beautiful and sad all mixed into one.
Beautiful? Hm. It is sad indeed that there are those who view life and death in such simplistic, one-dimensional ways…
To think that viewing death as true finality is viewing it in a simplistic, one dimensional manner is to gloss over the complexity of understanding life as a finite experience within an infinite timeline. If I were to state that viewing life as an ongoing experience—even after death—as a simplistic, one dimensional view, I’m sure you would take umbrage to the statement. Each of us may have different thoughts on permanence, impermanence, infinity, life, death. and our place in these concepts, and none of them are one dimensional or simplistic. Thoughts, understandings, and all the facets of a person’s experiences are multidimensional and complex. Dismissing legitimate and rational views in such a callous manner does yourself—and your own experiences—a disservice.
Perhaps, but viewing life as a finite thing is one-dimensional and simplistic nevertheless. It is also completely irrational and lacking in any evidence to support it.
If we admit the existence of infinity or eternity—and really how could we not?—then we must abandon our cute little constructs of linear thinking…whether about time or space or ourselves. The universe does not have a beginning, middle, or end. In the face of eternity it simply can’t. Only the beginning can exist, a never-ending, infinite becoming.
If space is infinite in all directions, then every single point in it is the exact center. If time is eternal, then every single moment in it is the very beginning….
To think that you or I appeared out of nowhere, for no reason at all, to abide only briefly and then vanish forever is simplistic, one-dimensional, and irrational, and there’s really no other way to see it.
There is no credible evidence to suggest a permanence to our existence. If you accept the overwhelming evidence for evolution, then you must concede that our biological condition has changed so dramatically since the beginnings of life that the experience of life itself has changed as dramatically for living organisms. This none-too-subtle change over successive generations has created a string of experiences ranging from what we would consider a non-experience to the point of consciousness we perceive in the most current generations of homo sapiens. These disparate experiences suggest that “our” (our current genetic generation, as well as the ancestral lineage we’ve inherited) experience of life is something that did not always exist, and that—at some point—we did not exist in a manner we would define as living.
There is no credible evidence to suggest the opposite either. You are holding up external reality to be greater than inner. Things “out there” appear to die, but the evidence suggests only physical transformation. We have merely defined it as “death” and have equated it with “stopping” without any evidence at all. I am not arguing for a life beyond death. There is no evidence for it, but neither is there any evidence for no life beyond death. Atheists need to man up and admit they are going on faith as well.
Although there are structures within the Universe that seem to have a set permanence, we need to be aware that these structures are not as permanent as they seem. It’s a quaint thought to think of an infinite Universe as not having a center, or a discernible limit, yet things are never that simple. In a scaled mass magnitude view of an infinite Universe (one in which the Universe is comprised of mass that has no elementary particle or fabric, but rather each scale of mass has component masses and each scale is a fabric in itself), infinity can come from the scales themselves. This allows a finite infinite Universe, though in a somewhat different conceptualization from Einstein’s spherical (conceptualized as a torus by some) Universe. Though there is no center, so to speak, among all the magnitudes of mass, there can still be centers of each magnitude, or, depending on the shapes, there may be centers to some and not others. This is to say “our” mass magnitude scale (that which we can perceive as mass from our scale) may have a center while, say, something like a Higgs boson fabric of mass (or a fabric of mass on a smaller or larger scale) may be infinite, and thus have no singular center point. It may seem illogical, but picture a flat, finite piece of paper comprised of four dimensional torii of wood pulp. The paper is finite, yet made of infinite structures. Whether a mass scale has a center point or not is somewhat pointless in an argument about Dawkins or Hitchens though.
^Here you are quite off. First of all, I didn’t say the Universe has no center, but that it is ONLY center. Every point in it is the exact center. Also, you have a finite VIEW of the Universe. The Universe can’t be finite, for even the nothing beyond it’s so-called “end” is part of it. Apparently you are having difficulty conceiving nothingness. If you fly to the “end” of the Universe, what lies beyond it? Nothing? There you go: more Universe. The only way I could conceive of such a limited view is to see it as wrapped in on itself. For example, if you head off in a straight line without deviating one bit, eventually you will pass through your point of departure. It is very, very, very odd indeed to imagine the Universe as a bubble. In what does it float? Well, the rest of the Universe, of course 🙂
It’s much more complex than we tend to blurt out, and even my own personal theories of the structure of the Universe are overtly simplistic, but we can surmise that our conceptualization of life, the Universe, and everything is staggeringly incomplete. We can not even know if one—or any—point can be legitimately considered the center point of an infinite structure. Our ability to cram infinity into the realm of logic is vastly overrated, and thus any truisms derived from the concept become slightly laughable.
Exactly. So why be so quick to complete it arbitrarily?
In terms of beginnings and endings and your desire to perceive them as always occurring, that’s relative to the time scale you want to place the event within. Just because time scales can be manipulated by the observer does not mean that it changes the events that time is defined by. “Every day is the first day of your life” is cute, but it hardly links eternity to infinity. The concepts seem linked, but they are not necessarily. Eternity suggests unending time, thus an unending series of events, while an infinite Universe only suggests an unending structure. On our mass scale time is slowing down, at least this is implied by the prevailing theories of an expanding Universe. As the Universe expands into nothingness, the structure is being stretched. Events become less and less hurried, so as mass gets farther and farther apart, time slows. As mass gets farther apart, gravitational attractions get to be less and less between bodies of mass, further accelerating the expansion. At some point, mass could be so far apart as to no longer have any discernible attractions, and all the bits of mass no longer interact in events. This would be the end of time while still allowing infinite scale (though not infinite mass, I think—I’d have to think about it for awhile).
Here, I suggest reading Kant, who contends that both time and space are a function of observation. Space is something our minds APPLY to the external world so that we don’t see everything all at once. Time is something our minds APPLY to the external word so that we don’t experience everything all at once. Neither space nor time are external things, but organizational partitions our minds use to process and organize the information coming into our brains as our senses touch the outer world. A Critique of Pure Reason. Good stuff.
You seem to have a problem with abiogenesis, I’m guessing, but it’s hard to tell. Atheists don’t necessarily think that we “appeared out of nowhere.” Although there will be a range of opinions on this matter (or any) among atheists, I personally have no problems with abiogenesis. This isn’t to say that we came out of nowhere, as quadrillions upon quadrillions of events led to a primordial stew, and that in itself touches back further than a sane man cares to tread, although I think your real concern is about purpose and not genesis.
To think that we have no greater cosmic purpose isn’t irrational. There’s no consensus on any purpose to life other than some basic biological (and sociobiological) ones, and this lack of consensus leads me to believe that no one knows what the fuck they’re talking about. I certainly don’t, you don’t, and no one in the history of mankind has ever found a cosmic purpose that is so overwhelmingly inherent as to quash any argument against it. I don’t even see how having a purpose (or needing to know what it is) is needed in this magnificent existence. It could be simply to procreate responsibly, laugh as much as you can, and don’t be a dick. It could also be that our purpose is to colonize as many planets as possible and defeat the Great Cosmic Empire of the Warbledongs. It’s unknowable in a true and rational sense. If someone wants to spend their existence contemplating it, that’s a noble and romantic dream, though ultimately futile. If someone wishes to dismiss a cosmic purpose as something ultimately unknowable, then I see no reason to think that that is not rational.
You have your view of life, and others have theirs—mine happens to be somewhat in line with Hitchens and Dawkins, though the details are surely different. Just because they may not agree with my personal views on the micro scale doesn’t mean they’re irrational, and just because you don’t agree with me on the macro scale doesn’t mean you’re necessarily irrational. We all approach our perceptions of events through a different set of experiences which leads to interpretations which may be incongruent but wholly rational at the same time. Of course there are people who are just plain wrong and those who are irrational, but that’s a story for a different time.
I have no problem at all with abiogenesis. It’s just irrational. As is it’s opposite. Or rather, the evidence is the same for both. You clearly are an exception, but most atheists strike me as simpletons, making sweeping, cosmic conclusions based on tiny amounts of evidence that I’m not even sure implies what they think it does. Thus, atheism is a religion and is faith-based, since it’s doing exactly what all the other religions are doing. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I’m calling it like it is.
A lot of this may not make sense to the reader, and it may anger an physicist, but I invoke my right to say “Meh!”
None of this will make sense to the reader 🙂 I will end by saying that I’m not arguing for a God or for life after death. I DON’T KNOW, and neither does anyone else. I just hate dogma and go after it where ever I see it. Atheist dogma in particular is annoying because they act like it ain’t dogma and is somehow “scientific”, which is at best laughable. We all have our faith, though!
This was fun!