Perhaps one of the best arguments based off empirical evidence, the more we learn about this planet and the universe, the more momentum this argument is actually getting. Having finished a year of doing biology (I have that as a minor) all I can really do is be struck in awe. From the complex process of how biolumenences work to the endocrine system; it really is incredible. My faith in a God has definitely strengthened with more understanding in science and I am only a first year, I wonder what next year will be like.
Anyway to get to the argument the more complex something is, the higher the chance it has of been created by an intelligent being. The universe is extremely complicated (there is still so much to discover) and I believe this shows that an intelligent being was behind it all. This is an assumption that I can only back up with posterior and current a priori knowledge, perhaps it was all created through natural processes? However, I believe one should look at the evidence as a court does; witnesses are brought forward, both sides make their case and the judge or jury make a decision at that point in time. Sometimes we do not look at the evidence which is here today and we assume that in the future all our beliefs will be supported by empirical evidence. We need to look at the evidence today and currently the design argument does have some serious weight to it.
Does evolution shoot holes in this theory? I do not believe so. There are a lot of things we do not know about evolution, for example if a being did guide the process. I am not using the God of the gaps fallacy, but there are some big holes in a completely natural evolution; for example the Cambrian explosion. I am not saying God did cause the Cambrian explosion, I can only go by current evidence and my stand is neutral; perhaps it was God, perhaps it was natural process, either belief is based on faith and interpretation of empirical evidence. The Cambrian explosion is similar to the age old question; how did life start on this planet? We do not have enough evidence to give in an answer. Since there are gaps in complete understanding of the mechanisms of evolution we cannot say that it refutes the design argument.
At the start of this year I was considering on dropping the whole ‘God thing’ and just live the rest of my days as a skeptic; biology has reinforced my strength in a creator God, perhaps He did not get down on His hands and knees and form the human race, but that does not mean God did not play a part and was the creator of everything.
wow this was quite an essay! lol
You are so right on the adaptability, our physical weaknesses are more than compensated for by our ability to make things and behaviourally adapt. Plus, i totally agree on the omnivorous diet. If i hear one more vegetarian argue that we were not meat to eat meat i will eat a vegetarian. :-)
ON the first human beings, i agree that they would have been very similar to the Koi-san, a tribe based somewhat socialist type of culture with only practical religion. If you are in South Africa, or ever come here, you should go to the cradle of human kind where they found the earliest human fossils. It is pretty awesome, especially to play with the exhibits they put up for the kids. :-)
One person tried to use the example of how upset their stomach gets when they accidentally get beef broth or some sort of meat into their food.
uhm...that happens with any food that your body isn't accustomed to. I get stomach issues from fast food, but if I ate it regularly? NOPE. I have plenty of friends who eat fast food regularly and have no such stomach issues. Of course, if they eat other foods, they often get stomach issues from them. It's the same with people who go to places like India and suffer from dysentery or similar stomach problems--the local bacteria is different, the food is different, and their bodies aren't used to digesting it.
Same thing happens with anything new entered into a diet that is in large quantities and different from what your body is used to digesting.
There are people allergic to TOMATOES, for crying out loud. We know that tomatoes aren't dangerous or poisonous, same with peanuts, same with pollen(totally edible for some cultures) and a whole host of other things like eggs--that we can eat, but guess what? Others can't. Does that mean that no one should eat them? Definitely not!
It always amused me to have to explain to people that lactose-intolerance is actually the default for humans. We had that first, and there are two different mutations that emerged and kept the gene for producing lactase on. Now, this is the common default for most of us(ICE CREAM), and lactose-intolerance is in the rarity for western society.
The ability to digest lactose: cheese(long-term storage!) and milk(quick calories and protein!) was obviously a leg up for the cultures that could add it to the menu.
I find this quote absolutely fascinating, "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
So, essentially, theologians have been sitting at the absolute height of ignorance for centuries?
In some ways I think ex-nilho creation cheapens how we got on this planet. Dont you find it incredible that God waited millions of years, slowly changing the genome, waiting patiently for His perfect master piece? I personally do. That is how awesome God is.
Not really. It seems as if the more complex we become, the more imperfections we accrue. I've been told a number of times that God is supposedly perfect, but surely this must be hyperbolic. Why would a perfect being create an entire planet riddled with imperfections? To what end? Certainly not humanity? That's just absurd.
Now, on a personal level, I happen to love imperfection, but when it comes to evolution, there's a lot of heartache down that line -- evolutionary dead ends, and genetic disorders that cause tremendous suffering. Don't get we wrong, the functional adaptations across all living organisms are absolutely fascinating and wonderful, but if we're going to sloppily attribute it all to a creator, these adaptations really need to be weighed against the countless tragedies of less successful "designs".
‘Of course the Gulf Stream varies - it is a large Atlantic Ocean phenomenom. Do you think the wind varies?’
Interesting read. However, I think we consider the Earth to be very very fragile and if we shift the equilibrium to much to the left or right, we will go to the point of
no return. I think a perfect example of this would be the Aral Sea, the fifth
largest freshwater lake which was destroyed by the USSR, people rode it off,
but it is slowly going back. A few years ago fishermen caught something like
200 fish, in that entire year, now they are catching thousands of fish.
Sometimes we underestimate the planet which has been around a lot longer than
us. Note: I mean the Northern Aral Sea, since the Uzbekistan government is not ready
to heal the Southern Aral Sea, it will dry up.
‘You need a new biology teacher.’
I don’t think you should judge a book by its cover. My biology teacher is a respected marine biologist in the community he has written in journals on his study.
‘We evolved to have larger brains than other animals, and even other primates, since being smarter was an advantage.’
You may find that interesting.
‘So being smarter is no more amazing than say the amazing eyesight of birds or the sense of smell of dogs.’
Indeed. An Octopus is smart, so is a dolphin. But a human has conciseness, it recognises it exists and it tries to create ethics and moral to exist in the best way
possible. You can not have half a consciences, its one of those things you have
or you don’t.
I am not a reductionist. Evolution does not explain a lot of things and mind/brain dilemma is one of them.
‘ We know that at the most basic level primates respond to stimuli and seem to problem solve and dogs, cats etc do similar things just maybe not as well. Are they not conscious?’
In the past year there has been a lot of study done on how plants respond to stimuli and do interact with each other, that does not mean they have consciousness and I don’t
believe there is any valid argument to say any other animal in the animal
kingdom does have consciousness, you could say it is a gift from God.
‘I feel like I'm talking to 3 year olds - If you are the first - then of course you will be the ONLY ONES.’
Perhaps, instead of being obnoxious, try and understand where your family is coming from, instead of saying, ‘OMG! they are like three year olds!’
‘The likely first culture on the planet(I say this because the evidence is about a mile high for this, but you cannot "smoking gun" prove it), is the !Kung
or San Bushmen, a group of people that live in simple huts that they build
themselves, and make small bows and arrows that they poison with a mild
toxic substance that doesn't make meat inedible.’
Very fascinating culture! I am doing international development, so I do a range of anthropology, sociology and geography subjects. Anyways I thought that the Aboriginals were
the oldest culture to exist?
‘If i hear one more vegetarian argue that we were not meat to eat meat i will eat a vegetarian. :-)’
What I find even more annoying is when vegetarians say it is more healthy to be a vegetarian. How is eat DDT sprayed lettuce more healthy than eating good
quality meat? Ok you guys in the states have mad cow disease but here in
Aussie, its all good!
‘So, essentially, theologians have been sitting at the absolute height of ignorance for centuries?’
Have you ever talked to a theologian? They are very ignorant! Seriously though, well not at the absolute height of ignorance, I think you missed the point.
‘Now, on a personal level, I happen to love imperfection, but when it comes to evolution, there's a lot of heartache down that line -- evolutionary dead ends,
and genetic disorders that cause tremendous suffering. Don't get we
wrong, the functional adaptations across all living organisms are absolutely
fascinating and wonderful, but if we're going to sloppily attribute it all to a
creator, these adaptations really need to be weighed against the countless
tragedies of less successful "designs".’Top of Form
I am not saying I know everything. There are flaws with all hypothesis and this is perhaps one of them; why would God create, a loving God, use evolution as a
tool to create the world, even though it is such a ruthless process? Perhaps we
should look at the bigger picture?
‘So a mouse-trap has less probability of having been created by an intelligent being than... a computer?’
Yes very much so statistically speaking. But I think you know what I mean.
I will respond to some of these points.
"Indeed. An Octopus is smart, so is a dolphin. But a human has conciseness, it
recognises it exists and it tries to create ethics and moral to exist in
the best way possible. You can not have half a consciences, its one of those things you have or you don’t."
You are right about the larger brain aspect i simplified the argument for the sack of brevity. Of course our brains are large for our body size and more complex in many ways and this is the crux of where i was going. I think what concerns me here is that you are getting confused between some things. In this passage you say we have conciseness (im assuming consciousness), morals, ethics and consciences. Again consciousness is a feature of brain, we are smater and so we know that we think. We can respond to stimuli which exist only at the internal level of our brains. We have this because we evolved in this way, it is amazing certainly but it is not necessarily divine.
Moving on to morals, ethics and consciences then. Human beings have these things because we are taught them by our parents as they representatives of our culture, much like religion. Many cultures across the globe and in different time periods had different moral codes to ours. We have the ability to learn these things because of our metacognitive awareness, but where in this is a god necessary?
‘In the past year there has been a lot of study done on how plants respond
to stimuli and do interact with each other, that does not mean they have
consciousness and I don’t believe there is any valid argument to say any other animal in the animal kingdom does have consciousness, you could say it is a gift from God.’
This depends on how you define consciousness. I would agree that plants are not conscious, but are you really saying the great apes arent? Chimpanzess are very intelligent and react in amazing ways to their environment. They have complex social structures, communication structures and basic tool use. You could say it is a gift from santa claus it wouldnt make it true.
"Yes very much so statistically speaking. But I think you know what I mean."
Statistics is concerned with probability. Lets not even get into the extremely probability of something being created by a creator, god, magic being. As many people will tell you, since god is a non-falsifiable concept it, nor the likelihood of it creating anything, is not open to statistical analysis.