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Trying to understand ...

Hi,

I am writing because I am interested in learning and gaining a better understanding of the ideas of an atheist perspective.

I myself was not brought up with a religious background but have taken it upon myself in the last 6-9 months to read the New Testament and am almost completed. My goal has been to understand what people talk about, understand what faith is, and grow spiritually.

I still have not made up my mind in what I believe so I consider myself open minded in the continued discovery of what makes sense to me. This lead me to your forum and hope that some of the brilliant people here could share their insight.

I have spent hours reading different threads on here and have been learning a lot. I do have some thoughts on my mind and hoping you can help me understand. I apologize if these have been answered in different posts.

In regards to evolution, the concept makes sense to me. In smaller scales there are examples of evolution all around us, for example the Internet.

I also think the big bang theory makes a lot of sense as well. As in the theory scientific components formed our universe with the hypothesis of the primeval atom.

If I have that right, then my question is what created the primeval atom?

I admit, the scientific stuff is way over my head. I just feel that however the universe came into existence (atoms, hot, cold, etc) somehow, so therefore had to have been created. Something must be created in order to evolve, right?

I'd like to understand the scientific explanation better if you could help me.

I've read a few posts stating the bible is a fable. If this is true, than what is the motive of creating such a story?

Also, do you believe Jesus did not truly live? Or do you believe Jesus lived, and became a "tall tale"?

The bible appears to promote a moral way to live through faith. It seems atheists depend on scientific facts to develop a belief while Christian's are will to believe something based on emotion and what they are told.

This leads me to wonder, what is the purpose of emotion? What purpose do emotions serve? Most species appear to live well without emotion and live based on survival. Why did humans develop emotion and evolve and not many other species? I think that emotion creates more complexity to life than simplicity as many of us sped our lives searching for our purpose vs. on surival and legacy.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing some thoughts. I sincerely appreciate your time.

RaJa - QUOTE: In regards to evolution, the concept makes sense to me. In smaller scales there are examples of evolution all around us, for example the Internet.

Arguing that "an organizing intelligence superior to that of man" (like god) explains everything is an assertion born of no reasonable premise and it ignores the intrinsic value of "explanation" by avoiding it. There are all sorts of findings and experiments that could have falsified evolution. In the century-and-a-half since Darwin published his theory, not one has.

QUOTE: "I also think the big bang theory makes a lot of sense as well. As in the theory scientific components formed our universe with the hypothesis of the primeval atom. If I have that right, then my question is what created the primeval atom"?

Apologists try to prove scientists wrong because scientific findings have proven that creation as described in Genesis is impossible, and that the universe and all life was not created within six days, 6 to 10 thousand years ago.

There are scientific explanations for the origin of the Universe, and the origin of life in that Universe, and the origin of new types of varying life forms. Most people who don't believe in the theory of "evolution" don't actually know what it is. They wouldn't understand a scientific theory if it were painstakingly explained to them. The subject of where did it all come from is answered for them with the "god did it" theory because it's so easy. Fortunately, a few people on this planet decided that the bible didn't answer anything, and they started looking for real answers with scientific explanations. Scientists do not have all the answer to all the questions but they continue to work at finding them (god did it) is not an answer. Science would never have answered anything if that were the answer. They are required to find real answers that can be tested; facts can be tested not myths. The apologists should be spending some time learning the latest scientific conclusions instead of lying to the world about the accuracy of the bible.

Everything is either matter or energy. If something can't come from nothing: what is god made of, how did he create everything, and what did he make it from?Everything in our Universe has come into being through mechanistic processes without any kind of supernatural intervention. The origin and development of the Universe and all of its complex systems living and non-living organisms can be explained on the basis of continuing natural processes, innate in the very structure of matter and energy.

The "Big Bang" Theory - The Cosmic Microwave Background is incontrovertible evidence that the Universe experienced a "Big Bang". The Big Bang model is the only model that is able to convincingly explain the existence of the CMB. According to this model, the Universe started with a very dense and hot phase that expanded and cooled itself; for several hundreds of thousands of years the temperature was so high that neutral atoms could not form. Matter consisted mostly of neutrons and charged particles (protons and electrons). Electrons interacted closely with the light particles, and therefore light and matter were tightly coupled at that time (that is, light could not travel for a long distance in a straight line). Light could therefore not propagate and the Universe was opaque. It took about 300 000 years for the Universe to cool down to a temperature at which atoms can form (about 3000°C). Matter then became neutral, and allowed the light to travel freely: the Universe became transparent. The relic of that 'first light' is the CMB (this background radiation had in fact been predicted years earlier by George Gamow as a relic of the evolution of the early Universe. This background of microwaves was in fact the cooled remnant of the primeval fireball - an echo of the Big Bang.) The Cosmic Microwave Background is the cooled remnant of the first light that could ever travel freely throughout the Universe. This 'fossil' radiation (the furthest that any telescope can see) was released soon after the 'Big Bang'. Scientists consider it as an echo or shock wave of the Big Bang. Over time, this primeval light has cooled and weakened considerably; nowadays we detect it in the microwave domain. The ESA's Planck mission will detect this first light, which is also the 'oldest' radiation detectable and carries information about our past and future. By observing it, Planck will be seeing the Universe as it was almost at its origin. Planck is the first European mission to study the birth of the Universe. Planck will help provide answers to one of the most important sets of questions asked in modern science - how did the Universe begin, how did it evolve to the state we observe today, and how will it continue to evolve in the future? Planck's objective is to analyze, with the highest accuracy ever achieved, the remnants of the radiation that filled the Universe immediately after the Big Bang, which we observe today as the Cosmic Microwave Background.

QUOTE: I admit, the scientific stuff is way over my head. I just feel that however the universe came into existence (atoms, hot, cold, etc) somehow, so therefore had to have been created. Something must be created in order to evolve, right? I'd like to understand the scientific explanation better if you could help me.

Those scientists who do not believe that history began on "creation week" have developed theories. One is 'The Cell Theory' and it is not the only theory, because this lead to other theories (that's how science works). There are very different theories on the definition of Life. The Theory of Negentropy (Life must comply with the laws of physics as it exists in the physical world.) This theory is based on the observation that living organisms possess the ability to remain in a state of order, or low entropy, against the natural tendency for all things to decay into disorder, or high entropy. Living things feed on matter "negative entropy" and use them to avoid decay. The phenomenon of resisting decay towards greater entropy can be seen in generally accepted to be non-living materials too. Crystals have the ability to create "order from disorder" and "reproduce" other crystals similar to themselves if a piece of the crystal is placed in a suitable environment. In fact the existence of a crystal in Life, which helps propagate the "genetics" of the Life form. This suggestion is said to have inspired the discovery of DNA later on. The Theory of Negentropy did propose a crucial point that is often overlooked, and that is that however "mysterious" Life may seem, we are still physically composed of nothing more than the same molecules also found in non-living matter. Just as with everything else, these molecules must comply with the laws of the Universe.

QUOTE: I've read a few posts stating the bible is a fable. If this is true, than what is the motive of creating such a story? Also, do you believe Jesus did not truly live? Or do you believe Jesus lived, and became a "tall tale"?

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 at Qumran a region of Palestine. They were the most important archaeological find of the 20th century. They were found in caves on the West Coast of the Dead Sea in clay jars, which contained the leather parchments and consist mainly of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts. The experts at the Ecole Biblique thought that they would do the work of translation, but this never happened. There were years of stalling by the Catholic scholars of the Ecole Biblique. So, when Professor Geza Vernes, a Biblical scholar from Oxford, voiced his frustration (on the 30th anniversary of the Dead Sea Scrolls first coming to light) he wrote, "the world is entitled to ask the authorities responsible for the publication of the Qumran Scrolls, what they intend to do about this lamentable state of affairs." After thirty years the world did find out what the Dead Sea Scrolls actually said due to the efforts of Professor Vernes and others. What came out of the scrolls was a look at the original church of Jerusalem that was an extremist Jewish movement violently opposed to the influence and dominance of Roman. The translations of a few of the first scrolls released threatened mainstream Christianity. These scrolls indicated that beliefs and practices supposedly founded by Jesus had in fact existed long before him. The dates when the Dead Sea Scrolls were being written was ascertained to have started in 150 BCE and continued until 70 CE, a period of 220 years. During those years 872 scrolls were written in Hebrew and Aramaic by the peoples of Qumran. It is important to note that the supposed life of Jesus was between 2 BCE and 36 CE (a period of 38 years) and that the Romans in 70 CE destroyed the Great Temple of the Jews in Jerusalem. These are the important dates to remember for putting together the emerging picture from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The contents of the first scrolls released by the Ecole Biblique created such an uproar in the intellectual world that no further scrolls were available for examination until an unknown defector working inside the Ecole Biblique leaked out photo copies of the remaining texts to Professor Robert Eisenman of California State University. The first photocopies of the Dead Sea Scrolls began arriving at Professor Eisenman's office in September of 1989 and the last photocopy arrived in late autumn in 1990. Professor Eisenman published a two-volume edition containing photocopies of all the scrolls under the title "A Facsimile Edition of the Dead Sea Scrolls." Then the Vatican got involved in the politics of trying to suppress the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls but ultimately failed. Scholars and theologians of integrity soon began the translation of the remaining Dead Sea Scrolls. After the scholars finished the translation work on the Dead Sea Scrolls one very important fact came out, and that was that nowhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls was the name of Jesus mentioned. Also, the popular Christian view of early Christianity had no support in the new translations. The Dead Sea Scrolls challenge the two most fundamental beliefs of Christianity (the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and Christianity as the embodiment of the message of Christ.) This is why the Catholic Church put off making the Dead Sea Scrolls available to the world. In accordance with the information from the accounts of the times in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jesus would have been one among many "teachers of righteousness" that were part of an ultra conservative messianic Jewish movement based in Qumran going back at least 100 years BCE (before Jesus.) The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the practices that people regard as Christian innovations are not, for example the Lord's Prayer and the Lord's Supper, because they can be traced to the Qumrans. They go back at least one century before the birth of Christ. Qumrans concentrated on personal purity, complete obedience, abstinence, prayer, study and communal meals, and made themselves ready for the great battle in which they firmly believed that the forces of evil would die upon the blazing spears held by the hands of the 'Sons of Light.' The Qumrans were intensely religious zealots dedicated to the fight against the Roman rulers, but unfortunately the Qumrans were destroyed and killed in an overwhelming battle with the Romans. This battle took place at Qumran in the year 70 CE shortly before the Roman Legions marched on Jerusalem to destroy the Great Temple. This ended the Jewish revolt. So that future generations might know of them and their beliefs, some of the Qumran community thought it wise, for safe keeping, hiding their records in earthen pots in the mountains. The Romans did not simply come to Judea in 70 CE to suppress a small uprising; they came to stop political dissidents for good. So, they were very through in what they came to do. What it means is that everything today's Christians think they know about Christianity is false. Their beliefs are layers of numerous popular pagan beliefs of the victorious Graeco-Roman culture and rehashed as the Jesus myth. The Romans for political reasons persecuted the Jews. Rome was tolerant in the ancient world except in matters of political intrigue. Rome historically had no tolerance for dissenters. The dissent over slavery and the Jewish uprisings threatened Rome they wanted to end it. Roman aristocrats decided to concoct a region as a solution to the situation. Roman aristocrats came up with a novel idea of creating a new religion by means of the preaching of Paul of Tarsus. Paul's story that the messiah had come and died for their sins (though they failed to recognize him) gave them access to a kingdom in heaven. Paul took his message among the Gentiles where he had some influence.

The contents of the Dead Sea Scrolls are known among scholars, but are never preached to enlighten the common man. The average person does not take the trouble of investigating what the greatest archaeological discovery of the 20th century contains, and their indifference to find the truth is incredibly taken advantage of by the cheating institutions who are expert in capitalizing on the popularity of myths and binding people with religious superstitions. If these men were chosen by God, and are gifted with the intelligence to understand spiritual things, why can't they produce the facts when they are obtainable?

This is corroborated by Abelard Reuchlin's 'The True Authorship of the New Testament'. In this work Reuchlin illustrates how he discovered that a Jewish historian Flavius Josephus is in fact Arius Calpurnius Piso, pen name Flavius Josephus, a Roman.) This leaflet was written around (1979) to show how and why the Roman Piso Family wrote the New Testament. The Jews, who were tired of being ruled over by the Roman Aristocracy, were lead in their third great revolt against Rome in 60 C.E., by Benjamin the Egyptian of the Pharisaic Party. Though the Romans defeated them, they knew that they had to do something to stop the rebellion. For that reason, certain people were getting together a plan to regain control of the Jewish masses. Seneca the Rhetorician, Lucius Piso, Gaius Piso, and their relatives figured to give the Jews a new rhetorical religion. Lucius Piso, with assistance from Seneca, wrote 'Ur Markus' about the year 60 C.E. With this first book, they hoped to start a new Messianic Jewish religion. There have been attempts to discredit his work, but most critiques are by those whose expertise in the field of language or ancient history is inadequate. Some of them claim that the Piso family never existed in spite of the fact that there is an immense amount of historical evidence that the Piso family existed. Julius Caesar's wife was a Piso. The Pisos are mentioned as consuls to the Empire numerous times in history and they were major players in the conspiracy against Nero. Also - Galba became Emperor (Galba was a direct descendant of Augustus Caesar and father of Otho). Galba named Licinianus Frugi Piso as his successor instead of his son Otho. His son Otho, who was overthrown by another family member Vitellius, overthrew Galba in that same year. Vitellius was the father-in-law of Julius Gnaeus Agricola. Agricola was the father-in-law of Justus Piso, Claudia Phoebe, Domitia Paulina 1, T. Flavius Clemens, and CorneliTacitus. It was Arrius Piso himself who succeeded in defeating Vitellius, thereby securing Rome for Vespasian. Vespasian, in turn helped Arrius to destroy the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E. (These are well-established historical facts.)

QUOTE: The bible appears to promote a moral way to live through faith. It seems atheists depend on scientific facts to develop a belief while Christian's are will to believe something based on emotion and what they are told. This leads me to wonder, what is the purpose of emotion? What purpose do emotions serve? Most species appear to live well without emotion and live based on survival. Why did humans develop emotion and evolve and not many other species? I think that emotion creates more complexity to life than simplicity as many of us sped our lives searching for our purpose vs. on surival and legacy. Anyway, I look forward to hearing some thoughts. I sincerely appreciate your time.

The book - "The Accidental Mind" ( How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God) by David J. Linden. Cambridge, Mass, Harvard University. There are chapters on brain assembly; sensation and emotion; learning, memory, and individuality; sleep, dreams, and their possible functions; and sex, love, and some of their varieties, the religious impulse. He proposes and discusses a potentially important neurobiological contribution to the lively and odd topic of the roots of religion--that the human brain, which has become particularly adapted to creating gap-free stories, predisposes us to religious thought.

One of the arguments against evolution is that 'natural selection' could not have evolved cognitive skills (intelligence.) Intelligence evolved as a cognitive strategy in humans to meet the complex demands of their survival. The more difficult it is to survive the more intelligent the organism. Intelligence has to evolve, because evolution is how new traits appear and intelligence is definitely a new trait that evolved well after the basic original bacterium. Evolution operates by natural selection: traits that help an organism survive to reproductive age, and that help it to produce offspring that do the same, will be in evidence in those succeeding generations. Traits that did not do this will disappear with the organisms that died before they could pass them on. The prolonged action of 'natural selection' can be expected to leave traces behind in the structure of modern organisms. And when scientists go looking for those traces they invariably find them in droves.

<!a href=http://ljgba.hoxt.me/gllumerut.html> world <!/a> <!a href=http://bfhpkaph.hoxt.me/ondrltefa.html> accent <!/a> Listen. Do not have an opinion while you listen because frankly, your opinion doesn?t hold much water outside of Your Universe. Just listen. Listen until their brain has been twisted like a dripping towel and what they have to say is all over the floor.

<!a href=http://tileixo.rack111.com/onc.html> big <!/a> <!a href=http://tileixo.rack111.com/qulddeye.html> online <!/a> Anger at lies lasts forever. Anger at truth can't last.

Thank you for an incredible response. There is a lot of information here and will do my due dilligence before replying as there is a lot to look into and understand. I appreciate your time!

Hi,

Sorry for my delayed response. I wanted to touch base a little on the book you referenced because I did recently stop by the book store to check it out. I read the part about the God mind. I also read a section where he says the brain is not efficiently configured where it is just layers upon layers in evolution vs. an efficiently build system. (Im paraphrasing here). He said the core of the brain is the same as a mouse that have never changed but layers have been piled on.

Now, this made me wonder, if the brain is so poorly designed, created, or has poorly evolved, how come we cannot find a way to tap in and read each others minds? I feel that it's possible our minds have been designed to protect our thoughts as well and I think that says perhaps it could have been designed. Though our thoughts can be altered and influenced, one could keep a secret that no one else will know.

didnt read the entire book so I'd like to hear others thoughts on this. Thank you!

Raja

RaJa said, "Now, this made me wonder, if the brain is so poorly designed, created, or has poorly evolved, how come we cannot find a way to tap in and read each others minds?"

The fact that people can't read each others minds has not proof of Intelligent Design or Evolution. There have been many experiments with Telepathy: the ability to communicate with others or to read one's mind without speech, but nobody has any evidence that this is possible. There are people who claim they can read minds - it is a hoax used by people involved in the paranormal. However, I'm not here to sell anything, what I'm offering is a realistic way to think about how we got to be who we are. Once people understand that it will reduce a lot of the tension in the world because it is essential to our growth as individuals and evolution as species.

The Accidental Mind by the neuroscientist David Linden counters the widespread assumption that the brain is a paragon of design-- it's a compelling explanation of how the brain's serendipitous evolution has resulted in nothing short of our humanity. A guide to the strange and often illogical world of neural function, The Accidental Mind shows how the brain is not an optimized, general-purpose problem-solving machine, but rather a weird agglomeration of ad-hoc solutions that have been piled on through millions of years of evolutionary history. Linden tells us how the constraints of evolved brain design have ultimately led to almost every transcendent human foible: our long childhood's, our extensive memory capacity, our search for love and long-term relationships, our need to create compelling narrative, and, ultimately, the universal cultural impulse to create both religious and scientific explanations. With forays into evolutionary biology, this analysis of mental function answers some of our most common questions about how we've come to be who we are.

Intelligence evolved as a cognitive strategy in humans to meet the complex demands of their survival. The more difficult it is to survive the more intelligent the organism. Intelligence has to evolve, because evolution is how new traits appear and intelligence is definitely a new trait that evolved well after the basic original bacterium. Evolution operates by natural selection: traits that help an organism survive to reproductive age, and that help it to produce offspring that do the same, will be in evidence in those succeeding generations. Traits that did not do this will disappear with the organisms that died before they could pass them on.

The prolonged action of 'natural selection' can be expected to leave traces behind in the structure of modern organisms. And when scientists go looking for those traces they invariably find them in droves. Recall that natural selection operates by preserving small, favorable variations that occur naturally in any population of organisms. Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch.

Intelligence (abstract thinking) evolved specifically to allow our ancestors to deal with evolutionary novel problems. Demonstrating that performance on an evolutionary novel problem (an abstract reasoning task.) What modern man is learning (from birth) is what it has taken mankind to learn for millions of years. So, our intelligence is also based on the fact that we are learning what it has taken millions of years to develop in terms of knowledge. None of the so-called Intelligent Design (creationist) theories have been proven; all of the arguments to date against evolution have been proven wrong, and no new theory has been presented by anyone. The fact that the brain can dream, love, hate, and create religion (my opinion) through investigation is through a long process of evolution.

Linda, That is an interesting prop you use - to imply that mixing complex, reactionary chemicals in one's basement - can scientifically prove that our thinking processes are similar and change with the weather, if not based upon stigma from the environment over millions of years of trial and error. Which is which? - Are we still the biochemical descendant "accidents" of the universe belching the next scientist's limited point-of-view? Not everything is a convenient accident! Especially at the chemical and subatomic level! The earth is such a beautiful accident: kind of like - the view of mankind assuming that a few novel inventions has equipped him with the ability to know and test everything is as dangerous as a two-year-old exploring his home with a ball-peen hammer! From microwaves to atomic bombs, I'm sure you are very confident in the scientific community (or atheist community for that matter)! Just admit Linda for once, no matter how many books you read - there are things - WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT or JUST DON"T HAVE ENOUGH FACTS TO MAKE THE THEORETICAL OATMEAL STICK! - some DESIGNS just can't be unraveled in few hundred human lifetimes, be it peeking through keyholes or watching ameobas washing their behinds under microscopes!

QUOTE - "From: The Ethereal Enigma Linda, That is an interesting prop you use - to imply that mixing complex, reactionary chemicals in one's basement - can scientifically prove that our thinking processes are similar and change with the weather, if not based upon stigma from the environment over millions of years of trial and error. Which is which? - Are we still the biochemical descendant "accidents" of the universe belching the next scientist's limited point-of-view? Not everything is a convenient accident! Especially at the chemical and subatomic level!" The earth is such a beautiful accident: kind of like - the view of mankind assuming that a few novel inventions has equipped him with the ability to know and test everything is as dangerous as a two-year-old exploring his home with a ball-peen hammer!

Linda Answer: If the scientists had stopped with "god did it" and never answered anything we would be so much better off - is in fact the two-year-old mentality. There are all sorts of findings and experiments that could have falsified evolution. In the century-and-a-half since Darwin published his theory, not one has.

Natural selection operates by preserving small, favorable variations that occur naturally in any population of organisms. Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. (NEW TRAITS DO NOT COME FROM SCRATCH) It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch. This means nothing was created everything evolved.

Some Creationists or ID'ers argue that natural selection could not have evolved cognitive skills (intelligence.) Intelligence evolved as a cognitive strategy in humans to meet the complex demands of their survival. The more difficult it is to survive the more intelligent the organism. Intelligence has to evolve, because evolution is how new traits appear and intelligence is definitely a new trait that evolved well after the basic original bacterium. Evolution operates by natural selection: traits that help an organism survive to reproductive age, and that help it to produce offspring that do the same, will be in evidence in those succeeding generations. Traits that did not do this will disappear with the organisms that died before they could pass them on.

QUOTE: Ethereal Enigma: "From microwaves to atomic bombs, I'm sure you are very confident in the scientific community (or atheist community for that matter)! Just admit Linda for once, no matter how many books you read - there are things - WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT or JUST DON"T HAVE ENOUGH FACTS TO MAKE THE THEORETICAL OATMEAL STICK! - some DESIGNS just can't be unraveled in few hundred human lifetimes, be it peeking through keyholes or watching ameobas washing their behinds under microscopes!"

Linda Answer: You have used the (we don't have enough facts) corny line before. This is how to spell AMOEBAS. I think you don't have enough facts, because you still assume that we will never know things that we already do know. DNA confirms evolution and we have unraveled it. From what you have written I don't think that you have the necessary knowledge that is required to understand the science. Science has unraveled many things that you don't seem to know. Biologists do not have to believe that there are transitional fossils; we can examine them in hundreds of museums around the world, and we make new discoveries in the rocks all the time. Scientists do not have to believe that the solar system is 4.5 billion years old; we can test the age of the Earth, Moon, and meteoric rocks very accurately. We do not have to believe thatprotocells can be easily created from simple chemicals in the laboratory; we can repeat the experiments with comparable results. We can also create artificial species of plants and animals by applying selection, and we can observe natural speciation in action. That is the big difference between science and religion. Science exists because of the evidence, whereas religion exists upon faith -- and, in the case of religious fundamentalism and creationism, in spite of the evidence.

Linda said, "Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch."

If it didn't come from "scratch", then where does our world's evolution begin - from scratch? Of coarse not! Linda, you said it all! New, complex systems do not come from scratch, scratching million-year-old bones to find the truth. Or is it still in the bacteria we scratched-up under our nails? Yep, it all started somewhere... Congratulations! You're catching on!

QUOTE The Ethereal Enigma: "Linda said, "Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch."

If it didn't come from "scratch", then where does our world's evolution begin - from scratch? Of coarse not! Linda, you said it all! New, complex systems do not come from scratch, scratching million-year-old bones to find the truth. Or is it still in the bacteria we scratched-up under our nails? Yep, it all started somewhere... Congratulations! You're catching on!"

Linda Answer: This statement is about 'natural selection' that operates by preserving small, favorable variations that occur naturally in any population of organisms. Over time these variations accumulate to the point that large-scale change is the result. This implies that natural selection works by modifying structures already present in the organism. (NEW TRAITS DO NOT COME FROM SCRATCH - GOT IT YET?) It does not craft new, complex systems from scratch. It was not about where everything came from. Our world's evolution - Time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy. The singularity didn't appear in space; space began inside of the singularity. Prior to the singularity, nothing existed, not space, time, matter, or energy - nothing. There is no proof of a creator or where the creator came from. This is of no use in the understanding of anything that is scientific - it is based on belief - not science. The expansion of the universe is like the time reverse of the collapse of a star, observational evidence indicates the universe contains sufficient matter that it is like the time reverse of a black hole, and so contains a singularity. There is no space outside of the universe everything is inside the singularity. We are inside the singularity that has no boundary. The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside of itself.

The universe is 13.7 billion years old; it contains about 100 billion galaxies, each of which contains 100 billion stars of an immense variety. Without supernova, the fiery death of massive stars, there would be no carbon, oxygen or other elements that make life possible. As stars die they spew star matter out to the universe. The birth and death of stars is how life evolved on earth. In order to get the chemical elements to make the human body, we had to have three generations of stars. A succeeding generation of stars is born out of the material that is spewed out by a previous generation. The second generation of stars is born out of material that was made in a thermonuclear furnace. The star lived by converting hydrogen to helium, helium to carbon, and if it were massive enough, carbon to oxygen, to nitrogen, all the way up to iron. As a star lives, it converts the lighter elements into the heavier elements. That is the way we get the elements. To get the chemistry to make amoebas we had to have the stars regurgitating materialto the universe. After the universe became rich in certain basic chemicals, those chemicals combined in successive steps to make ever more complex molecules. The human brain as a biological, chemical mechanism, evolving out of the universe.

Everything didn't come into existence (all at the same time) we know that didn't happen. All of the animals were not "created" at the same time. Some animals died off and new species evolved.

You're not catching on (where did your creator come from)? There are people with only basic science education who know that the theories I have given are scientifically sound and have lead to many important discoveries. From what you have written you do not have the necessary knowledge to accurately evaluate or discuss any scientific theory.

This was a scientific discussion and if you can't understand or dispute scientific theories with an established theory I don't think that anything you are saying is of any value to this discussion.

Thanks again Linda!

You said, "what I'm offering is a realistic way to think about how we got to be who we are. Once people understand that it will reduce a lot of the tension in the world because it is essential to our growth as individuals and evolution as species."

I agree you do have a realistic way of looking at things and appreciate your time, thoughts, and patience in explaining/sharing all this information with me while still in my own discovery mode. I do feel it is difficult there is truth in everything said in all popular believe systems. For one, although I want to believe there is something like life after death, its hard for me to believe.

I also use to believe in ghosts but dont anymore. However, I could say I have felt an "energy" in places later to find that allegedly there might be a ghost.

I think the tension comes from when someone believes in something and it is diffucult for them to tolerate other possibilities. Often times people try to convince me of their belief vs. helping me understand how and why they believe.

I think it is clear we evolove. Im just still kind of stuck on the wonder how whatever we evolved from got created.

Thanks again!

I'd like to respond to one of the assertions that RaJa wrote"

"This leads me to wonder, what is the purpose of emotion? What purpose do emotions serve? Most species appear to live well without emotion and live based on survival. Why did humans develop emotion and evolve and not many other species? I think that emotion creates more complexity to life than simplicity as many of us sped our lives searching for our purpose vs. on surival and legacy."

Having emotion is not just deligated to humans. You use the word "many" and "most" when refering to other species, but brush it aside as if the animals that do show emotions don't count. Fact, we are not the only animal specie to display emotions. Have you ever own pets? Even dogs and cats are able to display emotions. Do you believe that "you" as a human are so special, you are somehow seperated from the animal kindom? Your ways of looking at yourself and the theist world view is a huge barrier if you really want to find the truth. Only when you finally climb over those barriers is when you can free your mind. I think that most theist hide behind religious dogmas because of fear. There is nothing to fear and most of the questions you pose can easily be answered. Critical thinking and reasoning is a skill that needs practice and when you are able to hone those skills, you really don't need to rely on magic to find purpose.

Leysin,

Thank you for your time and thoughts. I want to help you understand that I have not made a decision about what I believe, I do not consider myself a theist nor athiest at this point. I have joined this forum to understand the view from knowledgable atheists to help me answer questions I have to help me make my own decision. Part of that is to understand the Atheist perception and why. This far, this forum has been a great resouce.

The conversation of emotion is not to neglect other animals and has less to do with an argument on theism vs. atheism, but to understand why the human mind has developed more than most other species. I am well aware cats and dogs have emotions but think the human mind has developed more and would like to understand what is the purpose.

Our pets however do not search/need for a spiritual source whether it is theism or atheism, so why do we? It is not needed for survial.

@ Raja

There's know way of absolutely pin-pointing the moment that we humans started our path of intelligence. Theist use their holy books or rely on holy preaches to tell them what to or how to believe. As an atheist, I rely mostly on my own rational thinking. I use observation and what scientific evidence we have to form what I think is rational. I observe that humans are very social beings. Why are we social? Like other social animals, having a close nit group is a good strategy for survival. And I think because humans are in this social group, it would be rational to assume that knowledge could be passed on to other generations much easily. We can see this behavior when observing chimpanzees that uses tools and that knowledge is passed on within the group. Our brains get bigger because we learn more and because we form this close bonds with others of our species, our emotions development more complex.

I can visualize human evolution from simple beginnings to what we have now just by rationally thinking through each process. In a theist world view, there is no such rational progression of development. We are created by God in his image and spontaneous knew how to farm and hunt, etc., because of some fruit that Adam and Eve ate, not much detail and use of vague descriptions of how we came to be. I'm speaking particularly of the Judeo-Christian religion because that is what I am more familiar with.

Why we search for spirituality? I think spirituality came from reaching a point that humans had the free time to ponder such questions. Because we were able to master farming, hunting and making tools and shelter it allow us to not constantly be thinking about food or being food to predators. Humans use to have tribes and as tribes became bigger and bigger, civilizations form. And within ever growing tribes, leaders came to be. And is it a coincidence that shamans become very influential in tribes. It's pretty simple to use your rational thinking skills to imagine what probably happened that lead us being what we are.

Raja said; 'Our pets however do not search/need for a spiritual source whether it is theism or atheism, so why do we? It is not needed for survival.'

The search for the unknown is simply an extension of the natural curiosity that exists in many species. We have no evidence that cats have a cat god that they scream to at nights, so until someone figures out how to communicate with cats about their understandings of the world, we will not know. Religion in humans, as opposed to the rather silly former point raised, is a relatively understandable phenomenon. The curiosity that is found in cats and humans alike is observably more complex within us. We have the ability to look at our universe and ask why it is here, why we are here, and what it all means. We have created amazing things using our curiosity coupled with our imaginations. We have found our way off this planet and to the bottom of the sea. Our curiosity and our imagination also created religions, thousands upon thousands of them, a vast myriad of potential explanations for why and how we are here.

These magical understandings have also served another very practical use, this is the organisation of and use for power. Religion is a way to control a populous. The powerful long ago realised the worth in cultivating religious belief within their societies. It was a way to control the behaviour of their subjects without having to have a soldier at every door. The rulers would use the religion to make their power legitimate, provide an imaginary reward that people would follow and an imaginary punishment that they could fear. Religion makes people easier to rule and ultimately fool. Think about it, people do not put up with tyrants for very long, but if there is a religion supporting the tyrannical rule - it is accepted for much longer.

If you have some time and are interested, you can check out these YouTube users. Each user has excellent playlists and videos that should answer some of your questions.

potholer54 - "Transitional Fossils I and II" DonExodus2 - "How Evolution Works" & "Transitional Fossils I and II" AronRa - "Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism" Impaler1815 - Most of his videos Thunderf00t - "Why do people laugh at creationists?"

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