silverboner blogged
Mar 21, 12 9:33am

Why it Takes Faith to Be an Atheist

Atheists are optimists. They are holding onto the belief that something can indeed come from nothing. To be an atheist absolutely means that you believe in creatio ex nihilo...creation out of nothing. And given the 200 years of modern scientific research and evidence, there isn't one shred of evidence to suggest that something can come from nothing. And in fact all the evidence is contrary to this belief. Rather the evidence strongly points to the fact that with nothing you get nothing, that change requires something to cause, something to allow, something to initiate. And if there is nothing, then there should always be nothing, as there is nothing to change nothing into creation.

Now some atheists might suggest an infinite cycle of universes, which is still problematic. There cannot be an "infinite" cycle for two reasons. There has to be a first cycle. Its unreasonable, irrational and illogical to argue that there is no "first" cycle. The problem of infinite regression is real. There has to be a cause for this universe, and there would have to be a cause for the cause of this universe, just as there would have to be a cause for the cause of the cause of this universe. A "first cause" must exist to set it all in motion, and to believe in some natural first cause (not god) requires faith in creatio ex nihilo.

The second problem is that for an infinite cycle to exist there has to be infinite energy or perpetual motion. Either there exists infinite energy for the cycle to continue, or the cycle is 100% efficient, and no energy is lost due to friction or heat or perpetual motion. There is no evidence for perpetual motion or infinite energy and yet there is plenty of evidence against such notions.

To be an atheist means you have to believe in ideas and concepts that not only have zero evidence for, but have lots and lots of evidence against. And that takes faith.

musingsthoughts other atheism god irrational creation faith

Responses (31)

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Another_Mutant Mar 31, 12
We don't have nothing to observe... without nothing, how can we observe that only nothing comes out of nothing? As you point out, creation ex materia appears to be causal (not "a" cause, but an array of causes). Items created out of quantum flux (for example virtual particles) don't appear to.

Does "cause" even have meaning outside of time? Our understanding of "cause" is very time dependent, and since time appears to have started at the big bang, applying current causality to the creation of the universe might not be meaningful.
If the substance of which the universe is made is eternal, then you don't need a first cause, or at least don't need a sapient first cause.

For your perpetual motion being a problem with a cycle of universes, I would point out that there is no energy loss in the things you mention. Energy isn't lost to entropy... it only becomes unusable. So the real question here is "Is there something that will reset entropy?" If that exists, then your second problem ceases to exist.

Now with all that being said, there is no requirement for an atheist to believe any of it. Before the evidence is in, the correct answer is "I don't know". "we're working on that", or "X might be possible" are viable alternatives. No faith is required.

As for the "zero evidence", actually some of those are testable propositions. Some have matched their predictions, so your claim of "zero evidence" is factually incorrect. The evidence is there, just you haven't looked at it.

If a universe is created from nothing in a method similar to virtual particles, the universe should be flat. Current measurements indicate our universe is flat, or as close to flat as we can measure.

If String Theory is correct, then it is mathematically plausible to have our universe created out of the collision of 2 other objects. It answers your reason 2 problem by proposing a method by which the universe could be created without violating conservation of matter/energy, or entropy. While it currently has zero evidence, it now has testable predictions, so that won't be the case for long.

Other cyclic models once discarded have been brought back with new possibilities.

Now of course it might also be a created universe. To test that case, I suggest you call the Discovery Institute and get them working on a testable theory.
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silverboner Apr 2, 12
Quantum flux...I was waiting for someone to bring that up. Virtual particles pop into existence governed by a set of rules. Thus they don't actually come into existence out of nothing. The uncertainty principle has to exist first.

energy is lost to entropy. Its not that it doesn't become unstable, its that it becomes useless for work. Your hypothesis that if something exists to "reset entropy" would negate this problem, but you re-introduce the problem you are solving. It would be ludicrous to believe that resetting energy doesn't require some energy to be placed into the system. That is how energy works as we understand it in our universe. If you want to "recharge" potential energy, you have to use energy to lift objects or to set tension in springs. There is no reason other then essentially blind faith to believe in some yet undiscovered energy reset system that can infinitely reset energy that has become unusable.

And this reset system would have to be governed by causality, and cannot be infinite because of the problem of infinite regression. There still has to be a first cause to a physical causal universe.

The hypothesis of no causality is nice but such a belief requires faith, and lots of it, as its not based on anything observable.

Atheism require faith, becuase they don't believe in God. (And I don't accept the term "weak atheism". People claiming to be weak atheists are agnostics in denial.) Claiming "I don't know" or "we're working on that" might be answers to specific questions, about specific beliefs, but that doesn't ignore that fact that in order to deny the existence of God, requires faith in some other undiscovered or unobservable cause resulted in the universe existence. Just becuase that faith isn't placed into some specific answer doesn't mean they don't have it.

Atheists have no other choice but to accept that the universe was created from some undiscovered mechanism. And not just any undiscovered mechanism, but a mechanism that we cannot observe or test because we are limited to this universe. And that requires faith. Period. its not arguable.

There is no evidence for perpetual motion, no evidence for creatio ex nihilo-your appeal to virtual particles is ignorant of the fact that there are principles first which govern their existence, no evidence that energy is infinite, no evidence for some mechanism that can reset energy to usable energy, and there is certainly no evidence of any objects outside our universe to cause its creation. I have no idea what evidence you think exists that I have missed.

"If" string theory is correct? Sounds like faith to me. How do we observe if two particles outside the universe created the universe? Sounds like faith to me.
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Another_Mutant Apr 4, 12
Universe from nothing or quantum flux:
The uncertainty principle is not an event or series of events, and can no more create things than the laws of conservation can. It is merely an observation of how the universe appears to work. What event or series of events caused those virtual particles to exist?
Acutally looking at your other blog posts, you haven't missed the evidence for a universe created from nothing... you have in fact posted it. A universe created from nothing predicts a flat universe, and as you pointed out, the universe is very very flat.

Universe from impact event:
If you think that "If string theory is correct" sounds like faith to you, you aren't understanding it. If I said something like "string theory proves", now that would be faith, because string theory remains untested and could very well be absolutely wrong. Right now, string theory is "mathematically plausible".
While we cannot directly observe 2 structures outside the universe, if such structures exist and scientists are correct about their properties, they will have a measurable impact on our universe. Scientists are observing to see if that impact exists. Like my comment "if string theory is correct", this is not faith. Faith would be to assume that they exist and not test for it. Instead, scientists are testing for it.
The "resetting of entropy" is also explained by that theory. It may seem ludicrous to you, however many theories have explained equally ludicrous things in the past.


So you see, even though such events happened outside our universe, we are able to create testable hypotheses about them. These hypotheses, being testable, require no more faith than the science that gives you the internet.
If you want to add "a being created the universe" to the list of choices, no problem. Just create a testable hypothesis that explains the current state of the universe and predicts things not yet observed.

You claim about weak atheism is based off a common misuse of the word agnostic.
Weak atheists can also be agnostics. Since atheism covers belief and agnositicsm knowledge, they are not mutually exclusive. So many of those weak athesists probably were agnostics. They were still weak atheists.
As weak atheists, we don't deny the existence of a god, we simply don't accept the existence of a god. Give us a testable hypothesis, and that might change.

(Now if they are weak atheists and strong agnostics, you might as well consider them strong atheists, because they are waiting on evidence they will never accept.)
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silverboner Apr 4, 12
The Uncertainty principle governs quantum flux. Your claim that its merely an observation of how the universe appears to work (which is true), completely invalidates any claim that this is a reasonable explanation for how the universe came into existence from nothing, because the principle is only true given properties of existing energy and matter. There isn't a shred of reason to believe its valid if matter doesn't exist (the case where "nothing" exists).

Making a claim of "string theory proves" wouldn't be faith, it would be lies. Claiming that string theory is a plausible explanation for the origins of the universe requires faith. There is no evidence of particles outside the universe, let alone them colliding to give rise to the universe, thus to use that to explain the origins of the universe requires faith. To suggest that such is possible is to place faith in the possibility of particles colliding outside the universe to form the universe. There is no evidence of particles outside the universe, at least nothing that is conclusive or even direct.

I have little reason to entertain notions of "beyond" our universe. For starters, we don't even fully understand our universe, so its difficult to entertain crazy ideas about what lies beyond that which we canNOT directly observe. If we are only observing effects, such is not conclusive least until the great mysteries of your universe are figured out. To observe some event, and lay claim to what is unobservable, while being incapable of knowing the big unknowns of our own universe is fool hearty. It would be much more reasonable to believe that such events are related to what we do not understand then it would be to invent some other explanation about matter and energy existing outside our universe that we cannot directly observe.

Further, if something is causally interacting with our universe, I would have to apply the same presumptions about our universe to outside our universe. Presumptions such as cause and effect and the universal nature of physical laws apply everywhere in our universe would then have to apply to outside our universe, thereby necessitating the same problems existing in the "beyond-verse" that exist in our universe in regards to origins, and more specifically energy and entropy. Why would I entertain the notion that energy/matter interacts with our universe but follows different rules? That would require faith given our lack of ability to directly observe and measure outside our universe.

I never said a scientific hypothesis require faith. I said atheists have faith. To be an atheist means you deny God, and thus atheists accept a naturalistic origins, and that requires faith, as there is no evidence for eternal energy, no evidence for a mechanism to reset energy, no evidence for perpetual motion, no evidence that particles can collide and create universes/singularities...etc etc. No evidence that the universe can come from nothing.

String theory is difficult to test. You make it sound like its reasonably testable, and from what I have read, its not. For instance,

String theory not only makes no predictions about physical phenomena at experimentally accessible energies, it makes no precise predictions whatsoever.
Of course that
is dated, but I would welcome any updates if you got one. Another interesting thing that I have read about String Theory is that it does require the cosmological constant to be near zero. However, observations place its value about 55 times in magnitude bigger. Which as that article states is "the most incorrect experimental prediction ever made by any physical theory that anyone has taken seriously." ...OUCH. Another testable problem is related to the solutions. As wiki states: "String theory as it is currently understood has a huge number of solutions, called string vacua,[31] and these vacua might be sufficiently diverse to accommodate almost any phenomena we might observe at lower energies. Any phenomena? Wow...what a great hypothesis!

No further comment on weak atheism vs agnostics except that the only ones misusing terms are weak atheists. But that is not what this blog is about. If you wish to discuss such further, feel free to send me a PM as I will not be addressing it here. Though I might blog about it some time, as I am really annoyed by that term. If and when I do, I will be sure to send you a personal invite.
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Another_Mutant Apr 5, 12
Universe from nothing or quantum flux:
Creation of virtual particles, while it may or may not apply to the creation of the universe, shows that your "change requires a cause" doesn't even apply to all events of this universe. Within this universe, we have uncaused events.

Universe from impact event:
Correct... it currently is untested. It does however contain a testable hypothesis regarding such impact events. Wiki appears to be a bit out of date there. Now it could end up failing testing, and the author of that article (who doesn't appear to be an expert in the field) could end up being correct, but at this time it's too early to say.


I have run into very few atheists who deny all gods. Most I have met are weak atheists, who don't yet see a reason to believe in a god. Out of the others, half have considered that a provisional statement rather than a certainty, so they too would only be against a created universe due to the lack of a testable hypothesis.
Also, not all atheists are philisophical naturalists. Many Budhdists for example are atheists, but not philisophical naturalists.
For the remaining strong athesists who do not consider it a provisional position, yes, that is a faith based position. But it has nothing to do with the origin of the universe, they switched to faith based when they proposed that no god exists.

You proposing that matter, etc... works the same way outside the universe is a logical fallacy and a faith based position... unless of course you have a testable hypothesis to support it.
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silverboner Apr 6, 12
My argument is not that uncaused events can't happen. Though I suppose you can use virtual particles as an example of evidence that uncaused events could occur, (though I think that is premature since we don't fully understand everything within the universe, and an very important assumption in science that all effects are caused) but such doesn't eliminate the faith required to apply it to the entirety of the universe being uncaused. Quantum flux is a property of existing energy/matter. If you have no energy or matter, there is no reason to believe virtual particles can pop into existence from nothing. There is no evidence for that.

The argument was never about what could be tested, its about faith A_M. And using an untested, and unobservable hypothesis as a possible explanation for origins of the universe requires faith.

As far as matter/energy working the same outside the universe, its not so much faith as its an assumption. And its not an assumption that is beyond what assumptions we already make in regards to science. Their are a number of assumptions we have with studying the universe through scientific means, including the universal nature of "natural laws". That assumption states that the laws are the same every-where in the universe at all times...(minus of course where they break down in the Big Bang).

But here is the kicker....If physical laws exist outside the universe, what evidence do I have that they are different or act differently or are different then our own laws? Even your very own arguments about testing particle collisions creating this universe, demands that the laws are the same, otherwise if particles acted differently outside the universe, then you couldn't claim that our tests inside this universe are relevant to outside the universe.

If we don't apply our presumptions to outside the universe then you destroy any and all chances of having any relevant evidence for natural creation of our universe. Period. Basically, if you don't apply that assumption to outside the universe, you cannot and never will have any evidence for any natural explanation of the universe.
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Another_Mutant Apr 6, 12
Because accepting untestable and untested hypotheses as true is faith, what can be tested is very important, and what has been tested even more so.

Those physical laws aren't just assumed to apply throughout the universe... that is something that gets tested. That testing may invalidate or change the law, for example the law of conservation of mass was shown to only be an approximation.
Likewise, we don't have to assume those laws extend out past the universe. The expected results of the test will be different if they do extend past the universe than if they don't.
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silverboner Apr 6, 12
Here are the most basic assumptions. (Though I have seen better lists) Funny thing about the first assumption as virtual particles contradict it...but that is just a side note. Notice the third assumption:

There is consistency in the causes that operate in the natural world. In other words, the same causes come into play in related situations and these causes are predictable. For example, science assumes that the gravitational forces at work on a falling ball are related to those at work on other falling objects. It is further assumed that the workings of gravity don't change from moment to moment and object to object in unpredictable ways. Hence, what we learn about gravity today by studying falling balls can also be used to understand, for example, modern satellite orbits, the formation of the moon in the distant past, and the movements of the planets and stars in the future, because the same natural cause is at work regardless of when and where things happen.
We cannot prove or test the hypothesis that gravity operates the same today here in our part of the universe, and on the other side. We cannot test it, because we cannot observe the other side of the galaxy today. When we look across the galaxy, we are looking into the past, billions of years ago in fact. And if gravity started to act differently (say 10,000 years ago) on that side of the universe, evidence of that wouldn't pop up for billions of years because we cannot observe it. Thus we have to assume it. And this is not a problem for science. But never-the-less, it is an assumption. Its not a cause of concern becuase what we understand about gravity and the laws of physics explain our observations of the past, so we know the assumption is probably true. But that doesn't mean its not an assumption. And more importantly, that assumption is not unreasonably applied to "outside this universe", because if we didn't apply it, we have absolutely zero basis to argue that what we are testing in our universe is applicable or valid to "outside this universe."

So either I assume that the laws are consistent and apply to both inside and outside the universe, and thus allow me to utilize my understanding of this universe to understand what might be going on outside, or I have to accept that I cannot ever understand what happens outside this universe. But to apply the assumption outside this universe doesn't get away from the problems of the origins of this universe, because those problems coincide with the natural laws that are assumed to be still present.
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Another_Mutant Apr 6, 12
Notice that third "assumption" is tested all the time, and we've found places it doesn't apply.

You don't even know what the stuff "outside the universe" is made out of, if mass, energy or time exists, ... so yes... applying gravity outside the universe is an unwarranted assumption. That is a very different scenario than applying it to places where we know it existed at one time and worked the same way as observed everywhere else inside the universe.
It is even more unwarranted to apply laws that don't universally apply inside the universe, such as causality. (as a side note, you're also incorrect about us not knowing about gravity acting differently. Since the propagation rate is one of the things that might be changing, it is entirely possible that we would have seen the effects)

Again, one does not have to assume the laws of this universe apply outside the universe to make sense of outside the universe. You can make a testable proposition of what happens if they are the same, and a testable proposition of what happens if they are different. If the results match the first they are probably the same, and if the results match the second, they probably aren't.
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silverboner Apr 9, 12
Natural laws have to be assumed to be accurate for the entire universe at all times(except at singularities...of course), as it cannot be tested in that manner. Pointing out that we test some laws in some parts of the universe doesn't change the fact that its an assumption applied everywhere, especially to those places were we cannot test or observe (or when). Which "outside of this universe" is exactly that, a place where we cannot test and observe.

As far as your side note goes, you are under the erroneous belief that I implied we cannot EVER know if gravity acts differently, and that is not what I said. I specifically stated we would observe it eventually. When it takes light billions of years to travel across the universe, changes that happened 10,000 years ago, would take billions of years for us to observe.

If we do not apply the laws to outside the universe we cannot ever know what is outside or understand it. You claim we don't even know what the stuff "outside the universe" is made of. I would completely agree. But if that is the case, then why would you suggest:

While we cannot directly observe 2 structures outside the universe, if such structures exist and scientists are correct about their properties, they will have a measurable impact on our universe. Scientists are observing to see if that impact exists.
Don't' you see, you already invoked the assumption. You already invoked the idea that our laws apply. The simple fact is that if you didn't make that assumption then you cannot argue that its possible to see a measurable impact. If you don't apply them, then that measurable impact is meaningless because "You don't even know what the stuff "outside the universe" is made out of, if mass, energy or time exists". Its only if we assume that our laws transcends the universe's boundaries, where we can make sense of what is happening outside the universe. Scientists can only observe to see if that impact exists if they assume that the impact was caused by the forces of nature they assumed to exist beyond this universe.

If we don't assume the laws apply, then we don't know how matter or energy or time would interact or even exist. Period. How could we possibly make a prediction or hypothesis of what will happen in this universe as a result of some forces outside of this universe if we don't assume that matter and energy interact in a predictable, (and thus testable) manner? Its blatantly obvious to me that we would have to start with the assumption that the laws are the same to conduct tests and observations. There would be no point, except blind faith, to suggest the laws are different and test for those new laws, as there is no evidence that they are different, let alone if matter and energy even exist outside the you suggested.

So the only way to make sense or attempt to understand what goes on outside or if there is even an outside of the universe is to apply known physical laws. Thus its not only reasonable, but necessary, at least as a starting point. If we make a hypotheses based on assuming a beyond universe physical law, and they turn out wrong, then, and only then is there evidence and reason to suggest that the laws are different. And that is when we would tweak them and make different assumptions about energy and matter outside this universe.

Bottom line is, that if we don't assume our laws exist outside the universe, we cannot make any claims about outside this universe, we cannot even test anything, because we would have no grounds to make any claims about how matter and energy would interact with our universe, or even if it exists.
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Another_Mutant Apr 9, 12
No, natural laws are not assumed to apply in the entire universe at all times. Yes, it is pretty close, but you have already pointed out 2 exceptions in this chain of messages. Likewise, outside the universe is another exception where they are not assumed to apply.

While it is blatantly obvious to you that you would have to start with the assumption that all the laws are the same, it is not obvious to the people making the testable hypotheses. Since some of these hypotheses have had successful predictions, it appears that "blatantly obvious" is just appearance.
Since the testing matching the prediction is scientific evidence supporting a hypothesis, you are incorrect about their being no evidence. Since there is and can be evidence, then blind faith isn't required.


No, my side note was not mistaken. I wasn't talking about eventually, I was talking about now. I was pointing out that if the properties of gravity changed outside of the propagation range of the current laws, it is entirely possible that we would know about it now due to changes in propagation rate.

In the impact event scenario, no, they do not assume that all the physical laws apply (Yes, they do assume some of the laws apply).
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silverboner Apr 10, 12
I already posted a source that stated that natural laws are assumed to apply in the entire universe. Once again, I provide the source and you just keep repeating yourself. "Exceptions" are merely where the laws are KNOWN not to apply. But that doesn't mean that there isn't still an assumption made. I can flood this blog with quotes and links stating exactly what I have already stated. So trying to make it out to "close" is not only meaningless, but it doesn't address anything relevant.

You have no hope to understanding outside the universe if you do not apply the same assumptions of inside the universe to outside. I have demonstrated this now multiple times. You cannot have any basis to argue the behavior of any interaction with our universe unless we apply the same assumptions.

How can you even suggest that "these hypotheses have had successful predictions" without understanding that they applied what we know to outside the universe? If we truly do no understand the nature of time and energy beyond our universe, as it could be anything, then no hypotheses in regards to outside the universe could ever be useful because we wouldn't know the behavior of matter or energy or time outside the universe. We can only hypothesis about predictable behavior. and the only predictable behavior we know is the one that is in our universe.

And I don't even know what "matching" and hypothesis you are talking about. You act like there is some validation of "beyond the universe" and there is no such thing. Care to provide a link to this so called hypothesis and "matching" evidence?

Your side note is not commenting on anything I said. I was talking about a local change billions of light years away. Obviously if gravity changed within our observable space we would be capable of observing it. Insisting I am wrong when you aren't discussing anything I said is your error.

impact event: Ok, then you should be able to tell me which physical laws do they not apply and which ones do they apply? I will start a list and you can put a yes or no next to each one. And by no means will this be a comprehensive list as I expect you to add to it the laws they assume that I have missed. And if there are only some laws within the topic I listed you can specify which ones.

Laws of conservation of energy/matter(both)?
Laws of thermodynamics?
Speed of light?
Uncertainty Principle?
Conservation of Momentum?
Strong force?
Weak Force?
Standard Model of Particles?
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Another_Mutant Apr 20, 12
Yes, I understood that you were talking about the effects of gravity billions of lightyears away, and our ability to observe it now. Again, since the propagation rate is one of the things that could change, it is entirely possible that we would be able to observe it now, even though the change occurred billions of lightyears away a few minutes ago.

As mentioned earlier, the "Universe from nothing" (I would personally call it "universe from quantum flux") hypothesis predicts a flat universe. I'm on the road at the moment, however I believe Dr Krauss speaks of it here.

Let's go with the universe from nothing rather than impact event, since the impact theory is more speculative at the moment.

Quantum mechanics is still assumed to work.
Laws of conservation don't apply, however an equivalent law at the quantum level is proposed for the component parts of the fundamental particles comprising matter and energy.
Many of the others are proposed as a result of how the fields are arranged in our configuration rather than laws in operation outside the universe. For example, the standard model of particles is proposed as the current arrangement of the fundamental parts which make up the fundamental particles of the current model. Those fundamental parts do

without spacetime or light, "speed of light" is meaningless.
Weak & strong force also are pretty meaningless without matter.
Laws of thermodynamics aren't very meaningful without energy.
What momentum do you have without mass, and spacetime for it to move in?

For gravity, we'll have to see what a quantum theory of gravity ends up looking like.
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silverboner Apr 23, 12
(as a side note, you're also incorrect about us not knowing about gravity acting differently. Since the propagation rate is one of the things that might be changing, it is entirely possible that we would have seen the effects)
Are you so insistent that I have to be wrong somewhere, that you have to hypothesize that some other undefined propagation rate also changes simultaneously to allow us to instantly observe the changes in gravity? (undefined as I have actually no idea what propagation rate you are even referring too!...speed of light? to funny if that is the case.)

I already posted a source that state scientists make an assumption about the universal nature of laws. I bring sources, and you have to modify my "what if" scenarios just to claim I am "incorrect".

Again, you resort to the universe from nothing and completely negate that something exists first for virtual particles to pop into existence. That is the basis for the universe out of nothing hypothesis, thereby completely destroying any argument about "coming from nothing". Of course it should be pointed out, that you are dodging questions now about the impact event and the claims you made regarding their assumptions about only some laws applying.

And your assumptions are hilarious! By all means back up your claims with a source.

Of course you want to assume conservation laws don't exist. They are the basis for most problems for the naturalistic creation of the universe. So "poof" lets assume them out of existence to avoid the problems.

But where is the evidence for that assumption and why do we make it, other then the obvious avoidance of origins problems?

What good is quantum mechanics without matter, the standard model, or even the conservation laws??? I am not sure you thought this through. I certainly agree that natural laws are merely a description of existing energy and matter. But that includes quantum mechanics. Quantum Mechanics is no different then weak or strong forces in this aspect.. They are both products of the configuration of energy in this universe.

If you do not assume our natural laws apply outside the universe, you have no basis to make any claims about how any matter or energy behave outside this universe. If we assumed for instance quantum mechanics, like you claim, but we don't assume conservation of laws, then who is to say energy isn't created when two quarks collide and therefor our understanding of quantum interactions doesn't apply? You can't. The simple fact is you have to assume our laws exists to even presume or attempt to hypothesize about the behavior of energy and matter outside our universe.

Avoiding the impact event, doesn't make this problem go away. The uncertainty principle is a fundamental concept within quantum mechanics. So to assume quantum mechanics is to assume the uncertainty principle is still true. But a very important part of the uncertainty principle is the conservation of momentum. But you want to throw out conservation assumptions, thus the uncertain principle no longer is applicable. What good is knowing the momentum value if its not conserved? The uncertainty principle becomes essentially useless, because without the conservation of momentum, we cannot calculate out what happens to different particles as they collide. And if you don't like that example, quantum mechanics does depend on conservation of energy. Without it, we cannot come to understand basic particle interactions. The Hamiltonian is the operator of the total energy of a quantum system. Its the sum of the kinetic and potential energies. If the conservation of energy doesn't apply, we cannot understand the changes to that energy, as energy can be created and destroyed or not conserved, possibly even randomized.
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Another_Mutant Apr 23, 12
The same issue of base assumptions applies to "universe from nothing" as "universe from impact event", so I'm not dodging or avoiding your question. I'm addressing your issue using a hypothesis that has some of the supporting evidence which you said doesn't exist, and one with which I'm a bit more familiar.

Sorry about the sources, but when I'm on the road and the urls I went through are on my PC at home, you are out of luck. So I point you at Dr Krauss, because he is a researcher in the field, and someone who has written some popular science books to get the ideas out in a format more easily understood by the public.

Universe from nothing/Universe from quantum flux
Yes, quantum flux is proposed to exist "before" the universe in the "universe from nothing" hypothesis. As I stated, that is why I prefer to call it "universe from quantum flux".

Of course you want to assume conservation laws don't exist. They are the basis for most problems for the naturalistic creation of the universe. So "poof" lets assume them out of existence to avoid the problems.
Silverboner, This is not something they "want to assume", "need to assume", or any such similar thing. When scientists say "let's assume", that is the hypothesis they are testing. So this is not something "poof"d or assumed out of existence. Scientists make predictions using that assumption, and then make additional observations to test those predictions. The more predictions a hypothesis matches, the stronger it is considered to be.
With this particular hypothesis, one of the predictions is a flat universe.

Likewise, if the hypothesis is correct, then quantum mechanics isn't a product of the configuration of energy in this universe, but instead energy in this universe is a product of the configuration of quantum mechanics.
What good is quantum mechanics without matter, the standard model, or even the conservation laws??? I am not sure you thought this through.
Fortunately, the scientists have thought this through, and come up with a testable hypothesis.

BTW: Propagation rate of gravity is the speed at which the effects affect other objects in the universe at a distance. That's one of the properties of gravity, meaning that I did not modify your scenario in any way. It is one if the things covered by your "gravity started to act differently" billions of lightyears away. Different propagaion rate is a manner in which gravity could act differently if in fact gravity can act differently.
And what do you mean "some other propagation rate"? I'm talking about the propagation rate of gravity, the very force you were discussing.
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silverboner May 2, 12
The same issue of base assumptions applies to "universe from nothing" as "universe from impact event",
Why do you think what we observe inside this universe which "obeys" conservation laws would then be applicable to outside this universe where such laws don't apply? How can you relate anything about our universe to outside the universe unless the same laws apply? Here is an example. Two particles collide, and we can calculate energies or momentum if you prefer. That calculation is invalid for two particles outside the universe if the energy behaves conservation laws don't exist. If we don't assume the same laws, then you cannot predict the behavior becuase you have no basis to argue how the particles are to behave.

Universe from nothing: If Quntum flux exists before the universe then there is no universe from nothing. Which is EXACTLY WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING! Changing the name, doesn't change the problems. If quantum flux exists, so does energy. And everything we know about energy leads us to believe that conservation laws exist. The only reason they wouldn't exist is if energy behaved differently outside the universe, but what evidence is there for that? and if it behaves differently, how can you possibly argue you can predict its behavior? What basis do you have to believe it does behave differently? What evidence? What observation?

But there are problems with your assertions. For instance, the first problem is that our understanding of quatum flux, actually obeys conservation laws. So what does quatum flux look like, if it doesn't obey conservation laws? How do we know what happens to particles when they collide or pop into existence, if energy isn't conserved?

Second problem is that the very "prediction" of a flat universe from a quantum flux spontaneous creation event becomes null and void. Thus your prediction is meaningless, and cannot possibly be a prediction. Its only because of conservation laws that require the flat & zero eenrgy universe to exist from quantum fluxuation. So if you throw out conservation laws, you throw out the prediction. Maybe I am wrong here, but as I understand it, without a conservation law, there is no need for a quantum flux to obey the uncertianty principle about the relationship between energy and time. And if energy isn't conserved, you have no idea what happens to the energy of two colliding particles, or objects.

Not to mention, there is another problem if you are going to argue quantum flux exists, then so does time. As quantum fluctuation is essentially a change in the amount of energy relating to time. And everything we know about energy and time states that as time moves forward, energy becomes more and more useless. You have to abandon one of the most observed laws of physics, and assume it doesn't apply.

If you are going to presume some understanding and predictablility, you also have to presume causality. That would have to be another assumption. No causality, no predictability. And the only way to predict is to understand behavior, and the only way to understand behavior is to apply what we know, based on what we observe. Otherwise if you throw that out, you have no basis to make a prediction.

BTW: If I never suggested that the propagation rate changes, then you are most definitely changing my scenario. I didn't suggest that gravity changes to the point that we can observe it instantly billions of light years away, but you want to make me "incorrect" so you have to modify my what if, so that the propagation rate changes also. Not that I think your mods are even within a "what if" reasonable scenario. To observe changes, requires light to travel billions of light years. TO instantly see such changes, requires light to travel faster then what it does, and not by some small change but rather 1000s of times faster, and that just seems ridiculous to modify my what if, just so you can interject and claim that I am "incorrect".
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Another_Mutant May 8, 12
If quantum flux exists, energy and time exist? If UFN/UFQF hypothesis is correct, then you are incorrect about this. Also, I'm not sure where you're getting that from... What obeservations indicate that the requirement exists and is in that direction?

We observe events in our universe that don't appear to have causuality, so we don't have a reason to assume that causuality exists outside the universe and time. It also seems to me that we are able to predict some of them statistically, so I'm not so sure about your claim of unpredictability.

Your arguments about the conservation laws miss the fact that it does propose a conservation law... just at a lower level than the laws we see. A conservation of the fundamental component of matter and energy would result in a conservation of matter and energy in a universe where the arrangement those components formed matter and energy.

BTW: You suggested "gravity started to act differently". You did not specify a specific change, and propagation rate is a way in which it could act differently. So again, I did not change your proposition in any way, I merely focused on 1 possibilty falling under the umbrella of "gravity started to act differently".
If the propagation rate of gravity exceeds the speed of light, there is no requirement for light to exceed the speed of light. We would be able to see it becuase of the effect on affected objects within the light speed lag.
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silverboner May 9, 12
If quantum flux exists, energy and time exist? If UFN/UFQF hypothesis is correct, then you are incorrect about this.
That doesn't make any sense. Quantum fluctuations arise from the uncertainty principle WHICH ONLY EXISTS because of the existence of time, matter and energy. you are not making any sense in claiming that quantum fluctuations can exist without energy or time or matter. The only reason quantum fluctuations exists is because energy, matter, and time exist. And not just "exist", but exists in the manner in which we observe it. If you tweaked some properties of matter/energy, then matter may not even exist as we understand it. Which would completely eliminate any basis you have to argue about what occurs outside the universe. If energy and matter are different outside the universe, ie they don't follow the same rules, you have no basis to argue that our observations are relevant to what occurs outside the universe.

If you don't assume causality exists then you cannot claim a cause exists. I honestly have no idea why it is you think you can simultaneously think you can understand what happens outside the universe and attempt to argue a cause, and yet at the same time claim causes don't exist.

I have no idea why it is you can state that conservations laws don't apply, but now all of a sudden conservations laws apply at a "lower level", what ever the hell that means. If conservation laws exist, then they exist with energy, scale would be irrelevant. Why do you think energy could or would abide by conservation laws on "lower level", again what ever the hell that implies, but not in totality? That is ridiculous. Either energy is conserved or its not. But it sounds like to me you are arguing that its sometimes conserved. In which case, please dictate out the boundaries or conditions where energy is conserved and when its not.

So, you want to claim I am wrong, so you spin my what if, to make me out wrong. Go it. But I still don't see how you even have a point. We can only observe objects becuase of light. OBSERVATIONS require light. If the propagation rate of gravity exceed the speed of light, it wouldn't matter. We couldn't observe it until the LIGHT which reflects off the object MEETS OUR EYES. Light is fast, but over the distance of the universe, it takes billions of years to reach us. So a local change in gravity, wouldn't not be witnessed for billions of years. Period, end of story. The propagation rate of gravity doesn't change the speed that light travels. And its that speed that dictates when we can observe any changes.
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Another_Mutant May 9, 12
Again, how do you know that time, matter, and energy cause the "uncertainty principle"? Why is the cause that direction, and not the other? Why are these not 2 things existing in the same area but neither causing the other?

Why is the conservation so hard to understand? When the matter/energy equivalence was discovered, the conservation of matter was understood to be a conservation of matter/energy. If matter/energy have a fundamental component part behind them, how hard is it to go from current conservation of matter/energy to conservation of the common component part?
quote me
Laws of conservation don't apply, however an equivalent law at the quantum level is proposed for the component parts of the fundamental particles comprising matter and energy.
In any universe where those fundamental component parts are formed into energy/matter, the conservation of them will cause conservation of energy/matter.
Energy is not conserved where those component parts do not form energy.

BTW: Just because you can't see the effects billions of light years away does not mean you can't see the effects on closer objects. After minutes you could see the effects on our sun, after 4.5 years the effects on Alpha Centauri, etc...
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silverboner May 10, 12
The uncertainty principle is a property of energy and matter, just as any and all laws of physics are properties of existing energy and matter. The laws of physics do not determine how matter and energy behave, its energy and matter that determine the laws of physics. So the uncertainty principle is nothing more then an observation that is true, given how energy and matter behave. So of course energy, matter and time "cause" the uncertainty principle. That should be obvious.

What is so hard to understand is when conservation laws apply. What constitutes "lower level" and what is the "common component"? I have no reason to believe conservation laws are only true for only the "lower level", but is untrue for "upper level". You don't provide any evidence or any links, and you speak in generalities.

Your argument doesn't even make sense. Conservation laws state that energy cannot be created or destroyed, that is why we can calculate the energy of a system, and the energy of particles and track their changes upon interactions, even quantum systems, but you are suggesting that the fundamental components causes conservation of energy and matter, and yet the conservation of energy and matter state that energy and matter ARE NOT CAUSED! (ie created). It makes no sense what so ever. Either energy is conserved and not created, or energy is not conserved and energy is created. But created energy cannot give rise to conservation of energy, because the conservation of energy means that energy cannot be created! You are not making any sense.

You suggested that fundamental components of energy/matter are conserved, and thus that conservation is the cause of energy and matter being conserved upon its creation. Ignoring the fact that the conservation of energy and matter means that energy cannot be created, I have no idea why I would think conservation laws don't apply then. Except in the case where there is no energy, then that would be obvious. But you seem to have suggested that conservation laws exist even if energy doesn't exist, (equivalent law at the quantum level, and implied that such conservation of fundamental comopnents give rise to conservation with energy and matter), and so I have no idea when "Laws of conservation don't apply", except for the obvious case when energy doesn't exist, which is when precisely?

So yes I am terribly confused on two accounts.

1. How can conservation laws that state energy cannot be created, be caused by the creation of energy? That is self contradiction. Conservation laws state that energy cannot be created, thus the law of conservation cannot be created with the creation of energy.

2. How can conservation laws not apply, and yet simultaneously the fundmeental components have an equivalent conservation law that causes conservation when energy and matter forms? When are there no conservation laws? Obviously energy cannot be conserved if it doesn't exist. But conservation laws do seem to apply even for the fundamental components as that gives rise to the conservation law when they form energy. (not that makes any sense cause conservation laws state energy cannot be formed.)

BTW: Why do you think a "local change" in gravity on the other side of the universe would affect our Sun? Do you not understand what "local" means?
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Another_Mutant May 8, 12
LOL... sorry, causality. I'm the victim of remote access lag today.
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Another_Mutant May 11, 12
Ah. When you were talking about the uncertainty principle, I thought you were referring to the actual process being observed, not the observation of it. Please take all above instances to mean that.
The research I've seen seems to imply that arises out of the quantum flux, not out of matter and energy. What contradictory research have you seen on this?

If mass & energy share a component part, then when you calculate the total mass & energy of the system, you are actually calculating the total of the component part.
So we used to think that matter couldn't be created or destroyed. Our observation was incorrect. Once we found the matter-energy equivalence, we found that it was matter+energy conserved, not matter.
Likewise, if this hypothesis is correct, then the point of conservation moves back yet one more step. If this hypothesis is correct, then there never was a conservation of matter+energy... it just appeared to us that there was because we didn't understand enough of the underlying principles.
Likewise, there never was a conservation of matter law in nature. It just appeared that there was. Once we understood the underlying principles better, we found that no such law existed.

1. Those laws are an approximation of the actual law, and thus were never caused.
2a. The actual law would be the conservation of the component parts. If you don't know enough about the component parts, it appears to be conserving at a different level.
2b. Conservation laws (according to this hypothesis) exist at all times.

BTW: By "Local", I figured you were talking about a comparatively small area when compared to the size of the universe. Since gravity affects every other object in the universe within the propagation horizon, the area affected by a local change is the entire propagation horizon.
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silverboner May 15, 12
Why do you think energy and matter arise from quantum flux, and thus essentially quantum mechanics? That doesn't make any sense what so ever. The very definition of quantum fluctuation is a change in energy at a point in space. Not to mention, quantum fluctuations are ONLY ALLOWED because of the uncertainty principle. And the only reason the uncertainty principle exists, is because of how energy and matter are configured. The uncertainty principle is a property of matter and energy.

quote Wiki
"In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle is any of a variety of mathematical inequalities asserting a fundamental limit on the precision with which certain pairs of physical properties of a particle, such as position x and momentum p, can be simultaneously known."


...the uncertainty principle actually states a fundamental property of quantum systems...
And what is a quantum system? "Its simply a system where the action is on the order of the Planck Constant". Wiki also states that "Quantum Mechanics provides a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter."

QM simply is a description of the interactions of energy and matter. Thus Quantum mechanics, and quantum fluctuations are properties of energy and matter. They are not deterministic in how energy and matter behave, they are simply observations of how energy and matter behave.

Do you have some evidence that energy arises from quantum systems? That would violate the conservation of energy, which as you should know, quantum systems still obey this "law".

Also I don't understand what you are gaining here by moving the conservation of energy back to the conservation of components. If the conservation of components hold, then you still have a problem of how the components get created. So now instead of an origins problem for energy, you have an origins problem for the components of energy. Just as we still have a problem for the origins of matter, because there is the problem of the origins of the components of matter.

1. How can they not be caused, if they are caused by the conservation of the components?

2a. If conservation exists at the fundemental components, then there is still a problem of how the components get created.

2b. I don't understand how you can assert conservation laws exist at all times, but you just got done telling me they don't apply.

BTW: I give up. The point was that scientists make assumptions about the universal nature of the laws of physics. I provided a source, from Berkley to boot, to back up my claims. Did you? Nope. Scientists assume the laws apply everywhere. Its fundamental to being able to understand where we cannot observe, like places beyond the universe. If we do not assume it, we cannot begin to understand. Even your claims about quantum mechanics being "true" but other laws not cannot withstand scrutiny becuase you have no basis to argue how energy and matter behave to provide any causality. But you refuse to except this fact.
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Shiny Mew Jul 31, 12
Being Atheist doesn't automatically mean you believe in any sort of origin theory, story or myth. It doesn't mean you believe in any of the origin theories you stated either. You're just trying to annoy atheists by saying close minded things such as this. So in short, no, it does not require faith to be an atheist, it requires faith to believe in an origin theory, story, hypothesis, myth etc.
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silverboner Aug 1, 12
I don't buy that. Atheism is a belief that god/s do no exist. That means by default, a naturalistic explanation is the only manner to account for existence. And thus an atheist must accept naturalism as origin, and given there is no evidence & can be no evidence for a naturalistic explanation....that requires faith.
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Shiny Mew Aug 2, 12
I don't buy that. Atheism is not a belief that no God exists, it is absence of belief. Atheism shouldn't even be a word, I DON'T believe that a god/gods exist, because I'm not claiming anything, merely holding an opposite opinion to the person making the claim that god does exist. And no, by default you don't have to believe in any explanation for our existence, I'm happy to say "I do no know where life or the universe originated." I haven't seen enough evidence to believe in a theory or myth. It took 0 faith for me to say that, and I'm an "atheist", a non-believer. You are just trying to make it seem like atheists require faith just like the religious people do, although that's not the case.
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silverboner Aug 12, 12
Your definition of atheism is too broad and is essentially meaningless. You can rightfully argue that agnosticism is also, an absence of belief, as agnostics also do not believe in a deity. And now you have two words that were supposed to distinguish themselves and set them apart from other beliefs, and your convolution and water down definition just made "atheism" meaningless as far as its purpose goes.

But your definition doesn't make any sense anyways. An absence of belief, is a rejection of belief in God. Its the anti thesis to theism...hence the prefix "a". Atheism means "not-theism". Theism is someont that believes in God. Therefore an atheist is someone that disbelieves in God. But the "disbelieves" means to an atheist rejects God, and so there are only two positions available, either your middle ground, and do not know what to believe...aka agnostic...or you disbelieve in God, you reject the idea of God, and therefore necessarily believe that God doesn't exist...aka atheism.
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Resilience Mar 12, 14
So, what's your point?

Atheists have faith. So what? Everyone has faith. You have faith that you'll be alive tomorrow by the actions you perform today. You seem to throw around the idea that atheism is all about seeing the evidence or lack thereof and believing anyway, but you completely miss the fact that people don't see the evidence as evidence, but just another theory; a new belief in itself.

Also, it seems that you have a narrow view on origins. What seems to be your 'main' argument is that some sort of God had to create the universe because the universe cannot create itself. So, as a question to you, if a God created the universe, who created god? Like argued, something cant come from nothing. Something had to be around to create this god. It all continues back on and on, because whatever created that god had to be created from some other god.

In short, your argument about the universe's creation can be applied to a God itself.

Anyway, why does it really matter? So a person has faith, big deal. I have faith that my house won't burn down while I'm sleeping.
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silverboner Mar 14, 14
My point is that atheists have faith. Most atheists deny that.

And no, the universe's creation cannot be applied to God because you don't have any evidence that God needs to be created. All the evidence we have indicates the universe DOES need to be created. You don't have any similar evidence against God.

Infinite regression leads us to believe 1 thing has to be eternal for our existence to be caused. I attribute that quality to God. I cannot in good intellect attribute it to "physics" or energy because the evidence establishes that I cannot.
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Resilience Mar 14, 14
You don't have any evidence that god doesn't need to be created either, so...

And your attribution is your attribution. Meaning it's insignificant as anyone can attribute qualities to something one believes in.
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silverboner Mar 17, 14
I don't have any evidence that purple flying spaghetti monsters don't need to be created either. So what. Pointing out that I don't have evidence for god not needing to be created is moot. Its of no consequence because we aren't concerned about evidence we don't have.

God, like the universe, cannot create himself. So either God was created by someone or something or God is uncreated, ie eternal. Infinite regression requires something to be eternal, and according to the evidence we have, its not energy/physics. That leaves us with God or "super physics", and there is more evidence for God then some higher order undiscovered physics that is eternal.