one question about objective reality you'd want answered

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by sonak, May 10, 2013.

  1. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ Yes, the time travel concept is rather contentious... but there are strong proponents for both sides of the argument. In any case, I don't see how it would change my life at all knowing if it did or not... thus, I wouldn't ask it.

    And as for sentient life as we know it, it's all about the probabilities... the right sized planet with the right amount of natural resources, positioned at just the right distance from a sun, with the appropriate number and size of other planets in the solar system for gravitational balance. Given how numerous the celestial bodies are, the odds are very much in favor of sentient life existing elsewhere. I'm pretty convinced it is, but... knowing it for certain doesn't change my life at all, so I'm not interested.

    And as for God, this is the "universal" question, irrespective of religious incarnations. I rather doubt one does exist according to human crafted scripture, based on the sheer cruelty that is "allowed" to exist, in addition to the enormous waste that the human race generates (all other life is far more conservative and co-exists well with the Earth, while we do far more harm than good). But "God" could be something we've never even imagined, an organized form of energy that initiated Big Bang and set the blueprints for how organic compounds may form. My desire is to know if there's any intelligent design in any shape or form... just to be sure. ;)
     
  2. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    I guess I just can't sympathize with the sentiment that "knowing doesn't change my life at all." What about knowing for the sake of knowing? Knowledge itself seems such a worthwhile goal to me! Perhaps half the things I know are useless: does it change my life that there is a planet made of diamond out there somewhere? Or that the image of Kermit the frog is on Mars? Or that the sun burns through the energy equivalent of a million elephants a second? Or that perhaps even macroscopic objects exist as probability waves and that the ozone layer smells of geraniums and that there are fish in the deep ocean with mirrors instead of lenses for eyes or that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs or that, because the number of molecules in the air is so great, with every breath we are breathing in air expelled during Cesar's last breath, and Jesus' last breath, and Aristotle's last breath? Probably not, but isn't it fun? How can you be interested only in things that directly affect you? What about the sheer joy of exploration?
    No, it isn't. It certainly wasn't for me, nor likely for many of the other millions of nonbelievers around the world. It is a popular question, but by no means is it universal. I doubt it would have ever occurred to me were it not forced on my by culture.
    So you do seek knowledge just for the sake of knowing? This seems contrary to your prior assertions...I want to assure you that I ask these questions respectfully. I am genuinely curious, I'm not trying to be mocking, though I realize that discussing such topics in this medium one can easily appear to be mocking. I've already had one person mistake a light-hearted post for contrarianism...
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    again, just to clarify, comments on those questions are fine, but that wasn't really the point of the thread. I'm not limiting you to "which of these particular questions would you most want to ask?"

    Now I'm thinking it was a bad idea to give examples.:lol:
     
  4. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The original topic question is the framework for my responses. Of course, I'd LOVE to know the answers to all of the questions but we were told we could ask only ONE. And by that token, I narrowed it down to what question would be most beneficial to my personal outcome.


    We are far too limited both in our cerebral processing power, the scope of our knowledge base at this point, and the limitations of our lifespans to really know for sure if there is a God or not. Yes, in looking at ONLY what human beings have written, it's fairly straight forward for pragmatists to say that there isn't a God. Frankly, what has been written doesn't come across as very divine to me at all. Religious people are highly adept at dynamically narrowing context when it suits them, to maintain a fixed premise that God exists (ignoring all of the inhumane things allegedly done by God in various scriptures).

    But... we can't know for certain what "started it all"... if it was some amazing physical manifestation beyond our knowledge at this point, or if there was some intelligence involved to some degree. It's easy to say "well if there was intelligence, wouldn't we be of concern?" Who knows for certain? We're too far removed to know. Anything is pure speculation without evidence. So, all I'm saying is that we cannot absolutely know for sure one way or the other, but being allowed to know it for certain with this "one shot deal" Q&A would be very satisfying for me.
     
  5. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    ^Ah, I understand better now why you responded the way you did. That makes total sense.

    I don't know, I guess the probability of a god seems really low to me -- obviously we can't go on evidence, but in the absence of evidence we could at least use logic, and there's not really any good logical basis for the existence of a god. I suppose if we removed the supernatural from the equation and phrased the question simply as "What is the origin of the universe?" I would find that more appealing.
     
  6. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ 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! :)
     
  7. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Admiral

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    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.
     
  8. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  9. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  10. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  12. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  13. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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.

    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.
     
  14. Timelord Victorious

    Timelord Victorious Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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?
     
  15. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    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.
     
  16. 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.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    "Who are you?"
    Exactly.
     
  18. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

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    I think you're mistaking yourself for everyone else.
     
  19. Tora Ziyal

    Tora Ziyal Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  20. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    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!