Continued from tonyrey’s imminently popular thread, Conclusive evidence for Design!.
[quote=Sair]But that is the whole point - there is no evidence that the universe as we know it bears the mark of an intelligent designer, and ample evidence that it arose naturally, undesigned and unplanned.
There is no empirical evidence of either of these propositions. There is ample evidence of the physical process of its genesis and development. There is absolutely NO experimental evidence of this process’ independence. Neither is there any experimental evidence of its design. You are clinging to the fallacy of scientism.
The thing is, if it can be established - which it can - that conditions such as those giving rise to the universe as we know it can arise naturally, there is no necessity for the assumption of intelligent design. Why assume an extra complex entity when it isn’t necessary? God is surplus to requirements.
It cannot be established that those conditions can arise naturally. It can only be established that they did indeed arise. No matter how deep science may dig, whatever
it finds will not be self-explanatory. Science can only find things WITHIN the universe, and it can only tell us HOW they operate, and it can only tell us WHY they operate as they do based on other things WITHIN the universe. So, when and if science reaches the bottom of physical reality–whatever force, law, etc. may reside there–science can offer no explanation of why such a thing exists and operates as it does. If it did, it would not be the ultimate governing principle of reality. So you are left with two options only: a) an infinite regress of forces or principles, which is an absurdity or b) a fundamental principle which cannot be scientifically explained.
And again, God is NOT a complex entity.
Because, as I mentioned previously, science can ultimately only explain HOW the universe works. Any illusion of it explaining WHY it works as it does is an erroneous projection from relations between contingent phenomena WITHIN the universe to the universe as a whole. Science cannot provide a reason that nature should function as harmoniously as it does, it can only discover the means by which it does so. Science must eventually, if it is indeed so capable, run into a wall, whereupon the most primal force of nature is found, and when it does it will have no other physical phenomena by which to explain its existence. The “whys” of universal expansion, star formation, planetary motion, and every other observable phenomena within the universe are explicable only in terms of other things therein, creating the illusion that science is explaining “why” the universe is the way it is. This is simply fallacious. It is explaining “how” other forces and events within the universe produce those results.
So ultimately, the question of whether the universe is an accidental and self-sufficient reality or the product of intelligence is a matter of philosophical deduction. We now know, beyond the shadow a doubt, that our universe possessess an immense array of incredibly fine tuned features which allow us to exist. Where there is such immense and inexplicable order, it is natural to suppose the work of an intelligence.
This ignores every possible and substantial undermining of the notion that the only explanation for universal order is the front-loading of an intelligently-designed plan. You can’t say that science will never explain why the universe functions as it does - you can only say that it hasn’t completely explained it yet. As the always eloquent and charming comedian Dara O’Briain pointed out, if science thought it knew everything, it would stop.
Of all the possible explanations, I think it can be logically demonstrated that this is the most reasonable. And, as I have addressed at length in the previous sections of this post, I CAN say that science will never explain WHY the universe functions as it does, only HOW. It’s a subtle but very important difference.
Probability calculations cited by creationists are inherently flawed, firstly because they overturn the proper functioning of science by assuming the conclusion they are trying to prove; secondly because they fail to take into account the fact that we don’t know whether the universal constants are mutually dependent, and thus affect the probability calculations related to each.
Irrelevant. Mutually dependent or not, they are incredibly fortuitous and science cannot feasibly provide a reason why they should not* have been otherwise. All science can do is observe and unravel that which is, it cannot say why it is so.
- edited from the original post, which left out this very crucial adverb!