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Does the universe have a purpose?
Posted: 22 October 2006 02:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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Au Revoir

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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 03:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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OK, with kudos to Jim, I’m going to slog a bit further down this barren road.

[quote author=“Entity”] 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 don’t think you appreciate the difficulty you are in. There are TWO ways that something can have a “reason, function, objective, intent, use or purpose” in your words.

#1: By being given it by a sentient creature. That’s how we give the use “doorstop” to a rock. That’s how we give the use “computer” to a mass of constructed circuits, diodes, etc. That’s how THEISTS say that the universe has a purpose.

#2: By Darwinian evolution. That’s how eyes have a function to see, or the heart the function to pump blood. They get this function by being selected for doing certain things that give fitness to the owner ... seeing clearly, pumping blood, etc.

THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. Unless you have a detailed theory of function which is as of yet unknown to philosophy or science, which I very much doubt.

So, what we are left with re. the universe is one or the other. Either on your position the universe is sentient, or it has evolved through Darwinian selection mechanisms. The latter doesn’t make any sense, and the former is what we’ve been saying all along. You are a closet theist, or engaging in New Agey obscurantism.

[quote author=“Entity”] I appreciate the opportunity to debate!

Happy to oblige. I just wish you’d try a little harder to shed some light here.

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Doug

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Posted: 22 October 2006 10:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]So, what we are left with re. the universe is one or the other. Either on your position the universe is sentient, or it has evolved through Darwinian selection mechanisms. The latter doesn’t make any sense, and the former is what we’ve been saying all along. You are a closet theist, or engaging in New Agey obscurantism.

Why do you try to insult? I am not and I take offence to your comments. This type of dialogue is used when one has nothing better to say. I only have the best of intentions and how does your apathy help. This type of counter does nothing but create antagonism within the dialogue.

Both of your analogies do not apply to my statements or should I say what I believe to be the case. Humanity is the fruit of the tree (Universe) so to speak. The nectar is our ability to become aware of our universe. Just because this concept is different from the norm does not make it incorrect or false it is just non-traditional. I find it hard to believe my little concept has created such a stir among the few that have replied. I think you wish, I would crawl back under the rock but I am willing to take the hits. Apathy is contagions and few can find the strength to shake it. I understand it is hard to change the minds of humanity when its seems so content to continue down the road it is on.
Are you more willing to accept monolithic ideologies or beliefs in a conscious universe?
A few questions for you.
1. Does the universe exist? Answer Yes.
2. Does humanity exist? Answer Yes
3. Does humanity acknowledge the existence of the universe? Answer Yes.
4. Is the universe a sentient force? Answer No.
5. Are there any known living beings in the universe that can communicate with humans that they too can acknowledge the universe as it is perceived by humanity? Answer No.

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Cosmic Cave

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Posted: 23 October 2006 12:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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[quote author=“Entity”]Why do you try to insult? I am not and I take offence to your comments. This type of dialogue is used when one has nothing better to say. I only have the best of intentions and how does your apathy help. This type of counter does nothing but create antagonism within the dialogue.

Excuse me, Entity, I was saying nothing insulting, but rather describing your position as best I could: as either theist or obscurantist. The problem is with your very obscure and elliptical style, which partly involves not answering direct questions. My attempt with more pointed rhetoric is to get you to write more clearly. If you disagree with my characterization then tell me how better to interpret your writings.

A perfect example of the problem being the following:

[quote author=“Entity”]Both of your analogies do not apply to my statements or should I say what I believe to be the case. Humanity is the fruit of the tree (Universe) so to speak. The nectar is our ability to become aware of our universe.

This is entirely vacuous. I have nothing against the occasional use of metaphor, but only if metaphor can be discharged. You, on the other hand, appear to use metaphors that have no further meaning. That makes them essentially obscurantist.

So: prove me wrong and discharge these metaphors you are using. Stop speaking in metaphor and just describe the way you see the universe.

[quote author=“Entity”]Are you more willing to accept monolithic ideologies or beliefs in a conscious universe?

Neither.

Once again, none of this answers the question I posed before: how is it that the universe has a function? What we are left with on your position is one or the other. Either the universe is sentient, or it has evolved through Darwinian selection mechanisms. The latter doesn’t make any sense, and the former is what we’ve been saying all along about your position: it is theistic.

If it is not one of these things, then please describe clearly and without the use of metaphor what it is.

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Posted: 23 October 2006 02:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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[quote author=“Entity”]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.

I have to respectfully disagree here, Entity.  Try going to a Christian website and teliing them that “God” is not a carpenter’s son who left explicit instructions about how to be “saved”, but is instead a force of nature, who only wants all of us (Christian and heathen alike) to survive and fulfill our destiny.

I can predict the answer you will get.  They will say, “what’s the point in that?”

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Posted: 23 October 2006 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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Obscurantist is used as a derogatory term in most circles. I assumed you where saying that I was writing about something that I had no knowledge.

Without metaphor: There could not be a universe without there being an agent to know it exists. The universe exists as part of nature. Because there are things that naturally appear due to the basic makeup of the universe it must be said that the universe is more than just nothing. The something is what the universe must have to become the universe. The universe is an environment with things. One of the things is an entity that can recognize it exists. The universe does not evolve in the sense you may use evolution because evolution implies mutation. The creating of the entity is as natural development (it exists because it can always exist) as the devolvement of any other form that is present in the universe. You may say that the entity must evolve on its host planet but that too is part of the overall process of creating the entity. It is good that there are some studies that can develop theories for example astrophysics is concern about the how but I am concerned about the why. Why the entity exists is to give completion to the universe. The entity is the final step in the lifecycle of the universe before it starts its journey towards it’s end. As with anything in nature, the universe comes into existence and goes out of exists. The appearance of the entity must happen for the universe to be known. Consequently, there may be many such universes however if the universe never develops to a point where it can create such an entity there would be no knowledge of it.
Now you may ask who cares if the universe existed or not… I say, we do.

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Posted: 23 October 2006 03:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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From the sidelines this discussion appears to be more about a belief in the existence of perfection than about the Universe having a purpose.

No offense to Entity but it appears to me that without a belief in perfection, Entity’s universe can have no purpose.  Entity mentions a “‘perfect’ galaxy” but I don’t know what that is.  Perhaps the Universe is nothing but Entity’s belief in perfection objectified.

The Universe is the Universe.  It isn’t perfection.  Perfection appears to be the one myth that gives legs to a lot of human enterprises, but it’s still a myth.  Either that, or every electron is perfect.

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Posted: 23 October 2006 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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[quote author=“Entity”]Obscurantist is used as a derogatory term in most circles. I assumed you where saying that I was writing about something that I had no knowledge.

It is a descriptive term of someone who makes himself deliberately vague and difficult to understand. What is partly in question with such people as who are vague is precisely whether they have knowledge of what they are speaking, or whether they are just ‘shooting the BS’, so to speak.

[quote author=“Entity”]Without metaphor: There could not be a universe without there being an agent to know it exists.

We have been over and over this one. It is clearly false as we have said many times, and yet you persist in stating it with no accompanying argument.

Further, once again you contradict yourself when you say that the universe “creates” the “entity” or knowing agent. If the unverse “creates” this “entity”, it has to be around before the “entity” exists in order to do the creating. Ergo, a universe can exist without a perceiving agent. QED.

Deliberately ignoring apparently fatal counterarguments is a worse sort of obscurantism: the sort that leads one to believe that the ideas in question are simply vacuous.

[quote author=“Entity”]Why the entity exists is to give completion to the universe. The entity is the final step in the lifecycle of the universe before it starts its journey towards it’s end.

Once again, you are deliberately ignoring counterarguments that show the universe cannot have a teleology (reason or purpose). And sorry to say but “lifecycle” is a metaphor unless you are intending to smuggle in the notion that the universe is alive which is what we all think you are trying to do ... and which amounts, as I have said many times, to a form of theism.

... Just one last thing:

[quote author=“Entity”]Consequently, there may be many such universes however if the universe never develops to a point where it can create such an entity there would be no knowledge of it.

Here you allow the possibility that there can be universes with perceiving entities within them.

This directly contradicts your initial assertion that: “There could not be a universe without there being an agent to know it exists.”

For a third time, self-contradiction is a particularly pernicious form of obscurantism, as it allows one to say everything at the same time. Saying everything is precisely the same as saying nothing.

... there may be something to what Cholla says as well. Not sure. But good to have another take on it!

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Posted: 23 October 2006 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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[quote author=“dougsmith”]We have been over and over this one. It is clearly false as we have said many times, and yet you persist in stating it with no accompanying argument.

You sure are difficult and I fail to see why you care unless you a simply trying to get my goat.
There can be no universe without an agent to be aware of it’s existence. I will say this until you kick me off if that is your plan.
There could be as many universes’ as there are stars in our universe but as far as “I know” there is no agent to be aware of such universes therefore the universes’ do not exist. There may be extraterrestrials, unicorns, or any other mythological figure but unless they have been seen by a living knowing entity they do not exist. How is that for a metaphor? Sure you can say that the universe most have been active long before humanity and that I will give you however if humanity did not come into being, answer me this Batman"Who would of known. The life cycle is natural for any thing that has presence. Atomic waste has a life cycle. You may win if you are determind to fight simply my sumantics.
How can you say that something exist if it is not known? It comes into existence when it becomes known and when the agent that knows of it, is gone so to is the awareness of the thing. With the end of humanity so to goes the way of the universe.

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Posted: 23 October 2006 05:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Posted: 23 October 2006 05:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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[quote author=“Entity”]With the end of humanity so to goes the way of the universe.

So you are an anthropic solipsist?

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Posted: 23 October 2006 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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[quote author=“Cholla”][quote author=“Entity”]With the end of humanity so to goes the way of the universe.

So you are an anthropic solipsist?

No, I do not see myself as an anthropic solipsist. However, because humans can acknowledge we can determine if something is. It does not only exist in my mind but also in the natural world.

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Posted: 23 October 2006 06:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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Yes, I am depending on the fact that all of humanity can perceive the same qualities.

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Posted: 23 October 2006 06:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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[quote author=“George Benedik”]

There can be no universe without an agent to be aware of it’s existence.

And a falling tree doesn’t make a sound unless there is somebody to hear it. Right?  :wink:

How about you tell me. Does it?

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Posted: 23 October 2006 07:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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