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ForeverXL
U.S. Plutocracy is not Democracy.
07:12 PM on 11/19/2010
I must confess that I find the universe infinitely inspiring and an interesting concept to philosophise about.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
08:00 PM on 11/19/2010
Me too XL.
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LintLass
"When you can balance a tackhammer on your head...
09:02 PM on 11/19/2010
And it's useful for storage! :)

(Ok, so I'm not in a high-minded mood at the moment. :) )
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Jewels23
Whose woods these are I think I know.
08:35 AM on 11/20/2010
You may have solved an eternal question.

And with as much stuff as my mother-in-law buys -- I think she was also aware that storage is the purpose of the universe. Thank you.
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Trismegistus22
Crescat virtus per certaminem.
12:08 PM on 11/20/2010
I believe you are confusing this with the luggage in T. Pratchett's stories.
06:46 PM on 11/19/2010
"arguments for why God was the best explanation of the phenomenon of life. These included everything from the mystery of consciousness (how do you get self awareness if everything is just matter, stuff, the same as a rock) to C.S. Lewis' claim that if we have yearnings that are not satisfied in this world, it is possible that is because this world is not the only one. "

so 'the mystery of consciousness' is good reason to believe in god? will it still be when we figure out consciousness which we surely will

and Lewis's point is just so flat out daft if beggars the imagination.

"Is it not arrogant, he said, to imagine that something as puny as a human being can have a purpose, but to assert that something as grand as the universe cannot?"

no. it isn't arrogant. any more than it would be arrogant to assert that a rock doesn't have a purpose.

I am thrilled the writer had a great time. pity about the quality of debate.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
07:47 PM on 11/19/2010
Well as a geologist I can tell you rocks have a purpose albeit for the most part utilitarian in nature. Haven't seen you post for awhile. Glad you are back.
01:39 AM on 11/20/2010
hi there
been super busy
exciting times :)
06:46 PM on 11/19/2010
"Indeed, the very practice of science presupposes there is some purpose, aim or meaning to all this."

what a ridiculous non-sequitor. It implies that it is only possible to understand things that have a purpose and we know very well that such is not the case. Aristotle believed it, but that is old school. Teleological explanations remain convincing to the religious however ... sigh.

"I also argued that reason is not the only tool for investigation of reality. Our most basic beliefs are the rock upon which our reason is built, not the product of it."

even if 'our most basic beliefs' are some kind of foundation, that says nothing about what alternative to reason is a 'tool for investigation of reality'. Such beliefs aren't tools now, are they? ... sigh

"if there is a God the universe has a meaning, but if not, we would agree with our opponents that it was empty and doomed. "

what on earth does 'empty and doomed' mean?
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Trismegistus22
Crescat virtus per certaminem.
10:02 PM on 11/20/2010
As I said earlier in a post which was scrubbed, there is a confusion between "function" and "purpose."
"Function" is present-oriented. The bacteria in our intestines have a function, perhaps helping to rid the body of harmful substances. "Purpose" is future oriented. My purpose in life as manifested at present current time, is to help people in Sudan.
05:27 PM on 11/19/2010
There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.
Douglas Adams
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rf dude
07:31 PM on 11/19/2010
What was the question?
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WorkhelpWorkhelp
Control your money locally. Charter banks now.
05:02 AM on 11/20/2010
You didn't ask it.
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RedRat
Ignorance is fixable, stupidty is forever
04:50 PM on 11/19/2010
"Now, you might be thinking the proper answer is "no one can know." That might be so, but none of us was willing to let it rest there. At first glance we could all agree that the universe has a purpose the way the kitchen has a meal -- it offers the ingredients. ..."
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Your analogy is faulty. A kitchen can be just a room in a house, we impose the idea of "kitchenness" on that particular room. It is a priori a room for cooking. In the real world, the universe exists, it is "a priori", like the kitchen WE ascribe meaning to it. Frankly the universe just is, simple as that. The only meaning it has is what we ascribe to it. Trying to divine a meaning is merely an exercise in futility.
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Andres64
Religion is a sectually transmitted disease.
03:51 AM on 11/20/2010
Exactly. Why do people have to look to magic to find meaning? We're here. Make of it what you want. This is the only shot you get.
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RedRat
Ignorance is fixable, stupidty is forever
07:46 PM on 11/20/2010
Right on!
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GlassMask
Comedian/Curmudgeon
04:31 PM on 11/19/2010
"Is it not arrogant, he said, to imagine that something as puny as a human being can have a purpose, but to assert that something as grand as the universe cannot?"

The difference is intelligence. I got mine, you got yours, the universe got none. I have a purpose, as do you and all of the other "puny" humans (what a tellingly derogatory attitude toward humanity) because we decide what our purpose is. The universe is really, really big, as Douglas Adams told us some years back, but it does not decide, and therefore, it has no purpose.
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Trismegistus22
Crescat virtus per certaminem.
10:11 PM on 11/20/2010
"Purpose" is a self-meaning realization; not an externally imposed mandate.
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behavingbadly
lovingly crafted artisanal comments
03:35 PM on 11/19/2010
any attempt to "prove" logically the existence of god will always fail. be satisfied with Kierkegaard's notion of a "leap of faith" and you'll get no argument from anyone.
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ItsBarranti
03:01 PM on 11/19/2010
"the universe has laws we can actually grasp"

Right here is where you go wrong. You misunderstand the concept of Scientific Laws. These are not laws around which the universe functions, but rather an observed set of parameters. The Universe was not built around them.

"the practice of science presupposes there is some purpose"

No, it doesn't. Not at all. In fact, just the opposite. Science Presupposes NOTHING. If you presuppose anything, you are doing bad science and you learn nothing.

"reason is not the only tool for investigation of reality."

How did that work out for you? Anything that is not understandable through reason is not reality. You're basically giving yourself a pass on having to prove anything or be logical and non-contradictory. You're saying imagination is sufficient because there is internal knowledge that requires no outside stimulus.

There isn't.

"Is it not arrogant to imagine that something as puny as a human being can have a purpose, but to assert that something as grand as the universe cannot?"

I'm glad you had such an eloquent ally. Here's some eloquence for you: en archei aiteisthai

His first mistake is to assume that something as puny as a human can have an innate purpose (not assigned by self or society). That's a false presumption, circular logic, and begging the question.

I reject his first assumption, that something as Puny as a Human Being can have an innate purpose, therefore the rest of his "powerful" argument fails.
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behavingbadly
lovingly crafted artisanal comments
03:19 PM on 11/19/2010
nicely put. the universe "has" laws in the same way that a falling tree "has" sound - it doesn't. the whole "has a purpose" argument fails at the outset for a similar reason.
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Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
03:28 PM on 11/19/2010
You have some good observations but your conclusion is still wrong. You cannot arrive at having intelligence meaning and purpose when you start out with none. The basic elements of the universe are machine parts working together inside of us for a common purpose according to preexisting observable directives that order our existence.
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Milash
My microbio is fabulous
04:16 PM on 11/19/2010
No, you're wrong yet again. No surprise there.
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bmcombs
Liberal, Gay, Atheist - The Whole Package
04:45 PM on 11/19/2010
You just made a case against god "You cannot arrive at having intelligence, meaning and purpose when you start out with none."

We understand very well how intelligence evolved. From there intelligence allows us to create meaning and purpose in our lives. Prior to humans was there meaning and purpose or was it simply a planet of roving animals? We already know the answer to that unless we discover that some animals are able to create a meaning and purpose for themselves.
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nikto
02:38 PM on 11/19/2010
Our universe is actually 1 gigantic super-organism that utilizes sentient beings as a kind of "brain cell".

The galaxies, quasars, black holes, etc are just different "body parts" of this mega-organism.
Even so-called "empty space" is not really empty,but composed of vibrating strings or particles of some sort, like a "skeleton" for this organism.

This organism re-cycles itself about every 200-billion years or so.

You can think of it as "God", but it really is just the body of a super-organism,
of which we ALL are parts, along with the rest of the universe.

In the face of this reality, most religions come off as pretentious, worldly,
manipul;ative and frankly, DISHONEST.

This is the universe, like it or not.

Or, you can continue to cling to myths that are used to control you for very earthly
and MATERIAL purposes.

If you do, then obviously, your FEAR OF DEATH (and "need" to placate some deity)
has overwhelmed your powers of reason and rationality.

Good luck.
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MagicManDoneIt
When facts are lacking. Just say...
05:40 PM on 11/19/2010
Is this the storyline for a sci-fi book you are writing? It's interesting enough, I suppose, but I'm not sure that it is reality.
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Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
02:34 PM on 11/19/2010
The purpose of the universe is to accommodate the purpose of my spoon... and other things such as the basic elements of the universe that are working machine parts inside of us.
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hayness
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence
02:44 PM on 11/19/2010
The universe is here so that you can shovel pudding into your gaping maw? I am inspired.
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Milash
My microbio is fabulous
03:10 PM on 11/19/2010
Of course this leads me to ask...what flavor pudding?
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Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
03:19 PM on 11/19/2010
I shovel basic elements of the universe into my mouth that are universally interchangeable but I don't have to eat much because I take supplements.
de-meme-ing
Buying USA Feeds USA, Supports/Preserves USA
04:25 PM on 11/19/2010
So, you are a taker and not a giver? And when the universe has nothing else to give, or chooses not to give, what then? Move on to the next?
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hayness
A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence
02:27 PM on 11/19/2010
This argument for the existence of god amounts to: I don't like the alternative.

Neither the universe nor humans have any intrinsic purpose or meaning. We create our own meaning.

And I have yet to hear a theist give any kind of intelligent response to the question of exactly WHAT MEANING their god gives to either the universe or their own existence.
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Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
03:15 PM on 11/19/2010
Only the truth has real meaning. What you just said does not have meaning ...by your own assertions. You disqualified your own self by saying there is no meaning.
09:24 PM on 11/19/2010
The error here is not only what you claim to be true, but even more grevious is that you are that certain.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
01:30 PM on 11/19/2010
"My compatriots, Craig and Geivett, hammered home the point that if there is a God the universe has a meaning, but if not, we would agree with our opponents that it was empty and doomed."

This is an example of the either or black or white arguments so common on these pages. How about the possibility of a meaningful universe without a god?
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Daleri Rileda
Jungle Jargon
02:44 PM on 11/19/2010
There is no glory in one's own glory and yet you believe that objects are able to give themselves meaning.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
03:22 PM on 11/19/2010
Not necessarily. The universe is much more than objects whether there is a god or not. I wish people would stop telling me what I believe. I like to consider ideas. This does not necessarily mean that I believe everything I consider. I am open.
de-meme-ing
Buying USA Feeds USA, Supports/Preserves USA
04:20 PM on 11/19/2010
When the universe is just an object, and there is no glory in one's own glory, then the purpose of your existence is to give the universe meaning, purpose, and not just hog it all to yourself.

That would begin with seeing the universe as something other then an object. To call the universe an object is to devalue it's worth in mind, body, and spirit.
04:37 PM on 11/19/2010
Well, that's essentially the way I see it.

Meaning is subjective. Our lives have as much or as little of it as we suppose that they do. And to my mind, the more you give the more you get back. It's called a win-win situation.

Though, admittedly I think even subjectively we take it too far if we ascribe the meaning in our own lives to the universe as a whole.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
05:21 PM on 11/19/2010
I agree with much of what you say. But I keep coming back to my training as a scientist wherein the patterns found at the smallest scales of nature are reflected in nature at large. Therefore let me speculate that the meaning in our own life is reflective of the meaning of the universe and vice versa -- microcosm reflects macrocosm and macrocosm reflects microcosm. Intimate and emergent at the same time.
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Milash
My microbio is fabulous
01:25 PM on 11/19/2010
Regarding the spoon analogy earlier in these threads...I have it on good authority that the dish ran away with the spoon.
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02:39 PM on 11/19/2010
That person just saw too many Disney movies or something
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Milash
My microbio is fabulous
03:08 PM on 11/19/2010
I'm going to start a new religion...Sporkism. We can debate the purpose of a spork to find it's deeper meaning in the scheme of things.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
07:17 PM on 11/19/2010
My mom used to tell me that all the time and she was a good authority.
01:00 PM on 11/19/2010
WHY BELIEVERS NEED GODS FOR THE UNIVERSE TO HAVE MEANING
_____________________________________________________________

When you're a child, life is wonderful and your parents are your universe and security blanket. Because of the expansion of your universe with age, one is encouraged buy indoctrination to accept an invisible security blanket and teddy bear in lieu of parents. This is the new Father, God and it's religious institution. Going to church weekly and routine prayer is the medication and exercise prescribed to maintain that condition of faith in deity. The intensity of the condition is directly proportional to the intensity of the treatment.

The universe for these people is just their life and what it's about. Their universe has no meaning without an authority figure to cling to. This is their source of light (strength) and if it goes out (dies) they believe they will find themselves in the dark, without an eternal afterlife. It's like their cave collapsing upon them. It is terrifying, while the cave is comfortable. It's their home. They will fight tooth and nail to avoid coming out of their cave to embrace the reality, discover the freedom and live for humanity.

In reality, our need is to serve humanity in our lifetime. For them, humanity is evil. Their desire is to serve a deity for their eternal afterlife and salvation from their hell. We'd have a better world if we focused on bettering the humanity we know instead of bettering by division, conflict and empowerment, the Gods we imagine.
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ItsBarranti
03:08 PM on 11/19/2010
"For them, humanity is evil."

... They never came completely out of their narcissistic toddler phase. Interesting thought, but yes, for them everything outside of their self that does not serve their needs is evil.

So Religion is basically a Freudian fixation with security.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
07:43 PM on 11/19/2010
Well I don't like blanket statements about religion since it is so diverse. But some of it is a projection of the male ego and some of it is probably a manifestation of unconscious collective archetypes (Jung). But I think the best way to understand it is via its literature that contains literary archetypes found in other literature both before and after the religions of the Book. Then the literature of it leads to certain rituals, ceremonies, communal practices and beliefs some of which are healthy and some of which are not. There probably is some Freudian stuff going on as well -- for instance in the Oedipal proxy theory of the crucifixion/resurrection. But I like your conclusion although there is probably more going on as well.
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TYRANNASAURUS
UGH!....people taste like crap!
11:43 PM on 11/19/2010
Religion goes back to the dawn of early human kind......

the chief protected the clan from the evils encountered during daylight and....

the shaman protected them from the unseen evils that roamed the darkness.
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whirlpool
founder walnut tree congregation
07:32 PM on 11/19/2010
"Divine imaginings, like gods, come down to the groves of our Thessalies, and there, in the embrace of wild, dryad reminiscences, beget the beings that astonish the world." Herman Melville
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Chaotician101
12:57 PM on 11/19/2010
What is the point of assigning purpose to the universe(s)? Presumably, if the Universe has a purpose, then its various parts must have a purpose as well? And I suppose if the parts have purpose, then life on Earth has a purpose? And if life on Earth has a purpose, then the current master of life on Earth must have a purpose? And if that life has a purpose, then ??? Aha! If we have a purpose, then something must be "managing" that purpose to ensure that its purpose is realized... and that something must be a God? And if we fail in our purpose does the whole univere(s) come to and end? Oh, boy...I better check that instruction manual again, anyone see where it got too?