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Simtropolis Religion Thread

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Welcome to the club. My detachment from the Roman Catholic Church came about through inside experience dealing with the hierarchy rather than just historical experience. I am about as agnostic as you can get these days while still professing the Christian ethic, mostly because I acquired it at my mother's knee.

Unlike many businesses that live by a corrupted golden rule of "Do unto others before they do unto you", I try to stick to the original.

As far as the existence of god is concerned, I stick to the agnostic prayer "O! god, if there is one, save my soul, if I have one." This encompasses the ineffable in one sentence.

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There is a theory that Chrisitanity, Judaism, and Islam are worshipping the same Diety. If that is indeed true, the irony would be incredible.

That's not a "theory", it's a teaching of the Muslim faith. The belief being that both the Bible and the Torah are human corruptions of Allah's (god's) previous attempts at giving his word to mankind. The Koran, meanwhile, was written down contemporarily rather than passing through oral tradition first (or so they believe, at least), and thus is said to be uncorrupted. Also why fuss is made over studying it in the original Arabic rather than a translation of it.

Most Christians and Jews, on the other hand, will object to this assertion.

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Well, considering that the Old Testament's deity was Hebrew way before turning into the Christian one... :lol:

You know, that guy called Ēl, alternatively Elohim and also known as Allah ;)

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Actually all of the monotheisms at the eastern end of the med are very jingoistic and intolerant. The creators of these faiths were largely illiterate and untraveled, so what can you expect?

Both the Torah and the Bible have oral roots, but the Torah's are much deeper. As for Mohammad, it is still a matter of faith that he was in communication with the Supreme Being that started the ball rolling.

People, especially illiterate people, facing their inevitable end will grasp at any straw. Only confidence men offer such hopes without foundation.

Every religion tries to explain the ineffable. The result, when examined in the light, turns out to be nugatory.


  Edited by A Nonny Moose  

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One thing that really challenges me as a whole is that everyone thinks they are right. The Muslims think that they are right and everyone else is wrong. The Jews think that they are right and everyone else is wrong. The buddists think they are right and everyone else is wrong. The atheists think they are right and everyone else is wrong. The agnostics just sit back and say "How could I know"?

This has led me to question myself to make sure I'm right. I'm not an agnostic because I don't really see how the universe could exist without God. There is substantial evidence for the big bang theory, such as microwave radiation that, due to red shift, would make sense. After all, we know that the universe is expanding, and of course it has caused the frequencies of the radiation of the universe to decrease from large distances. This is evidence for the big bang, but to be honest with you, while I do believe that science makes it clear the universe is expanding, I don't really find it easy to believe that the universe came together without an intelligent designer. If the big bang and evolution were responsible for the creation of the universe, the universe would have to have put itself together in decreasing entropy (disorder). In otherwords, order had to increase, and disorder had to decrease. We know that the universe is now increasing in entropy (decreasing in order). In order for the theory of evolution on a macro scale to be true, something would have had to reverse the effects of entropy. The question is, what exactly did? What reversed the pattern?

In light of that and some other things, I believe that an intelligent designer must have created the universe. Either he created it over a long period of time, or created it in some kind of an aged state (not unlikely...) but I have a hard time believing that evolution is responsible. I want to believe in something that I feel like I can trust is true. Ultimately, there's faith involved, but I took my best shot and I feel fairly confident.

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the universe would have to have put itself together in decreasing entropy (disorder). In otherwords, order had to increase, and disorder had to decrease. We know that the universe is now increasing in entropy (decreasing in order). In order for the theory of evolution on a macro scale to be true, something would have had to reverse the effects of entropy. The question is, what exactly did? What reversed the pattern?

Global entropy is increasing, yes. But that doesn't mean that local increases of entropy are impossible or even uncommon. When water with minerals dissolved in it is heated by magma and subsequently fills a cavity or fault higly structured crystals appear:

tumblr_l8uee4M0nB1qcgqs9o1_500.jpg

Heated water has way higher entropy than a highly ordered crystal though! How is that possible? Well, in fact, crystallisation does increase entropy, but not the crystal's one. It increases the surrounding material's entropy so much that it overcompensates the global entropy loss.

Neither living beings nor crystals must be seen like isolated objects, they both increase their surrounding's entropy while decreasing their own. We waste as heat and waste the vast majority of what we eat just to maintain us alive!

But does evolution go against the second law of thermodynamics?

What is more wasteful energetically, a human or a bacterium? Humans are more complex but they also have a bigger effect (as individuals) on their surroundings.

Evolution is unrelated to the origin of the universe, by the way.


  Edited by fukuda  

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the universe would have to have put itself together in decreasing entropy (disorder). In otherwords, order had to increase, and disorder had to decrease. We know that the universe is now increasing in entropy (decreasing in order). In order for the theory of evolution on a macro scale to be true, something would have had to reverse the effects of entropy. The question is, what exactly did? What reversed the pattern?

Global entropy is increasing, yes. But that doesn't mean that local increases of entropy are impossible or even uncommon. When water with minerals dissolved in it is heated by magma and subsequently fills a cavity or fault higly structured crystals appear:

tumblr_l8uee4M0nB1qcgqs9o1_500.jpg

Heated water has way higher entropy than a highly ordered crystal though! How is that possible? Well, in fact, crystallisation does increase entropy, but not the crystal's one. It increases the surrounding material's entropy so much that it overcompensates the global entropy loss.

Neither living beings nor crystals must be seen like isolated objects, they both increase their surrounding's entropy while decreasing their own. We waste as heat and waste the vast majority of what we eat just to maintain us alive!

But does evolution go against the second law of thermodynamics?

What is more wasteful energetically, a human or a bacterium? Humans are more complex but they also have a bigger effect (as individuals) on their surroundings.

Evolution is unrelated to the origin of the universe, by the way.

There appears to be so much energy in the universe that discussing a universal entropy seems irrelevant.

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The agnostics just sit back and say "How could I know"?

But they too think they are right. And agnosticism is not exclusive of any of the other views you mentioned. I am both atheist and agnostic for example.

If the big bang and evolution were responsible for the creation of the universe, ...

Evolution is certainly not responsible for the creation of the universe. The universe had been around a long, long time before life, at least on this planet, and therefore evolution, got going.

The Big Bang probably isn't responsible for the creation of the universe either for all we know. It is as far back as we know anything about, but its nature beyond that is the subject of ongoing investigation.

And entropy is not synonymous with disorder. Entropy relates to energy unavailable to do work (in the thermodynamics sense).

... the universe would have to have put itself together in decreasing entropy (disorder). In otherwords, order had to increase, and disorder had to decrease. We know that the universe is now increasing in entropy (decreasing in order). In order for the theory of evolution on a macro scale to be true, something would have had to reverse the effects of entropy. The question is, what exactly did? What reversed the pattern?

You answered that earlier in the same paragraph:

After all, we know that the universe is expanding, ...

Consider this:

A hypothetical isolated system consisting of a container filled with an ideal gas at equilibrium:

1.jpg

Double the volume of the container:

2.jpg

The gas (and therefore the rotational and translational energy of its particles) can now expand, and it does:

3.jpg

Now, the energy in the system in image 1 could not spread out any further, i.e. entropy is high. In image 2 the container is expanded, and the energy can now disperse more widely (i.e. entropy can now increase further, image 3). So even though entropy is high in the first image, the expansion of the container in image 2 allows entropy to increase further.

You said it yourself. The universe is expanding.

See this link for more information on what entropy is about: A Student’s Approach to the Second Law and Entropy

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There appears to be so much energy in the universe that discussing a universal entropy seems irrelevant.

The whole shtick of lowering local entropy while increasing global one is what allowed and drove into being galaxies and astral bodies. It is not as irrelevant as it seems at lower magnifications ^_^


  Edited by fukuda  

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I do not disagree with you on that. And it is not just on an astronomical level that it is important.

Awesome picture by the way.

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I was writing my message when you posted yours (check the respective times when both messages were sent). It was in fact a reply to moose's post. Let me edit my post.

Hey, it also allowed me not to break the 2 post rule, even though I'm doing it right now :uhm:

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Fukuda, there is an edit button, and if you need to you can even precede each comment with an appropriate quote.

However, I fail to see what discussing entropy has to do with faith. Thermodynamics is not up in the air any more, I believe, and this is not a matter of faith. As far as I can tell, the only item of faith in science is Schroedinger's cat.

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We do know that when energy spreads out, as in when entropy increases, that disorder increases. Yes, at a micro scale, entropy can decrease, but on a macro scale, entropy is increasing. We are left with the question of what exactly was supposed to cause entropy to decrease.

We know that the universe is expanding, but if the big bang were responsible for that, we should see entropy increasing because the universe is expanding. Hypothetically, at the time of the big bang, there was this singularity where there was an enormous amount of matter in this tiny point. Some kind of matter or energy of some unknown form would have existed beforehand, but not how we know it today. Then it all explodes out and forms the universe, expanding. It would hypothetically take another 300,000+ years for the universe to expand enough for stable atoms to even form. That would be expected, but we see increasing order on a macro scale. Supposedly, hydrogen atoms started to form, then stars, etc..., then galaxies around supermassive black holes, etc... We are seeing increasing order. What do we see today, though? What we are actually seeing today is decreasing order. Something must have happened at some point in the history of the universe to reverse the pattern. What could that have been?

That's a pressing question that challenges weather the universe actually evolved without something supernatural. Some people would despise me for taking what they call the "God card", but even from a scientific point of view, it actually makes good sense in the way that I see it. There must have been something powerful in the universe. Whatever that is, it must have been responsible for a lot in the universe.

That still leaves many questions unanswered, and those questions can be scary to face, even for me. I have built a defense for my faith and feel fairly confident. As I've said before, there is faith involved, and we can't be completely certain on many things, but I feel fairly confident. (Please don't take this as an attack of beliefs, but rather as me just sharing mine with you as you are sharing yours with me. )

Also, once again, please forgive me if it takes time for me to respond at times. I am very busy and I've been trying to ease back into many things I couldn't do several months back. Anyway, I'm glad to be back into this again. :)


  Edited by blakesterville  

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We do know that when energy spreads out, as in when entropy increases, that disorder increases. Yes, at a micro scale, entropy can decrease, but on a macro scale, entropy is increasing. We are left with the question of what exactly was supposed to cause entropy to decrease.

Entropy never decreased.

We know that the universe is expanding, but if the big bang were responsible for that, we should see entropy increasing because the universe is expanding. Hypothetically, at the time of the big bang, there was this singularity where there was an enormous amount of matter in this tiny point. Some kind of matter or energy of some unknown form would have existed beforehand, but not how we know it today. Then it all explodes out and forms the universe, expanding. It would hypothetically take another 300,000+ years for the universe to expand enough for stable atoms to even form. That would be expected, but we see increasing order on a macro scale. Supposedly, hydrogen atoms started to form, then stars, etc..., then galaxies around supermassive black holes, etc... We are seeing increasing order.

No, we're not. You're ignoring the fact that as those things happen, they release waste energy. You can't ignore the waste energy when figuring out what's happening to the entropy.

That's a pressing question that challenges weather the universe actually evolved without something supernatural. Some people would despise me for taking what they call the "God card", but even from a scientific point of view, it actually makes good sense in the way that I see it.

Speaking as a scientist, it makes very little sense from a scientific point of view.

There must have been something powerful in the universe. Whatever that is, it must have been responsible for a lot in the universe.

The powerful thing that's responsible for a lot in the universe is called gravity. We can explain how that works pretty well.

That still leaves many questions unanswered, and those questions can be scary to face, even for me. I have built a defense for my faith and feel fairly confident. As I've said before, there is faith involved, and we can't be completely certain on many things, but I feel fairly confident.

Care to share what the questions are? We'll see if we can answer them.

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We do know that when energy spreads out, as in when entropy increases, that disorder increases.

Actually we don't. As mentioned earlier, disorder is not entropy, and entropy is not disorder. At least not in the ordinary sense that most people would understand "order".

We are left with the question of what exactly was supposed to cause entropy to decrease.

As Astronelson said, it didn't decrease. "Prior" to the big bang, even if entropy was at a "maximum" (the maximum allowed by that form of the universe) then the expansion of the universe resulted in the maximum allowable entropy of the universe to increase, so that what was there prior was no longer at a maximum. There was "space" or capacity for entropy to further increase, not by decreasing the entropy, but by increasing the maximum limit allowed. But since the universe keeps expanding, that allowed maximum keeps increasing. It is like relieving a demand cap in SC4 by placing parks. With the placing of each park, the maximum allowable limit of sims in your city is raised, allowing your city to continue to grow.

... but if the big bang were responsible for that, we should see entropy increasing...

We do. As far as we know, at the level of the universe (under ordinary physics), when all is taken into account, nothing is observed to violate this. Not life itself, not the formation of stars or galaxies, nor anything else we've seen, at least on a universal level. When you take all factors into account in these processes, the level of entropy in the universe increases. If it doesn't, then you are probably not taking all the factors into account (i.e. you are probably only looking at the system and not its surroundings and the energy/matter flow between the system and its surroundings, or you are only looking at a part of the system).

Locally however, as Fukuda pointed out, it is possible for local decrease in entropy to occur by natural processes, but you will always find that entropy elsewhere has increased by a greater amount, giving a net increase in entropy overall. There is nothing very mysterious about this, and nothing about biology or evolution violates this. You just have to take all factors into account.

(Please don't take this as an attack of beliefs, but rather as me just sharing mine with you as you are sharing yours with me. )

Also, once again, please forgive me if it takes time for me to respond at times. I am very busy and I've been trying to ease back into many things I couldn't do several months back. Anyway, I'm glad to be back into this again. :)

Its ok, we are all just having a friendly discussion here. Most people here know from experience that RL has to take priority and sometimes people can't respond straight away.

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If God created the Universe, and we are all created in God's image, why are there Holy Wars?

To quote some twelfth or thirteenth century pope "Deus vult" (God wills it.)

All "holy wars" are unholy. War is formalized murder, and all religions tend to forbid murder in general. Besides, only the cannon fodder gets killed, not the people who cause wars. Hitler was an exception, and he shot himself while crunching a cyanide capsule. (Believed in insurance.)

People who foment war should be locked in a dark room with their opposite numbers. A single Roman gladius should be tossing in. Whoever survives should be executed for murder.

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If God created the Universe, and we are all created in God's image, why are there Holy Wars?

Whoever survives should be executed for murder.

Would not that itself be murder?

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If God created the Universe, and we are all created in God's image, why are there Holy Wars?

Whoever survives should be executed for murder.

Would not that itself be murder?

"If thy eye offend thee, pluck it out."

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I think the execution for murder is not murder. It is done for murderer's benefit and for benefit of whole humanity, I think death forgives and frees the human soul. I think being rest of life in prison like Alcatraz is only slow, tyrannical execution. Fast death is generally better.

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Now that I am older, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with sending proven offenders to god(?) for judgment. The final arbiter is reputed to be impartial.

However, I am against incarceration for endless appeals. I believe sentences should be carried out immediately if not sooner, and the legal arguments can be made later. Sitting on death row is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. A couple of quick taps with a .22 are very final.

This rule should make prosecutors a lot more careful. If you kill the wrong guy, the next guy to go is the prosecutor who didn't do his job and condemned the victim.


  Edited by A Nonny Moose  

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Now that I am older, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with sending proven offenders to god(?) for judgment. The final arbiter is reputed to be impartial.

However, I am against incarceration for endless appeals. I believe sentences should be carried out immediately if not sooner, and the legal arguments can be made later. Sitting on death row is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. A couple of quick taps with a .22 are very final.

This rule should make prosecutors a lot more careful. If you kill the wrong guy, the next guy to go is the prosecutor who didn't do his job and condemned the victim.

Totally agree with this view. Sex crime, do no time, chop off the offending appendage and send them on their way. Take a life, lose your life. Rob a bank, chop off their dominant hand.

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Now that I am older, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with sending proven offenders to god(?) for judgment. The final arbiter is reputed to be impartial.

However, I am against incarceration for endless appeals. I believe sentences should be carried out immediately if not sooner, and the legal arguments can be made later. Sitting on death row is a form of cruel and unusual punishment. A couple of quick taps with a .22 are very final.

This rule should make prosecutors a lot more careful. If you kill the wrong guy, the next guy to go is the prosecutor who didn't do his job and condemned the victim.

Totally agree with this view. Sex crime, do no time, chop off the offending appendage and send them on their way. Take a life, lose your life. Rob a bank, chop off their dominant hand.

You assume, falsely, that all sex offenders are male. What do you suggest when there is no "appendage"? Frankly, I am only interested in eliminating killers from the gene pool. I don't plan to support all the cripples your rule would create.

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Now that I am older, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with sending proven offenders to god(?) for judgment.

And if there isn't one well there goes that plan then. Personally I prefer any offenders are punished right here on earth, where we can be sure its done.

The final arbiter is reputed to be impartial.

And on what basis is this known? Why does a god have to be impartial just because he/she/it is a god? Who says any such being will be doing any judging at all? If it is yours who doesn't have any interest in the universe now, then again there isn't going to be much judging or punishment happening. And the Christian God specifically says he is a vengeful god, so I doubt there's much impartiality there even though there would be plenty of judgement and punishment happening by all accounts there.

And, in the case of particularly violent offenders, why would I want to give them a punishment they won't feel for more than the time it takes to accomplish it? I'd rather they suffer for their acts over a long time.

Agreed. Punishment should always be proportional to the offence.

I think that that is a dangerous way of thinking. Absolutely NO government should have the right to kill its citizens.

Definitely agreed. And as the saying goes, an eye for an eye just leaves everyone blind.

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Totally agree with this view. Sex crime, do no time, chop off the offending appendage and send them on their way. Take a life, lose your life. Rob a bank, chop off their dominant hand.

We'll let them regrow the lost appendages or limbs if proven non-guilty. Oh, wait... Where's my lazarus toolkit?

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