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Does the universe have a purpose?
Posted: 20 October 2006 05:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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A cup is a cup when it holds liquid = purpose

A cup is a cup in the absence of liquid.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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[quote author=“Jayhox”]

A cup is a cup when it holds liquid = purpose

Yes, but the cup’s purpose is to have liquid poured into it for consumption…
The universe is the universe but its purpose is to create an environment, which can sustain a living entity who can acknowledge the existence of the universe.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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[quote author=“Entity”]Yes, but the cup’s purpose is to have liquid poured into it for consumption…
The universe is the universe but its purpose is to create an environment, which can sustain a living entity who can acknowledge the existence of the universe.

The cup has that purpose because it was made for that reason. It was made by humans to hold liquid for consumption. An odd bit of stone that happened by chance to have the same shape would not be a cup, and not have that purpose (or any purpose) unless a human came along who wanted to use it that way. Just as a rock is not a hammer until used as such.

The question is how the universe went about getting this particular purpose and not some other purpose or no purpose at all. The standard way people tend to justify your sort of thinking is by claiming, by analogy with the human case, that god made the universe with this purpose in mind. If we are going to agree that god doesn’t exist, and so has no part to play in this story, the question remains: how did the universe get a purpose?

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Posted: 20 October 2006 08:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]The cup has that purpose because it was made for that reason. It was made by humans to hold liquid for consumption. An odd bit of stone that happened by chance to have the same shape would not be a cup, and not have that purpose (or any purpose) unless a human came along who wanted to use it that way. Just as a rock is not a hammer until used as such.

The question is how the universe went about getting this particular purpose and not some other purpose or no purpose at all. The standard way people tend to justify your sort of thinking is by claiming, by analogy with the human case, that god made the universe with this purpose in mind. If we are going to agree that god doesn’t exist, and so has no part to play in this story, the question remains: how did the universe get a purpose?

It is a natural progression for the universe to come into existence and to create an environment that will allow for a knowing living entity to develop. It is not by chance or is it a supernatural event. It is as natural as a flower blooming or a child playing. Yes, it is true that if one subscribes to this thought you are caught within its own dogma however there is only one phrase that guides humanity forward. “The greatest event in the universe is the creation of a knowing living entity and when one becomes aware of ones existence, they become this entity.” Wanting anything else is secondary to mere existence.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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But this doesn’t answer my question.

Forgive me but your style is very elliptical and confusing. I will try to nail down what I take you to be saying.

[quote author=“Entity”]It is a natural progression for the universe to come into existence and to create an environment that will allow for a knowing living entity to develop. It is not by chance or is it a supernatural event. It is as natural as a flower blooming or a child playing.

= ‘The universe came into being naturally. It naturally created the earth, which naturally created us. No supernatural event was involved.’

That is all uncontroversial, surely.

What is controversial is your saying it was not done by chance. What do you mean it wasn’t done by chance? Do you mean that given the laws of nature, humans would necessarily develop? That is an absurd claim, and certainly false. Or are you illicitly smuggling in the notion of a deity who planned the whole thing?

[quote author=“Entity”] Yes, it is true that if one subscribes to this thought you are caught within its own dogma however there is only one phrase that guides humanity forward. “The greatest event in the universe is the creation of a knowing living entity and when one becomes aware of ones existence, they become this entity.” Wanting anything else is secondary to mere existence.

Once again I don’t know what you mean by “there is only one phrase that guides humanity forward”. Surely there are many such phrases. The one you quote seems fair enough, but a bit banal, no?

But the overarching problem, as I said before, is that this doesn’t answer my question of how, without a sentient creator to give it one, the universe has any particular purpose at all.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 09:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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To elaborate what Doug said:

There might be a hollowed out rock that can be used as a cup, but to say that rock was created ~4.5 billion years ago out of 13.5 billion year old primordial “star stuff” so that I could have my Starbucks (bold roast please no room for cream) exemplifies human arrogance and hubris.  Just because I can name an object doesn’t mean its “purpose” was intended for me. 

To say it functions as a cup is different than saying its purpose is to be a cup.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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When a seed roots it has only one purpose and that is to grow to a point it can create seeds and the cycle starts again. The only purpose a universe has is to create an environment that can sustain a knowing living entity aware of it existence.
Look, if there is “no” knowing living entity the universe does not exist.
There is no divine being creating the universe it is like a tree or a stream. It is what happens naturally.
Naturally means an act that comes about with purpose because it can.
I have found many rocks that I could use as a cup and marvel at how wonderful it was to be there to appreciate it.
Think of all the cup like rocks that have dissolved in to the sea. Maybe I am different but I enjoy finding useful objects that have come about naturally that resemble useful everyday objects.
Can we all say Velcro?

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Posted: 20 October 2006 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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Look, if there is “no” knowing living entity the universe does not exist.

The universe existed before conscious beings existed, and will continue to exist long after humans are extinct.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 11:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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Before it can become a known there has to be recognition and before there is recognition, it is not known. The universe was before and will be after is true but who would of known until humanity came into existence. We are the vehicle that gives the universe completion. Humanity and the universe are equal partners in the progression of existence.

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Posted: 21 October 2006 03:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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I’ve been standing aside letting Doug do all the heavy lifting here, but the last by Entity has caused me to unsheathe my small sword.
You say we bring the universe completion and by inference that seems to also say we are the only sentient intelligent beings in it.

That just is not a permissible inference. There are literally billions of galaxies of the type our milky way galaxy represents. In each of those billions of galaxies there are billions of stars of every sort in various kinds or arrangements, hundreds of millions of them are single stars of the type of our sun. The universe has been around for at least 13.5 billion years. Evolution took 4 billion give or take 5 hundred million to produce us. There must be literally millions of planets full of sentient intelligent beings out there all of whom are busy claiming they “complete” the universe.

Give it up!!. We happen to be the heirs of a lucky bit of evolution. That’s all there is to it. Sorry there isn’t more but there isn’t. Maybe in a few more hundred million years the bonobo will be making the same arguments.

Jim 8)

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Jimmie Keyes
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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

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Posted: 21 October 2006 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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[quote author=“jimmiekeyes”]I’ve been standing aside letting Doug do all the heavy lifting here, but the last by Entity has caused me to unsheathe my small sword.
You say we bring the universe completion and by inference that seems to also say we are the only sentient intelligent beings in it.

That just is not a permissible inference. There are literally billions of galaxies of the type our milky way galaxy represents. In each of those billions of galaxies there are billions of stars of every sort in various kinds or arrangements, hundreds of millions of them are single stars of the type of our sun. The universe has been around for at least 13.5 billion years. Evolution took 4 billion give or take 5 hundred million to produce us. There must be literally millions of planets full of sentient intelligent beings out there all of whom are busy claiming they “complete” the universe.

Give it up!!. We happen to be the heirs of a lucky bit of evolution. That’s all there is to it. Sorry there isn’t more but there isn’t. Maybe in a few more hundred million years the bonobo will be making the same arguments.

Jim 8)

sorry I have you covered.
It is not important that we are the only ones the can be aware of the universe, in fact I am encouraging the thought that other living entities exist in other parts of the universe.
The universe must be able to create an environment capable of sustaining a living entity.
To be a perfect galaxy a galaxy must be able to create an environment capable of sustaining a living entity, which can transfer their recognition, as to the existence of the universe, to another independently sustaining living entity.
Because, I have recognized the existence of the universe and you can recognize the universe, it is true that more than one entity can recognize the existence of the universe.
This also shows that it is possible for the universe to use the creation of a galaxy to fulfill its purpose.
If one galaxy can utilize its creation to help fulfill the purpose of the universe, it may also be true that many galaxies’ can initiate the purpose of the universe.
In conclusion, it is possible that a galaxy can create an environment capable of sustaining living entities, which can transfer their recognition as to the existence of the universe to another independently sustaining living entity, therefore the universe can exist.
It is either true that we (Humanity) are the only living entities capable of fulfilling the purpose of the universe or that other capable living entities exist in other galaxies.
Imagine Humanity’s responsibility to the universe if Earth’s environment is the only place capable of sustaining living entities, which can transfer their recognition, as to the existence of the universe, to another independently sustaining living entity.

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Posted: 22 October 2006 03:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Your philosophy or metaphysics schema would be fine if you were talking about something alive, but you are talking about a universe that is mindless, as if it were a thoughtful being.

We have just a very darn few moments to live our lives. Spending any part of them constructing an imaginary sentient universe and relating it to humanity isn’t worthwhile as far as I’m concerned.

You’re welcome to keep it up if that is what trips your trigger. Life is supposed to be fun and you are entitled to have some, fun that is.
The universe is not a sentient being and all of your talk about it as if it were one won’t make it so. What a boundless waste of time!!
Jim
8)

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Jimmie Keyes
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http://secularhumanism.meetup.com/1/
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (MLK Jr.)

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Posted: 22 October 2006 03:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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I will waste a little more of my time simplifying my ideas for you.
First, I do not think nor am I not trying to say the universe is a sentient being. It is however part of nature. A tree is alive but does not think. Why does a tree exist? It is part of the environment and so is the universe. It takes the size of the universe to create an environment capable to sustain a knowing living entity. Humanity “is” alive and that is what I am addressing.
I was compelled to begin this search for an alternative to contemporary religions because of the intolerance I experience in life. Humanity has created for whatever it is worth beliefs that are challenged with deadly force. Is that necessary? I think not. I am not willing to stand by and watch as ignorance destroys humanity. All I am saying is, when you narrow down all religions to one base thought humanity’s purpose (and yes I believe we have a purpose that is not divine but simply is part of our makeup) is to exist, survive, sustain, or any other verb that fits. By implying awareness of the universe as our fulfillment or connection to the bigger picture is done to give humanity a sense of worth. 
In the end, over 100,000 years ago, it was the first human that looked into the cosmos and recognized themselves as being part of a larger existence and that is when the universe came into existence. I believe this awareness throughout time has become a tool to manipulate humanity and the vehicle is religion.
I am sorry you think the future of humanity is a waste of time. For me it is my intention to initiate positive dialogue not necessarily for fun but as a sense of duty.

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Posted: 22 October 2006 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Sorry, Entity, but this is just a mass of contradictions and confusion.

[quote author=“Entity”]First, I do not think nor am I not trying to say the universe is a sentient being.

OK, then why did you say before:

[quote author=“Entity”]This also shows that it is possible for the universe to use the creation of a galaxy to fulfill its purpose.

How is the universe going to “use” something “to fulfill its purpose” unless it is sentient, and knows that this thing is going to do the job?

You also say:

[quote author=“Entity”]I was compelled to begin this search for an alternative to contemporary religions because of the intolerance I experience in life. ... By implying awareness of the universe as our fulfillment or connection to the bigger picture is done to give humanity a sense of worth.

Which means that you have created this philosophy to make “humanity” feel better. Thanks, but I think the problem with the contemporary world is that too many people feel very good about themselves, already have a “sense of worth”; but their “sense of worth” has to do with other, similarly false, religious views. E.g., they believe that their “worth” comes from defending Jesus Christ against the Infidel.

And “awareness of the universe” is a neo-Platonic notion, thousands of years old; indeed, it is one of the foundations of early Christianity, as well as an enormous amount of New Age nonsense of the sort you are providing here.

You also say:

[quote author=“Entity”]In the end, over 100,000 years ago, it was the first human that looked into the cosmos and recognized themselves as being part of a larger existence and that is when the universe came into existence.

This is just self contradictory nonsense. If the human was already there to look up into the cosmos, the cosmos had to already be there to be seen. The human had to already be there to be doing the seeing. And all this before you claim that the universe came into existence.

So, either

(1) Nothing was there at all at time T1, and at time T2 the universe and the human popped into existence with this “recognition” ... (Which is an unbelievably silly notion, one that is the height of hubris about the powers of human thought) ... or:

(2) The universe and the human were already there, and the human became aware of the universe by “looking into the cosmos”.

But on (2), the universe came into existence some billions of years earlier.

BTW, I don’t think that humanity’s awareness of the cosmos occurred at some particular discreet time, like 7:32 AM on September 12, 70,326 BC. (It would have had to, on your picture).

Rather, humanity’s awareness of the world—and eventually the “cosmos”—occurred slowly over many millennia. Indeed, it’s still occurring now. There are many aspects of the cosmos that we are still unaware of. Of that you can be sure.

So let’s leave aside the New Agey fluff stories. They need the remedy of a recent book out by Harry Frankfurt .

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Posted: 22 October 2006 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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I guess I am having a problem separating Purpose and purpose.
I write of purpose with a little “p.” In other words purpose = reason, function, objective, intent, or use. I in know way imply that the universe knows of its purpose or is involved in accomplishing its purpose or will become aware of its completion. The universe is like a plant but bigger. Its reason, function, objective, intent, or use (purpose) is to create sustainable environments for entities to develop into knowing reasoning beings that can acknowledge the presence of existence.
Nowhere have I said that the universe is a sentient (conscious, alert, attentive, awake, responsive, or unconscious) being or has sentient values.
I appreciate the opportunity to debate!

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