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Old May 11 2013, 05:41 AM   #46
Gary7
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

^ Yeah, that would be the best question to ask... I think you've nailed it for me.

"What is the full origin of the universe, meaning how it came to be, how long ago, and in linear/non-linear time?"

Because, if there was any intelligent design involved, you'd be told... and otherwise, you'd also learn about the full mechanics of how it came to be. Win, win!
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Old May 11 2013, 08:52 AM   #47
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

More than I would like to find out if there is life on other planets I would like the exact origins of life on Earth to be solved. If we know that I think we could determine how likely it is for life to be start elsewhere in the Universe.
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Old May 11 2013, 12:44 PM   #48
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
Why wouldn't they be answerable? I assume we're asking the question and just being bestowed the truth; we don't need to be able to prove it.
Metaphysical questions have nothing to do with "objective reality" as the OP put it. By definition they are metá ta physiká, beyond nature or reality. They might have objective answers, or they might have not. Beside, some questions don't necessarily have answers that we can understand, or that makes sense in our frame of reference.

"Question: Is there a God?" "Answer: Bu."

It might be "true" by any definition that applies to metaphysical questions, but it's meaningless for our current framework of understanding.
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Old May 11 2013, 01:21 PM   #49
Gov Kodos
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
Why wouldn't they be answerable? I assume we're asking the question and just being bestowed the truth; we don't need to be able to prove it.
Metaphysical questions have nothing to do with "objective reality" as the OP put it. By definition they are metá ta physiká, beyond nature or reality. They might have objective answers, or they might have not. Beside, some questions don't necessarily have answers that we can understand, or that makes sense in our frame of reference.

"Question: Is there a God?" "Answer: Bu."

It might be "true" by any definition that applies to metaphysical questions, but it's meaningless for our current framework of understanding.
Yes, if there were a metaphysical reality, and should it impinge on or become revealed to a person, they'd likely be much like the guy going back into Plato's Cave. He'd be unable to make the inhabitants able to understand what he saw (assuming he could make heads or tales of it himself) and the inhabitants would probably lock him up for a madman or idiot.
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Old May 11 2013, 03:26 PM   #50
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
RoJoHen wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
There is no way of knowing if (and no reason to think that) your first two questions, just like any other metaphysical question, are even theoretically answerable.
Why wouldn't they be answerable? I assume we're asking the question and just being bestowed the truth; we don't need to be able to prove it.
Metaphysical questions have nothing to do with "objective reality" as the OP put it. By definition they are metá ta physiká, beyond nature or reality. They might have objective answers, or they might have not. Beside, some questions don't necessarily have answers that we can understand, or that makes sense in our frame of reference.

"Question: Is there a God?" "Answer: Bu."

It might be "true" by any definition that applies to metaphysical questions, but it's meaningless for our current framework of understanding.

I think it depends on a definition of God. You don't think the question of "is there a God?" can be answerable no matter WHAT the definition is?

So if I asked "is there an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who created the universe?" you don't think that's a question about reality?

To me, "is there a God?" is no more theoretically unanswerable than "are there unicorns?" once you can get the definition of "God" down, especially since many of the traits of a "classical" God are contradictory with each other.

I'm just trying to clarify if you think the question is unanswerable based on poor definitions or INHERENTLY unanswerable for some reason I'm not understanding.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:02 PM   #51
Timelord Victorious
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

I think it depends on a definition of God. You don't think the question of "is there a God?" can be answerable no matter WHAT the definition is?

So if I asked "is there an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being who created the universe?" you don't think that's a question about reality?

To me, "is there a God?" is no more theoretically unanswerable than "are there unicorns?" once you can get the definition of "God" down, especially since many of the traits of a "classical" God are contradictory with each other.

I'm just trying to clarify if you think the question is unanswerable based on poor definitions or INHERENTLY unanswerable for some reason I'm not understanding.
Your definition of God makes it incredibly easy.

A god who is omnipotent and omniscient is outright impossible.
If you are omniscient you know the outcome of every permutation of reality and there is nothing you can do to change it you can't possibly be omnipotent.
And don't even bring "free will" of humans into the game which will throw another wrench into that argument.

And any omnibenevolent god can't exist simply because of the problem of evil. Evil things exist in the world, therefore no omnibenevolent god, unless that god is not omnipotent but then why worship him anyway?

Compared to that an invisible unicorn is infinitely more probable.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:02 PM   #52
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

I guess it would be the basic philosophical question "why is there something instead of nothing".
If I could ask another question I would ask why complexity emerges, i.e. why the whole is always more than the sum of its parts. From a physical point of view there are just a bunch of particles and if you add a few ones to a mix something entirely new emerges. You add a proton and you get a new chemical element with totally new properties, you throw some carbon molecules together and you get life, you have the DNA code with just four elements and rearranging it leads to a variety of lifeforms, you get a complex lifeform and it has consciousness which is seemingly unexplainable, a bunch of great apes create culture which is again more than just the sum of the individual apes.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:17 PM   #53
Timelord Victorious
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

horatio83 wrote: View Post
I guess it would be the basic philosophical question "why is there something instead of nothing".
Define nothing. In my book nothing has always at least one measurable property, namely the absence of somethign and therefore can't be absolutely nothing which by definition cannot be. We can't even define nothing without using words that describe something existing. It just doesn't work.
If you define nothing as an absolute vacuum I would recommend Laurence Krauss' "A universe from nothing". He doesn't have an ultimate claim to be right but has a reasonably good explanation.

If I could ask another question I would ask why complexity emerges, i.e. why the whole is always more than the sum of its parts. From a physical point of view there are just a bunch of particles and if you add a few ones to a mix something entirely new emerges. You add a proton and you get a new chemical element with totally new properties, you throw some carbon molecules together and you get life, you have the DNA code with just four elements and rearranging it leads to a variety of lifeforms, you get a complex lifeform and it has consciousness which is seemingly unexplainable, a bunch of great apes create culture which is again more than just the sum of the individual apes.
I would say because any time you have two fundamental particles that can interact with each other in some way, which physicists call a force you have that interaction become a bit of information, even if only for a tiny fraction of time.
All of this requires the input of energy. Without any energy everything decays into a less complex state which we call entropy. Which some scientists believe will happen eventually to the whole universe.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:22 PM   #54
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

My question would be something practical.

Like what is the most definite clean and affordable form of energy to solve the worlds hunger and resource problems?

And how can we overcome the limitations of Einstein's relativity to explore space Star Trek style if it is at all possible?
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Old May 11 2013, 04:30 PM   #55
horatio83
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

Timelord_Victorious wrote: View Post
Define nothing. In my book nothing has always at least one measurable property, namely the absence of somethign and therefore can't be absolutely nothing which by definition cannot be. We can't even define nothing without using words that describe something existing. It just doesn't work.
If you define nothing as an absolute vacuum I would recommend Laurence Krauss' "A universe from nothing". He doesn't have an ultimate claim to be right but has a reasonably good explanation.
This thread is about questions which we might not be able to answer yet or ever but which are in principle answerable. This is why I am not eager to play any epistemological games, of course nothing cannot be observed.
Nothing is a philosophical notion and not a physical one (physics is about something, stuff that exists) which is why a philosophically illiterate physicist like Krauss fails at dealing with it. His vacuum of quantum fluctuations out of which an entire universe emerges is not nothing just because there is no matter in it (yet). Quantum fluctuations are something.

Perhaps this question is too metaphysical, perhaps it is not answerable. I don't know. But it is at least to me the most basic and fundamental question which exists.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:31 PM   #56
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

God's existence is apparent to all. The universe shows that there must be a Creator. So I would want to know about God's self-existence, His aseity.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:31 PM   #57
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
As to why they wouldn't be answerable, that depends on how the question is framed. You can define god in a way that can be tested and disproved [...] But you can also define god in such a way that his existence is unfalsifiable, and therefore not within the realm of science (or reality).
Exactly.
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Old May 11 2013, 04:38 PM   #58
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
God's existence is apparent to all. The universe shows that there must be a Creator. So I would want to know about God's self-existence, His aseity.
I think you're mistaking yourself for everyone else.
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Old May 11 2013, 05:00 PM   #59
Tora Ziyal
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
God's existence is apparent to all. The universe shows that there must be a Creator. So I would want to know about God's self-existence, His aseity.
Wow.

I (mostly) believe in God's existence, but I wouldn't dream of claiming that that existence is apparent to all. It isn't even always apparent to me.
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Old May 11 2013, 05:08 PM   #60
JarodRussell
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Re: one question about objective reality you'd want answered

Captain McBain wrote: View Post
God's existence is apparent to all. The universe shows that there must be a Creator. So I would want to know about God's self-existence, His aseity.
Who created the creator?

Why do you accept that God basically created himself, but the universe did not create itself? In order to create the universe, God must be even more complex than the universe itself (he has to know it all and then some). Why do you accept that something even more complex than the universe came out of NOTHING, but you can't accept that the universe came out of nothing?

Explain!
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