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Author: Subject: GOD v science
Quill
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GOD v science

Im having an argument with a Christian friend and need help. Christian belief holds that the world we live in is ultimately ordered, having been created by god. Is there any credible research to prove that the universe is ultimately chaotic in its nature? And if the universe was ultimately chaotic, how would this effect the repeatability of experiments? how could you prove what temp water would boil at in a chaotic universe?, or is it possible for a perfectly ordered system to coexist with, or derive from, a chaotic system?
Blind Angel
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About the chaotic nature of the universe, it's called enthropy, read book by Stephen Hawking on this subject (his books are very easy to understand, almost made for children)
About the boiling point of water, water boil at 100°C in Normal Temperature Pressure. It can boil at any temperature if you play with thos criteria. We made a arbitrary rule out of something we saw, on another planet with thinking alien, water may boil a 200°C and maybe they call this unit of mesurement a Shra and so the water boil at 1 Shra. So we decided that water boiled at 100°C in a way.
About the perfectly ordered universe: what you see is ordered but that doesn't mean that everything is ordered, also you might want to check on the anthropic principle (once again Stephen Hawking, but any good astrophysic book too).

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12AX7
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At this point, it's best to assume God created at the very least, the conditions for the Big Bang, including the explosion itself (what happened before 10^-42 seconds into the event, etc.?). There are also some other unexplained astrophysical phenomena, for instance the acceleration (or not) at present, resulting from the Bang.

It could also be argued that God made all things happen in a logical sequence that we are now unwravelling.

For sure, saying things like "God made the sun orbit the Earth" is bull with the evidence available today. Such outright denial will only make trouble and endless arguments.

As for chaos theory, many things are chaotic and that's just how they are, if you mean there is an underlying order which God created in them that we are to understand, or do not currently understand, who knows. The thing with probability is it could go any number of ways; that it picks what we see could well be divine intervention.

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vulture
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The fact that unexplained means "God meant it that way" is a statement that will only make trouble and endless arguments, because it can not be proven nor falsified.

You think god meant it that way, because that is what you have been told. If religion was different you would perhaps say "Woohazaballawadda meant it that way".

Maybe electrons are responsible for the formation of amino acids, just because they fucking pleased to do so. I mean, what else do they have to do but spin around all day?

One shouldn't accept or resort to the mutilation of science to appease the mentally impaired.
I am a fish
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"Woohazaballawadda" and "God" are just silly. Everyone knows that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is responsible for all creation.

However, you rightly point out the fallacy of giving "God Did It" as the answer to every open question. There's an excellent essay about creationism that addresses this very point:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5274569-111414,00.htm...

[Edited on 15-9-2005 by I am a fish]

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Magpie
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Throughout recorded history man has spent an inordinate amount of time and energy worrying about god(s). "What does God want us to do." " What does God mean by that." Or, even worse, "God wants us to do (fill in the blank) and will do (fill in the blank) to you if you don't." And so much evil (as well as good) have been done because people think God wants it done. Also people get so insulted if you blaspheme "their god" but think the god(s) of others must surely be non-existent. They get so upset that they riot and put out fatwas, etc. It is all so ridiculous and unneccessary. Why can't people just accept and enjoy their existence and that of everything else without needing a god to justify or explain everything.

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uber luminal
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How can we tell, that, all that we know to exists, isnt random?
We have only see a pathetic fraction of what there is to see, in an even more pathetic fraction of the time to see it.

I guess thats just my opinion though...

As well, any credible answers can be argued and are often shown to be inaccurate (some people call this, improving the trend or model). (but accuracy can always be argued since there are interworkings that noone can really explain (yet) with wide spread acceptance, so accuracy is another topic entirely).

But just because you can't "prove" something, doesnt imply that the alternative you (or someone else) chooses (which also has no evidence or "proof" is the "ultimate" "answer". (we all have our own opinions for that).
chemoleo
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Well that's the way I see it (oh yes a bleeding heart liberal is talking - thx Mr Wiz I like that term):

If there's a god, he/she's a chap/lass who chose to leave not many marks of its doings, other than 'people inspired by them' and random books all over the place. We all know that we have no privilege to believing the christian god is the right one. Nor do we have the evidence that any other is the right one. So the logical question is, is there a right one, or is there one altogehter? ??

Often I think a god was only put there to explain the unexplainable. Throughout history this happened, people believed in flat earth, in deadly disease cast upon humankind due to a punishing god, people believing in that everything unexplainable must be an act of a god.

The problem is, the unexplainable has shrunk. A LOT. So where's god left? In bullshitty 'grasp-for-straws' attempts of discrediting evolution (while they happily use any other aspect of science as long as it suits them), and in the fear that non-believers are supposed to experience once they sit on their deathbed and reflect upon their lives, noticing that there is a grand plan after all.

Who knows. I will one day sit on my own deathbed, or die very suddenly, not even know why/that I am dying, and think 'i hope there is an afterwards, after all i don't want my whole being extinguished like that. At the moment, all I can do is to hope. It'd make ageing and dying easier, undoubtedly. Noone ever knows however, all we have is some who claim death is easier because they tell themselves it's not over afterwards.

The evidence is still zero.

What strikes me is that a god takes things 'on faith'. He expects us to act as he wishes (and have a look how many atrocities that caused); in fact you have free will but if you choose against the will of god (however you may perceive it) you will rot in hell. While I may be living a perfectly decent life, not putting anyone down harshly, not killing anyone, with a few white lies here and there, and I'd still rot in hell for not believing something with no evidence. Sucks huh?

So who's at fault? So many things are genetic. Who's to say that my genetic setup isnt responsible for me not believing as I should? I found some perfectly intelligent people who are believers of a god, and to my opinion they often ignore the issues that turn me into a nonbeliever (which is the lack of evidence, and the wish to appease yourself to make future suffering and death easier).
So - isn't it my genes that turn me into a critical questioning being, while with others they just selectively choose to snuff out things that contradict? Why is that my fault that I choose, by genetics, to question???

Earlier in whimsy we had this discussion about race and all that, with blacks being more aggressive due to their higher testosterone levels. Fair enough. Who's to say I (and many others) dont have the brain chemistry to simply believe? Particularly since it is well acceptable that another behavioral trait such as aggression, tranquility, and so on is genetic? So who's to blame? Seriously?

How can anyone attack 'godless humans' if their inability to perceive the works of a god is about equal to that of a being incabable of conscience and morality due to upbringing and various hormones and genes?

I'd really like a god-believer to answer me that. Please not some BS statements. I am trying to make a serious point there.

Anyway. On the note of chaos and order - it's all BS. What you guys forget is that order may look magnificent on the surface, but lets not forget htat the OVERALL entropy decreases within that system. Complexity is not an oxymoron to the 2nd thermodynamic law. It only is if one considers it in an isolated state. That's the central fallacy of all those creationists etc (of which there are thankfully only a few)
To repeat, the overall entropy actually DECREASES even on a place such as earth, as energy is still broken down and lost at the cost of making organisms such as ourselves.
It of course seems miraculous because we see earth to be independent from everything, without taking the sun into account pouring energy into our not-so-closed system all the time.

[yah ] that's the end of my rant [ ]

PS: Where is the other thread on this? I will happily merge once someone points out with what thread I should merge it.

[Edited on 16-9-2005 by chemoleo]

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neutrino
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>Why can't people just accept and enjoy their existence and that of everything else without needing a god to justify or explain everything.

People don't always choose the rational answers to things; they frequently choose the easy answers. Which is easier to believe:

a. An omnipotent god created this unique and extraordinary planet just for us and watches over all of us 24/7 for the rest of eternity. Life is eternal and the righteous live forever in heaven.

b. The human race is just an accident of evolution, a powerful process indifferent to us completely. We are nothing but relatively insignificant organisms on an ordinary planet orbiting an ordinary star in the outer reaches of an ordinary galaxy which is located in an inconsequential region of the universe. There is no-one to watch over us, what we see is what we get. There is no divine order, no divine justice, and you will not be paid back for your sufferings in another life. You will just cease to exist when you die.

>How can we tell, that, all that we know to exists, isnt random?
>We have only see a pathetic fraction of what there is to see, in an even more pathetic fraction of the time to see it.

In science, nothing is known for certain. What you describe could well be the case, but it is just too unlikely for the majority of human race to pay heed to based on what we know at the moment.
chemoleo
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Darn I wrote such a long post, laying out everything.... and there it goes.

Anyway.

Neutrino, I think you really summed it up well.

Those are the two options, and some choose to believe this, or that. Again though I ask you, what is the basis of a)'s beliefs, other than simply lacking the mental capacity to understand the reasoning of b)? Sorry it sounds arrogant, I know. The question remains.

 Quote: n science, nothing is known for certain.

Not true. The number PIE for instance is and will always be a fact. It's a constant relating, whatever universe you are in (and assuminbg space is flat) the radius of a circle to the area it occupies. Think about it. There's no ambiguity whatsover. Neither is there any ambiguity in the relationship between speed v, and the distance travelled per time. Those are things that aren't debatable in a linear space-time relationship right.

[Edited on 16-9-2005 by chemoleo]

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Cyrus
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Chemoleo- I'll try to answer some of your questions... on the condition that you guys don't get all overexited and pull out the illogic flame throwers. I also like the fact that you appear to be honestly considering things, rather than exibiting the modern reflex "Christian = dolt/neanderthal, etc" that happens without even considering things.

However, I something important that needs to get done right now, so I'll ask you to "hold that thought" until tomorrow.

But here's something to think about until then; science can often be wrong. One (actually, I don't, in many ways) tends to think of our age as the "advanced, progressive, correct" age. Remember that in the 1800's, 1400's, 1200's, so on... people probably thought they were living in the "advanced, progressive, correct" age. I'ts not as though they could look into the future and see how outdated they were. We moderns tend to think of ourselves and our science as "la creme de la creme" when in all probability at least some of our current theories will be laughable within a few hundred years. Look at the history of science- people are fallible, and they make mistakes. I'm sure we can all think of examples of mistaken but at the time plausible theories, like the spontaneous generation of flies from meat.

Of course, we are learning more each century, but is immensely arrogant to assume that our science is perfect.

Until next time,
Cyrus

P.S. Chemoleo- I think I can tackle your more theological questions, but I'm not sure that I know enough to answer all of your "scientific" questions.

P.P.S Quill- GOD v science is sort of a spun/biased/slanted way of looking at things. But everyone has biases. Oh well.

IrC
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It is true in the universe that overall order actually decreases, over time things run down. So at the moment of the big bang, the universe should not have evolved into such a complex system of galaxies and planets. If you look into nature the deeper you go the more order you find. Look at the genetic code. If life evolved from random chemicals floating around, then is not order increasing? In fact only intelligent action can take disorder and create such astoundingly complex order, such as the genetic code. If we call such an incredibly complex ordering of molecules as the genetic code higher levels of order compared to random soup, then the impossible has happened, by random chance order has increased all by itself. Instead of an evolution of particles into atoms, into molecules, into galaxies, into life, the outcome of the big bang should have been less ordered as energy expanded.

On the subject of pi, is it a given? If we measured a sphere in all directions at 99 percent the speed of light would it remain constant with perfect isotropy? What about centering the sphere halfway inside and outside of the event horizon of a black hole. What would we measure in all directions for our sphere here? If we set the sphere on the surface of the event horizon subjected to gravity gradients higher than anywhere else in the universe what would pi be in all directions? The sphere is still in the universe in this case and how can we prove if it were inside the black hole that this was not also still in our universe. What would pi be inside the black hole?

If alpha is related to the time of flight of a virtual photon from the center of an atom to the radius of an orbiting electron in the time the electron travels one wavlength for n=1, what would alpha be in a field such as super strong gravity (or for motion at near luminal velocities) that slows down time, what would pi be in this case? Would it be perfectly isotropic in all possible directions, or could the value of pi change in certain specific directions?

Can super strong gravity or very high velocities squish the fabric of space, whether isotropically or anisotropically, and if one or more dimensions is compressed what would happen to the inviolate pi?

In short, how sure are you that pi is inviolate in all points in the universe at all times?

[Edited on 16-9-2005 by IrC]
woelen

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Why always God vs. science? I as a believer can perfectly believe in God and do serious science.

The original question about order or chaos is not a real question for me, to which God must be related. The universe as we know it, obeys some natural laws. The laws in themselves are very beautiful, elegant and perfectly ordered, but the resulting behaviour can be really chaotic.

An example:

You all know the Newtonian mechanical laws and they are simple and very elegant. Yet, even a simple three-body system (e.g. a sun with two heavy planets orbiting around it) has chaotic behavior. Given even the slightest uncertainty in position and velocity of any of the objects in the three-body system, one cannot predict the position and velocities of the bodies at the long run (if you want more about this, do an internet search on "Rossler oscillator", a simple three-dimensional state-system, yet showing really intricate chaotic behavior).

So, having a God, who created an ordered universe, I still can accept chaos.

Also regarding deeper questions of the origin and fate of the universe, believing in God does not need you to deny all scientific findings. I also believe that the universe is old (billions of years at least), simply because given the laws of nature and what we see, we cannot conclude otherwise.

However, how life came into existence simply is an open question for me. I believe God created everything, but how it is done simply remains unsolved and I have to accept that (at least for the time being). So, I leave open the question how things are created. It might have been a process of millions or billions of years (observations point in that direction), but things might turnout otherwise with future observations or insights. The bible should not be read as a science-book and so, the argument that the world was made in just 6 days, approximately 6000 years ago does not hold to me. What the bible really is is a book where you can learn to know God and who he is. The bible does state that the world is created by God, and it is described in a wording and cultural setting, which also could be understood by people 3000 years ago. That's why the bible does not contain stories about the expanding universe, inflation theories, cosmological constants and the like .

What really upsets me is people accusing me and other believers of being religious and so, being non-scientific. The next thing those same people do is postulate their own theories (e.g. evolution) as a scientific fact, but these also just are theories. I personally believe that these theories have their value because they partly explain what we observe in our physical world, but still, they remain theories and the unexplained parts need more research and maybe they remain unexplained for ever. My anger with many people is that they also fill in the unexplained parts and that they present their theory as a solid framework comparable to solid frameworks like mechanics or the fact that water boils at 100 C. So, evolution of life may be a correct description of how things happened in the far past, but please keep in mind that it indeed just is a might have been and not a has been. The same holds for some ID-theories, they also are just might be theories. As long as people are humble enough to recognize this fact about the uncertainty of their own theories, then the discussions would be a lot more pleasant and we would have warmer hearts and cooler heads and we would have more progress towards really solving the issues.

What remains for me is wonder. Wondering how elegant and simple the laws of nature are and on the other hand what immensely rich and beautiful phenomena can be caused by such simple laws (and we on this forum all are playing with that with our chems and other devices).

Who can make such a beautiful universe? Only one. GOD!

The art of wondering makes life worth living...
Want to wonder? Look at https://woelen.homescience.net
uber luminal
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 Quote: Originally posted by woelen What really upsets me is people accusing me and other believers of being religious and so, being non-scientific. The next thing those same people do is postulate their own theories (e.g. evolution) as a scientific fact, but these also just are theories. I personally believe that these theories have their value because they partly explain what we observe in our physical world, but still, they remain theories and the unexplained parts need more research and maybe they remain unexplained for ever. My anger with many people is that they also fill in the unexplained parts and that they present their theory as a solid framework comparable to solid frameworks like mechanics or the fact that water boils at 100 C. So, evolution of life may be a correct description of how things happened in the far past, but please keep in mind that it indeed just is a might have been and not a has been. The same holds for some ID-theories, they also are just might be theories. As long as people are humble enough to recognize this fact about the uncertainty of their own theories, then the discussions would be a lot more pleasant and we would have warmer hearts and cooler heads and we would have more progress towards really solving the issues.

Er... ok, lets have a quick lesson on two things. If there is any argument to be made, we need to use the same definitions of words. Unless you want to treat the Dictionary like the bible, and selectively decide to ignore certain parts of a definition.

A Theory, is not a personal opinion. People misuse the term Theory like... all the time. Its often used in a cliche fashion to make their opinions sound like they are well thought out.
"I have a theory on why my hair is screwed up in the mornings..." is not a theory at all. its a personal idea/speculation. You might even argue its a "hypothesis" if you have some evidence, but I would also say hypothesis is also used incorrectly fairly often.

In science, a theory is never considered fact or infallible, because we can never assume we know all there is to know. Instead, theories remain standing until they are disproven, at which point they are thrown out altogether or modified to fit the additional data.

You have to understand that a theory, is really a self consistent framework that describes the HOW in the What, based on outstanding evidence and the best known understanding of that evidence. (yes, theories are often based on theories) (Also, Theories can never be based on scientific Laws, however they can attempt to describe them) A theory also takes a GREAT deal of time to establish. It doesn't happen in a day or a week. It takes years and years.

A theory should probably follow the following (stolen from wiki, and I think for the most part, all of these rules apply... until proven wrong, where which the data will be modified and made stronger

1. is consistent with pre-existing theory to the extent that the pre-existing theory was experimentally verified, though it will often show pre-existing theory to be wrong in an exact sense,

2. is supported by many strands of evidence rather than a single foundation, ensuring that it probably is a good approximation if not totally correct,

3. has survived many critical real world tests that could have proven it false,

4. makes predictions that might someday be used to disprove the theory, and

5. is the best known explanation and has been accepted throughout the scientific community.

Now for evolution. There is another common/popular confusion with evolution. There is a difference between... what evolution is, (which is more like an observation and not a theory at all) and what the Theories of Evolution are.

Darwin's theory of evolution for example, attempts to explain how evolution works. They are not the same!
The Theories of evolution, attempt to describe how evolution, which is more like a scientific law, (by means of evaluation and observation) works.

So yes... Theories of Evolution are "JUST theories!" but a theory is a HUGE thing.

At least theories of evolution ARE theories, verses, everything else, that is currently, NOT. (especially faith)
vulture
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A theory is something that can be falsified.

Therefore, creationism is NOT a theory, because it can neither be falsified or proven.

Evolution can.

Now, I'm asking you, which one is easier to attack because of this?

 Quote: Of course, we are learning more each century, but is immensely arrogant to assume that our science is perfect.

This is a point which is often shouted by creationists and it is one of the most hypocritical things I've ever heard.
Why?
First, because no genuine scientist is going to tell you that science is perfect.
If it was, we wouldn't be doing research, we would be calculating when we are going to fall in love and when we're going to die by the means of formulas.
Hell, we wouldn't even die. We'd be immortal.

Secondly, because creationists assume their theory is perfect and actually demonstrate the blindness they're accusing the scientific community of.

 Quote: If life evolved from random chemicals floating around, then is not order increasing? In fact only intelligent action can take disorder and create such astoundingly complex order, such as the genetic code.

Don't know if you ever had a thermodynamics course, but if you did, I would apply for a refund.

When two atoms bond with eachother to form a molecule, perhaps something stupid & simple like H2, chaos decreases. This liberates energy which increases the chaos in the surroundings, by the amount that is equal or more than the previous chaos. This is basically the second law of thermodynamics.

This happens with ALL molecules, regardless of size.
What you are forgetting is that what seems like intelligent design to you, is in fact just statistics.
Before a useful strand of DNA was first produced, billions and billions of thermodynamically unstable combinations of different order formed and immediatly decomposed again.

The fact that we use ATP instead of ATS or produce CO2 instead of SiO2 is just because coincedentally, the energy levels of the first are better suited.

Now I know you are going to say, yes but God meant it that way, so that life could form in the first place. Bzzz, wrong.
If ATS and SiO2 would have been better options, other complex molecules and liveforms would eventually have formed, just because they damned pleased to do so.

[Edited on 16-9-2005 by vulture]

One shouldn't accept or resort to the mutilation of science to appease the mentally impaired.
Cyrus
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Ah...

I agree with most of what IrC and woelen said.

And uber luminal, yep, evolution is just a theory, and of course it took a ton of work to get it established as the dominant theory in public education and universities today. The problem is that it's not taught as a "theory". It's taught as fact, as anyone who's read a typical modern biology book can attest. Now, I understand that for the writers of the book, this is the easiest option, but it does have an affect on the readers. I would propose that this is the cause (in part) of the typical "Christian = nutcase/whatever". Anyhow.

Oh, while I'm on the topic of schools and indoctrination.... Everyone is indoctrinated. If you think about it, indoctrination is just giving someone a doctrine; teaching them a way to live and behave. The question is- "Are you recieving the right doctrine?"

Ok, back to chemoleo's questions.

"If there's a god, he/she's a chap/lass who chose to leave not many marks of its doings, other than 'people inspired by them' and random books all over the place. "

God has left marks of his doings. The question is whether you acknowledge or ignore the marks. The two revelations of God are general revelation and special revelation. General revelation consists of things that everyone can see, for example the created world, which everyone can study.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."
(Romans 1:20)
Everyone knows that God exists from general revelation, whether or not they admit it. For example, you can look at the stars and galaxies, and see God's love of beauty and his power. How many galaxies have you or I made today? You can look at the world around you, and see that God makes things that are good and pleasant, because he loves us. the Big Bang The picture of God we get from it is definitely hazy, but that's why there's special revelation.

Doh!!! I typed a huge response and the internet connection shut down as I was responding. Anyways, I'll finish this part about special revelation.
Special revelation is knowledge going directly from God to man. The best example for this is the Bible. I won't try to prove the Bible's right too much, because it's been fine without me for 4500 years or so. But I would like to say that most of the "contradictions/errors" in the Bible come about because we don't understand Hebrew and Greek language. That's natural, because languages changer over the course of thousands of years. For example, I've heard the criticism that the Bible's wrong scientifically because it says that grasshoppers "walk on four legs". Easy answer- the Hebrew language had a limited vocabulary, and that was how they said "crawl". Or here's an interesting one. "God doesn't know what pi is because the circumference of a brass bowl is only 3 times as large as the diameter, not 3.1415926.... times as large." Hebrews didn't have decimal points. 3 was about as close as they could get.

Chemoleo, I'll type some more later.

Cyrus

[Edited on 16-9-2005 by Cyrus]

uber luminal
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I had always thought that topics like this were moot. But after I posted earlier and took a shower, I pondered in the shower, that

Science is built on a framework which promotes you to try and prove it wrong. Proving something wrong in science is actualy a good thing, as it enables the a better construction of an idea to emerge. The more I am wrong, and more you show me this, the better I can reform the idea's to be correct.

Creationsim Faith... is built on a framework which promotes you to NOT try to prove it wrong. hell, you can't even "prove" anything as that would defy the intent of faith. It suggests that you just accept it, without in-depth evidence.

I have noticed that religion also tries to adapt and change things too, but I would think this goes against the framework.

If you feel I am incorrect, please help me to strengthen my argument, as I understand that I could be wrong, and its ok. wow Science rocks!

[Edited on 16-9-2005 by uber luminal]

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