1152: "Communion"

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mike-l
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:07 pm UTC

Crosshair wrote:
mike-l wrote:Noone's calling for persecution here.


Never said that, was just adding some other historical nuggets to the thread. Sorry for the confusion.

I was more responding to the original quote, which I somehow missed in the thread. I kept yours in because you were lending in credence.
Which explains the open hostility to it by so many. Ever been on a University campus?
I've spent over a decade on university campuses. I've seen some hostility for sure during that time, directed at pretty much everybody. But by and large, the hostility I've seen towards Christianity has been in response to unsolicited evangelicism. The hostility I've seen FROM christians, on the other hand, is pervasive everywhere, not just on university campuses, and is even enshrined in law, whereby 7 states forbid atheists from holding public office.

Anyway, here are just two bits of evidence,

1. The origin of the universe, and time and space itself, a finite time ago from literally nothing. This has been definitively proven by the 2003 Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem and disproves the atheistic response of a multiverse.
BGV has nothing to do with multiverse. It says that almost all inflationary theories will have a finite past. Multiverse is about lots of simultaneously existing universes with different constants. BGV even talks about the multiverse possibility, saying only that in that case as well there must be a finite past.

Anyway, on to the actual argument. Short answer is, we don't know. But saying 'we don't know, therefore GOD' is an unfounded leap, intellectually dishonest, and impedes the quest for knowledge. And the quest to understand such things is what allowed us to make the computer you're reading on.

Longer answer is in a few parts. First, in our current understanding of physics, matter can spontaneously create itself. Essentially gravity is negative energy, and matter is energy a la Einstein, so as long as the gravity created exactly balances the matter created, the net change is 0. Here's a quote by Stephen Hawking
SH wrote:Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.The universe didn't need a God to begin; it was quite capable of launching its existence on its own,
Second, we can test whether the universe as we know it is consistent with a universe that spontaneously created itself. Namely, that the total energy should be exactly 0. This is hard to measure, but we're working on it, and it's looking that way. Now of course this doesn't prove anything, it just fails to disprove it.

Thirdly, time didn't exist 'before' the big bang, it came into existence with it, and therefore so did causality. So questions like 'what caused the big bang' or 'what was before the big bang' make no sense on their face.

2. The Fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life. I recommend the book "Just Six Numbers" by atheist astrophysicist Martin Rees. Rees concedes towards the end of the book that the only two live options to explain the fine tuning are a multiverse or a diety. The book came out before the BGV theorem so I am interested in what he thinks about the falsification of the multiverse hypothesis.
This argument is essentially a sentient puddle thinking how well suited it's environment is to its shape. We adapt to our universe, not the otherway around. And if the conditions weren't right, we wouldn't be here to notice. The universe may have come into existence and died gazillions of times and failed to produce life, we only get to observe the successes.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Rotherian » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:28 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:You can find the PDF version of the paper here

Sadly, I have no time now to address this debate right now. But I shall come back to this topic somewhere in the next few days.


Thanks. Going to read it now (despite the dirty looks I keep getting from my wife).
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Bill Jefferys » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

I can't figure out how to post a new topic, so this will have to do.

A friend of mine has an iPad; is there any way that she can do a "mouseover" on an iPad and see the hidden message? Just touching and holding the screen does not work.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

Crosshair wrote:1. The origin of the universe, and time and space itself, a finite time ago from literally nothing. This has been definitively proven by the 2003 Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem

Even if we grant that...

and disproves the atheistic response of a multiverse.

How does that accomplish this?

Why would the universe having a definite beginning mean that a multiverse is impossible?
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Rotherian » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:20 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Why would the universe having a definite beginning mean that a multiverse is impossible?


I agree. That is (to me) like saying that every weather projection should result in the same outcome just because they start with the same initial set of conditions.
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mike-l
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Fri Dec 28, 2012 8:21 pm UTC

Also, it's worth noting that what the paper actually says is basically 'if our current understanding of the universe is accurate in the following ways, and at all times in history it's been that way as well, then there's a 100% chance of there only being finite history". We may well be wrong about those assumptions. Science is constantly updating itself, and the nature of the universe is one where there are numerous possibilities where we haven't figured out a way to test them yet. Also, 100% chance doesn't mean certainty. Pick a random real number between 0 and 1. There's a 100% chance that you didn't pick the number you did.

But yes, current scientific knowledge tells us that the universe had a start. This isn't novel, the big bang theory is the predominant theory of that start, it was written down in 1929 and has been thoroughly tested.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Crosshair » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:04 am UTC

Rotherian wrote:#1. You wouldn't happen to have a direct link to that paper, would you? I found plenty of sites that referenced it (about an even number of those that use it to prove your stance and those that use it to disprove your stance), but I couldn't find the link to the actual paper (so that I can read it and draw my own conclusions from what it states rather than what someone else thinks it states).


I did come across a pdf at one point in time, but like an idiot I didn't save it and I am not sure if it was the right one anyway. Here is a good short video of Alexander Vilenkin explaining his theory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOyQFkB1AGM

What I can give in greater detail is the impossibility of an infinite regress and the need for an uncaused cause to prevent one. (The multiverse doesn't solve the problem of an infinite regress, but some people claim it does.)

Hilbert's Hotel and Infinity
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lobeX6ft6PA

#2. I will try to find a copy of that book before I state any conclusions about what the book entails. But this is my current stance, based on admittedly incomplete knowledge. Although the likelihood of an anthropic universe occurring spontaneously is extremely small, that does not (in itself) disqualify that possibility from occurring.


While technically correct, holding to such a view takes a larger leap of faith than believing in a deity. If you were put in front of a firing squad of 1,000 marksman and, when the order is given to fire, all the marksman miss, what is the most reasonable explanation? That all the marksman accidently missed or because someone intended for all of them to miss? What if you increase the number of marksman to several trillion, still a small number vs the degree of fine tuning, and all of them miss? Are you still going to believe in chance?

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Sir Garlon » Sat Dec 29, 2012 1:09 am UTC

roflfiend wrote:Christians, there's no need to be so butthurt about the comic. I don't actually know Randall personally but I doubt that he "hates you because you go to church" or whatever.


If he doesn't hate Christians, he picked a strange way to show it.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby addams » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:06 am UTC

Any Christian not laughing at the dark humor needs to find a more serious Church.

God walks the Earth as a man and ya'll kill him; Every time?

Nay. If any of it is true, then he has GOT to get away in some Universe.

Besides; I have a problem with capital punishment for MY sins. I'm, just, not that bad.

When Religion works for warm fuzzy midnight Mass and quiet conversations about Go od Will Toward Mankind, then I like it.

Stranger in a Strange Land?
It is the perfect time of year to consider. Did we get the right guy, this time?
This time is a time of state sponsored torture and murder.
This is a time of suffering, cold and loneliness.
This is a time of common people dancing in the streets promptd by news of an old mystic man's death.

A little dark humor is welcome, to me. I think it is funny.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Pfhorrest » Sat Dec 29, 2012 3:13 am UTC

Crosshair wrote:What I can give in greater detail is the impossibility of an infinite regress and the need for an uncaused cause to prevent one.

Good luck with that.

(The multiverse doesn't solve the problem of an infinite regress, but some people claim it does.)

Who claims this and where? The multiverse is an answer to the implausibility of a fine-tuned universe, and other such anthropic problems. I've never heard anyone propose that it solves the problem of an infinite regress (of causes, I presume you mean; there are other kinds of infinite regress), and it's not obviously clear how one would formulate such an argument.


The argument presented here, like most arguments against "actual infinities" I've seen, is just an intuition pump about our poor intuitive grasp of infinities. He practically says "This is how it would work if there were an actual infinity. The math works our perfectly and it makes fine logical sense, but it's really weird! Therefore it can't happen." He dismisses the accusation I just made, that the apparent absurdity is due to our poor intuition about infinities, by pointing out that the math works and it makes fine logical sense; but the point of the accusation is not that "we" the mathematically knowledgeable are unable to reason about infinities, but that "our" common every day intuitions about how things work break when dealing with infinities, because we're used to dealing with finite things, and infinite things work very differently. That doesn't make them impossible, just unfamiliar.

To quote Wikipedia:

Wikipedia wrote:These cases constitute a paradox not in the sense that they entail a logical contradiction, but in the sense that they demonstrate a counter-intuitive result that is provably true: the statements "there is a guest to every room" and "no more guests can be accommodated" are not equivalent when there are infinitely many rooms.

It goes on in that manner, click the quote link.

All that aside: if that argument did stand, it would stand equally against the possibility of an infinite future, against the possibility of infinite space, or against the possibility of continuous time or space (as a continuous subdivision of a finite extent still gives you an infinity of parts). It would require that space and time both have well-defined finite edges and are made up of integer multiples of irreducibly small units. It bites off a lot more than just "time had a beginning", and opens up a lot more opportunities for empirical disproof.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:22 am UTC

Sir Garlon wrote:
roflfiend wrote:Christians, there's no need to be so butthurt about the comic. I don't actually know Randall personally but I doubt that he "hates you because you go to church" or whatever.


If he doesn't hate Christians, he picked a strange way to show it.

Using humor to point out the absurdity of a belief does not amount to hatred of those holding the belief. My friend thinks insects aren't animals. I make fun of him for it. I don't hate him for it.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Rotherian » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:51 am UTC

Crosshair wrote:While technically correct, holding to such a view takes a larger leap of faith than believing in a deity. If you were put in front of a firing squad of 1,000 marksman and, when the order is given to fire, all the marksman miss, what is the most reasonable explanation? That all the marksman accidently missed or because someone intended for all of them to miss? What if you increase the number of marksman to several trillion, still a small number vs the degree of fine tuning, and all of them miss? Are you still going to believe in chance?


The most reasonable explanation is that the marksmen need to reevaluate their training in the proper operation of firearms. A fluke of that magnitude isn't going to convince me either way about the existence (or absence) of a prime creator, it will just convince me that they lack sufficient training. And yes, I still believe that there are many unlikely events that do end up actually occurring, so chance is a factor.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Dryhad » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:05 am UTC

mike-l wrote:
Sir Garlon wrote:
roflfiend wrote:Christians, there's no need to be so butthurt about the comic. I don't actually know Randall personally but I doubt that he "hates you because you go to church" or whatever.


If he doesn't hate Christians, he picked a strange way to show it.

Using humor to point out the absurdity of a belief does not amount to hatred of those holding the belief. My friend thinks insects aren't animals. I make fun of him for it. I don't hate him for it.

Also Randall didn't point out the absurdity in any actual belief (he arguably pointed out the absurdity in the fictional belief of the girl in the comic). As has been previously stated, it's a standard comic technique to have a setup suggesting one interpretation (communion) but then a punchline showing that it was actually something completely unrelated (cannibalism). But because there's a religious connection in the setup, people fly into a mindless rage for no reason.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:58 am UTC

Dryhad wrote:Also Randall didn't point out the absurdity in any actual belief (he arguably pointed out the absurdity in the fictional belief of the girl in the comic)
Well, the belief of the girl in the comic (at least in the first 2 panels) is exactly the belief of the Catholic church, so I wouldn't really call it fictional.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mathmannix » Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:
SerialTroll wrote:Yes, the comic is flamebait, I would have expected more from Randall. But your understanding of the term "Christian" is quite wrong. go read Acts 11:26

See also Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. The latter verse is particularly important from a historical perspective.

That said, I personally thought the comic was just silliness. But then, I'm the sort of Catholic who thought that Dogma was all sorts of awesome.


Up-vote! After being apart from the blagosphere for most of the last week, I just checked in here to see if the record had to be set straight; glad to see this has already been taken care of. Carry on.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby addams » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:05 am UTC

I think the most reasonable explanation is all of the shooters did not want to hit the Mark.
A faith in an exterior God could cause that.

Rotherian wrote:
Crosshair wrote:While technically correct, holding to such a view takes a larger leap of faith than believing in a deity. If you were put in front of a firing squad of 1,000 marksman and, when the order is given to fire, all the marksman miss, what is the most reasonable explanation? That all the marksman accidently missed or because someone intended for all of them to miss? What if you increase the number of marksman to several trillion, still a small number vs the degree of fine tuning, and all of them miss? Are you still go
ing to believe in chance?


The most reasonable explanation is that the marksmen need to reevaluate their training in the proper operation of firearms. A fluke of that magnitude isn't going to convince me either way about the existence (or absence) of a prime creator, it will just convince me that they lack sufficient training. And yes, I still believe that there are many unlikely events that do end up actually occurring, so chance is a factor.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:51 am UTC

There are two basic possibilities about the chain of causation that leads to our current universe - either there is an infinite regress - that is, every cause was itself caused by a prior cause - or there is (at least) one uncaused cause that kicked everything off. Neither is intuitively appealing - our intuition isn't set up to handle infinities, and saying there was an uncaused cause begs the question of why it happened if nothing caused it to.

Last I heard, no-one had managed to come up with a convincing way of deciding between the two absurdities - the best argument for either side consists of "the alternative is ridiculous".


As for having a fine-tuned universe, unless you accept pure dumb luck at insane odds, it means one of three things:
A) The universe was carefully chosen as a suitable home for intelligent life by some intelligence (who presumably also inhabited a suitable environment for intelligence...)
B) There were/are a heck of a lot of other universes with different settings, so ours is just the one in which the settings were just right (though argument from incredulity isn't a very convincing reason to conclude that crazy numbers of uninhabitable universes are out there - Occams Razor is decidedly unhappy with the idea)
C) Universes which aren't suitable for life-as-we-know-it are suitable for other forms of intelligence that are perfectly happy calling those universes home and wondering at how finely-tuned they are for their sort of life (we have no idea how any sort of life could exist in a universe where atoms can't exist...)

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:57 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:C) Universes which aren't suitable for life-as-we-know-it are suitable for other forms of intelligence that are perfectly happy calling those universes home and wondering at how finely-tuned they are for their sort of life (we have no idea how any sort of life could exist in a universe where atoms can't exist...)

This is, in my opinion, the most likely.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby webgiant » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:44 am UTC

Bill Jefferys wrote:I can't figure out how to post a new topic, so this will have to do.

A friend of mine has an iPad; is there any way that she can do a "mouseover" on an iPad and see the hidden message? Just touching and holding the screen does not work.

No. She has to go to the forums, read the individual thread for that comic, and hope they included the alt text.


mike-l wrote:
Crosshair wrote:2. The Fine tuning of the universe for intelligent life. I recommend the book "Just Six Numbers" by atheist astrophysicist Martin Rees. Rees concedes towards the end of the book that the only two live options to explain the fine tuning are a multiverse or a diety. The book came out before the BGV theorem so I am interested in what he thinks about the falsification of the multiverse hypothesis.
This argument is essentially a sentient puddle thinking how well suited it's environment is to its shape. We adapt to our universe, not the otherway around. And if the conditions weren't right, we wouldn't be here to notice. The universe may have come into existence and died gazillions of times and failed to produce life, we only get to observe the successes.

Douglas Adams came up with the term "puddle thinking" to describe this. Sadly, his excellent physical impression of water conforming to a hole--forming a puddle, including miming and sound effects--was never recorded on video.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:54 am UTC

webgiant wrote:Douglas Adams came up with the term "puddle thinking" to describe this. Sadly, his excellent physical impression of water conforming to a hole--forming a puddle, including miming and sound effects--was never recorded on video.

I would pay to see that. And yes, it was shamelessly stolen.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Klear » Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:04 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:B) There were/are a heck of a lot of other universes with different settings, so ours is just the one in which the settings were just right (though argument from incredulity isn't a very convincing reason to conclude that crazy numbers of uninhabitable universes are out there - Occams Razor is decidedly unhappy with the idea)


What the Big Crunch happens and the universe eventually collapses on itself? I think it's plausible that a new universe could spring up again afterwards - and this could have been happening for a long time (=eternity). You don't need any universes existing in parallel with ours.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby RobC » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:19 pm UTC

Klear wrote:What the Big Crunch happens and the universe eventually collapses on itself? I think it's plausible that a new universe could spring up again afterwards - and this could have been happening for a long time (=eternity). You don't need any universes existing in parallel with ours.

Borde et al suggest in their paper that such a chain of expanding and contracting universes would also require a beginning, because most models of this idea involve an average positive expansion. This aspect of their paper in particular assumes that certain properties of geodesics are preserved as they pass through singularities (at the beginning and end of each universe). Given our understanding of general relativity is known to be incomplete under such conditions, I am slightly surprised this conclusion passed through peer-review in the bold form that it did.
The paper is an interesting read though.

rmsgrey wrote:Last I heard, no-one had managed to come up with a convincing way of deciding between the two absurdities - the best argument for either side consists of "the alternative is ridiculous".
I would agree with this assessment. I find the argument "is there a God [who is responsible for the universe's creation]?" to be almost a choice of aesthetics.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby zimm3r » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:12 pm UTC

On the comic:
Well I am surprised there were not many flame wars and well I applaud you all as religion usually guarantees flame wars.
I am christian (guilty as charged ;) ) and this comic is offensive and not funny the issue I have is it isn't funny, if you are familiar with Cyanide and Happiness they have had several comics on Jesus that were offensive AND funny. Also by offensive here I mean it offense a belief, which it does but still they can do it and as I stated I enjoyed the C and H comics I enjoyed because they were funny. I was disappointed in Randal because first it wasn't funny, it was just dumb (because you can make funny religious jokes, again see C and H), and it could start flame wars (the difference between C and H and XKCD is C and H is usually something offensive (and funny) XKCD is usually something about math, science, romance, not religion.... so that is my two cents

On the current discussion:
I think this kinda gets at the issue, whether people propose a primemover or multiverse the reason they do it because they think the other one is more unlikely. This is why I never liked these arguments as they do little (it only argues for at the least deism, a primemover), I think the argument is good for that but little for much else (for a person who went to Atheism to Deism (and ONLY DEISM!) read up on Anthony Flew). For arguments on God I prefer others as I viewed them as more encompassing and better.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Dryhad » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:40 am UTC

mike-l wrote:
Dryhad wrote:Also Randall didn't point out the absurdity in any actual belief (he arguably pointed out the absurdity in the fictional belief of the girl in the comic)
Well, the belief of the girl in the comic (at least in the first 2 panels) is exactly the belief of the Catholic church, so I wouldn't really call it fictional.

No, it just appears to be. The final panel reveals that either it is entirely unrelated to Catholicism, or she has got something horribly wrong in her understanding of the theology. Either way it's not "pointing out the absurdity" of Catholicism at all, it's suggesting an interpretation and then revealing that this interpretation is wrong. You cannot just examine the first two panels in a vacuum.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby addams » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:11 am UTC

Dryhad wrote:
mike-l wrote:
Dryhad wrote:Also Randall didn't point out the absurdity in any actual belief (he arguably pointed out the absurdity in the fictional belief of the girl in the comic)
Well, the belief of the girl in the comic (at least in the first 2 panels) is exactly the belief of the Catholic church, so I wouldn't really call it fictional.

No, it just appears to be. The final panel reveals that either it is entirely unrelated to Catholicism, or she has got something horribly wrong in her understanding of the theology. Either way it's not "pointing out the absurdity" of Catholicism at all, it's suggesting an interpretation and then revealing that this interpretation is wrong. You cannot just examine the first two panels in a vacuum.

Yes. This is part of what makes it funny.
Yes. Many people go through the motions.
No. Not all of that set of people know why.
And! Most don't want to know.
The misinterpretation works.
If it is not broke ,don't fix it.
That's funny.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

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Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Klear » Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:39 pm UTC

RobC wrote:
Klear wrote:What the Big Crunch happens and the universe eventually collapses on itself? I think it's plausible that a new universe could spring up again afterwards - and this could have been happening for a long time (=eternity). You don't need any universes existing in parallel with ours.

Borde et al suggest in their paper that such a chain of expanding and contracting universes would also require a beginning, because most models of this idea involve an average positive expansion. This aspect of their paper in particular assumes that certain properties of geodesics are preserved as they pass through singularities (at the beginning and end of each universe). Given our understanding of general relativity is known to be incomplete under such conditions, I am slightly surprised this conclusion passed through peer-review in the bold form that it did.
The paper is an interesting read though.


Sure, the problem of the original cause may still be there, but if there is such a cycle, you can explain the universe being fine-tuned to our existence through anthropic principle and without the need for God, which is what I was replying to:
rmsgrey wrote:B) There were/are a heck of a lot of other universes with different settings, so ours is just the one in which the settings were just right (though argument from incredulity isn't a very convincing reason to conclude that crazy numbers of uninhabitable universes are out there - Occams Razor is decidedly unhappy with the idea)


I believe that the universe periodically ending and being recreated is a pretty elegant idea, nothing Occam's razor would have problems with.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby CarlLaMagouille » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:10 pm UTC

webgiant wrote:
Bill Jefferys wrote:I can't figure out how to post a new topic, so this will have to do.

A friend of mine has an iPad; is there any way that she can do a "mouseover" on an iPad and see the hidden message? Just touching and holding the screen does not work.

No. She has to go to the forums, read the individual thread for that comic, and hope they included the alt text.


Or, she could go to http://m.xkcd.com .

NewYear
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby NewYear » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:24 pm UTC

.... Which you will find neither by name nor by description anywhere in the Bible. If you want something invented "after the fact", this is it. Jesus specifically says "do this in remembrance of me". If it were more than just symbolic, the Last Supper would make no sense: is he being sacrificed before the crucifixion? What reason would there be for his crucifixion if the apostles had already participated in his sacrifice?


I just wanted to answer this, because I think the answer is kind of cool. Catholic theology teaches that God is outside of space and time: that's right, Catholic theology has a theory involving spacetime. So, every moment is eternally present for God, equally, and God is completely unconfined by cause and effect. This is part of what it means in Catholic theology for God to be "eternal" and "unchanging".

So, for God, it is absolutely no big deal for the Last Supper to be the first Mass, offering up the single sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, because all moments are eternally present for him. It is no more difficult for him to offer the same sacrifice before it happened than after it happened: why would he be able to do it 2000 years later, but not the day before? It is us who are bound by time.

So Catholic theology absolutely teaches that Jesus held his own body in his hands when he held up the bread and said "Take this, and eat of it. This is my body, which is given for you." The Last Supper was Jesus acting as priest, offering up the sacrifice. The Crucifixion was Jesus acting as sacrificial lamb, which the priest offers up. If he didn't actually offer up the sacrifice, in what sense did he act as priest?

See also: John 6.

But really, I just think the Catholic view of spacetime is cool. It's also necessary to understand the Immaculate Conception, and explains why Catholics are not Calvinists.

Also also, enjoying all the people who insist that "no" Protestants believe xyz. I think you will find a Protestant exists who believes any given belief. It's not like there are any rules. Lutherans would usually say that they do indeed believe that the bread and wine become Jesus's body and blood, although a Catholic might dispute whether they mean it in the same way as a Catholic. They also seem to fairly often (in my experience) believe that Communion 'becomes' the body and blood only in the mouth of the person who believes it to do so, matching the titletext. I forget the name of this belief, but I don't think any Lutheran Communion officially teaches it.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby addams » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:26 pm UTC

mike-l wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:C) Universes which aren't suitable for life-as-we-know-it are suitable for other forms of intelligence that are perfectly happy calling those universes home and wondering at how finely-tuned they are for their sort of life (we have no idea how any sort of life could exist in a universe where atoms can't exist...)

This is, in my opinion, the most likely.
It is impossible. Yet, some people think about it.
This Universe is really big. I read a work of fiction about a membrane. On o.r side of the membrane math worked one way. On the other side math was different.

The story was hypnotic. Simple equations and the logical consequences.
There was a human elements. Two mathematicians able to communicate.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:57 pm UTC

addams wrote:
mike-l wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:C) Universes which aren't suitable for life-as-we-know-it are suitable for other forms of intelligence that are perfectly happy calling those universes home and wondering at how finely-tuned they are for their sort of life (we have no idea how any sort of life could exist in a universe where atoms can't exist...)

This is, in my opinion, the most likely.
It is impossible. Yet, some people think about it.
This Universe is really big. I read a work of fiction about a membrane. On o.r side of the membrane math worked one way. On the other side math was different.

The story was hypnotic. Simple equations and the logical consequences.
There was a human elements. Two mathematicians able to communicate.


Human intuition has enough trouble with the scale of the planet Earth, let alone anything merely astronomical in scale. Once we start trying to think about places where the very fundamentals of logic don't hold up (or are sufficiently different), then all bets are off...

By definition, any realm where the fundamental laws are incomprehensible to us is going to be stranger than we can imagine...

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby addams » Wed Jan 02, 2013 1:45 am UTC

Yes. All of what we said and more.
That guy was funny.

Some books I loved for their titles.

'Then, How Shall We Live?'

Hand washing is mixing Religion with Law?
In some environments it is.
In some environments, it is, just, fun.

ps. It could be strange and good.
Like the quirks; Strange and Charm.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby jay35 » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:45 pm UTC

Beltayn wrote:The same people who are getting offended at this would be condescendingly talking about how Muslims shouldn't be so barbaric and thin skinned if this had been a comic about Mohammed.

The bottom line is that NO ONE'S BELIEFS are somehow exempt from ridicule, just by nature of their being beliefs which are important to you. If they have merit, they will stand for themselves without needing the defense of social convention.

Mockery of everything is as important to the search for truth as peer-review in the scientific method.


And Christians are a much safer, easier target because they don't fly off the handle and burn things, behead people, etc, just because someone mocks them or their God. Making fun of Christians or Jesus is entirely unimpressive. Not that there's a need to impress, just that it's like, really, pick an actual challenging target if you want to come across as edgy, which this particular strip clearly does.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Klear » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:52 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:
Beltayn wrote:The same people who are getting offended at this would be condescendingly talking about how Muslims shouldn't be so barbaric and thin skinned if this had been a comic about Mohammed.

The bottom line is that NO ONE'S BELIEFS are somehow exempt from ridicule, just by nature of their being beliefs which are important to you. If they have merit, they will stand for themselves without needing the defense of social convention.

Mockery of everything is as important to the search for truth as peer-review in the scientific method.


And Christians are a much safer, easier target because they don't fly off the handle and burn things, behead people, etc, just because someone mocks them or their God. Making fun of Christians or Jesus is entirely unimpressive. Not that there's a need to impress, just that it's like, really, pick an actual challenging target if you want to come across as edgy, which this particular strip clearly does.


Yeah... making fun of Jews hasn't been too funny since World War II, making fun of Muslims is asking for backlash (which might be the point in the first place), making fun of Christians is the gold standard, but is getting kinda stale, and most of the other religions are too minor or uninteresting to be a target. Oh, and then there's scientology, which is a juicy target.

In conclusion, fuck computational linguistics.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby blowfishhootie » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:07 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:
Beltayn wrote:The same people who are getting offended at this would be condescendingly talking about how Muslims shouldn't be so barbaric and thin skinned if this had been a comic about Mohammed.

The bottom line is that NO ONE'S BELIEFS are somehow exempt from ridicule, just by nature of their being beliefs which are important to you. If they have merit, they will stand for themselves without needing the defense of social convention.

Mockery of everything is as important to the search for truth as peer-review in the scientific method.


And Christians are a much safer, easier target because they don't fly off the handle and burn things, behead people, etc, just because someone mocks them or their God.


Is this serious?

Some Christians are violent dipshits about their beliefs, just like anyone else. By the same token, plenty of Muslims are not fucking retarded when it comes to this issue. Being a total dumbass is not tied to a person's religion, you are just guilty of (my guess) extrapolating from what the media coverage in your part of the world implies.

The KKK is a good example of dumbass Christians being violent. Abortion-related violence is another good example - the murder of George Tiller a couple of years ago in Kansas is the first thing that springs to mind. There are dumbass militant Christian groups, just like any other religion. Here's an example of one: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/251815.stm.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Joe O » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:31 pm UTC

zimm3r wrote:On the comic:
Well I am surprised there were not many flame wars and well I applaud you all as religion usually guarantees flame wars.
I am christian (guilty as charged ;) ) and this comic is offensive and not funny the issue I have is it isn't funny, if you are familiar with Cyanide and Happiness they have had several comics on Jesus that were offensive AND funny. Also by offensive here I mean it offense a belief, which it does but still they can do it and as I stated I enjoyed the C and H comics I enjoyed because they were funny. I was disappointed in Randal because first it wasn't funny, it was just dumb (because you can make funny religious jokes, again see C and H), and it could start flame wars (the difference between C and H and XKCD is C and H is usually something offensive (and funny) XKCD is usually something about math, science, romance, not religion.... so that is my two cents


So, you're mostly just upset that you didn't find the comic amusing...?

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby mike-l » Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:54 pm UTC

Dryhad wrote:
mike-l wrote:
Dryhad wrote:Also Randall didn't point out the absurdity in any actual belief (he arguably pointed out the absurdity in the fictional belief of the girl in the comic)
Well, the belief of the girl in the comic (at least in the first 2 panels) is exactly the belief of the Catholic church, so I wouldn't really call it fictional.

No, it just appears to be. The final panel reveals that either it is entirely unrelated to Catholicism, or she has got something horribly wrong in her understanding of the theology. Either way it's not "pointing out the absurdity" of Catholicism at all, it's suggesting an interpretation and then revealing that this interpretation is wrong. You cannot just examine the first two panels in a vacuum.

I would argue the last panel is showing the absurdity of the belief by changing the context.

a) Catholics celebrate Christ's birth on Christmas
b) Catholics participate in communion during that celebration
c) Catholics believe in transubstatiation

ergo
d) Catholics, at Christmas, believe that they are celebrating the birth of a child and eating him during that celebration.

The comic sets up d in the first 2 panels then changes the context as a satire of it. If you don't think it's a joke about that belief, then I don't know what to tell you.
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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby zimm3r » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:04 am UTC

Joe O wrote:
zimm3r wrote:On the comic:
Well I am surprised there were not many flame wars and well I applaud you all as religion usually guarantees flame wars.
I am christian (guilty as charged ;) ) and this comic is offensive and not funny the issue I have is it isn't funny, if you are familiar with Cyanide and Happiness they have had several comics on Jesus that were offensive AND funny. Also by offensive here I mean it offense a belief, which it does but still they can do it and as I stated I enjoyed the C and H comics I enjoyed because they were funny. I was disappointed in Randal because first it wasn't funny, it was just dumb (because you can make funny religious jokes, again see C and H), and it could start flame wars (the difference between C and H and XKCD is C and H is usually something offensive (and funny) XKCD is usually something about math, science, romance, not religion.... so that is my two cents


So, you're mostly just upset that you didn't find the comic amusing...?

I never said upset all I was saying is this is suppose to be a comic about Science, Math, and Romance, and when it sticks to that it tends to be funny, but this comic was just stupid, it wasn't funny at all and it hardly goes into what XKCD is normally about. I am saying disagreeable about the comic because it seems to be something Randall specifically chose for this time, something offensive, not funny, that does tend to start flamewars, and isn't something XKCD does (and when he did in this comic it wasn't funny).

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby philsov » Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:28 am UTC

math, romance, science, and language.

Which this joke falls square under. It's very much what xkcd is about, and I strongly doubt Randall gives two flips on whether or not a comic starts a flame war on the forums (which, btw, it hasn't. Hellllo pick up artist.)

That said, I found it both funny and nonoffensive. And I was raised as a Catholic.
The time and seasons go on, but all the rhymes and reasons are wrong
I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby addams » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:10 am UTC

Sweet. Catholics. I am a big fan; Sort of.
Catholics have a great many flavors.
And; Each one has its own 'take' on things.

Someone on this thread wrote Catholics are not like Calvin. The things people of Faith will argue about. Calvin's bunch was squared off against the Round Heads. Right?
God wants us to be serious against God wants us to have fun.
Hey! How about the Middle Way?

The Catholics win Church. They have amazing Churches.
I had to be a Protestant. It was Protestant or nothing.
Very serious stuff, for a child.
The Catholics don't have to think about it. They become Catholics before the age of reason.

When are we? What age is the age of reason, now.
I have noticed, some people don't seem to have an age of reason.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1152: "Communion"

Postby Dryhad » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:11 am UTC

mike-l wrote:
Dryhad wrote:
mike-l wrote:
Dryhad wrote:Also Randall didn't point out the absurdity in any actual belief (he arguably pointed out the absurdity in the fictional belief of the girl in the comic)
Well, the belief of the girl in the comic (at least in the first 2 panels) is exactly the belief of the Catholic church, so I wouldn't really call it fictional.

No, it just appears to be. The final panel reveals that either it is entirely unrelated to Catholicism, or she has got something horribly wrong in her understanding of the theology. Either way it's not "pointing out the absurdity" of Catholicism at all, it's suggesting an interpretation and then revealing that this interpretation is wrong. You cannot just examine the first two panels in a vacuum.

I would argue the last panel is showing the absurdity of the belief by changing the context.

a) Catholics celebrate Christ's birth on Christmas
b) Catholics participate in communion during that celebration
c) Catholics believe in transubstatiation

ergo
d) Catholics, at Christmas, believe that they are celebrating the birth of a child and eating him during that celebration.

The comic sets up d in the first 2 panels then changes the context as a satire of it. If you don't think it's a joke about that belief, then I don't know what to tell you.

I think it's kind of a weird way of putting it (intentionally so) but I don't believe it's "pointing out the absurdity" of anything and I don't believe that's what Catholics are getting upset about (the protestants who don't believe Catholics exist, maybe). Actually I don't think I do disagree with you, I just think it should be entirely unsurprising (and inoffensive) to put it that way. Regardless of context, that is the teaching of the church; I don't know about you but my beliefs don't depend on how they're worded.


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