Did Nothing Create Everything?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by SetiAlpha6, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    I agree with you! We can do that!

    That certainly could impact this discussion.

    If evidence for the existence of God is sitting on the Earth right now, I am sure you would want to know about it so you could personally review it. Right?

    I started posting that evidence quite a while back in this thread at the request of other members here.

    Did I misunderstand you, because I thought you asked that I stop posting the evidence?

    Regardless, if you want me to continue posting the evidence I have for the existence of God I can, whenever you want me to. I can always just pick up where I stopped last time.

    It would only be for your review, you would have to decide for yourself, and make your own conclusions, of course.

    I just request your permission to do so.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    No mention of God though? Or, even of the use: "satire"?

    Where you groomed to make nonsensical responses? I didn't have to be as I was already stupid enough.


    Sorry, my dumb fault...

    I meant: Why the fuck should people listen to you?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  5. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Okay. I think you are bonkers but go with random. Hey, a beautiful mistake sounds pretty magical.
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement

    to hide all adverts.
  7. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Because that is what he believes in, that is what he knows. You can have your transgender god.
  8. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Good luck.
  9. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    And who told you that?

    God perhaps?
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  10. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    Told me what?
  11. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Well, God of course.

    If you can tell me the words of God I'm listening.
  12. SetiAlpha6 Come Let Us Reason Together Valued Senior Member

    I don’t want anyone to take my word for anything!

    Why are you angry?

    You can leave the thread anytime you want to. No one is holding you here, at least as far as I can tell?

    But then, it is more fun with you here, than without you! So please stay!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  13. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    OMG! No one cares about me either!

    I'm having a Zen moment.
    davewhite04 likes this.
  14. davewhite04 Valued Senior Member

    When I look at DNA(The building blocks of life, for anyone who doesn't know.), I see a song. A song is based on existing material. How many songs have been written? Open your mind. If you like science, maybe the string theory, I heard some goods things from that.


    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019
  15. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Maybe there are geographical differences.

    I live in Canada. I don't live in Syria.

    If I was born in Syria, well um.... all my hopes and dreams could have been crushed before I was ever born.
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    The thing about evolution that fundamentalist theists either don't know or else wilfully choose to forget, is that randomness is only one part of the process. Evolution requires only two things: a source of variation (in genetics) and one or more selection mechanisms (one example is Darwinian natural selection).

    In the case of genetic mutations, that is a random process, although mutations are not the only way genetic diversity is produced, or even the main way. The fundies are aware of this randomness. What they forget about or ignore is natural selection, which is the thing that selects out the good in the random outcomes and discards the bad.

    I don't really know why the fundies won't take a minute or two to try to understand evolution before making themselves look stupid with statements like "Darwinian evolution is just random chance". Then again, if they were a bit smarter they probably wouldn't be fundies in the first place.
  17. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    That would be all very well if the existence of God was a given, but it isn't. Also, you claim that he gives good answers to questions about nature, but I haven't seen any communications from God answering questions about nature. Have you? And then there's the small matter there being zero evidential support for the idea that any god created nature. Other than what people claim, that is. Which brings us to...

    I concede that there are many written claims of God, and some writings that are even claimed to have been dictated by God, angels or other supernatural beings. There are also lots of writings about people's accounts of God of opinions about God. Some of these religious texts are historically accurate in part, but if you look at the bible, for instance, there are some historical facts in there but also historical errors and accounts of events that probably never occurred, or at least for which there is no independent evidence.

    Basically, if you believe in what the bible says, you're trusting that the writers were honest and that they all described real historical events truthfully and accurately. Unfortunately for you, scholars have uncovered many errors and contradictions in the bible. Moreover, it is quite obvious that its primary purpose is not to act as an accurate historical record. The aim is to convince readers that the God of Abraham is bigger than the other gods he was competing for airtime against at the time the books of the bible were written and at the time those books were compiled into a single, church-approved work.

    The only thing I recall from earlier was your claim that a split rock in Arabia must have been a miraculous source of water created by God to quench the thirst of the Israelites who you think went to Arabia. I found that to be completely unconvincing, for reasons I gave when you brought it up.

    I didn't say the Jewish or Christian faiths are baseless. I only said that there's no good evidence that the God they describe is real. Now that you mention it, there's also almost nothing in the way of independent evidence to support the stories of Jesus that appear in the bible. It is possible that Jesus wasn't even a real historical figure. The earliest gospel was written decades after the date of his supposed crucifixion, after all, and not by any eyewitness.
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    Regarding James Tour, here is what he says about Intelligent Design (link):

    I have been labeled as an Intelligent Design (sometimes called “ID”) proponent. I am not. I do not know how to use science to prove intelligent design although some others might. I am sympathetic to the arguments and I find some of them intriguing, but I prefer to be free of that intelligent design label. As a modern-day scientist, I do not know how to prove intelligent design using my most sophisticated analytical tools— the canonical tools are, by their own admission, inadequate to answer the intelligent design question. I cannot lay the issue at the doorstep of a benevolent creator or even an impersonal intelligent designer. All I can presently say is that my chemical tools do not permit my assessment of intelligent design.
    (emphasis is mine)

    On the other hand, it is not clear how he thinks life started, because apparently he thinks that chemical abiogenesis is impossible or at least highly implausible. It remains a live possibility that he's a closet Creationist.

    Then there's his troubling choice to associate himself with the Discovery Institute, the primary promoter of Creationism in the United States. In 2001 he signed a Discovery Institute-sponsored statement that they now refer to as "A scientific dissent from Darwinism" and regularly hold up as evidence of doubt by legitimate scientists about evolution. That statement is problematic in many ways, both in its content and in the supposed credentials of many of its signatories. It was also used by the Discovery Institute as evidence in a lawsuit involving the teaching of so-called Intelligent Design theory.

    That Tour chose to form an alliance of sorts with the Discovery Institute is strongly suggestive that he has a religious agenda and not purely a scientific one.

    Who put out Tour's video that SetiAlpha6 linked to above? One guess. That's right! It is a publication of the Discovery Institute. It is a long time past 2001, but James Tour is still willing to link his name and his views to an organisation known for its lies and misrepresentations of science. In fact, this is a video of a talk at a conference organised by - you guessed it! - the Discovery Institute.

    I'm about to watch the video. What I expect to hear from Tour are lots of claims about the improbability of chemicals coming together in the right way to start life. I don't expect to hear any speculation from him as to how life got going, if not by chemical abiogenesis, because I get the impression he wants to keep his views on that under wraps for some reason. Draw your own conclusions. Of course, I might be pleasantly surprised when I watch the video. I will report back.

    On Tour's religious views, by the way, we have this direct from the horse's mouth:

    Based upon my faith in the biblical text, I do believe (yes, faith and belief go beyond scientific evidence for this scientist) that God created the heavens and the earth and all that dwell therein, including a man named Adam and a woman named Eve.​

    and this:

    As a scientist and a Christian (Messianic Jew), I am unsure of many things in both science and faith. But my many questions are not fundamental to my salvation. Salvation is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah), my confession in him as Savior and my belief in his physical resurrection from the dead. Indeed, the physical resurrection is an atypical example where God works beyond the normally observed physical laws of science in order to accomplish his purposes. Therefore it’s called a miracle. And thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.​
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Correct, it did not have time.

    Your argument seems to be "there's no way life could have evolved without God!" The above is an example of a simple, self-reproducing piece of RNA (a ribozyme to be exact) that certainly COULD evolve into life, given time. Indeed, given that it reproduces and inherits its parent's characteristics, there's no way it would NOT evolve into more complex life given time.

    That's not faith, that's science. It's like looking at a river bank that erodes a few inches every year. It is reasonable to assume that, after centuries, it would have eroded a lot, and created a larger canyon. That's just plain old geology. It would certainly be silly to say "only God can make big canyons, because in our lifetime, we can only observe nature making small ones!"
    Because it leads to testable theories.
    This, again, is an argument from ignorance. "I do not understand X, therefore X is not valid."
  20. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    All right then. I watched the entire James Tour talk, brought to us courtesy of the Discovery Institute.

    Boiled down, the substance of the 1 hour talk is an argument from incredulity. In effect, Tour argues that "I can't think of how nature could have combined chemicals in such a way as to start life. Therefore it is impossible."

    Tour never really engages with the question of whether a series of small steps could have led to the chemical construction of a simple living cell. Instead, he assumes that the very first life must have had the same level of complexity as all modern life. His argument is that because modern cells, carbohydrates and so on are complicated and varied things, it is extraordinarily unlikely that they could have arisen through any purely chemical process (i.e. one not requiring the prior existence of living things to "help" with the assembly).

    Here are my rough notes of some of the things he discussed, with my comments on a few of them.

    • Cells are complex
    These are modern cells he is talking about. He never engages with the possibility of simpler cells, such as might have existed in the earliest lifeforms.
    • False claim that non-living molecules have never been shown to "move towards order and life" without the help of living molecules.
    Although he discusses many experiments that show the formation of various precursors of life, Tour still makes the claim that chemical processes never "move towards life" without help from human agents or pre-existing life. This is a false claim and he knows it because he specifically refers to the literature that disproves his claim.
    • Talks about homochirality as if this is needed in advance of life.
    This was a strange comment. Essentially, Tour claims that life requires homochiral molecules. My own understanding is that this was most likely an accident of evolution. Things could have easily ended up with the opposite chirality preference.
    • Complains that chemical processes don't have a targeted goal to aim for.
    Tellingly, Tour falls into an old Creationist trap with this comment. He takes a teleological view of life. To him, life must have an end goal in sight from the start. The first cells must somehow have known that they were "aiming" to create human beings somewhere down the line. Of course, in evolution there are no such goals.

    Interestingly, I note in passing that Tour is careful in his talk not to emphasise the enormous tracts of time available for abiogenesis. At one point in his talk he slips up a bit and admits that the world is millions of years old at least, rather than the 6000 year age generally approved by his audience.
    • Thinks that "purification" of chemical intermediaries is necessary at various points.
    • Complains that things won't react in the correct order to make life.
    • Complains that precise conditions are needed to make the relevant reactions go.
    • Complains that not enough can be made without "going back to the beginning" to add material.
    In all of this, Tour ignores the scale of the chemical experiment that was taking place on the proto-earth. The entire planet was one big chemical soup. Tour downplays the time and the space available for the necessary conditions to come about. At the same time, I think he most likely overplays the complexity involved. Caveat: I am not an organic chemist, but then again only two people in his audience of several hundred people willing to pay for a Discovery Institute sponsored event identified themselves as such.
    • Sort of irreducible complexity argument - "if you do one thing wrong, it doesn't work"
    At the start of his talk, Tour explicitly says he doesn't want to talk about Intelligent Design or the bible. By the end of the talk he has injected ID by stealth and he forgets completely about what he said about not mentioning the bible.

    Here, in the middle, he grabs a play from the usual Creationist grab bag, arguing that cells, carbohydrates or lipids (I forget which) are effectively "irreducibly complex". In support of this idea, he then spends quite a long time heading down the path of merely counting the total number of possible random combinations of chemicals. In the process, he apparently forgets everything he knows about how chemistry constrains which of those random arrangements is more or less likely to occur.
    • carbohydrates are complex
    • interactomes are complex
    Tour spends a lot of time in his talk trying to dazzle his audience with chemical jargon that he knows they won't understand, emphasising how complicated the chemistry of life is and how none of his scientific peers know what they are doing when they do work in the field of life origins. He's the only true expert, apparently. It's easy to do this when your audience is a lay audience containing next to no experts in his particular field of expertise.
    • counts total number of possible permutations of various combinations of smaller units (e.g. carbohydrates). But this assumes they come together randomly.
    I've already mentioned this one above. Somebody really ought to remind Tour that chemistry isn't random, because apparently he's forgotten that by this point in his talk.
    • information: complains that information can't be created (e.g. an order of molecules or bases in DNA).
    As soon as a speaker at a Creationist conference mentions the word "information" in reference to DNA or RNA, alarm bells ought to start to ring, because its a common Creationist lie that evolution cannot and does not create new information. Tour, without actually saying this in so many words, gives a dog whistle to Creationists in the know at this point in his talk. Of course, he doesn't actually back up his claim with evidence.
    • complains that information changes over time.
    This one is a bit odd, since most of his argument is based on what he says is the inability of chemicals to form the right structures to make life. Here, I think without realising it, he admits that lots of different structures are viable in certain living chemicals, like carbohydrates. Any of them would be suitable for life. However, he takes the opposite tack and tries to argue that variety is a negative here instead of a positive.
    • complains that, currently, chemists can't synthesize cells, but admits it might be done in future.
    No comment necessary, really. Tour's entire argument boils down to "making cells from chemical precursors is hard". Since he can't imagine how nature did it, he concludes that it can't be done. He also spends a lot of time attempting argument by ridicule, which must endear him to his colleagues. But at this point in his talk he lets slip that maybe chemists will eventually succeed in making cells artificially from scratch.

    If chemists can do it in such a relatively short time, it would seem natural to wonder about what nature might achieve given an entire planet and hundreds of millions of years.
    • Attempts argument by ridicule of a Nobel prize winner (Jack Szostak).
    This part of the talk is probably the low point. Tour makes a personal attack on Szostak, at one point flat-out saying that he lied in scientific papers. Reading up on this, I find that Tour claims that he later apologised personally to Szostak for his comments, admitting that he went too far. Certainly, Tour has publically retracted his claim that Szostak lied.

    Tour concludes with some general claims and comments:
    • Says that scientists mislead the public about how much progress has been made in origin of life chemistry.
    This has the whiff of conspiracy thinking about it, and at the end of the day Tour provides nothing much to back up his claim in this talk. No doubt it went down well with his Creationist audience. To make them even happier, Tour ends with a comforting lie:
    • Claims there is no discordance between scientific facts and statements in the bible.
    and, of course
    • closes with a bible quote.
    If there was any doubt about Tour's religious motivations at the start of his talk (which there really wouldn't have been given the circumstances of the talk itself), it is erased by the end.

    To summarise then, I return to where I started. Tour's argument in this talk is an argument from incredulity. Tour can't imagine how life arose naturally from non-living chemical precursors, so therefore he argues that it is impossible. One motivation for making that argument, and more generally from going on the Creationist speaking circuit, is undoubtedly Tour's personal religious views.
  21. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    You means you.
    That's what the evidence indicates.
    There's no evidence that points to anything like that.
    That's what I said. See above.

    But there is a vast array of possible things for us to do.
    A robot would be programmed by an outside entity. That's what you seem to be saying, that we're robots programmed by your God.
  22. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I said it isn't "random chance", so luck doesn't enter into it.
  23. foghorn Registered Member

    What's that's got to do with me? you said your not interested in people's ''labels''. I gave you two examples of you using them.

Share This Page