My journey into atheism and theories on life


ible

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yep, words are almost useless by themselves. i don't think all atheists are evangelistically belligerent about their beliefs, but they can fall into that type of "religious" category, too. (not that there's anything wrong with evangelizing, of course!) but dogma is dogma, and vehemently defended sometimes, and name calling can result. there's lots of contention and competing beliefs even within a given circle.

as a Christian, i'm frustrated with the lack of an open mind towards climate change among conservative Christian peoples -- the distrust towards politicians (except republicans) and scientists. Christian writings describe a deep corruption of the human heart, and yet, despite that, many don't think we could similarly corrupt the world through pollution or cause global warming. it rings a bit hollow, our acceptance of "sin" as somewhere "out there" needing a swift and certain remedy, but not "right here" and "I need to change." it's hard to dialogue about these sorts of things, because no one really wants to accept that they need to change, due to certain mind concepts we've built our identity around, politicization, mental inoculation, etc.

anyway, it might appear that supernatural effort is required to truly change a person's mind ;).
 

T.T.

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Just stumbled upon this thread. Even as a Christian (specifically a Mormon) I'm finding this thread very interesting. I love to hear other's points of view, and why they have those views. On the topic science and religion, I've always viewed them as going hand in hand. I've never liked ideas like "the earth couldn't have taken several million years to form, the Bible says it took 7 days!" But then a simple concept like "time is relative" is never even considered. Heck, even the people on the ISS would be experiencing time differently than us just because of how fast it travels. That's my two cents on science.

(also, I did not pop into this thread to try and convert people. That would be rude to try and hijack a thread like that. But if you do want to know what I think from a religeous point of view, go ahead and ask me questions I won't get offended or try to convince you to change mindsets.)
 

rygD

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@ible, it is those attitudes, taken to the extreme, which led to my antagonistic attitude toward certain varieties of hardcore christians. Many fights ensued in my early years over rather stupid things, such as a girl asking me if I was interested in playing an RPG (only video game ones for me), that was overheard by the wrong person. He felt he needed to convince me of my wrongdoing, which I have never been really clear on what that was in that instance. The messed up thing is that I was on good terms with a few of his equally devoted, yet less forceful, friends.

On the topic science and religion, I've always viewed them as going hand in hand.
I know of a chart that looks at how different aspects of culture are exhibited, and those were two of the examples used to show it as a spectrum of sorts, being closely related (and not exclusive of each other). Art was pretty obviously in there, too.
 

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perhaps related: a resolution of the Fermi paradox is that once life gets sufficiently advanced to communicate interstellar distances, it destroys itself.
https://futurism.com/we-wont-be-hearing-from-aliens-soon-physicist-brian-cox-claims/
if so, "wars and rumors of wars" sort of thing, getting worse, until the end. i suppose then, the best thing for scientists to do is to stop advancing...
But we have no indication at all that it is true. It would be strange to stop advancing based on a hypothesis alone. If that is a likely risk then we should investigate that instead. E.g. by exploring the galaxy and finding remnants of civilizations that self-destructed through technology. By seriously thinking about repercussions of specific technological advancements, analyse where it can go wrong, etc..
while it may sound a little convoluted, i do think atheism should be classified as a religion, since it does try to answer the hard questions about existence.
It does? I do not understand. In my neck of the woods there are no atheist meetings or discussing groups about topics, I do not read "atheist books" that address the topic. I just do not occupy myself with the questions about existence. There probably are some religions that actively do not believe in gods and yet try to answer questions about existence, those would be atheistic religions (i.e. non theism). Though I cannot name one.

Thus I use the term atheism to describe non-practice. The lack of belief in gods, the lack of performing rituals, gatherings and the lack of studying the questions about existence. It is just not a thing, there is no active component to atheism. It sounds to me like you imagine a form of atheist practice. Is that true? If so, how do you view that?

The reason for me to participate in this discussion is because I want to understand the viewpoints of theistic people more. I have been raised without a religion, I have never held a belief and I have an absolute inability to understand why other people can. It seems almost like they see another dimension in which they can reason which is completely missing for me. Like those videos that project 4D shapes in motion on the 3D space, sometimes something weird suddenly pops out, which is hard to understand if you do not see that 4th dimension.
it's also important to not get too heady about one's superiority over the "religious people," or even "my denomination" over "yours", etc.
I fully agree with you. By the way, if I do come across like that then please call me out on it as I want to be more sensitive to such concerns. I really struggle mentally with religious thought as I just fail to grasp it and that lack of understanding may at times come across a bit harsh, though I do my best not to.
and while i must say as a (ex-)scientist, "go where the evidence leads," i also prefer simple solutions (Occam's razor), so the universe being a simulation sounds overtly complicated, and a bit like moving the goal posts.
Funnily enough, if it was a simulation then the programmer would essentially be the god of the religions. Naturally whatever questions one may seek to answer would recursively propagate all the way back up to the real (non-simulated) world, so in that sense it does not really answer anything either. In that way it is closely related to the "if god created the world then who created god" argument.
 

Klumpen

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also, I did not pop into this thread to try and convert people. That would be rude to try and hijack a thread like that. But if you do want to know what I think from a religeous point of view, go ahead and ask me questions I won't get offended or try to convince you to change mindsets.
I have a question, do you imagine your god to be something remotely human with a will, motives, thoughts and goals, something like "the force" or something else and if the latter, how/what exactly?
 

rygD

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@rygD Do you have a link to this chart? I'm rather curious to see it.
It is from a book (forgot which), but I will take a look. You probably need it in context to fully understand it. It has an x,y layout with each quadrant labeled. (Just a warning, the author was writing generally on a topic you probably wouldn't approve of, and more specifically, a segment of that which I am almost positive you would have a problem with. I will just leave these words here for you: demons, goetia, necromancy.)


There probably are some religions that actively do not believe in gods and yet try to answer questions about existence, those would be atheistic religions (i.e. non theism). Though I cannot name one.
This should give you some of the more well known and accepted ones.

Thus I use the term atheism to describe non-practice. The lack of belief in gods, the lack of performing rituals, gatherings and the lack of studying the questions about existence. It is just not a thing, there is no active component to atheism. It sounds to me like you imagine a form of atheist practice. Is that true? If so, how do you view that?
What you describe here is irreligion. Although I disagree with a lot of it, check this out for the opposite side of it from you. Unlike others here, I am trying to convert you. Actually, I am not giving you a choice. I guess you should be more careful where you wander into. I will send you a list of religions you now belong to and relevant information as soon as I decide which ones.

For the record, I personally know a fairly faithful Catholic (the christian variety, although I also suspect she is addicted to cats) that doesn't do any of the churchy stuff (and vocally disapproves of many of my studies) and at least a few atheists that do rituals and ceremonies (far from only being a part of religion...think graduation, starting to build or opening a new building, etc.), discuss ontology, and are in other ways active atheists, in this case promoting or discussing atheism or their beliefs or the problem with believing differently. One was mentioned in this thread recently. I know of MANY others that admit they are religious, but don't give any other external indicators, and atheists that defy your description. Not trying to attack you or tell you that you are wrong, just explaining that your explanation doesn't really prove Orr or disprove anything. On that note, you are at least a Discordian, now. Hail Eris! (I can direct you to many atheist discordians if you want. You should feel right at home, but you won't. They will make sure of that.;))

The reason for me to participate in this discussion is because I want to understand the viewpoints of theistic people more. I have been raised without a religion, I have never held a belief and I have an absolute inability to understand why other people can. It seems almost like they see another dimension in which they can reason which is completely missing for me. Like those videos that project 4D shapes in motion on the 3D space, sometimes something weird suddenly pops out, which is hard to understand if you do not see that 4th dimension.
Well, shit. I probably fucked things up for both of us. I play for both teams, and some others, sometimes at the same time. I have found the best way to understand why people believe what they do is to walk in their shoes. That applies for many other things that are best experienced. Just make sure the cops don't see you take their shoes. No need to even try starting off with belief. Try out some of the practices. Do you meditate?

I fully agree with you. By the way, if I do come across like that then please call me out on it as I want to be more sensitive to such concerns. I really struggle mentally with religious thought as I just fail to grasp it and that lack of understanding may at times come across a bit harsh, though I do my best not to.
Well, religious people are idiots. So are nonreligious people, but we have already been through this. There is no hope! :p

Funnily enough, if it was a simulation then the programmer would essentially be the god of the religions. Naturally whatever questions one may seek to answer would recursively propagate all the way back up to the real (non-simulated) world, so in that sense it does not really answer anything either. In that way it is closely related to the "if god created the world then who created god" argument.
Not necessarily. Sure, I may worship the sun because it created our planet and solar system and sustains life on the planet, but few others outright worship the sun, eben if some actively theistic religious types do through veiled forms of it (or borrow practices and holidays from those they conquered to assist with conversion, then made one of those days and some of those practices their most important, despite warnings against doing this from their own predecessors in their religious tradition...I speak primarily of Christmas, buy Easter also fits, and I can probably find examples from other Abrahamic religions with a little effort). But what about all the people with no direct ties to solar veneration? Sure, the nonbelievers are exempt due to their lack of faith. I know full well that the sun isn't the center of the universe, and isn't solely responsible for everything on our planet, and didn't create itself unassisted. So I could worship the universe, but that only solves some of the problems. The thing is, though, not all religions depend on an almighty creator entity. Hell, some, within the same construct, might have a series of creation myths. Look at one of my favorites, in ancient Greece. Since that was really a whole, somewhat related, group of stories, and I like Hesiod, in Theogeny he tells, if I am not confusing myself, of one primordial creation, and then eventually Zeus takes over and destroys it all, then makes it all again. (I feel like I may be inserting stuff from the mystery religions, particularly Orphism, however that also has some pretty interesting stuff. I will continue in case I am not mixing things up.) Really, though, none of that matters. Hesiod is fun because we have so much on this topic from him, however his interpretation is only one, and was not universally (in that "society") accepted. He did, however, say everything came from nothing, and out of the night/darkness, and a bunch of other stuff he personified. (Make sure you remember that, because Eris is the firstborn daughter of Night/Nyx...but which Eris? See the beginning of Hesiod's Works and Days to see what I am talking about. You don't really need to remember that.) I don't think anyone would ask where the primal empty chaos came from. For the people in a simulation to either worship whatever started the simulation, or made the computer, our whatever else, they would need to be aware of it. Without any indicators, why wouldn't they believe Hesiod instead of that they are a simulation, or worship the Wind-fish, or that everything they know is a product of their own mind. Technically, they don't need to worship anything, and they really don't even need creation myths, to be religious. But that doesn't mean that they couldn't be part of a game that I am playing. So what is their god? I dunno. Money? Yeah, maybe they are Ferengi. To them all that other stuff would just get in the way...if they knew about it, which they don't. The sun will still probably rise tomorrow.
 

SNESFAN

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I also think checking none in the religion checkbox doesn't count as having a religion. Just like saying I don't watch sports when asked what your favorite sports team is.

Yes you may have alternative answers to the same questions religion attempts to answer, but it's not the same a believing in something on faith, it's actually the opposite of faith, not believing in something due to lack of proof. Faith is a fundamental requirement of any religion, saying no to that means you're not taking part in the entire thing. The label makes it seem like a religion, because other religions have labels dealing with matters of belief, but it's really not.

To counter my own argument, in a twisted view of the concept of religion, saying you don't believe simply because you lack the proof to say something doesn't exist could be similar to having 'faith' in the non-existance of a deity, You can't prove it doesn't exist, you have faith in it not existing. But that's not really the same thing.
 
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rygD

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I also think checking none in the religion checkbox doesn't count as having a religion. Just like saying I don't watch sports when asked what your favorite sports team is.
I have literally done that. Mostly because I didn't know what to put. Eventually I started writing in my own answers, once writing "none of the above" I think, despite there being a none option. Our maybe I put "Nun of the Above", trying to be funny. I don't usually watch sports, and if I did I don't think I would be emotionally invested in any particular team, as I have no reason.

I don't think faith is required for religion. A few of mine don't seem to require it, and a couple of those are fairly obviously opposed to it. (Some people debate if those can legitimately be called a religions. If those people can do that to me and my religions, then I can say that atheism is the religion of those that claim it. I don't see how it really matters. What would those people put in the religion block on official records to deal with their remains in the event that they die? If it is in fact "none" they are irreligious, so atheism doesn't apply to them. If it is "atheist" then it seems that is their religion.) So if questioning things and being skeptical is a part of some religions, that being a feature of atheism doesn't make it not a religion. Things aren't black and white.

In your third paragraph, what you are saying sounds very close to agnosticism. Also not atheism.

I found the figure that @T.T. asked about. It was borrowed from Ramsey Dukes. The interesting thing about that, from his Wikipedia page is:
Words Made Flesh (1987) was written from a more philosophical point of view and notable for its original outline of the "information model" theory of magic that our universe could be a virtual reality—as later explored in The Matrix. It is an example of the author's ongoing studies in the relationship between magic and rationalism.
So, kinda relevant here, and with what you are playing with.

The book it is used in is one of Jake Stratton-Kent's, and a paragraph or two near it pertain to this discussion, so when I find/make a pic I will post his words, too.



In case anyone mistakes what I say about atheism being a religion in recent posts as being serious, I'm not. I don't care one way or the other, I am just trying to have fun.
 

Binky

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From my day-to-day observations, I don't see the world being influenced by a consistent, thinking deity.

The behaviour of the universe is controlled by (apparently) impartial physical rules (gravity, etc), and by people, who in turn seem to be governed by chemical rules. Sometimes the effects of these rules are simple and predictable (gravity causing orbits) sometimes they are hopelessly chaotic (the arrangement of raindrops on a window pane)

Some things are easy to predict. Some are harder, maybe impossible. Either way, I have never seen the world change its behaviour to achieve a coherent goal. The things we can't predict work the same for everyone. Murderers win the lottery, sometimes. Devotees who pray daily for financial aid also win the lottery, but no more often. The world does not appear to be steered towards any comprehensible goal, except by humans.

From that observation, I can find no reason to believe in a god, if it will make no noticeable difference to anything.

Some monotheists will say that there is a God, He is mysterious and beyond the ability of humanity to understand. That also fits the observation, but smacks rather of the invisible unicorn argument. (I have seen hoof-prints. I have never seen a unicorn. Therefore there is an invisible unicorn). It's an unmotivated and unnecessarily complicated answer.

Polytheistic religions, or ones where the forces of good battle the forces of evil, make a little more sense to me, as they explain the lack of coherence - but still they're a complicated and extra-ordinary way of explaining the chaos of the world.

Chaotic systems are obviously possible (roll some dice) while superbeings are only maybe-possible. Rather like Occam and his shaving equipment, I tend to fall back on the explanation depending on the fewest assumptions.

Is that faith? Well, in one sense, yes. My basis for going with 'randomness' instead of 'inscrutable gods' is flimsy. On the other hand, faith often seems to be more than belief in the absence of evidence. It can be faith despite evidence. When a conjurer cuts a lady in half on stage, you know it's all a lie, even though you saw it happen.

I don't see any good reasons against my views, therefore I don't consider them to be faith.

Of course that boils down to "I know I'm right", which is a pathetic argument...
 

rygD

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From JSK's Testament of Cyprian the Mage, Vol. 2:

Does believing God to be a mythical being equate with atheism? Certainly magicians are entitled to be atheists; however, they should be aware that they too are mythical beings. They don't get to skip work by sounding trendy in popular debates. A great part of what culture consists of is myth, language, drama and symbol. Art, magic, science and religion are all responses to and means of participation in life and culture. Indeed they create language and culture, and live within its fabric as semi-independent parts of a living organism.
occultchart.gif
He then talks about mythology in practical use by fear mongers of the always nigh "Middle Eastern Armageddon" and how it influences foreign policy and defense budgets, and so on. I got tired of trying to type it in on a touchscreen.



I stole the pic from here. Marik is mentioned there. He was, amongst other things, a jeweler. I had many things I wanted to have him make for me, and luckily my family got a few pieces by him before he went to investigate the afterlife firsthand. He made me a custom sacred chao. He seemed like a pretty great guy.
[doublepost=1506431896,1506430930][/doublepost]
When a conjurer cuts a lady in half on stage, you know it's all a lie, even though you saw it happen.
if that is how you feel about it, it seems I found my volunteer

Of course that boils down to "I know I'm right", which is a pathetic argument...
Only if you aren't right. I don't have that problem.

I wanted to respond to other parts of your post, but I am trying to give everyone a little break before I post much more stupid.
 

ible

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Thus I use the term atheism to describe non-practice. The lack of belief in gods, the lack of performing rituals, gatherings and the lack of studying the questions about existence. It is just not a thing, there is no active component to atheism. It sounds to me like you imagine a form of atheist practice. Is that true? If so, how do you view that?

i kind of imagine it as the set of people that atheists surround themselves with -- probably others that think similarly -- which is like "gathering for church", but in a less formal way -- talking about science, hard-core philosophies, and Dresden Codak :). it doesn't have to be physically; i was a member of the internet infidels / free thought forums for a while, which also espoused very steely rational philosophies. and of course, like Binky is doing, the tendency to talk about how s/he is right and the world seems like chaos anyways (atheist evangelism). (i very much respect Binky's opinions on many things, though we should probably talk about the lives of Job and Jesus to explain why good things don't always happen to good people...)

i don't think atheists "just" "don't believe in god(s)"; i consider atheism to have a strong belief in the sufficiency of reason. instead of sola fide, sola ratione. of course, i think atheists strongly take up rationalism as a rationale for not believing in gods. the "faith" that atheists have is, then, in their ability to be rational and make reasonable (truthful?) statements, despite the chaos that birthed and bred humanity. (at least, as far as i see it.)

anyway, to me these things make it seem like atheism has similarities to religion, but perhaps it is more similar to the original idea of memes (memory genes, which can be transferred from person to person). at any rate, i consider both atheism and standard religions as offering a narrative or mythology that explains history and how/why things came to be.
 

T.T.

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I have a question, do you imagine your god to be something remotely human with a will, motives, thoughts and goals, something like "the force" or something else and if the latter, how/what exactly?

I believe that my God made us in His image. So because of that, He would have a human form. Even more specific, I believe that He has a physical body just like we do, but unlike ours, His would be perfect and immortal. I also believe that He has goals, motives, etc as well.
 

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... the world seems like chaos anyways (atheist evangelism). (i very much respect Binky's opinions on many things, though we should probably talk about the lives of Job and Jesus to explain why good things don't always happen to good people...)

I may be guilty here of not fully understanding a concept before refuting it. That said, I do know a little of the figures you mention. (Sunday-school stuff). The stories as I was told them smacked a little of moving the goalposts.
"So why can't I hear the invisible unicorn"
"Sometimes the unicorn is silent to test your faith in Her"

As to evangelism, I've been reading all the posts thus far as a detached debate, and couldn't possibly ask more of anyone else.
Yes, I disagree with some people's views, but I honestly find it very hard to back my disagreement with anything solid. As a result, it would be unfair to call anyone else wrong. Everything I've said in this thread (including this paragraph!) is what I believe, not what you should.


... i consider atheism to have a strong belief in the sufficiency of reason. ... i think atheists strongly take up rationalism as a rationale for not believing in gods. the "faith" that atheists have is, then, in their ability to be rational and make reasonable (truthful?) statements, despite the chaos that birthed and bred humanity. (at least, as far as i see it.)

I'm not sure about "faith in their ability to be rational"; I think humans, instinctively, are deeply irrational creatures. However, we do have the ability to be rational, with effort. I'm confident that rationality can lead to meaningful and productive answers to life's problems. Is that the same thing?
 

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Yes, I also had issues with the untestability of Him when I was falling out of religious belief. Science did replace that need, because it is based on testability and repeatability. You could consider the scientific method to be the axiom of my belief, but over the past three centuries or so that's proven to be a reliable way to proceed, and seems to reveal things that are pretty hard to argue against.

Of course, theoretical science runs a little ahead of what's testable. Many artefacts of quantum theory have been validated already, but the overarching theory that it's all just the integral of the probabilities across spacetime is as far as I know still just that. On the other hand the second law of thermodynamics (that entropy will always increase) was an empirical finding, and it's only not finding anything that exceeds it means it's become a law over time. And if you take that to its logical conclusion, it means that we didn't come from chaos - it may have looked a bit of a mess but actually it was a very organised low entropy system. Stars and then planets coalesced, releasing heat energy and increasing entropy. Plants and animals appear to be very organised systems that are reducing entropy by being so organised, but in anything we do we put out more heat energy that we use purposely, so entropy continues to increase.
 

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Had an interesting conversation today regarding entropy. We were wondering if there was any studies or coralation between increasing entropy and universe expansion.

Maybe the increasing entropy is powering the ever increasing expansion being observed. It's unknown what is powering it, maybe as energy diffuses into space its diffusing directly into spacetime.
 

ible

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I may be guilty here of not fully understanding a concept before refuting it. That said, I do know a little of the figures you mention. (Sunday-school stuff). The stories as I was told them smacked a little of moving the goalposts.

Fair enough. The result I was hoping to elaborate upon was that "good" people don't necessarily get good things in this life. That's a common belief, karma and all that, the "balance between good and evil" you've done in your life, whether your heart is as light as a feather, prosperity gospel, etc., but it's not even close to the truth (with Job being tested and Jesus being crucified the counter examples). Going back to Duality, and the battle between good and evil, it's interesting that nowadays we are "fighting a war" against fake news and trolls largely initiated by an opposing superpower (though propagated by many on "our side"), which sounds a lot like the battle between God and Satan the deceiver/accuser who uses lies...

I'm not sure about "faith in their ability to be rational"; I think humans, instinctively, are deeply irrational creatures. However, we do have the ability to be rational, with effort. I'm confident that rationality can lead to meaningful and productive answers to life's problems. Is that the same thing?

Well, I wasn't trying to talk generally, more specifically -- atheists hope that they themselves have an ability to be rational, at least part of the time. So they have a little faith in themselves I suppose :).

I forget where I was reading it, but some researcher was saying that with evolution guiding the development of the brain, our logic and reason may not correlate to real logic and reason as we think it does -- only to logic and reason which benefits the species as a whole (since that is what evolution hones). Not sure if that distinction matters to the atheist, but it may matter for someone who holds up reason as absolute.
 

levi

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Had an interesting conversation today regarding entropy. We were wondering if there was any studies or coralation between increasing entropy and universe expansion.

Maybe the increasing entropy is powering the ever increasing expansion being observed. It's unknown what is powering it, maybe as energy diffuses into space its diffusing directly into spacetime.
I don't think entropy is a real thing - it's just a scientists term for lack of order. An increase in entropy is usually the transformation of energy into infra-red radio waves - both low energy and generally scattered in every direction; unfocussed.

I think it unlikely that infra-red is powering the expansion of the universe. The main thing at the moment powering the expansion of the universe is simply inertia, I think - we know the universe is expanding, because everything near us seems to be going away, and we think it's happening at such a rate that gravity won't be able to bring everything past a standstill and back together again.

The extent of the universe is as far as I know one of those currently unknowable things, but unless there's some very weird gravitational lensing going on or something, having everything near you moving away only happens if everything is moving away from everything else which means the things at the edges of the universe are moving away from each other, meaning the universe as a whole seems to be getting bigger. It's the simplest explanation at least, believe it or not.

But the death of the universe by entropy isn't much to worry about - the earth will have been swallowed up by the sun long before that, and that isn't happening for a good few millennia yet (or about 5000 millennia I think).
 

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I don't think entropy is a real thing - it's just a scientists term for lack of order. An increase in entropy is usually the transformation of energy into infra-red radio waves - both low energy and generally scattered in every direction; unfocussed.

I think it unlikely that infra-red is powering the expansion of the universe. The main thing at the moment powering the expansion of the universe is simply inertia, I think - we know the universe is expanding, because everything near us seems to be going away, and we think it's happening at such a rate that gravity won't be able to bring everything past a standstill and back together again.

The extent of the universe is as far as I know one of those currently unknowable things, but unless there's some very weird gravitational lensing going on or something, having everything near you moving away only happens if everything is moving away from everything else which means the things at the edges of the universe are moving away from each other, meaning the universe as a whole seems to be getting bigger. It's the simplest explanation at least, believe it or not.

But the death of the universe by entropy isn't much to worry about - the earth will have been swallowed up by the sun long before that, and that isn't happening for a good few millennia yet (or about 5000 millennia I think).
That's not quite what I've been hearing recently. There were 3 major theories, big bounce/crunch that could be 2 separate theories, and the 2 others, the big rip and big freeze.

The big bounce/crunch has been mostly disproven saying that we are still on an upward incline on expansion speed, not slowing down. Gravity was holding groups of galaxies together, but is no longer doing that and will at some point leave our observable area of the universe. They go on further to say at some point our local group of galaxies will become one, and that all other galaxies outside our local group will disappear from observation and it will at some point appear to us as if ours is the only galaxy in the universe. So they say anyway.

The 2 big contenders are the big rip and the big freeze. The big rip being expansion continues to speed up to the point where everything is going so fast that the very protons and electons that make up atoms will no longer be stable and rip themselves apart. The big freeze being through entropy, or higher or heavier atoms decaying into lower ones.

I don't want to say sadly, but of the least exciting, the big freeze appears to be the one that will win before expansion gets to the speed in which it rips things apart. Stars run out of fuel, black holes "evaporate" helium degrades to hydrogen, hydrogen degrades to nothing etc.

I have a friend that doesn't believe entropy is real (I guess either? Not sure where you stand) but it can be observed, just takes a really long time based off calculations. And if energy can't be destroyed only converted to another form, what happens to that energy as atoms decay if entropy as described is real? My guess is that is what is fueling the increase in expansion. Being converted into the fabric of space.

Wild leap but they are looking for this so called "dark energy" fueling the increase in expansion. It may be right under our noses is my argument. If you don't agree with entropy in that meaning then I can see how you would disagree.
 
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