Creationist Nonsense: Science assumes no God

Still on the subject of Ken Ham’s creationism (https://confessionsofayec.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/conspiracy-against-creationism-and-ken-hams-intollerance/) and his Facebook response; one of Ken’s followers made a comment that I wish to address. Hopefully this will be the last of my posts on this particular episode, for now at least.

On Ken’s Facebook (yes, I did stalk Ken’s Facebook profile to see what was being said about my blog posting) page a commenter made the following remark.

 

So, wait… he claims that scientists don’t begin with the assumption that there is no God, then goes on to say that, because we can only observe the natural world, then that must be all there is… How is that not an assumption?

 

Every part of me wants to shout “Read the freaking context and get with the understanding numbskull!”.

However, this is one of those misunderstandings that is widespread among the Christian community. The negative side of this is that it undermines the scientific process and makes it harder for science to be viewed as credible. The really sad part of this is that its often people in the congregation hearing this nonsense who don’t get science commentary from anyone other than the person in the pulpit. At its worst, this is damaging to the wider populace.

The section of my post that the commenter clearly didn’t get is this paragraph.

<blockquote>This is a basic understanding failure. The fact that its made by a leading Creationist apologetic is damning and pathetic. He really should know better. Scientists who claim there is no god do so because of the evidence they see. Its this evidence that has lead them to the conclusion of evolution and its this evidence that falsifies the Biblical accounts of Adam and Eve and The Flood. Its not then unreasonable to conclude there is no god. Science looks at natural processes because that is all that we can see and gather evidence from. That evidence is explained by those natural processes only and therefore its an easy conclusion to make that no god was involved. There is no predetermining the non-existence of any god and then building a theory which excludes it, as Ken Ham would have people believe. </blockquote>

The commenter clearly didn’t get that those scientists who don’t believe in god (or people like me who believe there is no god) do so because there is no evidence. The commentator clings to the misapprehension that is conclusion is an assumption.

I understand the misunderstanding because I was there once and I’ve heard this same misunderstanding preached at conferences.

The very important point here is that seeing the natural world and concluding no god is far more than an assumption. For starters there is the very valid null hypothesis, which leads from nothing being assumed. If you can’t see it or measure, assume its not there.

Yes I know, I used the assume word and creationists everywhere are pointing and shouting “See he even admitted he assumes no god, right after denying that was the case. Atheists are so inconsistent.”.

That would miss the point of course.

Without the evidence evolution is not assumed either. Both the creationist god and evolution start at the same point of validity when there is no evidence on the table.

Its not until the evidence comes out that the scales begin to adjust. This is the point at which conclusions are made and tests are created for the expressed purpose of disproving the conclusion. Its at this very critical point that creationists again fall over. They argue that god is supernatural and so not bound by our man made laws of science and so he can’t be tested. Not to mention the passage somewhere that expressly forbids testing the lord. I’m not sure if it applies to the scientific process, but then a heathen like me probably won’t care.

Anyway, with all the claims that Creationists will have for the existence of god, you’d think that somewhere there would be some evidence that at least merits a second look. Creationists will make a whole song and dance about the issue of testing evolution in the lab and how timescales simply don’t allow it. Yet where are the tests for god in the lab?

Multiple fields of science have independently confirm various aspect of evolution and the age of the earth. Yet nothing can come up with a test to show even a hint of god.

Its not an assumption to say there is no god, it’s a valid scientific conclusion after many years of study have shown no evidence for supernatural activities. If everything that we currently know shows a natural explanation time and time again, at what point is it acceptable to say “There is no evidence of any god and until that changes I shall not believe in one.”?

The commenter I quoted will likely still claim this is an assumption, they would be wrong.

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7 thoughts on “Creationist Nonsense: Science assumes no God

  1. “The commenter clearly didn’t get that those scientists who don’t believe in god (or people like me who believe there is no god) do so because there is no evidence.”

    To me, the lack of evidence of god is because you first start with the assumption that there is no god, i.e. an intelligent designer. Science use theories to explain how everything comes into being, but all those theories are based on the repeatable natural laws and thus by nature can not account for any external intelligent force, especially unpredictable ones like human or divine influences. That is what is meant by science assumes there is no god, because if science did start with the assumption that there is a possible external intelligent force, then there would be like 100 more theories to every theory already out there.

    Let’s say you see a house in a middle of a dessert. How did it get there? If you start with the assumption that there could have been a possible designer, then you may have theories on who that designer is and what he was doing. But if you start with the assumption that there is no designer (which science does) then your theories would include a lot of random chances, billions of years of evolution, and some natural laws that just may possibly explained how a house was built in the middle of the dessert. Ok fine, let’s say your theories are sound and you have just explained that with enough random chances and enough time to evolve (and some multiple-universe theories) that you have scientifically explained the “house in the dessert” phenomenon. Does that then prove that that was actually how that house was built? Does it prove that no humans were involved in the making of that house? NO! You had started with the assumption that there were no humans involved in the building of that house. And now that you claim you have evidence on how a house was built by natural laws only, you then claim therefore there is no evidence that humans were involved in the building of the house? Science can only be used to predict future events – it does not necessarily explain what happened in the past.

    So I think when science makes a lot of claim on how the universe got created without an intelligent designer and it then thinks it proves one does not exists – I think the fallacy is really that all the theories are already premised on the fact that an intelligent designer can not be factored into the equation.

    • I see you and limey have been going at it for a while and all I have read is this comment that I have replied to, but there are so many things wrong with your understanding of science as well as other things.

      Firstly, science starts with NO assumptions. None at all. It begins with nothing and then makes observations, tests hypotheses, and follows where the evidence leads. This process eventually builds a more and more comprehensive model of reality which is what we are a part of. It furthers our understanding of the world we perceive, interact with, and experience every day.

      The problem with making big assumptions is that they generally turn out to be wrong, especially when they are made with shaky reasoning. People throughout history assumed the Earth was flat. People assumed the Sun orbited the Earth. People assumed sickness and disease was magic or supernatural. People assumed many things, and usually were corrected. You can think of endless fanciful ideas for explaining what you perceive but regardless of any of those, there is an actual explanation out there; that is what science is always looking for.

      Not me, any honest atheist, nor any scientist assumes there is no God (or whatever you want to call it: Intelligent Designer, etc.). Assumptions for or against a designer are counter-productive. That possibility is definitely out there. And to boot, the potential evidence for such a being would be obvious and overwhelming. If God came down and said “Here I am” and showed himself to everyone, no one would doubt his existence. If we look in our telescopes and see a being building worlds and/or destroying them (like if we saw a giant fist punch mars in the face), no one would doubt his existence. There is so much God can do, directly or indirectly, to show his existence. The scientists and science enthusiasts are open to any evidence, to any hypotheses, to anything at all as long as it is supported. Science does not claim “there is a God”, nor does it claim “there is NOT a God”. There very well might be, but there is no evidence for such a thing so far in modern day. Science has never proven that there is NO God (and I do not think it will). Those who claim positively that “there IS a God” must present their case and not simply assert it as literally anything can be simply asserted.

      Here is an interesting point I would like to make. Non-theists can be easily convinced of a God. They will change their minds in an instant, right at the instant there is proof. The theist or creationist especially will usually NEVER change their mind no matter what. No matter what is told to them, proved to them, explained to them, given to them, they will usually stand firm. They stand in the face of contrary evidence, educated noble-prize laureates’ years of work and study, and even entire fields of science and pompously disregard and ignore it in favor of their own personal beliefs. Such is the behavior of the closed mind. Many of the most prominent creationists will completely throw out: Geology, Genetics, Climatology, Astronomy, Cosmology, much of Biology, and much of Chemistry. These are entire areas of study where some of the most intelligent people who ever lived have devoted years of research and review of each others work that culminated in the understanding we have achieved today as a result. The creationist puts his ideas above all others and proclaims them to be true, and then cannot defend them when they are discussed and reviewed by others.

      Now on to the house in the desert. If I found a house in the desert, I would conclude that people are around here or used to be around here depending on the features of the house and environment. If we landed on Mars and found a house, we would conclude that there is, or was, intelligent life on Mars. Yes, in fact there must have been a designer. The problem is quite simple, houses do not happen in nature! The only way that we know of houses coming into existence is when something intelligent makes them. Life happens all the time, everywhere in nature. Do we need God to make humans? NO! We can make them ourselves by having sex, and actually artificially now as well! Similarly, nature makes every single life-form that exists today. The fact that houses do not happen naturally makes them stand out as the product of intelligence. This is VERY important to understand. Your house scenario is the same as the watchmaker argument. Watchmaker fails because the only reason that one concludes, when one picks up a watch, that it was intelligently designed is because watches do not grow in the ground, they do not occur in nature! It has nothing to do with complexity. Something as simple as a piece of candy would also have to be designed because they do not occur in nature. Something even as complex as an entire planet with a magnetic field, and atmosphere, weather, volcanism, mountains, and so forth would not be concluded to have been designed because we see planets everywhere in our own solar system and others as well.

      Now I would like to talk about design. Life and everything else is, in fact, designed. It is designed by nature and its natural processes, not intelligence. Everything is designed by Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Nature is very crude and slow. It takes millions of years for a nebula to collapse into a star. it takes millions of years for proto-planetary dust to coalesce into planets and even then it is an imperfect and very violent process with many collisions and more or less random distribution of elements. It takes millions of years for life to evolve and produce successful organisms; and it too is an imperfect, crude process. Simply look at birth defects, inefficient design of things like our spine, the placement of our optic nerves, and our esophagus being connected with our trachea. Nature just goes for whatever works, it does not have a goal, it does not care about perfection, it does not care about purpose. That is what we see in the world today. Now here is the kicker, we have examples of intelligence interfering with these processes, our own intelligence. We DO actually have a goal, we do care about purpose. We took wild foxes, but we wanted an affectionate, safe, household dog. So we controlled the reproduction of the foxes and guided their evolution. Within just a couple hundred years, the foxes, who began with rival packs and negativity towards humans, now wagged their tails when humans came up to them. They began to enjoy being pet when their predecessors hated it. They also tended to have colored spots on their fur and curly ears and curly tails. And now we have pet foxes, BOOM, DONE. When evolution is guided by intelligence, we see very different results. It is fast, and can achieve a purpose easily. And this is with our measly intelligence based in already existing organisms. Another example is caves or trees. Sure they serve as good homes, but with intelligence, we build houses, buildings, and cities. The universe influenced by intelligent design would look far different than what we observe, especially an ultimate intelligence. The universe also does not seem to have a purpose, whereas intelligence would give it a purpose. It may have one, but if you say, for instance, the purpose is to create and sustain life or something to do with life, the universe would be a horrid failure. The Earth is the only place we know of that has life and 99.9999999% of the Universe is empty and completely uninhabitable, therefore it does not look like it was designed for that.

      Anyway sorry for the long post, message back if you still want to discuss.

  2. Thanks for the comment Huy,
    I think I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not sure you fully get what I was saying.
    In order to reach a set of result and conclusions, science does not (indeed it must not) assume anything. The conclusions are drawn from the results; until then, everything is possible but nothing assumed. A conclusion must also be falsifiable through experimentation. If its not falsifiable, then its not accepted as a valid conclusion.
    The oft-repeated accusation that science finds no god because it assumes no god has a much validity as the accusation that science refutes alien abductions because it assumes no aliens exist.
    The theories of evolution have come about from repeated and continued observation of evidence and experimentation. Evolution was never assumed to be true before evidence indicated that to be the case, once observation was noted that indicated evolution (or natural selection) then further evidence and experiment (and there has be a lot) continues to back it up. So the same must be true of any claim of the supernatural. The extra problem with claims of the supernatural is that its easy for the believer to throw in extra clauses that are not testable.
    Our increased understanding of the world round us can only come about through what we can measure. If we stop questioning the mechanism of evolution and simply accept that ‘God did it’ how does our knowledge and understanding increase? It doesn’t.
    To take your house example; which I don’t think is a good example because we already know from the start that houses are designed and built by humans; but let’s go with it anyway.
    If we find a house in the middle of a desert and have no idea how it came about, we would test various theories on how it came to be. We could leave a pile of sand and water in the right place and see if they mixed with just the elements. That might happen and we’d get mud, but does that mud form bricks without help? We’d see not and so we’d have to come up with ways to explain that part.
    However:

    let’s say your theories are sound and you have just explained that with enough random chances and enough time to evolve …[snip]… that you have scientifically explained the “house in the dessert” phenomenon. Does that then prove that that was actually how that house was built?

    If the theory fits, explains the phenomenon and survives the falsifiability test. Why would you then want to invoke a supernatural explanation? What is the benefit being offered here? If we’ve worked hard to fine tune a theory that explains the desert house and have the experiments to back it all up and the published papers which have survived peer review scrutiny. How are we supposed to react when someone else comes along and dismisses all that hard work to claim that humans came long and built it? Of course the response we’ll give is ‘prove it!’.
    But like I said, we already know how houses are built. You need an example where we don’t know the cause already.
    So, back to evolution, there are many different ways that evolution of species can be seen, fossil evidence from layers showing progression, similarity of bone structures across animals and DNA matching, just to name a few. Conveniently they confirm each other as well. So test after test continues to show that evolution is a very reasonable conclusion. Now some people claim that its false and that a supernatural being made them all and the positive evidence is just a coincidence or a misunderstanding. Now given the amount of scrutiny involved, if there had been a mistake in the conclusions, it would have been picked up by now. Work continues on the theories of evolution anyway and we continue to learn more and where evidence shows a misunderstanding, work continues until we can explain it again.
    Here’s the kicker. Those who take the supernatural view don’t offer a reason to drop the science and accept ‘god did it’. Do you see how that’s not seen as an acceptable suggestion? In order to overthrow all that hard work, which has been argued over for years and fine-tuned through many iterations in response to discoveries, something really special needs to be brought and it needs to explain all the evidence in a way that obeys the same rules. Invoking the supernatural simply does not do that. You may as well say invisible aliens from Jupiter did it. What makes your supernatural version of creation more valid than any other? How do we know which supernatural version is the right one to pick to override the evidence that we see and can explain through our own knowledge?
    Surely what you want is something that can only be explained through the supernatural. If you can offer the scientist a tangible way of explaining something not yet explained and it fit the rules and invokes the supernatural, then you’re onto a winner and you will get a stack load of attention.
    Scientists do not assume no god, its more accurate to say, scientists will accept any answer so long as the results indicate it. There is more openness than you give credit. The reason a literal biblical creation is rejected is because the evidence does not indicate it and nor does the evidence indicate that anything supernatural was involved. Its not just the Christian god that’s rejected, all gods are rejected, as are all alien suggestions. This is not due to any anti-supernatural bias, its because anything that doesn’t fit the evidence or isn’t falsifiable gets rejected. It really is the only fair way to do the science.

  3. I apologize for the long delay in getting to a response – I just have not had the time to sit down and write out my thoughts. I thank you for your time as well in this conversation and to discuss our viewpoints. Probably after this though, any response I may have will be kept very brief because I think we can end up writing books with answering each other’s questions.

    So first you say the house example is a bad example because “we already know from the start that houses are designed and built by humans”. So let’s make it a little more abstract and more mathematical so it can apply to almost any scenario. I will use my understanding of propositional calculus or sentential logic to hopefully convey the argument further. Just let’s have these variables:

    A = Evolution happened (i.e. having just right blend of chance and natural physics occurring)
    B = Life as we know it
    C = Supernatural Design
    D = Intelligent Designer

    Your goal is to prove A is true, that is, evolution happened from the perfect set of circumstances and natural order. We only know B is true, which is our current reality. (You can not assume A is true if the goal is prove A is true). What we currently have is A -> B, which is A implies B, that is, if A happens, then B would follow. That much I would agree with you on. (Now in sentential logic, A -> B does not always mean that A causes B to happens, it just merely means that B is true every time A is true, but for our specific situation, we are saying that A causes B.)

    Does B -> ~C, which is if B is true then not C is true? That is, does our currently reality inherently implies that there is no supernatural design? I would not know think so, not directly. One may think that if A is true, but we have not established A is true yet, so I do not believe B necessarily implies not C. In fact, I believe B (A OR C), which is B implies A is true or C is true – one of them has to be true, at least for the simplification of this discussion. This also means if either one of A or C is true, then B is true. Would you agree with me up to this point?

    I think we can also state that A -> ~C and C -> ~A, so basically one event implies the other event did not happened – they are opposites as understood in the context of this discussion. Would we say B -> A? (If we did, then one would say A B). I do not think we can say from “life as we know it” then evolution must necessarily follow. So to sum, we have these:

    1) B is true
    2) (A OR C) B, which is same as B (A OR C)
    3) A -> ~C
    4) C -> ~A

    So if we need to prove A is true, then the only way that can happen is if we assume C is false. One C is false, then B (A OR C), means than if B is true, then A must be true, since one of A or C must be true and we already know C is false. That seems to me be the only way you can prove that A is true -you have to first assume C is false. As long as you have the possibility that C could be true, then can not say that A must be true. You can also call B as the “house in the dessert” or you can also call it the existence of the Grand Canyon – it does not really matter. The point being that your theories on how something happened first has to exclude other theories. So you can not say that evolution happened and therefore there was no supernatural design – you can only say evolution happened if and only if there was no supernatural design. (A AND ~C) is different from (A ~C). (A AND ~C) is what you are saying and (A ~C) is what I am saying.

    You say science does not assume C is not true – science proves C is not true because A is true. But we have not proven A is true yet and we can not start with the assumption A is true either. I know you are then thinking “but A is true! Because X -> A, and the some other fact X is indeed true!” Really? Are you sure X A? Or could C -> X as well? Basically your X is the new B. That is why you can not prove A is true until you assume C is not true. Furthermore, please note that we can actually have both A and D to be true, (D could use A to accomplish B). So D -> (A OR C) -> B.

    So when you mention fossil evidence, similarity of bone structures, and DNA matching (the X’s above) – I am not saying that these are not true. I am merely saying evolution is not the only possible cause for these facts. I am sure all these observations and facts can be explained scientifically through evolution – but I am also saying that they can also be explained through Intelligent Design. Just because science has found a good explanation for something does not negate that other explanations exists.

    One other thing I like to make clear before going further. When I use the word “evidence”, I am not meaning that any one evidence will prove without a doubt some conclusion. I use the word evidence more like how it is use in court cases – it may not in of itself prove something but it helps to build a case. With enough evidence with enough weight to support your case, then one may draw a reasonable conclusion about the outcome, or at least may consider one outcome more likely than another. Similarly with fossil evidence – one fossil may not prove anything but with enough fossil evidence, one can make a strong case.

    How about this:
    M = some event in the future
    N = same event but in the past
    O = some outcome of M

    Note that maybe M implies O, but O does not necessarily imply N. In other words (M -> O) AND (O -> (N OR ~N)). It is like when I said “science can only be used to predict future events – it does not necessarily explain what happened in the past”. Consider this example: you look out on a field and you see some wet grass. Did it rain? We know rain can cause wet grass. But does that necessarily mean that today’s wet grass was caused by rain? You see, with the scientific method, you can only theorized based on natural law that can be repeated in some lab with empirical results. That is why I say it is not within the scope of the scientific method to consider external intelligent forces. External intelligent forces simply can not be tested in a lab setting. So the best theories the scientific method can create already assume no external intelligent forces. Back to the original example, just because natural rain causes wet grass does not mean that today’s wet grass was not caused by a human actually going out and watering the grass manually. Likewise, even if evolution is a good explanation, it does not necessarily follows that it must have been what happened. Again, the best explanation from science is only based on natural laws that we can observe, and it does not account for any human or divine influences.

    For your statement :

    “…supernatural view don’t offer a reason to drop the science … What makes your supernatural version of creation more valid than any other? How do we know which supernatural version is the right one to pick to override the evidence that we see and can explain through our own knowledge?…”

    and

    “…the reason a literal biblical creation is rejected is because the evidence does not indicate it and nor does the evidence indicate that anything supernatural was involved…”

    Now that compelling case is made hopefully for the logic – we now evaluate the weight of evidences for evolution and the weight of evidences for an Intelligent Designer. Which one is more likely? You mentioned some evidences for evolution above and they are highly reasonable evidences for evolution, and even more so once you assume that there is no intelligent designer. But the more you consider evolution, the more you would have to consider the chance of it actually happening (life from non-life, design from non-design), which while possible and plausible, is really close to zero statistically speaking. Which is now why we have the multi-universe theory – with infinite universes, once of them is bound to have life. Or the new theory that life came to Earth from an asteroid, only delaying the question of how life began.

    So what are the evidences for an Intelligent Designer? Well, some of the evidence used for evolution can point toward to Intelligent Design as well (bone similarities, DNA, etc.) because they point to design, functions, and purpose. But there are other types of evidence that observable science does not have – historical accounts. Can science prove past events? Can using science one prove that the American Revolution happened? Or do we prove it using reliable historical accounts? I think we can agree that the scientific method is not the only way we prove something happened – we can also use historical accounts as evidence. So therefore I submit that there are several historical accounts of an intelligent designer. In fact, much of them are conveniently compiled together into one book, the Bible. I think many scholars can agree that much of the Bible (old and new testament) are true historical accounts, such as King David existing, and the existence and crucifixion of Jesus, and then the spread of the church and the apostles. So the book is not a total work of fiction – most of the accounts are generally regarded as happened.

    But wait, you say some parts of the Bible can not be true, like Jesus resurrecting from the dead. I would then ask why would you take those witness accounts to be false when other parts of the Bible are generally regarded as true? Is it because you assume that there are no supernatural being, and therefore anything supernatural in the Bible must be false? If so, then once again my friend you started with the assumption that there is no intelligent designer. If you did not start with that assumption, then there really is no compelling reason to take those parts of the story to be false when you take other parts of the Bible to be true. I am not saying that we have first hand account of the creation, I am saying that we have first hand account of the Creator. You may also ask, how come the Bible is the only book that contains the miracle of Jesus? Why are there not accounts from other sources? Well, because the Bible is many books and a compilation of those sources. Do not confuse it being one book with the idea that it is just one source.

    Now I am not saying every time someone makes a claim, it must be true. I am saying that you can not dismiss a claim automatically unless you already believe that there can not be a supernatural explanation. You have to weigh the claim along with other evidences for completeness. Does it stand alone, or are there other examples that support the claim? And in trying to prove there is no Intelligent Designer, you can not start with the assumption that there is no Intelligent Designer. Then you have to ask yourself, what other factors in the account would make it false?

    In addition to biblical accounts, we have all these “unsolved mysteries” like miracle healings and people testimonies of miracles happening in their life, evening in the modern world. Because they can not be explained by science, they are simply labeled as “unsolved or unexplainable” phenomenons instead of calling them as evidence for miracles. Again, I am not saying every claim for a miracle must be true. I just saying every claim must be weighed individually to see if they truly give weight to evidence of miracles happening. How credible is the source and the story? (Again with mindset that supernatural events being a possibility). I would propose that there is enough credible testimonies of miracles in people lives to at least make the idea of a supernatural being existing be within the realm of believability.

    So those in short are the evidences I submit for an intelligent designer. I feel this is like the scientific community asking to be shown a pink elephant, and then be shown a pink elephant, and then they would state that pink elephants do not exist and therefore the shown elephant must not be pink. It is possible that their instruments can not detect pink, so they are asking for something that they can not observe anyway. Therefore pink elephants remain as a myth to them. You do not believe in pink elephants though I just showed you a pink elephant and you will simply call it an unexplained phenomenon, instead of calling it a possible pink elephant. For biblical creation, you say the evidence does not indicate that the supernatural was involved, but again, that is because you had already assumed that the supernatural was not involved or not willing to believe that the supernatural exists – just like the pink elephant analogy. Once you start the assumption that there is the “possibility of the supernatural existing”, then the biblical creation does not seem unbelievable.

    As for your question on which religion then is the right one – that would be a discussion for another time. I would simply say for now that different religions is like different scientific theories on how life originated. Religion should not be about creating truths; it should be about discovering the truths, which is a lot like science. You take the evidences proposed in each religion and weigh them as a whole to see which one theory is more comprehensive and plausible. In fact, it sometimes seems to me that science, most specifically in technology, and religion are merging. If interested, I can send you my thoughts on that. But with all the theories on how life originated, different religions are simply additional theories, except they assume supernatural being(s) exist and rely also on personal accounts.

    Here is one more concept to chew on – did the universe start from something or nothing? If nothing, then we would not be talking about this, so surely there was “something”. Was this “thing” intelligent or simply physical (non-intelligent)? Let’s say its an even possibility between the two scenarios. So at time zero, there is a 50% chance that there was an intelligent being and 50% chance there was just a big ball of infinite mass in an infinitesimals small space. So statistically, there is an 50% chance that an Intelligent Designer created all this we know. That is still good odds. Actually if an intelligent being did not exist, then the chance of that singular point of mass creating everything we know today is still pretty slim. So statistically the chance of an intelligent designer is more like 99%. I say it would actually take MORE faith to believe in evolution than to believe in intelligent design. So intelligent design can answer all the same questions as evolution and even more.

    I conclude that science is limited. It is limited to the realm of repeatable predictable measurable natural law. It works great in the realm of technology. Evolution is indeed the best explanation we have – within the realm of science, which by nature can not factor in intelligent external influences. Whatever science can not cover, we falsely suddenly categorize that as philosophy and religion. It seems that once a divine being is involved, then “we are talking about religion and not science”, which is sad to me if you believe that is the case. Science, at least experimental science, can not have all the answers because it is limited. Science indeed still has great value as long as one is mindful of the scope and boundaries of that science.

  4. Hi Huy, thanks again for take the time to answer. You’ve obviously put some effort into that reply.
    I’ll pick out some bits from your post for comment but I won’t address everything as my reply will be far too long to be sensible.
    I think I get where you are going with your logic at the start, I’ll be honest in that it lost me a couple of times but I’m sure I get the gist of it. Basically its this; what we observe now is either the product of evolution or the product of God.

    Your goal is to prove A is true, that is, evolution happened from the perfect set of circumstances and natural order

    Not correct, the goal is to determine what happened as accurately as is possible. For people like myself, the role of any god has been ruled out because it doesn’t fit with what we see. Therefore evolution gets the top spot by default. The goal was never to put it there in the first place; the goal was to find the truth.

    You say science does not assume C is not true – science proves C is not true because A is true. But we have not proven A is true yet and we cannot start with the assumption A is true either.

    The bottom line is this; if there were no evolution and everything was the result of supernatural creation, what would you expect to see in the evidence? As it currently stands, the more that gets studied, the greater the pile of evidence we have, and the more that pile of evidence indicates an evolutionary process of gradual change. As hypotheses get tested and either rejected to promoted to theory we get a greater understanding of what drove that change. DNA helps with that. If there were a divine creator its not unreasonable to expect to see something that indicates that. We don’t see that because so far it all fits into models that don’t require an external influence.
    The question I asked myself a few years ago was “at what point do I conclude that evidence for God simply won’t show?”. I made the decision that point had passed and so here I am. I think all Christians should be ask themselves that question and be serious about the potential consequences of the answer.

    External intelligent forces simply cannot be tested in a lab setting. So the best theories the scientific method can create already assume no external intelligent forces.

    While the first sentence is true, it does not follow that science assumes the negative. Science by default is agnostic. What must be done is for evidence to cause a sway. I refer you back to my previous answer; if everything we currently know can be explained naturally, including the untestable evolution of humans from an ape-like ancestor; where does that leave room for the external intelligence? Surely if there was one, there would be something in the evidence that jumps out and refuses to be explained!

    Can science prove past events? Can using science one prove that the American Revolution happened? Or do we prove it using reliable historical accounts?

    I would say that the science of archaeology will be used to either confirm or refute the historical account. One should not expect the historical account to be wholly unbiased, therefore physical evidence that can be gathered will help to confirm descriptions and ascertain the accuracy of the account. Its not a case of one or the other but both together. Of course if science shows the account to be false, then that leaves a problem for those who continue to trust the historical account.

    I am saying that you cannot dismiss a claim automatically unless you already believe that there cannot be a supernatural explanation. You have to weigh the claim along with other evidences for completeness.

    As I hinted at previously, there comes a point where it is valid to say “previous claims for the supernatural have all been shown to be false and so I will accept no more until a claim can show itself to be unequivocally true”. You can’t just keep giving chances to claims when they consistently result in no positive evidence, at some point a claim that is consistently unproven should be abandoned until positive evidence can be shown. This is the case with the supernatural; time and time again no positive evidence can be found and so its perfectly reasonable to remove any idea of the supernatural until there is something positive that justifies it. This is not science assuming no god, this is science being efficient and not including suggestions that have previously shown themselves to be wanting.

    we have all these “unsolved mysteries” like miracle healings and people testimonies of miracles happening in their life, evening in the modern world. Because they can not be explained by science, they are simply labeled as “unsolved or unexplainable” phenomenons instead of calling them as evidence for miracles.

    Clearly its impossible for me to comment on every miracle event, however are events in my own life which were once classed as miraculous. The thing about the Christian mind is that it is predisposed to see things as interventions or miracles when they might not be. Any claim of the supernatural needs to be balanced with alternative suggestions. In my Christian days I’d have seen this as evidence of science trying to undermine Christianity or even an anti-Christian bias. However, I now see that this balance is critical in weighing up the accuracy and validity of supernatural claims. In my own life those events very quickly become explainable and there is no need at all for the supernatural in order to explain these events. The result is either there is no god or the god I once believed in acts only through natural process and is effectively an invisible god. Either way, the miracles are not provable as miracles and I’m back to my current position of there is no valid evidence for any supernatural god. Any claim of a miracle needs to have better backup than that.

    I would propose that there is enough credible testimonies of miracles in people lives to at least make the idea of a supernatural being existing be within the realm of believability.

    How does one judge these testimonies as credible? If they come from Christians then you know already that they have a vested interest in the claim being true and therefore there is already reason to question the credibility. The person may genuinely believe they have witnessed a miracle, I have been in that position myself, however because they already believe they are exposed to the fallacy known as confirmation bias. If a scientist comes along and offers an alternative explanation that has been documented before and is explained through what we already know, how is that any less credible and valid?

    For biblical creation, you say the evidence does not indicate that the supernatural was involved, but again, that is because you had already assumed that the supernatural was not involved or not willing to believe that the supernatural exists – just like the pink elephant analogy

    Please, stop with the ‘already assumed’ accusation. That is not the case, the claim has been checked and found wanting, I have explained above why this is the case, so I should not need to repeat myself.

    In fact, it sometimes seems to me that science, most specifically in technology, and religion are merging. If interested, I can send you my thoughts on that.

    Do you have your ideas down on a blog? If so I’d be interested in reading them, I might even put up my own thoughts on the matter.

    Here is one more concept to chew on – did the universe start from something or nothing? If nothing, then we would not be talking about this, so surely there was “something”.

    Its an interesting and challenging concept and one I shall not pretend to be knowledgeable on. I look forward to reading more about what scientists discover and the resulting conclusions.

    Actually if an intelligent being did not exist, then the chance of that singular point of mass creating everything we know today is still pretty slim.

    Do you have a basis on which to build that claim? I know from my limited understanding that your statement certainly seems to make sense. However, when those who have spent many years studying the subject disagree then there should be an acknowledgement of the greater understanding that comes with knowledge. Why on earth should I think that an opinion based on my lack of knowledge be better than the combined conclusions of many who have spent a lifetime studying the subject? It seems insanely arrogant to be that dismissive.

    I conclude that science is limited. It is limited to the realm of repeatable predictable measurable natural law. It works great in the realm of technology. Evolution is indeed the best explanation we have – within the realm of science, which by nature can not factor in intelligent external influences. Whatever science can not cover, we falsely suddenly categorize that as philosophy and religion. It seems that once a divine being is involved, then “we are talking about religion and not science”, which is sad to me if you believe that is the case. Science, at least experimental science, can not have all the answers because it is limited. Science indeed still has great value as long as one is mindful of the scope and boundaries of that science.

    Science does have its limits and those are acknowledged. However, I don’t think we’ll agree on where those limits are. Specific claims of religion can be tested, for example the effectiveness of prayer with regard to healing, and those tests consistently show no effect. A divine being isn’t science if the associated claims are not falsifiable; what’s more, if tests show a negative result for divinity those claiming the divine exists don’t accept the results. This is not the failure of science; this is the failure of the religious.
    Science is very mindful of its limits and boundaries, is the same true of the religious who are seeking to push discredited ideas into scientific arena?

  5. Pingback: Book Review – Creation or Evolution: Do We Have To Choose? « Confessions Of A YEC

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