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A neutral thread about big bang vs creation (at least by intention)

 
 
Cyracuz
 
Reply Mon 28 Nov, 2011 08:48 pm
Let's start with a few simple statements:
-From our perspective as human beings, reality appears to be a process.

--We can describe this process simply in terms of a primal force that sets it all into motion. Conceptually, this isn't hard to grasp. It is merely an extension of the processes we experience as driving our lives from one moment to the next.

1. We can call this process evolution, if we like to think of it as self-sustaining and self-regulating. In that case, we will likely call the primal force the big bang.
2. We can call it creation, if we like to think of it the primal force as an entity.

In both 1 and 2 we form the our understanding by extending the processes we experience backwards as far as we are able. It is important to remember that in both 1 and 2 we are dealing with our human experience. In both cases we form explanations based on the information we choose to emphasize in the interest of coherency.

So far, big bang and creation are similar; two stories that seek to explain the origins of the universe.
So what are the differences?
One is obvious:

The big bang theory appeals to those who value facts about physical phenomenon as the most important information to form a coherent understanding from; we can say that they think "how" is a more important question than "why". A common belief among them is that human perception cannot be quantified, and therefore has to be disregarded to form an objective understanding. It lies at the core of modern physics.

Creation appeals to those who value the emotional impact of ideas and feel more inclined to seek coherency that way. They think "why" is more important than "how". A common factor here is that they don't share the belief that objectivity is important, and therefore will assign familiar attributes to abstract phenomena to form an emotional attachment to them.

This outlines the breach between theists and atheists. It is a matter of how we conceptualize the information available to us; which process we select. Intellectual or emotional.

Think about it. Any person with a little knowledge of physics has no problems with incorporating the processes and facts described in the big bang theory in his own belief in god. Similarly, an atheist can read the genesis and understand how it can be interpreted as a metaphorical, perhaps poetic, story about the unfolding of the universe. On some conceptual level the ideas are very similar.
Perhaps this is because the man who first proposed what would be called the big bang theory was a priest and physicist named Georges Lemaitre. He uncovered facts, and arranged them in a way that seemed natural to him based on a story he already knew; a conceptual narrative of progression that fits into our human perception.

Does it matter what you call it? "Let there be light" or "a singularity exploding 13,7 billion years ago" is equally incomprehensible to a human mind.
Seven days or billions of years... I can't conceive of billions of years, and what I take away from that is that it happened over time, which is also communicated when you say it happened over seven days.
"God made man and created woman from his body" or "single celled organism multiplies by cytogenesis"... the gist is the same.

This whole debate is like the Planet of the Apes. Some like the 1968 version, and some prefer the one from 2001. But it is the same story. The newer one just looks more real.
And that, finally, is my point. The whole issue is one of language. New knowledge gave us new words and concepts, but what did we make of it? Just another version of the same conceptual development that can be found in the earliest creation myths. A fact that is conveniently omitted by the followers of either theory is that neither actually work. Both leave us with paradoxes and questions unanswered. The only difference is which questions, which paradoxes.

 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 12:56 am
@Cyracuz,
You make some good points. Remember that we are not very far in time from what used to be a "continuous creation theory", which IMO may yet rise again in some hyper-dimensional or multi-versal form. i.e.Don't underestimate the efforts of physicists to go beyond what at present appears to be a "singularity" which is imbued with significance for creationists.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 02:59 am
I see a couple of problems here. One is that some scientists apparently accept "the big bang," and claim that there is evidence for it. I'm insufficiently sophisticated in scientific knowledge to say whether or not that is true, but if it is, then you're in essence comparing apples to oranges in that there is no equivalent evidence for a creation.

But, in fact, you may not be comparing apples to oranges. The term "big bang" and the concept were invented by a cleric, a Belgian priest of the Roman Catholic church. For some religiously minded people, the concepts are not incompatible in that they see the "big bang" as the act of creation, after which "god" has allowed the ramification of matter to proceed without interference. So, in fact, you may be comparing, say, golden delicious apples to rome apples.
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rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 05:46 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:
Does it matter what you call it? "Let there be light" or "a singularity exploding 13,7 billion years ago" is equally incomprehensible to a human mind. Seven days or billions of years... I can't conceive of billions of years, and what I take away from that is that it happened over time, which is also communicated when you say it happened over seven days.
"God made man and created woman from his body" or "single celled organism multiplies by cytogenesis"... the gist is the same.
If all that concerns you is thinking about something, then maybe the gist is the same. But if what you seek is functional information which helps you better understand nature and interact with the physics of the Universe, then they are radically different.

Also, from a physics perspective, the Big Bang isn't a primal force that started everything, it's the universe we live in.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 06:31 am
@rosborne979,
A synthesis of scientific thinking about the origins of the universe, is also a basis by which valid predictions can be made. Otherwise science is just sitting there with its thumbs up its ass waiting for something supernatural to happen.

Creation "Theory" is just a manifestation of "And then a miracle happens"and has been built to intervene with our really tough equations.
Thomasian teachings make as good and acceptable (to science) basis for the origin of the Universe. His was a transcendental God serving as a symbol of a cause that cannot be fathomed in our minds. It sounds great and tries to cover all the bases but, as most scientists say. "SO FUCKIN WHAT?"


In reality, only CReationists have a critical need for the intervention guy in the sky. They seek control of their minions by a document they claim is inerrant.
Even if one isnt involved in science , one knows that the Bible is allegory surrounded in myth. Its a beautiful piece of literature in places but it has absolutely no use as a scientific tool, except for the folks who try to push SCientific Creationism. Then they do all kinds of back flips to correlate Biblical verses with some scientific observation.
The two worldviews only come into actual conflict when the Creationists attempt to spread their brand of thinking into many of our public institutions. If theyd just keep to themselves and "publish" their own version of reality, I dont think Id give a ****. You dont find any scientists picketing Bob Jones University or Ave MAria with signs claiming inerrancy of science. Often,We do, however, see the Creationists picketing public museums whenever a big dinosaur or Cosmology exhibit opens
0 Replies
 
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 08:41 am
Thanks for the responses guys.

Already, as the work with a unified field theory progressing there are implications that are just waiting to be "imbued with significance for creationists". Some describe the unified field as a singularity of consciousness. It is not a big leap to name it god and start worshipping it. I guess those who form their understanding on an emotional basis will not resist the urge.

The way I understand it, there isn't directly evidence for the big bang. The theory is derived from a series of facts, and there is evidence to support those facts.
But once again, those who ask how the universe came to be thinks that is significant, while those who ask why remain wanting, and are more likely to emphasize what they can relate to emotionally.

And yes, if we seek functional information that helps us better understand nature, we would do well to turn to a physics book and not to the bible. Again, the difference is the questions they address. "How" and "why". Science can answer how the sun rises every morning, but it cannot explain why, as in what is the grand purpose of it all. But, unless you believe in god, neither can religion.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 08:55 am
I'm going to step in with some intellectual asperity here. "God" does not necessarily explain the why except for very uncritical intelligences. If one is aware of the extent of the cosmos, the proposition that it was all created to house us, to house this slightly better than simian species living on a small planet orbiting an unprepossessing star in the galactic boondocks is more than a bit hard to swallow.
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 09:10 am
@Cyracuz,
Cyracuz wrote:

And yes, if we seek functional information that helps us better understand nature, we would do well to turn to a physics book and not to the bible. Again, the difference is the questions they address. "How" and "why". Science can answer how the sun rises every morning, but it cannot explain why, as in what is the grand purpose of it all. But, unless you believe in god, neither can religion.

Isn't the question of "why", as relates to the Universe, just an expression of anthropomorphism? After all, there doesn't need to be a "why" unless we ascribe human characteristics to things. The whole question of "why", begs the question.
wayne
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 09:34 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
If one is aware of the extent of the cosmos, the proposition that it was all created to house us, to house this slightly better than simian species living on a small planet orbiting an unprepossessing star in the galactic boondocks is more than a bit hard to swallow.


I think the difficulty in swallowing depends largely on perspective. The extent of the cosmos appears as such to the human mind, there is no reason to assume we are the final intelligence.
What is it that makes us slightly better than simian, if not in part the ability to ask why? From such perspective, the concept there is no why is also more than a little hard to swallow.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 09:41 am
@rosborne979,
Is the question, how, any less anthropomorphic than why?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 09:53 am
@wayne,
How do you know the other great apes, or even the monkeys, don't ask why? Perhaps you find it difficult to swallow that why is not a relevant question, but that's hardly conclusive evidence that the question must be relevant. My remarks were, at any event, specifically directed toward those who answer the question why with theistic claims about our having been created to fulfill some idiosyncratic and unknowable purpose of the putative deity.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 10:08 am
@wayne,
wayne wrote:
Is the question, how, any less anthropomorphic than why?
Yes. The question of "how" can be limited to methodological naturalism (scientific methodology). The question of "why" can only be limited within certain instances, and not within the instance of "causes of the Universe" which implies something external to what science can measure.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 10:17 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
How do you know the other great apes, or even the monkeys, don't ask why?


True, I don't know that they don't.

Quote:
Perhaps you find it difficult to swallow that why is not a relevant question, but that's hardly conclusive evidence that the question must be relevant.


I was going to say that why I pay my bills is just as relevant as how I pay my bills, but you may be onto something, as far as logic goes.
However, the question, why, is relevant to the concept of freewill.

Quote:
those who answer the question why with theistic claims about our having been created to fulfill some idiosyncratic and unknowable purpose of the putative deity.


I think that's to be expected, it's really the only hypotheses one might invoke to answer the question why. The problem, as I see it, arises when they also try to use the same hypotheses to answer the question, how.
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 10:33 am
@rosborne979,
Good answer Ros, but I'm not sure I agree.
It seems to me that the question,how, goes hand in hand with cause, the question why.
It is not enough for me to know how that thing flew off there like that, I need to know why it flew off there like that, cause.
Your description seems to limit how to effect, which appears ok, but the effect is entirely dependent on human perception.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 11:00 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
"God" does not necessarily explain the why except for very uncritical intelligences.


As rosborne suggests, it might be a matter of anthropomorphism. To ask "why" in this context in the first place suggests a human characteristic to the issue that isn't neccesarily justified. But that is how we attach to things emotionally, isn't it? We create some familiarity to it that we can relate to, and when it comes to all things not considered human, that becomes a matter of anthropomorphism.

In my experience, people who favor creationism do not first and foremost identify themselves by means of their intellect. To such people, the capacities of empathy and emotional relationship are perhaps more important defining characteristics than intellect.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 11:58 am
@wayne,
However, a long consideration of the question of "why," especially with the fact of so many people who invoke a deity whose purposes are beyond our understanding, could well lead to abandoning the question of "why" altogether. That, at any event, was my experience of many years. From the time i began to question whether there was any good reason to believe there was a deity to arriving at the conclusion that there wasn't perhaps occupied 20 years, although that was largely because i didn't often think about the subject at all. However, having arrived at that conclusion, abandoning the idea that the cosmos is purposeful took a matter of days.
Ashers
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 12:51 pm
I think the one story against another notion stems from popularised science as against, perhaps, popularised religion. Science, to me, is about "doing the math" and the experimentation that goes with it. On the other hand, popularised science IS the story without the experimentation, the "working knowledge" if you will. It's a transmission of the work in a form that is comprehensible to those who haven't done the work. How the two relate and what the purpose or need of a popularisation process is, I'm not sure. Perhaps as part of the scientific development, it's a necessity for this process to shape the society from which future scientists will prosper?

I would like to add that, in my opinion, religion is at base, experiential. It has its own "work" that religious practitioners engage themselves in and I suspect, its own process of transmitting that to the "uninitiated". The result of both of these popularisation processes is this story issue and that is where the battleground lies because a story of such global scale, necessarily includes a way of framing the individual in such a way that will be preferential to some and monsterous to others. For instance, free will as against determinism. When this type of discussion is divorced from the work that necessarily goes with it, I think it becomes a battle of wills as to whose framework can dominate because it becomes an issue of self identity.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 04:05 pm
@Setanta,
Thanks for your candid and intelligent response Set, that's pretty much the bare bones of it.
For whatever reason, I'm extremely stubborn in my questioning why, always have been. It's actually a valuable trait, in the right circumstances, but it drives some people nuts. It's never enough for me to know how to do the job, I also need to know the why.
I pretty much discarded religion at an early age, fairy tales are easy to spot, but the jury's still out on the deity for me. I'm one of that rare sort that doesn't need a posse to bolster my belief system, so I am capable of easily understanding your take on things.
I think, in my case, it's a matter of being unwilling to give up hope that my question may yet be answered.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 04:15 pm
@Setanta,
"why" is where the fun comes in .
"Why did this creature develop a big ventral bladder" --
Why does gold run within quartz veins, "Why does a bear hibernate in winter?"
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Nov, 2011 04:25 pm
@Cyracuz,
I like your take on this Cyracuz, this is the sort of neutrality the intellect requires.
Religion doesn't always follow with the intellect, possibly because it has been developed as a means to control people. A purely intellectual creation belief does indeed lead to the same place in the end, and is not at all at odds with science.
The difference, in the end, is the question of purpose. So far, there is no evidence to indicate a conclusion.
 

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