The Hubble, Yahweh, the Bible, and faith.

by Nickolas 269 Replies latest jw friends

  • soft+gentle

    nice avatar bohm - is it an exploding star - it is beautiful like something angelic

  • bohm

    s+g: Thanks :-). Actually it is a reconstruction of bundles of nerve-fibers in a human brain. The reason it may look a bit out of shape is the fibers only run in the white-matter, so the pyramid structure of the lower brain looks quite dominant. The colors are due to which regions the fibers originate in.

  • sizemik

    Awen, I enjoyed your take on the Genesis account also. What we need to be mindful of however, is the tendency of we, who have the benefit of accumulated knowledge, to apply a retrovisionist explanation based on that accumulated knowledge.

    When the ancient records and the retrovisionist assessment display a remarkable synonymity . . . we then feel obliged to attribute special qualities of understanding to the original account. I'm a bit more skeptical of this than some, as it's not possible to know with complete accuracy, the actual thought the writer was endeavouring to convey, let alone whether that thought has been accurately described, translated and preserved.

    Evolution shows us that life cannot evolve outside of it's Genus.

    Even in the context of the link you provided this is not at all true. It may be an accurate description of the stratigraphic status quo at any given time within the parameters a particular taxonomical range, but genera, like species and other classifications in the taxonomic hierarchy, are all part of evolutionary progression. Variegation of genera is every bit as valid as variegation of species. It is simply further up the taxonomic heirarchy and therefore expressed over far greater periods of time than say species variegation. Time has the effect of greater variegal seperation of genera, through the more protracted extinction of common genetic ancestry. It's important to remember that extinction results from geological and cosmological cataclysm as well as gradual environmental change and natural selection. Evolution shows us that over time, the opposite is true . . . that new and distinct Genera emerge in the same way as new and distinct species. It's simply that the boundaries, through time, have now achieved a wider gulf of seperation.

    To illustrate . . . it's like trying to positively identify the structure and shape of the branches and trunk of a tree by observing the new shoots of spring growth only . . . the abundance of the current growth show the tree must be there . . . but it is only from the evidence remaining that any semblance of the reality can be discerned. In terms of evolution, some smaller outer branches can be observed through the fossil record, but harmonious synchronicity is not assured, let alone an accurate picture of the whole "tree".

    Interestingly, Nickolas's well cited points (in this and previous threads) on the incomprehensible vastness of the dimensions of time and space involved, lend ever increasing weight to the probability, even strong likelihood in terms of statistical probability, of this gradual, but very extensive progression IMHO.

  • The Quiet One
    The Quiet One

    @Aguest - I've just read page 2, and I'm having trouble understanding what you are saying. Why would an Almighty God, with limitless power, need to hide spirit beings from enemy spirits who are inferior in power to himself? Why could he not simply protect them from these beings? And if these enemies of the seed don't know who the beings they are looking for reside within, why don't they just kill everyone on Earth who mentions Jesus/YHVH, or that isn't an atheist ?

  • Twitch
    If a poster injects a little sarcasm . . . so what? As long as the content is valid . . . why not filter and concentrate on that.
    What might be rudeness . . . even if it is . . . just doesn't matter to me. Learning is too valuable to keep sacrificing on that altar.

    I'm of the same opinion; one doesn't necessarily have to be nice to be right, although people will be more open to a respectful position. We all have egos to preserve and they often clash, especially with subjects and debates of the nature that occur here. I may not always like someone's "manners" but to me, this is secondary to the point they are making and if their point is valid, I respect that. Conversely, if I engage in debate, it isn't to be popular or liked, but it's a bonus if it happens.

  • PSacramento

    I never understood the need to be insulting or condesending to make a point.

    If one has a valid point, it will stand on its own merits and no amount of "colourful" language will make any difference.

  • Nickolas

    The possibility of life happening by chance has been estimated to be 1 in 10 to the 40,000 power or 10 with 40,000 zeroes behind it. That's just the chance for it to occur once. ONCE.

    Awen, I contest your abiogenesis probability number, and the reference you cite doesn't speak to it. It looks like the probability of a very simple life form, like a bacterium, coming into existence by chance, in which case I agree. Exceedingly improbable, virtually impossible. But we're not talking about simple life forms but auto or mutually replicating molecules. See And, as far as I understand it, it need only have happened once, regardless of the probability.

    the fallacy of bifurcation,

    Another example of the fallacy is "the probability of the evolution of even the simplest life forms by chance is so small as to be impossible, therefore God did it". I realise that you are not saying this, because like Paul you subscribe to evolutionary theory, but it is a common mantra of creationists. The first part is true, the conclusion spurious. Evolution through natural selection is a much more logical conclusion which happens to be supported by mountains of evidence, remarkably unlike the assertion that God did it. (See sir82's contribution). But, to the point raised by PP on page 2, I have difficulty understanding why God would have set evolution in motion - to quote someone for whom I have considerable respect (Christopher Hitchens) "What kind of designer or creator is so wasteful and capricious and approximate? What kind of designer or creator is so cruel and indifferent?"

    I realize that in order to believe I don't need all the answers right now.

    In order for me to believe I would need some answers or, more accurately, some evidence. I do not understand, sincerely, why it is said one needs to believe before he can be saved. Why does God consider belief in something for which there is no apparent evidence an absolute virtue? I see much more virtue in doubt than belief. Also:

    If God were to make creationism unquestionable, without a doubt in our mind then where would that leave Faith? Faith is the cornerstone of religion.

    Again, what is so special about Faith? Is the exceptional faith of, say, the men who immolate themselves in crowded bazaars admirable? Certainly to many it is, but to many more it is not.

    If you read the bible from Ot to NT you will see a "change" in the concept of God ( not in God persay, but in how ancient man understood God).

    Then you must wonder why the OT hasn't been trashed, don't you Paul? (This also sounds suspiciously like "New Light".) I might have the same observation about sab's comments later on (The time the OT was written humans were much different and God was much less clear to them as he is to us now.)

    The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) is a large, infrared-optimized space telescope. The project is working to a 2018 launch date.

    Wow. How exciting is that? But, Giordano:

    Nicholas asking our believeing friends if their belief in a god/creator etc. is relevant or large enough after the wonders we have seen through the Hubble will certainly roil their waters. And referencing the early Christian symbol like fish they rise to the bait.

    It is not my intent to bait anyone but to understand something I at present do not.

    In his book, SUPERSTITION, Robert Park describes that as "Texas sharpshooter fallacy." Fire a bullet into the side of a barn, then paint a bullseye around the bullet hole. As long as we have such willingness to ignore all the data and focus on the tiniest of remote suggestive "evidence," we will never really get through to all people.

    A more colourful way of describing the phenomenon of tailoring the facts to the conclusion, which is how I tend to view a theist's perspective of the universe as exposed by Hubble. This is a problem I perceive. Faith prevents one from seeking alternative conclusions, and that is why the faithful cannot see what I see.

    I'm being sincere here . . . it simply appears that you have no need for faith, as the evidence for your belief is conclusive and undeniable. I'm interested as to where and how one might obtain this evidence.

    An excellent question, sizemik. I look forward to Shelby's response (I am composing as I go along, here).

    That is to say monkeys don't evolve into birds or horses etc. Nor to my knowledge has any evidence ever come forth to prove otherwise

    That would be devolution, Awen, and you're right, it doesn't seem to happen, but then again why would it? I'm not sure if I am detecting a common misconception in your statement or not, but monkeys don't evolve into human-like creatures either. All modern species are evolving, but not into other modern species. Humankind did not evolve from monkeys or apes but from an ancient creature in common.

    I don't have faith in the existence of God, dear one. I KNOW God's exists.

    Ok, there it is. It is a different distinction, Shelby. I, for one, do not know He exists, therefore the rest - faith in His promise - has no prerequisite foundation. I circle back to the need for faith in Him and, finding none, faith in His promise falls away. Which is what you seem to be saying here:

    It was my faith that ALLOWED me to receive the evidence, dear one: first, to hear him.

    But, to repeat myself, why does God put so much emphasis on belief. I'm with Thomas (the original Missourian) - you want me to believe? Show me.

    I am somewhat perplexed as to why you see YHWH as being diminished. I can only speculate that you're speaking of the YHWH that is only revealed in the 66 books of the Bible, not the other 550 or so books that have been written, hidden, destroyed, covered up, etc. There is so much that was written and is now lost, forgotten or even not accepted because they're not part of the "official" canon.

    Yes, Awen, I am speaking from the perspective of the OT depiction of Yahweh, which is not flattering. The Apocrypha I am not at all familiar with and, I confess, holds out no interest to me. Yahweh, as depicted in the OT, is a small, jealous, vindictive and capricious god unworthy of even the tiniest fraction of the magnificient universe He is alleged to have created.

    On a side note I think the Deluge is a myth or at best a localized flood.

    I'm glad you said that. I was going to say the something of the same myself, but it is indeed a side note to this thread.

    The point about not evolving outside of our "kinds" or Genus shows an undestanding of the genetic evolutionary process that was thousands of years beyond primitive man.

    I believe the ancient understanding to which you refer is in reference to sexual reproduction among species and not a tacit recognition that living things evolve. A cat cannot mate with a dog. And things do not evolve from one genus into another co-existing genus. The evolving genus inexorably and very, very gradually fades away and completely new genera come into being. (I've just come back to this part of my piecemeal composition to add that sizemik's explanation is well worth re-reading, for those who might be having a little difficulty grasping the concept.)

    Thanks unshackled . . . I enjoyed the video

    as did I.

    If dear Nick (as always, peace to you!) believe it's okay, I'll do so here

    feel free, my dear.

    One last comment, vis courtesy in conversation. It is not always necessary but lack of it will have a tendency to derail conversation amongst those who are insecure about themselves. I don't perceive myself as insecure but if you call me an asshole I might react with some degree of heat, so maybe I am at least a little insecure after all. Or, maybe, I lean more toward vengeance for a perceived injury. I like Tammy's take on this and will draw a lesson from it. Turning the other cheek is the better response. The cost will then be borne by you and not me, because what ultimately is "done" to us in a forum like this one is "done" to ourselves by ourselves. Only we can give power to other people to cause us injury and only we can withhold it. It does not matter so much to me what you believe that I should upset myself over it, or that you seem incapable of understanding what I perceive as obvious. That is because I have been wrong so many times in my life that I have long ceased to believe in my own infallibility, even when revisiting old intellectual pastures I have abandoned and left fallow. I am just passing through. So are you. Find a place in which you can live out your short life in peace and happiness while allowing others to do the same and nothing, absolutely nothing, else matters.

  • tec
    In order for me to believe I would need some answers or, more accurately, some evidence. I do not understand, sincerely, why it is said one needs to believe before he can be saved. Why does God consider belief in something for which there is no apparent evidence an
    absolute virtue? I see much more virtue in doubt than belief.

    You might be interested in this thread, Nickolas. Its not the same, but sort of along the lines.

    I like Tammy's take on this and will draw a lesson from it. Turning the other cheek is the better response.

    You meant that adhering to 'turn the other cheek' was my take, right? Not the teaching of 'turn the other cheek'. LOL. I got a chuckle out of that :)

    (one quick point... it is easier to turn the other cheek when its YOUR cheek being slapped... not when its someone else's. I think we tend to come to another person's defense more often than we tell them to turn their cheek)

    Peace to you,


  • Nickolas

    Thanks, I'll look into it when I have a moment.

    What is most of what we teach if not something we have learned from someone else?

    Adherence to me is doing something that I might not be disposed to doing otherwise. Like adhering to the speed limit while driving my E-type. If I had my druthers and the conditions were safe, I'd open her up, but instead I adhere to the speed limit. Turning the other cheek is not something one should do because it is mandated somewhere, is it?

  • still thinking
    still thinking

    Interesting thread...thanks Nickolas..coming back to read more later

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