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Schizophretard

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PostSubject: Prove God Exists   Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:57 am

I'm curious why you all believe in God and I'll like you to do your best to prove God exists. Give me all your best arguments and explain them to me in the most orderly reasonable way you know how.

Also here is a few questions to make you think and I'll also like to see how you answer these:

Why is God needed to explain the existence of the universe?

Do you believe in one god or many and why?

What is your definition of God? (I'm not looking for a general definition but a specific definition that explains what you imagine God to be.)

Why are you not an atheist?

Do you believe scientific discoveries fill in the god of the gaps and make God less necessary or do you believe they help us understand God better and show God to be necessary? (please explain)

This essay is worth 50% of your final grade. Laughing
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stretmediq

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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:42 am

First I don't think anyone can "prove" God exists. Only show that the preponderence of the evidence, both empiricle and philosophical, favors the existence of God. Having said that here is my answer from a post I made at DD a long time ago:

If the world is fundamentally logical then it must have a logical reason for being. But is the world logical? I don't know. But I must assume it is because I can only think logically and it appears to behave logically and that is all the evidence I have to go on. And if it is that means it can be explained.

Assuming the world is logical it seems to me there are two and only two possibilites here; 1- the universe can explain itself because that reason for being is intrinsic to it. 2-the universe is contingent on something else that has a logical reason for being intrinsic to it.

Eternity is a fact I have no problem with but just pushing "causes" back in time (or even outside of time for that matter) one after another without end seems to me to be the wrong way to think about it. It is in my opinion nothing more than a linear version of a circular argument. The system may go back forever but what explains the system itself? Why should it exist at all?

Now do I have any reason to believe the universe can explain itself? Well what is the universe? Science tells me it is an energy field that exists in a continuum, formed in the big bang, that curves in various places and in various degrees. The greater the curvature the greater the energy. Also energy, according to Einstein, is equivilent to matter. There is an argument that presents itself here. If the outward expansion of the universe exactly balances the force of gravity trying to pull it all back in then the curvature of the universe as a whole would be zero. So matter then would also be equal to zero or nothing. That is the universe just popped into being like a virtual particle out of the void because of the inherent uncertainty arising from quantum physics.

This argument attempts to make a connection between something and nothing (if matter is just a form of energy it, too, is equivalent to zero or nothing) but in my opinion it actually fails because it uses the term zero (0) incorrectly.

To see for yourself what kind of problems can arise from the improper use of zero in mathematics study the problem below (the symbol ^2 denotes a square):

start with the equation: a=b
next multiplying both sides by a gives us a^2 =ab
subtract b^2 from both sides to keep it equal a^2-b^2 =ab-b^2
then factor (a+b)(a-b)=b(a-b)
now divide both sides by a-b (a+b)(a-b)/a-b=b(a-b)/a-b
giving us a+b=b.

If a=b and we make a equal to 1, then b also equals 1, but the last line of the equation states a+b=b or substituting 1 for a and b then 1+1=1 or 2=1. How can this be? If you go back and check all the steps there are no apparent mistakes in operation. This non-sensical answer arises when the equation (a+b)(a-b)=b(a-b) is divided by a-b. Until this particular operation is performed there are no difficulties. In fact the resolution of the problem up to that point equals an absolute value of zero. If a=b and both are equal to 1 then a-b is the same as 1-1=0 but dividing any number, even zero itself, by 0 (0/0 as is done here) is not allowed because it can lead to absurdities just like this if your not carefull (that point is the sole purpose of this demonstration, it is not meant to "prove" anything else so any other translation is a misinterpretation).

The reverse is also true. Zero divided by any number always equals zero:

0/2=0.

The fallacy here, it seems to me, is that the argument equates zero meaning "nothing" with zero meaning "no difference". In other words it is ambiguous. I could put an ounce of gold in each pan of a balance scale and it would indidcate zero meaning no difference but I would still have two ounces of gold.

Zero meaning nothing is not the same. You can not divide zero and get any answer other than zero. Half of nothing is still nothing. And since complexity seems to arise from simplicity not the other way around and this seems to be the simplest possible description of the universe (half the energy,gravity, is positive and attractive and goes this way- the other half, the force of the outward expansion, is negative and repulsive and goes the opposite way) I have no reason to assume there is any intrinsic reason for being to be found materially.

Besides even virtual particles seem to require an infusion of pre-existing energy in order to become stable and thus "real" and where did that come from? It appears for uncertainty to explain anything you must first have something to be uncertain about.

In fact the Polish mathematician Jacob Bronowski, author of the book The Ascent Of Man, found the term "uncertainty" so misleading he proposed using the word "tolerences" instead. After all that there are 36 possible outcomes on a roll of two 6 sided dice is certain it is only the actual value that comes up on any specific toss that is unpredictible. Our universe may be the same. Uncertainty may indeed have played a role in its formation and the way it turned out but where did the dice come from? Why is there uncertainty about nothing?

Now again asking how can something come from nothing? may be the wrong question. For the time being we could rephrase it and ask why is there something instead of nothing? Or what is it about nothingness that keeps it from being absolute?

If the world is logical then it is subject to the rules of logic. Terms in a sentence are qualified by the copula using a form of the words is or is not. By applying the words is not to the concept of being as a whole you will get the concept no being or nothingness. And since it applies to the whole it is absolute by definition.

Now here is where the contradiction arises. Ideas are not concrete things but that does not mean they are not something. I can distinguish between a 9 which is an odd number and a square and an 8 which is an even number and not a square. They have different properties and are therefore things in their own right as concepts. But concepts seem to require a mind to exist. That is they are contingent on an observer.

The example I use are stones and coins. I can hold 9 coins in one hand and 9 stones in the other but where is the number 9 apart from what I hold in my hand? I can sense no other property they have in common other than they are physical but changing the quantity doesn't seem to affect the physical characteristics of either group. So the number itself is not intrinsic to either group. I can understand the number 9 but I can not point to anything in nature and say this is the number 9 by itself. I can only think about it.

Nothingness is likewise a concept. After all we are thinking about it now. But if it is a concept then nothingness is not nothing. That is a paradox and in logic paradoxes can not exist. What happens when an irresistible force collides with an immovable object? An inconceivable event of course. Paradoxes must be dismissed as inconceivable and nothingness is a paradox therefore I must conclude a "state of nothingness" can not exist. Just saying "non-existence exists" is absurd. The only way to avoid a paradox is to have a state of existence instead of non-existence.

Absolute nothingness is to my mind an impossibility. Absolute means just that. Absolute. No properties at all. Not even potential. That means it can not even be thought of as there would literally be nothing to think about (and no one to think it anyway). But, again, since we are thinking about it nothingness can not be absolute. Nothingness is the only thing we can think of in completely negative terms except for the fact it can be thought of.

Also in logic things must follow or you have a non-sequiter. In the syllogism itself it is the middle term that unites the major and minor premises and leads to a conclusion. In life it is the DNA passed from one generation to the next that permits the evolution of species. And in pool it is the energy transmitted from the stick to the balls that allows the game to be played.

So, following from the definitions just established, whatever that fundemental state is it must also be a concept as that is the only thing being and nothingness have in common. That is, to be clear, the concept of nothingness exists but is self-contradictory and therefore unstable. It must collapse into a state that is stable and non-contradictory. This is not an assertion anything came from absolute nothingness which I hope to have shown I have no reason to believe is possible. And because concepts must be observed by a mind that fundemental concept must be self-referential as there is nothing else to see it. That means it can say I AM, which is the same self-referential foundation of the mind we all share, and thus hold Itself in existence. Therefore it is a self aware observer and since it is fundemantal it is prime. Therfore it is the Prime Observer.

Things happen because they can happen and they can happen because those things don't result in paradoxes and cancel out. Likewise the requirement It be completely logical also requires the "Prime Observer" to be completely neutral so as to avoid contradictions that would negate Its own existence. A perfect "God" that is both all knowing and all powerful could only create a world that is perfect because to do otherwise would be imperfect. Since the world is not perfect we may conclude that while the the "Prime Observer" is prime it is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. That is It is just an observer. Nothing more. (for a more detailed account of "God" and Its relationship with the world check this link. http://www.positivedeism.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=2699 )

In that case worlds may just be an epiphenomenon that arise spontaneously for no other reason than the properties they display don't cancel out so they can be observed. Explaining how a "God" (a word I try to avoid because it is too ambiguous) with no influence on the world could "cause" that same world.

Although for the reasons just stated I see no evidence the universe could explain itself after it forms it could easily evolve guided by nothing more than its own internal dynamics. So it would look and behave as though it were fundementally material even if it isn't.

Does this match what I see in the world? Yes. Einstein showed that matter is just energy in particle form. Erwin Schrodinger then showed that particles can be manifested as a wave. Lastly Max Born showed that waves are just probability distributions which are mathematical in nature and mathematics is just the logical organization of numbers which are concepts.

Some materialists argue that numbers are just manifestations of processes in the brain we impose upon the world. But I have no reason to accept that either because it too is a circular argument. You can't just assert the brain and its processes are material in order to prove the brain and its processes are material. If the universe and the things in it are basically concept then so is the brain. The brain is an organ made of tissue built of cells composed of organelles fashioned from molecules that are conglomerations of atoms which are accumulations of particles formed of energy...

A better tactic I think would be to counter the argument by saying it must be wrong because it holds paradoxes can not exist yet we see paradoxes all around us especially in physics. For example quantum theory says particles are also waves isn't that a paradox? Maybe. Maybe not. To know for sure that was a true paradox and not an illusion that results from our limited experiance we would have to have a complete theory of everything. But we don't. So we must regard any theory that asserts anything paradoxical as incomplete which physics is. In fact there are theories that do seem to suggest wave/particle duality is an illusion (Julian Barbour's quantum state theory of the universe for instance.)

Lastly the phrase I think therefore I am is an observation. But that observation can also be put in the form of a syllogism:

I am a thinking being.
In order to think a being must exist.
Therefore I must exist.

Because self awareness seems to incorporate both experiance and reason the assertion that one can "mistake the things of logic for the logic of things" is a false dichotomy because there is no difference between them. The observer is logic manifest.

Asserting God as a solution to a problem is called the argument from incredulity. The trouble with it is that answer does not follow from the problem to be solved. Ancient people couldn't explain life so God must have created it. I don't think I've done that here. The conclusion that there must be a "Prime Observer" follows directly from the premises. It is not something I just threw in. In fact as I look back on it I don't see how I could come to any other reasonable conclusion"
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:01 am

Here is a companion post to it also from DD:

One of the most common questions asked of Deists who doubt divine intervention is how can a God incapable of interferring in the world "create" that same world? The short answer is God doesn't "create" the world but It does cause the world.

This does not mean the world is not contingent on God. I have written before why I think a Deistic God probably exists so I won't go over it again here but I will elaborate a little on why I think it unnecessary to think of God as an active "creator".

I call myself a "philosophical idealist" because I think the world is fundamentally concept. This appears to be congruent with the way quantum mechanics describes the "physical" world. Albert Einstein demonstrated that matter is just a form of energy. Then Erwin Schrodinger showed energy is manifested as a wave. Finally Max Born proved that waves are just how mathematics distributes probabilities.

If the universe is nothing more than probability waves manifested as space/time then it could "precipitate" naturally out of what I call the "Prime Observer". Utilizing a technique first developed by the French mathematician Jean Baptiste Fourier complex ideas may be produced by adding together many different frequency waves making one wave with a distinctive shape. If all possible waveforms, positive and negative, are added together the resulting shape would be a single flat line (not no line).

As the source of all being the Prime Observer then could be thought of as a perfectly smooth self-referential concept analogous to a sphere (remember this is just a device to help us think about something far beyond our experiance). God, then, would be the simplest possible concept but contain within It all the complexities that can ever be.

Imagine a perfect sphere. "Ripples" could emerge soley by chance on the surface of such an object simply because it is possible for them to. As long as they don't occur simultaneously and cancel out such probability waves may arise unprompted. If the crest of a wave equals its trough then there is no net difference in the overall geometry of that sphere. That is there is no change in it as a whole.

Applying this to the world we see around us we could say any combination of waveforms that don't cancel out could spontaneously emerge (as long as they are balanced) simply because that which we call "God" is aware of them. Things happen because they can happen and they can happen because those things don't result in contradiction. Thus since all possibilities are already incorporated within It God does not need to "cause" anything. As long as the chance of them occurring does not equal zero they will happen all by themselves. This has the potential of solving several problems among them:

1- It shows how God can be the source of all being and remain immutable.

2- It could explain why our universe is predominately matter by saying we could have a sister universe that is mostly anti-matter.

3- Why the world seems designed for life by holding all possible worlds may emerge including those that are barren and we just happen to be in one of the few that has physical laws that allow the formation of planets that can support life. Kurt Godel pointed out the philosophical difficulties of mathematical descriptions of the world based on axioms. Why these rules? Why not others? May be those questions can simply be avoided if all non-contradictory axiomatic models, manifested as universes, are possible.

4- If Deism is true why would God would abandon It's creation? The world was not "created" therefore it was not "abandoned". You can't blame the evils in the world on God.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If the world is basically concept it must be observed and, therefore, God must exist but that is not the same as saying the universe must be "created". If that is true then there is no divine purpose to the world. It exists simply because it can. However that does not mean our lives are meaningless. Only that we are responsible for creating that meaning for ourselves.
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:28 pm

Schizophretard wrote:
I'm curious why you all believe in God and I'll like you to do your best to prove God exists. Give me all your best arguments and explain them to me in the most orderly reasonable way you know how.

I don't think that anyone can prove that god exists however IMO there's a lot of evidence that points to something that's worthy of the title of god.

First of all, both science and religion point to a oneness that exists as a basis for the world. Also I view the organization that is ubiquitous in the cosmos as a type of intelligence. So the combination of the organizing intelligence and the oneness of all things is what I call god.

Schizophretard wrote:
Why is God needed to explain the existence of the universe?

I don't think it's needed, but the terminology does help to put things in perspective IMO.

Schizophretard wrote:
Do you believe in one god or many and why?

One god. I think it goes back to the oneness that I was talking about earlier.

Schizophretard wrote:
What is your definition of God? (I'm not looking for a general definition but a specific definition that explains what you imagine God to be.)

The totality of existence as well as the possibilty of it.

Schizophretard wrote:
Why are you not an atheist?

Because I believe in god. Wink Smile

Schizophretard wrote:
Do you believe scientific discoveries fill in the god of the gaps and make God less necessary or do you believe they help us understand God better and show God to be necessary? (please explain)

I think they help us to better understand god.

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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Sun Oct 28, 2007 3:27 pm

Schizophretard wrote:
I'm curious why you all believe in God and I'll like you to do your best to prove God exists. Give me all your best arguments and explain them to me in the most orderly reasonable way you know how.

I think there is minimal evidence in the natural universe for the argument by design. The other reason is pure emotional hope.
Quote :

Why is God needed to explain the existence of the universe?

He isn't. But as stated above, design is a slight argument for its creation by God.
Quote :

Do you believe in one god or many and why?

One whole Truth, one God.

Quote :
What is your definition of God? (I'm not looking for a general definition but a specific definition that explains what you imagine God to be.)

Truth is my god/God, even if there is no super-sentient spiritual deity.

Quote :
Why are you not an atheist?
For the reasons stated above that I'm a deist. I will say (and have often said) that deism and atheism are the only two reasonable positions on the existence of God.

Quote :
Do you believe scientific discoveries fill in the god of the gaps and make God less necessary or do you believe they help us understand God better and show God to be necessary? (please explain)

Knowledge can only promote a better understanding of Truth, and therefore, God.
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Sun Oct 28, 2007 4:38 pm

What is God? If you're asking me if I believe in a conscious individual being whom willfully created the universe then no, I do not believe in God. Whatever God is - if it indeed exists - it is most surely beyond our limited perceptive abilities to comprehend.

I regard the mystery that is universe, and the obvious miracle that any of this exists at all as reason enough to believe in a greater order and firmament to existence, but I expect nothing beyond the question. The question is its own answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:57 am

Watch.
Watch maker.

Gee that was the easiest A I ever got. lol!
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Mon Oct 29, 2007 10:27 pm

Quote :
prove God exists
Obviously, I can't prove God exists in the denotative sense of pointing to Him/Her/It. As an Agnostic, I used to respond that God had to prove Himself to me. I have since given up on a direct revelation, though. Now I can only attempt to "prove" the God axiom in the manner of a mathematical theorem: a) The universe exists; that physical existence is temporal [per Big Bang theory]; therefore the universe is not eternal. b)The universe is a thing; No-thing comes from nothing; therefore some-thing existed prior to the universe. c) The universe exists; but it had a beginning; therefore the universe is not self-existent. d) I define that which is Eternal, pre-existent and self-existent as God . . . Such a "formal" proof can go on and on to establish a long list of characteristics defining God. But it still doesn't prove anything in an empirical sense. Consequently, the existence of such a deity must be accepted or rejected as either a self-evident axiom, or as nonsense. Ultimately, according to Gdel's Incompleteness Theorem, God may be a "formally undecidable proposition".

Quote :
Why is God needed to explain the existence of the universe?
The physical universe (including any multiverses) is not eternal or self-existent, thus not all-inclusive. Therefore the existence of the cosmos can be explained only by reference to a larger context. God is the ultimate context.


Quote :
Do you believe in one god or many and why?
The only God-worth-believing-in is all-encompassing, and all-inclusive. Anything less would be a demi-god.


Quote :
What is your definition of God?
In a word: God "IS"!


Quote :
Why are you not an atheist?
Because I am not "without God". God is the linchpin of my Deist worldview. Without that essential link, the whole thing falls apart.


Quote :
Do you believe scientific discoveries fill in the god of the gaps

In my worldview, God is the glue that fills all the gaps in my understanding. God is the tie that binds it all together into one whole comprehensive system. As science reveals more of Nature, the more I see of Super-nature. In recent years I have compiled a trove of scientific evidence that points in the general direction of God, but not directly at Her (nobody has that many fingers). God is not a part that can be examined under a microscope; God is the whole which can only be viewed with the mind's eye. : cyclops
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:40 am

Gnomon wrote:
Consequently, the existence of such a deity must be accepted or rejected as either a self-evident axiom, or as nonsense. Ultimately, according to Gdel's Incompleteness Theorem, God may be a "formally undecidable proposition".

Very well put! This is something that I've been struggling to put into words for some time now.

My personal approach to theology is more a "theology of nature" rather than a "natural theology".

In other words I've applied divine qualities to what I see in nature (which is a more common approach in the east) rather than looking for divinity somewhere "out there" in nature (which is a more common approach in the west amoung deists and theists alike).

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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:19 pm

I also do not think that God can be proven to exist - and, I think atheisits, among others, have long used the false argument that all questions need answers and proof.

Here is a post I recently made on another Forum:

Quote :
I've been thinking a lot lately about "What is faith"? I've probably oversimplified, as usual, to boil down my answer to "belief without proof".

Having said that, I then ask myself, "As a Deist, do I have faith?". And my answer, for myself, is "Yes". I see what could be considered "proof" all around me in Nature, but I still must make (I believe) a logical connection from Nature to it coming from God, the creator of the universe. I believe, without proof, (I'm calling this "faith"), that God caused the universe to be created, and that creation has evolved into what we see around us - Nature and the Cosmos.

For example, atheists see Nature all around them too, but do not believe in God, so they have not made the connection that I think is very logical. Dawkins chalks up God creating what we have now as a "statistical improbability", but I wonder how he thinks he can apply statistics to something when our greatest scientists haven't even figured out what "rules" the universe exists by - e.g., scientists now think all the matter and energy that we know of only makes up 5% of the universe. Dark Matter, whatever that is, makes up 25% of the universe and Dark Energy, whatever that is, makes up 70% of the universe. Dawkins applying statistics to the unknown, really makes no sense. Hitchens has said that we do not "need" God, and Deists "put away their childish thoughts" and realized this. As usual, the atheist argument is entertaining and sells books, but does not make sense.

Christians, on the other hand, say they have "faith" also. They have faith in things for which they have no proof. But I ask, "Is Christian faith reasonable?". Is it reasonable for the Bible to be true when it contains so many inconsistancies? Is it reasonable for the petty, vindicative, war and killing happy God of the Old Testament to be the same entity that created the rules of the universe? Is it reasonable for "The Church" to require faith with no proof on ideas they made up hundreds of years after Jesus lived (like the Trinity), or faith that they are right when the Gnostic Christians state they have become the antithesis of Jesus' teachings? No, faith with no proof has led Christians down the wrong path.

So, is "faith" bad? Yes and no. I believe faith, when reasonable, can be the best we have available to us - there is too much that cannot be proven. However, faith based on unreasonableness, is a terrible waste of one's life and should not happen.

So, do bad things happen because you do not have enough faith? No. Does having faith mean you are following the right path? Only if that faith is reasonable.

This has been identified as the difference between "reasoned faith" and "blind faith".
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:02 am

Schizophretard wrote:
I'm curious why you all believe in God and I'll like you to do your best to prove God exists. Give me all your best arguments and explain them to me in the most orderly reasonable way you know how.
Book Review
I recently read the new book by the life-long atheist Antony Flew, THERE IS A GOD. For those not familiar with him, Flew is an 80+ British philosopher who literally wrote the book on philosophical Atheism about 50 years ago. Ironically and inadvertently---due to his systematic dismantling of traditional Theistic arguments---the Preface says that, "Flew facilitated the rebirth of rational theism". But in 2004 he committed Atheist Apostasy with his announcement that he had "converted" to Deism. This pre-death "flip-flop" was ridiculed by Atheists as a foxhole conversion, and by Theists as too little, too late. That's because Flew only turned 90 degrees instead of 180: although he has some newfound respect for Christianity, his current beliefs fall into the category of Rational Deism.

In his 1979 volume, A DICTIONARY OF PHILOSOPHY, under the "Atheism" entry, he said, "Many modern thinkers, while acknowledging the force of such [atheist] arguments, see them as grounds for a radical reappraisal of the function of the concept of God in the economy of human thought, rather than for outright atheism". He may have sensed the rise of the modern Deist movement, but was not then persuaded.

Some of you might enjoy discovering what kind of "proofs" could convert a world-famous Atheist to Deism. He didn't find any startling new evidence---other than perhaps the emerging sciences of information and the evolving picture of Cosmology. It's more like he just turned a corner, and all the old arguments and evidences were seen in a new light. As a bonus, the book includes an appendix with a critique of the "New Atheism" of Dawkins, Dennett, et al.
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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:08 am

Looks interesting.

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PostSubject: Re: Prove God Exists   Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:54 am

The universe has natural laws that are never broken and these laws are finely tuned to make the universe function in an orderly fashion. This perfect law and order of the universe makes it a rational world where the scientific method works. If the universe lacked either law or order it would be an unpredictable world with random events constantly happening. If I never seen the United States government but read it's laws and seen them enforced. I wouldn't know the government existed but it would be more reasonable to assume it did then to assume it didn't. This is the same reason I believe in God. I see law and order and assume that someone wrote these laws and enforces them.

Also, it takes intelligence to figure out the universe and none of us are intelligent enough to figure it all out to the point that we could simulate it perfectly. If the universe wasn't created with intelligence then we would be smarter than the first cause because no creator has no intelligence. A godless universe should be something simple and we all should be able to figure it out but instead we live in an extremely complex masterpiece that we will never fully comprehend. How can no god produce a better universe than we can in a simulation? If there is no god then we are the most supreme creature known and as the supreme beings we should be able to easily create a universe better than this godless one. A universe created by no god would look the same as one created by a brain dead one. We are not brain dead so lets make a better universe. If this doesn't look like the kind of universe created by a god then what would one created by a god look like?
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