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An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:21 pm
by Harbal
Our foreman once sent a couple of us to replace a broken window pane at the local church hall. The churchwarden, a rather stern man, was already there waiting for us. He seemed very perplexed when we arrived, and appeared to have a great need to know what the broken window might mean. While we were stood there wondering what on Earth he was talking about, my work mate noticed a football on the floor, right in a corner of the room. When its presence was brought to the attention of the churchwarden it seemed to send him off into even more fanciful flights of fantasy. The broken window was clearly an act of God, and the manifestation of the ball, a message of some kind. We suggested a more obvious chain of events that might have lead up to the ball ending up in the corner, but he just stood there slowly swaying his head from side to side with an indulgent half smile on his face. ‘So,’ he said, when we had finished our speculations, ‘you believe that there just happened to be some kids on the grass outside; who just happened to have a ball, which one of them just happened to kick; which then just happened to smash through the window and somehow find its way, all on its own, into the corner?’ Well, when he put it like that, we were forced to admit that it did seem highly unlikely.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:04 pm
by vegetariantaxidermy
Harbal wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 12:21 pm
Our foreman once sent a couple of us to replace a broken window pane at the local church hall. The churchwarden, a rather stern man, was already there waiting for us. He seemed very perplexed when we arrived, and appeared to have a great need to know what the broken window might mean. While we were stood there wondering what on Earth he was talking about, my work mate noticed a football on the floor, right in a corner of the room. When its presence was brought to the attention of the churchwarden it seemed to send him off into even more fanciful flights of fantasy. The broken window was clearly an act of God, and the manifestation of the ball, a message of some kind. We suggested a more obvious chain of events that might have lead up to the ball ending up in the corner, but he just stood there slowly swaying his head from side to side with an indulgent half smile on his face. ‘So,’ he said, when we had finished our speculations, ‘you believe that there just happened to be some kids on the grass outside; who just happened to have a ball, which one of them just happened to kick; which then just happened to smash through the window and somehow find its way, all on its own, into the corner?’ Well, when he put it like that, we were forced to admit that it did seem highly unlikely.
Clever. Reminds me of the old 'so there just happened to be a big bang, that just happened to result in a universe, that just happened to have a Sun which just happened to be just the right distance away from a planet......' religio argument. It's like the lottery. Yes, it's highly unlikely that 'you' will win it, but the odds of 'someone' winning it are actually 100%. Every time you shuffle a pack of cards thoroughly you are creating something that has never existed before since the beginning of time (or when you bake a cake for that matter).

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:11 pm
by Harbal
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:04 pm
Reminds me of the old 'so there just happened to be a big bang, that just happened to result in a universe, that just happened to have a Sun which just happened to be just the right distance away from a planet......' religio argument. It's like the lottery. Yes, it's highly unlikely that 'you' will win it, but the odds of 'someone' winning it are actually 100%. Every time you shuffle a pack of cards thoroughly you are creating something that has never existed before since the beginning of time (or when you bake a cake for that matter).
I knew you would get the point, VT.

btw, I see the wanderer has returned.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:20 pm
by vegetariantaxidermy
Harbal wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:11 pm
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:04 pm
Reminds me of the old 'so there just happened to be a big bang, that just happened to result in a universe, that just happened to have a Sun which just happened to be just the right distance away from a planet......' religio argument. It's like the lottery. Yes, it's highly unlikely that 'you' will win it, but the odds of 'someone' winning it are actually 100%. Every time you shuffle a pack of cards thoroughly you are creating something that has never existed before since the beginning of time (or when you bake a cake for that matter).
I knew you would get the point, VT.

btw, I see the wanderer has returned.
Well it didn't take me long to rub him up the wrong way.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:57 pm
by Harbal
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:20 pm
Well it didn't take me long to rub him up the wrong way.
Some people wake up every morning with the intention of being rubbed up the wrong way. They don't leave you much choice.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:24 pm
by Walker
When guns kill folks and autos cause accidents, then we can say that footballs break windows.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:37 pm
by Harbal
Walker wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:24 pm
When guns kill folks and autos cause accidents, then we can say that footballs break windows.
If a football hits a window with significant force, it will probably break it. Are you arguing otherwise, Walker?

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:37 pm
by Scott Mayers
When a plane crashes and everyone survives, we are told its a 'miracle' that no one died.

When a plane crashes and all but five people survive, it is a considered a 'miracle' that all the other people survived.

When a plane crashes into a parking lot and kills all on the plane plus ten on the ground, it is a miracle that the plane didn't crash into a stadium full of people.

When the plane does hit and kill thousands in the stadium, it's a miracle I missed my flight! 8)

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:55 pm
by Immanuel Can
Harbal wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:11 pm
I knew you would get the point, VT.
Well, H., me old mucker, there are quite a few problems with the analogy, I'm afraid.

One is that the ball, the window, the air, the momentum, the glass, and all the other factors involved in the incident were already performed within an existing universe with physical laws in place. But to speak of the origin of the universe is to have to explain how the physical laws themselves came to exist.

A second is that there is, in an eternity of possibilities, no law that specifies that any particular outcomes is more likely than any other. In fact, for any one possibility, there are literally and infinite number of alternatives, in such a universe. So an argument like this -- "As astronomically impossible as it is for this universe and us to exist, it does; here we are, so we must just happen to be that lucky location where it was bound to" -- is an illogical one. In fact, to make your analogy just, you would have to ask, "Why was there such a thing as a football, a window, a glass, a vicar, repairmen, and a coherent universe in which they could discuss causes and effects in rational manner?"

Re: An act of God

Posted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:17 pm
by vegetariantaxidermy
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:55 pm
Harbal wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:11 pm
I knew you would get the point, VT.
Well, H., me old mucker, there are quite a few problems with the analogy, I'm afraid.

One is that the ball, the window, the air, the momentum, the glass, and all the other factors involved in the incident were already performed within an existing universe with physical laws in place. But to speak of the origin of the universe is to have to explain how the physical laws themselves came to exist.

A second is that there is, in an eternity of possibilities, no law that specifies that any particular outcomes is more likely than any other. In fact, for any one possibility, there are literally and infinite number of alternatives, in such a universe. So an argument like this -- "As astronomically impossible as it is for this universe and us to exist, it does; here we are, so we must just happen to be that lucky location where it was bound to" -- is an illogical one. In fact, to make your analogy just, you would have to ask, "Why was there such a thing as a football, a window, a glass, a vicar, repairmen, and a coherent universe in which they could discuss causes and effects in rational manner?"
You weren't expected to get it, so why don't you just slither back under your rock like a good little jebus sunbeam?

Re: An act of God

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:28 am
by Walker
Harbal wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 9:37 pm
Walker wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:24 pm
When guns kill folks and autos cause accidents, then we can say that footballs break windows.
If a football hits a window with significant force, it will probably break it. Are you arguing otherwise, Walker?
I'm certainly not anti-fenestration. No need to deprive workers of beer and good times. Besides, blaming the football, the gun, and cars may be silly but effective, but at what threat to continuing the Age of Enlightenment, as judged by the reduction of real suffering for huge swaths of folks?

Re: An act of God

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:09 am
by vegetariantaxidermy
Harbal wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:57 pm
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:20 pm
Well it didn't take me long to rub him up the wrong way.
Some people wake up every morning with the intention of being rubbed up the wrong way. They don't leave you much choice.
I'm glad he's back. He was one of the most intelligent posters--except when he gets all PC :wink:

Re: An act of God

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:54 pm
by Harbal
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Jul 14, 2019 10:55 pm

Well, H., me old mucker, there are quite a few problems with the analogy, I'm afraid.
Yes, the main one being that it doesn't comply with your views on the matter.

Besides, I think you are assuming that I am trying to say more than I am. It was only an illustration of two different ways of thinking; two different approaches to explaining how things happen.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:56 pm
by Harbal
Walker wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:28 am

I'm certainly not anti-fenestration. No need to deprive workers of beer and good times. Besides, blaming the football, the gun, and cars may be silly but effective, but at what threat to continuing the Age of Enlightenment, as judged by the reduction of real suffering for huge swaths of folks?
I don't know what you are talking about, Walker, but it seems to have very little to do with this thread.

Re: An act of God

Posted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:59 pm
by Harbal
vegetariantaxidermy wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:09 am
I'm glad he's back. He was one of the most intelligent posters--except when he gets all PC :wink:
Yes, and it used to be more fun on the forum when he was here before. Although I sometimes got the impression that he didn't altogether approve of the fun.