Definitive evidence for Design!


#1

Continued from tonyrey's imminently popular thread, Conclusive evidence for Design!. ;)

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.

Why?

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!

#2

[quote=Sair]And even if the universal constants in their present - and friendly - state are vanishingly improbable by creationist accounts, and leaving aside all possible variables, their improbability still has to be contrasted with the probability of the existence of a vast intelligent entity that has always existed, yet leaves no trace of its interaction with the rest of the universe. What is the probability that such an entity could remain undemonstrated throughout the history of the universe? High, perhaps, if you have a majority of people conditioned to believe, unquestioningly, that such an entity exists.
[/quote]

Your framing of the improbability of the universal constants as being something peculiar to “creationists” is either disingenuous or completely misinformed. It’s a widely accepted scientific fact.

And besides that, who says God has left no trace of his interaction with the world? The Shroud of Turin is a subject of more scientific interest than ever today (if you aren’t aware, as most people aren’t, the study of the Shroud has undergone a “resurrection” of its own after several breakthroughs that proved a) the section that was carbon dated was a restoration [microscopic inspection revealed both alien fabric and thread patterns in this area] b) the shroud contains pollen from several plants native to Jerusalem c) the blood stains on the shroud perfectly match those of the Veil of Manoppello [the existence of the latter of which has been historically documented since at least the 6th century, nearly a millenia before the Shroud was previously believed to have been produced and d) the image on the Shroud contains 3 dimensional, holographic information and over a century of attempts have failed to recreate these effects.) In addition to that, we have a plethora of miracles, such as those at Lourdes and Fatima, as well as the Eucharistic miracles, which have been attested to by thousands upon thousands and studied by scientists who can offer no explanation. Ultimately, though, as is made abundantly clear in Judeo-Christian revelation, God wants people to seek Him with their HEARTS as well as their minds. If you’re trying to turn God into a simple laboratory experiment, chances are you aren’t going to find Him. As Pascal said (paraphrasing): “God gives us just enough light that those who want to find Him, will, and those who don’t, won’t.”

Finally, as I’ve said before, the idea of universal order is highly anthropomorphic - we perceive order because we evolved within the universe as it is. If we’d evolved in an entirely different universe, with different constants, and were just dumped here, then - assuming we could survive in the first place - the universe we presently inhabit might well seem nonsensical.

This is a fallacious argument. We perceive order because there IS order. Order is not a relative idea. Order can only be harder or easier to detect/understand based on how imminently it is imposed on the structure being observed. The more harmonious and rigorously structured that order is, the easier it is to perceive. Thus, it is easier to perceive order in a Mozart symphony than it is in a loosely arranged free jazz piece, which is governed only by a few vague guidelines. So while both exhibit some level of order, where more order is imposed, it is more easily detectable by intelligent observation; and, in the case of our universe, order is incredibly apparent.

Ultimately, there is no universe where 2 + 2 = 5. Some principles transcend physical accidents. And, as the work of physics has amply demonstrated, in universes with different constants, we would not have evolved because the cohesion of matter and thus, material beings, is contingent upon those very constants that govern our universe. After reading this, I can’t help thinking you haven’t really read very much about the fine tuning of the universe.

[quote]In fact, if one takes seriously the theistic doctrine that we actually belong in a realm beyond the universe as we know it - the Christian concept of heaven, for example - then perhaps the world we inhabit should not make any sense to us…

And what a good point you raise indirectly here. Your actual point, though, is quite fallacious. The order of the universe makes sense to us because we are rational beings capable of detecting and understanding order. To say that because we contain an essence that transcends nature we should not understand it is the same as saying that because I understand trigonometry, I should not understand basic arithmetic.

But, indirectly, you shine light on the fact that we most always DO feel that something is wrong with this world, morally and spiritually speaking.


#3

I would also like to expand on this particular point:

[quote=Sair]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.
[/quote]

Irrelevant. Mutually dependent or not, they are incredibly fortuitous and science cannot feasibly provide a reason why they, or the underlying principle that produces them, should not* have been otherwise. All science can do is observe and unravel that which is, it cannot say why it is so.

As to your first claim, this is simply untrue. There is no assumption, or presumption, being made in these calculations. We are simply stating what the work of physicists has affirmed: if any of the universal constants were altered the slightest bit (i.e. 1 part in 10^100 in some cases), the universe would not permit the level of order necessary for complex structures such as life and, in most cases, even simple matter, to form. Ergo, the operating principles of our universe are “finely tuned” to permit life, in that if any of those forces were stronger or weaker, the possibility of complex material beings would be negated.


#4

While there is no response to your posts I shall have to act as the devil’s advocate. :slight_smile:

  1. You seem to be assuming there are reasons for everything but how could you justify that assumption?

  2. Isn’t it possible some facts are intrinsically inexplicable?

  3. Even if there are reasons there is no obvious reason to believe we can know or understand what they are.

  4. Why not admit we cannot reach any conclusions about the nature of reality?

  5. There is no definitive evidence for Design, non-Design or any other interpretation of existence!


#5

The truth of the matter is that all arguments against the existence of design in the universe spring from the assumption of atheism that it is so. Since atheism is not provable, neither is it provable that there are no signs of design anywhere in the universe. Many of the greatest minds of history accept first that there is a God, and from that their eyes are open to the presence of design … from the great universe itself down to the tiniest atom.


#6

“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.” Albert Einstein


#7

Da (Devil’s advocate):

Even the greatest minds are fallible and cannot be expected to explain the mystery of existence. Even the term “God” cannot possibly adequately describe the Supreme Reality. It is worth trying to think and behave like an atheist to see things in another perspective. :wink:

Didn’t you have the same basic values you have now?


#8

tonyrey

It is worth trying to think and behave like an atheist to see things in another perspective.

Been there, done that. What’s more important than anything in the world (for the atheist) should be to try seeing things from another perspective. The problem with atheism is that it values intellect at the expense of imagination. What cathedral has ever been erected to Nogod? What paintings have passionately depicted a crucified atheist? When has anyone heard a beautiful piece of music celebrating atheism as opposed to the hymns celebrating God? :wink:


#9

Keats wrote '“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”. It is true beauty is a great source of inspiration but it is possible beauty exists only in the mind. Wouldn’t that alone account for the great masterpieces?


#10

Huh?


#11

[quote="tonyrey, post:4, topic:310573"]
While there is no response to your posts I shall have to act as the devil's advocate. :)

[/quote]

Get thee behind me, tonyrey! :p

  1. You seem to be assuming there are reasons for everything but how could you justify that assumption?

I think we should establish what we mean by "reasons." Equivocation is probably the greatest stumbling black to rational discourse in the modern age. By reason, do we mean simply any cause or do we mean a cause with motivation?

In the first sense, the cumulative observation of science through the ages confirms that, excepting the possibility of miracles, everything has a physical cause. Thus, this assumption is a sort of inductive argument, wherein the conclusion is well supported but not necessarily entailed. Moreover, if the materialist denies this point, he has essentially neutered his own argument... the explicability of the universe is the first principle upon which science is founded!

In the case of the latter context, I would not argue that there are motivations behind every individual incident in the universe, but I would argue that there is a solid case to be made for motivated cause of the universe itself. This argument, on the other hand, can be made via deductive logic. When the numbers are all crunched and the possibilities laid out, the intentional creation of the physical world is simply the most cogent explanation for the order we observe. This is an argument that is in no way diminished by further developments in science--in fact, many scientists might argue, quite the opposite is true!--because, as I have asserted several times now, whatever fundamental principles or powers govern the universe, it is beyond the capabilities of science to say why they exist--it can only discover how they work! Whether or not we understand all of the forces that bring us into being, we see that they do bring us into being, and the fact that such forces exist is a mystery that cannot be solved with a microscope!

  1. Isn't it possible some facts are intrinsically inexplicable?

It is possible that some facts may be beyond the ability of the flawed human intellect to explain, but it is absurd to assert that any fact is inexplicable. To be factual is to be real. To be real is to be true. To be true is to be conformed to the truth. And the truth must, by its very nature, explain everything!

And as an aside, though the human intellect indeed be flawed, it is nonetheless powerful enough to conceive and comprehend the idea of a perfect intellect!

  1. Even if there are reasons there is no obvious reason to believe we can know or understand what they are.

The obvious reason to believe that we can know what they are is the fact that we can ask whether or not we can know it. The history of science is one of rational minds confirming the rationality of the world they inhabit. To expect a break in this chain is to expect the entire chain to collapse!

  1. Why not admit we cannot reach any conclusions about the nature of reality?

To admit such is to commit moral, intellectual, spiritual and essential suicide. If we cannot reach any conclusions about the nature of reality, then we can't even reach a conclusion as to whether we should get out of bed in the morning! And, of course, an honest materialist would be forced to concede that is the work of willful delusion that shoos him out of bed in the morning.

  1. There is no definitive evidence for Design, non-Design or any other interpretation of existence!

There is definitive evidence of the rational structure of our world-as-a-whole, and there is equally definitive evidence that the only source of novel rational structures within this world are minds! As the saying goes, "If it looks like a duck..."


#12

Come on, Brad. Prove it!


#13

Don’t forget I’m only an unpaid advocate who doesn’t even get a penny - or a cent - or a word of gratitude. :bighanky:

I think we should establish what we mean by “reasons.” Equivocation is probably the greatest stumbling black to rational discourse in the modern age. By reason, do we mean simply any cause or do we mean a cause with motivation?

It is** possible** that causes with motivation are in fact unmotivated - given your next point:

In the first sense, the cumulative observation of science through the ages confirms that, excepting the possibility of miracles, everything has a physical cause.

So are motivated causes miracles? :wink:

Thus, this assumption is a sort of inductive argument, wherein the conclusion is well supported but not necessarily entailed. Moreover, if the materialist denies this point, he has essentially neutered his own argument… the explicability of the universe is the first principle upon which science is founded!

Doesn’t quantum theory suggest otherwise?

In the case of the latter context, I would not argue that there are motivations behind every individual incident in the universe, but I would argue that there is a solid case to be made for motivated cause of the universe itself. This argument, on the other hand, can be made via deductive logic. When the numbers are all crunched and the possibilities laid out, the intentional creation of the physical world is simply the most cogent explanation for the order we observe.

Again it is** possible **that order is an inscrutable fact - just as God is believed to be an inscrutable fact.

This is an argument that is in no way diminished by further developments in science–in fact, many scientists might argue, quite the opposite is true!–because, as I have asserted several times now, whatever fundamental principles or powers govern the universe, it is beyond the capabilities of science to say why they exist–it can only discover how they work! Whether or not we understand all of the forces that bring us into being, we see that they do bring us into being, and the fact that such forces exist is a mystery that cannot be solved with a microscope!

“mystery” is the key word. Surely we shall never understand them** all**?

It is possible that some facts may be beyond the ability of the flawed human intellect to explain, but it is absurd to assert that any fact is inexplicable. To be factual is to be real. To be real is to be true. To be true is to be conformed to the truth. And the truth must, by its very nature, explain everything!

I agree but that doesn’t mean we can understand **all **the explanations!

And as an aside, though the human intellect indeed be flawed, it is nonetheless powerful enough to conceive and comprehend the idea of a perfect intellect!

Power alone is not enough, I’m afraid. Something seems to be missing…

The obvious reason to believe that we can know what they are is the fact that we can ask whether or not we can know it. The history of science is one of rational minds confirming the rationality of the world they inhabit. To expect a break in this chain is to expect the entire chain to collapse! To admit such is to commit moral, intellectual, spiritual and essential suicide. If we cannot reach any conclusions about the nature of reality, then we can’t even reach a conclusion as to whether we should get out of bed in the morning! And, of course, an honest materialist would be forced to concede that is the work of willful delusion that shoos him out of bed in the morning.

We can certainly reach many true conclusions but all?..

There is definitive evidence of the rational structure of our world-as-a-whole, and there is equally definitive evidence that the only source of novel rational structures within this world are minds! As the saying goes, “If it looks like a duck…”

Perhaps, looking on the black side - which is my present task (I’m not at all sure whether it’s pleasant) - nothing is completely novel. Perhaps events are not linear but circular: we may not be on a merry-go-round but a sorry-go-round, never escaping from our dismal fate… :eek:


#14

The concept of proving (or disproving) that someone doesn’t believe in something is a concept which I can’t get my head around.


#15

tonyrey

**Keats wrote '“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”. It is true beauty is a great source of inspiration but it is possible beauty exists only in the mind. Wouldn’t that alone account for the great masterpieces? **

It’s true that beauty and truth naturally go together, as Keats argued. There is nothing beautiful about atheism. If there were, it would have been celebrated long ago by a great pantheon of atheist artists. Isn’t the reason that there is nothing beautiful about atheism because there is nothing inherently true about it?


#16

We mean, PROVE THAT GOD DOES NOT EXIST.

It is by far more rational to believe that God exists than that he does not exist. The " proofs " are not " scientific " to be sure but they are REASONABLE to any REASONABLE person. There are at least 20 - 30 reasonable arguments in favor of God’s existence. And that does not include the general agreement of mankind throughout history and the history of Divine Revelation.

To dismiss this kind overwhelming testimony in an offhand manner, out of prejudice, out of some missplaced desire to " fit in " would be moral and eternal suicide. :thumbsup:


#17

:console: There, there. I know… it’s not easy being evil. :wink:

It is** possible** that causes with motivation are in fact unmotivated - given your next point:

Not so, for reasons I will elucidate presently…

So are motivated causes miracles? :wink:

Not necessarily, though they may in certain cases be. In principle, though, they are merely separate category of causes. Both categories may or not apply to the physical world. For example, when I type the word “cause”, there is both the motivated cause of my mind, via my nervous system, willfully moving my fingers and the physical cause of the keys corresponding to the characters “c” “a” “u” “s” and “e” being depressed by the movement of my fingers.

Doesn’t quantum theory suggest otherwise?

I don’t think so. Though it is certainly baffling to most of us, we still have, in the hands of quantum reality, the smoking gun of our existence. If, at base, reality is fundamentally inexplicable, it’s simply absurd to think that it should unfold into things that have any notion of the principle of explicability, not to mention the ability to explain, to any satisfactory degree, the things it produces!

What it really suggests to me is that the universe isn’t so reducible as our deterministic materialist brothers like to think. In a very paradoxical way, the more we unwrap the mysteries of our universe, the more wrapping paper we find!

Again it is** possible **that order is an inscrutable fact - just as God is believed to be an inscrutable fact.

Without dimensions within which to arrange things, order is merely an abstract idea. Order cannot be a fact unless there is something to be ordered. Even the notion of the quantum vacuum as the ultimate reality fails because it itself consists of a space emptied of all matter. But, as physics has demonstrated, both time and space have an absolute beginning, prior to which there would have been no space wherein a quantum vacuum might operate. So, being stripped of these fundamental dimensions, the prime fact of existence–that which brings all else into being–can only be one of two things: an abstract object, such as a number or a shape, or an omnipotent, immaterial mind. But abstract objects have no power of causation: nothing is caused by a triangle or the number 4. As the saying goes, “You do the math!”

“mystery” is the key word. Surely we shall never understand them** all**?

We probably won’t. But, even if we do, it will not answer the most fundamental question of human existence: why does anything exist?

I agree but that doesn’t mean we can understand **all **the explanations!

We don’t need to. We only need to understand that all of the explanations must be, in principle, understandable.

Power alone is not enough, I’m afraid. Something seems to be missing…

Indeed something is: omniscience. And yet, within the very notion of omniscience lies that which separates the mind from the machine: we can understand not only raw data but general principles and abstract truths. Thus, we can conceive of God… something no mere mechanism can do.

We can certainly reach many true conclusions but all?..

I would never be so audacious as to propose that. We would have to be God! However, we can draw enough true conclusions to deduce the most probable truth.

Perhaps, looking on the black side - which is my present task (I’m not at all sure whether it’s pleasant) - nothing is completely novel. Perhaps events are not linear but circular: we may not be on a merry-go-round but a sorry-go-round, never escaping from our dismal fate… :eek:

Now that you mention it, life does often leave me feeling inexplicably dizzy… :wink:


#18

Why would I want to do that? And more to the point, how could I do that? I’m sure that there are some atheists who might say that God doesn’t exist, but yours truly ain’t one of them.

I’m afraid I’m extremely underwhelmed by the evidence. And for future reference, just so’s you’ll know, it certainly wasn’t dismissed in an offhand manner, out of prejudice or for a desire to ‘fit in’.


#19

Then you just have a hunch that atheism is true? :wink:


#20

Well, let me see… If beauty exists only in our minds it doesn’t tell us anything about reality, does it? It just goes to show how irrational we all are! :ballspin:
But then… How can I be a convincing advocate? :confused: I need more time to think…


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