How Can a Soul Think Without a Brain?

Human_brain_01Consider that the more damaged or diseased our brains become, the less we can think, remember or perceive. What then happens when our brains are completely dead? Do we quit thinking altogether? What are the implications for the afterlife? Do we receive new more perfect brains of a sort? How will that affect our personality and sense of identity? Will we truly be “ourselves”. I suppose that is something to ponder with the imperfect brains we currently possess.

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Is God Supernatural?

Ludovico_Mazzolino_-_God_the_FatherIf God is supernatural, wouldn’t scientific proof of God’s existence also prove that He doesn’t exist? Consider that anything which can be proven scientifically is automatically relegated to to the realm of natural phenomenon. Is a god which is not supernatural truly a god after all? Or would it merely be considered an advanced lifeform of sorts?

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Does Perfect Order Exist?

RandomBitmapIt is true that randomness exists at a quantum level. But as all things in the universe react to one another doesn’t this make all things random to some degree? To say that “perfect” or “absolute” order exists in any system is to deny the existence of randomness which inevitably influences that system. All systems, therefore are inherently unpredictable beyond a certain point. Determinism is flawed. There is no fate or destiny which governs all events so long as even one random event can occur.

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Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood

Noahs_ArkClearly, from a purely scientific point of view, a worldwide flood did not and could not have occurred in 2348 BC. There is absolutely zero credible scientific evidence whatsoever to support this flood scenario. Not withstanding, sixty percent of American’s believe the flood occurred simply because it says so in the Bible [Genesis 6-9]. Pseudoscientific theories abound which attempt to reconcile the story with established scientific facts to no avail. We are faced with the inevitable dilemma: either science is completely wrong or the flood story is an allegorical myth.

My money is on science. I can not believe that God endowed us with our beautiful analytical minds only to forgo their use. What would be the point of that?

On the other hand, I believe that God could have caused a great flood if He so chose, but didn’t. Why would He then proceed to hide absolutely all evidence of the event? And why would he create the laws of physics in such a way to render such an event a scientific impossibility?

Was it strictly a miracle? Perhaps this bypasses science altogether. There is no need to come up with a scientific explanation if we just take “God done it” as an article of faith. However, true miracles seem to be of the coincidental variety. God rarely if ever sees fit to violate His own physical laws. That would indicate a lack of foresight on His part. God’s miracles occur, I believe, as opportune timing of otherwise natural events. But in the case of Noah’s flood, even if it did occur, it is hard to call such an otherwise horrible tragedy a “miracle”. Was it a miracle when hurricane Katrina wiped out a large part of New Orleans? Or was it a miracle when the worst tsunami in recorded history hit the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia? Hardly.

But probably one of the main reasons I don’t believe that God sent a flood to destroy mankind’s wickedness is that it obviously didn’t work. Wickedness still abounds as the Bible demonstrates almost immediately after the supposed flood. God is no fool. In His omniscience, He should have/would have known better.

What of the Bible – aren’t we as Christians supposed to take every word of it literally? Absolutely not! The Bible is chock full of metaphors, hyperbole, allegories, parables, poetry, symbolism and abstract imagery. These things are not be taken as actual scientific or historical fact but used as instructional tools. How are we to know the difference? A little common sense comes in quite handy. If  something from the Bible seems too incredibly bizarre or factually incongruous to be literally true, it probably is.

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Ant Man

Worker_ant_carrying_leafI was watching the movie, Ant Man, the other day and it got me to thinking about some simple physics. Ants are said to be extremely strong – able to lift 10 times their own weight or more. What you don’t often hear, however, is that if an ant were the size of a man, it wouldn’t even be able to stand up, let alone carry anything. This is simply due to leverage. Ant limbs are functional only at the relatively small scale. This is true of almost any creature with an exoskeleton.

What if the roles were reversed and a man were somehow shrunk to the size of an ant. Would he be able to lift 10 times his own weight? If a 6 foot tall 180 pound man were shrunk to 1/10th of an inch, all else being proportional, he would weigh only 0.005 ounces. Assuming he could lift his own weight at normal height, he would now be able to lift an amazing 4 ounces. This is about 800 times his own weight. That’s more than an 18 wheeler at his normal size! He would practically be a superman. Not only could he be able to lift incredible weights he could probably jump at least 4 feet high. This is 480 times his own height. He could clear the Empire State Building at his scale!

Endoskeletons it seems are much stronger than exoskeletons. This is probably why evolution favors endoskeletons in all the larger animals.

But before you try to figure out a way to shrink yourself and become a superman, be warned: none of your vital functions will actually work at a much reduced scale.  Human nervous and circulatory systems need to be of a certain size in order to function properly (or at all).

 

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Is It Necessary To Be a Panentheist If You Are a Theist?

2000px-Monad.svgPanentheism is basically the belief that God exists within but also transcends the universe.

According to most common theistic definition of God:
God created the universe, is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, eternal and perfect.

  • If God created the universe there would have been no place to create it other than out of and within Himself.
  • If God is infinite or omnipresent, He must exist outside the universe as the universe itself is finite.
  • If God is omnipotent or possessing of infinite power, then He must possess infinite energy. The universe contains only a finite amount of energy therefore the rest of God’s energy must exist outside of the universe.
    *If God is eternal, then He must have existed before and will continue to exist after the universe which has a beginning and an end.
    *If God is omniscient (knows everything), then His awareness must extend to all possible universes, not just this one.
    *If God is perfect, then He must exist beyond this universe as in this universe the concept of perfection is purely imaginary. In this universe alone, God is incomplete.
    *If God possesses any other infinite or absolute qualities, then he must be transcendent as infinity and absolutes do not exist in this universe.

To me, this all seems to be sufficient to make panentheism a necessity for most common theists.

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Back to the Future

2000px-Two_red_dice_01.svgSuppose you could go back in time to relive last week. Winning the lottery would be a cinch, right? Wrong. Even if you memorized the winning numbers from last week’s lottery, chances are, they would be different this time around. You see, all probabilistic outcomes are just as probabilistic when reliving the past. That is the nature of truly random probability. There is no destiny.

Why? Because by returning to the past, you entered into a completely different reality (or timeline if you prefer). This timeline shares a history with your previous reality up until the very point you returned. Then everything occurs according to the same random probability that governed the previous outcomes.  There is still a 50% chance of rain, whether or not it occurred in your last timeline. That coin flip still has a 50% chance of turning up heads. And you still have a “one in a billion” chance of winning that lottery, despite having all the “winning” numbers.

Randomness is real, whatever history you are revisiting. It is not simply a matter of not knowing all the forces at work that makes us unable to predict the future with a 100% degree of accuracy. The element of randomness in all events makes them inherently unpredictable with absolute certainty.

 

 

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I’ll Pray For You…

praying-mantis-220984_960_720Even as a Christian, I often find this phrase offensive if uninvited – especially so if there is some sort of disagreement involved. It seems to me to be just a passive-aggressive way of saying, “I’m telling God on you”.

Telling someone you know doesn’t share your particular beliefs that you will pray for them is probably the ultimate condescension. It indicates that you believe you are morally/ethically/spiritually  superior to them and have a special hotline to God they could only wish for. It gives the superficial sense that you are taking the moral high ground, when in reality you are hitting below the belt.

And when used in a disagreement, consider what you are basically going to petition God for anyway… that the person you disagree with come around to your way of thinking? Now isn’t that just the height of hubris?

I once heard an atheist say that a Christian telling him, “I will pray for you” is just as rudely obnoxious as him telling the Christian, “I will think for you”. It’s like throwing meat all over a vegetarian’s salad.

Don’t get me wrong, It is perfectly acceptable to pray for people, especially your “enemies” – but do so privately just as Jesus instructed [Matthew 6:5-6]

 

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Granular Spacetime Means Limited Possibilities

824px-Max_Planck_1933The universe is not homogenous. It is “grainy”. In other words, there is a maximum number of divisions that one can make on an imaginary clock or an imaginary ruler. The smallest possible unit of time is about about 10 to the minus 43 seconds, whereas the smallest possible unit of length is about 10 to the minus 35 meters. These are called Planck time and Planck length respectively.

Our observations therefore are like a flickering motion picture which give the illusion of fluid motion. In reality, there are “gaps” in the motion which happen too quickly for us to see. What we are actually observing is a series of “stills”.

What this means for the universe is that there not an infinite number of possible configurations of particles. There are a limited number of particles, a limited number of places and a limited number of instants in which they can exist. The possible combinations are staggeringly huge but not limitless. Barring outside intervention, everything is not possible in this universe.

One theory of the multiverse is that for every possibility there exists a universe in which that possibility exists. I have often heard an infinite number of such universes postulated but because there are only a limited number of possibilities only a limited number of universes need exist.

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Does Everyone Really Want To Go To Heaven?

maxresdefaultThere’s a popular country song that goes, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to go now.” It got me thinking about Heaven again.
If a person really believed in Heaven and that it was an infinitely better place than this Earth, how could they not want to go there immediately? Is it an instinctual fear of death, perhaps? What if death was not on the table, as in the pseudo-scriptural concept of the Rapture? Would people want to go right now in that case? Would you? If not, why not?
If one considers Heaven to be like winning the spiritual lottery why would one wish to wait? Consider having the winning lottery ticket and opting to do mundane tasks like mowing the yard, cleaning the house or even waiting until you have a day off at work to collect your prize. Most people would want to collect their winnings immediately, wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t there be an extreme sense of urgency?
Perhaps financial gain is not an appropriate analogy as there are undoubtedly those who are happy with their current financial situation. But almost everyone wishes for something better in some aspect of their existence. Why would anyone wish to postpone the realization of their most cherished desire for as long as possible? It just makes no sense to me unless:
1) They do not truly believe in Heaven;
2) They do not truly believe that Heaven is a much better place than this Earth; or
3) They are afraid they will not like Heaven as much as this Earth.
No one really knows exactly what Heaven is, so the first two are excusable for lack of imagination. As for addressing the third, Heaven, as I understand it, is a special place reserved for God’s chosen. It is God’s perfect world, infinitely better than the one in which we now reside. But unless one is unwilling to forgo sin and imperfection, Heaven might seem a bit restrictive. “No Sin Allowed,” as it were. Anyone of the third type, therefore, necessarily loves their sin(s) and imperfections more than the immediate prospect of Heaven itself.
If you are not truly eager to go to Heaven right now, if called, you might ask yourself, “which sin(s) am I unwilling to give up.”

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