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Another National Academy of the Sciences statistic. Meaningless, once you investigate it.
The first person is stating nonsense. I’ve already mentioned this before. Many scientists, like Newton and others, worked to find predictability and mathematical consistency under the very premise that God exists. Atheism does not predict an organized universe with predictable and observable rules and laws. That’s the result of a sentient being doing so with intent.
For example, there are many software suits that attempt to simulate the universe (ie: Celestia is a free one). Would anyone argue that this software, which tries to emulate consistent rules and mathematical equations, was the result of random chance? No. In taking physics the elegant, predictable laws of physics are by far easily (and I believe they are) the strongest evidence there is for a coherent, reasonable God. Our universe follows many reasonable, predictable, coherent and many interdependent laws that all harmoniously work together in a way that can often be well modeled by simple and elegant equations. Random chance does not produce this. Random chance does not produce Celestia and other software models that attempt to model the universe. Random chance produces a hard drive with random meaningless bytes and bits. Likewise, random chance does not produce a universe composed of many interdependent complex rules that harmoniously work together to follow such elegant and predictable mathematical formulas. No, that’s a product of design. This is easily the strongest and most compelling evidence there is for design.
By far the strongest argument for design is the lack of randomness the universe possesses. If I throw a ball up in the air it will consistently, predictably, and reliably come back down to the ground every time (unless I threw it past escape velocity, but I’m not that strong of course). Atheism and random forces producing random rules and ‘code’ does not predict this. Heck, trying to model the universe by writing code requires a lot of effort and may lead to the presence of random errors and bugs (the software may crash due to a mistake in the code, the ball may get lost from time to time, etc…). Indeed, writing such elegant and consistent code to consistently and reliably produce such predictable outcomes without crashing and giving errors requires a very deliberate effort. Yet the universe is able to reliably produce predictable outcomes to experiments. It follows very complicated/sophisticated yet consistent and reliable rules, interdependent rules that reliably harmoniously work together to reliably produce often simple outcomes to a given experiment. That’s not chance, that’s design. Chance predicts nothing. Let me see chance model the universe on a hard drive without the deliberate effort of an intelligent designer.
You even look at a (mechanical) clock, a (mechanical, or digital I suppose) device that’s designed to be reliably predictable. Is it a product of random chance or design? It takes a deliberate effort to make this complicated and sophisticated device, with many different interdependent components, reliably predictable. Likewise, it takes a deliberate effort to make many aspects of the universe, with many different components/rules/laws, and the laws that govern it reliably predictable.
Of course atheism doesn’t “predict” a universe with a “lack of randomness”; atheism is descriptive, not normative. Perhaps you mean “materialism”.
But here’s the problem: since we already observe the universe as it is (laws, life, etc.), no one can make a “prediction” about it. At best, you might be able to make a post-diction. But in the case of the argument for design, you’re simply advocating a tautology – you can’t “predict” anything by simply asserting that the laws of the universe must have required a designer. The very concepts of randomness and chance are products of the laws of the universe – it’s nonsensical to talk about the laws themselves arising from chance or randomness. Perhaps they simply ARE, and didn’t “arise” from anything at all! We. Don’t. Know.
We also don’t know whether the laws of physics or various constants could be any different or, if they, could, how different they could be. You can’t talk about chance or randomness without having some sort of value or range or probability, and for that to apply to the universe itself you’d need to know how many possible variations of the laws and constants there could be. Good luck.
tl;dr – The argument from design requires the assumption that the universe had to have come from something else. That’s simply not supported by modern physics. It may have, and it’s certainly possible, but it’s also possible that the universe is enclosed and, like most conceptualizations of God, simply IS.
An assumption of materialism is what has illuminated our understanding of the universe. Sure, it could be wrong; maybe supernatural explanations will at some point become necessary. But there’s not yet a shred of evidence to that effect. Supernatural hypotheses can yield no falsifiable predictions about the observable features of the universe – only assert tautologies based on what is already know. As such, they’re epistemologically useless.
Well, no, you’re first looking at things of known origin (a computer simulation, a clock) and noting that certain characteristics that they possess are a product of design. Then you’re taking something of unknown origin (the universe) and noting that it, too, posses these characteristics. and from there you can infer design.
“An assumption of materialism is what has illuminated our understanding of the universe.”
No, an assumption of materialism and the idea that “Perhaps they simply ARE” and that the universe just ‘is’ lead to the belief by atheists that the universe has no beginning. That was proven false when then universe was shown to be expanding. So, to save this idea they came up with the rubber band theory, which also was later proven false thanks to the fact that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. The evidence shows that the universe seems to have a definite beginning. Materialism hasn’t illuminated anything but falsehoods.
“But here’s the problem: since we already observe the universe as it is (laws, life, etc.), no one can make a “prediction” about it. At best, you might be able to make a post-diction.”
Also, the problem with your argument here is that, in this video (for example) it is atheists/materialists that are somehow attempting to use predictability as an argument for materialism and against theism. Yet the moment that argument is shown to oppose your views it is not a prediction but a post-diction. It’s only a prediction when convenient, otherwise, it’s a post-diction.
Materialism/atheism makes no predictions and it, to, makes no contribution to the predictive power of any part of any of the sciences, so why even bring predictability up here? It’s irrelevant, at least according to you. No one claims that the existence is God is something that can be scientifically tested. It’s not. Neither can materialism, so, really, the first author of this video hasn’t made a scientific argument for or against theism or materialism.
“We also don’t know whether the laws of physics or various constants could be any different or, if they, could, how different they could be.”
Oh, sure they could be. I could make a simulation with various different constants. but that still requires a deliberate effort. Without a deliberate effort you have no simulation, you have no constants, you have nothing. Nothing predictable, nothing at all.
“You can’t talk about chance or randomness without having some sort of value or range or probability, and for that to apply to the universe itself you’d need to know how many possible variations of the laws and constants there could be. Good luck. ”
That’s just it, there is an infinite number of possible variations. Having constant, reliable and easily predictable laws is a very small subset of all the possibilities. Trying to code such a thing may easily lead to all sorts of errors an unreliable inconsistencies that are a product of chance mistakes. Indeed, coding for a reliable simulation that reliably produces predictable results requires a more deliberate effort.
” He adds that the mechanism could help explain how New World monkeys, with their small, smooth brains, could have evolved from an ancestor with a bigger and more folded brain.”
Instead of constantly trying to find ways to explain things within the framework of a preconception why not simply take the evidence for what it suggests. We do not share a common ancestor.
Sorry this is a bit off topic. Though this video does exaggerate and the stats in it are selective I did find it interesting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAlrMQTx5k4
Evolutionists have long argued that viruses are all bad. Turns out they can do some good, by helping restore balance.
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