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Doesn't Mean Anything

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Posted by Mario Dovalina on June 5, 2002 22:02:47 UTC

"How about you give me your address, and I come over and kick you in the shin? :) Would that prove I exist?"

Nope. All it would prove is that my brain is being stimulated by a combination of visual, audial, and tactile sensations. It doesn't prove that you are an actual person. I could be dreaming. My brain could be floating in a tank somewhere. And you can't prove it's not. That's my point. You're looking for absolutes, which can never be found.

"I would like to talk about those issues, even if they have nothing to do with evolution."

No problem, sounds good. But if we argue about every theological topic at once we'll get way off base. If you want to start a new post, cool. But we probably should fragment this stuph.

"But could you really have learned what science is capable of?"

Once you know what science is really about, it becomes fairly clear what it can and cannot do. It's not about making a list of do's and don'ts for science. It's about understanding its approach.

And, for the heck of it, my answers to your questions:

"How do you believe the universe started (before the big bang) and why?

How do you think life arose from non-living material?

I know you are athiest (I thought you said that), so I do not expect a 'God did it'."

I'm not really an atheist, by the standard definition. I simply don't have faith one way or the other. But I will say that the evidence is incompatable with the fundy version of God. I don't know how the universe started, nor why. I suspect that it was a natural process, since every process we have observed so far has been based on self-running, naturalistic phenomena. So I extrapolate that onto the universe as a whole. Of course, I can't be sure.

With regards to how life arose from non-living material, I think your question is meaningless. It assumes, from the outset, that there is a universal standard (a platonic ideal) that seperates living material from non-living. This may seem like a silly distinction, but bear with me. Let's do this reductionistically. Do you consider humans alive? How about rats? Trees? Fungus? Alga? Bacteria? Viruses? Complex amino acids? Simple amino acids? Complex carbon molecules? At what point does a non-living object suddenly become living and acquire a soul? I think there are only two possible answers: that there is a fundamental, basic property of life that seperates it from the rules that the rest of the universe has to follow, or that the distinction between organic and inorganic is subjective to the perspective of life: there is no fundamental difference between the two. If that is true, life did not arise from non-life, it arose from 'less-life.' Like red blending into orange on the spectrum, there is no point where you can define 'this is alive, but take away one more molecule and it will be inorganic.'

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