionally. Would you be cool with me editing out the names and re-posting it?

                  • ChrisThaLedg says:

                    We’re talking about religion and science here.. I don’t think that at all about organised crime, unless you’re saying that religion is organised crime.. there are some organisations that require change from the inside.. if a particular part of religion needs to be changed.. I don’t see that its fair that someone from the outside should change it.. its like someone going into someone elses work place and making changes and they have little to do with the organisation.. I’ve been in an organisation where outsiders (people who are not members and have no participation) try to dictate how things should be changed because they don’t like the image or ways that things have been done.. this organisation crumbled and turned into a massive cock fight between the outsiders and the members… there are some organisations where change is a good thing from the outside..
                    I know that your blogs are a great way of encouraging thought, discussion and education.. they’re fantastic.. I’ve learnt so much.. you’re a star.. you can do whatever you like there mate 🙂
                    Keep up the great work..

  2. hcdgrundy says:

    Well thought out. I usually just say that there was no time before the Big Bang so there is no room chronologically for a cause. I’d like to know the answer to this one day, but it is probably unknowable–almost definitely in our lifetime.

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