- Oh bollocks to that; it's my original post so I'll do what I want: I respect your right to believe in what you were taught, Dave (I was taught the same stuff), but I also reserve the right to argue (hopefully in a civilised way) with you on such matters...and I can't let this lie....even if I agree with you about the measurement of time (which I don't, because so much of what you've said is dependent upon a single base-line constant from which to measure time - where in the universe IS that?), I can't work out how from any of what you say that 'it follows' that the universe is planned. I can't follow your reasoning on that point at all; there is no causal link whatsoever. There is absolutely no evidence of 'planning' in any of what you refer to, as far as I can make out.
So: we disagree there. Similarly, I don't see any evidence of a 'planned chaos which is self-fulfilling'; in fact I confess that I don't even know what that means. It sounds like nonsense to be honest, but if you can explain it, I'm listening. If there was a beginning to the universe (an idea which is purely theoretical at this moment; yet to be conclusively proven, constantly being studied and tweaked, yet almost exclusively accepted in the scientific community as the most probable case), it does not at all follow that there was a being which created it; such reasoning requires a pre-emptive belief in a creator, since an event does not at all prove the existence of a creative deity. Show me the causal link.
I don't 'believe' in science, I do however find that science offers credible, usually proven answers to questions about our world and universe. Science is, I think, probably the best route to understanding the universe, and religion of any kind is in my experience pretty bloody awful in that regard, because in order to preserve themselves, religions seem to require circular, closed arguments which go nowhere outside of accepted doctrine and dogma. Outside of accepted teaching (based upon iron age superstitions), the universe is a bit too scary because it isn't all explained or understood - and maybe it never will be.
Oddly enough, the ONLY people that I know of who tell me absolutely who or what created the universe, are the people who follow a faith (ANY FAITH) which tells them the answer to that question (Scientists will tell you what they THINK happened, but a true scientist will not be 100% sure).The religious ones are the people with certainty (again, based upon iron age - 'updated' with mediaeval reasoning - superstitions); they are the people who tell us what to believe, and that we are wrong to believe anything different. Scientists and those who accept that science is constantly trying to understand the universe will tend to exist in a state of permanent questioning of their existence, how they and everything else came to be, and where it will all end (and/or if it ever will).
'Steven Fucking Fry' (as you call him) makes valid and difficult points (in the wake of Christopher Hitchens) about the accepted view of God as a merciful, loving being in the light of all that happens in the world which is so appalling, horrible and unnecessary. God is also supposed (so the iron age reasoning goes) to be omnipotent; so either God allows the awful stuff to happen, and therefore cannot be considered merciful or loving by any reasonable measure (and don't give me that crap about us not understanding God's motives - it's nothing but a mediaeval cop-out), or he can't stop the awful stuff happening, in which case he isn't omnipotent.
As for an equal and opposite force (evil) - when did that convenient idea of equal and opposite appear? I might as well ask you when the idea of hell appeared, because it isn't in the bible, neither is purgatory, neither is the idea of papal infallibility, etc., etc. You know very well that I could go on and illustrate that much of old testament teaching can be found in other religious teachings (including the virgin birth), which suggests that the Abrahamic religions are quite possibly conglomerations of previously held belief systems. Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe there IS a deity 'up' there somewhere, but if there is, he/she/it is doing pretty crappy job of deserving anyone's praise, and I do think that a reasonable person might reasonably expect the big cheese to be rather more reasonable about the whole shebang. That's a lot of reasonableness...maybe too much for God?
Fresh from a facebook post (in which Steven Fry called into question the niceness of any God that would allow all this nasty shit in the world to happen) which drew a rather snippy reposte from a religious friend of mine (being religious doesn't prevent me from liking this otherwise bright and utterly decent man), I felt myself moved to reply thus. Upon proof - reading it, I thought it may serve as fairly representative example of how I feel about religion and people who get very, very hot under the collar when its strangely privileged position is challenged:
Grumpy middle aged git moaning about stuff and occasionally trying to be funny.