Defending the Faith: The still point of the turning world

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    Feb. 22, 2014 9:19 p.m.

    Very good analysis, Pops. One of the difficulties is that we are all specialists, and focused to a small or large extent on our specialties. My training and experience is in the social sciences. I can only attempt to understand the complexities of the physical sciences, and am completely confused by the complexities of advanced mathematics. Why should I presume to "prove", by "logical" arguments, that God does or does not exist, based on science which lies outside my expertise, or, Heaven forbid (no pun intended), by the conclusions of various social scientific studies, where conclusions are always tenuous and open to further research?
    When are we going to learn that our knowledge is always governed by faith--either faith in our open-ended "facts" discovered through empirical studies and peer review, our faith in God, or perhaps quite a deal of both? "Knowledge" will never replace "faith" until it becomes perfect--which IMHO only God possesses.

    Feb. 22, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    There are a few who imply they are scientists, or admirers or followers of science, who delight in denigrating religion and the religious, but by so doing reveal at best a profound misunderstanding of what science is, and at worst something that is rather unrelated to science at all. The one thing science can say with absolute certainty is "we don't know". Science is, in essence, the observation of patterns that have not yet been violated and a collection of educated guesses about why these patterns exist. We know our observations are imperfect, so we simply do the best we can. Science is useful when applied appropriately. But when it is used to assert that God does not exist, well, that is pure silliness, because science cannot prove that God does not exist - that's not possible - nor can science squeeze him out of the picture, as that's not possible either due the known absolute limits of scientific endeavor.

    There is plenty of room in the universe for God. If you have an axe to grind against belief in God, please don't misrepresent science by using it as a pretense.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 21, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    @Coltakashi, Wow, that is a lot to think about; although it is probably incompressible to the human mind. But definitely something worth hoping for, I guess.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 21, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    RE: 2Nephi 4:34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. Or,

    Jer17:5 KJV Thus saith the LORD;Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh=(basar) his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
    (Basar H 1320)the body of humans.

    MT:16:17 Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona:for “flesh”=(sarx)and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my “Father” which is in heaven.
    (Sarx G.4561)”flesh” the body of a man.

    Don’t trust man who has flesh,VS Trust,God(The “Father”)is Spirit(John 4:24)

    RE: Coltakashi, “the only immortal things are God's children.” (Ecc 12:7)… the spirit shall return unto God who gave it .

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 10:13 p.m.

    Northbound Zax: "Plate tectonics therefore God… er ok"

    Is that your summary of what Peterson's article is saying, or are you responding to somebody else?

    If you're summarizing Peterson, I have to respond that it seems to me that that's not even remotely what he's saying.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:18 p.m.

    God is a person? That explains a lot.

  • coltakashi Richland, WA
    Feb. 20, 2014 5:48 p.m.

    Aside from God, the only immortal things are God's children, us. That means that compared to your spouse and children, the earth and sun and galaxy will run down and grow cold, but we will still be here. That is one of the reasons the most impirtant things in our life should be our relationships with other immortal beings.

  • John_ Boise, ID
    Feb. 20, 2014 4:47 p.m.

    @1aggie The laws of Mathematics rest entirely on axioms, which axioms are chosen either because they seem self-evident or more generally because they are popular. One axiom in particular, the Axiom of Choice, gives nice results in some cases, but in others gives what seems to be completely illogical answers (Banach–Tarski paradox, for instance). There are other axioms that it could be replaced with and even its contradiction could be used, as with any independent axiom.

    It was originally hoped that a set of axioms could be had that were complete and consistent. Godel however proved that was impossible, meaning that for any set of axioms there will be unprovable statements independent of the axioms, which they or their contradiction could be taken as another axiom (and yet more statements discovered independent of that new set). It is even possible to create completely different axiomizations of mathematics.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 20, 2014 2:16 p.m.


    ",,,,I believe that we as human beings are a little arrogant to think we are capable of understanding all that is out there....."

    Curiosity is central to our nature. It gets clouded with impatience. By the time we're admiring how smart we are, we’re often too far gone to be able to laugh at the human comedy.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    @happy-2bhere, I agree with you that the world we live in and the universe is a wonder. But that doesn't mean it is not a natural wonder. And it is important to understand the difference between organic and inorganic creation. So if you travel to a far away world and find a Coke can then you would be correct, some intelligence manufactured it, if you find an ameba, bacteria, plant, animal or man then you may be encountering the inevitability of nature the same as gravity etc all here on earth. But if you find a Coke can here on Mother Earth that was made by a god, please invite me to the show.

  • NorthboundZax Makanda, IL
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    Plate tectonics therefore God… er ok.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    I'm getting a little philosophical here, but I agree with you as far as we are capable of understanding. I don't think you would argue that as science moves more and more into trying to answer the deepest questions of the universe we are bound to discover laws that will contradict what we think we know now. I believe that we as human beings are a little arrogant to think we are capable of understanding all that is out there. Just as we know that a chimpanzee cannot understand calculus (neither can I by the way) we as humans might be just that much incapable of truly understanding the real mysteries of the universe. That's where I think God comes in. He does understand.

    To me, the very existance of us and the universe around is evidence of some kind of "prime mover". Otherwise, the universe would exist in total nothingness. It would be like landing on Mars and discovering a Coca Cola can laying on the surface. You would know that no way in nature could that happen. Some intelligent design had to go into its creation.

  • Scott H Ogden, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 12:34 p.m.

    I have always loved the Kipling poem cited. All five stanzas are worth contemplating.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 20, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    @Pops, All things are a witness of nature. So nature must be god, right; and nature is totally impersonal . So I suppose for the most part we are all pagans right.

    Feb. 20, 2014 8:52 a.m.

    All things are a witness of God.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    We are all mortal. Theist or non-theist, we can't escape that reminder of change.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    The laws of Mathematics seem to be the verifiable constant in this world.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    The world has a fairly good scientific understanding of natures evolvement and obvious changes; but, Mr. Peterson s belief of a changing person god will be a challenge to the senses of many believers. Perhaps if Mr. Peterson could start by giving us any evidence of any god, period. Then we could have a beginning speculate on its parts and passions.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Feb. 20, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    "Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." (Mark 13:31)

    Those words were spoken two thousand years ago, an eye blink in the big picture of time as we measure its passage. The one thing you can count on is change. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, much less eternity. What is there to do but accept that? Isn’t that what faith is supposed to be about?