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Why Would Anyone Base Their Beliefs Regarding The Most Vitally Important Question Of All On The Ever Shifting Foundation of Modern Cosmology?

In a comment to a recent post Timaeus makes a fantastic point about basing one’s ultimate beliefs on a scientific theory in a state of flux.  All that follows is his:

If one were to try to derive knowledge of God from the latest discoveries of science, modern cosmology is not a good science to choose. It changes almost yearly. One cannot read the science news without discovering, several times a year, claims that major aspects of cosmology — quasars, black holes, the big bang, dark matter, dark energy — need to be radically rethought or perhaps even abandoned, due to new measurements which show that X can’t possibly account for what it was supposed to account for. Why would one base one’s theology (or worse, one’s personal faith) on a field as mercurial as this?

By contrast, one doesn’t read science headlines like: “Flash! Science now proves that iron is really a non-metal!” or “Faraday proved wrong about the existence of a relationship between electricity and magnetism,” or “Harvey’s theory of the circulation of the blood debunked by scientists at the Wistar Institute.” A theology based on basic electromagnetic theory, or on the classical modern discoveries in physics, chemistry, physiology, and anatomy, would have some wings to fly with. A theology based on very tentative areas of science, such as cosmology, or evolutionary theory, or string theory, or chaos theory, is going to be as tentative as the science from which it extrapolates.

In short, even if everything Hawking says about the physical universe is true, his theological and philosophical pronouncements are vacuous nonsense; and it is questionable whether the entire field of intellectual endeavor in which this genius has occupied himself is stable enough to provide a secure basis for any extrapolation from science to metaphysics. I certainly would not care to revise any of my religious beliefs or theological formulations on the basis of the speculations of Hawking (any more than I would revise them based on the speculations of Mayr, Dobzhansky, or Dawkins). But if I were to revise my theology based on Hawking’s science, I would make my own extrapolations; I would never rely on his.

It is so amusing. We are told over and over again that scientists should stay out “fields” in which they have no training. We are told that Behe should stay out of evolutionary theory because his “field” is not biology but only biochemistry. We are told Dembski should stay out of evolutionary theory because his “field” is probability theory, not biology. But when Hawking pronounces on matters of theology and philosophy, the entire world of science journalism opens its doors to him, and broadcasts his most casual obiter dicta as if they are profound truths. Yet Hawking is far, far less competent to talk about God than either Behe or Dembski are to talk about evolutionary theory.

The double standard is plain for all to see. If you are against conventional religious belief, if you are against the idea of design in nature, you can say anything you want about fields in which you are ignorant and untrained, and no one will complain about your violation of specialist boundaries. If you hold to the reigning secular humanism practiced by the so-called “elite” scientists, you can get away with spewing any crap that you like. And what Hawking spews about God and creation out of nothingness is sub-academic, sub-intellectual crap, and should be identified as such.

Einstein’s sophomoric ventures into theology were bad enough, but they do not appear to have been animated by hostility to religious belief as such; but Hawking’s apparently more calculated strikes at religious belief, based on a theological understanding even more naive than Einstein’s, is beyond even the most generous tolerance levels that a theologian or philosopher can extend to dilettante materialist scientists. The world needs to be told that Hawking is completely incompetent to speak on the subjects he is addressing.

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37 Responses to Why Would Anyone Base Their Beliefs Regarding The Most Vitally Important Question Of All On The Ever Shifting Foundation of Modern Cosmology?

  1. Why Would Anyone Base Their Beliefs Regarding The Most Vitally Important Question Of All On The Ever Shifting Foundation of Modern Cosmology?

    Well, it has as much validity as basing them on the word of a man who staggeres down a mountain, clutching a pair of stone tablets claiming to have just been chatting with God.

    Actually a bit more, I’d say.

  2. Single_Malt:

    Well, there are certainly also many other alternatives: general philosophical reasoning, personal experience, other less shifting parts of science, such as physics, and so on.

    All considered, astrophysics and cosmology don’t seem to the the best bet. But I certainly agree that they should be taken into consideration. With great caution.

  3. All considered, astrophysics and cosmology don’t seem to the the best bet. But I certainly agree that they should be taken into consideration. With great caution.

    It depends on how your notions of the universe impact on your life, I suppose.

    19th Century astronomers were vastly mistaken about the enormity of the universe; believing as they did that the Milky Way was the whole shebang. Similarly, 20 years ago, I had never heard of Dark Matter/Energy, and so in those respects my ideas about the cosmos were very much in error.

    But this fairly huge revision in my conception of the cosmos has made no noticeable difference to my life. The reason being that even though I happened to accept a view of the cosmos that was incomplete (and will always be) I did not base my ethical or practical behaviour on these things. I suspect the vast majority of people don’t either.

    But that doesn’t mean that our ethical and practical life should therefore be based on immutable dogma either. To reference my first post I can’t think of a worse foundation to base one’s life than the missives of people who claim to have an exclusive connection with the divine.

    If you were to ask anyone’s reaction to a report that Edmund Hillary spoke to God while perched at Everest’s summit; and that God had some instructions for us they would rightly giggle and dismiss it out of hand. And yet there’s not the slightest difference between that and Moses’ tale. The only thing Moses has going for him is several thousand years of strictly enforced tradition.

    As uncertain as the scientific view of the cosmos is at least it can at least be reasoned with, shown to be in error and corrected. Religious dogma has no such safeguards.

  4. Excellent point! This is one of the reasons the ever changing opinions of scientists don’t sway me too much. Almost all of the evidence given at the Scopes Trial to uphold evolution is now known to be false! Cosmology is so full of fudges and special miracles to prop up the Big Bang – ie multiverse, that it is hard to believe any rational person who understood this would actually claim to believe it.

    The problem is that for the Darwinist, there is no other option as the role of a Creator or Designer is nixed from the starting line. So, it doesn’t matter how impossible the odds may seem; it doesn’t matter how many fudge factors one has to use to prop up a theory; it doesn’t matter how unreasonable it seems, IT HAD TO HAVE HAPPENED so they are willing to believe anything. Darwinism blinds them to the truth.

    True, the scientific view of the cosmos can be reasoned with and shown to be in error, but the question is, can it ever be shown to be true?

    Neither can the Bible ever be shown to be true, but there is enough evidence that faith is not blind faith, but actually makes the best sense of the facts imho.

    Single_Malt wants to poke fun at Moses who met with God on the mountain. The difference between his example of Edmund whoever meeting with God and Moses meeting with God is that all the Israelites KNEW he had actually met with God. The commandments were written in the stone itself by the finger of God. Moses’ face shone when he came down from the mountain. The mountain was smoking. A plague broke out when he came down and saw the Israelites involved in idol worship. The people had seen the power of God when they were miraculously delivered from Egypt. The laws make great sense and were affirmed by Jesus. etc.

  5. Single_Malt,

    At least Christians have a reason for the beliefs that they hold—God has declared truth in His Scriptures. What basis does any other philosophy have for the existence of the laws of nature, logic, or mathematics? There is no consistent and rational basis for these things outside of Christian theism. God is a God of order and He is consistent. He upholds/sustains all things by the power of His word. Things look designed because, surprise! They are. See how reasonable that is?

    The intricate details of the created universe confirm God’s claim as the Creator. To start from a position that does not place God as the authority is to mock God Himself. In Romans 1 the apostle Paul describes a world that worships the creature rather than the Creator. Mankind suppresses the truth in unrighteousness even though God has made Himself known through His creation and His Scriptures.

    Dawkins said “evolution allows people to be intellectually fulfilled atheists”. Unfortunately, it also frees them from God’s laws enabling them to be emotionally fulfilled atheists, as now they are free to suppress their conscience without guilt. I suspect this is the greater reason why so many people want to choose that position. They think it allows them freedom to live life however they want to.

    That’s fine until someone else decides to live life in a way that they don’t agree with or infringes on their own freedoms. Then all of a sudden they think there is a right and a wrong way to live life. I guess there is not total freedom after all. And if not, then, I guess atheism cannot be true a total freedom and meaningless of life is a logical deduction of that worldview.

  6. Single_Malt wants to poke fun at Moses who met with God on the mountain.

    No, I merely highlight the futility in ever establishing such a fact.

    As for the rest of your post I could not have asked for a more enjoyable demonstration of faulty reasoning; thankyou.

    Edmund whoever….

    Sigh.

  7. Single Malt says: “No, I merely highlight the futility in ever establishing such a fact.”

    Fair enough. I accept it as faith based on my a priori acceptance of the Bible as God’s Word. I believe it makes great sense that a Creator who created us with a desire to know where we came from, an interest in life’s purpose, a curiosity about what happens after death, a desire to know how best to live one’s life, etc. would actually reveal these things to us as opposed to letting us flounder around on our own on an open sea with no answers.

    An atheist has no meaningful standard of truth or morality whatsoever – unless it is some meaningless eternally elastic one he or someone has made up. It follows that he/she really cannot ever establish anything as fact, including his own beliefs about nature and his own worldview. His a priori belief is in the non-existence of a supernatural deity – which forces him against all odds to come up with a somewhat believable naturalistic explanation for life and the universe. Even agnostics have the same trouble as they believe there is no way of knowing anything about this deity, if He does exist, so functionally they too are in the same boat with the atheist adrift on a vast ocean with no knowledge of or hope of ever really knowing where he came from, where he is going, or why he is even floating.

    Science is NOT a begetter of truth as the current state of cosmology so clearly shows. In an atheistic world, ultimate truth doesn’t even exist, nor does it matter. Actually nothing matters in the ultimate sense, so it is hard to understand why atheists are so worried about IDers and creationists. Things have turned out pretty well so far haven’t they? I mean, who would have ever guessed something like humans could ever have evolved on their own by chance?!

    Maybe evolution is to blame for producing religious people, so why fret? In fact, that is what atheism claims, is it not? So why not just let evolution run it’s course?

    According to materialism, you can’t help what you believe and I can’t help what I believe. Free choice is a figment of our collective imaginations as the materialistic worldview means that all things are determined. That’s a lovely thought, isn’t it? Just gives you warm fuzzies all over, doesn’t it?

    In the end, I guess you are right. Neither side can prove it’s position. However, philosophically, atheism and materialism has a lot of problems and inconsistencies that don’t fit with what we intuitively know to be true of life. (ie there is a purpose for our life, there is free will, how we live our life does matter, there is objective right and wrong, self-consciousness is real, immaterial things do exist(information, laws, etc.) etc.

    I’ll stick with faith in God. And I’m sure you will stick with faith in the ever changing ideas of scientists whose very thinking is determined by the very evolutionary processes that created them.

  8. Just after destroying Egypt, the world’s superpower, opening the a way in the sea, turning poisonous water into safe, drinkable water and predicting that an incredible power will descend to the mountain in front of them. That man has a point.

  9. Single_Malt, One more thing. You said:
    “But this fairly huge revision in my conception of the cosmos has made no noticeable difference to my life. The reason being that even though I happened to accept a view of the cosmos that was incomplete (and will always be) I did not base my ethical or practical behaviour on these things. I suspect the vast majority of people don’t either.”

    Actually, if your cosmology has had an influence on what you think about the existence of God, then it has had a huge influence on your life. It encouraged you to cut the ties from the bible and go life all on your own, to follow your own thoughts and ideas, to live life for yourself or for whatever arbitrary meaning you make up for your life. It has freed you from being accountable to God. You may not base your ethical or practical behavior on cosmology, but your ethical and practical behavior is influenced by what you think about God and His Word, which in turn was probably influenced by your cosmology.

    Perhaps you decided you wanted more “freedom” than God’s laws permit and so you cut those ties before you landed on your cosmological beliefs, but those cosmological beliefs still served to reinforce that decision to turn your back on God and His Word.

    Evolutionary cosmology serves to encourage people in their materialistic worldview. As this man articulately points out, it is not really worthy of our trust and the influence we allow it to have on our thoughts about God.

  10. Why Would Anyone Base Their Beliefs Regarding The Most Vitally Important Question Of All On The Ever Shifting Foundation of Modern Cosmology?

    HMMM,

    Psalm 8: 3-4
    When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

    Well the proposition that the universe will even conform to our faculties of reasoning, at all, is a Theistic proposition that enabled the formation of ‘science’ in the first place:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    “Atheists may do science, but they cannot justify what they do. When they assume the world is rational, approachable, and understandable, they plagiarize Judeo-Christian presuppositions about the nature of reality and the moral need to seek the truth. As an exercise, try generating a philosophy of science from hydrogen coming out of the big bang. It cannot be done. It’s impossible even in principle, because philosophy and science presuppose concepts that are not composed of particles and forces. They refer to ideas that must be true, universal, necessary and certain.” Creation-Evolution Headlines
    http://creationsafaris.com/cre.....#20110227a

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth he is giving in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    Here a Darwinian Psychologist has a ‘moment of clarity’ facing the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness, in that he realizes he cannot confirm, scientifically, his foundational materialistc belief;

    Darwinian Psychologist David Barash Admits the Seeming Insolubility of Science’s “Hardest Problem”
    Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52491.html

    RC Sproul Interviews Stephen Meyer – Presuppositional Apologetics (Epistemology) (and Scientific Argument for ID from presently acting cause known to produce effect in question)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM5J2zTBIzI

    And moreover, while I agree that the details may be argued over, the fact that the universe began to exist has only gained in strength of its evidential basis. The same can be said for the fine-tuning of the universe. And as far as the details go, I find that any ‘problems’ that may arise, in the ‘details’ for how the universe began to exist, is usually directly associated with some materialistic model that a priori tries to account for the origination of the universe, such as problems in string theory, aspects of ‘the standard model’, and the Higgs boson.,,, and indeed the ‘strongest evidence’ for the beginning of the universe, the Cosmic Background Radiation, which we can directly see, is perhaps the most direct and dramatic confirmation of a Theistic belief that a Christian could hope for, and perhaps I can be forgiven for putting just a tiny amount of my faith in what modern cosmology has revealed for the transcendent origin of the universe:

    The Known Universe – Dec. 2009 – a very cool video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4240304/

    The best data we have [concerning the Big Bang] are exactly what I would have predicted, had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the bible as a whole.
    Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer of the Cosmic Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discover Cosmic Background Radiation

    “There is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing.”
    George Smoot – Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    “,,,the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world,,, the essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same.”
    Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – Pg.15 ‘God and the Astronomers’

    ,,, ‘And if your curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere; video

    “The Big Bang represents an immensely powerful, yet carefully planned and controlled release of matter, energy, space and time. All this is accomplished within the strict confines of very carefully fine-tuned physical constants and laws. The power and care this explosion reveals exceeds human mental capacity by multiple orders of magnitude.”
    Prof. Henry F. Schaefer -

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1:1-3
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.

    Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill How Great thou Art – 720P HD – Standing Ovation!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk

  11. The flaw in this kind of thinking should be obvious but in case it isn’t allow me to reference Edwin Abbot’s satirical novella, Flatland.

    It’s a story about a two-dimensional being, Mr Circle, who lives in a two-dimensional world. The concept of a third dimension if utterly alien to the inhabitants of Flatland, they are familiar only with length and breadth.

    One fine day Mr Circle is visited by a three dimensional entity….a sphere! Good heavens! Understandably Mr Circle is terrified, amazed and baffled and it takes a lot for the sphere to calm Mr Circle down.

    Some aspects of the sphere’s nature seems utterly fantastic to Mr Circle; for instance the ability of the sphere to touch Mr Circle’s insides without puncturing his skin; or the ability to rise above Flatland and see all at once (Omnividence); both impossible feats for regular two-dimensional beings.

    One day the sphere takes Mr Circle for a birds eye view of Flatland….

    Awestruck at the sight of the mysteries of the earth, thus unveiled before my unworthy eye, I said to my Companion,

    “Behold, I am become as a God! For the wise men in our country say that to see all things, or as they express it, omnividence, is the attribute of God alone.”

    There was something of scorn in the voice of my Teacher as he made answer:

    “It is so indeed? Then the very pick-pockets and cut- throats of my country are to be worshipped by your wise men as being Gods: for there is not one of them that does not see as much as you see now. But trust me, your wise men are wrong.”

    “Then is omnividence the attribute of others besides Gods?”

    “I do not know. But, if a pick-pocket or a cut-throat of our country can see everything that is in your country, surely that is no reason why the pick-pocket or cutthroat should be accepted by you as a God. This omnividence, as you call it — it is not a common word in Spaceland — does it make you more just, more merciful, less selfish, more loving? Not in the least. Then how does it make you more divine?”

    The point, beautifully made, is that even the foulest criminal from the world of three dimensions would bewitch the inhabitants of a two-dimensional world.

    The point is every bit as valid when the subject is Moses, Jesus or……….

    No matter how many seas are parted, no matter how many lepers are healed, no matter how many blind men are cured and no matter how far one can walk unaided upon lukewarm water….none of this shows that either the persons’ claim to divinity is true, and even less that they should be obeyed.

  12. SM states; No, I merely highlight the futility in ever establishing such (Moses) a fact.

    Well actually there is very good circumstantial evidence for at least believing it to be possible:

    The following videos have some fairly persuasive archaeological, and even geological, evidence that the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt actually did occur:

    Exodus Revealed part 2 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bJ5JdBd4QU

    The Exodus Case Interviews with Lennart Moller – video
    http://www.prophecyinthenews.c.....rt-moller/

  13. SM, Funny you should use Flatland (of us being in a lower dimension) as a exercise for denying faith in God, for actually Flatland (which is a Theistic presupposition and not a materialistic presupposition), surprisingly, has turned out to be a fairly accurate description for how our reality is actually structured:

    In science, before Einstein, time was held to be a independent entity that was constant in flow and infinite in duration i.e. it was held that time had no beginning or end and that its ‘flow’ has always been the same in all places in the universe at all times. In fact I believe that that particular view of a infinite, and a constant, time was/is axiomatic to Newton’s equations of gravity and motion. The same can be said for space. Space, before Einstein, was held to be infinite, in regards to width, length, and height, and it also was held to be without beginning or end. And as well, I believe that that view of a infinite, without beginning or end, space also was/is axiomatic to Newton’s equations on gravity and motion. And thus Einstein came along and with his insight,,,

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    ,,,and showed that space and time were two sides of the same coin; i.e. space-time were united into one entity. And space-time is now seen to be a ‘physical’ entity, (a fabric), that has real effects on material objects:

    The curvature of Space-Time – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoaOHvy5AcA

    Even light is bent by this ‘fabric’ of space-time;

    Einstein – General Relativity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyVUbUrB2YY

    And even though Einstein did not realize it at the time, his General Relativity equation even indicated a beginning for space-time:

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past.”
    (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970

    The common view, now held by the general public, is that gravity is created as mass warps the fabric of space-time, but there is now reason to believe that gravity is more properly thought of as being created as a emergent property of space-time that is of ‘preceding importance’ to mass:

    Evolution is a Fact, Just Like Gravity is a Fact! UhOh!
    Excerpt: The results of this paper suggest gravity arises as an entropic force, once space and time themselves have emerged.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....fact-uhoh/

    Corroborating evidence is found, that gravity does indeed arise as a entropic force once space-time itself has emerged, since black holes, the largest generators of gravity in the universe, are now also found to be the largest contributors of entropy (as defined by randomness) in the universe:,,,

    Thermodynamics – 3.1 Entropy
    Excerpt: Entropy – A measure of the amount of randomness
    or disorder in a system.
    http://www.saskschools.ca/curr.....rgy3_1.htm

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    And this ‘entropic force of gravity’, generated by black holes, is found to be so even though space-time in black holes is warped to the point of ‘infinite curvature’. A infinite curvature of space-time where mass has effectively disappeared from the ‘normal’ space-time of this universe.

    Space-Time of a Black hole
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0VOn9r4dq8

    As well, it is found that the space-time equation of General Relativity breaks down in black holes:

    General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics – The Collapse Of Physics? – video – with notes as to plausible reconciliation that is missed by materialists
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6597379/

    Moreover, the view of space-time as merely a static ‘fabric’, that is passively curved when mass is present, is also found to be a bit too simplistic in its view of space-time from another angle of thought. This is because now, for it to even be possible for time to ‘travel and/or flow into the future’, being inextricably wed as it currently is to space in General Relativity, we find that space, to remain logically coherent in a space-time view of reality, must also ‘expand’ with the ‘flowing of time’ into the future. And indeed this common sense conclusion, for the uniform expansion of space, for the entire universe, with the flowing of time into the future, is what we find. In fact we find the uniform expansion of space with the passing of time, (referred to as Dark Energy), to be the most finely tuned of all the universal constants in the universe, save for the initial entropic setting of the universe (1 in 10^120 and 1 in 10^10^123 respectfully):

    Fine Tuning Of ‘Dark Energy’ and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007682

    The Physics of the Small and Large: What is the Bridge Between Them? Roger Penrose
    Excerpt: “The time-asymmetry is fundamentally connected to with the Second Law of Thermodynamics: indeed, the extraordinarily special nature (to a greater precision than about 1 in 10^10^123, in terms of phase-space volume) can be identified as the “source” of the Second Law (Entropy).”

  14. But perhaps the most important insight to be gained, from Einstein’s special theory of relativity, was the finding that the current temporal space-time we live in, in this ‘material’ universe, is of a ‘lower dimensional’ value of space-time. First, to illustrate this, we find that time, as we understand it, would come to a complete stop at the speed of light. To grasp the whole ‘time coming to a complete stop at the speed of light’ concept a little more easily, imagine moving away from the face of a clock at the speed of light. Would not the hands on the clock stay stationary as we moved away from the face of the clock at the speed of light? Moving away from the face of a clock, at the speed of light, happens to be the same ‘thought experiment’ that gave Einstein his breakthrough insight into e=mc2 (As was clearly illustrated in the first video listed on this page). In other words, hypothetically traveling at the speed of light get us to the place where time, as we understand it, would come to complete stop for light. As well, it is found that the weight of mass becomes infinite at the speed of light, thus mass will never go the speed of light. Yet, mass would disappear from our sight if it could go the speed of light, because, from our non-speed of light perspective, distance in direction of travel will shrink to zero for the mass going the speed of light. Whereas conversely, if mass could travel at the speed of light, its size will stay the same while all other frames of reference not traveling the speed of light will disappear from its sight.

    Special Relativity – Time Dilation and Length Contraction – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSRIyDfo_mY

    Yet, and this is a big yet, light is not frozen within time! Thus for us to make sense of this seeming paradox, a paradox of time as we understand it not passing for light, and yet light not being ‘frozen within time’, we must necessarily assume a ‘higher dimensionality’ for time at the speed of light. In other words, we must assume a higher dimensional eternal, ‘past and future folding into now’, framework of time. This higher dimensionality, ‘eternal’, inference for the time framework of light is strictly warranted because, as said before, light is not ‘frozen within time’ and yet it is shown that time, as we understand it, does not pass for light.

    “I’ve just developed a new theory of eternity.”
    Albert Einstein – The Einstein Factor – Reader’s Digest

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    Experimental confirmation for time dilation is fairly abundant;

    Experimental confirmation of Time Dilation
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....nfirmation

    Moreover, to make this much more personal to the ‘human experience’, we have ‘eye witness’ testimony for the higher dimensional, eternal, framework of time, which was strictly warranted earlier, from Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience testimonies. Here are a few testimonies of which many could be presented:

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The Near Death Experience of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544/

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’ –
    Kimberly Clark Sharp – NDE Experiencer

    ‘There is no way to tell whether minutes, hours or years go by. Existence is the only reality and it is inseparable from the eternal now.’ –
    John Star – NDE Experiencer

    It is also very interesting to note that we have two very, very, different qualities of higher dimensional ‘eternality of time’ revealed by our time dilation experiments;

    Time Dilation – General and Special Relativity – Chuck Missler – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7013215/

    Time dilation
    Excerpt: Time dilation: special vs. general theories of relativity:
    In Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity, time dilation in these two circumstances can be summarized:
    1. –In special relativity (or, hypothetically far from all gravitational mass), clocks that are moving with respect to an inertial system of observation are measured to be running slower. (i.e. For any observer accelerating, hypothetically, to the speed of light, time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop).
    2.–In general relativity, clocks at lower potentials in a gravitational field—such as in closer proximity to a planet—are found to be running slower.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

    In other words, as with any observer accelerating to the speed of light, it is found that for any observer falling into the event horizon of a black hole, that time, as we understand it, will come to a complete stop for them. — But of particularly disturbing interest, to the higher dimensional eternal framework of time found at black holes, it is interesting to note that entropic decay, which is the primary reason why all things grow old in this universe, and even why, ultimately, all living organisms eventually die in this universe, is found to be greatest at black holes. Thus the ‘eternality of time’ at black holes can rightly be called ‘eternalities of decay and/or eternalities of destruction’.

    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?
    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”

    Needless to say the implications of this ‘eternality of destruction’ should be fairly disturbing for those of us who are of the ‘spiritually’ minded persuasion!

    But to continue on, we find that along with time ‘folding in on itself’, to become a higher dimensional ‘eternal now’ framework of time, we find that space also, dramatically, folds in on itself as a observer approaches the speed of light. The 3:22 minute mark of the following video shows the 3-Dimensional world ‘folding and collapsing’ into a tunnel shape, (much like a sheet of paper folding and collapsing into a tunnel shape), around the direction of travel, as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the higher dimension of the speed of light, (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.)

    Traveling At The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    Here is the interactive website, with link to the relativistic math at the bottom of the page, related to the preceding video;

    Seeing Relativity
    http://www.anu.edu.au/Physics/Searle/

    And again, as with the ‘eternality of time’, this folding a collapsing of 3-Dimensional space, as the higher dimension of the speed of light is approached, is corroborated by Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience testimonies:

    The NDE and the Tunnel – Kevin Williams’ research conclusions
    Excerpt: I started to move toward the light. The way I moved, the physics, was completely different than it is here on Earth. It was something I had never felt before and never felt since. It was a whole different sensation of motion. I obviously wasn’t walking or skipping or crawling. I was not floating. I was flowing. I was flowing toward the light. I was accelerating and I knew I was accelerating, but then again, I didn’t really feel the acceleration. I just knew I was accelerating toward the light. Again, the physics was different – the physics of motion of time, space, travel. It was completely different in that tunnel, than it is here on Earth. I came out into the light and when I came out into the light, I realized that I was in heaven.(Barbara Springer)

    Coast to Coast – Blind Since Birth – Vicki’s NDE – part 1 of 3
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e65KhcCS5-Y

    The following video is very useful for explaining exactly why a higher dimension of space is invisible to us;

    Dr. Quantum Explains The Unseen Spiritual Dimension in Flatland – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4119478/

  15. Moreover, quantum biology has now strongly implicated a higher dimensional ‘quantum soul’ within each of us, which makes such a transition to a higher dimension of space and time for each of our ‘souls’, completely in accordance with how physical reality is actually found to be structured:

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/29895068

    Permanence of quantum information is found here:

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q.....onsequence

    Moreover, a very high level of information processing (quantum?) is found to be suddenly ‘missing’ upon the death of a organism:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Steve Talbott
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    Moreover, quantum information is found to be of a ‘higher quality of higher dimensionality’ than space-time is;

    3D to 4D shift – Carl Sagan – video with notes
    Excerpt from Notes: The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. Some physical theories are also by nature high-dimensional, such as the 4-dimensional general relativity.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VS1mwEV9wA

    Music and verses;

    Johnny Cash – Ain’t No Grave
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0MIFHLIzZY

    John 11:25
    Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;

    Matthew 22:31-32
    But about the resurrection of the dead–have you not read what God said to you, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

  16. Of related note,

    How Atheists Take Alexander Vilenkin Out Of Context – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/user/dr.....aemfYmusSY

  17. OT: William Lane Craig Interview at Imperial College London (with stoictv.com) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWKvENtNxtU

  18. If one were to try to derive knowledge of God from the latest discoveries of science, modern cosmology is not a good science to choose.

    Thanks.

    I think you have just debunked the “fine tuning” argument.

  19. 19

    Facile assertions are not arguments Neil. Would you care to make one? Or do you prefer the “neener, neener neener” variety of debate.

  20. All of science is subject to change. If you only notice change in cosmology, then you aren’t looking very closely.

    My digital camera operates, based on photo-resistance. The disk drive in my computer works on the basis of magneto-resistance. Both could be considered to be failures of Ohm’s law. Both involve recent important changes in our understanding of electrical phenomena.

    Personally, what led me to give up on religion was reading the Bible. Cosmology had nothing to do with it.

  21. SM – Let me second ba77′s comment. SM it is dangerous to parade ignorance in a forum where people actually think. You have totally missed the meaning of “Flatland”. So much so that I really question your ability to exercise basic reasoning. You seem so determined not to believe in the God of Christianity you have chosen to display your ignorance quite forcefully.

    To put it simply, “Flatland” is not about whether a claim by someone to be God or to know God should be discounted. This is obvious if we look at the natural conclusion of your argument.

    The point, beautifully made, is that even the foulest criminal from the world of three dimensions would bewitch the inhabitants of a two-dimensional world.

    The point is every bit as valid when the subject is Moses, Jesus or……….

    No matter how many seas are parted, no matter how many lepers are healed, no matter how many blind men are cured and no matter how far one can walk unaided upon lukewarm water….none of this shows that either the persons’ claim to divinity is true, and even less that they should be obeyed.

    1. Applying your supposed “logic” from Flatland to the story of Moses would be saying that Moses did some phenomenal things because Moses was in some manner a “higher being”. But we should discount Moses’ stories because any higher being could have done the same stuff and did not have to be God.

    So in one deft statement you have – a) missed the point of Flatland completely b) put forward an argument about Moses which is not supported by the text ( Moses is said to be the “meekest of men” and never claims divinity. c) and committed an obvious fallacy by conflating Moses ( who made no claims of divinity ) with Jesus ( who claimed divinity ).

    So to help your literary understanding I will try to explain a bit. The Sphere is not the philosophical hero of Flatland. We are not to take as wisdom his speeches. The discussion between the circle and the sphere regarding the possibility of four dimensions shows the Sphere to be an ignorant being. In other words the circle realizes that the Sphere is not a God because he has limitations of three dimensions. The fact that the Sphere, a limited being, is not God does not say “There is no God”. It effectively makes the argument that God is not limited. That God must be infinite, or not God. It is an argument for the omnipotent character of God. But even this is not the main point of the book

    The main point of Flatland is the impossibility of second-hand proof of things which are obvious in one dimension into another. The analogy is the impossibility of an angel, spirit, or God himself being able to give to one man, the ability to prove to other men, the existence of God.

    Even if I spent an hour with an angel of God and he showed me incredible truths of heaven, these “truths” could not prove God is real. It would remain an issue of faith.

    Flatland does not judge whether Moses’ admonition that he actually saw God is true or not. It does tell us that we should not expect Moses to be able to prove it to us. (i.e. “Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.” )

    Thus, Flatland puts forward the exact opposite idea than you have presented. Not that there is no God, but that the truth of God can not be determined by the communication of scientific fact from mortal to mortal. Faith chooses to believe or not believe the evidence, but scientific proof of God and the communication of the truth or falsity of the Gospel by scientific means is not possible. But I think that was part of the point of the original article anyway. People who use modern cosmology, or the writings of cosmologists, as a basis for disbelief are fools. As I believe Edwin Abbott would be proud to affirm.

  22. Neil -
    Could you please elaborate. I would be very interested to know how reading the Bible caused someone to give up on religion. I strongly suspect it was not “reading the Bible” that caused disbelief, but comparison of the wisdom of the Word with your own flawed, mistaken, corrupted, earthly wisdom that caused you to give up on religion.

    BTW – I do hope you have given up on religion. I hope instead you have sought a relationship with God. It is possible, if you will believe.

  23. Let me second ba77?s comment. SM it is dangerous to parade ignorance in a forum where people actually think. You have totally missed the meaning of “Flatland”. So much so that I really question your ability to exercise basic reasoning. You seem so determined not to believe in the God of Christianity you have chosen to display your ignorance quite forcefully.

    Hello to you too, I think.

    Applying your supposed “logic” from Flatland to the story of Moses would be saying that Moses did some phenomenal things because Moses was in some manner a “higher being”. But we should discount Moses’ stories because any higher being could have done the same stuff and did not have to be God.

    It is yourself who has missed the point completely. First things first, a little context might help – here is the post by Alex73 that I was replying to. If you ignore it you will surely again misunderstand the point I am making.

    Here it is:

    Just after destroying Egypt, the world’s superpower, opening the a way in the sea, turning poisonous water into safe, drinkable water and predicting that an incredible power will descend to the mountain in front of them. That man has a point.

    Got that? Alex73 has just recommended we take Moses seriously based on his incredible miraculous ways.

    My reply to Alex73 was that just because you encounter somebody with seemingly amazing powers does not in any way justify attributing divinity to them.

    In support of my argument I took a passage from Flatland. Here is the relevant text, follow closely; just to recap the three-dimensional Sphere has pulled Mr Circle into three dimensions and now Mr Circle is able to see the whole of Flatland before him….

    Behold, I am become as a God! For the wise men in our country say that to see all things, or as they express it, omnividence, is the attribute of God alone.

    OK, so Mr Circle is understandably amazed at this new ability to see all. He informs the Sphere that in Flatland this ability (omnividence) is a divine attribute! Something only a God would possess.
    Now listen to the Sphere’s scornful response;

    It is so indeed? Then the very pick-pockets and cut- throats of my country are to be worshipped by your wise men as being Gods: for there is not one of them that does not see as much as you see now. But trust me, your wise men are wrong.

    The Sphere is cautioning Mr Circle that any and all of the inhabitants of the Sphere’s three-dimensional country possess this very same ‘divine’ attribute of omnividence. Even the lowest cut-throats!

    The moral of this passage being that just because we may encounter a being with seemingly supernatural powers that is not any good reason to ascribe divinity or moral superiority to them.

    Thus, Flatland puts forward the exact opposite idea than you have presented. Not that there is no God….

    At no point have I even come close to making this argument!

    People who use modern cosmology, or the writings of cosmologists, as a basis for disbelief are fools.

    Perhaps so, but then neither is turning water into wine a good basis for belief.

    As I believe the Sphere would no doubt be proud to affirm.

  24. ‘Serendipitously’ this video, which was just recently posted, has Moses and the vastness, and fine tuning, of the universe in it (Sorry no flatland):

    Universe 1
    http://vimeo.com/31623289

    Description: This series was born almost a year ago out a deep passion to celebrate God’s glory in the design of His creation. The first week we look through the telescope at God’s magnificent glory in the “heavens” of the universe at large. How big is the universe? How is it fine tuned for life?

  25. SM -
    When we read literature, we can not just read a simple part of the literature and declare we know the moral. You think the moral of Flatland is to disbelieve claims of divinity. This is just not true.

    Please note. The Sphere is NOT to be regarded as wise. He shows himself to be a self absorbed, ignorant being who can not see beyond his own dimension. Maybe the reason you can not understand Flatland is you don’t recognize this. You glom onto something you agree with but it is not the moral. Let me try and state it for you clearly.

    The point is not on a judgment of belief or disbelief. The point is NOT that the Sphere is NOT God. The point is that the Circle could not communicate what the Sphere showed him to his peers. Do you not understand this!!!!! Whether we should believe or disbelieve claims of divinity is NOT the point.

    Abbott was an expert theologian and mathematician. He was not against belief in God, but was against dogmatism. He does not want people believing fools. But his point is NOT that Moses is the Sphere. Foolish, dogmatic people are the Sphere. The sphere represents someone with “some superior knowledge”, but with a gaping hole in his philosophical ability.

    If anyone is representative of the Sphere, it is not Moses, nor Jesus.

    I would say, catapulting the moral of Flatland to the XXI century, the Sphere most represents the modern day materialist scientist. Due to his training, the modern day materialist scientist sees things that many of us are unable to see. Yet rather than considering that there may be something transcendent above himself, the modern day scientist makes the audacious claim that the materialism he sees is all there is. There is nothing beyond that.

    Like the Sphere who can not consider the possibility of more dimensions than three because that’s all he sees, the modern day materialist claims by fiat that there is nothing beyond the materialism he understands. If you do not understand that the Sphere is to be regarded as a fool, you do not understand the book of Flatland.

  26. “The double standard is plain for all to see. If you are against conventional religious belief, if you are against the idea of design in nature, you can say anything you want about fields in which you are ignorant and untrained, and no one will complain about your violation of specialist boundaries. If you hold to the reigning secular humanism practiced by the so-called “elite” scientists, you can get away with spewing any crap that you like.”

    –The question of whether God exists is hardly a scientific field like, say, biology or physics. If Hawking did a show on some particular theological dispute between Catholics and protestants, or maybe on the Euthyphro dilemma, than maybe it could be argued that he’s stepping into someone else’s field, but I don’t think arguing for or against the existence of God is the same thing (a subject that, IMO, no one is an “expert” in) – particularly if you are using your field of expertise to make the argument.

    An apples to apples comparison would be: How are scientists who say there isn’t a God treated compared to those who say there is a God? I often see scientists arguing that there is evidence of God in nature, such as Francis Collins who often appears in interviews for the Discovery Channel or Nat Geo, and I don’t see people yelling that he’s stepping outside his field in doing so (or, at least no more so than when Dawkins or Hawking make opposite claims). So I don’t see a double standard there. In the case of Behe I don’t think I’ve heard anyone complain that as a biochemist he shouldn’t be arguing for the existence of God (albeit he often avoids using the term), it’s the argument itself that many criticize.

  27. Sorry, I think I found a way to make my argument a little clearer.

    1. What you say is the moral, is a statement by the Sphere.
    2. The Sphere in the novel is shown to be a fool.

    Thus Abbott, who has complete control of the novel, would not have his main moral point delivered by a fool.

    Do you understand now?

  28. Neil Rickert, As to your comment:

    Personally, what led me to give up on religion was reading the Bible. Cosmology had nothing to do with it.

    And to that comment I have a very interesting story about someone coming to faith through the bible;:

    Strange But True

    It was in the summer of 1993, I was down and out in Ft. Myers, Florida. This was about the second year that I was homeless. I was staying at the Salvation Army in Ft. Myers working temporary day labor and paying 8 bucks a night to stay at the homeless shelter. Once again I had come up with yet another grand plan to defeat the destructive desires for drinking and using that had kept me bound to the street. I was going to read the Bible cover to cover. Surely, this would cure me once and for all. Every night before I would go to sleep I made sure that I would read though at least 30 minutes worth of the Bible. This was done in my bunk in the open dormitory of the salvation army. Well, after a month or 6 weeks of this, I was getting pretty far into the Bible and had pretty much established myself, among the guys staying there, as some sort of Jesus Freak. One evening a man, who like me wasn’t fairing to well in this world, comes up to my bunk, as I was reading the Bible, and angrily says this to me,” Where Is God? Just where is God ? If I knew where God was my life would be alright.” So I told him the truth “Well I know that it may sound strange, but sometimes when I really need it, God speaks directly to me from the Bible. I believe that He may speak directly to you since you seem to be in a bad spot.” Then I closed the Bible and handed it to him. Then he asks me “Do you mean like this?” and he just randomly opens the Bible up, but instead of gently reading the first words his eyes landed on, as I thought he would do, he went and stabbed his finger down onto the page that the Bible had fell open to. Then, he looks over to me and asks “Like That?” I nervously said, in spite of my reservations of the brazenness of his act, “I guess that will work”. Well his brazenness paid off for his finger landed right on top of Job 23:3 which says “Oh, that I knew where I might find God, that I might come to His seat!” Well, needless to say, we both were in awe about God revealing Himself to him in the Living Word that clearly, so we went to the chaplain of the Salvation Army and got him his very own Bible. Let me end this by saying that I believe God speaks to all people in many different ways. Don’t be upset if God doesn’t speak in this certain way to you. He very well could be speaking to you in ways that He doesn’t speak to other people in. He could speak through your dreams, or visions, or He could speak to you through people. He could be in that still small, intuitive, voice in your mind that speaks warnings to you every so often, or T.V., or radio, or the clouds, or even a lightning bolt could express His feelings and guidance to you, or etc… etc… . The point I’m trying to make clear is this. I’m firmly convinced that God does indeed desire to speak to each and every one of us, His children! BUT, we have to open our minds up enough to allow the possibility that God, the Father of all creation, might actually care enough for us, His children ,to actually want to speak intimately to each of us. Think about it. What parent doesn’t talk personally to each one of their very own children every once in a while? I truly believe it is a very powerful thing to have the Lord speak into our lives, more powerful than we can possibly understand right now. My reasoning for this is this: He who speaks living words into the voids of our life, Is the very same One who spoke living words into the void of the night and brought the entire universe into existence out of the infinity of the glory of his Being.

    Verse and Music

    John 3:3-8
    Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the spirit.”

    DC Talk – Jesus Freak- song
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jDnVpCNlyY

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5197438/

  29. When we read literature, we can not just read a simple part of the literature and declare we know the moral.

    I know how to read.

    You think the moral of Flatland is to disbelieve claims of divinity.

    No, I don’t.

    I am well aware of the message of Abbot’s Flatland. And had I attempted to press into service a misrepresentation of the novel’s thesis in order to bolster my argument then your indignation would have been justified.

    However, I did not do this. I presented but one scene from the text in order to illustrate the point I was trying to make. Nothing more.

    You would agree surely that the parable of the Good Samaritan can profitably exist outside of its biblical context, yes?

    So too can the Sphere’s caution against unwarranted ascriptions of divinity be similarly used without in any way polluting the message of Flatland.

    Do you understand now?

    :)

  30. The parable of the Good Samaritan can exist out of it Biblical context, but there is one big difference.

    The Speaker of the parable of the Good Samaritan is Jesus. The Bible claims that Jesus is wise. Thus using the parable of the Good Samaritan to bolster an argument that actual deeds, not religious titles, make someone a good and loving man would be warranted by the Bible.

    The Speaker of your admonition in Flatland is the Sphere. The Sphere is shown in the novel to be a fool. Thus using the speech of the Sphere to make a point is to claim that the “wisdom” of a fool makes your point.

    A story can be used outside of its context to make a point. A story can NOT be used contrary to its context to make a point. Since Abbott portrays the Sphere in a negative light, you should not use statements made by the Sphere to argue a point.

    Is that clear finally?

  31. For a different example, many people quote such things as:

    “Neither a borrower or a lender be”
    or
    “To thine own self be true”

    Not realizing that they are quoting Polonius, the fool of Hamlet.

  32. The parable of the Good Samaritan can exist out of it Biblical context, but there is one big difference.

    The Speaker of the parable of the Good Samaritan is Jesus. The Bible claims that Jesus is wise. Thus using the parable of the Good Samaritan to bolster an argument that actual deeds, not religious titles, make someone a good and loving man would be warranted by the Bible.

    Ah, I think we’re seeing the problem.

    I am not using the Sphere’s words to bolster my argument. I am not using the Sphere’s words to lend authority to my argument. That would indeed open myself up to criticism.

    Instead I am, in fact, using the Sphere to illustrate my argument. You must see the difference; you must.

    You write;

    The Speaker of your admonition in Flatland is the Sphere. The Sphere is shown in the novel to be a fool. Thus using the speech of the Sphere to make a point is to claim that the “wisdom” of a fool makes your point.

    Again, I am not appealing to the wisdom of the Sphere. His wisdom or lack thereof is entirely irrelevant to my argument. It would not matter a jot to my argument if Abbot had endowed the Sphere with the wisdom of Solomon; because I am simply using him as an illustration of my argument.

    Hell, I could’ve used a Jedi Knight to illustrate my argument had I so wished. And it wouldn’t have made an iota of difference whether he was Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader. The minds, motivations and intelligence of either of them is of no relevance whatsoever when I’m using them as nothing more as illustrative of people with supernatural power.

    A story can NOT be used contrary to its context to make a point. Since Abbott portrays the Sphere in a negative light, you should not use statements made by the Sphere to argue a point.

    I am not using the Sphere’s words to argue my point. I’m quite capable of doing that myself.

    The Sphere’s warning is a caution against ascribing divinity to a being just because they can perform seemingly miraculous feats. This is my argument, too. And the scene in which the Sphere pulls Mr Circle into the third dimension is a brilliant illustration of my argument in narrative form.

    Yes?

  33. 33

    “and that God had some instructions for us they would rightly giggle and dismiss it out of hand.”

    Martin Luther King said God spoke to him, while he was sitting at his kitchen table, at a time when King was considering quitting his mission due to death threats. King says God told him to “fear not, go foreword I am with you.” Martin Luther King credits the intervention of God at this particular crossroad as the turning point in the movement. Martin Luther King announced this revelation to his people.
    I don’t recall anyone laughing.

  34. I would be very interested to know how reading the Bible caused someone to give up on religion.

    That would take us way off topic.

    A quick summary: what I found in the Bible did not match the theology.

  35. New video upload:

    Fine Tuning Of The Universe – Privileged Planet (Notes In Description) – video
    http://vimeo.com/31664112

    oldie but goldie here:

    Finely Tuned Gravity (1 in 10^40 tolerance; which is just one inch of tolerance allowed on a imaginary ruler stretching across the diameter of the entire universe) – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/7659795/

    entire video:

    The Case For The Creator – Lee Strobel
    http://video.google.com/videop.....6234161611

    Verse and music:

    Psalm 19:1-2
    The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
    Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

    Leeland: The Live Sessions – I Wonder – Music Videos
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F09F9MNU

  36. Neil -
    This is actually a reply to your comment 10.1.1.1.1

    “A quick summary: what I found in the Bible did not match the theology.”

    I know you are writing English, but I have no idea what you mean. What is “the Theology” and what did not match? Truly a very strange response.

  37. SM says:

    “The point, beautifully made, is that even the foulest criminal from the world of three dimensions would bewitch the inhabitants of a two-dimensional world.

    The point is every bit as valid when the subject is Moses, Jesus or……….”

    Do you think the Israelites were a bunch of ignorant cave men who were easily duped by some huckster of some type?

    If you saw the Red Sea split in two at just the right time in response to your leader’s prayer(Not to mention the miraculous deliverance you just experienced from Egypt) so that you and your people were able to walk across on DRY ground and then watched as that same water just happened to close in on the trailing Egyptians, don’t tell me you would not be moved!

    Or maybe you would be smart enough to realize that it was all just dumb luck and coincidence and so you would turn your back on your leader and your God who saved you.

    But your answer is just what Jesus said: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

    “No matter how many seas are parted, no matter how many lepers are healed, no matter how many blind men are cured and no matter how far one can walk unaided upon lukewarm water…” I will not believe!

    Would that be an accurate assessment of your position?

    Anyway, your trust in the ever shifting sands of cosmology

    What you choose to regard as trustworthy and

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