Ask the Atheist

Supernatural Occurence?

When I was 14 years old and about to fall asleep in my room, I was laying upright on my bed when I heard a horrible screeching sound (like a pig squealing VERY loud) and saw my cup fly off my desk (horizontally) as if thrown across the room and hit the opposite wall of an approximately 10 yard wide room. There were no fans or air currents on. The cup was an empty large sized plastic cup .The lights were on, I had not yet begun falling asleep. I was old enough to make logical conclusions and not let my imagination run loose. And I have never had any mental illnesses or head injuries (just for the question’s sake). And it was not a prank, only child, no one else in the room. I am also not trolling just trying to create a difficult situation for you to answer. I was agnostic at the time, did not believe in any supernatural occurrences. As you can imagine I ran out of my room absolutely freaked out. Ran up to my dad told him the whole situation, he was playing computer games and pretty much didn’t care. So I stayed awake for another two hours watching TV and eventually went to bed in the same room…removing the cup and hoping it wouldn’t happen again, which it thankfully didn’t. I acknowledge the dangers of people labeling unexplainable events as supernatural (a popular past-time in the dark ages). And I do not want to be mirroring this ignorant hobby. But I am also tired of doubting what could have happened that night. Maybe it was a freak scientific fluke or magnetic field of the house, something VERY rare that could be described scientifically. Or could it possibly be a supernatural occurrence? By supernatural occurrence I am talking about energies relating ghost or psychic abilities. I hear stories about it all the time and every one I hear I ignore as a fluke. But is it possible that very rarely such occurrences are true? It may be inaccurate to immediately label the situation on something humans have no hard evidence about .But since there seems to be lots of modern accounts of this happening, most of them probably exaggerated, but I have a definite personal experience, this is the only explanation I could think of…or maybe just a freak scientific occurrence? I’m pretty confused on this subject, what does this sound like from your position? (Sorry for the long letter, I wanted to be thorough)
Atheist Answer: 

Is it possible that you had a supernatural experience? Sure. We'll never rule them out completely, because there are an infinite number of mechanisms we can and can't imagine by which they could happen. Is it likely, though? Probably not, because the number of possible natural explanations is just as large.

You heard a screech, and then saw your cup flying across the room as if thrown. My first thought is that it was thrown, or at least struck, by a wild animal who got into your room. If you didn't have the fan or the air on, you probably had the window or the door open. If not, perhaps it got in earlier, and escaped when you ran out to your father. Would you have noticed as you freaked out? (Possible test: describe the squeal in detail on a wildlife forum as if you heard it outside, then listen to the suggested animals on YouTube and see if they ring a bell.)

Coming up with natural hypotheses is fun, but considering the supernatural alternatives is fun too. Say the cup was deliberately thrown by a ghost or other ethereal entity. (Note: the "aether" is actually a long-discarded scientific concept, not just a story.) Why? And why only once? Did you manage to discern some sort of message from the action? Did the cup have any significance, or the place it flew to? Since the entity would probably realise you didn't get the message, why didn't it try again?

I applaud you for the wealth of good skepticism you've already applied to this event. I know it's frustrating when you're still left without an explanation, and the prospect remains that you'll never really know. I hope I've made you a little more optimistic that there is a natural explanation to be had, even if you don't find it.

Good luck in any case.

- SmartLX

How was the earth created?

I am not a christian but I want to know or at least have a theroy that is believeable because some of these don't work. Evolution is kind of interesting but in my science class we learned about the second law of thermodynamics where everything is heading towards a higer state of entropy so how are animals getting more complex? wouldn't that disprove that law? The big bang theroy is kind of weird also something about how a void exploded and the earth was created but how can nothing explode? and if there was something there why is it that when it explodes microbes and trees and cells were created? that is very unlikely math can't really show the possibility of that happening and the last time I saw an explosion things were destroyed. How can I really believe in those things. and the The nebula hypothesis is kind of believeable but how did plant's come around because you need seeds to create plants and even then how can animals come from it? every way I look I only see signs of a god but that sounds like bs too I mean if there was a god why would he allow things like world war two? I am very confused. please answer as best as you can if I try and debate it is only so I can find the truth.
Atheist Answer: 

The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the total entropy in a closed system must increase. The Earth by itself isn't a closed system; the Sun provides it with energy by increasing its own entropy by huge amounts via fusion reactions. That means that entropy in another part of the system can decrease without breaking the Second Law.

I've explained it more thoroughly here, but just think about it for a second. If order and complexity could never increase anywhere, you couldn't build anything, arrange anything or form a coherent thought. There must be a way.

It's unlikely that what exploded in the Big Bang was a total void. It was the entire current universe squashed into one tiny dot. We don't know how it got there; maybe it came from another universe, maybe something compressed the universe into a dot, or maybe it really did pop out of "nothing". That last one isn't quite as silly as it sounds, because some quantum theories actually do allow for it by positing that "nothing" is really a sort of quantum foam of potentiality.

We don't really know that the Big Bang was what created everything; we're just mostly sure that everything there is was in the Big Bang. It might have all existed forever, and just spent a bit of time squashed into the dot.

Thinking of the Big Bang as an explosion is a bit too simple. An explosion destroys things around it; since everything was in the Bang itself, there was nothing around it to destroy. Once all the debris was floating free, gravity brought some of it back together to form rocks and stars. Stars create vast amounts of entropy, so any rock receiving energy from a star is part of its closed system and a certain amount of order and complexity is free to emerge there. This is how microbes were able to come about (though it's not exactly how they came about; that's a bit more complicated).

Plants actually evolved from seagoing creatures. Once the oceans were teeming with ultra-primitive life, masses of it was bound to wash up on the shores of Pangaea (the single pre-drift continent). Most of that organic matter would have died, but a tiny fraction of organisms would have been able to use their existing abilities to sink safely into the sand or soil, and stick one piece up to get some sunlight. It was natural selection in all its glory; if you throw enough different kinds of crap at the wall, something is bound to stick.

Go ahead and reply with your objections if something still doesn't seem feasible. Don't worry about ticking us off. That's what we're here for.

- SmartLX

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