Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quote of the Day: Nothing But Blind, Pitiless Indifference


Charles Darwin (19th cc. Naturalist)

"The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design, no purpose, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."

This bleak assessment of the wonderful universe in which we live was made by the 19th cc. naturalist Charles Darwin, publisher of the landmark book, On the Origin of Species.

Darwin attended a Church of England school, and at one point studied Anglican theology to become a clergyman. He believed in God as the first-cause of creation and as the ultimate lawgiver. However, the death of his daughter Annie in 1851 led to an abandonment of belief in God and he died, by his own admission, a skeptic.

Thus, we see interwoven into Charles Darwin's tragedy-filled life issues and arguments that are still with us today; the meaning (or non-meaning) of life; the teleological argument for the existence of God (the argument from design); the cosmological argument (God as first-cause); and theodicy (justifying God's ways), in particular as seen in the problem of evil.

In contrast to Charles Darwin's bleak assessment of the human condition, we have Jesus Christ, who claimed to know God and to enjoy a uniquely intimate relationship with him. By way of contrast, the reality that Jesus Christ experienced was one of design, purpose, illumination, and caring compassion. He reflected this caring compassion of the Creator-God by going about doing good, and healing those who were sick or oppressed.

Furthermore, Jesus said, "ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be open unto you." It is this invitation, along with the belief that a universe created by God operated according to regular laws, that perhaps motivated scientists in Christian lands to seek to understand the material universe and develop the scientific method which has resulted in incalculable blessings to mankind.

In a sense, materialistic scientists continue to do this to this day, asking probing questions about the origins and development of the cosmos and of life, seeking new insights, new paradigms, etc. In doing this, they are in a sense fulfilling what Jesus Christ says man is supposed to do -- that we are created by design for a purpose, to be askers and seekers and knockers. How different this is to Charles Darwin's bleak assessment of a universe of blind, pitiless indifference, where whether man seeks or not is of utter indifference and inconsequence.

The apostle Paul put it this way --

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth.... From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us." (Acts 17)

On life's most vital question, Charles Darwin missed the mark. Jesus Christ nailed it (even as we nailed him).

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

9 comments:

The A-Team said...

So Darwin's wrong because he doesn't tell you what you want to hear and the illiterate Bronze Age shepherds are right because they add some sprinkles & wrap reality up in a pretty little bow for you.

In other words, Truth = what is satisfying to me and that which allows me to think I'm special and the universe cares about me.

Evolution is hardly as bleak as Darwin described it. I suggest you look at the work of Carl Sagan or Richard Dawkins for a less bleak depiction of reality.

"Nature is not cruel, pitilessly, indifferent. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn. We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose." -Richard Dawkins

RkBall said...

No, Darwin is not wrong because he tells me what I don't want to hear. He's wrong because his estimation of the universe does not fit the totality of human experience or the witness of Jesus Christ. You are assuming that my belief in Christ is some kind of projected wish-fulfillment. In fact, I simply wanted to know what the truth was, what reality actually is, and I went where the evidence led me.

Your "illiterate Bronze Age shepherds" mantra --

First, if they were illiterate, there would be no writings.

Secondly, it was by studying comparative religions I noticed that the Jewish ethical portrait of God found in the Old Testament was head-and-shoulders above that of the surrounding religions of their day -- this caught my attention, and I had to inquire how they these illiterate shepherds as you call them came to have such an elevated view of God relative to their surrounding cultures.

Thirdly, if you can match the soaring poetry of Psalm 23 or the soaring prose of I Corinthians 13, then you will perhaps earned the right to call some of your fellow-human beings primitive.

Fourthly, the de homine argument, the argument from the human condition, is not in and of itself bogus. The fact that human beings have certain built-in longings, to be loved, for significance, to know the meaning of life, to know whether their conscious existence extends beyond death or whether they face annihilation, is a reality of human experience; it is part of what it is to be human. Atheists say that God is a human invention, a wish-fulfillment. There are two possibilities. The first that this is true. The other is that God does exist, and that he has wired us to have these longings -- which fits in nicely with the end of my post - about us seeking after God. Certainly it makes more sense than whatever absurdities evolutionary psychologists are going to come up with the explain the evolutionary advantages of searching for meaning in life and having intimations of immortality.

I enjoy sparring with you and appreciate you weighing in today. I just finished listening to The First Three Minutes, on my trip to Toronto and hope to incorporate a bit of it into a subsequent post. I also plan to give you a little dig about your other mantra -- the "magic talking snake" at some point.

* * *

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

-- the Apostle Paul, I Corinthians 13

Hardly illiterate.

The A-Team said...

I fail to see how this blog entry could be read any other way than "Darwin's wrong because he's such a downer." That's the clear gamut you're using in this entry. What does "the witness of Jesus Christ" have to do with Darwin? Most people who accept evolution are believers in the Abrahamic god. Nowhere in this blog entry do you cite any evidence, nor do you explain why it's a relevant point to refuting Darwin to emphasize how bleak you think his world view is.

Now you don't seem to have studied the history of The Bible. Yes, The Biblical stories originally passed from place to place and from generation to generation through word of mouth. Less than 1% of the populace could read or write. It was an oral culture. Eventually, after the stories grew in popularity, scribes were commissioned to write them down. This is historical fact. Even theological scholars accept this. There's no serious debate among historians of this fact. It also happens to fall into my particular field, which is media studies.

And whether or not The Hebrew Bible offered the best moral philosophy at the time, which can reasonably be challenged, it's clearly far from a good source of ethical values by today's standards, begging the question, if it was divinely inspired, why didn't god teach them slavery was wrong, it's okay to be near menstruating women, it's okay for men to have long hair, it's okay to eat shellfish and pork and to wear mixed fabrics, etc.? As for your question of how they came up with "an elevated view of God relative to their surrounding cultures", they had these things called BRAINS. These brains come in real handy when it comes to thinking. This is an argument from personal incredulity. You're essentially arguing that you don't understand what human imagination is and how people are able to figure things out for themselves through trial and error and the passing on of values-- therefore it must be supernatural.

Your third point sounds like a subjective exercise in personal taste. And as everyone knows, there's no accounting for taste. I can certainly point to the poetry of others who weren't "divinely inspired" that I feel are far superior: Shakespeare, Tennyson, Frost, Keats, Shelley, some of whom were not even religious.

Your fourth point is a false dichotomy. And again, evolutionary psychology doesn't claim to have all the answers, only to be apply science to learn more about our world. Though some of the claims like altruism in apes are indeed observable. But I'll say this. None of the serious hypotheses and theories of Evolutionary Psychology come close to the absurdities of the magical thinking of Biblical literalism and creationism. You can't call EP absurd while insisting that everything was magically poofed into existence and that a 900-year-old alcoholic saved all life on Earth by building a big wooden boat that could sustain them all for 40 days and not sink. That's inconsistent. At least the EP's know their limits and can admit when the evidence doesn't support their hypotheses. And if you're anything like every other creationist I've talked to, then I doubt you even follow the research enough to make an informed opinion about the merits of EP. You certainly haven't invoked any compelling arguments against EP; you merely call it absurd.

And please do mention "the magic talking snake" and "the illiterate Bronze Age shepherds."

RkBall said...

"What does "the witness of Jesus Christ" have to do with Darwin?"

For Darwin to be right, Jesus Christ has to wrong. You have to weigh the value of both spokespersons.

"Nowhere in this blog entry do you cite any evidence, nor do you explain why it's a relevant point to refuting Darwin to emphasize how bleak you think his world view is."

If Darwin is right, then human existence, with its hopes, dreams, aspirations, moral sense, yearnings, wonderings, etc. etc. -- all that makes us truly human and not just swirling atoms -- is absurd. So, it's really an argument centered in whether human life is objectively meaningful, or objectively absurd.

"The Biblical stories originally passed from place to place and from generation to generation through word of mouth. Less than 1% of the populace could read or write. It was an oral culture. Eventually, after the stories grew in popularity, scribes were commissioned to write them down. This is historical fact."

So, in addition to science, and intuition (e.g., the reality of love), you also accept historical inquiry as a means of establishing truth? Let me ask you this: can you "prove" that the original words were oral and not written, or is this something that you "believe"? (This is the kind of standard of proof that atheists like yourself use when debating with me.) What it shows is that most of what we believe is not known to a scientific certainty, -- most of what we believe is based on probability.

"If it was divinely inspired, why didn't god teach them slavery was wrong, it's okay to be near menstruating women, it's okay for men to have long hair, it's okay to eat shellfish and pork and to wear mixed fabrics, etc.?"

Most of what you are citing here are what Christian scholars refer to as ritual purity. God used ritual purity laws to teach the people the concepts of clean and unclean, holy and unholy, for a holy God was planning on dwelling in the midst of the people.

Slavery is a more complex issue that I may address at some later point. For now, let me just say that God's revelation is progressive. And add that, you seem to have a moral sense that slavery is somehow wrong -- which is an absurdity in an uncreated, indifferent universe, or, as your Dawkins might put it, slavery is "neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose." Where there is no purpose towards goodness, then slavery, like murder, must be a matter of utter indifference and inconsequence.

"You're essentially arguing that you don't understand what human imagination is and how people are able to figure things out for themselves through trial and error and the passing on of values-- therefore it must be supernatural."

If there is no God, no divine consciousness and will that stands behind the creation, then there is nothing to figure out, and no values to pass on.

You persist in thinking and acting as if the universe has meaning and purpose, when it does not. This is what I refer to as inconsistent atheism. Maybe the reason you persist in this is because the universe does have meaning and purpose, and it's our job to figure out what it is -- which is the point of this post.

mjr256 said...

This is the a-team. I forgot my log-in password.

"For Darwin to be right, Jesus Christ has to wrong. You have to weigh the value of both spokespersons."

This is a false dichotomy and an unstated major premise. You presuppose Jesus exists despite lack of historical evidence, which incidentally is also an example of inconsistency because you've already argued for greater skepticism of historical facts that have far greater historical evidence. But since neither of us probably has the patience to get into a lengthy debate about the historical evidence in which neither will convince the other of their position, I'll just move onto the false dichotomy. Other options exist. If we assume Jesus did existed, maybe both Jesus and Darwin are wrong. Though whatever explanation is the truth, it'd still have to explain why the universe behaves exactly the way we'd expect it to if evolution and other known natural processes without a guided intelligence were true.

"If Darwin is right, then human existence, with its hopes, dreams, aspirations, moral sense, yearnings, wonderings, etc. etc. -- all that makes us truly human and not just swirling atoms -- is absurd. So, it's really an argument centered in whether human life is objectively meaningful, or objectively absurd."

First, let's separate Darwin's science from his opinions. Whether Darwin viewed his findings bleakly or not is irrelevant. What is important is whether he got the science right. Since Darwin, scientific evidence has only strengthened evolutionary theory with the discovery of DNA, the filling in of the fossil record, specific predictions of what diverse traits we expect to find in specific regions being confirmed, and the presence of vestigial features. Whether you choose to view these facts as a bummer or as a cause for celebration is wholly irrelevant to the truth value of it. You also make another unstated major premise, which is that "hopes, dreams, aspirations, moral sense, yearnings, wonderings, etc. etc." necessitate outside agency or at least that outside agency is required for these things to have any value or worth. So are you saying that if you discovered tomorrow that indeed god didn't exist you would no longer has any moral sense? You'd no longer have hopes or dreams, yearnings, wonderings? I'm sorry for you if that is indeed the case though I suspect you'd manage like those of us who've gotten by just fine without ever believing in any god. Without a god of any kind, I still manage to have hopes and dreams. I love my family and the company of friends. I see beauty in the universe and I create my own meaning and purpose. But you are correct that "it's really an argument centered in whether human life is objectively meaningful." Though I think absurdity is something that is incapable of being objectively true. That's a value judgment in the eye of the beholder.

"So, in addition to science, and intuition (e.g., the reality of love), you also accept historical inquiry as a means of establishing truth? Let me ask you this: can you "prove" that the original words were oral and not written, or is this something that you "believe"? (This is the kind of standard of proof that atheists like yourself use when debating with me.) What it shows is that most of what we believe is not known to a scientific certainty, -- most of what we believe is based on probability."

Absolutely historical inquiry is a means of establishing truth. It's systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation combined with inductive reasoning. If by "prove" you mean 100% absolutely, then the answer is obviously no. Nothing can be 100% proven. Held to the same standard, you can't prove god with 100% certainty. So this is a worthless argument. I can't 100% prove I'm communicating to a real person on this blog or that the light is on in my room. The best any of us can do honestly is to assess the likelihood of a thing being true. If something has a very high likelihood, at a certain point it becomes increasingly reasonable and rational to accept its being true and increasingly less reasonable and rational to deny it like, say, gravity, the germ theory of disease, or the sun rising the next day. So I do agree with the consensus of modern historians that there is more than sufficient evidence to conclude that the Biblical accounts originated from an oral culture and only later were transcribed into print. This notion that beliefs ought to stem from evidence is not an atheist invention but a law of logic established to describe how all things we can observe consistently and reliably behave. The sun rising in the morning is something that we can reliably predict and test. In fact, the very law of cause and effect that creationists love to invoke to justify their unimpressive designer is itself an example of evidence-based thinking. So again, this is a philosophically worthless argument in that it doesn't provide any practical information and is itself unfalsifiable. This causes a circular argument in the same way as saying the statement, "everything I say is a lie." If everything is a lie then how can I trust the very statement that told me everything is a lie? This is the same vacuous scorched-Earth argument employed by every moon-hoaxer, HIV Denier, astrologer, and two-bit huckster out there trying to create the impression that if there's even the slightest chance their snake oil is effective then it's worth the investment. Well, a wise man once said that it's good to keep an open mind but not so open that your brains fall out. And now we return to the argument I made in another blog entry. Can you prove that leaping from a 30-story window will end your Earthly existence or do you just "believe" it will? This is your question being thrown back at you. And now you're in the same boat as those atheists, forced between either accepting a materialist paradigm or an absurd position.

"Most of what you are citing here are what Christian scholars refer to as ritual purity. God used ritual purity laws to teach the people the concepts of clean and unclean, holy and unholy, for a holy God was planning on dwelling in the midst of the people."

Again, your own question back at you: can you prove this or do you just "believe" it? There's certainly no passage in The Bible that spells out any of this, making this at best an interpretation by imperfect human minds.

"Slavery is a more complex issue that I may address at some later point. For now, let me just say that God's revelation is progressive. And add that, you seem to have a moral sense that slavery is somehow wrong -- which is an absurdity in an uncreated, indifferent universe, or, as your Dawkins might put it, slavery is 'neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous - indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.' Where there is no purpose towards goodness, then slavery, like murder, must be a matter of utter indifference and inconsequence."

Again, nowhere in The Bible does god say his morality is "progressive," nor is there any seeming advantage to gradually "evolving" the morality instead of giving it all in one shot ala The Ten Commandments. But you're right. Slavery is a complex issue, far more than The Bible would have us believe. Where our moral sense comes from is the pre-Frontal Cortex of our brains. And as for why it exists despite no inherent cruelty or kindness is beautifully explained in the evolutionary research and the evidence for this is at the level when it's no longer reasonable to deny it. We've even observed the this moral sense in intelligent animals like chimps, dogs, dolphins, etc. And psychological research has discovered many of the cognitive flaws in the human moral sense such as in the Stanley Milgram Experiment. These flaws are to be expected of beings with no intelligent designer. Or if designed, our brains were badly designed.

"If there is no God, no divine consciousness and will that stands behind the creation, then there is nothing to figure out, and no values to pass on."

I've rebutted this point already above. You're perfectly capable of finding values on your own. You've been doing it your whole life.

"You persist in thinking and acting as if the universe has meaning and purpose, when it does not. This is what I refer to as inconsistent atheism. Maybe the reason you persist in this is because the universe does have meaning and purpose, and it's our job to figure out what it is -- which is the point of this post."

Again, there's nothing inconsistent about an atheist with values. Values, purpose, and meaning do not necessitate outside agency. Like everyone else, we make our own values. You're perfectly capable of finding values on your own. You've been doing it your whole life. The universe didn't have you in mind, nor does it care whether you've worn mixed fabrics or who you've slept with or even if you've killed somebody. Only we care about that because we have brains capable of feeling empathy for those who are suffering and we can identify with them. I suggest you get over yourself. Like the rest of us living on this pale blue dot in a random galaxy amongst billions and billions of other galaxies, in the grand scheme of the universe, you're not that important. The universe doesn't owe you anything, nor will it miss you when you're gone. The sooner you accept this reality, the sooner you'll realize that you're perfectly capable of being happy and living a happy life without buying into the deluded magical thinking of ancient primitives with no greater understanding of the universe than the rest of us.

RkBall said...

"You presuppose Jesus exists despite lack of historical evidence,

* You need to update yourself on current historical research on Jesus -- no reputable historian that I know of believes that Jesus of Nazareth was a fictional character.

Moreover, most accept 3 core historical facts associated with the resurrection of Christ: They also agree about three facts concerning what occurred after his death: a) the tomb was empty, b) the disciples experienced post-resurrection appearances of Jesus, and c) the disciples came to believe in Jesus' resurrection despite no predisposition to do so, and continued to believe and proclaim Jesus' resurrection at the cost of their lives.

"which incidentally is also an example of inconsistency because you've already argued for greater skepticism of historical facts that have far greater historical evidence."

* I was not arguing for greater skepticism regarding "historical facts"; I was simply pointing out that there are different ways of assessing and knowing what is true, and for differing degrees of certainty, and that science is just one tool.

"I'll just move onto the false dichotomy. Other options exist. If we assume Jesus did existed, maybe both Jesus and Darwin are wrong."

* Sure, but that does not negate my statement -- if Darwin is right, Jesus Christ is wrong.

"Though whatever explanation is the truth, it'd still have to explain why the universe behaves exactly the way we'd expect it to if evolution and other known natural processes without a guided intelligence were true."

* I hope you are not actually suggesting that the universe behaves exactly the way we'd expect it to it to if evolution and other known natural processes without a guided intelligence were true.

The universe, and human beings behave the way it would if a divine creator created it and man rebelled against the creator's rule, resulting in a fallen creation. Your universe does not include God's hand in the Beginning, or in the creation of species, or in his revelation of himself to his people, or in his incarnation in Jesus Christ, or in his act of raising Christ from the dead -- mine does.

"Since Darwin, scientific evidence has only strengthened evolutionary theory with the discovery of DNA"

DNA is encoded intelligence. I would argue it increases the argument for intelligence and directed design.

"the filling in of the fossil record"

Bleak my friend, bleak -- most of the "proof" cited by darwinists is nothing more than their interpretation of the evidence, which we share in the fossil record; the myriads of transitional forms that ought to be there simply aren't.


" the presence of vestigial features"

Like 'ontology recapitulates philology'?

"Whether you choose to view these facts as a bummer or as a cause for celebration is wholly irrelevant to the truth value of it."

Most of the "truth value" is in the interpretation imposed on the actual evidence, based on a preconceived conclusion of what the results ought to be. I believe that even among darwinists the hypothesized mechanism of random mutation has about 25 years of life left in it. You must be aware of the ferocious in-house debates taking place among darwinists. I believe that random mutation will give way to some theory of self-organizing mechanisms, which will allow the darwinists to maintain their materialistic assumptions, but which will in fact get us once again closer to embedded intelligence and directed design.

"You also make another unstated major premise, which is that "hopes, dreams, aspirations, moral sense, yearnings, wonderings, etc. etc." necessitate outside agency or at least that outside agency is required for these things to have any value or worth."

* Not value or worth but objective meaning and legitimacy. Otherwise, any moral values that a human being comes up with would have no more objective meaning and worth than the values that pond scum, a pumpkin, or killer ants might have. "To each his own".

"So are you saying that if you discovered tomorrow that indeed god didn't exist you would no longer has any moral sense?"

No, I would conclude that life was, ultimately, absurd, that my deeply embedded moral sense was, ultimately, absurd, and that I myself am, ultimately, absurd.

"Without a god of any kind, I still manage to have hopes and dreams. I love my family and the company of friends. I see beauty in the universe and I create my own meaning and purpose."

It doesn't take acknowledgement of God to have all of the above; it merely takes God.

Hopes, dreams, love, beauty, meaning, purpose -- all arguably immaterial, and all, arguably, more important to being genuinely human than the facts available to us from science.

I'm glad you have all of these; I really am.

"Absolutely historical inquiry is a means of establishing truth. It's systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation combined with inductive reasoning. If by "prove" you mean 100% absolutely, then the answer is obviously no. Nothing can be 100% proven. Held to the same standard, you can't prove god with 100% certainty.

So this is a worthless argument."

* Not at all. Because belief in God, initially, prior to his confirmation of himself to us, is based on probabilities, of weighing all the evidence, and reaching a sound conclusion.

Once I've got you accepting that something like the historical method, or inductive reasoning, is a way to ascertain truth, I've got you in my corner (not cornered, just "in my corner").

"Again, your own question back at you: can you prove this or do you just "believe" it? There's certainly no passage in The Bible that spells out any of this, making this at best an interpretation by imperfect human minds."

You misunderstood my initial critique. I'm entirely in favour of believing things that cannot be proven to a scientific certainty.

"You're perfectly capable of finding values on your own." Sure, but since I myself am uncreated, undesigned, my brain the product of junkyard DNA, what possible rational confidence can I put in anything that proceeds from it? And on what grounds can I criticize the psychopath, whose brain tells him that love does not exist, morality does not exist, and that pure immediate selfishness is the way to go? Who is to say that he is wrong to have his mother's head in the trunk of his car and I am right to send my mother flowers on mother's day?

"deluded magical thinking of ancient primitives with no greater understanding of the universe than the rest of us."

You forget -- I have met Jesus Christ. I know that He lives today. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the Father he talked about is God, and that Jesus uniquely reveals the Father and is the way to the Father.

Revelation, my friend, revelation -- another way of knowing -- one that dethrones man and arrogant self-sufficient reasoning, and enthrones the God of the universe who spoke the worlds into being and reveals himself to whom he pleases.

"Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?"

I'll take Jesus' brilliant laser-sight over Darwin's blind stumbling any day.

The A-Team said...

"You need to update yourself on current historical research on Jesus -- no reputable historian that I know of believes that Jesus of Nazareth was a fictional character."

Argument from authority. Even if no historians doubted Jesus' existence (which isn't the case) it has nothing to do with the truth value of the claim. Where's the evidence?

Not even Paul and Matthew can agree on the tomb being empty. And by all means show me the tomb. No archaeologist has found it. And even if they did find a tomb, it'd just look like any old empty tomb. Where's the evidence for the existence of this tomb?

"the disciples experienced post-resurrection appearances of Jesus" --According to what? Texts written 40 years or more after the events allegedly took place. The Gospel accounts are at best 3rd-hand, not contemporaneous, inconsistent, and are full of redactions. I recommend historian Bart Ehrman's book "Misquoting Jesus," where he lays out exactly how poor these sources really are.

"I hope you are not actually suggesting that the universe behaves exactly the way we'd expect it to it to if evolution and other known natural processes without a guided intelligence were true." Indeed I am. You might as well be claiming that the universe behaves exactly as we would expect if Santa Claus existed. All you can do is insert god into everything because god is obviously not present to prove his own existence. People often ask if god can make a rock so big even he can't lift it. But let's be honest here. Your god can't even lift a pebble. extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and absence of evidence over time becomes evidence of absence.

"DNA is encoded intelligence. I would argue it increases the argument for intelligence and directed design." You can argue it but you'd be wrong. And Jonny Cockrine could argue for OJ's innocence; that doesn't make it true. Again, where's the evidence. The DNA proves beyond any reasonable doubt that all life on this planet share common ancestry. If the DNA's wrong, every criminal ever punished due to DNA evidence should be released at once. We can actually trace the genetic modifications from species to species and from region to region. This is a slam dunk for Evolution.

Now you sing the old cdesign proponentsist song of just completely denying thousands of fossil evidence because it's inconvenient to your case. The fossil record will always have gaps. There will be gaps along any continuum, but you deeply overstate the size of those gaps. They've shrunk considerably in the 150 years since this tired argument was originated. It doesn't require any elaborate interpretation. Any 8 year old could see the obvious relationships if they bothered to look, instead of just parroting propaganda. The connections are obvious to anyone willing to actually take the time to look at them and who won't just dismiss them out of hand because it so threatens their world view. Some major one: Archaeopteryx (btw dinosaurs & birds) and Ambulocetus.

I recommend some great links:
http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/lenski_gives_conservapdia_a_le.php
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_transitional_fossils
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html
http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/transitional_fossils/

You still haven't explained why humans can't be the creators of objective moral values? I wish someone would tell the judicial system because they're taking a lot of my tax money. So if you're saying that the discovering god didn't exist wouldn't cause a "to each his own" mentality that gave you permission to rape and murder indiscriminantly and still retain your basic moral values then you're refuting your own argument.

"
It doesn't take acknowledgement of God to have all of the above; it merely takes God." Prove it. Show your work.

"Not at all. Because belief in God, initially, prior to his confirmation of himself to us, is based on probabilities, of weighing all the evidence, and reaching a sound conclusion." You're trying to have it both ways now. Either you believe in god because of perceived evidence or materialist evidence is worthless in determining truth; which is it going to be?

"Sure, but since I myself am uncreated, undesigned, my brain the product of junkyard DNA, what possible rational confidence can I put in anything that proceeds from it? And on what grounds can I criticize the psychopath, whose brain tells him that love does not exist, morality does not exist, and that pure immediate selfishness is the way to go? Who is to say that he is wrong to have his mother's head in the trunk of his car and I am right to send my mother flowers on mother's day?"
Here's a blog to explain it for you:
http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=349

"You forget -- I have met Jesus Christ. I know that He lives today. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the Father he talked about is God, and that Jesus uniquely reveals the Father and is the way to the Father." I did not forget that you talk to an imaginary friend. My niece too has one such imaginary friend, which she talks to. She just recognizes that it's fictional. There's nothing odd about talking to god; it'w when god starts talking back that you should consider upping the dosage on the medication.

And please, since you and Jesus are such BFF's, please next time you talk to him, ask him to fulfill his promise to appear in the flesh before me to prove he is the one true god.

RkBall said...

"I recommend historian Bart Ehrman's book "Misquoting Jesus".

I prefer Craig Evans.

"please next time you talk to him, ask him to fulfill his promise to appear in the flesh before me to prove he is the one true god."

You'll appear before him soon enough, and you can voice your complaints at that time. Perhaps you will remember the discussions you once had with a Christian friend.

SFMatheson said...

Darwin never wrote that. His rottweiler did. I'll let you figure it out. FYI.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"