Jul 092006
 

It seemed I sparked some curiosity with my offer to Allen MacNeill. So I’m opening a thread for others with polite questions to pose them to me.

I’m doing this out of the goodness of my heart. So abusive questions will be subject to deletion or disemvowelment.

Salvador

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scordova
14 years ago

Croizat asked here

I’m not MacNeill, but can I ask a couple of random questions that I’ve wanted to ask a guy like you?

How did you get into this whole issue? What do you hope to accomplish, and do you think the goal is at all realistic?

What exactly are your specific views on evolution? Do you accept things like an old earth, common ancestry of humans and apes, etc.? Some ID people seem to accept these things and say that ID accepts them, and attempt to distance the movement from the young-earth views. On the other hand, some ID people seem to be young earth creationists themselves, which seems to be in complete denial of all of the evidence.

Why did the ID experts fall apart in the Dover case? Even Michael Behe, who didn’t drop out, seemed to melt under cross-examination.

OK, that’s it. Hopefully not too inquisitorial. Thanks for your time.

scordova
14 years ago

(part 1)

Croizat asked:

How did you get into this whole issue?

See my interview in Nature.
(the Nature Article, plus several links and responses)

In brief, it is the search for reasons to hope my existence is not in vain. Having religious beliefs that are not in line with reality is like believing one has a billion dollars in the bank when they don t (I don t). I m not one to adopt a belief that has little chance of being true.

Croizat asked:

What do you hope to accomplish,

Mostly Noble Goals:

Have fun, being a rebel, and personally rewarded for the discovery my intuitions were right, and helping people see there may be purpose in the universe, thus giving them hope. Finding meaning in life”.

Not So Noble Goals:
When I am right, I do have fun rubbing it in the face of my fiercest critics who have been quite profuse with their insults over the years. Well, ok, I need to learn to be a little more gracious to my opponents. Maybe I should ignore them”.

and do you think the goal is at all realistic?

So far so good for me personally.

For the movement in general, already 1/3 freshman biology majors accept ID today. I expect that number to solidify in biology and all sciences. For links to this bold claim see the discussions here:
Harvard Medical School endorses pro-ID book, medical professors revolt against Darwin

and

ID in 36 universities

We will see, one day at a time right?

The public school issue is a low priority. I am not really involved in it, and I don t think ID should be mandated in public schools. University study of ID should be voluntary.

scordova
14 years ago

(part 2)

What exactly are your specific views on evolution? Do you accept things like an old earth, common ancestry of humans and apes, etc.? Some ID people seem to accept these things and say that ID accepts them, and attempt to distance the movement from the young-earth views. On the other hand, some ID people seem to be young earth creationists themselves, which seems to be in complete denial of all of the evidence.

See here:
My personal philosophy and theology

The scientific defense of my views are found at:
http://www.creationscience.com by Walter Brown, PhD MIT

Why did the ID experts fall apart in the Dover case? Even Michael Behe, who didn’t drop out, seemed to melt under cross-examination.

Michael Behe didn’t fall apart, imho, but the lawyers succeeded in getting a biased judge and a biased public in making it appear that way. If anything, it’s apparent Ken Miller made repeated misrepresentations and statements of non-facts. If you’re more specific perhaps we can change your perception of things.

The other parties in the case were effectively precluded from participating for various reasons in the court or some other legal issue (I don’t have all the reasons handy). The discovery institute felt the Dover school board should not have done what they did, and frankly I think the Dover school board were a bunch of idiots.

Salvador

teleologist
14 years ago

personally rewarded for the discovery my intuitions were right

Sorry, I know this thread is not about me and I don’t have a question, but just my 2¢ worth. In general people engage in this sort of debate are well educated and a healthy ego to boot. With the proliferation of the internet, it allows anchorites to advance our haughty trainings.

I need to learn to be a little more gracious to my opponents.

Maybe, but I think you are quite civil and gentlemanly considering the passion and egos that are in play.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Hi – I have a few polite questions:

1. Although it is possible to infer design without needing to answer questions about the designer, or the raw materials, tools and processes used
to implement the design, how can a scientist, who infers design, provide any other evidence beyond this inference?

2. If one can infer design without needing to consider the designer or the processes involved, why can one not infer evolution without
needing to consider the processes involved in creating and evolving life? I often see things written like “no one has demonstrated how a bacteria can evolve into anything other than a bacteria”, and yet those same people will not accept the question as relevant if I ask “How was that irreducibly complex organism designed, built, tested and implemented?”

3. If we have been designed, then we have been designed with the ability to embrace faith and believe, therefore, how can anyone be sure we have been given what we have come to believe in – eg. an eternal soul?

Thanks

scordova
14 years ago

Greetings rahoggid, welcome to teleological.

>, how can a scientist, who infers design, provide any other evidence beyond this inference?

A little luck sometimes helps. It turns out there is evidence from physics and Ultimate Intelligence exists. This is a direct and simple deduction of phyiscal law, no reference to religious texts.

See:
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/852

>2. …why can one not infer evolution without
>needing to consider the processes involved in creating and evolving life?

That is a good question. The answer is deep, but IDers have actually done this. One can use some clever mathematical tricks to actually consider ALL possibilities of natural law and chance. Please look at the following link as it goes into detail how this amazing feat can be accomplished:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1285#comments

>3. how can anyone be sure we have been given what we have come to believe in – eg. an eternal soul?

We can not be 100% sure, we can only have hope and faith, much like we have hope and faith the sun will rise tomorrow. The great mathematician Kurt Godel was able to prove that the greatests truths (even mathematical) are accessible ultimately only through faith. This is a consequence of the fact we are mere mortals. The question then, in the absence of 100% proof, can we accept reasonable proof?

That is what ID partially attempts to address. 5 years after getting involved in the topic, I personally think ID is closer to the truth than the other alternatives. That conviction has only grown with time.

Thanks for visiting.

Salvador

teleologist
14 years ago

Hi Rahoggid, Welcome. You asked,

Although it is possible to infer design without needing to answer questions about the designer, or the raw materials, tools and processes used
to implement the design, how can a scientist, who infers design, provide any other evidence beyond this inference?

I am not Salvador but, I would like to give my opinion on this. First I want to agree with you that it is unnecessary to know the designer or the processes used for a specific designed object to infer design. Just design processes and methodology is irrelevant to reverse engineer human designed objects, it is irrelevant to detecting design.

WRT your question of offering evidence beyond this inference, I think you might have meant evidence for the process of detecting if the artifact is designed. As you might know, by following the design hypothesis, design detection is performed by empirical testing through experimentation and predictions. Stephen Meyer also expressed the positive aspects of ID and now reinforced by Jurvetson’s article with respect to GA.

If one can infer design without needing to consider the designer or the processes involved, why can one not infer evolution without
needing to consider the processes involved in creating and evolving life?

The simple answer is the 2 theories have different hypothesis on origins. Evolution hypothesize that all new forms are derived from an antecedent, through a random process that is gradual and cumulative. In order to test this hypothesis, the process and mechanisms must be tested, because the hypothesis itself puts forth the process and mechanism.

Intelligent Design on the other hand is putting forth the form as complex and information rich without any necessary antecedent therefore the process is irrelevant. Remember the example about reverse engineering? You do not need to know the exact process used by the designer of an integrated circuit to mimic the functions of that circuit. Or you do not need to know the process the author used to produce the novel “War and Peace” to plagiarize its contents.

I often see things written like “no one has demonstrated how a bacteria can evolve into anything other than a bacteria”

That is not quite an accurate representation of ID. ID asserts that empirical evidence through over a century of testing has shown that random mutation and natural selection (I would include artificial selection) has shown that the genetic codes are bound. Empirical evidence through observation has falsified the processes and mechanisms of evolution.

If we have been designed, then we have been designed with the ability to embrace faith and believe, therefore, how can anyone be sure we have been given what we have come to believe in – eg. an eternal soul?

If I am understanding you correctly, you are essentially asking how do we know if we have free will? The fact that we are designed does not mean that we were not designed with the ability for autonomous choice. Beyond that all we have as rational human beings is the faculty to reason through logic. Logic dictates that a soul (with diverse definition) must exist, because of the metaphysics of thoughts and feelings. I would say that these metaphysics are also beyond explanation of materialistic science. I also conjecture that only mind can create mind and therefore only a designer can produce a conscious being, but that is beyond the scope of ID for the moment.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Salvador: Thanks for your response. With reference to my first question I think there has been a misunderstanding. The link you have provided seems to me to provide more evidence to infer design. Lets assume we have multiple accepted inferences of design – eg. irreducible complexity in organisms, probabilities and complexities of life beginning by chance and random events, equations that predict that the end of time is God……what is the next step from a scientific perspective without having to resort to religious texts? Or to put it another way, if you had to teach someone ID Theory alongside Evolutionary Theory, would you simply give the student all the reasons why we infer desing and tell them that the “How, Why, by Whom and When” is irrelevant from a scientific perspective and point them to the Bible or the Qu’ran or the appropriate book that supports their own religious belief system?

Teleologist: Thanks for your response also, but again you have only provided more evidence to support the inference. What scientifically can be done to test the How, Why, Whom and When questions without a reliance on religious texts?

Salvador/Teleologist: With reference to Q2, I have read the link you provided. My simple point is this. Darwin initially infered Evolution by his initial findings. At that time technology was limited and DNA had not been discovered, etc so he made an inference. Those who are not convinced by Evolutionary theory request that the inference be proven – ie. the “How” and the “When” with the Why and the by Whom being irrelevant. For those that are not convinced by ID Theory who request that the inference be proven – ie. “How, Why, by Whom and When” are all relevant – you say that design inference does not require this evidence. If we did not have the tools and techniques to analyse DNA, micro organisms, etc, it would be easy for Darwin to say the same as you – ie. “Darwin can infer evolution as all life on the planet has the necessary physical traits and abilities to survive in their own particular environments and to obtain the energy sources they need to survive, and we can see many similarities between the various life forms on the planet. We do not know how this was achieved, or when but it can clearly be infered”. As the technology comes along to test the theory, holes start to be found and questions start to be asked. In my view ID is at the same stage as Evolutionary Theory was as per my example quote, but with no future way of testing the theory, unless we find away to step outside of our universe and understand the raw materials, tools and processes that would have been used to implement such a design. Therefore, the 2 theories are like apples are pairs – one can be tested and questioned (evolution) – one can only ever be inferred (ID).

Salvador, regarding Question 3, about our beliefs. Faith to me means believing in something that we cannot or do not know. Once you “know” something then faith is no longer necessary or required. I think you have sort of answered my point raised in question 1, in that once design is inferred all we can do is rely on faith in our own religious beliefs about the designer – ergo “God”. This therefore leaves us with the situation as follows: we can infer design but cannot prove it via a scientific basis regarding “how, why, by whom and when” and therefore those answers have to come from existing religious texts / beliefs. Even if scientists eventually prove that life did start via a random process and all the missing links are found and irreducible complexity is explained in evolutionary terms, because ID has equations that predict that the end of time is “God” and therefore implicitly infer that the universe as a whole has been designed, none of these scientific findings regarding evolution will invalidate ID theory as ID supporters will just say that clearly life starting was all part of the design….a design which they still cannot validate in terms of how, why, by whom and when.

Teleologist: My comment was not about free will. Simply this. If we have been designed, with the ability to embrace faith and to believe, with an imagination, how can we be sure that what we believe is correct in terms of our origin? When the Bible was written Human Beings had extremely limited knowledge about the world around them let alone the solar system in which are world exists. Even if we were designed circa 6,000 years ago and placed here with the ability to embrace faith and science, to believe and acquire knowledge, how would we know today that what we believe is the truth? I have have written a document available from my rahoggid link associated with this blog comment that demonstrates what I mean by this.

Thank you for responding.

scordova
14 years ago

rahoggid,

I think I am understanding your concern better in your first question. Unless God Himself or aliens show up, we may be limited in direct observation. In other words, inference is all I think we have.

But there is a difficulty here. How can I prove that square circles don’t exist? I can not do so via experiment, only by inference. A comparable situation exists here for design in terms of direct observables. The only exception is if God did make Himself directly evident to us.

Salvador

scordova
14 years ago

rahoggid,

Outside of ID theory I have been exploring evidence for a Young Earth based on physics. I think there’s a good chance it’s young. Teleologist leans more toward old earth.

But if one wanted some fireworks, discovering evidence for a young earth would be absolutely spectacular, and it would, imho, give a very exact description of origins.

Salvador

teleologist
14 years ago

Rahoggid,

you have only provided more evidence to support the inference. What scientifically can be done to test the How, Why, Whom and When questions without a reliance on religious texts?

According Sun Tzu’s The Art of War “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” You need to understand that even from an atheistic Darwinian perspective the why, whom and when question are often inferential, the big bang is one such example.

One thing you should also understand, science has no Holy Grail or sacred cows. I mean when you say science needs to answer the How, this is not an immutable dogma. What is more basic than asking How is, does an idea provide the best explanation of our testable and observable reality. Your myopic repetitive insistence for evidence of how a designer would design an artifact is illogical. Especially in light of the fact that you don’t make same demand of Darwinism and science in general. Let me give you a couple of example in hope that you can escape you myopic fallacy. If you are presented with a list of nucleic base pairs and was told that it represents the genome of some biological life. Do you know how that the genome sequence was put together? You might be able to isolate it down to maybe 2 different techniques, (Celera/NIH), but there is no way for you to know exactly “How” the genome was sequenced.

Consider another example; genetic engineers are attempting to create a new form of life. If they are successful and an alien that just arrived on this planet compares this new life form to another. Would they be able to identify if it was designed or evolved? And more direct to your question, would they know “How” the life form was designed? Things like GMO would pose a similar problem for the alien. Please understand for ID, how it was designed is less important than detecting if it was designed. It is more important for ID that an explanation actually reflect empirical reality.

Darwin initially infered Evolution by his initial findings. At that time technology was limited and DNA had not been discovered, etc so he made an inference. Those who are not convinced by Evolutionary theory request that the inference be proven – ie. the “How” and the “When” with the Why and the by Whom being irrelevant.

Don’t you mean relevant? I do. It is supremely important for Darwinian evolution to answer the how question, as I said before and I will say again, because it claims that all life comes from “How” . This “How” is the mechanism of random mutation and natural selection.

For those that are not convinced by ID Theory who request that the inference be proven – ie. “How, Why, by Whom and When” are all relevant

Again the “How” is irrelevant for ID. On the other hand you apparently didn’t read or understand the contents of the links that I’ve provided in the previous comment. ID unlike evolution is inalienably connected to empirical experimentation. In table one of the first link it gives the general guideline for detecting design. You should have noticed that all the criteria are empirically testable and observable, such as complexity and information content. These same criteria are used in many branches of science including SETI. Tables 2 & 3 provides predictions and empirical experimentations.

The 2nd link puts forth the DNA code as an example of design based on the criteria from the 1st link. The 3rd link points out the statements from a Darwinian believer which contrary to his claim actually supports ID. The DNA code is smaller and much more complex than engineered software code, the question is, which theory best explains the origin of this mind numbing complexity? Can evolution with its random, unguided process that does not have directly observable experimentation for support, or the empirically tested theory of ID. You see beside the examples about, scientists have been experimenting for over 150 years to produce a novel form, through random and directed genetic alterations. The empirical results cannot be ignored. No novel forms have been created. No prokaryotic organisms have turned into a eukaryotic one. No fish has turned into a salamander. No reptile has turned into a bird. Whether you like it or not, all the Darwinian researches that was intended to support Darwinism has proven empirically clear and that is, random mutation and even artificial selection is vacuous as an explanation for the origin of novelty.

Teleologist: My comment was not about free will. Simply this. If we have been designed, with the ability to embrace faith and to believe, with an imagination, how can we be sure that what we believe is correct in terms of our origin?

I understand what you are saying now. I find your fictional examples a gross distortion of Christian belief and reality. Here is why. Christian faith is based on scientific linguistic analysis of manuscript evidence, archaeological, prophetic and statistical evidences. Christ was nothing like the probe that you conjured. He was not ambiguous about who he is where He came from, where we came from, where He is going and where we are going. There is no ambiguity to Christian belief and essential dogma. The other flaw in part I of your fictional story is the number of times you used the word “design” . As your Companions progress and advance in science would they believe that they were designed or evolved? If they believe that they evolved through spontaneous generation (or the modern euphemism: abiogenesis) then they would be wrong. If they believe that they were design then that would not be Darwinian science and it would not be allowed, because it is not a scientific question. The Companions don’t know “Who” the designers are, “How” they were created or “Why” they were created. These are the exact questions that you demand of ID.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Salvador, thanks for the clarification and confirming that inference is all that we can achieve at this point, although as you say, how can you prove that square circles do not exist? I also accept this point.

My issue is not with the inference of design. I have a very open mind on the subject and am happy at this time to conclude that it is possible that we have evolved (we just don’t understand enough about the ‘natural’ world at this time to prove it) whilst at the same time it is possible that we have been designed. My issue is that one uses science to infer design, and then uses this science to support unscientific faith in a God like being as portrayed in a book written by the hand of human beings thousands of years ago – ie. The Bible. The only evidence that exists for a God like being is found in the Bible and other religious texts such as the Qu’ran, etc. The Bible only provides evidence that the human beings that wrote it believed in God, it does not provide evidence for God himself/herself/itself.

To give an example: Genesis itself is very 2 dimensional in content – ie. it talks of a Sun, Moon and Stars to light the earth. If God had created human beings and then at some later point dictated the story of Genesis to us, why would he have not said “I have created the earth as one planet in many in a vast universe, with most stars having a collection of planets.” etc, etc. The reason is simple…the human beings, at the time of writing the Bible, could not even comprehend such a situation – earth was the centre of everything and they believed the sun, moon and stars were there simply to light the earth. If you could go back in time and bring one of the apostles forward to our day and interview him to understand what he believes and what knowledge he has of the world, I am sure you would conclude that his knowledge was based on supernatural explanations for most things – even a simple question such as “What causes thunder and lightning?” would most likely get a response something like “This shows that God is angry about something that has happened in the village”. My point is if you could interview one or more of the apostles you would probably view them as you would an isolated tribe found in the jungle, – ie. very superstitious and with beliefs based in supernatural explanations for the simplest things due to their lack of scientific understanding. And yet, we unquestioningly trust the writers of the Bible implicity because it is claimed to be the words of God.

I am happy to accept the inference of design, but to apply this to your own religious based belief system adds nothing to the scientific discussion on ID, and in my view, does an injustice to the inference of design that has been identified.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Teologist, thanks for your response. I agree that the inference of design is of key importance ahead of the how. Apolgoies for my typo on the evolution front….my comment is meant to read that the How and the When are relevant for evolutionary theory but the By Whom and the Why are irrelevant. In my response to Salvador, I have explained my views/thoughts on applying religious, faith based beliefs to the inference of design.

Regarding my fictional story, I apologise for any offence caused. It is not meant to be an alternative example to the story of the Bible and Jesus Christ – I have just used parallels to demonstate my point. I have not attempted to cover our own design, only the story of the Companions, to demonstrate that as they were designed to be able to believe, imagine and have faith, it does not necessarily mean that they have been given what they have come to believe in.

I have also stated that the absolute truth for the companions is that they have been designed. In Part II I address the evolutionary implications of such a design – ie. the fact that in order to provide a self sustaining energy source for the companions, the other life forms on the planet must be able to survive on the planet by being compatible with the planet’s various environments. No one can argue that we do not pass on physical and characteristical traits to our offspring, and that pro-creation is an inherent driver inbuilt for all life forms on the planet. This in no way proves evolution, but at the same time, it means that part of our fundamental design is to pro-create and survive.

Why is it so hard to accept the possibility that the designer of life on earth was a being from a far off galaxy that told the early humans these stories to ensure they continued to have faith in an afterlife (ie. some greater purpose), just so that enough of us could be born to meet some specific need of that designer – ie. when the population of the planet hits 15 billion, maybe the designer will start havesting his crop. OK, sounds synical. But you cannot disprove this hypothesis any more than you can prove the words in the Bible are actually the truth. My speculation is as good as your speculation when it comes to scientific evidence – ie. I am not disputing that the designer’s words are written in the bible, but I am questioning whether they are the truth or whether we have been told what we needed to hear. From a scientific perspective this question is very valid – from a religious perspective you may conclude that I am one of the devil’s children. I am only interested in the former – the latter perspective is irrelevant.

Inference of design is fine….anything about the designer is speculation, including anything taken from religious texts or any other documents written by the hands of our ancestors.

scordova
14 years ago

rahoggid,

I sense a very deep sincerity in the questions you pose for us. I read your weblog, and I very much appreciated what you had to say.

And yet, we unquestioningly trust the writers of the Bible implicity because it is claimed to be the words of God.

I can understand you’re feelings on that matter, as I share that very same complaint. I think it does the Christian faith no good whatsoever if people refuse to entertain skepticism of it’s claims. If anything, that is an admission of insecurity rather than true confidence. Thus for the sake of our discussion, consider me closer to your position than those who accept faith uncritically.

You may notice there is a turf war between the engineers and biologists. The engineers have a far stronger tendency to favor design. The reason is, that to us, life looks miraculously created. To ask an ID-sympathetic engineer to accept the Darwinian evolution as an adequate explanation for life’s origin is like asking him to believe airplanes can self assemble out of the ground. We do not view time as helping the cause but hurting it. Our experience is that machines, and even self-replicating machines, will deteriorate over time, not improve.

From a scientific standpoint, if the first life were created from which all else evolved, but the evolution was driven by a program in the genes, that is at least more plausible. In fact, Darwin said in Chapter 14, “the first life was created”. But if one believes the first life was created, why then can we not entertain many lives were created?

So, for myself, it is very hard to believe biology was not the product of a mind. It is no different than had I happened upon a spaceship of bewildering technology. As Richard Dawkins said, “it was hard to be an atheist before Darwin”, and it wasn’t just the social pressure, it was the impression of design. Thus, as people like Behe and Denton have come forward, who have no religious axe to grind, it became apparent there were such serious holes in evolutionary theory that one might conclude it could altogether be wrong.

Regarding the accounts in Genesis. Here too, to much my own surprise, the empirical physical evidence corroborates the story. Let’s start with Adam and Eve:

1. evolution of sexual reproduction makes no sense
2. science has affirmed Adam and Eve’s existence

There are many caveats and qualifiers, but take a look at this:
Adam and Eve

There are some things to be careful about regarding the above link. It is not absolute proof, but certainly, when one has concluded that life is a miracle, these ideas don’t seem too far fetched….

I do not know where you may be in your search for answers, but I hope you won’t be offended if I say, “May the Lord bless you in your search for truth.”

Salvador

rahoggid
14 years ago

Salvador, thanks for your response. My comments are very sincere – ie. I have no hidden agenda or am trying to catch anyone out. I have had no religious upbringing and do not believe that believing in an almighty God is a pre-requisite to being good, compassionate, honest, etc. I believe in doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, not because of a fear of eternal damnation.

Thank you also for reading my blog. I am still working on Parts III and IV (ID and The Designer), from the Companion’s perspective.

I read your link to Adam and Eve, about there being scientific evidence for mtDNA being Eves – and I quote: “The biblical creationist would conclude that the one woman suggested by the mitochondrial data is almost certainly the real Eve”. Maybe I have missed something but there is one obvious flaw in this conclusion……Adam and Eve only had 3 sons and no daughters (Cain, Abel and Seth). There is no reference whatsoever in the bible that Adam and Eve had a daughter, therefore the mtDNA cannot be Eves. Have I missed something?

Thanks

teleologist
14 years ago

rahoggid,

In my response to Salvador, I have explained my views/thoughts on applying religious, faith based beliefs to the inference of design.

First of all, I have never applied my faith as inference of design. I’ve stated my position on “true” Christian faith and ID here. Exiled from GROGGS also has a nice post on faith here.

Now let’s take a look at your view/thoughts on religious faith.

If God had created human beings and then at some later point dictated the story of Genesis to us, why would he have not said “I have created the earth as one planet in many in a vast universe, with most stars having a collection of planets.” etc, etc. The reason is simple”the human beings, at the time of writing the Bible, could not even comprehend such a situation

I don’t know if you are aware of it or not, but this is extremely insightful. Many atheists fail to recognize this key point in their criticism of the Bible. You see the Bible was never meant as a science cookbook. Can you imagine how confusing it would be to the ancients if it tries to explain the science of the universe to them? Not only will they not understand virtually everything in the Bible, but it would distract the main purpose and message of the Bible, that is for the salvation of humanity. So you are exactly right about why the Bible does not dictate scientific principles and theories. However, this is not to say that it would contradict an accurate understanding of the natural world.

My point is if you could interview one or more of the apostles you would probably view them as you would an isolated tribe found in the jungle, – ie. very superstitious and with beliefs based in supernatural explanations for the simplest things due to their lack of scientific understanding. And yet, we unquestioningly trust the writers of the Bible implicity because it is claimed to be the words of God.

Again Christians do not subscribe to the kind of faith that you are claiming, as you can see in the links above and again here, Salvador and I agree with you that we do not believe in blind faith. Frankly I don’t know of any respectable Christians that subscribes to the kind of blind faith that you are talking about.

Now to address your point of superstition, I agree that human nature does have a propensity for superstition. As much as we would like to think that as a species we have evolved beyond that, the truth is that we are just as superstitious as the ancients. The objects of superstition and myths have changed, that’s all. Even in this modern age, there are still people who believe in pagan worship, crystals, poltergeist, and communication with the dead. There is also a more subtle form of mythology of scientism, which is a blind faith, couched in scientific jargons, unsupported by empirical reality. It is manifested in the belief of UFOs, Raelians, extraterrestrial life, spontaneous generation (abiogenesis) and multiverse.

Regarding my fictional story, I apologise for any offence caused. It is not meant to be an alternative example to the story of the Bible and Jesus Christ

No offense taken. I hope I’ve sufficiently pointed out why your parallel is not reflective of Christianity.

Why is it so hard to accept the possibility that the designer of life on earth was a being from a far off galaxy that told the early humans these stories to ensure they continued to have faith in an afterlife (ie. some greater purpose), just so that enough of us could be born to meet some specific need of that designer – ie. when the population of the planet hits 15 billion, maybe the designer will start havesting his crop. OK, sounds synical. But you cannot disprove this hypothesis any more than you can prove the words in the Bible are actually the truth. My speculation is as good as your speculation when it comes to scientific evidence

This is a significant insight into your criticism. I am hoping that by now you understand the fallacy of your argument from our discussion of what is Christian faith, and our fidelity to a reasonable faith that is evidentially based.

In case you still don’t understand the Christian’s view of faith and the Bible, let me try to elaborate on your criticism here. First, as you know there is no way to prove a universal negative. It is obvious that there is no way to prove that all the possible imaginings of all individuals are false. Your proposition like the Flying Spaghetti Monster, while logically impossible to rule out, there is no rational justification for accepting it as probable. However, the Christian belief is very different from your type of speculation. Your speculation is NOT as good as mine, and here is why.

Your speculation, like the FSM, is completely devoid of any data points for evidential evaluation. Contrary to your proposition, Christianity is based on an actual person in history; it makes claims of actual people, places and events. All of these data points can be tested and evaluated. Are there any absolute proof? No. However, consider this analogy; is it possible to prove that the Sun will without a doubt rise January 1, 2007? No, but there is a very high confidence from our understanding of orbital mechanics and quantum theory about the composition and operation of the Sun, that it will indeed rise on that day. Beyond that, sunrise has been such a regular event in the human experience that just intuitively we would have confidence that it would rise.

Christianity can be tested in the same way by looking at these testable data points. Did the people, places and events claimed in the Bible exist? Are they accurate? As far as I know thus far, the evidence from archaeology seems to support the accuracy of the Bible. Now obviously there are aspects of the Bible that is not testable, such as miracles, and the more controversial events such as fulfillment of prophecies. Miracles and prophecies can be addressed through philosophical logic and epistemology. Irrespective of miracles and prophecies, it is abundantly clear that Christianity is not some fanciful imagination that is not subjected to testing.

Lastly to address your objection, the Bible was written by a bunch of superstitious guys. There is no evidence to support such a claim. As I said before, superstition is a part of human behavior throughout out existence, even up to the present. However, that does not mean that everyone in any age, on all circumstances, is being superstitious. On the contrary, the authors were being quite sober and logical in their writings. The ancient Romans were quite intelligent from their inventions of war and architecture. They are fully capable of distinguishing myth from reality. If you’ve ever read the book of Romans, you will notice the impeccable treatise of logic expressed by the apostle Paul. The book of Acts is filled with meticulous documentation of historical events. And maybe most important is that all the New Testament authors (except John) were martyred for their belief. It is one thing to be superstitious, but to die for your superstition? It does not seem plausible; rather it makes more sense that one would die for a deep sense of conviction based on reality.

teleologist
14 years ago

rahoggid,

Maybe I have missed something but there is one obvious flaw in this conclusion””Adam and Eve only had 3 sons and no daughters (Cain, Abel and Seth). There is no reference whatsoever in the bible that Adam and Eve had a daughter

You need to get a proper understanding of ancient text interpretation. The Bible is not a science cookbook, neither is it a catalog of human history. For instance, it will not tell you when potteries were invented. You need to understand the omission of a “thing” is not the same as “denial” of a thing. I suggest a couple of very good books on Biblical hermeneutics, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics — Walter Kaiser and Introduction to Biblical Interpretation — Craig Blomberg.

In this case, yes, indeed you’ve missed something. Cain probably married one of his sisters, or even a niece. Gen 5:4 “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.”

scordova
14 years ago

rahoggid asked:

There is no reference whatsoever in the bible that Adam and Eve had a daughter, therefore the mtDNA cannot be Eves. Have I missed something?

As teleologist mentioned:

Gen 5:4 “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.”

Now this raies another issue. Adam lived 800 years!!!! Do we have evidence humans should, ought to have lived long? See:
http://www.smartaxes.com/geron.html

I know we all have our personal philosophies, but if the account in Genesis has strong parallels to our forensic evidences, then the thought that it may be from God becomes ever more plausible. Recall that I said life to engineers seem incredibly miraculous. It is the miracle of life that helps me believe God exists. The question then is, did He really speak to men in ages past. I’m not looking for absolute proof, but reasonable proof.

rahoggid wrote:

I have had no religious upbringing ….

Then I am all the more glad you have taken an interest in what we write on this weblog.

Salvador

rahoggid
14 years ago

Teleologist, just to clarify, my initial questions were in relation to the link between the inference of design and its support for existing religious belief systems such as Christianity. I am in no way questioning your belief — I respect your belief in God — and only ask for the same respect in return. I have been thinking a lot about this link between ID and Religion, and I think the following hones in on the key point that I have been trying to make…let me explain:

If we took 10 babies in 10 different families, 7 of which were brought up in 7 different religious belief systems: 1 Christian, 1 Muslim, etc (let’s assume these 7 families were devoted to their religion and lived their lives by them in every way) with the remaining 3 of the 10 being brought up in families that had no religious up bringing whatsoever (let’s assume these 3 had very limited exposure to any religions). It is probable that the 7 babies will grow into adults that have strong beliefs in their own religions, even though all the religions are different. It is also probable that the other 3 will grow into adults that have no religious beliefs whatsoever (like myself).

At this point, if we introduce the design inference, based on scientific data, each of the 7 religious adults will probably view this as further evidence to support their existing belief systems — ie. it is not probable that the Muslim will suddenly be convinced that he should be a Christian or vice-versa. However, with regards the other 3, they may take an interest in religion as I have, but they are likely to remain very open minded on the subject — ie. all things are possible; it could be that any one of the 7 different religions is the absolute truth; it could be that none of them are accurate, and all of them have suffered the ‘chinese whisper’ effect over time; it is also possible that an advanced civilisation within our universe created life; it is also possible that we have got it wrong and we have actually evolved on the planet, but we have not yet found the prove. In essence, the 3 that do not have any religious belief system are also therefore not bound by any religious belief system in the light of this new evidence.

I will accept willingly that the Bible is historically correct — actual places, people and events. After all, this was written by the hands of human beings who lived at that time. I will also accept that those that wrote the Bible believed in God and died for that belief. I also agree that the miracles and prophecies cannot be tested, and therefore remain in the realm of faith…and for me it is faith that is the key or the lock, depending on your point of view…

You cannot KNOW that God exists, so you have to have FAITH. You CAN SAY that this IS NOT BLIND faith because there is circumstantial evidence for God, however, you can never say categorically that you KNOW God exists. To believe and subscribe to a particular religion such as Christianity does not require absolute knowledge of God’s existence, and in fact, it is faith that is demanded by God — Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” ; Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” .

Although you cannot know that God exists, you also cannot, by definition, consider the possibility that he does not exist, without ‘drawing back’ from that faith. For example, you cannot consider the possibility that your Christian faith is not the true faith, or consider the possibility that a far advanced civilisation designed life on planet earth, and provided us with those words in The Bible to help us live morally correct and fulfilling lives. Both of these are possible. To deny this simply demonstrates the strength of your religious belief system, in that you have to deny all other possibilities to ensure your soul is saved. And herein lies it’s weakness in today’s scientific world. To exclude all possibilities except one, based on faith in ‘things hoped for’, cannot serve any meaningful purpose from a scientific perspective.

teleologist
14 years ago

I am in no way questioning your belief — I respect your belief in God — and only ask for the same respect in return.

rahoggid, I thank you for your dialectic discourse. Please do not mistake my vigorous defense of my views and repudiation of yours as disrespectful. I fully respect your right as a person, but I do not have the same charity with the worldview that you hold. Nevertheless, I appreciate your candor and thoughtfulness of your comments.

At this point, if we introduce the design inference, based on scientific data ” it is not probable that the Muslim will suddenly be convinced that he should be a Christian or vice-versa.

You are absolutely correct. ID is not about proving God. ID is not a theological exercise. It is a scientific alternative to NDE that is compatible with Christianity, as far as I am concerned, because I do not want to speak for other religions. Theology, salvation by grace through faith, is still not by the works (science, NDE, ID or otherwise) but a gift from God.

You cannot KNOW that God exists, so you have to have FAITH. You CAN SAY that this IS NOT BLIND faith because there is circumstantial evidence for God, however, you can never say categorically that you KNOW God exists.

This is true. But in essence we all live by faith do we not? Whether you are a Christian, Buddhist, Muslin, agnostic or atheist, we all live by faith due to our limitation. An agnostic is a practicing atheist who denies the existence of God, but does not have sufficient knowledge to know if God actually exist or not. Therefore an atheist lives by faith that the universe is a cosmic accident that comes from nothing and becomes nothing. To me that seems to require more faith than faith in a personal God.

it is faith that is demanded by God — Hebrews 10:38 “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” ; Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” .

Well almost, not to bicker over a theological point with someone who is not a Christian, but the Bible really talks about 2 different kinds of faith. You are not alone in the misinterpretation of Biblical faith. Many liberal exegetes make the same mistake. The Bible talks about a salvific faith, a faith that leads to salvation, which is a gift from God. The salvific faith is not predicated on works or obedience, other than the willingness to accept oneself as a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as the propitiation for one’s sins.

The faith that you’ve pointed out in Hebrews has to do with our walk in Christianity post salvation. Take a look at the context of that chapter in Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews is talking about those that have been enlightened, purportedly already saved, but was going through great tribulation. The writer is reminding them (and all Christians through all times) that our hope is not of the present but of the future. We need to have “faith” or more appropriately “trust” that God is still in control. The salvific faith is not predicated on action but this trust in God is a call to action. It is subtle but it is significant from a theological standpoint.

Although you cannot know that God exists, you also cannot, by definition, consider the possibility that he does not exist, without ‘drawing back’ from that faith.

Again I disagree. I think your error lies in your misunderstanding of Christian faith and of the text in Hebrews. The “drawing back” in the Biblical text is not a mere question or doubt. The Greek word used there is hyposteilÆ’atai. It means to shrink back from a commitment, in this case a commitment to God.

This is very different than just having a doubt about one’s belief. Doubt is a normal part of human behavior. It stems from our limitation and frailty. The Christian isn’t alone in this respect. George Bernard Shaw speaking through his last book “And now look at me and behold the supreme tragedy of the atheist who has lost his faith–his faith in atheism,”

Doubt is not a problem for faith in a Christian, what one does with the doubt could potentially be a problem. For me personally the existence of God is much less in doubt than the non-existence of God.

And herein lies it’s weakness in today’s scientific world. To exclude all possibilities except one, based on faith in ‘things hoped for’, cannot serve any meaningful purpose from a scientific perspective.

On the contrary, I deny all other belief systems based on my evaluation of their merits. As I’ve said in a previous comment, you can always make up imaginary scenarios to offer as an alternate worldview. The problem is, does it have sufficient merit to garner your trust.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Teleologist, thanks for your response. I think there is one thing we can agree on and that is we respect each other’s views even if we do not agree with them. For that I am pleased.

I would just like to try and summarise if I can the meaning of ID in relation to religion:

1) ID does not prove God exists, but in your view it is compatible with Christianity.

For someone that is not a Christian but a believer in another faith that is based on humans being created by a God-type being, it is highly likely that ID will be compatible with their beliefs also, after all, ID is about infering design, not any details on the how and the who, so anyone believing that life has been designed will see ID as compatible. ID is even compitable with an athiest’s view, if that athiest is not convinced by the evidence for evolution or has an open mind on the subject, as it is not improbable that life has been designed by a far advanced civilisation within our universe. So in essence ID is compatible with any belief system that can support life being designed.

2) It IS NOT possible to KNOW that God exists, but this is not an issue as we all live by faith in some way or other.

With this I agree. However, you say: “Therefore an atheist lives by faith that the universe is a cosmic accident that comes from nothing and becomes nothing. To me that seems to require more faith than faith in a personal God”. With this I disagree. I can see the universe, I cannot see God. I know that within the universe everything begins and everything ends…I was born, I will die; a star is born, a star will die; a galaxy is born, a galaxy will die. All these things I know. What I do not know is where the universe came from originally and I do not know what is outside of the universe, but it takes less faith to assume our universe exists in some larger mega-verse from whence it came and that our universe too will eventually die. To have faith in something that you have never witnessed, or have ever seen anything similar to, takes considerable more faith to me.

3) There are two types of faith – salvific and ‘ongoing’ faith.

You say “Salvific faith is not predicated on works or obedience, other than the willingness to accept oneself as a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as the propitiation for one’s sins”. Ongoing faith is clearly documented in Hebrews. You already agreed that you cannot KNOW God exists, so faith is key, and having 2 types or stages of faith does not change the fact that faith is required and that God demands faith – faith initially that God exists – ie. you have sinned and Jesus Christ was the propitiation for your sins – and then continued faith in God existing and being in control. I see nothing in your response that disagrees with my statement that God demands faith in His existence, and not knowledge of His existence.

4) Although your belief in God is based on faith, you seem to disagree with me that you therefore cannot consider the possibility that God does not exist.

You say that you can consider the possibility in terms of having doubts, as it is not the doubt itself that is an issue for a Christian, but how they act upon that doubt. So can a devout Christian say “Although I believe in God and live my life by the teachings of the bible, I do also consider the possibility that God does not exist and we have infact come into existence in some other way?”

5) Finally, you say “On the contrary, I deny all other belief systems based on my evaluation of their merits”.

Consider this…..there is significantly more evidence for alien life forms than for God. Many people claim to have seen alien craft or claim to have come in contact with aliens. There is photographic evidence and video evidence of alien ships – some of which remain unexplained. You may consider these claims not to be trust worthy, and you may consider the photographic/video evidence to either be all hoaxes or military secret aircraft, etc. However….this evidence exists today, with many many independent witnesses that are alive today that can be interviewed today. If it is easy for you to say that you do not believe in aliens and the possibility that they designed us, with all that evidence, imagine how easy it is for me to not believe in God when there is only a single collection of books, by persons that lived over 2000 years ago whom would have considered technology by today’s standards to be miracles, and with no other existing tangible evidence for God’s existence. So to answer your question “The problem is, does it have sufficient merit to garner your trust?”. The answer is yes. For the record I do not believe we have been designed by aliens, however, my point is that I consider it a likely possibility, something that your faith does not appear to allow, without reducing your commitment to God.

Daron
Daron
14 years ago

Rahoggid,
As a passerby let me commend you on your latest comments here.
There is much in what you’ve written that I am sure teleologist and/or Sal will address but I would like to comment on your first point.
I think you have captured the implications of the scientific theory of Intelligent Design very well there.
This is exactly what the proponents say of it and I am gratified to see that the message does resonate with non-theists such as yourself.

teleologist
14 years ago

rahoggid,

1) So in essence ID is compatible with any belief system that can support life being designed.

Yes.

2) What I do not know is where the universe came from originally and I do not know what is outside of the universe, but it takes less faith to assume our universe exists in some larger mega-verse

I think you confuse the effect with the cause. The physical universe is the effect. The cause of this effect is intangible. The only way we can deduce a Creator is through logic. Logic demands that there is an uncaused Cause. The multiverse hypothesis does not solve the problem of the uncaused Cause. Furthermore, multiverse is nothing more than a fantasy written in mathematics. It has no more basis on reality than mythology or science fiction. It is pure scientism.

3,4) I see nothing in your response that disagrees with my statement that God demands faith in His existence “.. So can a devout Christian say “Although I believe in God and live my life by the teachings of the bible, I do also consider the possibility that God does not exist

The difference between our statements about faith is your statements do not allow for doubt, mine does. Remember what you said? “Although you cannot know that God exists, you also cannot, by definition, consider the possibility that he does not exist, without ‘drawing back’ from that faith. For example, you cannot consider the possibility that your Christian faith is not the true faith

And you also misunderstand my comment about doubt. I was not speaking of an inherent doubt or skepticism of God’s existence. The condition that you’ve describe is not a doubt by a practical accepted conviction. You cannot claim to follow the Bible and hold to the view that God might not exist. This is not doubt. This is a conviction.

A doubt is a temporal questioning and reevaluating of one’s conviction or accepted belief. Absent of this occasional doubt, is blind faith. If an atheist never doubts that his faith is in error then he has blind faith in his belief in Atheism.

Summarize: Your view of faith and doubt is incorrect, therefore leading you to create a fallacious argument.

5) Consider this”..there is significantly more evidence for alien life forms than for God. Many people claim to have seen alien craft or claim to have come in contact with aliens.

I think you are overly extravagant with your evidence for ET. Christianity has 2000 years of testimony of followers and claims of miracles. There are also documentations of miraculous healings. From an anecdotal testimony point of view, the life changing and commitments of its followers, even unto death, is unparalleled. ET has never walked and interacted with humanity, unlike Jesus who walked and talked and performed miracles in front of believers and skeptics. Do I think that ET has as much evidence as Christianity? I don’t think so.

scordova
14 years ago

Rahoggid,

If I may weigh in here a bit regarding the issue of faith. Even science requires a degree of faith. There is no human endeavor which does not require faith. When I fly airplanes, there is the possibility my instruments are wrong, however, once I’ve decided to fly, I have made a commitment to honor and respect and have faith in the equipment and instruments. If I can’t do that, I should not even take off. We won’t make discoveries if we presume up front there are none to be found.

Regarding God’s existence, it is logically possible, given my non-omniscience, that I am wrong about reality. But there is nothing different in that than any other area of my life. If acted like I would die every time I drive a car, I would never drive. Faith is having some degree of hope that one is right. I don’t know what the future holds as far as eternal life, but I have faith as to what the future holds regarding eternal life in a similar manner that I have faith the universe will one day burn out because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

If I may suggest, here is a free video:
http://www.theapologiaproject.org/media/the_privileged_planet.ram

regards,
Salvador

rahoggid
14 years ago

Daron, many thanks for your supportive words.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Teleologist,

So we agree that ID is not evidence that uniquely supports Christianity or any other belief system for that matter – it is just compatible with such beliefs. In addition, as we can learn nothing beyond the design inference about who, how or why, unless we develop the tools and techniques to find, analyse and question the designer him/her/itself, the design inference can add only a little weight to any belief system that has a possible cause of design, but that is where it stops – ie. we are still left with a set of belief systems that all have tenuous scientific premises for the design theory – be it God or an advanced civilisation.

Now to your statement “The only way we can deduce a Creator is through logic. Logic demands that there is an uncaused Cause.” Logically, a being such as a God that created the universe and life on planet earth had to exist in an environment outside of the universe to start with. If this God like being has existed forever – ie. has always existed, there was not beginning – then the environment in which this God exists must also have existed forever. Therefore, logic dictates that an environment can exist forever, and therefore this could apply to our universe – ie. the calculations and measurements that have been done in the last few hundred years are incomplete and/or have been misunderstood and as time goes on we will come to recognise this with future measurements and discoveries. Alternatively, if we assume that this God like being is not infinite, then at some point this intelligent God had to either come about via a designer or via an unguided set of processes. If it is the former, then the same question applies to the designer of the designer, and so forth, but ultimately the first designer had to come about via an undesigned process. If you accept this conclusion, that the first designer came about via an unguided process, then you have to accept the possiblity that intelligence can come about without design, and therefore, you have to logically accept that this is a possibility for human beings, even if we have not got the technology and tools to prove this at this time.

To summarise, logic dictates that to accept God’s environment as infinite, means that you have to accept the possiblity that our environment is infinte, and logic dictates that to accept an intelligent God is not infinite and that there was an original designer, means you have to accept the possibility that intelligence can come about via unguided processes.

With reference to doubt – I now believe my original statement still holds – ie. “Although you cannot know that God exists, you also cannot, by definition, consider the possibility that he does not exist…”. You have gone on to say “You cannot claim to follow the Bible and hold to the view that God might not exist. This is not doubt. This is a conviction. A doubt is a temporal questioning and reevaluating of one’s conviction or accepted belief”. So you have confirmed my statement, with the caveat that by evaluating future evidences does not mean that your conviction in God’s existence is in someway in question, but instead is just a re-evaulation of one’s existing conviction or accepted belief. My fundamental point is this….if today a scientist believes that the universe came about via a ‘big bang’, that is his/her conviction/belief. However, tied to this belief is no eternal saving of the scientist’s soul, and therefore, the scientist’s belief system is not tied to his/her ultimate survival. If new evidence comes to light that indicates that the big bang theory is wrong, and infact it is some newly identified natural event, the scientist can accept the possibility that either could be correct at that point without fear of eternal damnation. Your belief in a supernatural designer is tied to your survival, and to accept the possibility of an alternative origin for humans and the universe, other than your God, risks your own survival, and therefore, cannot be accommodated.

Finally, with regards to ET and Jesus….it is logical to assume that Jesus was a key figure of the time….he may have believed he was the Son of God, and spoke very wise words, was a great people person, was a great communicator, was a great leader….who when documented was portrayed as someone that was 10 times more powerful and important than he really was. Logic dictates that human beings always exaggerate when writing history, be it close to the event or a long time after the event…how would they spread the word of Jesus’s wise words if they said “Jesus was a nice guy with wise words and each night he would tell us stories around the camp fire.” Logic dictates that including ‘miracles’ that would capture the imagination of the story tellers and readers would be far more effective…afterall, for the apostles, they had lost a great friend on the cross and wanted to gain as much support as possible to ensure that Jesus did not die invain.

I have the “The Bible – Authorised King James Version with Apocrypha” that has 100 pages of Bible Notes at the back of the book that are very interesting….let me quote:

“The tale of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, their encounter with the snake, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the dispute with God which resulted in their ejection is one of the most famous and most-quoted in the world. Later generations of Christian apologists would derive from this story a much darker tale about original sin – a notion neither in the text nor Jewish traditions – and would identify the snake with the devil. The dominant interpretation of the English-speaking world, that of Milton’s hugely extended seventeenth-century version in Paradise Lost, is so coloured by such accretions that it is less a retelling of the original biblical saga than the creation of yet a third myth.”

In essence, the bible is a tale, upon a tale, upon a tale, initiated by those who would have assumed that thunder and lightening was the act of an angry God, and in the centuries that followed, the stories were ‘enhanced’ as required. The introduction of my bible says it all:

“Bibles are, by their very nature, partisan. As that plural suggests, there are many bibles, even in English, and each is the product of a particular interest group – whether religious, commercial, or, increasingly nowadays, both. … So far from being the rock of ages in a sea of flux, as some devout Christians readers of the Bible have maintained in the past, it should be clear to any impartial reader of this edition that the history of biblical intepretation is one of continuous and, at times, quite startling change. The eighteenth-century shift from typological to narrative reading of the scriptures, for example, represents a far more fundamental intepretative shift than any changes that have occured in the production or interpretation of Shakespear’s plays over the same period.”

Logic dictates that it is more likely that the scriptures are just enhanced tales, based on real events, that have been modified and adapted over the centuries…..more likely than the words of a God that those original writers imagined.

rahoggid
14 years ago

Salvador,

I see faith in something existing that is essential to one’s survival, very different from faith that my car will still be on the drive where I left it when I leave the house to go to work in the morning. Imagine this:

If a new flying device was designed and built, based on some anti-gravity technology, the designers would build a small prototype to see if it works and is reliable. If it is they would have greater faith in building a larger model. Eventually they would have a prototype that can carry a human being and they may test it by just lifting a few inches off the ground to see if it works and how stable it is. Effectively, as they carry out more tests, their confidence, trust, faith grows and they then try longer and higher test flights. If something was to go drastically wrong, their faith would be reduced and they would have to investigate the cause and make modifications and then retest to rebuild their faith. Ultimately, after the new aircraft has been released into the world of the public, and being used by millions of people each day with only a few occaisional fatalities, their faith in the device would grow to be very high.

This sort of faith in based on an understanding of the device in which faith is placed, first hand experience of that device and empircal data / statistics of the likelihood of failure.

Someone could bring me the anti-gravity device, demonstrate it to me, show me the evidence / stats of how much it has been used without incident, etc to enable me to trust this device. I could then try the device out for myself to build first hand faith. How many people can introduce me to God, show me God at work, show me the evidence of how many souls are actually saved after death, etc? How can I test if God is there?

Faith in the tangible is one thing…faith in the invisible is another.

[I have watched “The Privileged Planet” and want to watch again before I comment….watch this space.]

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