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leopardgecko123's avatar

Atheists, why do you not believe in a god?

Asked by leopardgecko123 (777points) May 5th, 2011

I am a Christian and have always wondered why some people don’t believe in God, or any god. A kid at my school is an atheist and says he believes in ‘science’. Does he really think that SCIENCE made everything that did, does, and will exist? Atheists, why, really, why do you not believe in a god? What do you believe in? And don’t just say “science” or “logic” and please don’t give me a lecture on how my faith is wrong or ridiculous or something in your opinion. Please, give me a reason why you believe/don’t believe in what you believe or disbelieve in. And, please don’t ask or talk about my beliefs because I wrote this question to hear your answers, not to be back talked to.

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245 Answers

athenasgriffin's avatar

What he probably meant is he believes in things with definite proof. For instance most science is based on evidence and facts.

tranquilsea's avatar

Science tries to explain, and often does explain, the former “mysteries” of the universe. Science is self correcting unlike religion.

I have never seen any proof of God that cannot be explained by science. The fact that you have to take his/her existence on faith is enough for me to bow out.

Blueroses's avatar

I’ll respect anybody’s right to believe in the dogma that gives them comfort and a moral blueprint. I expect them to respect that their theology does not do the same for me.

Trojans40's avatar

God cause war, Science doesn’t infact, Science is more International peaceful than the debate of god with a jew, a muslim, and a christian.

iamthemob's avatar

What @athenasgriffin says about what it means generally (or what it should mean) to say one believes in science is spot on. A belief in science is not a belief in it as an entity, but as an approach to explaining how things happen.

It’s important to also acknowledge that when it comes to particular beliefs in god, everyone’s an atheist in some way. Any religion, from a fundamentalist perspective, views the followers of another religion as atheistic as they don’t believe in the “true” God.

I am technically an atheist, although I take an agnostic stance on the existence of God. In terms of any claims beyond the existence of God, I am fairly hard-core atheistic. The reason why I do not believe in religious claims as claims of fact is that whatever God is or is not is far to complex for any of us to understand – and to claim that one knows what God wants beyond anything that would seem obvious that humanity would want for itself (to figure out what good is, and to do it; to love each other as much as we can; etc.) seems fairly arrogant. There is no evidence for it, beyond what people claim is evidence without evidence for that.

Anyone who wants to say that their God is better than another person’s God has a huge burden or proof that no one has even begun to meet, as far as I’ve seen.

tinyfaery's avatar

I have no need and no reason to believe in any type of diety.

6rant6's avatar

I do not believe that human beings were made in God’s likeness. There may be something out there more elevated than we are, but it’s not going to a have a flowing white beard, it’s not going to think that we are special because we are its children, and its not going to treat the planet earth as the only bistro in town.

I reject the ideas put forth by religions because no religion I see promises the things that they claim they can they can deliver. Ergo why would I believe their explanations if there methods fail?

I have seen too many people claim special right, special knowledge or both and then do exactly what someone should not do – according to ethical or moral thinking. We are biological systems which rarely (to be kind) live up to the design. We screw up, we image, we dream. And to listen to a prophet or maniac and live my life according to their delusions – it’s just stupid.

Science is always in process. We are always wrong on some points. But at least science allows for the obvious – that what we once believed should be abandoned when sufficient evidence appears that contradicts those beliefs. To hang on to what is false no matter what we learn is the definition of lunacy. Also the definition of faith.

nikipedia's avatar

1. I do not believe in god for the exact same reason that you do not believe in Brahman, Allah, Ganesh, etc.

2. This topic has been discussed a lot already.

3. I do not believe in god for the same reason I do not believe in leprechauns or unicorns.

4. Asking what atheists believe in and then telling them “science” and “reason” are not acceptable answers is not very productive. If you simply mean that you would like a detailed explanation of what these terms mean and how we are using them, I could probably do that.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@tinyfaery “I have no need and no reason to believe in any type of diety.”

Do you believe in faeries?

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t care that you asked the question, I’m glad you did so you take away some understanding, but I didn’t like the way you came off in the details section: “Does he really think that SCIENCE made everything that did, does, and will exist? Atheists, why, really, why do you not believe in a god?”.

I just edited my whole answer to be nice instead: I’m an atheist because logic, science, reason, rationality etc etc. have proved to be the most effective way for me to live my life in a progressive way.

@josie explained it better than I did.

josie's avatar

It is not a matter of believing or not believing. It is a matter of drawing a reasoned conclusion based on the evidence. There is no credible evidence of God. There is only the fervent hope that there is a God, or the fact that some people say that there is a God, or that there is an ongoing tradition of worshipping God as a sort of social exercise.
But there is no evidence. Without evidence, there can be only one conclusion. God is not there. Trust me, if the evidence presented itself, I would be become a fan.

syz's avatar

Why do I not believe in a god? Because it makes no sense. And don’t even get me started on the evils that have been done in the name of organized religion…..

iamthemob's avatar

@josie – I’m with you on all but one statement – without evidence, no conclusion can be drawn.

When we talk about natural phenomenon, the best starting point is to assume that God is not present, that I agree with.

josie's avatar

@iamthemob I don’t think we are that far apart. Nature simply is what it is. It is eternal. There is no basis for imagining a “starting point”.
It is us, the mortal creatures, that find the notion of the infinite past and the infinite future to be difficult to imagine. I mean, who can draw a picture of that? But since there is no clear evidence of the start of the past, and certainly no evidence of a finite future, then what conclusion can we draw?

SofaKingWright's avatar

I like to see the facts. As of yet, I haven’t seen or found any facts which lead me to believe that I should believe. I’m not adept at blind faith.

iamthemob's avatar

@josie – after that post, I’d wager that any distance between us is about semantics, and not actual beliefs. Reading what you just wrote, I can’t really see any real disagreement.

DominicX's avatar

As others have said, there is not enough evidence to support the existence of a God in my mind. I also have no personal need to believe in a God. Nothing about existence gives me the desire to explain phenomena with divine reasons nor does anything give me the desire to give additional meaning to life by adding a divine twist to it. Life is enough on its own; it doesn’t have to be controlled by a god for it to mean something to me.

I’m of the belief that there may be a God, but there is no way to know as it is now. However, current evidence does not suggest that there is one.

A book that was written by imperfect humans 2000 years ago? A book that is full of contradictions and flaws? It’s not much, in my mind. As I got older it became more and more obvious to me that religion was created by humans to explain the unexplainable, give more meaning to life, and keep the behavior of others under control, more than it was actually inspired by a real divine force.

ragingloli's avatar

I do not believe in any deity, because there is no evidence to support the existence of any deity. Furthermore, claims pertaining to the activities of those deities have been refuted by science (for example, origin of the universe and life, the flood myth, flat earth, geocentrism).

JilltheTooth's avatar

Wow. Personally I am a bit of a theist (won’t go into “why” here) though not affiliated with anything of an organized nature. That said, I just want to say that I am beyond impressed in this thread with all the reasoned posts and the respectful tone. I’ve seen this topic spawn some pretty nasty stuff, and I am so lurvin’ all my Jellies right now!
Just wanted to share a warm and fuzzy moment

jaytkay's avatar

When I was young I read a few books about different religions.

And I realized they can’t all be true. In fact, only ONE could be true. And if God were good he wouldn’t give the truth to only one small group.

So I figured they must all be untrue.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

The answer is because I simply can not believe it. The more I think about it, the more unbelievable it is.
I understand why many have a need to believe, but I just don’t have that. I was a believer for a long time, and it isn’t anger or frustration or bitterness toward god that caused me to lose my faith. Many seem to think that is the obvious cause, I just want to clarify that it is not. I just find the whole thing absurd. I don’t mean that to be offensive, but it is the truth. I really struggle to understand how anyone believes. It seems so incredibly far fetched to me, that I just can’t see putting my faith in it.

KateTheGreat's avatar

There is absolutely no evidence of a supreme being. Science has refuted it over and over and I will believe scientific proof rather than some evangelical hothead who believes he is a gift from god for the masses.

Religion has been used to control people for ages. It has resulted in wars, death, and destruction. There are so many religions that you have absolutely no clue if you’re even right about what you believe in. The bible was written 2,000 years ago. You have no clue if the books that were found were the only ones and you don’t know if what you are reading is completely null and void! I prefer to live a life that has no bounds. Theism always prevented that for me (I was raised in a very devout christian family) because there are so many people telling you what you are doing is not right, it constantly controls you, and there is always a sense of “I am going to hell or not” hanging right over your head. Religion has been used to scare people into many things.

But I will say I respect every religion very much. Each religion has a set of moral standards that have indeed proven to work well. If it helps you get through life, then nothing should hinder that. I’d just rather not be a part of it. I do not, however, respect anyone who spoon feeds their religion down people’s throats looking for the next convert. I don’t respect people who use religion to control and manipulate people.

This quote pretty much describes my view on Christianity specifically. “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins

gailcalled's avatar

The question is, why should I believe? And in whose god? I am personally fond of the turtles stacked up on top of the elephant. Why not?

And what about the empty coca cola bottle? It has just as many mysteries as other codified faiths.

iamthemob's avatar

@JilltheTooth – A hearty dose of recognition for pointing out how reasonable and respectful generally this thread has been, and I agree. It’s important to recognize civil discourse where it exists…hopefully it moves us to have more of it. ;-)

I think that this thread has been a good demonstration of how people can both respect theistic positions while criticizing them. No belief or assertion is beyond criticism, but we needn’t always be all uppity about it. Thanks for helping to point out how reason is the most common characteristic here, @JilltheTooth.

everephebe's avatar

I find most faiths to be abhorrent, but I don’t really have an issue with any deity. Imaginary beings don’t really bother me. I rather like a few imaginary beings, but that doesn’t make me believe in them.

I was indoctrinated in Christianity as a child, and I find that to be morally repugnant. I was given no choice, and it actively harmed me many times. I was “saved” by rational thought, my own in fact. But I still bare the scars that religion gave me.

Why don’t I believe in god? Well, because I have no reason to believe in one. I’m like you, minus the belief in one more god. You don’t worship Zeus and neither do I. So if you can ask yourself why don’t you worship Zeus, you’ll have an answer for the Yahweh too.

Science attempts to understand the nature of our universe and how it came to be. We don’t know many things. That’s fine, we’ll learn eventually. But using god as an explanation, or a placeholder for what we don’t know is, frankly, rather silly. Because it raises more questions than it gives answers now. For instance, “Who made god?” Well, we know that answer actually… We did.

Logic and reason should be perfectly acceptable answers.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@iamthemob : I’m thinking I’ll need to bookmark this Q to cite as an example of how it’s possible when things go south in future discussions! ;-)

Qingu's avatar

@leopardgecko123, I’ll answer the question in regards to your god, Yahweh. My reasons for not believing in other gods, such as Zeus and Marduk, are similar.

I don’t believe in Yahweh because it is clear that he is a fictional character of Mesopotamian mythology. The Bible says that Yahweh created the sky as a solid dome that holds up the ocean. It says that he created the sun and moon as lights in the sky (after the earth). That he created humans out of clay, animals one by one, flooded the earth to get rid of his human creations….

All of these things are not only obviously false but straight out of Mesopotamian mythology. The ancient Babylonians also believed the sky was a solid dome, that the sun revolved around the earth, that humans were made out of clay, and that there was a great flood survived by a wise man in a big boat with pairs of animals.

I don’t believe in Yahweh for the same reason you don’t believe in Marduk.

Now. Your question seems to imply that a god is the only explanation for “where it all came from.” I suggest you read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. I believe the universe has always existed—sort of like how you believe your God has always existed. Except there’s evidence that the universe exists.

(To elaborate on this further, the universe contains all of space and time, yes? Thus there is no time “before” the universe. There is no concept of time outside of the universe. The act of creation is a temporal event. In order to create X, there needs to be a point in time when X does not exist, followed by a point in time when X does exist. There is no point in time when the universe has not existed.)

Qingu's avatar

Also: I noticed that a lot of people have mentioned the “evils” that have been done in the name of religion.

I don’t think this is actually a good reason not to believe in any given religion. Whether or not something is true is different from whether or not something is moral.

But it is worth pointing out that your religion, @leopardgecko123, condones slavery (Lev 25:45), rape (Dt. 21:22) and genocide (Dt. 13:12, 20:16, and pretty much the entire book of Joshua). Yahweh is actually the only god on record who commands his followers to commit genocide. Not even the gods of the child-sacrificing Aztecs wanted them to commit genocide on rival tribes.

I’ve found that certain people believe in a given deity for “moral” reasons which, when you actually read the Bible, tend to evaporate.

King_Pariah's avatar

For me, I tried to believe for most of my 20 years on Earth, but without facts or hard solid proof, I gotta say I saw it as a load of BS. Funny thing is though even though I’m an atheist, I do go to church as a volunteer youth group leader to teach those who believe/want to believe about Christ.

Blackberry's avatar

@leopardgecko123 Can you come back and give us some insight after reading our answers?

tom_g's avatar

For me, it’s the fact that there is not a shred of evidence that any god exists – especially the judeo-xian god. Not that that there is a shred of evidence pointing to the existence of a different god. Rather, in the US I have been exposed to so many xian claims, I have had the most opportunities to explore them. The claims are no more or less absurd than FSM or the invisible pink unicorn.
Oh, and science doesn’t claim to have made the universe. I can’t even wrap my head around that one. Is that a typo?

FutureMemory's avatar

I have no reason to. At all.

WasCy's avatar

It told me not to.

The_Idler's avatar

Same reason I stopped believing in Santa Claus:
There are more plausible explanations.

That doesn’t mean any of those explanations are right, or that I ‘believe’ or ‘know’ that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, I just know that Santa Claus might not exist. And so there is no reason to have faith (if, on the other hand, he was reported to stop giving presents to those who no longer believe in his existence, maybe there’d be some kinda incentive, know what I mean?)

How do you justify your faith?
Do you claim to know fundamental truths about the nature of the cosmos?
On what authority is such knowledge based?
Your intelligence, or that of a nomadic tribesman from several thousand years ago?

The_Idler's avatar

As an atheist, I know there might be a God, but I see no reason to ‘believe’ in His existence…
having absolute faith in something not 100% certain is not a virtue, it is an intellectual aberration.

If I seriously said “I have absolute faith that I am going to win the lottery tomorrow” or “I have absolute faith that the Republicans will win the next US election”, you’d call me a loon or an idiot.

but saying “I have absolute faith that there is an all-powerful, all-knowing supernatural conscious being, which created the entire universe with a couple of fallible human beings on a tiny speck of dust in the middle of nowhere as the centre-piece, where they can live out their tiny, wretched lives, only for them to die and be judged by Him, and thereby be condemned to a monotonous eternity of either bliss, or, for most of them, unimaginably painful torture. Oh, and 2000 years ago He had a son, who came to Earth to be executed on an ancient Roman torture device, somehow redeeming the sins of humanity in the process. Oh, and He turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, by way of punishment for looking back at the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah. Oh, and He once came down to Earth in human form to wrestle with Jacob all night long, dislocated Jacob’s hip, blessed him and then left. Oh and…”, is somehow perfectly reasonable to you?

wundayatta's avatar

It’s kind of absurd to even have to think about “God.” Does anyone stop to define the term? Because it is only if we define the term that we can seek evidence to support that definition or not.

My problem is that there are an infinite number of things for which there are no evidence. Should I believe in them all just because someone tells me to? Here’s one. Tonight I saw the Universal Spider. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. He’s that character who you see chittering through space out of the corner of your eye. He’s very awesome and somewhat scary, what with all those legs spinning and crawling along the invisible lines of the the Universal Web.

Tell me why you don’t believe in the Universal Spider?

For that matter, tell me why you don’t believe in the giant invisible purple dinosaur that created earth and is always hovering above your head and mine and everyone else’s. Do you think this image is absurd? Tell me why? I have as much evidence to support the existence of this entity as you do to support your Christian God.

Like I said, there are an infinite number of such possible Gods, and I wonder why you picked the one you believe in over all the others. Is it because so many other people pick that God? If everyone else thought it was a good idea to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, would do it, too? Well, you might. Look at the mind control other religions exert on their adherents. Look at Jim Jones.

There is no evidence to support any of these creatures (including yours) that anyone else can independently verify. No evidence exists that is verifiable by anyone who chooses. Only believers can see this evidence. That’s not good enough for me, and it shouldn’t be good enough for anyone.

I think it is more useful to think of these god concepts as a social tool. If a person believes in your god, then he is one of you. Otherwise, he is not. He is an infidel. A traitor. An Other.

Your God is a conceptual box into which you can stuff a creation myth and stories about morality and how life should be lived. It is a mental tool you can use to comfort yourself and to believe that you can do what you set out to do, or that you can get out of trouble if you just ask for your God’s help. Your God is a psychological and sociological tool that enables you to make friends and solve problems and a million other things.

But ultimately, you God is inside your mind and body, where you create Him in your image, and he is your ultimate Avatar; your ultimate symbol of self conception.

Everyone needs psychological support. Some do it one way and others another. The thing is that most people let others alone to choose a method for developing a self concept. Far too many religions say it’s my way or death. My way or pain. My way or apostasy.

People who are insecure about something often run around trying to get others to join them. They feel that if others join in, then they must be right. It must be ok. Most of us have become educated enough to see what the God concepts are for and to see that they are not helpful any more. Most of us see that they can be incredibly destructive.

Why on earth would you believe in something that, at best, was useless and at worst, causes wars? Why push an ideology on other people who are minding their own business? Why would anyone of good heart who empathizes with others want to push an ideology down other people’s throats? Why indeed?

WasCy's avatar

If you believe in a particular god to the exclusion of all others, it means that you probably explicitly disbelieve in about 10,000 other gods that have been invented throughout history.

The difference between you and me is… I disbelieve in 10,001 gods (or whatever your “disbelief” number is, plus 1).

ETpro's avatar

Sorry to jump in as a Johnny-come-lately. I don’t disbelieve in God. I am not certain that no divine being exists. I just don’t believe in God, and I take that position because I see no evidence that there is such a being. It’s about the same reason that I don’t believe in unicorns, or that reindeer can fly. I can’t disprove wither of those things either. I ject see no proof convincing me I should believe in them.

Rarebear's avatar

Exactly what @josie and @iamthemob said. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

wenn's avatar

Because religions are tools of control, fear and inhibiting free thought all while proving, discovering and solving nothing. Not to mention causing endless conflict only to force beliefs onto others.

There is no difference between paganism, polytheism, mythology, christianity, judaism and islam. The new ones showed up took over the old ones, and the new ones fight over the same pointless crap and neglect dealing with and solving actual problems….which they more than likely started in the first place.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Strictly speaking, I am an apatheist. I do not believe it at all likely that anything which could be plausibly referred to as “God” exists, however, and I believe that for the reasons others have given: there is no good evidence for the existence of God, and there is good evidence against the existence of God.

Furthermore, I see no reason why I should care about God even if He does exist. The obvious reason is that I might face punishment for doing otherwise; but if that’s how the putative source of all moral authority acts, He seems to be nothing more than the biggest bully on the block. Just because He can send me to Hell in no way means that He should or that He has any sort of moral justification for doing so.

As the old saying goes: “better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

A question to all who answered “Because there is no evidence of a God”.

Could it be that there is evidence, but you chose not to accept it?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

So the evidence that some say they have is not just evidence that you don’t accept as true, but you just don’t think it’s evidence at all? Is that right @SavoirFaire?

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

I personally don’t believe in any god. If there is a god in charge of everything that happens, I’d say he/she/it is doing a piss poor job. Ask the people in Darfur Or any other country where innocent children starve to death and women are possessions. Also one thing that has always bothered me. If god is omnipotent, then why did he/she/it create Lucifer? If god knows all and sees all then he created his own enemy knowing Lucifer would be evil. Makes NO sense.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I do not believe so. I have no confirmation bias on the subject. I know that you do. So who is the more likely to end up finding the proofs they are looking for?

Thise who have supplied me with their “evidence” have supplied argements that do not stand up to close scrutiny. Rejecting obviously flawed evidence is central to the scientific method. But I would love to find evidence there is a creator, because there are so many things I wish to know about the Universe, and will likely not learn in my lifetime unelss some divine presence informs me. I am not unwilling to see—just aware that everything that glitters is not gold.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I understand your concern @Russell_D_SpacePoet. Is that your reason for not believing in God? Maybe we should discuss if God exists or not before we discuss his level of power, or interest in human affairs.

@ETpro “So who is the more likely to end up finding the proofs they are looking for?”

The one who keeps looking.

iamthemob's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – There are many things that could be interpreted as evidence for God’s existence…but I’ve never seen anything that could not be interpreted in another way or to mean another thing.

Everything that has been presented that I’ve seen as “evidence for God’s existence” has consisted of an attempt to reason why a particular thing could not exist without God. In no case has there not been a reasonable counter-argument against the fact that the existence of God was required.

Do you have an example?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

There is no shortage of brilliant scientists who believe in an intelligent higher power.

“Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.”
–Max Planck, (a Nobel Prize physicist considered to be the founder of quantum theory, and one of the most important physicists of the 20th century).

“I am not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist [emphasis added]. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. ”
–Albert Einstein, as quoted in Antony Flew’s book There Is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.

@iamthemob ”...I’ve never seen anything that could not be interpreted in another way or to mean another thing.”

Perhaps some have.

@iamthemob “Do you have an example?”

Well you know my old song and dance, and I’m sure people here are tired of hearing it. But as of yet, I still haven’t found any mechanism that can account for genuine code arising by chance or purely materialistic processes. DNA is a code. All codes have authors.

Keep in mind that I’m not claiming that the Christian God is the author of DNA. But at the risk of incredulity, that is more believable to me than a blind dumb deaf mute cosmos evolving to the point of an intelligent conversation on this thread. That’s what the Atheist doesn’t realize. If what they believe is true, then every word uttered throughout history is just the dumb unintelligent universe having a conversation with itself. It argues with itself. It fights and goes to war with itself over the words we speak. I suggest in the spirit of parsimony, that the universe is a much more efficient machine than that.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Oh, but the christian bible says he is all powerful. All knowing.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Knowing something, and having an interest in doing something about it are two different issues.

I know about the suffering in Haiti. But hell if I haven’t done a GD thing about it. Does that make me evil like God?

Rarebear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Oh, let’s have another debate about DNA coding! Let’s! :-)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No no I tried to take this in a different direction this time. Barely mentioned it and admitted it to be a tired story for this community.

I want to know how the universe can ultimately evolve to arguing with itself on this forum.

Rarebear's avatar

I was kidding!
“I want to know how the universe can ultimately evolve to arguing with itself on this forum.” Now that’s funny!

iamthemob's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – I’m going to attempt to avoid a turning this into a DNA coding debate as well. ;-)

My problem is that the code example still seems like an example of the type of argument used as evidence in these scenarios: the code exists, we know of no other way for code to exist without a coder, therefore there must be a coder.

It comes off as a reasonable enough argument for why one would believe in God. But to many, and I’m sure you know this, the opposite conclusion (random assembly) is more reasonable. And as we know so very little about initial conditions for life, it’s all guessing as to what was going on at that point. Sure, it may be very educated guessing in many instances, but the current knowledge base is limited.

In the end, because we don’t know very much at all about it, conjecture about the beginning and formation of life are arguments from ignorance rather than evidence.

crisw's avatar

To add to all of the other answers that have been given-

The biggest reason that I don’t believe in any god is the problem of evil- the vast amount of pain and suffering in this world, especially animal suffering, which Christianity, especially, cannot explain in any cogent manner.

I also see absolutely no evidence of a god in this world. I see no situations where a god is necessary to explain any phenomenon.

I think that religions exist, in great part, because people believe they need them in order to be good, or in order to make sense of a senseless world. But all the belief in the world does not make them true.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

You do realize @iamthemob believing that random assembly can author a meaningful message is demonstrating just as much faith (perhaps hope) as any uneducated theist ever exhibited. Especially when no mechanism has ever been demonstrated to allow for this and all the probability math soundly refutes such a claim. This seems weak in the face of known and demonstrable, testable, falsifiable mechanisms.

AdamF's avatar

In short, the continuum of gods on offer range from irrelevance to unreasonable. Lack of compelling evidence for any of them has failed to give me any justifiable reason to believe.

Greta Christina adds more relevant thoughts.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Please try to take this as an honest attempt to convey knowledge.

“DNA is a code. All codes have authors.” First, the scientific labs trying to solve the biochemical relevant pathways involved are not arguing that the first proto-life was built on a modern DNA foundation. This molecule iself is a product of millions of years of evolution and is far too stable, and requires far too much complex protein machinery to have replicated itself into existence. So if this is what you have trouble accepting, then so do scientists. That’s not what’s being argued for.

The available evidence is that DNA did have an “author”, as you suggest. But it was biochemistry in the form of DNA precursors such as RNA, which stores “information” like DNA, but can also catalyze reactions without proteins (unlike DNA).

If you want to understand the basis for making such an argument, and how advanced the sciences are in the pursuit of these issues, please take the time read and understand the following article.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Thanks @AdamF. Sorry your link is broken. I’d love to read the paper you suggest. But if it’s more about abiogenesis, then unless there has been a recent discovery, I’m afraid I’ve lost all hope for that pseudo science.

I don’t want to get into slinging papers around. People here have had enough of that from me. But every respected abiogenesis proponent I’ve researched has fully admitted that it’s impossible without an informational catalyst.

OK here’s one paper that the late Leslie E. Orgel finished before his death. It reads poorly of the current state of abiogenesis theory, and Orgel was one of the most influential proponents of all. The only reason I’m linking this is because I’ve never brought it to this forum before.

The prebiotic syntheses that have been investigated experimentally almost always lead to the formation of complex mixtures. Proposed polymer replication schemes are unlikely to succeed except with reasonably pure input monomers. No solution of the origin-of-life problem will be possible until the gap between the two kinds of chemistry is closed. Simplification of product mixtures through the self-organization of organic reaction sequences, whether cyclic or not, would help enormously, as would the discovery of very simple replicating polymers. However, solutions offered by supporters of geneticist or metabolist scenarios that are dependent on ’‘if pigs could fly’’ hypothetical chemistry are unlikely to help.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@AdamF “This molecule iself is a product of millions of years of evolution…”

See that’s the very point were I have a problem even discussing the issue with most people.

We have different views of what evolution actually is. Maybe someone could straighten me out on this, cause I’m sure you’ll all mostly disagree with me. But in my book, evolution doesn’t happen unless there is an actual alteration to the genetic code. So you can see, that from my position, no evolution is possible without first having a genome to alter.

Mudslides don’t evolve, they can’t because they have no code. They can change, like a tornado or a continent. But that’s not evolution. That’s just simple cause/reaction from chaos. Change is not equal to evolution.

So how could the molecule evolve before it was an actual code recognized by Purlwitz, Burks and Waterman?

The Toyota Camry can evolve because the plans for making it can be altered. Same for anything that starts its existence as a code. Solar flares and waterfalls don’t evolve because they don’t represent codified information in any way.

iamthemob's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – Evolution, as the change in genetic composition of a population over a period of generations, does imply changes in the genetic code.

But unless all change is directed, such changes are the product of (for lack of a better word) chance. Therefore, the code is being randomly rewritten. If it can create sense randomly through chance, where there is no intended direction to do so, why is it a huge leap to consider similar processes at work in abiogenesis?

AdamF's avatar

I found a link that works to the article.
Check out the “Other Links” box. It’s the last of four entitled “Origin of Life on Earth”

There have been multiple recent discoveries. Check here at the publication list from a single lab.

I don’t see anything in the article by Orgel that dismisses abiogenesis. It seems to be a directed critique of some of the proposed metabolic pathways being pursued in 2007, and the difficulty of unifying them.

The issue of RNA and evolution is dealt with in the article I originally linked to.

josie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies The fact that nature can be astonishing and that we do not have all the info we need to understand it, is evidence of nothing except that nature can be astonishing and that we do not have all the info we need to understand it.
It is no more valid to say it was created by God, than it is to say it is a total mystery.
There are clear patterns and repeating themes in nature. Perhaps someday we, or another species, will put it all together into one totally understandable “mosaic”.
Right now we do not have that. That is not evidence of God. It is merely a current lack of information

SavoirFaire's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I worry that there is an ambiguity in your use of “evidence.” In your original question to me, you use the word as if it were factive. The implication is that there may be genuine evidence that I simply fail to recognize as such for some reason. In your response to my denial of this possibility, you use the word as if it were non-factive. The implication there is that I am suggesting that the claims made in favor of theism are not even wrong—that they do not merely provide insufficient evidence or say things that are false, but are actually meaningless (or something along those lines).

I hope it is now clear that my response was to the factive use of the word “evidence.” Plenty of theists do, in fact, offer pure nonsense in lieu of arguments—as do plenty of atheists—but they can be set aside for the moment. I take it that any debate involving intelligent people will have interesting and substantive arguments made on both sides, and those arguments will constitute evidence in the weaker, non-factive sense of the word. But even in those cases, many arguments given for the existence of God are implausible on their face and wouldn’t establish their conclusion even if we granted their premises.

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, for the record, is not sure that Osama bin Laden is dead. But he has no problem believing that a Mesopotamian deity named Yahweh exists.

Qingu's avatar

Oh, and about “evolution,” usually the word is limited to biological evolution. And you are right, such evolution is genetic, requiring a change in a genetic code.

But the abstract concept of Darwinian evolution can apply to any system that stores and replicates information. It doesn’t have to be DNA. We know that certain RNA molecules can store information and make copies of themselves as well, and we know how such molecules can form naturally. But that’s not biological evolution per se.

AdamF's avatar

@Quingu Just curious how you’re defining “biological evolution”.

To shift from RNA containing protocells to selection for protocells with ribozymes, membranes, metabolism, etc..all the way to DNA containing cells, strikes me as indistinguishable in process (at least at some point along this path), from any other form of biological evolution.

For this sequence to take place, there had to be change through time of inherited characteristics (as carried by RNA) in these protocell populations….ie biological evolution.

Perhaps Im misunderstanding you.

Qingu's avatar

I’m definining it as based on genes as we know them. But I agree that there was probably a smooth transition from an earlier RNA process to this process.

Rarebear's avatar

Sitting back and eating popcorn watching the debate
A couple of points. I do agree with one thing that @RealEyesRealizeRealLies said in that there is no hard evidence for abiogenesis, only models. There are anaologous issues in cosmology, dark energy, what “happened before the Big Bang”, stuff like that. There is plenty of circumstantial evidence for dark energy, but nobody has any idea what it is. My point of contention is that @RealEyesRealizeRealLies contends that because there is no evidence that abiogenesis is real, then therefore there has to be an author. That’s the rub where we have had our debates in the past.

Another point of clarification, evolution and abiogenesis are separate. We talk about evolution for already existing life. So first there was abiogenesis (or an authored code as @RealEyesRealizeRealLies believes), and then there was evolution. @RealEyesRealizeRealLies has no problem or issues with evolution at all.

Did I state your point of view correctly?

iamthemob's avatar

@Rarebear – is it fair to say, though, that the theoretical framework of evolution is used to explain the possibility of abiogenesis? Although you are right I believe that they are separate, our knowledge of evolution is used in creating parallel theories of abiogenesis…it seems, at least.

Accepting that, would it not be fair to say that the argument for the author based on the fact we have yet to conceive a clearly true method for abiogenesis is the mirror of the ID arguments for “irreducible complexity”? (i.e., they are both based on the idea that because we have certain things that now seem so particularly suited to their function, and are made up of components that in isolation serve no function, and they are so complex, that it must be impossible that they generated spontaneously because we cannot see how it could happen).

Rarebear's avatar

@iamthemob Oh, I agree with you. I was just trying to clarify @RealEyesRealizeRealLies position as he and I have been around this barn several times. Paradoxically, I’m actually okay with the concept of authored code as one alternative hypothesis of abiogenesis. (Just as I’m okay with the concept of a God as a trigger for the Big Bang). I just see no evidence of such so to me it’s one hypothesis among many.

Back to your first question, I actually don’t know enough about the theoretical framework of abiogenesis to answer that question. @crisw might, though.

crisw's avatar


I’d prefer that be discussed in a different question; this conversation is getting derailed!

WasCy's avatar

I’d take the debate to another point. Let’s assume that there is a god.

So what?

iamthemob's avatar

@crisw – I think we’re close to derailing, but I think this is all actually on-topic…the arguments used to support the idea that there is “evidence for God” are part of the reason for a lack of belief in God for many, if not most.

crisw's avatar


I’m talking specifically about the scientific connection between abiogenesis and evolution; it’s really not a religious topic at all.

lawkes's avatar

None of the usual arguments for the existence of G-d even try to prove the existence of a G-d whose existence would matter to me.

The cosmological argument? In its most robust form, it aims to prove the existence of a supernatural, personal creator. Again, the argument doesn’t say anything about whether this G-d knows about humanity or has any moral commands to give us. Do I care if such a G-d exists? No.

The design argument? It aims to prove the existence of an intelligent, powerful, supernatural creator. The design argument doesn’t say anything about whether this G-d care about morality, humanity, or which scriptures you prefer. Do I care if such a G-d exists? No.

The ontological argument? At most, it aims to prove the existence of an all-perfect being, but it doesn’t say anything about whether this G-d is ‘personal’ in any way that makes sense, or has revealed itself to humans. Do I care if such a G-d exists? No.

The moral argument? It aims to prove a G-d whose nature or commands are the foundation for moral values, but it doesn’t say anything about what is moral, or how we could possibly know what is moral, or whether G-d cares if we are moral any more than he cares whether dolphins are moral. Do I care if such a G-d exists? No.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Sure, it would be absolutely fascinating to learn that something supernatural existed, or that one of these vague concepts of G-d referred to something real. That would be quite stunning and invigorating, but would it make any difference at all to how I lead my life? No.

I don’t think you can say I’m resistant to theistic arguments just because I don’t want to believe in G-d, because I really don’t care if G-d exists. It would be like proving to me that there is indeed a multiverse. That would be pretty fascinating, but it really wouldn’t effect my life at all.

As for Infromation Theory, DNA and Evolution, this was discussed on FRDB with over 300 posts. This thesis statement is from Perry Marshal and it has yet to be refuted.

1) DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern; it is a code, a language, and an information storage mechanism.
2) All codes are created by a conscious mind; there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.
3) Therefore DNA was designed by a mind.

If you can provide an empirical example of a code or language that
occurs naturally, you’ve toppled his proof. All you need is one

Summary of counter arguments

ragingloli's avatar

The problem is that both premises are unproven.

lawkes's avatar

Ah, don’t get me started. It has all been discussed already.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes Premise 2 begs the question. DNA is the counterexample you’re looking for.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

@lawkes If dna is a code, why is so much of it inactive? I can’t help but wonder if given the amount of time from the last big bang if this “code” could fall into place. If there has/ will be an infinite cycle of big bangs, dna could have been evolving the whole way.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes @Rarebear, you have an excellent grasp of that part of my position.

The more we learn of DNA/RNA relationships, the more we come to understand that the so called “inactive” code actually plays many vital roles. Pseudogenes (junk dna) are being discovered as legacy files. We’ve found primate olfactory genes within human pseudogenes. In my book, that should settle the argument that mankind arose from the primate. But it also supports the Designer model at the same time. A good designer never throws out the old plans. We keep them around for reference to build new designs upon. This refutes the standard “use it or lose it” model of neo Darwinian evolution based upon random mutations. Wes Warren, head of the Genome Sequencing Project at Washington University has also found the ncRNA (non coding) to be responsible for speech centers in the brain of songbird finches. Human speech centers share 85% identity with songbird finches.

When DNA is compared to binary, it does seem that much of it is inactive. But properly noting it as the ternary/quaternary code that it actually is demonstrates much more functionality to the silent genes. Many of them are simple start/stop punctuations which contribute to the syntax and semantics of the language. Now that Gariev has demonstrated both sound and light signals from the DNA molecule, we may be looking beyond a quaternary coding system.

And this brings up another point. DNA is not a simple language. The logic capacity of quaternary code is exponentially more expressive than simple binary. Gariev calls it “quasi-intelligent”. Add sound and light to the coding structure, and it approaches such an advanced logic capacity that I’m not convinced humans are intelligent enough to understand it completely. The burden of developing this type of super advanced programming logic is a much taller order than simple binary. Add to that the communication protocols necessary for any of it to actually function, and the dumb cosmos is challenged beyond any probability math to achieve such a feat. There is literally not enough time since the big bang, nor matter in the entire universe to allow for this to happen. Not by a long shot.

@Rarebear “I just see no evidence of such so to me it’s one hypothesis among many.”

The fact that a code exists IS the evidence. The code is the evidence. You may not see evidence of a old white bearded man in the clouds. But the code itself is hard material evidence of an original sentient author.

@SavoirFaire “Premise 2 begs the question. DNA is the counterexample you’re looking for.”

DNA is not the counterexample. DNA is not a process. It is a molecule. Marshal is asking for a demonstrable mechanism or process that can account for the information represented BY the DNA molecule. That prohibits DNA being used to prove itself. We want the mechanism responsible for encoding it. Thus far, the only “proven” mechanism (as @ragingloli requests) is sentient authorship.

I’ve been trying to shoot a hole through Marshals thesis for nearly a decade now. I’ve researched every claim and counterclaim avidly. Not only can I not find any problems with his theory, but in researching it, I’ve found a tremendous amount of scientific support that Marshal never discusses, and probably doesn’t even know about.

In my research, there has been one issue that I must separate myself from Marshal. His first premise I’ve found to not be entirely accurate.

“1.) ) DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern; it is a code, a language, and an information storage mechanism.

For various reasons, I’ve come to understand that information is not stored. Not just in DNA, but in anything, like a computer or a manuscript. Marshal even alludes to this with his example of a CD with 150mb weighing no more than a CD with 700mb.

To make this long post a bit shorter, I’ll just say for now, that information cannot be stored by any means known to humanity. Yes I know this flies in the face of all we know, but I cannot deny it. Information is not stored, but it is represented. The physical medium does not store info like water in a bucket. The physical medium can only represent info. That’s why the words on your screen and the words on mine and everyone else’s represent the exact same single set of info. There are twenty people following this thread. We are all accessing the same information represented by the words on this page. We are not all in possession of twenty different pieces of info. We are accessing the same.

This is important because it proves the existence of an immaterial realm beyond the physical dimensions. In-form-ation (the process of manifesting thought in-to-physical-form) is the bridge between the immaterial realm of thought and the material realm of representation.

@crisw “it’s really not a religious topic at all.”

This thread is not about religion. The OP consistently speaks of “a God”. Not my God, or the Christian God. Discussion of origins, from abiogenesis or “a God” seem appropriate to the OP.

@Qingu “RERRL…not sure that Osama bin Laden is dead. But he has no problem believing that a Mesopotamian deity named Yahweh exists.”

That’s a real cheap shot @Qingu. I can’t believe you got so much lurve for it. Should be expected though.

I asked to see evidence for bin Laden death. You accuse me of not going with the flow and believing like all the other good little boys and girls. And then use that statement to set up a strawman who blindly accepts Yahweh with no evidence. Nicely done. You are a clever debater.

Let me remind you earlier when I said in this post:
“Keep in mind that I’m not claiming that the Christian God is the author of DNA.”

We haven’t discussed my theosophy beyond that. Please don’t comment on it further.

Rarebear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Woo HOOO!!! You’re really back! (Grinning now.)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@WasCy “So what?”

Would you say the same if we discovered extraterrestrial life?

WasCy's avatar


I go back to my question: So what? Assume there was a god. Assume there still is one, and It is still active. As you present in your essay on DNA, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever approach any level of ‘understanding’ of That. So what do we do? Should we be six or seven billion blind people, all trying to describe the elephant by the little parts that we can feel, or hear, or smell, or taste? Or imagine? Do we continue to waste our time defending “the one, true religion”, each against the other?

We don’t know how much time we’ve got left on the planet or in the cosmos. It seems a better use of the time to keep trying to figure out what we can see and taste and touch and smell and hear (and imagine) and be as objective and factual as possible, rather than try to develop new “concepts” and religions for this god we won’t know anyway.

God or no god, I’m with science.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Just as with any phenomenon that science observes, to learn more, we observe closer, with more powerful telescopes and microscopes, higher math, strict linguistics, in all curiosity, in pursuit of truth. Our drive to know is propelled by our desire for truth. We believe the truth will set us free.

Funny thing about my personal theosophy… is that… I believe… God IS Truth.

I believe we should accept that Truth, and attempt to understand it, the very best we can, no matter what it turns out to be… in Truth.

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies there is nothing about lacking confirmation bias which makes someone less interested in looking for answers. Nor does holding confirmation bias make the holder search for answers. Quite the opposite. One who has a strong confirmation bias generally spends their time searching only for bits of information that point to their being right. If someone believes a fallacy, the stronger their confirmation bias, the less likely any information they find will shake their belief in the truth of the fallacy. The stronger the confirmation bias, the stronger the filtering of incoming data. Data that supports the belief is elevated to ironclad proof without any meaningful analysis, and data that challenges the belief is discredited by whatever means are necessary.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Agreed GA.

Are you suggesting I’m suffering from “confirmation bias”?

Shall I consider the words of abiogenesis proponents as negentropy (unintentional lies)?

I must say, that I was very interested in abiogenesis. It sounded so plausible. I was fascinated by spontaneous order. It was so believable. Digging deeper, I found them to be false gods. I never set out to disprove a false god. And if I attempted to prove a genuine God, then I have failed. For all I have discovered, in truth, is evidence for an original author, and evidence for an immaterial realm beyond our physical realm. An original author is not necessarily the same thing as a God, or any religious deity. An immaterial realm is not necessarily the same thing as a Heaven, or any religious afterlife. I don’t know what they are. But I cannot deny them.

And if they are as I have found them to be, mysterious and removed, then science could go a long way in exploring them further. Admitting this, is a rejection of the supernatural. I’ve said before, I don’t believe in the supernatural. If there is a God, or an original author, or an immaterial realm, then it is perfectly natural for them to exist.

What I find supernatural is the idea that the cosmos can ultimately write a sentence and carry on a conversation with itself here on fluther. That in my book would take a miracle.

iamthemob's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – there are just several points in the designer argument your discussing that I can’t quite get around. Just a couple:

(1) In order to calculate the likelihood of random formations or combinations of molecules to form DNA in the end….we have to assume the conditions present in a prebiotic earth. Without an accurate picture of those conditions, any calculations regarding what is likely to happen in such conditions are faulty.

(2) There’s a double standard at work in several places, it seems. Most profoundly is that in defense of criticism over “why all the junk DNA” you state that we have shown that certain sequences previously considered “junk” turned out to serve a function, and that the better we understand DNA the more this may be the case. However, the more we understand or learn about the possible conditions on a pre-biotic earth, the more and more plausible – or at least possible – descriptions of how abiogenesis might work, and therefore we might show that life emerged spontaneously in the end. Although more clearly the case with junk DNA, the underlying nature of the criticism is that it’s not reasonable to draw conclusions about whether one thing or another is evidence for or against something until we have a better and more complete picture of all the factors involved. Where it is not okay to do so with junk DNA, where we have a profound understanding of it in many ways, and current living examples of it, it certainly can’t be okay where we know next to nothing about the surrounding conditions, how much of x there was in y for how long….etc.

(3) I’m uncertain about your argument about an intangible realm of information. We’re getting more into philosophy than anything there. I’ll say that it seems more like you’re talking about knowledge than information there. I also have to say that the CD example falls flat – the similar weights are a function of manufacturing really. A CD is essentially a page. If it holds 1000mb of information, sure…it weighs the same if it has 150mb or 700mb. But if you want to store 1001mb of information as opposed to 150mb, it’s going to weigh twice as much (you’ll need two CDs).

ETpro's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Acusing? Certainly not. Needling? Always.

As to abiogenesis, it is fascinating how closely the math regulating the non-linear equations governing a dynamical system when it is far from equilibrium and affected by one or more strange attractors. We see the same sore ot fractal “diversity” with features almost the ames but subtly different and that structure reflected in an infinite regreasion from the macro to the micro and quantum levels of scale.

AdamF's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I provided what I see as a wonderful summary of the leaps and strides being made in biochemistry as scientists explain more and more of the pieces of the abiogenesis puzzle.

Yet without skipping a beat, you continue to raise the issue of DNA, as if that was a dealbreaker, rather than a strawman. Without any justification, you dismiss the relevant biochemistry as a pseudoscience. You seem unable and unwilling to accept that your “all codes need authors” argument assumes as a premise that which needs to be demonstrated. You dismiss as irrational, scientific explanations which provide hard evidence that many of the pathways involved are entirely possible, while embracing an explanation which has no evidence and breaks every natural law known. And, If this is pointed out, you circle back and wheel out the same tautological, god of the gaps, non seuiturs.

All I hear is textbook motivated reasoning.

In the meantime, I’m loving every minute of new discoveries in this field of research.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@iamthemob “In order to calculate… we have to assume the conditions… any calculations…in such conditions are faulty.”

Is that not all the more reason to consider genuine testable, falsifiable, repeatable, demonstrable mechanisms for code authorship?

The calculations go far beyond the conditions of pre-biotic earth.
“Even if the observable universe were filled with monkeys the size of atoms typing from now until the heat death of the universe, their total probability to produce a single instance of Hamlet would still be many orders of magnitude less than one in 10183,800. As Kittel and Kroemer put it, “The probability of Hamlet is therefore zero in any operational sense of an event…”, and the statement that the monkeys must eventually succeed “gives a misleading conclusion about very, very large numbers. This is from their textbook on thermodynamics, the field whose statistical foundations motivated the first known expositions of typing monkeys.[2]

There’s just not enough time or matter in the universe to allow for any type of non intelligent authorship. And that’s just for the transmitter. The odds get much worse when we consider that a receiver mechanism and full communication protocols must arise simultaneously. Remember, natural selection would never allow a random sentence to exist for too long without a receiver mechanism in place to carry out the instructions.

@iamthemob “There’s a double standard… defense the junk DNA”... (vs)... conditions on a pre-biotic earth…”

Both sciences have new discoveries. Research on junk DNA has been very fruitful, providing science with more incentive for further study. Research on abiogenesis consistently presents greater problems with the theory. I don’t suggest stopping either one, and abiogenesis provides knowledge gained in chemistry and so called self organizing systems. It has indeed been fruitful on those fronts. But more and more abiogenesis proponents are revealing their “confirmation bias” towards proving an authorless code scenario, simultaneously acknowledging the issues that prevent it from being possible.

” code exists to send information from protein sequences to sequences in mRNA or DNA. Therefore, it is impossible that the origin of life was “proteins first”... Scientists cannot get around it by clever chemistry.”

“The self-organization of the reductive citric acid cycle without the help of “informational” catalysts would be a near miracle”.
Leslie Orgel (Abiogenesis proponent) emphasis mine

And Martin Line warns that even with “a membraine enclosed ribozyme capable of plymerising itself and its counterpart copy…”
“The pathway proposed is not intended to represent reality”
and requires “a formidable conceptual leap” and
“If support for some of these steps can be shown, final resort to an intelligent creator for the origin of life (Gibson, 1993) may yet be premature”
Martin Line, A Hypothetical Pathway from the RNA to the DNA World
emphasis mine

@iamthemob “I’m uncertain about your argument about an intangible realm of information… more into philosophy…”

Ultimately, I think what we’re talking about is an ontological subject.

@iamthemob “if you want to store 1001mb of information as opposed to 150mb, it’s going to weigh twice as much (you’ll need two CDs).”

Only the medium weighs twice as much. The information doesn’t affect the weight at all. I can use two CD’s, or one mini DVD. Now it weighs less than ever. I can transmit it through an email or a forum thread. Now it weighs nothing at all. How much does the internet weigh?

Hey @Rarebear! You around? Can you share with @iamthemob the premise behind Bono’s thoughts and the infinite mediums he can express his weightless thoughts upon? I know you hate SBS… so how about “Mysterious Ways”? Remember how destroying one, two, ten thousand of those mediums doesn’t affect Bono’s original thought whatsoever?

Most impressively, when Bono dies, or when I die, our thoughts are still accessible through whatever mediums are left to represent them. Even if only one medium is left, this thread, my thoughts will be accessible to generations way beyond my physical life. Destroying all the mediums does not affect the original thought. It only affects our physical ability to access those thoughts.

Where are those thoughts after I die? If you can access this thread, and tap into my thoughts after I’m dead, or even just out for some tasty pie, then my thoughts must exist beyond the physical representation of them.

@AdamF “You dismiss as irrational, scientific explanations which provide hard evidence that many of the pathways involved are entirely possible, while embracing an explanation which has no evidence and breaks every natural law known.”

I’m still reviewing your links @AdamF. There’s a lot to hunt through to find the “hard evidence” that you speak of. Thus far all I’ve found is a challenge against the chiralty argument. You’ll need to give me a bit more time to browse through the forest of information you laid on me. Unless of course you’d like to direct me to some specific papers with specific “hard evidence” which refutes my position. That’d be nice so I wouldn’t have to rifle through so much.

In the meantime, what says you about the specific papers from respected and renowned abiogenesis proponents who admit in their own words that a functioning example of abiogenesis would be a near miracle and should not be based upon “if pigs could fly” scenarios?

Here’s a different Orgel paper that supports the first one linked way above.
”...the self-organization of the reductive citric acid cycle without the help of informational catalysts would be a near miracle”
Then he goes on to debating Morowitz on his contradictory data.

Here’s a link to the Martin Line paper above quoted to @iamthemob. You can download the PDF here
In his own words, ”“The pathway proposed is not intended to represent reality”.

augustlan's avatar

To get this conversation back on track…
I see no reason to believe in a god. I’m not certain there isn’t one, but if such a being exists I’m pretty darn sure it’s nothing like the god of the bible. Now, what do I believe? That the world we live in is a wondrous place. That we should be kind to and care about one another. That bacon is delicious.

iamthemob's avatar


I’m unclear how the first paragraphs address or respond to my first concern. This may be because I need to state it more clearly.

In order to calculate the likelihood of the spontaneous generation of life, we would have to know as much about the existing conditions at the time of its formation. We’d also have to know what it was that we believed was actually formed.

As we know so little, perhaps really nothing at all, about the conditions, or what we’re trying to describe, making any real calculation of likelihood by either side seems ridiculous. It seems as practical as my asking you the likelihood that I could reproduce a typed, transcribed copy of Hamlet that I had produced myself by the end of tomorrow. Any prediction you’d make would be greatly affected by whether (1) you knew I’d have access to the internet tomorrow; (2) I had access to a print copy of Hamlet; (3) my average typing speed; (4) how much free time I had; (5) whether I’m the kind of person who would just blow off doing it; etc. etc.

So the monkey analogy seems problematic. All of the parameters and conditions are known. Could we reasonably make a calculation if we didn’t know what Hamlet was, or that English was a language, or that the observable universe was actually bigger than the island of Manhattan?

The problematic, and liberating, thing about knowing so little is that you can try almost any crazy idea out. But the diligent attempts to show the spontaneous generation of life is not in any sense showing one’s confirmation bias – it is also the only actual method to prove that a designer is the only remaining explanation. Unless every avenue possible for random generation is explored it’s improper to conclude that design is the answer. Because design is the simplest answer that requires the least rigor to arrive at.

When a theory for abiogenesis turns out to be flawed or false, it does not, further, increase the likelihood that design is the right answer. We’d have to know the pool of potential explanations – and we have no idea of its size at this point.

The problem remains, though, that there’s no reason to draw a conclusion in favor of a creator, because the only support for that conclusion is our lack of knowledge of what happened, and the fact that we can’t explain how it happened otherwise.

Regarding the information argument – I just don’t see the point of it. You’re right that the information on the CDs doesn’t weigh more – but the information needs to be stored on more CDs the more there is. The more information in an email, the more energy is expended in its drafting. The more resources required on various servers to get it all where it needs to be. The fact that information may not be physically tangible doesn’t mean that it’s immaterial. The creation and transmission, as well as maintenance, of information uses resources, be they matter or energy.

PS – I am still not seeing how any of this is really off-track. The arguments for a code designer seem nearly identical to those for God generally – and don’t seem like arguments or evidence for such entities’ existences, but rather show how the other side has failed to clearly disprove their existences. I actually think, @augustlan, that you’d be hard pressed to find too much in the above discussion that doesn’t clearly parallel a god/no god discussion.

augustlan's avatar

@iamthemob It’s in Social, anyway. I’m just late to the discussion and my answer wasn’t in keeping with all of the recent ones. No worries!

chocolatechip's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies DNA is not the counterexample. DNA is not a process. It is a molecule. Marshal is asking for a demonstrable mechanism or process that can account for the information represented BY the DNA molecule.

Semantics. You know what SavoirFaire meant.

That prohibits DNA being used to prove itself. We want the mechanism responsible for encoding it. Thus far, the only “proven” mechanism (as @ragingloli requests) is sentient authorship.

The premise begs the question because it already assumes that whatever mechanism responsible for coding DNA could not have occurred naturally. To quote, ”there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.” The premise cannot state that “there is no process” until the original argument itself is proven.

iamthemob's avatar

@augustlan – I wasn’t worried. I know what’s where. I was just giving you the business, because I am that kind of sassy.

augustlan's avatar

<Cracks whip>

iamthemob's avatar

@augustlan – I am unimpressed by your whip-cracking. I have been unimpressed since you abandoned your leather-themed avatar. For some reason, I find calligraphy less threatening. ;-)

SavoirFaire's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Premise 2 has two parts: “all codes are created by a conscious mind” and “there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.” DNA is a counterexample to the first part. Your response, then, is a non sequitur.

The obvious retort, of course, is for you to bring up the second part; but in that case, evolution is the counterexample. DNA is a code that was not created by a conscious mind, and evolution is the process by which it does so.

You might think that this does not answer anything because DNA and evolution are precisely what is at issue—but that is the point I am making. Remember: my real objection is that premise 2 begs the question. I does so because it presupposes that DNA and evolution are not counterexamples in order to prove that DNA and evolution are not counterexamples. The response that they are counterexamples begs the question in the opposite direction, but I am not denying that. I am using that fact to point out where the logical flaw in the argument is. Premise 2 and it’s denial both beg the question when used against someone who doesn’t already accept the conclusion, thus the argument fails.

Simple logic.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Sorry @SavoirFaire, I find your logic faulty. To claim “DNA is a couterexample”, the burden is on you to demonstrate that it is an exception to the rule. Anonymous authorship has never been an acceptable exception to the rule when determining a code exists with forensic linguistics, cryptography, decipherment, or any other information science.

Please don’t claim DNA is a counterexample again until you can demonstrate that, A.) DNA is not an information bearing code at all, but something else entirely, or B.) provide a demonstrable alternative authoring mechanism that accounts for the information represented by DNA, or any other code for that matter.

In light of the formal definition of code, as set forth by Purlwitz, Burks and Waterman, (probability space A mapped to probability space B), with no claims of authorship mechanics, we find that codes are not authors in an of themselves. Thus, we cannot possibly accept that DNA is a counterexample on that basis. Nor can we claim it as counterexample based upon its authoring mechanism being anonymous.

Thus, your claim of non sequitur falls because there is no disconnection between premise and conclusion. Premise 2 doesn’t really have two parts. It’s the same premise stated in two different ways. Thus, I have no need for “the obvious retort”. If you insist upon presenting it, please demonstrate how evolution can operate without first having a code to operate upon. Don’t put the cart before the horse.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@chocolatechip “The premise begs the question because it already assumes that whatever mechanism responsible for coding DNA could not have occurred naturally.”

Why shouldn’t it?

@chocolatechip “The premise cannot state that “there is no process” until the original argument itself is proven.”

I do not deny the possibility of a black swan (natural author mechanism). But I have no reason to believe in one until it is present. Just how long do you suggest that we wait for a black swan to appear before accepting the original argument is proven? We have countless precedent running 30,000,000 years or more (though that proves nothing). These logic traps are bs because you could use them to disprove any theory, always claiming that something else could be responsible, we just haven’t found it yet. That’s no more logical than just claiming God did it.

AdamF's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies If “respected and reknown proponents of abiogenesis” agreed with your interpretation of their quotes…... they wouldn’t be proponents of abiogenesis.

That should be causing some cognitive dissonance, right about now.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@iamthemob “As we know so little, perhaps really nothing at all, about the conditions, or what we’re trying to describe, making any real calculation of likelihood by either side seems ridiculous.”

Then your doubt should be directed at the abiogenesis proponents, and not at the information sciences.

I agree with you that any calculation is dependent upon the quality of input. Since we don’t know the exact pre-biotic conditions, but we do know the dimensions of the universe, I suggest that thermodynamics provides a much more stable set of input than speculations of “what if” scenarios demonstrated with synthetic techniques.

Science, which we all seem most concerned with, moves forward with knowledge known. It is held back by dogmatic speculation. We come to this discussion with much knowledge known about code authorship mechanisms and thermodynamics. I suggest we use this knowledge as catalyst for future research.

@iamthemob “The problem remains, though, that there’s no reason to draw a conclusion in favor of a creator, because the only support for that conclusion is our lack of knowledge of what happened, and the fact that we can’t explain how it happened otherwise.”

That’s just not the case at all. Abiogenesis may be suffering from a lack of knowledge about certain conditions, but the Info Sciences are not concerned with pre-biotic conditions whatsoever. Thermodynamics is medium independent. The calculations are based upon known quantities and are not dependent upon a specific molecules used to transmit and receive information. It accounts for radio waves, light, weight, color, sound… any medium that could be used to express codified information. We could have just as easily been beings of electromagnetism, or dark matter, if those mediums were used to express the genome.

@iamthemob “You’re right that the information on the CDs doesn’t weigh more – but the information needs to be stored on more CDs the more there is. The more information in an email, the more energy is expended in its drafting.”

The same info could be represented and communicated with smoke signals, drum beats or color codes as well. The info is independent from the medium which expresses it.

There are five known manuscripts for the Gettysburg address. Each one has small differences, but they all represent the same info source. Some are longer and some shorter. 256 words is the generally accepted version.

Language, and the way we use it as medium to express a message is the only roadblock to efficient communication of mindful meaning. For instance, German has approximately 30% redundancy as opposed to 50% redundancy in English. You can generally say something much shorter and faster with German than with English. But if our cellphones get bad signal 40% of the time, our conversation would be lost with German, whereas with English, we could still communicate with one another.

So the fact that you may need two CD’s to communicate info is only because of the efficiency of the binary language chosen to transmit and receive it. The same disk would be much more efficient with ternary or quaternary code.

’‘a 16-bit microcomputer with on-board memory has access to no more than 216 bits of directly accessible memory (about 65k bits), while that same microcomputer with memory based on ternary logic would have direct access to 316 or 43 Mbits of memory.’’

The rest of the article clearly explains the advantages of ternary and quaternary logic over and beyond binary logic. The higher power logic provides many more expressive qualities that are unavailable with simple binary.

As this comment illustrates,
“Binary logic is like driving through Manhattan and only to be able to drive straight and make right turns. Ternary logic is being able to drive straight and turn left and right. Not only can you get somewhere potentially faster, in a one-way grid, you now can reach places you couldn’t reach before.
We will have to work with 729 commutative functions in ternary logic as opposed to 8 in binary logic.”

Or this perspective,
“Asynchronous vs Synchronous is analogous to: 3-dimensional design vs 2-D ones. Digital vs Analog
Synchronous methodologies are simply a way to break down real world asynchronous problems into smaller and easily digestible bits, to be given out to the many less talented engineers to solve, who required tools to assist them. Or rather for the general engineering community to understand and use easily.
Asynchronous design probably require a very different mindset which few people can master.”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How should I interpret their quotes @AdamF?

Rarebear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “Hey @Rarebear! You around? Can you share with @iamthemob the premise behind Bono’s thoughts and the infinite mediums he can express his weightless thoughts upon? I know you hate SBS… so how about “Mysterious Ways”? Remember how destroying one, two, ten thousand of those mediums doesn’t affect Bono’s original thought whatsoever?”

I’m still following this thread, but I don’t quite understand this.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Remember you said you hated Bono and Sunday Bloody Sunday? I thought I’d change the tune to Mysterious Ways for your consideration.

Rarebear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies LOL! Oh yes. I still don’t like the song, but I’ve softened on Bono.

iamthemob's avatar


The problem with discussing thermodynamics here is that evolution as a theory is, really, medium independent as much as thermodynamics. We talk about the evolution of ideas, the evolution of stars and galaxies, etc.

And thermodynamic interactions are, in fact, highly context-dependent. Matter behaves differently depending on how much if it there is and how much space it is contained in. The smaller the space, the effect seems much the same as cooling. Likewise, the more matter in a given space, the same result. Gradually and continuously decrease the space or increase the matter and you can actually change the matter’s state – from gas to liquid, e.g.

It makes no sense, therefore, that turning to thermodynamics somehow removes concerns regarding the conditions of a pre-biotic earth.

I think you also over-state the case when you claim that we have a greater understanding of the laws of thermodynamics as opposed to our knowledge of biological interactions. In terms of what we thought or expected from what we understood to be principles of thermodynamics, the universe keeps surprising us by doing the opposite. How, for instance, can galaxies be accelerating away from each other? We guess – an educated guess, based on what the math might indicate, but it’s still in essence a guess. (initial discussions regarding dark matter seemed little different from scientists telling the world “it’s magic!”).

So, how is it that thermodynamics clearly provides a more stable set of rules for our analysis? Further, what is the objective benefit of that?

Also, by stating that there is a stable set of rules for thermodynamics, we also state the the universe generally follows certain physical laws. However, just as we do not know of any code that exists without an author, no law or rules are devised outside of an intelligence either. So if we assume authorship on one level, where do we stop? Why should anything be attributed to chance?

And if it is the case that everything is part of the plan, we’ve been able to figure out so much by disregarding that as a factor – so what use is it as a theory? Assuming an intelligence caused something will inevitably mean the end of investigation into the matter.

It’s interesting that you say that my criticism should be directed at those supporting abiogenesis. More assumptions ;-), as I do. Personally, I don’t discount the possibility for intelligence at work. But as mentioned earlier, the only way to actually prove intelligence is either (1) for it to reveal itself, or (2) we demonstrate the impossibility of any random genesis. When it comes to scientific explanation and exploration, the concept of “design” never, as far as I’ve seen, led to investigation that would not have been done without the concept. Therefore, I end up investing more interest in abiogenesis as a theory because investing in a design or intelligence explanation requires I draw a conclusion.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies {sigh} I am afraid you have again missed the point. My complaint is that premise 2 begs the question. It states that all codes are created by a conscious mind, but whether or not DNA—which premise 1 assumes is a code—was created by a conscious mind is precisely what is at issue. I don’t think it was, so why should I accept premise 2? There’s no reason for me to accept it based on the argument given.

But the specific problem is that premise 2 assumes what it needs to prove. Granting premise 1 for the sake of argument, the statement ”all codes are created by conscious minds” is a universally quantified proposition. Therefore, DNA falls under the quantification. Therefore, premise 2 assumes that DNA was created by a conscious mind—and that’s the conclusion that the argument is supposed to prove. Therefore, premise 2 begs the question.

Again, this is basic logic. In fact, your response to @chocolatechip basically concedes my point when you shift away from a deductive argument to an inductive one. As such, I must conclude that you actually know I am correct regardless of whether or not you are willing to publicly admit it.

I’d like to also note that I am only granting premise 1 for the sake of argument. I worry that there is equivocation going on here between “code” or “language” used in a loose sense and used in a strict/formal sense. DNA is certainly not a language in any formal sense with which I am familiar, even if we might refer to it as such loosely. Similarly, it may be a code under some definitions, but not others. As the petitio principii fallacy is much more obvious, however, I am not particularly interested in taking this tack against the argument.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@iamthemob “We talk about the evolution of ideas, the evolution of stars and galaxies, etc.”

Well yes, we talk about it that way, typically, but earlier I thought we agreed to distinguish between the evolution of energy/matter as equal to change, vs the evolution manifest by altering an information mechanism. In my book, change is not equal to evolution, at least not in the same sense as code manipulation is.

The evolution of “ideas” or the genome is not the same concept as the so called evolution of “stars and galaxies” or mudslides, or erosion, or cloud formations, or anything that does not represent a predetermined outcome. Ideas and Genome require code manipulation to evolve. The others don’t.

So it is incorrect to claim “stars and galaxies” under the heading of “medium”. They are not mediums which represent something other than themselves. But code does, and always represents something other than itself. The code on this page does not represent the code on this page. It represents our thoughts about the subject we’re discussing. Stars and galaxies only represent themselves, and nothing beyond themselves.

@iamthemob “thermodynamic interactions are, in fact, highly context-dependent. Matter behaves differently depending on how much if it there is”

Odd to speak of matter having a behavior. I believe our own language limits us from discussing the concept properly. We must be careful not to personify materialistic concepts with behaviors. We will never be completely clear on the subject until a new vernacular arises to isolate and properly describe the differences between properties of materialism and concepts of mind and thought. Science should have no issues with my suggestion, as it consistently expands the available lexicon to describe unique phenomenon.

Regardless, to address your statement, energy/matter, despite how many variables it may be found to form, can always be used to represent information. As long as a mind can observe it, the energy/matter can be manipulated to represent something other that what it actually is. Currently, you and I are manipulating electricity and photons, arranging them differently than their natural state, so that we may communicate the thoughts of our minds with one another.

@iamthemob “It makes no sense, therefore, that turning to thermodynamics somehow removes concerns regarding the conditions of a pre-biotic earth.”

What difference would it make what the conditions were? If there is mind and energy/matter, then a code may be authored regardless of the conditions. If there is only energy/matter, no alternative mechanism has ever been demonstrated to allow code formation.

@iamthemob “I think you also over-state the case when you claim that we have a greater understanding of the laws of thermodynamics as opposed to our knowledge of biological interactions.”

Abiogenesis studies pre-biotic conditions upon abiotic molecules to create biotic compounds. And though “biological interactions” may result from that, those building blocks alone do not account for any meaningful structure or communication system or protocol. “Knowledge of biological interactions” does not account for the information catalyst any more than knowledge of the universe dimensions does. The difference is that we DO know the dimensions of the universe whereas we can only suppose the initial conditions of pre-biotic earth. I suggest the data of the vast dimensions of the universe envelope the data for pre-biotic earth. So I’ll be happy to support any initial conditions you wish. But I’ll also want to know how the lesser data sample of abiogenesis wrote and interpreted a sentence, and then engaged an action to fulfill the instructive meaning of that sentence, when greater data sample of thermodynamics states it is impossible for the entire universe.

As Yockey warns us earlier, this is not a chemistry problem. This is an information authoring and communication problem.

@iamthemob “So, how is it that thermodynamics clearly provides a more stable set of rules for our analysis?”

Because the data sample from thermodynamics includes the entire known universe, thus enveloping the data sample from abiogenesis.

@iamthemob “Further, what is the objective benefit of that?”

A more accurate equation to base future research upon.

@iamthemob “by stating that there is a stable set of rules for thermodynamics, we also state the the universe generally follows certain physical laws.”

In layman terms, yes, unfortunately we do.

@iamthemob “However, just as we do not know of any code that exists without an author, no law or rules are devised outside of an intelligence either.”

Agreed. I’ve been making that point for years. The laws of the universe were written by humans to describe observable phenomenon. They were not bestowed to us by the cosmos. Most Materialists don’t see the irony in claiming otherwise. The universe does not speak to humans.

@iamthemob “So if we assume authorship on one level, where do we stop? Why should anything be attributed to chance?”

Because we shouldn’t “assume authorship” on anything that isn’t a code. But if it doesn’t have a code, chaos is king. Until a mind harnesses and rearranges that chaos to form a meaningful sentence.

@iamthemob “And if it is the case that everything is part of the plan, we’ve been able to figure out so much by disregarding that as a factor – so what use is it as a theory?”

Without a code, I can’t personally claim “that everything is part of the plan”. Those who do must be capable of demonstrating the code by which they read the plan from, or demonstrate the logic that allows them to promote such a concept.

I can do that for my personal theory, which I haven’t shared here. But the logic trail involves interdisciplinary relationships that I just don’t have the what-for-all to explain at this point in our discussion. Without first understanding (not accepting) but just understanding the concepts we are currently discussing, further dissertation would be unheard, misinterpreted, waved away as nonsense, and altogether rejected by those who had not pursued the same interdisciplinary research as I have. I’m sorry if this sounds arrogant. But you know as well as I do that truth is earned. You have knowledge based upon research that I am very ignorant to. Dare I judge your ideas without first pursuing the same course of knowledge that you have pursued? Call me foolish if I did dare.

@iamthemob “Assuming an intelligence caused something will inevitably mean the end of investigation into the matter.”

Knowing there is an end, and knowing what that end may be are separate issues. We read mystery novels even though we know they will resolve. The joy is in the curious journey getting there.

@iamthemob “the only way to actually prove intelligence is either (1) for it to reveal itself, or (2) we demonstrate the impossibility of any random genesis.”

1 – Anonymous authorship has never been reason to assume natural authorship.
2 – Proving a negative is not allowed for God concepts. Thus it should not be allowed for random genesis. It is fallacious to claim “you can’t prove random genesis or God didn’t do it

@iamthemob “When it comes to scientific explanation and exploration, the concept of “design” never, as far as I’ve seen, led to investigation that would not have been done without the concept.”

Perhaps you’ve heard of Alan Turing. Of his many achievements, one often overlooked is the genius team he lead to break the secret German Enigma code in WWII.. This would never have been possible if he didn’t understand the basic fundamental relationships between codes and sentient authors.

josie's avatar

Am I wrong, or do nearly all the questions about God on this site wind up at this place?

lawkes's avatar


Everything you wrote is not to be trusted since you haven’t justified logic to be a criterion of knowing. Before you respond, make sure you’re able to avoid an infinite regress without resorting to circular reasoning or an assumed axiom. Philosophy 101.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@SavoirFaire “but whether or not DNA—which premise 1 assumes is a code… I am only granting premise 1 for the sake of argument.”

Your argument is with genetics, not me. DNA was not determined to be a code. It was discovered to be a code by Gamov and Yockey.

Read all about it here:
Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life
Hubert Yockey

It’s a lovely tale, especially how Gamov (the brilliant linguist) escaped from Russia in the middle night to America, joining Yockey and team. If you have any further doubts that DNA is not a genuine code which fulfills Purlwitz, Burks and Watermans formal definition, you can contact Hubert Yockey here. He’s an old man who loves talking to pretty young gals. Go shake his tree.

Earlier you touted, “simple logic”. OK, try this one…

All men are mortal = All codes have sentient authors.

Socrates is a man. = DNA is a code.


Socrates is mortal. = DNA is sentient authored.

Logic traps can take anything circular. Topple the DNA premise without toppling the Socrates premise.

@SavoirFaire “DNA is certainly not a language in any formal sense with which I am familiar, even if we might refer to it as such loosely. Similarly, it may be a code under some definitions, but not others.”

“Information, transcription, translation, code, redundancy, synonymous, messenger, editing, and proofreading are all appropriate terms in biology. They take their meaning from information theory (Shannon, 1948) and are not synonyms, metaphors, or analogies.”
Hubert Yockey

Nucleotide = Character
Codon = Letter
Gene = Word
Operon = Sentence
Regulon = Paragraph
Chromosome = Chapter

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes I have taught Philosophy 101, and I can tell you that you are quite mistaken. Many arguments are made on the basis of agreed upon premises, rather than undeniable axioms. This makes them open to foundationalist questions, for sure, but few people reject logic. And of course, others reject foundationalism itself. Regardless, am I to take your response as an admission that you do not accept logic and reason as the proper way to proceed in arguments?

It is worth noting, however, that many things that can be said in favor of logic. First, consider the following dialogue between a Skeptic and the Stoic Epictetus:

Skeptic: Convince me that logic is necessary.
Epictetus: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?
Skeptic: Yes.
Epictetus: Then must I use a demonstrative form of argument?
Skeptic: Yes.
Epictetus: Then how will you know whether I argue fallaciously?
Skeptic: {silence}
Epictetus: Don’t you see how even you yourself acknowledge that logic is necessary, since without its assistance you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not?

As the truly epic Epictetus notes, accepting logic is the price of admission when entering the arena of reasoned argument. If you wish to depart said arena, you are free to stop responding. But if you wish to continue, you will have to accept these terms.

Aristotle famously thought that very little, if anything, could be said in favor of the fundamental axioms of logic. This was not because he thought they were in question, however, but because he thought they were more certain than anything else that could be brought to mind. Not accepting something like the law of non-contradiction, according to Aristotle, is simply proof of mental incompetence.

Despite this, Ibn Sina did give us this wonderful quip: “Those who deny [the law of non-contradiction] should be flogged or burned until they admit that it is not the same thing to be burned and not burned, or whipped and not whipped.”

Feel free to get someone to give you a personal demonstration if you’d like.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You have responded only to a side-comment that I explicitly said I wasn’t interested in. Moreover, you have misinterpreted it: all I said was that I worry there is equivocation going on, not that DNA is not an actual code.

Do you have anything to say to the actual substance of my response? The closest you get is your analogy to the standard example of a categorical syllogism. The example cannot really prove any point, however, as question begging arguments are always valid. Indeed, they can even be sound. Yet they are still fallacious for all that, and so cannot be legitimately used in a debate.

lawkes's avatar

You’ve responded exactly the way I said you would, with an assumed axiom.

Why should I trust your assumptions? A logical leap of faith is no different then a religious one. In that case, I will assume God exists then.

lawkes's avatar

The appearance of beating someone with a wrench is evident, just as the appearance of not beating someone with a wrench, but I infer no “law of noncontradiction” in the so called logic from the reality of appearances. This inference is not evident. You understand the difference?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes It is not an assumed axiom. I gave you reasons to believe it, and a method for confirming it. Even if it were an assumed axiom, however, it would be far more plausible of one than yours. A religious leap of faith is different from a logical one, if only because the latter requires far less in the way of ontology and explaining away contradictory evidence.

But as you have not answered my previous question, I suspect you are not actually interested in reasoned argument. C’est la vie.

lawkes's avatar


You have not answered my question, so I will not be answering yours.

If it is an assumed axiom, then it cannot be more plausible. It is assumed.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes “Plausible” means “seeming reasonable or probable.” That something is assumed doesn’t make it implausible, and different assumptions can have different levels of plausibility. If I were to simply assume that you have devil horns on your head, that would be less plausible than if I were to assume you had at least three fingers.

Regardless, I gave you ways of reducing the amount that needs to be assumed. I’m sorry that doesn’t fit with your canned responses, but you’re going to have to engage the actual arguments presented or move on.

lawkes's avatar

What makes logic more reasonable or probable if you’re assuming it out of thin air?

Again, I specifically asked you to respond to me only if you’re able to justify knowledge by avoiding infinite regress without resorting to assumed axioms, or circular reasoning, but you did just that.

If you insist on attempting to refute @RealEyesRealizeRealLies, then you better start using justifications rather then assumptions, otherwise your arguments present no value.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes Please read: I am not assuming it out of thin air. I have reasons for affirming it, and no counterexamples. Furthermore, logic and reason are rock bottom necessities for having any sort of debate at all. Even if they are assumptions, they are necessary assumptions. God is not.

So here’s my question again: do you reject logic and/or reason? I doubt it, and I doubt that @RealEyesRealizeRealLies does either. And even if both of you do, it remains a fact that the argument given—if it is really an argument—must assume some usefulness for logic. So either we accept logic and the argument is fallacious, or we reject logic and it is not really an argument at all. In either case, we reject the argument. And since the argument is my target, this is a case of “heads I win, tails you lose.”

lawkes's avatar


I’ve given you my counter example. I’m unable to know if you’re being fallacious as I have no justified criterion of knowing to rely on. I make no claims, you do. Now you’re claiming assumptions are necessary. An assumption within an assumption?

I’ve also countered your “self-evident” example, but you didn’t respond. The appearance of beating someone with a wrench is evident, just as the appearance of not beating someone with a wrench, but I infer no “law of noncontradiction” in the so called logic from the reality of appearances. This inference is not evident. You understand the difference?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes If you have no justified criterion of knowing, then you have no justified criterion of knowing whether or not you’ve actually countered anything I’ve said. You also have no way of supporting the argument that I am targeting; so again it’s “heads I win, tails you lose.”

Moreover, your putative counterexample doesn’t work since Ibn Sina is not asking you to infer anything. Set yourself on fire: you will know that it is not the same as not being on fire—no inference needed. That or you will burn to death. Either way, problem solved.

lawkes's avatar


Exactly, which is why I make no claims, but you still do. You use these assumptions to try and “refute” someone else’s argument, sounds pretty nonsensical to me. Looks like you didn’t understand the counterexample at all, never mind.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes You are here on this thread making claims. If you really wanted to make no claims, you would remain silent. You want to be a Pyrrhonian, and in that endeavor you are a hypocrite. I am instead a radical fallibilist—I accept that I could be wrong about anything, including logic, but I am willing to make claims based on what evidence I have while keeping in mind that they are all defeasible.

As for using assumptions to refute someone else’s argument, @RealEyesRealizeRealLies and I are both operating in the arena of reasoned discourse. Treat it as a game if you must, but it remains the case that he and I share this assumption and so can continue to use it within the confines of the game.

As for your putative counterexample, the way you present it makes it look like it rests on what is evident and what is inferred. I responded to that. Just because you don’t like the response, doesn’t mean it is incorrect. If I have misunderstood your intention, however, feel free to explain it further.

lawkes's avatar


I’m asking you for justification, what claim did I make? False accusations.

I’ve explained my example as best as possible, key term reality of appearances. if you don’t understand this, then we’re done.

lawkes's avatar

You speak of reasoned discourse, yet you cannot justify reason, interesting.

If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m using your own method against you as you’re doing to @RealEyesRealizeRealLies

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes I think you’ll find that this post is full of claims. And if you wish to abandon your putative counterexample, that’s your own choice.

And yes, I can tell that you are trying to use my own method against me. This is standard Pyrrhonian fare. What you are failing to recognize—because you are too caught up in a dogma to notice—is that I have, in fact, responded to your challenges.

iamthemob's avatar

@SavoirFaire – perhaps I’m wrong – but it seems that @lawkes believes that you’ve made a claim to “know” something about whether life formed spontaneously or through the intervention of an intelligence. I don’t think you did – I believe that @RealEyesRealizeRealLies was making a claim that he knew that there was an intelligence behind DNA and that it did not form randomly – and you were pointing out what you saw as flaws in his claims to that knowledge.

Is that right?

SavoirFaire's avatar

@iamthemob That is correct. Presumably, even a Pyrrhonian like @lawkes cannot really object to that without remaining completely silent (in which case he would still not be objecting).

lawkes's avatar


Apathy is a claim? I said I have no reason to believe in something without justification, how is that a claim?

The second part was to show, not claim, hence why I only linked to the topics. I never argued it. It’s more like Psst, look there.

I’m not abandoning my example, you’re simply dismissing it because you don’t understand the disconnectedness between the reality of appearances and self-evident.

You have not responded to my challenges, if anything you have proven that knowledge is unjustified, and we only make subjective assumptions, however the key difference here, is I don’t continue to make things up out of thin air and use them as arguments, but you do which is why I called you out on it.

This is your own method turned against you. If you don’t like it, then perhaps you shouldn’t be dwelling into philosophy.

The burden is on you to justify a criterion in a way that one can verify its legitimacy, otherwise, you will just attract mindless drones, as you can see with the fundamental assumptions of religious claims.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@lawkes There are many assertions in the post I linked. You make claims about arguments, and even mention a certain one as not having been refuted yet. Do you wish to defend any of those claims, or will you renounce them all? It is your choice to renounce them, of course, but you certainly did make them. You also have a number of presuppositions at play in your argument. For instance, you have taken on the standard Pyrrhonian assumption that knowledge can only be justified by some form of foundationalism. Will you defend this claim? Do you even realize that you are committed to it?

And yes, you are abandoning your putative counterexample if you refuse clarify it at all. I have made my response, and you’ve simply brushed it off. Tell me why my response doesn’t work. Explain the putative force of your argument. Because until then, my responses to your challenge—justifications for the use of and belief in logic from Epictetus and Ibn Sina—seem quite adequate.

Finally, @iamthemob points out that my participation in this thread has been focused on one thing: an argument was presented, and I questioned it. Surely, you cannot object to questioning an argument… right?

AdamF's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies The correct interpretation is that it is extremely easy (either on purpose or through lack of understanding) to find pseudo support for a claim by hijacking selected sentences or paragraphs from published researchers.

Yes, quotes can be useful when used fairly. But as any evolutionary biologist, or climate scientist can tell you, they are also easy to use purely for quote mining.

In the case you cite, Orgel tells you exactly what he’s talking about, “the citric acid cycle”, which is one of the earliest formed metabolic pathways in cells. In other words, its a selective critique of one pathway missing a vital step, that may be being advocated by someone who is in the “metabolism first” camp, rather than the “replicator first” camp. Not everyone trying to solve a a scientific problem believes the solution is in the same place….but they all (the one’s trying to tackle the problem) think a solution is there. That’s self-evident from their choice of academic pursuit.

Perhaps more importantly, the field of abiogenesis is an advancing productive science. That overrides any quote taken from anyone about any problem, regardless of how (mis)interpreted. It also categorically indicates that there are a large number of professional scientists and labs who are not phased by any of the issues you raise as insurmountable obstacles…including the “propopnents” that you’re quote mining from.

This should be ringing alarm bells with respect to the validity of what you see as insurmountable obstacles. To be honest, the fact that it doesn’t is what perplexes me the most.

But before you go back down the code route (it’s begging the question), please place it off to the side, and any Yockey arguments you have on standby.

The solution to how abiogenesis could have occurred is a problem for biochemistry. So, to understand the potential for a solution, requires you to step outside the arugments you’re most comfortable making, and tackle this issue in a different paradigm.

Do we have evidence that molecules like RNA could arise without sentience. Yes.
Could these molecules copy themselves. Yes.
Could they potentially catalyze such reactions under natural conditions. Yes.
Can cell like structures form naturally. Yes, in the form of spherical fatty acid membranes.
(see linked papers, or not…)

Do we have all the pieces of the puzzle. Not at all.
Are there questions like “Yes, but how could this have occurred?” Absolutely.

But there is nothing to indicate to these scientific labs, than any of this is insurmountable. Frankly, this story is following the same path that every scientific endeavour follows when trying to tackle any complex problem.

Whatever your theistic views, there is no basis whatsoever for arguing that the games over and there must be a ghost somewhere in that machine.

I’ll just end this rant by pointing out that that horse your backing has been in pretty much every major scientific race run so far…suffice to say, I wouldn’t put my money on it.

lawkes's avatar


That’s the second time you accused me of making assertions without telling me what assertion. After the links, I said the thesis has yet to be refuted. I never said it personally because this is not my thesis nor did I argue it. Why would I speak of apathy and then make claims of non-refutations?

I never made a claim that knowledge can be only justified by x form. You mentioned foundationalism, not I. I asked not stated. I asked for justification for the criterion for knowing, that’s not a claim.

You didn’t respond to my counter example, you just repeated the same argument without the infer, clearly missing the entire point of what I said. I’m not going to repeat it again because you clearly didn’t understand it the first time..

@SavoirFaire wrote “Again, this is basic logic.”

What do you call this? You’re not assuming logic?

If you accuse me falsely with your vague remarks again, I will be ignoring you from now on.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – What was your counter-example? Please repeat it, and explain why you think it was relevant.

lawkes's avatar


Counter-example to what? Relevant to what?

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – the counter-example that you just stated @SavoirFaire did not respond to. The counter-example that you’ve referred to in nearly every post.

There should really be absolutely no ambiguity in my request.

lawkes's avatar


This is in response to the “law of noncontradictions”.

The appearance of beating someone with a wrench is evident, just as the appearance of not beating someone with a wrench, but I infer no “law of noncontradiction” in the so called logic from the reality of appearances. This inference is not evident. You understand the difference?

lawkes's avatar

The point here is, that if you’re going to make claims, then justify those claims, and when I call you out on your bull shit, don’t tell me assumptions are necessary, or that you have no way of justifying something without assumptions, because that tells me you have no idea what you’re talking about and you’re part of some cult or a cult leader. The same people you accuse (religious ideologies).

This is your own method thrown back in your face.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – what do you understand the law of noncontradiction to be?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@AdamF Did you miss when I said:

“I don’t suggest stopping either one, and abiogenesis provides knowledge gained in chemistry and so called self organizing systems. It has indeed been fruitful on those fronts.”


“I do not deny the possibility of a black swan (natural author mechanism).”


“I don’t believe in the supernatural. If there is a God, or an original author, or an immaterial realm, then it is perfectly natural for them to exist.”


“And though “biological interactions” may result from that, those building blocks alone do not account for any meaningful structure or communication system or protocol.”

@SavoirFaire “Do you have anything to say to the actual substance of my response?”

Based on the quotes I just gave @AdamF, it should be obvious that my argument is inductive. You may consider exercising a bit of practical skepticism.

lawkes's avatar


I don’t understand anything, I make no claims. I only question.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – presenting a counter-example is a claim. By defining it as a counter-example, you assert that it undermines the example – it counters it.

You state that there is no reason to infer the law of noncontradiction from the reality of appearance. That is also a claim.

It is necessary therefore to ask what you understand the law of noncontradiction to be.

lawkes's avatar

I’m not claiming, I’m telling you why your claim is false.

If you’re trying to tell me that I can’t justify my counter-example, then that proves my point that knowledge is unjustifiable. It’s your example over mine, or mine over yours. That means anyone can be right and wrong.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – I ask again – what do you understand the law of noncontradiction to be?

lawkes's avatar

I answer again, I don’t know anything, I make no claims.

See what I mean? Justification is fucked. You’re stuck with infinite regress, assumed axioms, or circular reasoning.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – this isn’t infinite regress. I am not asking for you to state what the law of noncontradiction is. I’m not asking you whether you “know” anything. I’m asking you what you understand the law of noncontradiction to be. That question does not require justification as it doesn’t require you to make a claim about what the law is or what you know to be true.

lawkes's avatar

Knowledge is person’s understanding.

I don’t understand, therefore, I don’t know.

lawkes's avatar

Now, if you want to tell me you understand logic, then justify it in way that I can know it’s not fallacious, without assumed axioms, avoiding infinite regress, or circular reasoning.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – I ask again – what do you understand the law of noncontradiction to be. I will not ask for justification. I am interested in and trying to determine what your approach to it is, as you make claims about it.

lawkes's avatar

My claim is that it’s not self-evident because we’re assuming logic is the criterion for knowing.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – that is not my question. I did not ask about what the claim was. I asked what your understanding of the law of noncontradiction was.

lawkes's avatar

I don’t have an understanding of it, hence, I don’t know, hence, I make no claim of knowing what it is.

My “claim” is merely a refutation.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – what is it that you are refuting?

lawkes's avatar

The “law”.

lawkes's avatar

Through my subjectivity. Obviously, I cannot justify knowledge.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – can you meaningfully explain what that is?

lawkes's avatar

I just told you, I don’t understand it, therefore, I don’t know it. I can’t explain that which I do not know.

The burden of justification is on you and saive since you claim to know.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – where did I claim to know anything about the law of noncontradiction?

lawkes's avatar

My mistake, @SavoirFaire did, not you.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – so you don’t understand and can’t define what the law of noncontradiction is?

lawkes's avatar

That’s correct, I don’t know anything. I make no claims of knowing anything. I’m nearly silent. I just question and ask for justifications.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – but how do you know what to ask?

lawkes's avatar

I don’t, hence the subjectivity.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – but you did ask, right?

lawkes's avatar

Yes. It’s as valueless as any other argument here since it’s unjustified.

What it comes down to is subjectivity vs subjectivity. Everyone claims to know even though they cannot justify it because they just can’t resist. That makes everyone into a religious cult since it all rests on assumed axioms. Each cult is explaining to each other why they’re wrong based on these assumed axioms. The way I see it, from a subjective point of you, is to just shut the hell up and mind your own business since you’re both equally wrong or right, but you will never really know.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – does that apply to all arguments?

lawkes's avatar

All arguments are fundamentally based upon assumed axioms, or circular reasoning, so I would think so, but then again, my answer is subjective, so you’re back to square one.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – so that would mean you think you’re wrong?

lawkes's avatar


I could be right or wrong. Just like anyone else who makes claims on assumptions. They could be right or wrong.

lawkes's avatar


Good stuff. Have you ever heard of this philosophical idea – solipsist?

Trusting only oneself since you can only access your mental states.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – So then it’s possible to know something objectively?

lawkes's avatar

If there is no justification of an objective, then anything can be possible.

Keep in mind, I’m answering you subjectively so it’s yes and no.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – If anything is possible, then wouldn’t there be justification for some objective?

lawkes's avatar

My statement that anything is possible was done through my subjectivity which means I’m writing without justification, which means take what I say with a grain of salt.

Likewise, all arguments on this thread should be taken with a grain of salt, since they’re based on subjectiveness (assumed axioms, or circular reasoning). If the argument is not based on these two then you’re stuck with the problem of infinite regress.

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – is subjectivity absolute?

lawkes's avatar

I don’t know, is it?

If you say yes, then how do you know?
If you say no, then how do you know?

iamthemob's avatar

@lawkes – I’m asking you. Please answer.

lawkes's avatar

I did, I don’t know.

lawkes's avatar

I’m about to go to sleep, you got anything else to ask before I go?

AdamF's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “Based on the quotes I just gave @AdamF, it should be obvious that my argument is inductive. You may consider exercising a bit of practical skepticism.”

Look at this link and the example of deductive reasoning provided.

Read your own argument as provided above which tries to equate your argument with the same classic deductive argument as provided by wiki.

“All men are mortal = All codes have sentient authors.
Socrates is a man. = DNA is a code.
Socrates is mortal. = DNA is sentient authored.”

How is what you are arguing obviously an inductive argument?

By the way, if your premise two is valid, then the first premise is not. Because then all we can say is that some codes have sentient authors, and others may or may not, because we haven’t established whether DNA has an author or not….hence begging the question. The same can’t be said for the Socrates argument. The premises in that argument can be exchanged with each other, both are valid, both are sound. They are not equivalent deductive arguments, despite your assertion that they are.

Anyways, the winds are blowing 8ms…I’m going kitesurfing. Have a nice night, day, morning, wherever on this planet you may reside…

chocolatechip's avatar

Too many posts to read through everything, but

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Why shouldn’t it?

Because you cannot assume the answer to the argument you are trying to prove.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

The premises of an inductive logical argument indicate some degree of support (inductive probability) for the conclusion but do not entail it; that is, they suggest truth but do not ensure it.

What do you mean it isn’t an inductive argument @AdamF?

I can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that DNA is sentient authored any more than I can prove absolutely that Socrates was mortal. But I can induct the logic of both premises with good old fashioned a posteriori empiricism.

I did not assume that abiogenesis was or was not the answer @chocolatechip. It would beg the question if I assumed that it could without any evidence to support the premise that it could. Abiogenesis wasn’t a part of either premise one or two. I have no reason to introduce abiogenesis into the argument any more than introducing clipped toenails. There’s no reason to see any relationship whatsoever.

This is really confounding to me how you guys keep claiming that I’m begging the question. Exchange “abiogenesis” with “bullshit”. I don’t know for sure that bullshit can’t write a code. I’ve never seen bullshit write a code, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen… right? How about dung gnats, piss ants or the wicked witch of the west? They might be able to author code too. How about a God? If there is one, do you think that God has any less of a capacity to write a code than abiogenesis, bullshit, dung gnats, piss ants or the witch?

I mean really… where does it stop with these ridiculous logic traps? Has “begging the question” turned into the latest fallback position when all else fails?

My argument inducts an original author. If you wish to attribute God properties to that, then be my guest. How will you explain that to the time travelers and extraterrestrials?

lawkes's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies wrote, “I mean really… where does it stop with these ridiculous logic traps? Has “begging the question” turned into the latest fallback position when all else fails?”

That’s why you use the same garbage against them. They’re begging the question with logic since they assume logic is a “necessary” assumption for knowing (no justification needed), and then they’re telling you that you’re begging the question while they remain guilty of doing the exact same thing.

That’s about as nonsensical as it gets.

chocolatechip's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I did not assume that abiogenesis was or was not the answer @chocolatechip. It would beg the question if I assumed that it could without any evidence to support the premise that it could. Abiogenesis wasn’t a part of either premise one or two. I have no reason to introduce abiogenesis into the argument any more than introducing clipped toenails. There’s no reason to see any relationship whatsoever.

Since this is a really long topic, I’ll remind you of this:

1) DNA is not merely a molecule with a pattern; it is a code, a language, and an information storage mechanism.
2) All codes are created by a conscious mind; there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.
3) Therefore DNA was designed by a mind.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Has “begging the question” turned into the latest fallback position when all else fails?

No, begging the question is the first line of defense against fallacious arguments. We’re trying to point out that a certain argument is nonsense, and your response to that is, “please stop, I don’t like it when you point out these logical fallacies”?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Please don’t attribute your random quotes to me @chocolatechip. Don’t put words in my mouth.

@chocolatechip “No, begging the question is the first line of defense against fallacious arguments”

The fallacy of petitio principii, or begging the question, is committed when a proposition which requires proof IS ASSUMED WITHOUT PROOF, or more generally denotes when an assumption is used, in some form of the very proposition to be proved, as a premise from which to deduce it.
emphasis mine

Premise 1 is proven because DNA conforms to Purlwitz, Burks and Watermans formal definition of code. It is also proven because it is the only thing in nature which runs through Claude Shannon communication protocols without fail which is the reason Hubert Yockey mapped the transcription process directly from Shannon protocols. Don’t believe me? Look it up. Say please and I’ll link you up.

Premise 2 is proven because (as you quote) “there is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.”. Don’t believe me? Just find me one. Just one. That’s all you need @chocolatechip. Just one.

Please “don’t stop”. I do like it very much when you try to point out these logical fallacies. Especially when you commit the most truant of them all in the process.

The_Idler's avatar

The argument suffers a severe detriment when the plausibility of abiogenesis is considered in the context of the size and age of the Universe, compared with which our area and duration of observation is proportionally, effectively negligible.

Get back to me after I’ve explored and observed most of the Universe for most of its history, rather than one unimaginably minuscule speck of dust for a couple thousand years, and I might have that black swan for you.


The existence of another consciousness is a highly unsatisfactory explanation for the existence of our consciousness, for it raises such similar problems.
1. Consciousness is a peculiarity of living organisms (gimme a proven example otherwise?)
2. Life exists exclusively on Earth (gimme a proven example otherwise?)
Therefore, no consciousness existed before Life on Earth, to create it.
(unless we go back in time at some point to do it, huh?)

Otherwise, what is your explanation? non-alive Consciousness? How does that work? A living consciousness from another planet? How did they come to be? A consciousness that entered from outside the universe? How is that possible?
You give me one natural process known to science that creates consciousness, which is not itself based on code. Just find me one. That’s all you need @RealEyesRealizeRealLies. Just one, and then I’ll be pretty much convinced.


In the meanwhile, I’m a lot happier, whatever the problems in specific theories, with small, self-replicating molecules coming together occasionally in the countless gazillions of dice-throws involved in the history of chemical collisions over half a billion years of Earth’s existence (try the stats, they make fair support for it), than I am with a consciousness of unknown nature arising spontaneously, without the influence of one scrap of code or yet another consciousness, and proceeding to create one or a few bits of RNA in the oceans of Earth, before disappearing forever.

chocolatechip's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I never quoted you as saying anything you didn’t say in this topic. You were, however, arguing in defense of the validity of those three points.

There is no natural process known to science that creates coded information.

This preposition is ASSUMED WITHOUT PROOF. One cannot state that there is (absolutely) NO natural process known to science that creates coded information, because we have not yet answered the question of whether DNA, a type of coded information (semantics aside), was created by a natural process or not.

Answerbagger's avatar

I’m not an atheist, but I think I can answer your question.

I’m not a bible-thumping fundamentalist either, but I want to be saved and be with God in Heaven someday. Back when I was an straddling the fence, I attended a couple of different churches regularly. I sat in on a few Catholic sermons, but they were all in Latin and there was too much pomp and circumstance, and I didn’t really feel God’s presence. I also started to read the Bible at this time. I went to a Pentecostal church for a couple of months, but found it a little depressing the way they said one thing while really saying another. Like, they’re always saying how God was loving and forgiving while at the same time telling all these tales of how cruel and spiteful God is to people. It was enough to make me say, even if Christianity is all literally true like Christians say, no way would I worship such a God.

I also went to a non-denominational church. Their ideology was about the same as the Pentecostals, but they seemed more honest with themselves. The pastor freely admitted that some things in the Bible are contradictory, and then he would give his explanation; usually due to some translation error in which he would start talking about specific words in Greek or Hebrew and how the translated English words didn’t quite mean the same thing or were translated incorrectly. I was really impressed with his intelligence and the research he put into his sermons. I also loved the worship sessions there, the singing of modern Christian music and just losing yourself worshipping God. It was wonderful! Then I had to move for my job and haven’t found another church like that again.

By this time, I had read the Bible, and it really opened my eyes. I can see why it would make a lot of fence straddlers turn away from God rather than to God. Like the Pentecostals, the Bible says that God is “lovingkindness” and then is full of tales of how cruel and spiteful and unjust God is. Then I learned that the Bible was once a whole bunch of little separate books, and there was originally many more. The books currently in the Bible were actually picked and chosen by a group of religious scholars. That right there is a red flag. When I pray each night, I hold my Bible in my hands, but I don’t believe the Bible is the literal word of God. It can’t possibly be the word of a loving, kind, and just God. I believe it is full of translation errors and mis-selected manuscripts. Obviously, the Bible we have has been corrupted by, well, you know who…..

And there’s the issue of Jesus. I accept Christ Jesus as my saviour, but is He God? I accept that Jesus is the son of God, and that He is our “representative” before Jehovah, and will speak for all who are saved on Judgement Day. But as some religions claim, Jesus never actually claimed to be God. Jehovah really hates worshipping false Gods, and I don’t want to commit that sin. But I also want to be saved through Jesus. So that’s one big dilemma for me. I can only hope that God really is forgiving and will understand my dilemma and my confusion.

I hope this helps answer your question why atheists don’t believe in God, and maybe will give you some tools to reach out to them and save them.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Thanks for your contribution @Answerbagger. The path you share is revealing. I’ve always been interested though, and no Christian has ever been capable of explaining it, but what exactly do you think that Atheists need to be saved from? Perhaps it’s just my own experience, but I find that Atheist friends come closer to expressing the love of Christ to the world than my Theist associates. They’re less self righteous, more tolerant, less judgmental, less likely to hold grudges, and altogether more concerned with the fate of the human condition than most Theists who think, ‘screw this place, judgment day is coming soon, so why give a damn’.

I expect to find a tremendous amount of surprised Atheists in heaven. I expect to find a great number of so called Theists missing in action. Remember Christ hung out with those who the religious leaders of the time judged as lowest of the low scum of the earth. And then he turned around and rebuked the Pharisees as over zealous and judgmental. I really think most Theists have it all wrong. They should be more concerned with the log in their own eye, rather than the speck in the Atheist eye.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@chocolatechip Of course we can truthfully claim “there is (absolutely) NO natural process known to science that creates coded information”, until one is discovered. Truth statements don’t fall on the criteria of “until”.

Asking if DNA was created by a natural process or not is exactly the same as asking if an anonymous note was created by a natural process or not. Anonymous authorship has never been acceptable reason for claiming natural mechanism must exist for code authorship.

Answerbagger's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – Saved from? Losing out on immortality and eternal happiness in paradise. Only that…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Eternal happiness should not be expected in heaven. If the bible myth is to be taken at face value, heaven had some big problems before earth or humans ever existed. So bad that ⅓rd of all angels were cast out. If we are to retain our identities in heaven, then we must retain our free will. Our free will shall prevent everyone in heaven from eternal happiness.

And immortality is assured in both heaven and hell, if you believe in that sort of thing.

ragingloli's avatar

So bad that some angels, that supposedly and unlike humans, had not “free will”, allegedly rebelled against the tyrant
Also, I do not want eternal life, especially if it would only consist of worshipping that god for eternity. and eternal happiness, while knowing that many of my friends, and family, would burn in hell, forever? I would actually have to be happy about them frying eternally, to be eternally happy. I do not want to be such a person, ever.

Rarebear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies You wrote: “They’re less self righteous, more tolerant, less judgmental, ” about atheists. You and I must not know the same atheists. Most atheists I know are very self-rightous, untolerant of theists, and extremely judgemental. I, of course, am the exception. :-)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar


“1. Consciousness is a peculiarity of living organisms (gimme a proven example otherwise?)”

Thoughts are a property of consciousness. Homer has been physically dead for thousands of years. Yet we still have access to his thoughts via the mechanism of the words he wrote. His thoughts are just as vibrant today as they were when he lived. His words are not equal to his thoughts. His words only represent his thoughts. His words are a physical representation of a non physical thought. Just like our words here represent our thoughts. But our thoughts are not here, and neither are our consciousness.

We know the thoughts must exist. We just don’t know where they are. We can’t see, touch, taste or smell our thoughts. Physical concepts of “where” do not apply to non physical phenomenon.

“2. Life exists exclusively on Earth (gimme a proven example otherwise?)”

I agree with your assessment from a position of hard marxist materialism. But from a linguistic perspective, “life” can take have other traits. The words of Shakespeare really “spring to life” when read with the proper fervor. What we mean by that is that they have some unknown animator quality which is perceived only in the realm of thought, yet it is altogether invisible to the physical senses we trust.

@The_Idler “Otherwise, what is your explanation? non-alive Consciousness? How does that work?”

I do not know. We should speculate on this together. Does the qualia of being “alive” require a physical mechanism to be alive? Or is the physical mechanism simply the vehicle for representing it in a physical realm? I plumb for the latter.

@The_Idler “You give me one natural process known to science that creates consciousness, which is not itself based on code… Just one, and then I’ll be pretty much convinced.”

Well, honestly friend, if I could do that, I’d be too busy writing my Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and wouldn’t have the time play with everybody here on fluther.

Best I can figure, is that since consciousness is not necessarily a property of physicality, then it must (may) have a dimensionless attribute which is not bound by the same physical laws of our dimension. Of course, speculation rules the day here.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Rarebear I’ve never known Atheists to gather regularly in groups with the sole purpose of passing judgment upon others. I’ve never known Atheists to attribute the results of their actions upon unseen external forces working for or against their original intentions.

Yes, they can be intolerant of Theists, but that’s a bi-product of being intolerant of stupidity and ignorance. Jesus shared the same flaw.

Answerbagger's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies -

You’re absolutely right. Those are dilemmas I can’t explain. I can only give my testimony and leave it for you to decide what’s right for you. I won’t play “holier than thou” or pretend that my choice is the right choice for everyone. Unlike a lot of Christians, I accept that my choice may not be the right one for you, and so you have a right to your choice. After all, a loving kind God could not have created a universe where anyone can be put to eternal torture. Maybe Hell is a perfectly benign place, just absent from God. Or maybe you’ll be utterly destroyed, a.k.a the second death. Who knows?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That’s closer to the teaching of Jesus than what you’ll hear from any pulpit. Let’s remember that Jesus was not a Christian.

Christianity was an invention of humans. And like all human inventions, they will be replaced, improved upon, or eventually rejected altogether in favor of something else.

Rarebear's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “I’ve never known Atheists to gather regularly in groups with the sole purpose of passing judgment upon others.”
You should go to one of your local Skeptics in the Pub events. But I concede the point.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Oh man I’d love to. Never heard of that. I’ll look it up. What a great people watching opportunity!

The_Idler's avatar


What I’m really saying is that I don’t like your dismissal of abiogenesis, because your alternative explanation can be subject to exactly the same logical criticism as that, which you oppose.


“Does the qualia of being “alive” require a physical mechanism to be alive? Or is the physical mechanism simply the vehicle for representing it in a physical realm? I plumb for the latter.”

What’s the difference? The fact is, the only consciousness we have observed has been associated with a set of organised chemical processes, commonly known as life. If you want to seriously suggest that, because life is based on code, and code has been observed to arise only from consciousness, life must have been borne out of conscious design, you MUST at least explain the mechanism and origin of the non-alive consciousness, if you can’t give an example.

Either way, the fact is you cannot give an example, which gives your explanation exactly the same fault as one that requires the existence of non-consciously authored code.


In summary:

Your argument is that, according to observation:
only CODE leads to LIFE
which is fair criticism of the idea of abiogenesis. if one example of unconscious coding could be found, this argument would be refuted, and this is what you ask of us.

but my counter-argument is that, according to observation:
only CODE leads to LIFE
your explanation creates a circle of causality.

You need to produce an example of a non-alive (in the scientific sense of the word) consciousness to prove the plausibility of your idea of breaking this circle at the CONSCIOUSNESS stage, rather than the CODE stage.

Consciousness is in fact the most complex thing we have ever observed in the entire Universe, which makes it statistically a lot less likely to spontaneously arise, without even the physical structure, upon which it has been observed to exclusively rest, in our experience, than a short piece of self-replicating code.
In fact, no-one even has the faintest idea how that could happen, which is not true of abiogenesis, however unlikely some of the events involved, hence my preference.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@The_Idler “You need to produce an example of a non-alive (in the scientific sense of the word) consciousness to prove the plausibility of your idea of breaking this circle at the CONSCIOUSNESS stage, rather than the CODE stage.”

It sits right in front of you. At the point where you can no longer edit your comments, after the time period for doing so has ended, the consciousness has been established but can no longer mutate in its represented form. Does that make sense? It’s difficult to explain but I appreciate the opportunity to attempt it.

Many define the concept of physical life with two main attributes. The ability to reproduce, and the ability for change. Neither one of us has the ability to change the specific consciousness represented by our comments after the time limit has run out, or after the book is published and gone to print, or after we hit send on the email. But when that set conscious representation has been received by another mind, like your words to me on this thread, we do have an opportunity to reproduce it, basically mating with it our own, thereby reproducing an entirely new meme virus that would not have been possible otherwise.

The comments of Homer cannot mutate further on their own merit. They are not alive in the sense that physical is possible. But I can still cavort with Homer’s consciousness, mingle his with my own, and birth an entirely new offspring, thereby satisfying the requirement for reproduction.

6rant6's avatar

@Answerbagger Your approach to finding a religion I see a lot of people take, and I find it mind boggling.

If religion is an attempt to live in accordance with the truth of the universe, then that’s a pretty high level decision to make. Certainly a lifelong study would not be too much to expect. Thousands of years of study have apparently not resulted in any consensus – even on basic things like, “Is it okay to kill?” and “What is the nature of the creator?”

So people take a few Sundays to decide where they “feel at home” in a church (probably one similar to the one they got used to when they were children) as if feeling at home and understanding the thorniest issues of morality and ethics were somehow related.

In my mind, the analogy would be to go to Barnes and Noble and browse the physics section and decide which one best represented subatomic physics by leafing through the first couple of chapters and deciding which one had the best pictures and the cutest font.

To extend the analogy, people would then start saying, “Oh, I believe in this chapter – but this thing with Muons – it just doesn’t make sense to me, so I’m going to reject it.

I understand that the basic issue is one of faith – and that faith looks like lunacy in that it demands rejecting information which does not confirm doctrine. But how can one possibly expect then to use logical argument to convince someone that your casually arrived at belief system – which is different in significant ways from anyone else’s belief system – is “true.”

ragingloli's avatar

Now you are just twisting words.
Consciousness is a complex data processing system that happens to be able to process data about its own existence.
A text concocted by a consciousness is in the end nothing more than a collection of letters, numbers and punctuation. It is not a consciousness, because it can not process any data, let alone its existence.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Twisting words is not productive to my efforts. This is how I really understand things @ragingloli.

“A text concocted by a consciousness is in the end nothing more than a collection of letters, numbers and punctuation.”

There’s one more ingredient that you left out. It’s ability to represent something other than itself. The collection of letters, numbers and punctuation on this thread represent our thoughts. Our thoughts are not reducible to electricity and photons.

We should not confuse the medium with the message.

ragingloli's avatar

“Our thoughts are not reducible to electricity and photons.”
As far as science can tell, they are.

ragingloli's avatar

So they represent something. It does not follow from that they themselves are consciousness, just as a fossilised imprint in a rock represents a long dead animal. But the imprint itself is not alive.

The_Idler's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies My post is a consciously-written code, not an example of a non-living consciousness. Can it process data? No. Is it capable of writing code? No.

Even if it were an example of non-living consciousness, it is not naturally occurring.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ragingloli The fossil is not a code. It doesn’t represent anything other than itself. It takes a human to encode the observation and infer a relationship between the fossil and the dead life form. Without previously encoded thoughts about past findings, your current fossil would mean nothing, and represent nothing beyond the odd looking stone in your hand. Your assessment is reliant upon the codified observations of those who came before you.

But code does always represent something other than itself.

My comments above have reached their time limit. The physical representation is actually dead now. It cannot mutate or evolve. The only thing that can happen to those comments is continued decay.

But your consciousness can still access the consciousness represented by them. Thereby a new consciousness.

Now I’ve got to clear the air a bit and isolate some terminologies. Consider my comments to @The_Idler to you as well. This is not “twisting words”. This is an attempt to untwist them.

@The_Idler “My post is a consciously-written code, not an example of a non-living consciousness. Can it process data? No. Is it capable of writing code? No.”

I completely agree. My bad for generalizing that which should be specific. We’re actually speaking of three separate agents. Conciousness, Mind, and Thought.

So follow along and see if this makes more sense.

@The_Idler “My post is a consciously-written code…”

Yes, agreed. One that represents the thought of a mind.
notice i didn’t say “from” a mind. i cannot attribute physical qualities to a non physical phenomenon

@The_Idler ”...not an example of a non-living consciousness.”

Again, agreed. But your post does represent the thought of a mind, which together with code, represent the faculty of consciousness. That’s why cognitive studies are largely based upon language tests.

@The_Idler “Can it process data? No.”

Neither can a virus, consciously. But codified representation of information exists nonetheless. The code itself cannot process data, unless it was designed to by an original programmer, like computer software can. Functional mechanics are required for processing data. The code above is no longer functional for processing data. But it is functional for transmitting data. Your conscious ability to receive it via the mechanisms of mind, thought, and code allows the who of you to process the data.

@The_Idler “Is it capable of writing code? No.”

Agreed. Like I said, that code is dead, no longer capable of mutating. Though it still represents a thought of a mind which can be joined with and thereby reproduce and entirely new thought offspring that is related to the original but different.

We’re basically mind fucking one another with every word we speak.

I’m on the fence as to whether the thought itself is a non physical life form or not. Or if it acts as some type of sustenance for the minds of which it is birthed from. I know this sounds nuts, but the concept is somewhat demonstrable with statements such as “Elvis lives as long as we keep his spirit alive with the thoughts of our minds”.

Difficult to explain. I’m really trying though.

After my recent five month absence from fluther, upon my return I found a little extra lurve that was given while I was gone. There were a few comments addressed to mine. In affect, I know this sounds nuts, but in affect, though my physical presence was removed, my spirit was still here available to those who chose to keep it alive by interacting with my dead comments.

The_Idler's avatar

But all of this is manifestly the product of consciousnesses linked with physical life. Besides, the spirit of you left in your stead was not conscious, as it could not even respond to stimuli, yet alone write a code.

Your conscious code-writer must pre-date physical life.

Why is
preferable to

Your criticism of abiogenesis is that, in our experience, life is always a product of code, and codes are always the products of consciousness.
But I can make exactly the same criticism of your preference, in saying that consciousness is always a product of life.

Which of these are you saying came first?

I’m not a massive fan of abiogenesis theories, and I certainly have respect for your arguments otherwise since the last time we talked about it, but I just don’t think you can use this particular criticism of it, when a life-code-authoring consciousness demonstrates exactly the same problems, with regards to the question of its own origin, as non-authored code does.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

This is so difficult to discuss. I catch myself all the time phrasing comments with materialist vernacular.

When I said: ” physical presence was removed, my spirit was still here available…”

I should not have said “here”. I should have just left it at “available” or “accessible”. “Here” denotes a specific space/time coordinate. Only the code is “here” with a specific space/time coordinate. I don’t know where the thought/spirit or mind/soul is. I don’t think words like “here”, and “where”, and “then” apply to characteristics of thought/spirit mind/soul. Isn’t that the point of immaterialism? It’s not bound by laws of physicality.

And yes that is indeed how I view these agents. Thought = Spirit, just as Mind = Soul. Two disciplines describing the same phenomenon. Mind/Souls are built from multiple Thought/Spirit, like bricks in a building.

I said earlier that a new lexicon must arise to discuss immaterial concepts. I’m still trying to hack this out with very materialistic words typically reserved for empirical description. I am not an etymologist qualified to create new words.

So to address your comments…

@The_Idler “Your conscious code-writer must pre-date physical life.”

Tough swallow. Tougher still to consider that ultimately, it must have full capacity to manifest all of physicality from an entirely different plane of existence, and then be capable of manipulating some of matter into symbols which represent, communicate, and enact this physicality to eventually construct an entity capable of questioning it all.

The closest explanation I’ve been able to gather is presented in biblical principles of The Word (in beginning was Word and Word became flesh) or in Bhartrihari’s Sphota Theory of Language where Brahman “speaks” the cosmos into existence.

Considering that every object created by mankind begins as a codified thought, as architectural plans, it’s not so difficult to fathom that human Words manipulate matter to create the art and technology which surrounds us. It’s just that humans must physically manipulate the matter by physical hands after the plans are set. How an Immaterial Proto Mind could accomplish this without physical hands is beyond me.

@The_Idler “I can make exactly the same criticism of your preference, in saying that consciousness is always a product of life.”

I try my best to isolate the terminologies. Consciousness is nothing more than the name we give the whole potentiality of Mind, Thought, Codification faculties, process, and mechanism. A being without the potentiality of all three is not conscious, like an ant. Whereas a bee is conscious because of his ability to author code with a figure 8 waggle dance, expressing thought about where the pollen is.

I cannot claim that Homer is anything more than physically dead. Having access to the thought/spirits of his mind/soul leads me to believe that his mind/soul still exists. Whether or not Homer can still engage full physical consciousness by manipulating energy/matter as physical code is a real stretch. But…

If there were such a Proto Mind with that capacity, and Homers mind/soul was unified somehow with it, then I suppose Homer would know a timeless state of consciousness via the capabilities of the original Proto Mind. Pure fantastical speculation.

I got to go right now. Got a hot date with a recent loser from America’s Next Top Model. And she needs me to console her with sweet tongue lashings.

I’ll be back late!

The_Idler's avatar

A “Boltzmann brain” code-writer is simply not statistically preferable to abiogenesis.

not at all.

You’re saying it’s unlikely for a relatively simple code to arise without conscious authorship, but then you advance the idea that a non-biological consciousness did exactly that, when such a being would necessarily be many, many, many, many orders of magnitude more complex, and therefore demonstrating a proportionally greater improbability of coming into existence spontaneously.

What is drawing you to the idea of conscious authorship!?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No. It is you who are asking for a Boltzmann brain from abiogenesis.

That’s exactly what the conclusion of abiogenesis is requesting, a hypothesized self-aware entity which arises due to random fluctuations out of a state of chaos. That’s the point I’ve been trying to make. A belief in abiogenesis requires a conscious agent to arise from unconscious chaos of the universe. It begs us to accept that the universe can ultimately speak, through us. Our conversation here would be a demonstrable case of our brains arising from chaos. And it’s even worse, because two or more brains arose just so the universe could argue with itself, go to war with itself, kill itself.

I propose the universe is a much more efficient machine to allow anything of the sort.

My hypothesized “self-aware entity” does not arise from random fluctuations out of a state of chaos. Mine doesn’t arise at all. Mine is outside of the material confines of energy/matter space/time. It is a state of being that simply IS, with no beginning, no ending, and beyond any notions of materialistic where or when. Disembodied thought.

It was Norbert Weiner who claimed “Information is information. Not energy and not matter. Any materialism that does not allow for this cannot survive in the present”.
Cybernetics p147

If it is not energy or matter, then it is not dependent upon materialism to exist. This suggests an immaterial realm beyond the material realm. An immaterial realm which can be represented with materialism, and therefor may function within our universe sans the requirement for chaos to birth it.

The_Idler's avatar

no, life-based consciousness is a manifest meta-structure, based upon codified chemical processes.

If you have all the genetic code for a person (in the form of a fertilized egg) you can grow a consciousness. That is not a boltzmann brain. Not spontaneously arising.

billions of years of evolution =/= instantaneous quantum fluctuation.

But ok, I see now, you do not suggest a Boltzmann brain, you suggest a separate realm of existence, which happens to contain that conscious being, which created life on Earth.

I don’t want to write big answers, so let’s go one or two questions at a time. I’ve really enjoyed what you’ve written, and a while ago we spoke and that made me read and think a lot and changed the way i thought about a lot of things, so i want to understand exactly what’s in your head.

I’m going think in terms of dualism for the sake of ease of communication. I do not believe in dualism, but that’s not the part I misunderstand, so let’s not argue that point.


Do you think that human consciousness, although existing in the informational realm, is a “symptom” of biological processes?

With regards to this informational plane of existence, can you give me some rules or theory? I’ve got a good idea about what’s actually there, but I’m fuzzy on how it interacts with the physical plane.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@The_Idler ” suggest a separate realm of existence, which happens to [contain] that conscious being, which created life on Earth.”

See what I mean? “Contain”? I mistakenly do it all the time, and I’m aware of the issue more than anyone I know. As with any scientific pursuit, no profitable discussion can manifest without a new lexicon to discuss it with. “Contain” may not be an appropriate word to discuss immaterialism with. It’s like asking what’s North of the North Pole. Does not apply.

I cannot claim the immaterial realm is anything more than a simple state of ISness. I liken it to discussions of a 4th dimensional Tesseract where all potential states of being are manifest simultaneously. We cannot represent the tesseract beyond our physical space/time confines, and thus we include time in our description of it. But our description is just a shadow of the actual agent, which doesn’t require time, as Carl Sagan discusses.

And whether or not the Proto Mind created us directly, or created a physical realm which in turn created us indirectly is impossible to know. We could speculate though.

@The_Idler “I’m going think in terms of dualism for the sake of ease of communication. ”

That would help you at least understand where I’m coming from, as I understand dualism to be a requirement for physical representation of consciousness. It’s just image/object relationship. These words are just pictures of my thoughts, like the Tesseract is the best picture we can draw of an entirely different agent than what we see in the video.

@The_Idler “Do you think that human consciousness, although existing in the informational realm, is a “symptom” of biological processes?”

The best I’ve been able to speculate is a sorted two fold affair. It informs my views on abortion and when life begins. Imagine me, as one who has always been against abortion, but who also respects a woman’s choice, how excited I was to find resolve in noting that a unique genetic code is manifest within the first hours of conception. There was my stanchion to base a world view upon. I could allow free will for the woman, but not be required to tell her that I agreed with her choice.

Since a unique genetic code is formed within hours of conception, then as far as I (was) concerned, it seemed clear that life began at conception, no questions asked. Imagine my discomfort when I came to the resolve that life does not equal consciousness. The genetic code may represent a separate consciousness which authored it, perhaps vicariously, but the actual code itself does not become conscious until it can associate image/object relationships via the mechanism of authoring additional meaningful code beyond itself.

I’m still on the fence with this one. Keep in mind that my view of consciousness is nothing more than the name we give the whole potentiality of Mind, Thought, Codification faculties, process, and mechanism. If a being cannot function the entire mechanism, then it is not a conscious being. It may be alive, but it is not conscious.

There are comatose patients who seem unconscious, but awaken to describe events during their paralysis. This is apparent unconsciousness, and not genuine. For they can still process language with the capacity of mind and thought alone, albeit in a manner that others may be unaware of.

So, best I can offer, though I don’t necessarily like it, is that Potentiality of Consciousness is manifest at the point of meiosis. But actual consciousness is not achieved until the agent can associate image/object relationships. This can happen very early in the womb, as soon as embryo can associate mother’s voice with feelings of comfort. Before that, I cannot legitimately claim consciousness has arisen beyond that which is represented by the initial codification.

I do not believe that our potential consciousness exists before we are conceived, as many do believe that we were somehow with God before birth. I can’t accept that. I don’t believe we are infinite beings. But I do believe that once consciousness has been established, that we are eternal from that point on.

In summary, this physical realm seems to be a mechanism for creating new and unique eternal conscious beings. I cannot know if it is the only mechanism. This model would not account for angels and demons of ancient scripture or local lesser demigods of primitive amazonian cultures. It may be one of several models available.

@The_Idler ”...can you give me some rules or theory?”

Sure I’ll let it all out and see what sticks to your wall of reason. Ultimately, the philo-science I’ve embraced turns to scriptural research and also psychedelic research based upon Ayahuasca and Psilocybin usage in the tradition of sacred medicines. Different models from different disciplines but both with uncanny similarities.

The mushroom god worship is rife throughout history. I’d have to go into a lot more detail for you to completely get where I’m coming from, but suffice it to say that “magic mushrooms” hold a great deal more potential for contacting “the other” than we may give them credit for. I’ve never done them and I cannot speak to personal experience. But researching Terrence McKenna has provided many clues to a being BEYOND MATERIAL LOGOS. McKenna’s rap is based upon describing reality as made of language, rather than material phenomenon. There is your realm which doesn’t require image/object relationships, for in that realm, the image and object are unified as one agent. Combine this with the entities manifest within an Ayahuasca experience, and the language based reality becomes visual. Meaning is beheld without the necessity to represent it with physical symbols.

This is all in line with and supportive of ancient biblical principles of The Word and Bhartrihari’s Sphota along with Eastern teachings of The Way. It’s tied into the concept of idol worship, where the Proto Mind warns us not to confuse or worship the logo in favor of the meaning it represents. All of this leads to the conclusion that the physical realm is a complete deception and our senses should not be trusted but instead overcome. And that’s what leads us to the really crazy part.

So assuming there is an original immaterial realm with no physicality whatsoever. This realm is one of Purity governed by Truth (Proto Mind). Yes, this requires us to entertain the idea that Truth is Sentient. Everything is cool until an entity some call Lucifer threaten the Purity of Truth by claiming equality with Truth rather than a being capable of knowing Truth. This is the birth of Deception, and though Purity of Truth must allow for Free Will Agents, it cannot allow Deception to taint the Purity of Truth by existing in the same realm. What to do?

Bam! Create an entirely new realm where Deception can exist alongside Free Will and Purity of Truth, and yet not risk tainting the other with impurity. A physical realm based upon laws of Chaos and Entropy. A realm of Absolute Noise. What you see as planets, suns, gravity, electromagnetism… I see as noise, just plain old white noise. Turn on your television or radio to static if you really want to see a microcosm of what the universe is really made of.

I see no relevance as to whether the Proto Mind intervened 3.5 billion years ago or if our physical realm was created with the potential for life from the beginning 14.7 billion years ago. I don’t see how it would matter.

I have no idea if fair play demands that all potential conscious beings be created in our realm to allow us to chose with Free Will which realm we will remain a part of or if other entities are continually created in the immaterial realm with no regard to our existence.

But what seems certain, is that we are some type of hybrid being, half thought represented as codified information and half energy/matter. And only the Deception of Chaos can mutate our genetic code to the extent that it cannot function with it’s original animate quality. Entropy affects our original code, degrading it to the point of failure.

What also seems certain is that we, as free will conscious beings, can create our own additional code beyond that which we were born with. We author our very essence with every word we speak. I propose that if we author truth, then we will become unified with truth. If we author deception, then we become unified with deception. No different than a molecule changing form becomes the form it changes into.

Yes, I know. This is all lunacy and I should be committed. Have fun with it, and consider doing me the favor of 30 minute notice before calling the white coats on me. My only excuse for typing this is: “He asked!”

The_Idler's avatar

Yeah… we should do acid sometime.

…or Ayahuasca, I got some P. viridis sitting in my cupboard, just waiting for me to finish my exams(!)

I’ll be sure to mull all this over, at a more appropriate time…

The_Idler's avatar

I mean, I like the ideas, they’re very cool, but in the end I am a scientist, and that means I really don’t like thinks I can’t understand.

I can understand abiogenesis. I understand how improbable it is, but at least it’d only be an eyebrow-raising surprise, rather than an earth-shattering surprise, hehe…

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I have a goal to experience Ayahuasca at some point. But not until I can isolate the proper Shaman to administer and monitor. That’s not something I wish to take lightly.

I’d like to know more about the Psil, but from what I understand, to do serious work, the dose must be high, risking the taker of being sent to left field without a glove. I’d need to get my mind really tuned before pursuing that. And then only with a qualified chaperone.

I fear the viridis is becoming a makeshift recreational attempt at ayahuasca, or is that Sal that I’m thinking of. Is viridis the mao inhibitor or the medicine? Do you smoke or snort? If you’re a scientist, you may be short changing yourself with injections.

The_Idler's avatar

Sooooo off-topic now, but….

P. viridis contains the psychedelic DMT, which is inactive orally, unless combined with an MAOI (as in Ayahuasca).

I am so far undecided, as to whether my experience will be home-made Ayahuasca, or whether I will extract the DMT to smoke. Don’t worry, I’m quite competent enough to perform the extraction, but I may go for the Ayahuasca for depth of experience. I think DMT may be too intense to absorb or concentrate upon…

Salvia (divinorum) is the Amazonian plant, containing Salvinorin A, an unusual and legal short-acting psychedelic, which has gained recent notoriety from idiot kids videoing each other doing it, and posting it on youtube – _ – ’

lawkes's avatar


1) The only thing I have direct access to is the contents of my mind. What I know most certainly are my mental states – my thoughts, experiences, emotions, and so on.

2) Just because I see a table does not mean that the table exists. I could be dreaming or hallucinating. There is no direct conceptual or logically necessary link between the mental and the physical.

3) My experiences are necessarily private to me. The contents of my mind are the only things I have direct access to. I cannot get ‘outside’ of my mind to encounter any other objects including other persons. Other minds are even more removed.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

This of course presupposes that minds have dimensions and are locatable at specific space/time coordinates. I’m unfamiliar with thoughts spilling onto the floor during brain surgery. I cannot claim that minds have “contents” or that we can “get outside” or “inside” them.

Now, I share the thoughts OF my mind with you via the mechanism of codified representation. Your ability to associate with them is dependent upon the entropic forces which may or may not degrade the transmission and reception, your ability and willingness to prevent negentropy from influencing your interpretation of my comments, our assumption of agreement upon a convention of symbols and the definitions we attribute to the words we assemble with them, and my ability to describe the full essence of meaning with a physical mechanism.

There is nothing preventing the thoughts OF our minds from joining in union, except for the physical mechanics we are forced to represent them with. In a realm of pure thought, sans the physical mechanics, I see no reason why our thoughts could not become one, and also birth new thoughts out of the two we joined.

My comments here will join with your current thoughts, and thereby offer you an opportunity to birth an entirely new thought based upon the intercourse of our two originals.

We’re basically mind fucking one another with every word we transmit and receive.

lawkes's avatar

No, this doesn’t presuppose.

I am consciousness, and you’re not. You’re apart of me, not I of you, nor is there us.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Thus you become the God of your own worship.

lawkes's avatar

I never said I am worshiping, nor did I say I’m God.

All I said was that I can only verify my isness and therefore all else is apart of me, not I of it, nor it and I, just I.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Saying it, and realizing it are two separate issues.

You did not claim that you are a being capable of expressing consciousness. You equated yourself with consciousness altogether, and then denied mine.
“I am consciousness, and you’re not.”

As I warned earlier, “Your ability to associate…is dependent upon…your ability and willingness to prevent negentropy from influencing your interpretation”.

lawkes's avatar

I didn’t realize it, nor need I be capable, because I just am. Now, right now, I’m saying it to you (me) – I’m telling apart of myself (you) that I’m consciousness, and I’m telling myself (you) is apart of my consciousness.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

No one can stop you from saying it.

Why would your consciousness argue with itself? That’s either a display of inefficiency, or a malfunction.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Why am/are I (you) wondering what you (I) are/am going to say next?

lawkes's avatar

You (me) is now speculating how isness functions. How do you know arguing with oneself displays inefficiency or malfunction?

Why not evolving to perfection from imperfection, if imperfection at all exists.

This is all speculation.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Can we show us this “now” we’ve been speaking of? There is no evidence of a now anywhere to be found.

Can perfection be perfect if it evolved to perfection? If evolution is required for perfection, then perfection ceases to exist when the evolution ends.

lawkes's avatar

Semantics. Now = Isness

Part II, speculation. The point was to identify the correct objective. I telling you (me) that the subjective (me) is the objective. Any reason for the how’s and why’s would be speculation.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Now = Death

It should not be conflated or confused with notions of the current, the moment, or the present.

It cannot be said that,

I am dead currently.
I am dead momentarily.
I am dead presently.

It can be said, that I am dead now. And to illustrate the deceptive specter that the Now actually is, it doesn’t need to be said at all to get the meaning across. It is a useless word which only designates the death of any particular moment.

The Now has no momentum. It has no flow of upstream/downstream current, where the present is experienced as a process, a gift, to be received, opened, experienced, utilized, and eventually given a place of honor as historical precedent. The Now is reserved for death, and death alone.

lawkes's avatar

You’re (me) is right.

lawkes's avatar

By the way, meaning is a human construct – it is an expression of one’s will. If one seeks it in another, then he seeks to be dominated by another’s will. If he adopts another’s, then one is dominated by another.

lawkes's avatar

_“The mind should also be the epitome of efficiency as it is a reflection of the universe that birthed it.

The code must be presented in its simplest form and with as much brevity as possible, and it must unfold itself through interaction, a dialogue, rather than a monologue.

Life emerges in reaction to the world it finds itself within.
Mind being its highest manifestation. God emerges as a possibility through the mind, which constructs codes (creates) to order what is chaotic.

The term free-will is self-contradicting, yet in its simplified balance, its code, we find the cosmos represented:

Free, is the desirable. The God.
Will is the Actual, the Real.
The only freedom preserved is in establishing a spirit, a manner in which all subsequent interactions with other wills and other phenomena, will take place. My attitude determines how I will react and interact with otherness, even though I may experience it after the fact.
As I continuously experience myself after the fact my freedom is an ongoing choice.

I will, that which is not real, so I am actively pursuing that which I project as static.
In effect all ideas are self-looping attempts at closure, which is itself a drive to self-annulment in godliness.

If the past represents that which is immutable – even if unknowable – because changing it would change who I am, looping into another reality, then my willing represents me throwing myself towards the completion of this past, or a self-annulling drive, which I then perceive after the fact.
I am that which I’ve already willed towards but understood subsequently.

What you call information is what I call differentiation. Information is how this differentiation is understood or perceived.
What is differentiation? is a question which presupposes what it seeks.
There is no static thing and so there is no what….there just is a perception of differentiation which is only perceptible when it affects the sense organ and the mind can find a repetitive pattern in it. Repetitive within the temporal confines of a human existence.
The mystical is retained, as it should, and only understood metaphorically.
Everything else is passed over in silence.
I am this god trying to BE, therefore I am forever Becoming, and God is manifesting through me. As such God is as imperfect and mortal and weak as I am, but only superior to me in that He represents my highest aspirations.
He is a symbol.

The leap in human psychology is to recognize the undesirability of this desirable completion, but also to come to terms with its impossibility. In other words it is a process of acceptance and self-love.“_—Satyr

lawkes's avatar

Would you be more accepting if it came from satyr’s team mate (Priapus) ?

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I am no longer afraid of suffering alive in Hell for eternity in the same way that I used to be if I don’t believe in God and obey all of the commandments in the Bible because I no longer believe that that kind of Hell is real, if any Hell is at all.

The older I get, the more I realize that that was the strongest hold Christianity had on me. I was afraid to stop being a Christian because I was afraid of this torturous Hell I had heard so much about.

I no longer follow any “God” and I no longer see why I should. I don’t think someone should be thrown into Hell just because he or she does not “believe in me”. If I am more merciful than a God, I don’t see why that God deserves my worship.

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