Creation: God Does It Best

I was sent this link to a video by a co-worker this morning. The subject is really quite astounding. A man has created PVC “creatures” that move on their own based solely on the wind. He is able to get them to move up and down beaches without any assistance. It truly is remarkable.

But it was a quote around the 1:55 mark that caught my attention. After trial and error and several generations of work, the architect finally had the machine that would move on its own, one that included a propellor and wings. The architect says, “I have found with all of these experiences the problems the real Creator must have had in creating this world.” It’s true that the kinds of variability needed in natural life appears that it would pose all sorts of problems. Some things need wings to survive; some don’t. And yet it all works together somewhat seamlessly.

The issue to me is this: God didn’t have any problems in creating this world. My favorite word recently has been “omnisapience”, which means “all-wise” or “knowing the best means to achieve an end result.” God alone possesses such omnisapience; He has always known exactly what each unique creature would need in order to survive. Don’t believe me? Look at Matthew 6:8, which says, “Do not be like them, for Your heavenly Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” God understands our needs, has always understood our needs. From the beginning of time God knew the parts and features we would need to not only survive, but also thrive in our environment.

Think about it for just a minute. How well would man do in the African plains against lions, gazelles, gorillas, etc. without unique intelligence and planning abilities? How well would geese do in alligator-infested waters without the ability to fly and lift off quickly? Evolution would tell you that it took millions of years of natural selection and genetic mutation to get to where we are today. I say it took one Mind having pure omnisapience and omnipotence to be able to carry out the needs of each species on this earth, carefully crafted and designed.

Staying true to expositional study, the verse right after Matthew 6:8, Matthew 6:9 (no duh, right?) is the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer. Is it any wonder that the first part of the Lord’s Prayer is to “hallow” God’s name, after such an amazing promise in verse 8? I hope that when we take a look around at some of the workmanship that God so wonderfully created for us, we immediately seek to “hallow” His name. Amen.

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35 responses to this post.

  1. I agree. But to think of how long this man must have worked on creating those creatures compared to the matter of a day or two when God created every single creature on Earth; that is amazing.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on September 19, 2011 at 4:31 AM

    Are you a creationist or a theistic evolutionist?

    Reply

    • A creationist.

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 15, 2012 at 3:26 AM

        So you believe that God created everything in 6 days a few thousand years ago and Noah’s flood etc? Or do you take a different interpretation on Genesis?

      • I don’t think it really matters how He did it, just that He did it. Everything else is semantics. I’m a young earth creationist, but if I’m wrong and the Big Bang happened 13.7 billion years ago, it wouldn’t shake my faith or be a big deal. The point is that God created everything, and there is ample evidence to support it.

  3. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 15, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    There is plenty of evidence in favour of evolution, an old Earth/cosmos, if you have any specific queries or doubts about any of that evidence then I’ll do my best to respond to them.

    I won’t argue against God’s existence here, because as you say it is irrelevant. What I will say is in terms of majesty and intricacy of design etc. one could argue that evolution is a far more ‘intelligent’ method of design than hands on creation.

    Look at the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEw8xpb1aRA (ignore the irritating music). This is an image of infinite complexity, you could theoretically zoom into it forever. Young Earth creationism is analogous to someone painting the Mandelbrot set by hand – sure it would be talented and amazing, but the most amazing thing about the Mandelbrot set is that it is defined completely by an incredibly short equation:

    Z = Z2 + C.

    I think that this equation is the true beauty of the Mandelbrot set, that such a small mathematical equation can define something infinitely complex. Similarly I think a God that could initiate a universe based upon a similar equation that defines everything is far more amazing and majestic than a God who speaks everything into existence by magic. Imagine a being that could come up with an equation that defines the behaviour of subatomic particles on the quantum level, which thereby defines the behaviour of atoms, which can bond together in specific ways so as to self replicate, and over time those self replicating molecules adapt to become more efficient at copying themselves, and over time conscious life able to ponder the mysterious equation that defines the universe appears.

    Do you not think that a God who designed a universe that could give rise to intelligent life without constant intervention is more intelligent than having to design everything individually? If I found God tomorrow I would not view evolution or any field of science as a challenge to that belief.

    I think young Earth creationism is not only demonstrably wrong, it is also theologically naive.

    Reply

    • I see your point, but the God I’m talking about didn’t just initiate a universe based on the equation, He designed the equation itself! So He is even more amazing and majestic than either scenario you suggested. I believe you are right in saying that the existence of God doesn’t mean evolution isn’t true, but it sure gives pause to some of the initial explanations for the existence of life on naturalism. And if theistic evolution were true, than it would be evolution by design, not by chance, so it doesn’t matter how God did it, just that He did it.

      I’m glad you think YEC is wrong, but you haven’t given any evidence as to why. I don’t think it’s naive at all, because I’ve considered the evidence for YEC vs. OEC vs. theistic evolution, and I’m most convinced by the arguments for YEC. I don’t think taking in all of the evidence makes me naive; rather, I think it makes me quite the opposite. But if I were wrong about the age of the earth, I wouldn’t care. On my belief, the only time I’d even find out is when I’m in heaven, and at that point I don’t think I’ll really care how old the earth is because I’ll be with Jesus, and that will take up all of my time just worshipping Him.

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 15, 2012 at 3:58 PM

        Well do you accept the following: That there is variation in traits (i.e: that different people are different heights), that there is variation in reproductive success (that some people have no children, some have one, others have more etc.) that the trait is heritable (i.e: tall people have tall children) and that under some circumstances there is a correlation between reproductive success and a particular trait (for instance, tall people might have more children). If you accept these four simple facts, then you accept evolution.

        These processes are known as microevolution, and from what I’ve heard and experienced most creationists do not deny it. They seem however to have a problem with macroevolution. This seems to stem from a misunderstanding of what exactly macroevolution is. Macroevolution is no different from microevolution, the process is exactly the same. Macroevolution is simply the great changes that occur via microevolution over vast periods of time. If you leave microevolution to it’s own devices for millions of years incredible adaptations arise.

        So theoretically all I have to convince you of is an old Earth, and you should have no trouble accepting evolution. Well, the evidence for an old Earth is abundant everywhere. Even without radiometric dating which I am aware that creationists are dubious about, the evidence is found all over the Earth.

        1. Some bristlecone pine trees in the White-Inyo mountain range of California date back beyond 2000 BCE. Trees generally create one growth ring per year. This means that scientists can calculate their age to within a small margin of error. Either these trees do actually pre-date the dates given for Noah’s flood or God created them specifically to look older…

        2. During each springtime, tiny, one-celled algae bloom in Lake Suigetsu, Japan. They die and sink to the bottom of the lake. Here, they create a thin, white layer. During the rest of the year, dark clay sediments settle to the bottom. The result are alternating dark and light annual layers — much like the annual growth rings on a tree. Scientists have counted about 45,000 layers; they have been accumulating since about 43,000 BCE.

        3. Ice core samples have been taken in Greenland that show 40,000 annual layers of ice.

        4. The tides are slowing the Earth’s rotation by about 1 second every 50 thousand years. 380 million years ago each day would have been 20 hours long, studies of growth rings in 370 million year old coral revealed that there had been 400 days in a year, confirming independently the extrapolation from the slowing of the Earth’s rotation.

        5. he thickness of the coral reef at Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific Ocean has been measured at up to 1,380 meters. Even with the most generous estimates it would have to be 130,000 years old.

        6. It takes thousands of years for permafrost of 100 ft to form, but some areas are frozen to depths of over a mile – this must have taken 100s of thousands of years.

        7. Reversals of the earth’s magnetic pole are recorded in the Atlantic Ocean sea bottom for the past 80 million years.

        8. If we assumed that all of the minerals which are carried by rivers into the oceans remains trapped in the oceans, then it would take 260 million years for the concentration of sodium to reach its present level. If plankton, fish or other plants adsorb sodium, then it would take much longer. We can conclude that the age of the earth is something greater than a quarter billion years, and is in all probability much longer.

        9. Measurements by sensors attached to satellites shows that space dust accumulates on the moon at the rate of about 2 nanograms per square centimeter per year. (A nanogram is one thousandth of a million of a gram.) This rate would require 4.5 billion years to reach a depth of 1.5 inches, which is approximately the depth experienced by the astronauts who walked on the moon. This agrees rather well with radioactive dating of moon rocks.

        I could go on and on. There is ample evidence that the Earth is old. It’s not based on some shoddy extrapolations. Literally all the geological evidence points to an old Earth.

        Microevolution over billions of years = macroevolution. If you accept the facts presented in this post then you should accept evolution. And I haven’t even mentioned any of the evidence for macroevolution yet!

      • No, what you’ve described initially is adaptation, not the theory of evolution. The key difference is that adaptation is a derivation of initial conditions. Evolution has no reasonable foundation (or evidence to support any hypothesis) about the initial conditions of life, which is why I don’t accept the theory of evolution. I have no problem with adaptation or natural selection, but those are acceptable ideas on both evolution or creation. I am a creationist because there is evidence in line with species and the universe as a whole having an initial beginning and being intelligently designed, and the best explanation for those descriptors is the creation of such things by God Himself.

        As to the age of the earth, much of my issue comes down to how they do carbon dating. I think science uses circular reasoning to determine the age of most things found in previous era. That’s my biggest problem with an old earth, but there are other things that certainly contribute to my position as well.

  4. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 16, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    I’m afraid I’d rather take my definitions from professors in evolutionary biology. In this video: http://youtu.be/VjgHd6HKtvE a lecturer at Yale university defines evolution in the exact same way as I did above. The four factors I outlined are microevolutionary processes (excluding genetic drift) – which can lead to adaptations, but the correct term for the processes is ‘microevolution’ or simply ‘evolution’ – they are how adaptive evolution works (genetic drift is what you get when you have all of those factors minus the correlation between reproductive success and a trait). Macroevolution are the changes that occur via microevolution, or if you like adaptation over time.

    You are simply mistaken if you think that evolution has no evidence in support of it. I’d even go so far as to say that in terms of evidence, evolution is perhaps the most well supported scientific theory. Firstly we have the fossil record: http://www.fossilmuseum.net/fossilrecord.htm http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/lines/Ifossil_ev.shtml http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/ – from which we find clear evidence of macroevolution, and have made many predictions. Then we have molecular evidence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent#Genetics – DNA as well as evidence from other molecules used by life on Earth all hint to a common ancestor. Then we have evidence from the geographical distribution of species: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species_distribution http://www.nyu.edu/projects/fitch/courses/evolution/html/biogeography.html – the distribution of species on the Earth reflects evolutionary patterns. Comparative anatomy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparative_anatomy. Classification: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_classification – the way that species are classified reflects evolutionary relationships (which are confirmed by DNA). On top of that, we have witnessed speciation events: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html. You are really not in any position to claim that there is no evidence for evolution.

    Carbon dating is a very accurate method of dating for objects of a certain age, our method of carbon dating can actually be calibrated by analysing samples of known age. There are also many other radiometric dating methods, all of which corroborate each other in depicting an old Earth. It is really stretching things to insist that all of the dozen or so methods listed below are not only wrong, but wrong in agreement with each other.

    Uranium-lead dating method
    Samarium-neodymium dating method
    Potassium-argon dating method
    Rubidium-strontium dating method
    Uranium-thorium dating method
    Radiocarbon dating method
    Fission track dating method
    Chlorine-36 dating method
    argon-argon (Ar-Ar)
    iodine-xenon (I-Xe)
    lanthanum-barium (La-Ba)
    lead-lead (Pb-Pb)
    lutetium-hafnium (Lu-Hf)
    neon-neon (Ne-Ne)
    rhenium-osmium (Re-Os)
    uranium-lead-helium (U-Pb-He)
    uranium-uranium (U-U)

    There is overwhelming evidence both for an old Earth and evolution. Creationism is not scientific, all it does it attempt to discredit all of the vast amounts of evidence that we have for evolution. Evolution is a fact. 6 day creation is a fantasy.

    Reply

    • Facts require proof, not evidence, so I would back off such a bold assertion until you can show me to a certainty the initial conditions on which life began without creation. Until then, slow down.

      You have your definitions on evolution, I have mine. If you think I ought to believe in evolution, then show me on my standards why. You haven’t done that.

      The fossil record is questionable for a variety of reasons (no missing links, carbon dating uses fossils to determine age and age to determine fossils). DNA descension from a common ancestor points to the Mitochondrial Eve, which supports creation. Distribution of species points to adaptation, not evolution, which I do not dispute.

      So I see nothing here to dispute my opinions on both creation and evolution. Old earth vs. young earth, like I said, doesn’t really matter. The evidence tilts in the favor of creation, and that’s all that matters.

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 AM

        There is quite a substantial amount of evidence regarding the origin of life (see here: http://www.rationalskepticism.org/chemistry/calilasseia-78-papers-on-abiogenesis-t845.html for a list of 78 peer-reviewed papers that provide evidence for such). There is no evidence that even hints that life was spontaneously created ex-nihilo via magical incantations.

        We have the correct definitions and false definitions. For example ‘evolution means frogs giving birth to cats’ is a false definition, it doesn’t matter how ardently you believe it to be true, the definition is not correct. It is absurd to claim that each individual’s definitions for a given term are equally valid. I gave you several links showing the different kinds of evidence we have for evolution.

        What do you mean when you say that there are no missing links? Give a definition of what a missing link is, and I’ll let you know whether or not there are any.

        DNA very clearly indicates common ancestry. Yes we can use mitochondrial DNA to determine our most recent female common ancestor, but we can also use other genes to determine the relationships between different species. If you take a specific gene from a human, a chimp, a rat, a lizard and a bird, what you find when you compare the sequences is that you get a branching family tree, which fits exactly (with a few very minor exceptions) the hypothesized relationships derived from comparative morphology. This is stunning evidence for common ancestry. I suggest you read through this: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

        You are staking a position that there is no evidence for evolution, I have however provided you with many links showing you the evidence. All you’ve done is assert that it is wrong, by default because of your preconceived bias.

        Evolution explains everything in biology. For instance how do you account for the fact that dolphin embryos begin to develop hind legs, only to lose them again (http://qcpages.qc.edu/Biology/Lahti/Research/RelselImages/dolphinembryo.jpg)? What sense does this make in the creationist model? It makes perfect sense when you consider that dolphins evolved from land mammals which had hind legs.

        There are plenty of other examples such as this in nature. As Theodosius Dobzhansky once said: “Nothing in biology make sense except in light of evolution.”

      • And I’m telling you again that adaptation does not equal evolution. I’m glad you have all of these links at your disposal, but again, based on your claim of evolution as fact I’m not looking for evidence. I’m looking for proof. Until then, I’m happy to agree with everything you’re saying about adaptation and natural selection. Feel free to keep talking about that. But don’t equate those with the theory of evolution, because abiogenesis is an unsubstantiated theory (page 8 of the link you sent me shows that to be quite the case, as even evolutionary supporters agree that there is no incontrovertible evidence because RNA can’t be measured back past a certain point). In order for the theory to be complete, there has to be a complete framework, and you can’t have a framework without a beginning. And that’s what creation can offer that the theory of evolution can’t. Sorry, but I have yet to see anything convincing on that front from you, so I’m disinclined to believe evolution as fact. It’s more of a leap of faith for you to make such a claim than anything I’m offering here, in my opinion.

  5. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 16, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    Evolution is not a theory about the origin of life, that is the field of abiogenesis. Even if there were not even any hypotheses around how life first originated, evolution would still be true. Evolution does not make a comment on how life originated, you can’t claim that evolution fails because it doesn’t explain how life originated, that would be like saying gravity is flawed because it doesn’t explain where diseases come from.

    The field of abiogenesis is young, and is subject of substantial debate among scientists. There are however certain facts (evidenced in those papers listed) that show that the origin of life from non-life is within the realms of possibility, although the exact mechanism is not yet known.

    Even so, even if the first cell was created specially by God, evolution would still be true. Evolution is an explanation for the diversity of life, not the origin of life – and to conflate evolution with abiogenesis is to misunderstand the two fields. We have a complete framework for the development of our cosmos, from within a fraction of a second after the big bang, to now – the fact that our current understanding of the universe breaks down in that first fraction of a second does not mean that the universe is not expanding or that our framework for understanding the universe is flawed. Evolution is a complete framework for explaining the diversity of life, it has nothing to do with it’s origin. It is complete without its beginning, because the origin of life is a completely different field to evolution itself.

    Reply

    • And I’m saying to have a complete framework you need to explain the origin, which the theory of evolution doesn’t have without abiogenesis or creation. All of the things you are talking about as part of “evolution” are, in my opinion, pieces of adaptation and natural selection, which I have no problem with. It’s when you try to say that evolution is all we need to explain the universe that the theory breaks down. That is what an atheist claims–that we don’t need God to explain how we got here. And I’m saying that’s not possible for you to assert. So to call the theory of evolution a fact is a claim without firm foundation, much less proof.

      I’m not disagreeing with much of what you’re saying here; I’m cautioning you to tread lightly so you don’t come out on the other end looking too ambitious for your own opinion.

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        I think you need to understand clearly what I mean when I say ‘evolution’. I do not mean the origin of the cosmos and everything in it from nothing. I never claimed that was how I was defining it and that is simply not what I mean. Evolution is the change in allelic frequency over time within a population. That is all. I do not claim that the theory of evolution explains the origin of life, or the development of the cosmos, because it doesn’t.

        I freely admit that we do not currently have a cohesive explanation of the origin of life, I see no reason to use that as cause to claim that there could not be any naturalistic explanation. Nor do I claim with absolute certainty that the origin of life was not due to a supernatural event, although it would take a lot more to convince me of that because I see no reason to assume the existence of supernatural agents (that is not to say I resolutely deny them though), therefore Occaim’s Razor would state that the explanation that makes the fewest assumptions (in this case naturalism, because it does not assume any supernatural agents) is the most likely. Of course evidence might come to light one day that will change my mind on that, but as things stand my answer to the question of how life originated is thus: I do not know the exact mechanism by which it occurred but I see no reason to assume that it was initiated by a supernatural agent.

        The same applies to the origin of the universe. Our model of the development of the cosmos gives a decent account of the universe since the big bang – and I see no reason to doubt it on that front, however it gives no explanation for what came before that. Again I see no reason to attribute this to a supernatural agent, but that does not mean to say that I wouldn’t change my mind on that given adequate evidence.

        I am comfortable with not knowing what caused life to originate and the cosmos to begin, and I allow myself the freedom of thought to accept the very real notion that these things might not have had a supernatural agent behind them. Even if they did have a supernatural agent behind them, I see no reason whatsoever to suppose that it would have been the God of the ancient Israelites.

      • I’ll admit I’m not aware of what you mean by “change in allelic frequency,” but if it’s what you’ve been talking about, then in my opinion you’re discussing adaptation, which I have no problem accepting.

        But you’re attacking creationism while saying that creationism is a possibility, it’ s just one possibility of several (or many). That doesn’t make it any less likely, because creationism is as provable right now as any other theory for the origin of life. In fact, there is more evidence for creation than for any other theory on the origin of life, given the arguments against actual infinites and for a defined beginning. All of the arguments are tied together, while you freely admit there is no cohesive explanation on naturalism alone.

        So while I may not be able to prove creationism, I can clearly show it as a more cohesive worldview and approach to origins than anything science or naturalism has to offer. So I’m quite justified in believing creationism as more likely until new evidence comes to light.

        If you’re comfortable not knowing about things like origins, then what is the point of discovery? Discovery exists because people are uncomfortable with not having answers. Perhaps you are comfortable because you assume “One day the answer will be found,” but then again that is a large leap of faith, probably greater than any faith I place in creationism with the evidence I have.

  6. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    “I’ll admit I’m not aware of what you mean by “change in allelic frequency,” but if it’s what you’ve been talking about, then in my opinion you’re discussing adaptation, which I have no problem accepting.”

    To explain it in a rather simplified fashion, blond hair and brown hair are both alleles of the same ‘hair colour’ gene. They are found in the same location (the genetic term is ‘locus’) on the chromosome, some alleles are dominant, some are recessive (which you might remember from biology class when you studied inheritance). If there is a change in environmental factors that favour blond hair over brown hair then the frequency of that allele will increase in the population over time. Of course that is rather simplified, but I hope it gets across what I meant. Most biologists I have encountered class biological evolution exactly as I said; change in allelic frequency in a population over time.

    “But you’re attacking creationism while saying that creationism is a possibility, it’ s just one possibility of several (or many). That doesn’t make it any less likely, because creationism is as provable right now as any other theory for the origin of life. In fact, there is more evidence for creation than for any other theory on the origin of life, given the arguments against actual infinites and for a defined beginning. All of the arguments are tied together, while you freely admit there is no cohesive explanation on naturalism alone.”

    Let me just be clear first. Young Earth creationism is not true and I am as certain as it is possible to be on that (if it is true then God must have very painstakingly planted evidence for an old Earth, and evolution in order to cover his tracks). A different kind of creationism; the first cell being created supernaturally, is I will admit less easy to dismiss. However we know that organic chemicals were abundant on the early Earth, we know that certain clays from the ocean floor can polymerize strands of molecules, we know that certain organic compounds are formed around deep sea vents etc. Though we don’t know precisely what happened, we know enough to reasonably postulate that life arising from non-life is possible – without supernatural intervention.

    As I said the reason that creation is not as viable as this explanation is because it assumes the existence of a supernatural agent. All that naturalism assumes is the chemicals that were present on the early Earth, that those chemicals can react together (which all chemicals can) to form the first replicators. The exact processes are unknown at the moment, but the field is advancing rapidly and I would not be surprised if scientists are able to recreate the origin of life in a lab within our lifetimes. Because there is no unnecessary assumptions in the naturalistic model, I personally favour it.

    “If you’re comfortable not knowing about things like origins, then what is the point of discovery? Discovery exists because people are uncomfortable with not having answers. Perhaps you are comfortable because you assume “One day the answer will be found,” but then again that is a large leap of faith, probably greater than any faith I place in creationism with the evidence I have.”

    I have a simple question: What evidence do you have for creationism?

    You realise that if there were any legitimate evidence for supernatural creation, someone would discover it, turn the scientific world on it’s head and win themselves a Nobel prize?

    Reply

    • Ok so allelic frequency is adaptation, as I suspected. No problems with that piece of it.

      Whether young-earth vs. old-earth is correct is of little consequence to me, as I’ve stated before. While I’m glad that you feel certain, it’s just not as cut and dry to me. But the argument in the public sector isn’t YEC vs. OEC; it’s creationism vs. evolution. And since creationism deals with origins (after the original beginning of life, adaptation and natural selection are processes that I believe in and accept), the argument between the two must deal with origins. That’s the whole point I’ve been making–the evolutionary process you’re talking about is not the one in debate, both here and in the public eye. It has to do with origins, and my argument has been that there is no evidence for an origin of life on naturalism alone.

      If you want to say that a hypothesis exists because of the organic chemicals and clays, I’ll accept that. Just understand that it’s no different than the God hypothesis, unless you pre-suppose that naturalism makes the fewest new assumptions to satisfy Ockham’s Razor. It’s a pre-supposition that doesn’t make any sense because there is no superseding evidence available for us to determine that naturalism is true to begin with. Why? Because naturalism can’t answer the question of origin, either to our universe or to life on our planet.

      The evidence for creationism is the same as evidence for intelligent design and God as the Uncaused Cause of the universe. I believe we’ve done the KCA already, so no need to re-hash there unless you want to discuss the impossibility of actual infinites (which we didn’t discuss before). But if there was a God who caused the universe and created constants so uniquely fine-tuned for life to be permissible, then He is by logical conclusion the cause of life on our planet.

      So if it’s possible that fine-tuning exists, that’s all you need to make creationism as much of an arguable case as abiogenesis. For on your argument all that needs to be present are the initial conditions for life to arise in order for the possibility of abiogenesis as truth. Fine-tuning of those constants gives us those initial conditions, so the possibility of creationism as truth is equally likely, according to an unbiased view of Ockham’s Razor.

      The evidence is there, in my opinion. It is just so counter-productive to the cause of MN that science refuses to accept it. But as we all know, truth isn’t determined by a majority vote. So I see no problem justifying my belief that creationism is true, regardless of how old the earth actually is.

      Reply

  7. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 18, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    “Whether young-earth vs. old-earth is correct is of little consequence to me, as I’ve stated before. While I’m glad that you feel certain, it’s just not as cut and dry to me. But the argument in the public sector isn’t YEC vs. OEC; it’s creationism vs. evolution. And since creationism deals with origins (after the original beginning of life, adaptation and natural selection are processes that I believe in and accept), the argument between the two must deal with origins. That’s the whole point I’ve been making–the evolutionary process you’re talking about is not the one in debate, both here and in the public eye. It has to do with origins, and my argument has been that there is no evidence for an origin of life on naturalism alone.”

    Well I’d disagree. The public debate between creationism and evolution is not about origins per se, it is to do with creationists denying that evolution (or if you insist adaptation over time) happens, and that the Genesis creation account is literally true word for word. The reason that scientists oppose creationism is because they want to introduce theological ideas into a science classroom as an alternative to the accepted notion of evolution (or adaptation as you insist upon calling it) without it actually being scientific in any sense of the word.

    In fact I’d say that the issue of origins is minimal at best in the debate, because its certainly not a debate between theism and atheism. Ken Miller defended evolution in a US supreme court, and he is himself a Christian. Francis Collins, who headed the human genome project has written books reconciling evolution and God. Heck even the Pope has proclaimed that evolution does not chime with the Catholic faith.

    This is because evolution as I said before does not in any way have anything to say about the origin of life itself. Abiogenesis is the field of science that deals with that issue. There is no reason to equivocate evolution with abiogenesis. Unless you’re trying to make evolution appear flawed because of it’s inability to explain something that it was not meant to explain.

    “If you want to say that a hypothesis exists because of the organic chemicals and clays, I’ll accept that. Just understand that it’s no different than the God hypothesis, unless you pre-suppose that naturalism makes the fewest new assumptions to satisfy Ockham’s Razor. It’s a pre-supposition that doesn’t make any sense because there is no superseding evidence available for us to determine that naturalism is true to begin with. Why? Because naturalism can’t answer the question of origin, either to our universe or to life on our planet.”

    The difference is that the naturalistic hypothesis does not presuppose the existence of a supernatural entity. It’s based upon things that we know and can observe, there is no mystical force postulated, simply things that we know can and do happen; that organic molecules form naturally, and that complex chemical reactions occur. Creationism posits that an entity capable of creating a universe exists (there is no reason to assume this), not only that, but that this entity initiated life on Earth (why couldn’t it be that God created the universe, and allowed life to arise naturally?) – these assumptions, unlike the naturalistic assumptions are not evidence based, there is no reason to make them.

    “The evidence for creationism is the same as evidence for intelligent design and God as the Uncaused Cause of the universe. I believe we’ve done the KCA already, so no need to re-hash there unless you want to discuss the impossibility of actual infinites (which we didn’t discuss before). But if there was a God who caused the universe and created constants so uniquely fine-tuned for life to be permissible, then He is by logical conclusion the cause of life on our planet.”

    If infinities are actually impossible then God cannot be uncaused. Uncaused presumably means either eternal i.e infinite which according to you is impossible, or sprang into existence from nothing without cause – in both cases the whole argument is special pleading because you’re saying ‘the universe cannot spring into existence from nothing without cause because that is logically impossible, here’s something that sprang into existence from nothing without cause to explain it’ or ‘the universe cannot be eternal because that is logically impossible, here is something eternal to explain it’

    “So if it’s possible that fine-tuning exists, that’s all you need to make creationism as much of an arguable case as abiogenesis. For on your argument all that needs to be present are the initial conditions for life to arise in order for the possibility of abiogenesis as truth. Fine-tuning of those constants gives us those initial conditions, so the possibility of creationism as truth is equally likely, according to an unbiased view of Ockham’s Razor.”

    No because fine tuning is not a good enough line of reasoning to support the assumption that God exists. It goes without saying that in a universe that allows life to exist, life can exist. It would be a miracle if there was life in a universe that could not permit life. All the fine tuning argument says is that we are alive in a universe that allows for life. Talk about stating the obvious. Where do you derive God from in that statement?

    Reply

    • These are all common arguments, so I’ll try to be as brief as possible.

      No reasonable creationist denies adaptation or natural selection. Creationists want creation to be taught alongside evolution in schools so kids can determine which view of origin is correct for themselves. Note that it is the evolutionists that are afraid of what might happen if both were included, not the creationists.

      I agree that evolution does not mean Christianity isn’t true. And the pieces you call “evolution” I have no problem with. I do have a problem, however, with the notion that evolution is all we need to explain the life we see today, because it’s not. I’ve made myself quite clear on that.

      The naturalistic hypothesis doesn’t pre-suppose the supernatural; it pre-supposes the supernatural doesn’t exist. Fatal flaw.

      See Dr. Craig’s website for a discussion on your objections to actual infinites. Note that this applies to natural law, of which God is not a part.

      Design implies a Designer. I don’t think we need to go down this road. I wrote a whole blog post about it. The “we won the lottery” argument doesn’t work because it just tries to get around the need for a cause.

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 19, 2012 at 7:36 AM

        “No reasonable creationist denies adaptation or natural selection. Creationists want creation to be taught alongside evolution in schools so kids can determine which view of origin is correct for themselves. Note that it is the evolutionists that are afraid of what might happen if both were included, not the creationists.”

        Scientists do not want to exclude creationism from the science class because they are scared of what might happen. That is simply not true. The reason they want to exclude it is the same reason that they would not want people to teach that babies come from storks or that the world is flat in a science class; it is not science.

        There is no reason why theological ideas should be presented along side accepted science. Evolution has undergone strict scrutiny for 150 years, rather than being falsified in this time, it had gained more and more evidence. For example; Darwin did not know about DNA, however since DNA was discovered, rather than falsifying evolution it confirmed it dramatically.

        Creationism does not conduct research, or experiments, it has not submitted any papers to peer review, yet it wants to be given a short cut into text books. Well that is completely unreasonable considering the scrutiny all other scientific ideas have to go through before they make it into text books. All creationism does is offer weak arguments that attempt to discredit the findings of legitimate science. ‘Evolutionists’ aren’t scared, they just do not wish to teach non-science as science by matter of principle.

        “The naturalistic hypothesis doesn’t pre-suppose the supernatural; it pre-supposes the supernatural doesn’t exist. Fatal flaw.”

        No, it doesn’t make that presupposition, it just discards it as an unnecessary assumption. If there was evidence for the supernatural then it would be a reasonable assumption to make, without evidence, naturalism sees no reason to assume. That is not the same as pre-supposing that it does not exist.

        “See Dr. Craig’s website for a discussion on your objections to actual infinites. Note that this applies to natural law, of which God is not a part.”

        In other words: special pleading.

        “Design implies a Designer. I don’t think we need to go down this road. I wrote a whole blog post about it. The “we won the lottery” argument doesn’t work because it just tries to get around the need for a cause.”

        The fact that we are alive in a universe that permits life does not imply design. It merely implies that we are alive in a universe that permits life. You didn’t answer my question; how do you derive God from this?

      • You’re missing the point. I’m talking about when students are learning how life began on our planet, two alternative theories are possible. Creationists have few problems with both being taught; evolutionists have huge problems with both being taught. The fact that the evidence is the same (or worse) for evolution in this respect as creation means it ought not to get preferential treatment in this sphere. You’re talking about the whole realm of science; I’m not.

        Why is discarding supernaturalism considered unnecessary when we’re at the hypothesizing point. When looking for the best explanation, you need to weigh all of the possible hypotheses. Naturalism doesn’t do that; it begins with the notion that supernaturalism is impossible and only then looks for an explanation. That, my friend, is special pleading. We’re not talking assumptions, we’re talking hypotheses. You’re putting the cart before the horse.

        Craig’s argument is not special pleading because he’s not using it as a positive argument for the existence of God. He’s using it as a response to an objection to the KCA, and also as an objection to the scientific view of the eternal, infinite multiverse hypothesis. It’s a means of demonstrating the multiverse as a far less likely (and dare I say impossible) hypothesis for the beginning of our universe.

        Finally, “The fact that we are alive in a universe that permits life does not imply design.” is not the point I argued against initially. “No because fine tuning is not a good enough line of reasoning to support the assumption that God exists.” is what I was going towards. The initial implication is that fine tuning exists (not that you believe it, but that in your statement you are granting it merely to make the second point). And when you get to that point, the design implies a Designer. That’s the argument I made, and how I derive God from your statement and objection. You’re backtracking now and saying “no design,” when I made a statement based on the granting of “if design…” If you want to argue design in the universe, I have an entire blog post on it that we can discuss it there.

  8. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 19, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    “You’re missing the point. I’m talking about when students are learning how life began on our planet, two alternative theories are possible. Creationists have few problems with both being taught; evolutionists have huge problems with both being taught. The fact that the evidence is the same (or worse) for evolution in this respect as creation means it ought not to get preferential treatment in this sphere. You’re talking about the whole realm of science; I’m not.”

    The problem is still the same when applied to abiogenesis. It is not scientific to state that life was originated by an unsubstantiated supernatural being who created it using what can only be described as magic. Science doesn’t teach magic, it teaches natural phenomena.

    “Why is discarding supernaturalism considered unnecessary when we’re at the hypothesizing point. When looking for the best explanation, you need to weigh all of the possible hypotheses. Naturalism doesn’t do that; it begins with the notion that supernaturalism is impossible and only then looks for an explanation. That, my friend, is special pleading. We’re not talking assumptions, we’re talking hypotheses. You’re putting the cart before the horse.”

    I already said that naturalism does not begin with the notion that supernaturalism is impossible, it begins with the notion that supernaturalism is unsubstantiated, and therefore there is no reason to posit it as the explanation for anything. If there was good evidential reasons for supposing supernaturalism then it would be a more valid assumption to make.

    “Craig’s argument is not special pleading because he’s not using it as a positive argument for the existence of God. He’s using it as a response to an objection to the KCA, and also as an objection to the scientific view of the eternal, infinite multiverse hypothesis. It’s a means of demonstrating the multiverse as a far less likely (and dare I say impossible) hypothesis for the beginning of our universe.”

    But there is no empirical evidence that the universe cannot have arisen from a prior eternal or timeless state so Craig is assuming that such a thing is somehow logically implausible or even impossible. However if eternal/timeless things are assumed to be logically impossible when it comes to the universe then this line of reasoning can be extended to God, if Craig is positing that this line of reasoning is valid in terms of the universe but not in terms of God then this is special pleading.

    “Finally, “The fact that we are alive in a universe that permits life does not imply design.” is not the point I argued against initially. “No because fine tuning is not a good enough line of reasoning to support the assumption that God exists.” is what I was going towards. The initial implication is that fine tuning exists (not that you believe it, but that in your statement you are granting it merely to make the second point). And when you get to that point, the design implies a Designer. That’s the argument I made, and how I derive God from your statement and objection. You’re backtracking now and saying “no design,” when I made a statement based on the granting of “if design…” If you want to argue design in the universe, I have an entire blog post on it that we can discuss it there.”

    Just because the universe permits life does not mean that it was designed to be that way.

    Also I can just as easily state that the universe was fine tuned to create black holes, dark matter or bacteria. After all most of the matter in the universe is dark matter, and most of the life on Earth is bacteria… I think it is rather arrogant to assume that the universe was designed specifically for Homo sapiens. How do you know that humans are not just an accident of the universe and God real intentions lie with a different species on another world?

    I can take naturally occurring thing on the Earth or in the universe and claim that because it exists the universe must have been designed in order to permit the existence of that thing and my argument would be just as valid as yours.

    None of it would prove or even give evidence for design.

    Reply

    • This blog pretty well sums up my main problems with Darwinian evolution. It gives credence to the things in evolutionary theory that are undeniable (the things we’ve been discussing here–adaptation and natural selection), but shows in peer-reviewed articles the limitations of the theory as a whole.

      Eternal/timeless things are naturalistically impossible, not logically impossible. Again, not special pleading because it is a rebuttal or an objection to the naturalistic assertion that an eternal universe is possible without the supernatural. Special pleading would lie on the side of the naturalist in this case, not the supernaturalist.

      Finally, it appears you’re giving up your initial point and backtracking to “there is no evidence of design.” That’s fine; I anticipated you would do that given that your argument actually supported my opinion. If you wish to discuss whether or not there is evidence for design, please feel free to discuss it on my post about the teleological argument once you’ve read my opinion there. Thanks.

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 20, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        That post shows a complete misunderstanding of science and is simply a rehashing of refuted arguments (to see it address by someone who does actually know what they’re talking about go here: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/intelligent-design-paper-in-a-medical-journal/). You can find 1 paper on creationism well done. I can show you 30608 peer reviewed papers showing evidence of evolution (and that is only using one source) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=evidence%20for%20evolution

        “Eternal/timeless things are naturalistically impossible, not logically impossible. Again, not special pleading because it is a rebuttal or an objection to the naturalistic assertion that an eternal universe is possible without the supernatural. Special pleading would lie on the side of the naturalist in this case, not the supernaturalist.”

        On what basis other than convenience are you asserting that eternal/timeless things are possible in the supernatural realm? Do you have any evidence for that? This is the problem with supernaturalism, you can say whatever you want and not have to substantiate it with anything. Well I beg to differ, eternal/timeless things are not possible in the supernatural. How can you prove that you’re right and I’m wrong? My statement is just as well supported as yours. Asserting the existence of something that you can decide to be whatever way you choose, without evidence, to back up your argument is perhaps the biggest example of special pleading of them all.

        “Finally, it appears you’re giving up your initial point and backtracking to “there is no evidence of design.” That’s fine; I anticipated you would do that given that your argument actually supported my opinion. If you wish to discuss whether or not there is evidence for design, please feel free to discuss it on my post about the teleological argument once you’ve read my opinion there. Thanks.”

        Well I’d go further than to say that there is no evidence of design. I’d go so far as to say that the evidence points towards absence of supernatural design by an omnibenevolent, omnibeneficient being.

        What kind of loving designer would allow for pointless suffering that we see all over nature? 3000 African children die of Malaria every day (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2003/pr33/en/). Think about that for a second. Surely if this is designed then it’s designer can only be described as evil? 3000 lives ended prematurely every single day because of a microbe that according to creationism is designed by the same supernatural agent who is supposedly all loving. What kind of God would design such a thing?

        What kind of loving designer would design all those deadly diseases, viruses and pathogens that kill off millions of humans a year? Creationism directly attributes all life to a beneficent designer, so if we follow this logic then, God designed, AIDS, malaria, small-pox, and so on, thus we can hold this being responsible for the pointless suffering carried out by these diseases

        What kind of God would have designed our birth canal in such a way that, until the advent of modern medicine, many, many women and children died whilst giving birth?

        Creationism says that all the universe was designed by a loving being, so it must answer for such things. Naturalism has the less contradictory, although harder to swallow answer, unfortunately there is no beneficent force behind all things, the universe is indifferent to us and our suffering…

      • The goal of the link was to show you 1) some of my issues with evolution condensed in one spot, and 2) to establish a refutation to the common assertion that intelligent design (and to some extent creationism) is a non-peer-reviewed pseudoscience. It wasn’t to compare numbers; your rebuttal makes you sound like you’re compensating for something.

        Eternity is necessary in the supernatural realm as a means of discerning initial causation. Otherwise we’d have an infinite regress of causation. However, timelessness/infinity is naturalistically impossible, due to the argument against actual infinites in a natural world. So in order for the infinite regress to be stopped, the initial cause has to be something infinite and eternal, yet not bound to the naturalistic impossibility of actual infinites. The result is a supernatural Being that possesses those qualities, as well as other things necessary to be a sufficient cause (omnipotence, omniscience, omnisapience, etc.) So the evidence is quite clear (thereby removing any hint of special pleading), and that’s how I can justify my belief and show that yours is incorrect. How would you prove yourself right?

        Finally, again I point you to my post on the teleological argument to discuss the issue of design. That is a much better place for it, and it addresses both my position and some common objections.

        If you wish to discuss the problem of evil, I’d be more than happy to. Let me ask you this: would evil exist if man didn’t?

  9. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    “The goal of the link was to show you 1) some of my issues with evolution condensed in one spot, and 2) to establish a refutation to the common assertion that intelligent design (and to some extent creationism) is a non-peer-reviewed pseudoscience. It wasn’t to compare numbers; your rebuttal makes you sound like you’re compensating for something.”

    Okay so you found one badly written peer-reviewed paper, this doesn’t mean that intelligent design is not pseudoscience; it most definitely is. However, perhaps, rather than linking to other blogs, you’d like to explain some of your issues with evolution yourself. My point about numbers is to say that you can’t dismiss evolution by showing a single example of a peer-reviewed paper that supports intelligent design, when more papers showing evidence for evolution are produced in one week than have ever been produced in support of creationism.

    “Eternity is necessary in the supernatural realm as a means of discerning initial causation. Otherwise we’d have an infinite regress of causation. However, timelessness/infinity is naturalistically impossible, due to the argument against actual infinites in a natural world. So in order for the infinite regress to be stopped, the initial cause has to be something infinite and eternal, yet not bound to the naturalistic impossibility of actual infinites. The result is a supernatural Being that possesses those qualities, as well as other things necessary to be a sufficient cause (omnipotence, omniscience, omnisapience, etc.) So the evidence is quite clear (thereby removing any hint of special pleading), and that’s how I can justify my belief and show that yours is incorrect. How would you prove yourself right?”

    So what your are asserting is that something is necessary simply because without it the supernatural doesn’t make sense. That’s not very convincing. That’s like me claiming to have a dragon in my porch and when you ask to see it, I say ‘well of course you can’t see it, it’s invisible’. It’s not a convincing argument that the dragon is really there, its just explaining away an inconvenient fact that would otherwise detract from my argument that there is really a dragon there. You haven’t proved that the supernatural has to be timeless/eternal, all you’ve done is said that the supernatural wouldn’t make sense without it – which isn’t really evidence. To me you might as well be trying to tell me what unicorns can and can’t do. I can still just as easily contest your statement by saying well actually, the supernatural can’t be eternal/timeless, and I’d have provided exactly the same amount of evidence in support of that as you have.

    Who says that infinities are impossible naturalistically? As far as I recall cosmologists use infinities in their equations all the time, on whose authority are you making the rather bold claim that infinities are naturalistically impossible?

    Also time is a product of this universe, and it’s directionality is defined by thermodynamics, prior to the big bang things might be completely different, you don’t know that. Even if the laws of our universe do not permit infinities (which you have not demonstrated) that would not have any effect on something that existed before the universe, who’s to say that there was not a timeless state which the universe arose from? Who’s to say that the universe is not cyclic?

    How does timeless mind operate?

    Can God do something that he didn’t know he was going to do? Can God make himself ignorant? Those three attributes you list are contradictory. God cannot be all of those things, just as I cannot claim to have a square circle in my coat pocket.

    “If you wish to discuss the problem of evil, I’d be more than happy to. Let me ask you this: would evil exist if man didn’t?”

    Bacteria would still kill animals, predators would still exist, etc. Without humans these things would still happen, but there would be no one there to call them evil. So I’d posit that evil would not exist without us around to define it.

    Reply

    • Way to discredit the science as “badly written.” The science is not in dispute; the papers merely show that Darwinian evolution has some limitations (like origins). You’ve granted those limitations, so either your position is bad or the paper was written just fine. Feel free to tell me which one of those positions you adhere to.

      The eternal argument: you completely mis-represent my point. I’m not saying the supernatural doesn’t make sense without eternity. I’m saying that the naturalistic beginning makes no sense without some concept of eternity, but that concept of eternity can’t be found naturalistically. It’s the idea that the naturalistic beginning makes no sense without the supernatural.

      Actual infinites don’t exist. I refer you to Hilbert’s Hotel. Please show me the evidence that a) the universe is eternal, and b) the supernatural would not entail an eternal component. And please use positive evidence; “You didn’t show any evidence” is not a valid argument to your claim. PS How can a timeless state exist “before” the universe naturalistically? If time began with the universe, there was no “before” for the timeless state to exist. Fatal flaw.

      Problem of evil: So what you’re saying is nature is evil only if humans are around, but amoral if they’re not? And therefore evil would not exist without the presence of man?

      Reply

      • Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

        I’ve explained that ‘origins’ is not a limitation of evolution. Any legitimate scientist knows this. There is a slight limitation on abiogenesis which is that without a time machine, and the absence of fossilized molecules, we have limited evidence to go by when it comes to the origin of life, but this does not mean that a plausible step by step naturalistic theory will never be achieved. There is currently a gap in knowledge when it comes to our knowledge of the origin of life, if you want to insert God into a closing gap that’s your choice but I’d wager that in 20 years time there will not be a gap wide enough to fit God in.

        I don’t know that the universe is eternal, I know that legitimate cosmologists have put forth plausible cyclic models, multiverse models, and even universe from nothing models. You have absolutely no grounds to be saying that the universe cannot be cyclic, that there is not a multiverse, etc. You don’t seem to understand the concept that the Big Bang is not a definite beginning, its a point where our understanding breaks down, there could well be a something beyond it which defies our comprehension.

        We don’t actually know whether the universe is infinite or not. Evidence hints that the universe is not spherical, that it is a flat topology – which means that it is plausible that it is infinite. The truth is we don’t yet know, but you seem rather confident that it is not, so why don’t you provide evidence?

        As I said even if I grant that infinities are not possible within this universe, who are you to say what something beyond this universe is like? Cause and effect are properties of the way this universe operates, but the game might be very different outside of it. If we were to look beyond the Big bang we might see that there was actually a contracting universe before that, and the bang wasn’t a bang but a bounce as it were. You assume that the big bang is the point at which the cosmos began, but this is far far from a certainty, and on top of that you assume that the only thing that could possibly cause such an event to happen is God.

        I’m not claiming to have absolute certainty as to what did happen, I am not that arrogant, what I am challenging is your postulation that your limited viewpoint is the only plausible option, when in actual fact it is one of many.

        Well I’m saying that bad things would happen, but, as far as I’m aware we are the only species that has a concept of good and evil, so if we were to vanish then those concepts would vanish too.

      • That’s ridiculous. “We don’t know” isn’t considered a severe limitation? What would a severe limitation be under your parameters. The “wait and hope” approach is not satisfactory as an explanation, which is why the article lists this as a severe limitation of Darwinian evolution.

        I can tell you that the multiverse theory is multiple times less likely than any supernatural theory out there. Start with Craig’s argument, but the multiverse theory still fails the causation problem, because unless the multiverse is eternal it still needs a cause. And if the multiverse is eternal, it would require the existence of actual infinites, which as I’ve said before is not true. Again, see Hilbert’s Hotel.

        And I’m not saying that my viewpoint is the only plausible option. What I am saying is that an eternal, infinite naturalistic cause is impossible, and that the best explanation for the data we have is that a supernatural Being with the characteristics and qualities of the theistic God created the universe. That’s all I’m stipulating too. Read my post on the teleological argument for detail on the method of inference to the best explanation.

        I’m asking you again, is nature amoral? Or is it inherently evil?

  10. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 20, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    “That’s ridiculous. “We don’t know” isn’t considered a severe limitation? What would a severe limitation be under your parameters. The “wait and hope” approach is not satisfactory as an explanation, which is why the article lists this as a severe limitation of Darwinian evolution.”

    You’ve committed the fallacy of equivocation several times now, I’ve told you that abiogenesis is not the same thing as Darwinian evolution. Can you stop conflating the two terms it’s getting tiresome now.

    We don’t know is a limitation in a sense, but it is not a limitation in the following ways: it is not a limitation in the sense that we cannot ever know, its not a limitation in the sense that it is false. The wait until we have an answer approach is the most intellectually honest approach.

    “I can tell you that the multiverse theory is multiple times less likely than any supernatural theory out there. Start with Craig’s argument, but the multiverse theory still fails the causation problem, because unless the multiverse is eternal it still needs a cause. And if the multiverse is eternal, it would require the existence of actual infinites, which as I’ve said before is not true. Again, see Hilbert’s Hotel.”

    You have asserted that infinities are not true, but I have no reason to accept your assertion. Perhaps it is an issue of terminology you are aware that there are different kinds of infinity right? (http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Classes/CalcI/TypesOfInfinity.aspx)

    “And I’m not saying that my viewpoint is the only plausible option. What I am saying is that an eternal, infinite naturalistic cause is impossible, and that the best explanation for the data we have is that a supernatural Being with the characteristics and qualities of the theistic God created the universe. That’s all I’m stipulating too. Read my post on the teleological argument for detail on the method of inference to the best explanation.”

    Anyway, all this is all very high-brow and sophisticated, but you’re not positing a deistic or a pantheistic God. You are positing the existence of the God of the Bible who supposedly wrestles with people (Genesis 32:24-32), who wanders around in the Garden of Eden, and has a special alliance with the people of a small region of the Middle East and is pleased by people slaughtering animals for him. This is very different from the God we’re talking about right now. This is a principle failure of all the cosmological arguments for God that have been put forth; even if they were philosophically valid they still do not take you to the God of the Bible – who is a very, very different God than the one you were just talking about.

    “I’m asking you again, is nature amoral? Or is it inherently evil?”

    Nature is void of morality in my opinion. However if there was a moral agent behind designing it then a moral judgement could be made about that agent because it then ceases to be amoral when you attribute it to design.

    Reply

    • Thank you for conceding the limitation on origin. Case closed.

      The link you posted is about theoretical infinities. I’m talking about actual infinites. Again, see Hilbert’s Hotel. You are not understanding the difference between a concept and a reality here.

      The basic form of the KCA posits the necessity of the universe to have an initial cause and the best explanation for this cause to be the theistic God. That’s all I need to assert. Which perspective of the theistic God is irrelevant to cosmological claims, so you’re attacking a straw man.

      So naturalistically, if nature is amoral, but evil exists when man is present, then who is responsible for evil?

      Reply

  11. Posted by Doctor Bad Sign on January 22, 2012 at 3:51 AM

    “Thank you for conceding the limitation on origin. Case closed.”

    The case isn’t closed at all. I conceded that not knowing is a minor limitation, I did not concede that naturalism is in any way flawed or that life had to arise supernaturally. If you think that is a victory for your argument then you have another thing coming.

    “The link you posted is about theoretical infinities. I’m talking about actual infinites. Again, see Hilbert’s Hotel. You are not understanding the difference between a concept and a reality here.”

    You cannot say that infinities are impossible. For example, no reputable cosmologist would say for certain that the universe is not infinite. We don’t know for certain either way, no one claims that the very idea is impossible, just as no cosmologist would claim that the very idea of an infinite number of parallel universes is impossible – you are asserting certainty where there is none.

    Infinities occur where black holes are concerned:

    “To a distant observer, clocks near a black hole appear to tick more slowly than those further away from the black hole. Due to this effect, known as gravitational time dilation, an object falling into a black hole appears to slow down as it approaches the event horizon, taking an INFINITE time to reach it. At the same time, all processes on this object slow down causing emitted light to appear redder and dimmer, an effect known as gravitational redshift. Eventually, at a point just before it reaches the event horizon, the falling object becomes so dim that it can no longer be seen.”

    “At the center of a black hole as described by general relativity lies a gravitational singularity, a region where the spacetime curvature becomes INFINITE.”

    “It can also be shown that the singular region contains all the mass of the black hole solution. The singular region can thus be thought of as having INFINITE density.”

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_hole)

    Do you really want to keep asserting that infinities are impossible? By your logic black holes are impossible.

    “The basic form of the KCA posits the necessity of the universe to have an initial cause and the best explanation for this cause to be the theistic God. That’s all I need to assert. Which perspective of the theistic God is irrelevant to cosmological claims, so you’re attacking a straw man.”

    There is no reason to assert that the universe must necessarily have an initial cause, we don’t know that. Again it’s taking an unknown and asserting certainty. Even if it can be granted that all things that begin to exist require a cause, that can only be applied to all things within the universe, not necessarily the universe itself. Its like asserting that because all the bricks in a wall weigh 2lbs the wall itself must weigh 2lbs – the logical flaw is the same.

    And even if the universe does require a cause, you must eliminate all other possible theories that explain the cause of the universe equally well. The KCA is a complete failure, and it does not prove the necessity of God.

    “So naturalistically, if nature is amoral, but evil exists when man is present, then who is responsible for evil?”

    Those whom the majority of people deem as having committed an evil act. Or perhaps I could say those whom rational people would deem as having committed an evil act. Although morality does seem to be defined by a zeitgeist feeling that is shared among the populace. Most nowadays would claim that racism, sexism and slavery were bad, go back a few hundred years and the consensus would change.

    Reply

    • Two issues with your black hole argument:

      1) You’re arguing for something which is invisible, but can be inferred based on evidence from alternative interactions. Sounds a little bit like the theist’s argument for God, doesn’t it?

      2) This is all based on the mathematical terms of infinity, as is laid out in the the article about black holes you listed. But the problem is that black holes are defined as having mass, which is one thing that science has shown us is not infinite. There is a finite amount of mass in the universe. The second (and bigger) problem is that a mathematical infinite doesn’t imply physical existence. I suggest you read the article below for the difference between the term “actual infinity” and what it really means. Infinity is a mathematical concept, not a physical reality.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actual_infinity

      We can assert that the universe had an initial cause if we can assert that it had a beginning. Going by the KCA, that’s all we need to demonstrate. And science has given us that with the discovery of the Big Bang and the lack of reality regarding actual infinites in physical reality. And your logical flaw isn’t at all what we’re talking about here. It’s the basic concept that the whole is the sum of its parts — completely mathematical and instinctive. It’s saying that if each brick in a wall weighs 2 lbs than “n” number of bricks would produce a wall of “2n” weight, assuming no other materials or impact from gravitational force. If all of the pieces of the universe are caused by the universe, then either the universe exists necessarily (which would require evidence of an infinite and eternal universe naturalistically, for which I’ve shown there to be none) or the universe requires a supervening cause. The argument falls well in the favor of the theist, because the theist can assert scientifically that the universe cannot exist necessarily.

      Finally, on the issue of evil, let me make sure I understand you straight. Let me pose the logical argument and you tell me what the conclusion is:

      1) If evil exists, then someone or something is responsible for evil. (P1)
      2) If man does not exist, then evil does not exist. (P2)
      3) Nature on its own is amoral. (P3)
      4) Evil exists. (P4, denying the consequent)
      5) Therefore, someone or something is responsible for evil. (C1 –> P1, P4)
      6) Also therefore, man exists. (C2 –> P2, P4)
      7) Nature existed before man existed. (P5) [This is the naturalist’s assumption based on the theory of evolution.]
      8) Therefore, there was a time before man where evil did not exist. (C3 –> P2, P3, C2, P5)
      9) But evil exists now. (P6)
      10) Therefore, the someone or something responsible for evil didn’t exist before man, but exists now. (C1, C3, P6)
      11) Therefore….

      Reply

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