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Why There Almost Certainly Is a God, By Keith Ward - Comments

ridelo's Avatar Comment 1 by ridelo

Sorry, but I will not buy the book. Being an atheist is too comfortable.

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 23:45:00 UTC | #242283

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 2 by Diacanu


More quantum mumbo-jumbo.

More God of the gaps.


Sat, 27 Sep 2008 23:48:00 UTC | #242285

root2squared's Avatar Comment 3 by root2squared

Part II will be "Why the God is almost certainly Jesus, and not Krishna, Buddha, or Muhammad (At least we haven't reached the point where typing His name will get us killed)

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 23:50:00 UTC | #242287

Pyrion's Avatar Comment 4 by Pyrion

Dawkins' blazing polemic? Dawkins can write funny, but its not just polemic. The fact that the quantum world is hard to understand does not make god one bit more likely.

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 23:54:00 UTC | #242289

Thor'Ungal's Avatar Comment 5 by Thor'Ungal

This is somewhat too obvious to bother mentioning but how is introducing a god into the mix making the problem simpler. We currently have a world that because of the way it is we can talk about it. We aren't sure of all it's rules but we've made and are making progress. The proposal is that we introduce an intelligent entity of the type we know took billions of years to evolve here (only this one's bigger, better and invisible) and place it at the beginning of the universe. Now we don't just have allot of fantastically difficult scientific problems to solve. We have a vastly more inexplicable entity with properties seemingly plucked from thin air and stated truth. And they whinge about us speculating.

By the way, what exactly is wrong with simply saying that yea, if the universe were different then we wouldn't be here to talk about it. Isn't it a bit egocentric to believe that life or even human beings were the purpose for the big bang???

To it I say Bah,


Edit: clarification

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 23:55:00 UTC | #242291

Quine's Avatar Comment 6 by Quine

<!-- Be sure tags are closed -->Bring it. The nature of matter is what we find out from evidence. What is not known about the quantum level is not evidence of the supernatural. Sounds like the author does not know materialism from worship of dress fabric.

Sat, 27 Sep 2008 23:57:00 UTC | #242293

the way's Avatar Comment 7 by the way

"What is the point of being a materialist when we are not sure exactly what matter is?"

What entangles us now may very well be unravelled in the future.
Another "gap" will be closed.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:02:00 UTC | #242294

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 8 by Laurie Fraser

Excuse me, but I'm trying as hard as I can to stop yawning.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:03:00 UTC | #242295

Oystein Elgaroy's Avatar Comment 9 by Oystein Elgaroy

To paraphrase, what is the point of being a theist when we are not exactly sure what god is? Whatever matter is, we can be pretty sure that it exists. The same cannot be said for supernatural entities.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:04:00 UTC | #242297

alabasterocean's Avatar Comment 10 by alabasterocean

Well, I try equally hard to disprove bored fleas at the quantum level.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:17:00 UTC | #242311

Stormkahn's Avatar Comment 11 by Stormkahn

yada yada yada gap yada yada

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:23:00 UTC | #242316

hyperdeath's Avatar Comment 12 by hyperdeath

Ward seems to be one of Dawkins's more informed critics. He's read the God Delusion's table of contents, which easily puts him in the top ten percent.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:31:00 UTC | #242324

The Hogfather's Avatar Comment 13 by The Hogfather

I have said it before and I will say it again, I actually think a Quantum Mechanical argument (albeit a tentative one) can be made in the opposite direction.

I don't think that the following argument is comprehensive by any stretch, even so I think it would be an interesting thing to point out to a believer using the quantum world as an argument.

Here is my argument from an old post of mine (watered down a bit):-

Firstly, because of "Heisingbergs Uncertainty Pricipal" (HUP)- it is true to say that nobody (including God) can have complete knowledge of a quantum system, for example one can know the position of a fundamental particle but the more knowledge we have about the position the less we can possibly know about another property, say velocity. This immediately scuppers the idea of an all-knowing God, but we have barely started yet. Now if God had to create the first particle (which constituted the entire universe) and assign the correct properties to the particle sized universe to ensure that it expanded in the way desired (to mention nothing of his plan for how matter was created etc...), then isn't HUP going to cause him a few problems. I might even go as far as to say that the universe is completely "undesignable" (in the sense that the end result of the initial creation could not have been completely predicted). But even if God had a way of getting around HUP, isn't he deliberately making it harder work for himself! What sort of designer would create something out of basic building blocks that were inherently unpredictable!

Secondly, Imagine that we are analysing a "Atheist Universe" and lets ask ourselves what properties we can expect this Atheist universe to have if it did indeed harbor life. Two properties spring to mind for me- The first is some sort of self-structuring capacity- clearly the universe we are in has this, Darwinian evolution is the best example of this. But the second property would be some sort of self-creating capacity (although this could apply to either the universe or to a larger framework such as the multiverse). For me, the sheer weirdness of the very small subatomic world, also hints at the existence of this second property in our universe. After all on the subatomic level particles (and their associated anti-particles) are constantly appearing out of nowhere and then disappearing again- the only condition that they need to abide by is that there can only exist for a very small time period. Now we could have quite easily have found ourselves in a clockwork Newtonian universe, whereby everything operates by classical laws. Presumably, the classically governed universe would have been the easiest for a God to have built, yet he didn't build it this way!

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:35:00 UTC | #242329

RainDear's Avatar Comment 14 by RainDear

It's important not to consider Richard Dawkins too much of an authority figure in this business of being contentedly godless. But still, all these questions concerning the concept of an Einsteinian God or the mysteries of quantum theory are very clearly and eloquently addressed in TGD. Apparently Keith Ward or Laurence Phelan have either not read or not understood those chapters.

It's amazing how some people find it so easy to make the logical jump from "The Universe is mysterious and there are some great forces at work" to "Therefore, there must be a personal God and Jesus is the Lord".

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:43:00 UTC | #242339

Darwin's badger's Avatar Comment 15 by Darwin's badger

Kent Brockman: "Miss Simpson, how can you maintain your skepticism in spite of the fact that this thing really looks like an angel?"

That's about the level we're dealing with here.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:47:00 UTC | #242344

Nick LaRue's Avatar Comment 16 by Nick LaRue

I think one day I might read one of these books just for the humourous side of it if nothing else. But yes they are getting a bit much now aren't they? I'm really getting over the whole religious thing. Might have something to do with the US election.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:51:00 UTC | #242348

Swordmaiden's Avatar Comment 17 by Swordmaiden

Okay, cards on the table; I have to admit that I do rather support the Sam Harris stand-point in that I do not discount the possibility of things yet to be understood which involve the possible existence of other "dimensions" which could one day prove that our individual consciousness does survive death and that there could be a common "life force" which binds us all at a non-physical level (sorry long sentence there).
Okay stop shouting at me...I can hear you from here.....BUT....however much I would like this to be so, it still has absoloutley NOTHING to do with a supreme being or deity.
IF animals operate in any non-physical consciousness, either while we are alive in the form of psychic phenomena or after life, I still fail to see why that should be any business of religion or god.
I would happily read this new book to explore the possibilities, or not, but the fact that it still insists on a deity makes it all null and void and rather dull.
Okay you can start shouting at me now.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:58:00 UTC | #242355

defaithed's Avatar Comment 18 by defaithed

Ward's "intellectually intriguing" line makes him sound like just another flea easily brushed off by a moment of reason.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the simplistic depiction of "materialists" sounds like a straw man. His materialist: "I am convinced that the universe is made of simple, classical matter alone... What? Quantum physics? Aiiieee, my world view is destroyed! I am adrift, and can only turn now to the supernatural!"

No. At least not where any sane scientist (or other rationalist) is concerned. For these people, EVIDENCE, not an "ism", is everything. Rationalists are "materialist" only to the extent that a "materialist world-view" agrees with evidence. Show real evidence to support the quantum modification to that world-view, and "materialists" have no problem with accepting it.

Meanwhile, theology *still* has given us evidence of precisely nothing.

Fer cryin' out loud, it's the *scientists*, not the religionists, who sought and discovered and are proving the concepts and evidence behind quantum physics. What nutcase would suggest that this overturns science and supports religious fantasy? (Answer: Keith Ward.)

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:06:00 UTC | #242361

oasis-al-reason's Avatar Comment 19 by oasis-al-reason

university's former Regius Professor of Divinity

Says it all doesn't it.

By the way hyperdeath , you're overgenerous in crediting the good professor with reading the table of contents - seems he only got down to the fourth chapter.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:14:00 UTC | #242368

Vaal's Avatar Comment 20 by Vaal

Ah, Quantum God now, is it? Can't recall any mention of quantum physics in the Bible. The insipid Abrahamic desert God was restricted to burning the odd bush, moving some water about, and murdering innocent Egyptian children, whom I presume were also supposed to be Gods children. Not very impressive for Quantum God, is it?

So, is Quantum God the despotic, worship-obsessed, egotistical, violent, personality-disordered, psychotic small-minded Jewish God, or is he some sort of new God of the gaps to fit the shrinking arguments of the flea authors?

Maybe he is Q?

EDIT: Man, that Emperor must be freezing!

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:20:00 UTC | #242370

Swordmaiden's Avatar Comment 21 by Swordmaiden

....and another thing.....why is it these people want to give a god credit for everything?
When did god last perform a heart transplant?

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:23:00 UTC | #242372

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 22 by Cluebot

As has been pointed out before, even the finest minds in science have often ended up looking foolish when they invoke God to fill the gaps in their understanding. This happens when those who come after them find rational explanations.

Neil deGrasse Tyson did a great expose on this in his talk "The Perimeter of Ignorance" at Beyond Belief '06. It's at the start of session 2 here:

Perhaps quantum strangeness will be the exception, but history suggests invoking the God of the gaps is just a bad move every time - a declaration you've given up; an engine of ignorance.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:27:00 UTC | #242374

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 23 by mordacious1

"Ward has said that Dawkins's conclusion that there is no God or any purpose in the universe is "naive" and not based on science but on a hatred for religion. Professor Dawkins's strong anti-religious views originate, according to Ward, from earlier encounters with "certain forms of religion which are anti-intellectual and anti-scientific .. and also emotionally pressuring."

This is one reason that this guy is a (fill in blank).

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:32:00 UTC | #242377

oasis-al-reason's Avatar Comment 24 by oasis-al-reason

Ward uses one of science's finest achievements - the discovery of the bizarre quantum world - as a weapon with which to undermine the materialist world-view championed by Dawkins

So when the LHC discovers zrillions of sub-atomics particles we'll have that many god-o-ye-gaps to answer. Damn!

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:35:00 UTC | #242379

JammyB's Avatar Comment 25 by JammyB

"but Ward only needs you to concede that his "God hypothesis" is simpler to have exposed a chink in Dawkins' armour."

Ward only has to have me concede that conjuring up a being of infinite complexity, mystery, and with zero evidence, is a simple explanation that rivals evidence-based quantum mechanics. Good luck with that.

Great to see the religionists have now pushed their god so far back that he now resides and interacts somewhere around the planck length.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:36:00 UTC | #242380

root2squared's Avatar Comment 26 by root2squared

This is one reason that this guy is a (fill in blank).

Can't fill 'em all on this page, far less one blank.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:37:00 UTC | #242383

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 27 by Cluebot

This is one reason that this guy is a (fill in blank).

Many things could go in here, but the first I'd volunteer is "hypocrite". Calling someone naive and unscientific, then pulling a theory of someone else's motivations out of your posterior... it's breathtaking.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:45:00 UTC | #242386

Bertybob's Avatar Comment 28 by Bertybob

Imposing "God did it", certainly is simpler to get your head around than Quantum Physics.

This is just the "you don't know how or why, so "God did it". It's much simpler than your current hypothesis so it must be true".


Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:46:00 UTC | #242387

oasis-al-reason's Avatar Comment 29 by oasis-al-reason

Hmmm, lets see. Quantum physics, computers, SQRT(-1)= 'i', Complex Numbers. Hey I just got it - God is just too COMPLEX for us simple atheists to know. Only Regius Professor of Divinity can truly know him!

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:51:00 UTC | #242388

emmet's Avatar Comment 30 by emmet

I do not discount the possibility of things yet to be understood which involve the possible existence of other "dimensions" which could one day prove that our individual consciousness does survive death and that there could be a common "life force" which binds us all at a non-physical level

If you can't discount that load of unmitigated codswallop, you can't very well discount the god bollocks either. I don't believe in gods because there is no evidence for gods. I don't believe in cockamamie mystical life-force mumbo-jumbo because there is no evidence for that either. When you find some evidence, I'm quite prepared to reevaluate my position on gods, leprechauns, or mystical bullshit.

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 01:59:00 UTC | #242391