In the God Delusion, Dawkins categorizes Atheism into two types - Big atheism and small atheism. Small atheism denies the existence of Jesus, Jehovah, Allah and other personal deities. Big atheism denies the possibility of our universe being created by some unknown intelligence - whatever it may be.

I think i've always been a "Small" atheist, and rather agnostic about big atheism. Recently i find myself leaning more and more towards thinking that It could be quite plausible that our universe is indeed designed.

The big bang theory describes an outburst of energy from a singular point, and expansion of time, light, heat and space. This singular point contained all mass in the universe- all elements required for forming stars, galaxies and ultimately - life. As the universe expanded and cooled down, matter was formed, changed shape, became nebulae, stars, galaxies...

None of this happened by accident

It happened because our universe is ultimately made of different types of atoms - cataloged in the periodic table. these atoms have different "natural" characteristics, and when combined in different orders- can form molecules, who in turn have "natural" different characteristics. heat and cold affect the structure of these molecules, causing them to form matter in different shapes or forms. matter in turn has mass, which causes attraction and gravity. 

One could almost look at the periodic table as LEGO blocks - from which you can construct the most wondrous things. and these LEGO blocks each have imbued natural abilities. hydrogen and oxygen make air, carbon and oxygen create water. the whole thing is scale-able, and consistent in its behavior.

As a programmer, this might just be my brain trying to force a known structure onto something unrelated- but dammit- it just looks too damn organized. can a Multiverse theory - random universes with different "constants" popping in ant out of existence, really explain this? because this can easily be correlated to any development environment.

Any good programming framework will give you these LEGO blocks - numbers, strings, integers, arrays, data maps - and on a higher level - text boxes, bitmap containers, sound players, mouse events, timers etc.... in essence these are LEGO blocks- allowing you to build apps, games, websites...

you would have to be mad to suggest that a development environment can simply come into existence on its own- even by chance. So can a multiverse really explain the underlying rules of our universe?

This question became even more difficult for me when my daughter was born. I understand how natural selection works - how genes mutate when creating new life, with helpful mutations giving an evolutionary advantage and being passed on. however this does not explain the inner programming each and every one of us is born with.

from the moment of conception each and every one of us has the full future of his growth cycle imbued in his DNA. our body growth is a scripted experience. we start smiling at 2 months, start laughing at 3 months, start crawling, walking, talking, teething, grow an ego, change a second pair of teeth, hit puberty, sexual prime, menopause and death.

upon hitting certain predefined cue points, our bodies begin producing certain hormones, growing hair, losing hair. 

we are scripted. 

is it so unthinkable that evolution, natural selection and the big bang theory give only PART of the story? that our universe is the product of some sort of design - a development environment containing lego blocks at the atomic level, and abiding by rules (evolution simply being one of those scripted rules) - to which matter was "poured" in like water into a container?

is it so preposterous to suggest that not just the vast complexity - but rather the harmony in interaction between the elements that make up our universe, their natural attraction and repulsion of each other, their ability to join and form ever complex structures - and the inner programming that governs our growth, can very well be the product of planning? That without this programming matter would just be floating around in space?

It seems to me that atheism just accepts as a "given" that the very interaction at the atomic and molecular level between the elements is just a natural process- inherent to our universe. but why would this be inherent?

One can easily claim that a creator only adds more complexity- however, truly believing that something as ordered, consistent and perfect as the laws of mathematics just popping into existence - complete and coherent- is in my mind something that cannot be taken seriously.

On the other hand - how seriously can the idea of a higher intelligence be regarded? It too would undoubtedly require a creator. A similar point can be made about the multiverse - but without answering how these laws came about- only that they poofed into existence by chance.

However - since this can go on forever, with every level of complexity requiring its own creator or containing parent- there can never be an end to this.

For this reason i can see it sufficient to "stop" at some point- but continue pointing out that nothing "just happens". I do not accept that the underlining logic of our universe could not just pop into existence. The laws of physics could not have poofed complete out of thin air. no way in hell. 

And if it wasn't clear- i'm not advocating theism of any kind. i don't believe in any personal deity whatsoever. but i do keep an open mind when presented with NO evidence either way.

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you would have to be mad to suggest that a development environment can simply come into existence on its own- even by chance.

The application of the tiny human experience to something way beyond the human experience...and out of stage left there enters the creator who needs no creator. It's pretty weak.This is the basic Ray Comfort school of thought, is it not?

i could answer that the laws of mathematics poofing out of thin air at random is no less even weaker...

You really think PI comes from thin air? Seems that ratio is empirical and well proven. Very unlike a creator. Math is also of this universe, yet your creator is not...you are taking a leap of faith that mathematics does not allow. And math knows it has limitations. It does not answer why PI happens to be the value that it is. It avoids magic. When you don't have the answers why the big need to play make-believe?.

Welcome back Wassabi, it has been a while. I don’t think your opening statement is what Dawkins was saying. Whether big or small, no version of atheism is about the denial of the existence of any god. That is usually a position of misunderstanding that theists have. Atheism is only about the lack of belief in any god existing. Jehovah or Allah may exist but I do not believe they do. There is no evidence, absolutely none, to suggest I believe otherwise.

Nobody, even the most committed and educated apologist has ever shown me any so I dismiss the idea of there being any gods on those grounds. I also dismiss the necessity of needing to invoke god as an answer to anything. I am not denying anything, I just don’t see any reason to consider it having any merit as “goddidit” is a useless answer.

Only 2 elements were created at the Big Bang, the rest come from them.

I think this post will run to a few pages, so more later. Again, welcome back.

Some lithium was made in the Big Bang, but in the main (and to my surprise, but I went and checked it out), lithium, beryllium and boron are indded formed in interstellar clouds as the byproduct of cosmic rays smashing apart carbon nuclei.  When a star forms from that cloud and starts burning fuel, it tends to destroy whatever Li, Be and B it has in it.

Initially, nucleosynthesis starts by adding one particle at a time, but there's no stable nucleus with either five or eight particles in it, so it's very difficult to make the jump past helium-4.  adding a proton doesn't work (it yields something with five nucleons, which is unstable), and (later on, when the star starts fusing helium) simply sticking two helium-4 nuclei together doesn't work; the result almost instantly splits back up into the two helium nuclei.  You have to force three of them together almost simultaneously to make Carbon-12 and finally breach this barrier.  But you've skipped completely over isotopes of weights 5-11 this way, which would be the range of isotopes for Li, Be, and B.  (Any pre-existing in the nebula that formed the star will tend to pick up additional single particles at some point, which is how they get destroyed.  Attempts to stick two He-3 nuclei together to form Be-6 and jump over the barrier at 5 fail, because that just spits out two protons,leaving you with He-4; in fact, that's actually the reaction that forms most He-4.)

Once there is Carbon-12, if the star is large enough, it's fairly simple to just keep adding helium nuclei to get 0-16, Ne-20, Mg-24, Si-28, S-32, Ar-36, and so on, increasing the weight by four and the atomic number by 2, up to Ni-56 (which rapidly decays back to iron-56 by converting two protons to neutrons).  Odd numbered elements are formed by picking up some of the single protons that are still around, particularly near the outer shell of the star where hydrogen is still fusing.  They end up being far less common, in general.  (You might think K-potassium is common, but not compared to Calcium, which is a huge constituent of earth, similarly nitrogen is pretty rare compared to oxygen, despite our atmosphere being mostly nitrogen.  But oxygen is the biggest single component of the earth's crust by weight, at 46 percent, which completely overwhelms the amount of nitrogen in the atmosphere.  Nitrogen is nineteen parts per million in the crust, rarer than copper, tungsten, neodymium, yttrium, cerium, lanthanum and rubidium for pete's sake.)

Elements past iron will be created by supernovae of course, but also sometimes they get formed in the large star before the supernova by simply adding protons one at a time to something else already present.  This became obvious when technetium was detected in stars; there's no way that technetium came from the nebula that formed the star since it has a half life of about two million years, it had to be formed by this slow one-at-a-time process, the same one that won't let you build Li, Be, and B because of the 5 and 8 nucleon barrier.

You are essentially saying that because the water takes the exact shape of the hole in the ground it flowed into, that the puddle was planned.

:D

i am saying that the reason water fills it's container is because it has inherent properties - properties which i see no reason for them to have by default. when water fills a container they are abiding by rules- the atoms that form them, temperature that gives them a liquid state, gravity which guides them. in a word- programming. why should we accept the rules that govern the behavior of water as default? why think that these rules could just come about on their own?

Hi Wassabi, Sounds like you're a deist. i.e. believe in a deity which doesn't intervene in the universe.

Also, atoms are not the building blocks. Protons, and neutrons are built of 3 quarks each, so maybe quarks are the basic building blocks?

And finally: If the universe was created and the creator doesn't intervene, what difference does that make to your life vs how you would live as an atheist?

none. still worth the attention.

I feel that positing there's a creator is largely irrelevant, at least to science. Even if He started us off, science can only discover how, not why or His motives.

And I only say "He" because that's been the prevaling convention since men started inventing myths and reasons why for everything. And that's where my main objective lies, especially when religionists wish to force their particular, mythical version onto others. Creationists not only wish this, but feel the need to further bolster their myth by discrediting any science that doesn't support it.

Technically, I'm an agnostic, but officially I identify myself as an atheist, in response to stubborn theists and cultists. I'm actually ok with people believing that Goddidit, as long as they don't insist How He Did It, or that atheists must be wrong.

You simply reconfigured old junk arguments.  Junk is still junk even when it is dressed up and trying to be pretty.

is it so unthinkable that evolution, natural selection and the big bang theory give only PART of the story? that our universe is the product of some sort of design - a development environment containing lego blocks at the atomic level, and abiding by rules (evolution simply being one of those scripted rules) - to which matter was "poured" in like water into a container?

It's not unthinkable that it all follows some sort of design because in order for something to assume any sort of form, there are reasons why it turns out that way. However, to go beyond the facts and assume that those rules were fomented by some sort of creator is unjustified and simply begs questions like, How did this creator come about? What are the physics of the environment he/she/it works in? 

Like Bertrand Russell once said (I'm forced to paraphrase): "If something always existed, then it might as well have been the cosmos and not God." Certainly, a Godless universe is a much simpler explanation and begs fewer questions. BTW, in today's theoretical environment, we can substitute "multiverse" for "universe." Each universe in the multiverse can be its own thing, can have its own version of physics, may or may not have matter, may have something instead of matter we can't even conceive, etc.

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