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Re: [XTalk] Anomalies vs. Miracles

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  • turton
    ... My bad. I meant only that an atheist is someone who lacks a belief in god. Michael Turton AFl Chaoyang University Taichung, Taiwan
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 2, 2003
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      >
      > HOWEVER, I vehemently quarrel with Michael's
      > assertion that
      > an atheist is COMMITTED TO A LACK OF BELIEF IN GODS.

      My bad. I meant only that an atheist is someone who lacks a belief in god.

      Michael Turton
      AFl
      Chaoyang University
      Taichung, Taiwan
    • Ed Jones
      In response to a message, Aug2, 2003, 8:41 pm, raising questions concerning god or no god, it has seemed that some account might be taken of the extent to
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 3, 2003
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        In response to a message, Aug2, 2003, 8:41 pm, raising questions concerning
        god or no god, it has seemed that some account might be taken of the extent
        to which our inherited 19th century scientific understanding of KNOWLEDE
        affects these notions and further, to take note of what recent expressions
        from the scientific community seem to be telling to us today about
        KNOWLEDGE. The following post edhj2002@..., Jul 26, 2003, 7:05am,
        [FFForum] Re: Philosophy, Science and Theology Festival, might serve to
        illumine this statement:

        Blaine,

        In a message bwhite@... Thu, Jul 10, 10:26 am, you develop certain
        distinctions between the disciplines of science and religion leading to the
        characterization of �theoscientists� who �are not and need not be taken
        seriously.� Might not the following extracts place both Hawking and Davies
        in this category?


        Extracts from Davies� commentary relative to one statement, not commented on
        in my essay edhj2002@..., Jul 20, 5:14pm, [FFForum], from the Hawking
        passage:
        �What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for
        them to describe?�

        Davies:
        �It seems to me that; if one perseveres with the principle of sufficient
        reason and demands rational explanation for nature, then we have no choice
        but to seek that explanation in something beyond or outside the physical
        world � in something metaphysical � because a contingent physical universe
        cannot contain within itself an explanation for itself. What sort of
        metaphysical agency might be able to create a universe? It is important to
        guard against the na�ve image of a Creator producing a universe at some
        instant in time by supernatural means � creation cannot consist of merely
        causing the big bang. We are searching instead for a more subtle, timeless
        notion of creation which, to use Hawking�s phrase, �breathes fire into the
        equations�, and thus promotes the merely possible to the actually existing.
        This agency is creative in the sense of being somehow responsible for the
        laws which govern, among other things, how space-time evolves.�

        �We are not talking about creation in the casual, mechanical sense here, as
        when a builder builds a house � We are talking about �breathing fire into
        the equations that encode the laws of physics, promoting the merely possible
        to the actual. What sort of entities can �breathe fire � in this sense?
        Clearly no familiar material thing. If there is to be an answer at all, it
        would have to be something pretty abstract and unfamiliar� (beyond all sense
        perceived reality).

        �Thus James Jeans who proclaimed that �the universe appears to have been
        designed by a pure mathematician� and it �begins to look more like a great
        thought rather than a great machine�, also wrote: �We discover that the
        universe shows evidence of a designing or controlling power that has
        something in common with our individual minds - - the tendency to think in
        ways which, for want of a better word, we describe as mathematical.� �
        (�something in common with our minds�; might not this validate the claim of
        mystical experience: �Consciousness with consciousness can meet�? - thus
        knowledge given, ready-made, revelation).

        ��just why Homo sapiens should carry the spark of rationality that provides
        the key to the universe, is a deep enigma. We, who are children of the
        universe � animated stardust � can nevertheless reflect on the nature of
        that universe, even to the extent of glimpsing the rules on which it runs.�

        �What does it mean? What is Man that we might be party to such privilege?
        I cannot believe that our existence in this universe is a mere quirk of
        fate. An accident of history, an incidental blip in the great cosmic drama.
        Our involvement is too intimate - - the existence of mind in some organism
        on some planet in the universe is surely a fact of fundamental significance.
        Through conscious beings the universe has generated self-awareness. This
        can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless
        forces. We are truly meant to be here.�

        Ed Jones

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      • Steve Black
        ... god or no god... One of the things I enjoy about this list is how these sorts of issues are always in the background in our discussions concerning the
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 3, 2003
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          >In response to a message, Aug2, 2003, 8:41 pm, raising questions concerning
          god or no god...

          One of the things I enjoy about this list is how these sorts of
          issues are always in the background in our discussions concerning the
          Historical Jesus. I think it is best to leave them in the background.


          --
          Steve Black
          Vancouver School of Theology
          Vancouver, BC
          ---

          The lion and the calf shall lie down together
          but the calf won't get much sleep.
          -Woody Allen
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