Many times, you can hear the so-called “first cause” argument and that it supposedly proves the existence of God.
The argument goes something like this:
- The Universe had a Beginning
- If the Universe had a beginning, it must have had (transcendental) cause that is outside of our reality – first cause
- The Universe has a first cause that is outside our limits
- This cause must be powerful
- This cause is God
On the first glance, the argument it does look powerful.
But, sometimes if one is witty enough, one can remember what was written by various philosophers before.
TL;DR – That science and religion do not clash as they are not concerned with the same things is basically a mantra invented by religious people to have their religion not questioned.
The entire point of this post can be summarized by the image above.
It can also be perfectly explained by paraphrasing Sam Harris: There is NOT a single thing for which once we had a scientific answer, but for which we now have a much better religious answer, while through history we have countless examples where things were once explained by religion, but are now better explained by science.
It basically goes in this one way, every single time. It is almost every time science really advances knowledge about our universe, religion somehow falls back, loses credibility. To prove this point just think about that once religion claimed that the Earth was stationary, until science proved this wrong. Same with Earth being the center of the universe, and the sun going around it. This can also be seen in the science disproving nonsense that is Noah’s ark, for example. Then the creationism of man, which was disproved by evolution / geology / astronomy. Nowadays creationism is mostly replaced by so-called “intelligent design” where people are simply saying “ok, some kind of evolution did happen, but it was god who guided it” .. or “god started it”, or something similar.
Of course, even these things are being disproved by science right as we speak. For example, through the human body there is evidence of “bad design”, meaning no intelligent designer would do things in this manner, but on the other hand, they are perfectly explained by evolution.
CC0 Public Domain – Mikegi / Pixabay
On today’s date, 18 May 1872 (- 2 February 1970) Bertrand Arthur William Russell, was born. Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, writer, activist and Nobel laureate.
See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
He has left huge impact on mathematics, logic, philosophy and even computer science. So, to celebrate the day this extraordinary man was born here’s some sites where you can get Bertrand Russell’s books either for free or very cheap.
Not all of these books might be in the public domain in your country. You MUST check the copyright laws of your country before downloading.
But even if they are not free in your country, some of them now are really, really dirt cheap. For example, there is a huge number of Books under €2 on Amazon.de.
One of the things that has a great potential to irritate is the denial of basic and proven scientific truths. A lot of confusion can come from the fact that a theory in science is something very different from the regular understanding of the word “theory”. We touched upon this already.
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed, preferably using a written, pre-defined, protocol of observations and experiments. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.
So, to cut through this confusion, here’s a MEME to show what evolution is:
First of all, I am not a scientist, but I do know how to read and how to think for myself. Also, when something matters to me, I will take the time to study it, to read about it, to make myself at least a bit more familiar with it than I would have been if I relied on my education alone. The sad fact is, education in my time (and even today) is not focused on teaching critical thinking, but memorizing facts, which makes students more robots than educated citizens. But I digress.
So, how do scientists know that evolution really happened?
By Zephyris at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
When you think about potential evidence for evolution, you immediately think FOSSILS. But, as we shall see, fossils are actually only extra, bonus, icing on the cake … however you wish to call it. The case for evolution would be air-tight without any fossil evidence whatsoever!!
How? Well, let’s just see.
You might have heard this clever wordplay about how the fact that there is no evidence for something does not mean that this does not exist. People proclaiming “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” want to say that just because humans have not found evidence for something, it is not excluded that this does not exist.
Well, yes, it is not excluded, but evidence can be used to infer the presence or not presence of something. “For instance, if a doctor does not find any malignant cells in a patient, finding nothing is evidence of absence of cancer, even though the doctor has not actually detected anything per se.” – Wikipedia
As this shows us, the evidence is one thing and PROOF is another thing. We are not talking about proof here. Do NOT confuse evidence and proof. The proof is a difficult thing and it’s almost always close to impossible. Proof only really exists in mathematics. Evidence, however, does give reason to SUSPECT absence, to consider absence very, very, very likely. So, what’s all this with evidence of absence?
There is always a small, minuscule possibility that the evidence has not been observed yet, but this doesn’t mean that this possibility can and should be used to hang on to outrageously unlikely beliefs. Just the opposite.
Image by stevepb / Pixabay. Public Domain.
When analysing an idea to decide what evidence is necessary to support it, we should always take into account what evidence should be there and how much of it should be there. If there should be a LOT of evidence for something and we know exactly what the evidence should be, then a lack of this evidence does indeed allow us to dismiss this idea.
Humanity has invented conflict, war and Religion. But not all achievements of society are bad. Quite the contrary, some of them are so magnificent they can actually restore your faith in Humanity and make you feel special to be a member of the Human family.
The Hubble Space Telescope is one of those achievements.
Image by NASA, Public Domain
The problem with observing the universe using telescopes and observatories stationed on Earth is a bit difficult because Earth’s atmosphere gets in the way. When looking at objects through Earth’s atmosphere, so-called twinkling occurs. What apparently happens is: the light which comes from distant sources passes through different densities of the atmosphere and the path of light is diverted and you don’t get precise readings.
In addition to that, atmosphere blocks ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma-rays, so if humanity wants to observe them it cannot do so through the atmosphere.
The Hubble Space Telescope as seen from the departing Space Shuttle Atlantis.
We all have ambivalent and contradictory feelings, sometimes about the tiniest, most irrelevant things. And when it comes to the human condition, to the status and development of humanity … well, what can be a greater source of contradiction that development of human society in general? For example, I’ll be the first one to say that we as a species are not doing nearly enough when it comes to Space Exploration and Science, but at other times I take a look what humanity has achieved and I’m filled with inspiration and almost moved to tears.
The International Space Station as photographed by a crew member on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis, By NASA/Crew of STS-132 - Public Domain (Source)
This time we’re talking about The International Space Station. This is one major human achievement and not only because it’s a technological wonder, but also because it’s a monument to what humanity can achieve once it pulls together to work on a common goal. It’s material evidence that our petty little differences don’t matter so much, because when humanity wants a common goal it will pull it’s resources together to make that happen.