Sunday, June 08, 2008

Logical Proof of the Existence of a Divine Creator, Why Atheism is Not Logically Sound

One of the beautiful aspects of self evident truths is that they can be proven on both the simplest and the most complex of levels. By contrast, to make an argument for what is in fact an illogical fallacy, one must use plenty of skill, sophistry and remain beholden to a dogmatic protection of what is really an illogical position.

Yet even after a detailed case is made for the illogical side of the argument, it can instantly be deflated like a balloon with the simplest poke of clear logic. It can also be attacked piece by piece with even greater skill and logic, stemming from a steadfast pursuit of the truth.

Nowhere does the above hold more true than with regard to the existence of a Divine Creator. Proof of a conscious Creator is readily available. The simplest proof (yet one that no atheist has ever been able to counter effectively) is that a universe of this size and magnitude does not somehow build itself, just as a set of encyclopedias doesn’t write itself or form randomly from the spill of a massive inkblot.

The atheist, on the other hand, needs to build a plausible case for this irrational scenario. But first, let’s examine how irrational it is:

No one in their right mind would claim that 10,000 hundred story buildings built themselves from randomness, even over time. Yet those who doubt the existence of a Creator believe that an entire universe, containing all of the billions of elements necessary for life to form, may have come about without a builder. As such, they give credence to billions of times more coincidences to having come about.

They believe that not only did whole planets appear spontaneously, but also believe that the fact that these planets do not collide as meteors do, that they have gravity, that they contain the proper atmospheric conditions for life to take hold and contain sustenance to sustain this life all happened by mere fluke. Yet the same people would (rightly) denounce as preposterous the notion that the Egyptian pyramids built themselves. They would point to the structure and detailed design of these impressive inanimate objects. Yet they outrageously chalk up to coincidence billions upon billions of times more detail and design in all parts of life found in this universe.

To be sure, someone can build sandcastles in the sky on how the spontaneous coming together of molecules, then turning into bricks, changing further into buildings, culminating in 10,000 perfectly aligned skyscrapers all built with no builder is a plausible scenario. They can form intricate arguments to support this theory. But in the end, the entire proposition remains offensive to logic itself.

While there are complex proofs of the Divine, some dating back to the philosophical writings of Plato and others using modern science, the most clearly logical concepts are all readily apparent and simple. An entire world does not create itself.

Furthermore, proof of a Divine creator can be seen more readily in the small and intricate details of the universe than by considering the enormity of the universe as a whole.

Consider the following:

Even if all the planets somehow formed themselves, all somehow staying in perfect orbit and possessing gravity, even take for granted that all the chemicals needed for life were so how there as well, by sheer happenstance, would it then be possible for billions of species to spontaneously come about, each with a male and female of each kind so that they could exist in the long run?

Even if this were possible, would the simplest of animals have been able to survive were it missing even one essential organ? Would human beings survive if one organ or cavity was missing or displaced, even after somehow being otherwise perfectly formed with no designer? The simple fact is that even if humans were so perfectly formed, if food, water, sunlight or any one of a host of details necessary for life to exist were somehow missing, human life would have lasted on this planet for a maximum of a few days.

The contention of atheists, that life simply adapted to the conditions it found itself in is also irrational, as were this to be the case we’d have animals that could solely subsist on snow and ice in some regions. By contrast, the ability to adapt to small conditional changes is also a fascinating aspect of the body, one that shows that much detail was put into its design.

The central point of the atheist, that all somehow came about randomly through evolution, does not help them either. While a separate column will deal with the scientific arguments for creationism and evolution, the topic is not germane here. Going back to the example of a set of encyclopedias, a set of Britannicas does not write itself, not from one massive ink blot and not starting out as dots, which form letters, which align into perfect phrases, paragraphs, books and sets. In fact, it’s even more incredulous to say that they aligned so perfectly, step by step and dot by dot than it is to say that all appeared at once. Yet that’s what the atheist contends when he chalks up life’s existence to gradual and detailed formation with no Creator at the helm.

However, despite the fact that even after much debate on the issue I have yet to meet an atheist who can make even a feeble argument to counter any of these points, they often feel that such grounded proofs aren’t complicated enough. Just as a man who spends years coming up with a thousand reasons why an elephant is really a duck will not be persuaded of his error without first addressing all of his complicated fallacies, so too the atheist’s contentions must be addressed in detail. For this reason, we will also address some of the more detailed proofs of the existence of the Divine.

Of the many philosophic and scientific arguments brought forth for the existence of the Divine, three stand out. The anthropic argument contends that the universe is too complex to have no Creator. This is in effect the central point of this column, although explained in a more common manner. The cosmological argument maintains that finite matter (original matter, which was clearly finite) cannot create a universe that is greater than itself. Especially compelling is the teleological argument, that the existence of a Creator can be seen from the fact that the universe works in perfect harmony, as would a giant machine. Gravity, orbits, chemical atmospheres and all other ingredients needed for life to exist come together in unison to allow such existence to happen. An enormous machine that works like clockwork needs to have a Creator.

The atheist would also do well to read Anthony Flew’s latest book, “There is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.” For decades, Flew was one of the leading proponents of atheism. But he eventually decided to give everything a second look and found that all he’d believed and so vociferously advocated for so long was wrong. Upon real analysis, he found that there is, in fact, proof of the Divine.

THE TRUTH OF OUR SIDE AND THE REAL CHALLENGE TO DEBATING ATHEISTS

But all of these reasons, in reality, are unnecessary. The youngest school child can tell you that a building does not build itself and that, by extension, neither does a universe. And this is the beauty of self evident truths. After all the proofs and reasoning in the world, they remain just as self evident, just as they are also, on the deepest levels, thoroughly profound. Here too, all that is needed to demonstrate proof of a Creator is that the world doesn’t create itself, not instantly and not over time. All other issues can then be examined in that light.

However, we must realize that while the sophistry it takes to purport a falsehood can be easily countered, the person who has upheld such notions for decades must have each of his or her counterpoints addressed. This is able to be done smoothly, in light of the inherent logic that necessitates the existence of a conscious Creator, but it must be done thoroughly.

Encouraging atheists to open their minds to pure logic and to possibilities that they hitherto only sought to counter or to avoid on any pretext also involves an emotional challenge for them, as they must open themselves to the possibility of having to shed preconceived notions that they’ve held firm for decades. And that, rather than facts, is the primary challenge to exposing them to insightful logic. However, if they are willing to address the issue honestly, a search for the truth should be of paramount importance and enough reason for them to take an open look.

NOT RELIGION AND SCIENCE, BUT RELIGION AND SCIENTISTS

Scientists as a whole are increasingly open to the idea of a conscious Creator. They realize that science points to the complexity of the universe, a complexity that dictates the inevitability of a Creator. However, some stick to old ways and old dogmas. A question that arises is why these seemingly logical people possess such illogical beliefs. This fact alone has prevented many from considering the existence of a Creator. But when we understand the reason for their animus to belief, their bias comes to the forefront as opposed to any reasoned argument.

Throughout the 20th century, many scientists were enthralled with the progress that science had made. They mistakenly believed that the physical universe, instead of being a creation, contained all answers in and of itself. Any questions would be resolved by science. To look beyond that was viewed in disdain. The fact that logic necessitates that physical matter must have originated at some point and that a formed universe cannot emerge without a designer was overlooked in the hope that physical science would prove the impossible.
Other scientists, today a greater number than the more dogmatic former group, conceded that there may well be a Creator. But they were wholly disinterested in the subject. They too did not realize that our physical universe points to the fact that it was consciously designed. And many of them had the same rigid disdain for religion as the former.

What’s true of both groups is that they refused to consider the subject. As such, their rejection of a Creator does not stem from some well reasoned research or thought, but rather from the absence of such reasoning. Their knowledge of religion and philosophy was on par with their knowledge of economics or any other subject that they had never studied. They knew as much about religion as they knew how to paint a house, the only difference between the two being that had they delved into the former instead of reflexively dismissing it, they would have found it to be of profound logic and give depth to their other areas of study.

But these scientists did not give religious or philosophical questions a moment’s notice. And what becomes abundantly clear from their statements on the issue is that they have grave misconceptions about religion, misconceptions that stem from their lack of interest. And while it is their right to do so, reflexively and often emotionally dismissing a belief without giving it a moment’s thought isn’t logic, but rather the opposite of logic.

To be sure, these scientists are indeed very logical and analytical within their main doctrine. It’s just that they refuse to examine that which transcends it. As such, anyone who gives credence their views on this issue should beware, as their opinions do not stem from logic. Scientists who have thought over the issue are generally in agreement on this as well.

THE BIBLE

One cannot conclude a column like this without mentioning philosophical and logical proofs of the Divinity of the Bible, the Torah. To begin with, the Bible is the only book in the history of mankind to make the claim that part of it was given by the Creator in front of an entire nation (of 600,000 families, totaling a few million people).

If someone were to come along today with a book, claiming that its Divine transmission had been witnessed by millions of people, they’d be laughed out of the room. One cannot convince an entire nation, including its greatest analytical thinkers and its most ardent skeptics, that such a transmission occurred and had been witnessed by them when it hadn’t. To those who would counter “What if the Bible came along a few hundred years later?” (claiming to have been witnessed a few hundred years back), such a claim would have been met with equal ridicule, just as a book claiming to have been given by the Creator, as witnessed by millions in the 1700s would be met with ridicule today. There would have been a well known history of such a happening. Simply put, a book that claims to have been Divinely given to millions cannot take hold on a widespread level if it is not true.

That’s a basic philosophical case. There are also more hard physical reasons that point to the Bible’s Divinity. The Bible states in Genesis and in Jeremiah that the stars of the heaven cannot be counted. Scientists believed that the number of stars were only 1,100, those which could readily be seen. The Bible was way ahead of the time it was given and showed knowledge of that which could not have been known or seen by man.

The Bible also attested to the laws of thermodynamics, a field that science only hammered out thousands of years later. The first law of thermodynamics is that the total sum of matter and energy in the universe can never change. Energy can change into matter and vice versa, but their combined sum is always constant. Until this discovery, the Bible’s statement that “there is nothing new under sun” seemed like a statement that was ready to be disproven. Reasoning went that somewhere in the universe there must be new energy or matter developing. But there wasn’t. Universally accepted science showed us that less than 200 years ago. The Bible told us that about 3,000 years before.

More compelling is the Bible’s clear attestation to the second law of thermodynamics (which was originally the first principle of this field, formulated by Sadi Carnot in 1824). This is that physicality becomes increasingly random and broken apart. Psalm 102 speaks of the heavens and the earth perishing and clearly implies a gradual decay, telling us this law well before it was discovered.

It should be noted here, at least for the sake of accuracy, that the Bible also speaks of a new heaven and earth, meaning a newly fortified one, after the Divine presence is revealed. Such a heaven and earth will exist continuously according to most Biblical commentary, but will reveal their Divine Creator within them. Eventual perfection of the world, after we’ve been given a chance to do our part, is a key tenet of most religion and is the only logical explanation for the Creation of a world in need of perfection. Such an advent also seems closer than ever according to any study of what the Bible says about its occurrence, especially in view of the rapid and radical changes the world has undergone in the last few decades alone. However, the physical universe as it stands now is in a slow state of decay (before it is refortified), a fact that only the Bible knew for thousands of years.

It should be noted that although this column is comparatively lengthy, it is still only a column and barely scratches the surface of the clear proofs that evidence the existence of the Divine and the Divine nature of the Bible, the Torah. The reader is encouraged to study further and to ask questions.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. It's me- Sam. Yeah, I say you on Austin's journal/blog.

As Harrison pointed out your lack of knowledge of science is atrocious- if you wish I can go into detail (although your "millions of elements shows you have no knowledge of chemistry- there are only 92 naturally occuring). For your other points...

Anthropic, cosmological and teleological are up first. They are all arguments from ignorance.

I am familiar with Flew's arguments. They are argument from design, just like yours. The fall victim to the fallacy of arguing from ignorance AND from the fact that some of the things he cites happen to have been answered! Also, Flew isn't a "major figure"- no one outside of philosophy heard of him before he converted.

Here- try a fundamentalist Christian who converted to atheism.
http://www.ffrf.org/books/lfif/
Interestingly enough there are alot more (both number and percentage) of believers who switch sides.

In fairness I have the theist responce.
http://tektonics.org/af/barkerd02.html
This is how theists deal with people converting to atheism.

Notice how one of the first things the reviewer does is accuse Dan Barker of being irrational, a liar and a hypocrite.

It only gets worse and stupider from there.

Most scientists are atheists, and the amount has increased over time
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/why_are_scientists_atheists.html
http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm

Almost no major scientists in any field are atheists. In fac their is a correlation between stature in the field and atheism.

No, the weren't a few million people. First off, that is inconsistant with everything we know about the behavior they exhibited- for example having to stay outside the holy land in an oasis because they couldn't overpower the natives in one city. For the record, cities in those days rarely where over 50,000.

Also, a good number of those watching didn't believe- Goden Calf anyone? So Moses had them killed.

In addition, only Moses got to see God- everyone else had to stay of the mountain or risk punishment.

The Book of Mormon occured in the 1830s.

People can count to a thousand. It isn't hard. Keeping track maybe, but hard? No.

Nothing new under the Sun is false. For starters, this would be a metaphor- an obvious one we still use today. More exactly we do have new things under the Sun (Plutonium) and the Sun isn't the entire universe.

Note that other holy books also make similar statements.

God made a screwed up world so he could make it better?

I refuse to dignify THAT with an answer.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Hey Sam,
How are you? Yours is the only comment I kept b/c it's the only one with some substance and that wasn't just rude and link posts.

First of all, the calf worshipers accepted the advent of Sinai, they just thought Moses had died and wondered what next, turning to sorcery. They didn't question what had happened 40 days before. They were also few in number, but that doesn't matter, as they believed.

Sam, "elements" doesn't mean chemical "elements." I find it really amazing how you and Austin have to keep spinning my words and taking them way outside of their meaning in order to debate. I was clearly talking about the elements of life, the basic structures so to speak.

Flew wrote a virtual anthology on atheism and he was widely popular in past decades. And of course more people convert the other way round. People look for an easy cop out (and thereby miss out on the greater beauty of religion). What does that prove? Logical scientists who aren't afraid to look at the issue are coming around all the time and there is a huge increase in the number and % of believing scientists in the last 20 years. I'll get the link soon.

I already refuted every one of your questions on evolution on Austin's board and showed a more in depth understanding of it than you had. Why would you make such preposterous spins about chemistry knowledge?

Yomin Postelnik said...

On the growth of believing scientists (contrary to your claim) see
Believe it.(The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World)(Book Review)

www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/sep/04/science.research

This article cites the clear growth of believers among scientists:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24669748/

Yomin Postelnik said...

If atheists want to make reasoned statements they can post here. If they just want to be obnoxious, as 90% are, and post without substance, their comments will be deleted.

Lui said...

Perhaps you can explain the following:

* the existence of the same endogenous retroviruses and pseudogenes on the same positions on the same chromosomes in humans and chimpanzees

* The existence of thousands of types of viruses and harmful bacteria

* The massive degree of convergence between the phylogenetic trees constructed from independent, non-coding sequences (if these animals didn't share genealogical affinities, the trees wouldn't agree with each other and would be no different to random noise)

* The existence of sexually antagonistic genes

* the existence of cancer, aging, dementia and organ failure

* the existence of hybrid zones

Lui said...

* and I forgot to mention the most interesting of the lot: selfish genetic elements. These include transposons, meiotic drivers, maternal effect selfish genes, homing endonucleases, B chromosomes, and various cytoplasmic genes that do things like feminise males and even kill them. We can also look at plasmids, which allow bacteria to acquire resistance to antibiotics through horizontal gene transfer. All these entities make no sense if one supposes that humans were lovingly "designed" by a deity. The deity would also have had to have lovingly designed these genomic parasites. The genome isn't "perfectly designed", as many people imagine; it is, to a large extent, a battleground for entities that don't benefit their carriers in any way, and often harm them.

* the enormous investment in poisons, spikes, sharp teeth, deceptive camouflage, chemical mimicry, and the various counter-adaptations to all these by animals and plants

* the enormous investment in similar types of adaptations in males, and the counter adaptations seen in females (it seems odd that if males and females were "designed" by God, he would engineer so much capacity for conflict within so many species. We can expect this sort of sub-optimality from a process with no foresight, but not from a being who is supposed to have a fair bit of foresight). As mentioned, this conflict extends right down to the genes, and even manifests itself in a sort of battle for resources between the mother and her foetus

* the great overproduction of offspring in most species, in which only a fraction of those born get to propagate their genes to the next generation due to the interludes of disease, intra-species conflict, predation, injury, starvation, and sheer bad luck

* the existence of tens of thousands of species of parasitic wasps of the super family Ichneumonoidea, in which the wasps inject not only their eggs and a paralysing agent into their hosts, but also what's known as a polydnavirus, which inactivates the host's immune response to the egg. There are two families within the Ichneumonoidea that use these PDVs: the Braconidae and the Ichneumonidae. Genetic sequencing shows that these families acquired their PDVs independently. Outside these families, there are wasps exhibiting all degrees of intimacy with viruses, from those that are infected and are adversely affected by them, to those that are infected with them but not adversely affected, to those that carry viruses that play a role in immune suppression of the wasp's host but still replicate inside the wasp's host. The PDV carriers that have these viruses integrated into their genomes, and they replicate only replicated within the female ovaries. It is a highly symbiotic relationship, and we see plenty of extant analogues for how this system could have evolved.

All these things are readily accounted for by evolutionary theory, and it is evolutionary theory alone that allows us to study them in a quantitative way and to put this knowledge to practical use (like in disease control, fisheries management, and farming).

Lui said...

"Even if all the planets somehow formed themselves, all somehow staying in perfect orbit and possessing gravity, even take for granted that all the chemicals needed for life were so how there as well, by sheer happenstance, would it then be possible for billions of species to spontaneously come about, each with a male and female of each kind so that they could exist in the long run?"

This shows a complete and utter ignorance of not only evolution in general but also sexual reproduction.

First of all, NO ONE is saying (other than creationists) that billions of species came about "spontaneously". No one. Such a thing would be closer to creationism than evolution, and it is disingenuous of you to so severely distort what evolutionary theory actually proposes. Certainly, I don't believe in such idiotic fantasies, and neither does any scientist.

Secondly, the first organisms did not use sexual reproduction. That is something that came about later on, for reasons that still aren't entirely clear. A plethora of hypotheses have been proposed to account for the emergence of sexual reproduction (we are clearer about how it has been maintained, though), and I recommend that you actually read up on them before you condescend a half century's worth of research into this question.

"Even if this were possible, would the simplest of animals have been able to survive were it missing even one essential organ?"

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that many such simple organisms do in fact lack many of the organs that more complex types take for granted. What's more, this assumes (with no evidence) that a structure must always have had the same function, which is patent nonsense. Structures can easily be co-opted for other uses; for example, some dinosaurs had feathers, but were clearly incapable of flying. Feathers could have been originally used for thermal regulation, and later co-opted for gliding, eventually culminating in powered flight in one lineage of avian dinosaurs. Whenever creationists make these statements, imagining that everything that now exists must have always been used in the same way, they inadvertently denigrate the great flexibility of life.

"The simple fact is that even if humans were so perfectly formed, if food, water, sunlight or any one of a host of details necessary for life to exist were somehow missing, human life would have lasted on this planet for a maximum of a few days."

As should be obvious to anyone with any knowledge of biology, humans are not "perfectly formed". For starters, a significant portion of the human population carries congenital deformities. If humans were perfectly formed, they would be able to avoid these (great many) instances of malfunctioning parts. The human birth canal is the very antithesis of intelligent design; it actually represents a compromise between effective bipedal locomotion and the need to get a baby with a large brain through a narrow space. This "perfect design" has resulted in the deaths of countless women and children through the ages, and it was only with the advent of modern medical practises that we have been able to mitigate it to a significant degree. There are plenty of ways that humans could have been improved, but weren't. And the reason for that is that we are built with compromises stemming from history. Evolution - contrary to what many think, but which no scientist worth his salt believes - is not about reaching the best of all possible worlds. Often what transpires are suboptimal solutions; what matters as far as natural selection is concerned is that the solution is good enough. No one expects it to be perfect, and imperfection is precisely what we find (the idea that we are perfectly formed is a fantasy that exists only in the minds of people who have already decided that it must be so). If a solution has unfortunate side-consequences, it can still be favoured so long as the benefits of having it outweigh the costs. As someone has quipped, evolution is more akin to a Third World mechanic using the materials at hand rather than a First World engineer with the benefit of computers and formidable resources at his disposal.

If humans are so perfectly designed, they wouldn't succumb to debilitating and terrible conditions like dementia and cancer. There is a perfectly good evolutionary explanation for why they do: because of antagonistic pleiotropy. A mutation that happens to confer some advantage during an early age will be favoured, even if it has some negative effect later in life. As long as the former outweighs the latter, that mutation will tend to be favoured and will spread in the gene pool (this should also make clear the falsehood of mutations as being "either" good or bad. Not only is the benefit a mutation might confer highly context-specific, it is also exists along a continuum. There are trade-offs to consider, not a simplistic - and false - accounting of good and bad at two extremes. This is all basic knowledge to biologists, and you would have known that if you had bothered to consult one before engaging in asinine diatribe).

"The contention of atheists, that life simply adapted to the conditions it found itself in is also irrational, as were this to be the case we’d have animals that could solely subsist on snow and ice in some regions."

Wrong. Like I said, evolution isn't about finding the best of all possible worlds; it's severely constrained by history. An organism can't simply acquire any conceivable adaptation because it would benefit it to do so. Adaptations are built up in the context of existing structures and systems, and an adaptation, in order to be favoured, must confer some advantage. The adaptations we see have been favoured because they were good enough, not because they were the best solutions that could possibly exist from an engineering perspective. Natural selection doesn't produce things according to we can imagine an organism might be better designed. Of course, nothing would constrain a God from designing an organism that can subsist on snow and ice. There is no such expectation from evolution, so your example only reinforces my point. In no way does it lend credence to yours, and in fact utterly contradicts it.

"The central point of the atheist, that all somehow came about randomly through evolution, does not help them either."

No one says we came about randomly through evolution - unless, of course, you wish to falsely equivocate historical contingency and mutation with evolution in its entirety, and thus ignore Darwin's most important and original insight, which was emphatically NOT about chance. natural selection is a NON-chance mechanism. Without it, your argument would stand a chance of being plausible. But since you ignore it, your argument is worthless. Saying that we came about only by chance is a complete caricature and straw-man, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to what evolutionary theory actually proposes. Of course, creationists only look at the random component to evolution, so that they can falsely equate it with evolution per se and then all the more easily knock the theory down as obviously ridiculous. This straw-man has been refuted so many times it wouldn't even be worth mentioning if not for the fact that the falsehood is so distressingly widely held with those eager to misunderstand.

"Going back to the example of a set of encyclopedias, a set of Britannicas does not write itself, not from one massive ink blot and not starting out as dots, which form letters, which align into perfect phrases, paragraphs, books and sets."

Again, false equivocation, and a completely worthless caricature.

"In fact, it’s even more incredulous to say that they aligned so perfectly, step by step and dot by dot than it is to say that all appeared at once. Yet that’s what the atheist contends when he chalks up life’s existence to gradual and detailed formation with no Creator at the helm."

A total, ridiculous, disgusting lie. I, an atheist, believe in no such nonsense. NO ONE - not a single person (again, apart from creationists) - proposes that biological complexity came about all of a sudden. That's the most pathetic straw-man I've ever come across, and it would have taken you a whopping two minutes to understand the fallacy of it by looking it up in Wikipedia. Better still, you could have consulted any of a great number of popular science books on evolution, like "The Blind Watchmaker" in which this fallacy is demolished repeatedly. I have to ask you: do you actually know what you're writing, or do you not care about the blatant stupidity of it?

"However, despite the fact that even after much debate on the issue I have yet to meet an atheist who can make even a feeble argument to counter any of these points,"

Or perhaps the problem is that you don't actually care about the solutions offered.

In short, your arguments are ludicrous Red Herrings, false equivocations, and outright lies and distortions. I'm not saying that you necessarily invented these lies (you didn't, since nothing in your article was original), or that you actually know them to be lies. But they are ludicrous, and again, they utterly negated by everything we actually know about biology, cosmology and chemistry. Sorry to say, but your arguments are embarrassing. My advice? Stick to what you know, and leave the science to the adults.

Lui said...

I see that I made a mistake; I misread you when you said "In fact, it’s even more incredulous to say that they aligned so perfectly, step by step and dot by dot than it is to say that all appeared at once. Yet that’s what the atheist contends when he chalks up life’s existence to gradual and detailed formation with no Creator at the helm."

I didn't read it carefully enough and thought you were saying that evolutionists believe that the many lineages came about spontaneously.

Be that as it may, the idea that that gradual evolution is even more "incredulous" (again, you cite no evidence, apart from...your incredulity) than all these lineages appearing all of a sudden is blatantly absurd, as gradual evolution is the only process that is in principle likely to be capable of building up complexity before the advent of intelligence. It posits the existence of simplicity building upon simplicity and eventually arriving at complexity. The God hypothesis, on the other hand, posits that the complexity was already there (unexplained, of course, since "God is infinite" and hence conveniently doesn't need to play by the rules). And you make yet another error: you talk about "perfect alignment", which is a purely anthropocentric conceit. It's only in retrospect that these things appear "perfectly aligned". What counts as "perfect", anyway? What about all the billions of mutations that were left by the wayside? Is that also part of perfection?

Yomin Postelnik said...

Lui,

After looking at physical existence and seeing that its overwhelming complexity mandates a Creator (the opposite, that randomness begets complex order being illogical) we can then deal with these questions. But the fact that a complex universe necessitates a Creator doesn't change.

With regard to the less than perfect aspects of the complex order, the most logical answer comes from theology, as this is outside the realm of what science can explain. Yet this doesn't challenge the logical necessity of a concious being having made order.

Theology cites the reason that G-d wants to constantly better the world based on our deeds. The universe is planned down to the last detail and imperfection, suffering, etc. all play a part in the experience while the world is imperfect. That's why a final perfection of the world is integral to all religions (because the world would not have been made to stay this way, we're just given the chance to be partners in that eventual perfection through our deeds. Our deeds do count as we see the detail put into the formation of the universe, down to the tiny details). But that's all outside of science.

From a hard scientific stanpoint all we can say is that a complex universe shows that it was intelligently designed. The questions on why it wasn't done a certain other way generally lie beyond us. We don't know all and aren't the Creator.

Lui said...

Of course, I wasn’t asking that you rehash your beliefs. I was asking that you actually provide explanations for the phenomena I showed, which are the sorts of things we should expect to find if evolution is true. I know that you think the universe and life on Earth were intelligently designed; restating your arguments from incredulity isn’t going to cut it.

“From a hard scientific stanpoint all we can say is that a complex universe shows that it was intelligently designed.”

HOW? I gave you several examples of things that are anathema to the notion of intelligent design. How do these things in any way corroborate what you’re saying?

It’s unfortunate that you seem to go no further than actually assuming your own conclusions, and expecting others to take them seriously (otherwise we’re involved in “sophistry”, even when we simply cite some of the evidence that bolsters evolution and modern cosmology). You cite no criteria by which we can judge whether one state of the world is “designed” or not; you simply assume it is, and work backwards. If God is consistent with absolutely any state of the world, then the God hypothesis is worthless because there is nothing that could potentially falsify it. There is nothing by which we could discriminate a God-designed universe (or Earth) from one that came about through naturalistic processes. And if there are no expectations to be had from the God hypothesis against which it could be judged against reality, then the hypothesis is superfluous because it makes no specific predictions, which means it can be retrospectively fitted to anything whatsoever (and, since the existence and providence of God is assumed from the outset, anything at all will then be trumpeted as “proof” of God, even when it’s nothing of the sort, and when a more parsimonious, satisfactory explanation has been offered by science). Remember, you’re citing (or abusing, rather) science and logic to legitimate your claims, yet you feel you don’t need to be made accountable to the criteria of either when you make your statements. Your entire argument stems not from any hard science, but from your personal incredulity (“I can’t imagine how such and such could have come about, therefore…”) and, I’m afraid, all-round ignorance of what science actually reveals (or total contempt for it, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that that not true). Being ignorant of something is no crime in itself, but to make bold, sweeping statements with no grounding in fact – where you essentially accuse the entire scientific establishment of engaging in nothing more worthwhile than “sophistry”, even while they engage in ongoing pursuits crucial to the well being of humanity and the planet is really beyond the pale.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Carole,
Since you must ask everything rudely I am going to keep deleting every obnoxious comment. There are posters here who want to have a serious question. I will, however, answer your question so that you leave and I don't have to start moderating comments. The study showed 40% believers, which is a huge increase from the 80s. Although comparative figures aren't cited there, they can be easily compared to those cited in earlier studies.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Lui,

What I'm saying is that you're losing track of the big picture. Yes, there are physical substances that make up the root substance of any physical life. It's extremely illogical though, to say that they spontaneously came together in some natural order. If this were true the chances of a full world that could sustain life would be close to nil. Consider that if all the other elements needed for existence (elements as in root causes, first steps - so that Sam doesn't misinterpret it again) somehow did spontaneously come together and grow themselves over time in the manner you state, but the orbit of a planets was just minutely off, the world would be one giant pancake or millions of fragments. Consider that if the order you claim is true, it's a huge coincidence that we're not fish or any of the other creatures that you consider primal.

If evolution did occur as claimed, why is it that even though we have a plethora of fossils of all types, we have almost no fossils that can even be remotely considered to be transitional. We also have no fossils that really document any transition at all, as I got into with Sam and Paul Buchman in the debate. Based on that we have whole generations of apes and whole generations of humans but nothing separating them. Do you believe that all the so-called "in betweens," i.e. transitionals are somehow unavailable while we have a magnitude of ape and of human fossils, or would you rather say that this shows them to be two different species? Darwin knew that finding transitional fossils was key to his theory as logic dictates that there'd be a fair number of fossils in all stages of evolution, were evolution to be the case. In his time there were so few fossils excavated that Darwin said they'd come along. Now that we've discovered thousands upon thousands and no transitionals, Darwin would most probably have abandoned his theory.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Aaron,

I'm not opposed to answering your questions but they have to be posed in a minimally respectful manner. Your main question shows a lack of logic on your side, not on mine. Are you seriously trying to compare the fact that one "coincidence," (and one that has all the signs of not being a coincidence, at that) isn't a coincidence to trillions of simultaneous coincidences? In your example, you'd be saying that a trillion pot holes formed spontaneously over time, that's illogical.

Lui said...

"Consider that if the order you claim is true, it's a huge coincidence that we're not fish or any of the other creatures that you consider primal."

Again, you assume that the state of the world is the only state that could have eventuated. There was nothing predeterminted about this world. Whatever state that could have eventuated would have been retrospectively seen as "a huge coincidence". Your argument thereby evaporates.

"If evolution did occur as claimed, why is it that even though we have a plethora of fossils of all types, we have almost no fossils that can even be remotely considered to be transitional."

That's strange; I can name at least a dozen off the top off my head. New Scientist showed just some of them in an issue a few weeks ago, and I know of two specimens that have bene publicised just this year.

"Based on that we have whole generations of apes and whole generations of humans but nothing separating them."

That's what Richard Dawkins calls "the tyranny of the discontinuous mind." You ASSUME that everything must come in discrete packages. But it's a bit like saying that, since there is no definitive point at which hot coffee turns to cold coffee, that there could therefore have been no transitions in between. By the way, we shouldn't actually EXPECT to find half-man, half-ape forms alive today (and why should we? the intermediates are all dead. In ring species, however, we find a continuous band of populations in which individuals from each population can interbreed with the members of adjacent populations but the members on either extreme of the "ring" cannot. Ring species show in the spatial domain what normally happens in the temporal. In the latter, more common cases, the intermediates have died and you're left with the terminal twigs on either side of the divergence). We find them in the fossil record, but because of our need to categorise and pigeon-hole everything, we assign names to them and treat them as discrete entities. Yet even with the poor resolution of the fossil record, we find a whoe continuum of change, with particualr fossils showing a mosaic of features from both groups (and when I say "both groups, I'm being extremely generous, since we are more alike genetically to a chimpanzee than a chimpanzee is to a gorilla), as well as a temporal dimension towards some fossils becoming more and more like modern humans. Your argument is based on a fundamental misuderstanding of how evolution works.

Furthermore, one finds in many cases a broad continuum of extant forms, ranging from varieites and sub-species, to species that can produce infertile offspring if members of each come into contant and mate, to species "proper", to genera, and higher taxanomic groupings. The beetles, for example, comprise an entire order, with all the lower taxanomic rankings subsumed within it. Indeed, this heirarchical nesting is precisely what should be expected of evolution.

"Now that we've discovered thousands upon thousands and no transitionals, Darwin would most probably have abandoned his theory."

Not really. Darwin didn't expect that evoution has to persist at the same rate at all times, and indeed this realisation has been refined by more recent workers. It's possible that most of the visible change that occurs within a lineage is concentrated in relatively short bursts coinciding with speciation events. Furthermore, since the fossil record has indeed produced many transitional forms (whether or not you acknowledge them as such), Darwin's theory is in no danger.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Lui,

Order having come about at every turn to cause the trillions of simultaneous happenings necessary for life is not something you can chalk up to random spontaneity, which is what you're doing.

See the debate (creationistsearcher) or the new column on transitional fossils. It's an issue that was browbeaten and your side is a)offering an illogical and actually "faith-based" definition of them and b) Darwin and Gould agreed that the definition I've used is the necessary one.

Lui said...

”Order having come about at every turn to cause the trillions of simultaneous happenings necessary for life is not something you can chalk up to random spontaneity, which is what you're doing.”

Again, you invoke complete straw men. And I don’t know where you get the “trillions” number from. Perhaps you could refer us to a scientific journal article that talks about it. Or is it that it has more to do with your personal incredulity?

carole said...

Yomin
Just to continue this one small point, you said
"Logical scientists who aren't afraid to look at the issue are coming around all the time and there is a huge increase in the number and % of believing scientists in the last 20 years. I'll get the link soon."

Your reply to this was to cite a study which "showed 40% believers" which you simply state - "is a huge increase from the 80s. Although comparative figures aren't cited there, they can be easily compared to those cited in earlier studies."

It IS the comparitive figures which are needed here to prove your point.

You've quoted as a fact that there is a Huge Increase in the number of scientists with a religious belief.

I can't think of a way to phrase this question more politely; my last post wasn't rude, just genuinely enquiring. I said I would stand corrected if you could post the figures which prove the point you claim. I'm just honestly interested in this.

I'd have to say I do disagree with very many of the things you said in the original article, and subsequently, but I think to use the word 'obnoxious' when someone debates you is unacceptable.

Carole

Yomin Postelnik said...

Lui,
"Trillions" is very conservative.
Think of what it takes for RNA and DNA to merge. Then consider the possibilities that would form from development of cellular activity. Then consider all the possibilities (remember, you're leaving all this to happening without a planner) stemming from the primordial swamp, then consider all the possible developments of fish (if you believe in evolution), then all the possible ways lizard life could have developed. Then consider the need for sustainable food, water and a sustainable chemical atmosphere. Then consider the fact that were but one planet to collide with earth, as would necessarily happen were the gravitational pull even minutely off, the consequences would be obvious. I don't know why you have problems grasping such basic things (all the while making arrogant postulations to cover for your complete lack of critical thought on the issue) but the problem is quite evident in your postings.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Carole,

Your previous posts weren't debate and all questions before this one were highly obnoxious. On this one minute and really irrelevant point, see this link for more data
http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/meridian/2000/belief_in_god.html

Unfortunately the only times gallup or any serious polling firm ran these figures (Sam's were a joke poll of scientists in select institutions) have been rare. But the decrease in belief since 1914 was well noted, as was the increase starting in the 1980s. This increase and pattern is well known and can be attested to by most who were in the field at the time. You can search for more comprehensive data if you'd like. I would suggest that concentrating on the points laid out in both columns would be a far better use of time.

Yomin Postelnik said...

Lui,
I've kept your previous comments because they had more substance than the inane screeching that is of Carole. But I deleted your last post because it offered nothing of substance and showed that you needed to resort almost to the point of insult to hide the fact that you have no answer for the original point raised and rehashed a thousand times, that for the world to come into order as it exists now, without a conscious maker, trillions upon trillions of simultaneous coincidences would have had to happen one after the other. Your failure to recognize that basic fact, and to try to weasel your way out of it with insults instead of addressing it logically shows an absurd dogmatic belief in nonsense, which is exactly what you've shown atheism to be. When you come to grips with that and are able to approach ideas with at least the amount of logic needed to be able to count I'll look forward to debating you further. Your ramblings have become as ridiculous as Sam's who is forced to twist the meaning of words such as "elements" (of life, not "chemical" ones), claims that the Bible says that only Moses saw the Divine Presence (he should read either of the accounts in Exodus or in Deuteronomy before commenting). He also went beserk when I pointed out the fact that people appreciate what they've earned and therefore the creation of an imperfect world were we can make a difference to be a blessing allowing us to partner with the Creator. But instead of approaching it logically he spun that too.