CIS evidence for God?

In rather bizarre discussion on the Science & Origins site on Crosswalk.com, a poster, who goes by the name ‘Notredame’ has argued that there is no ‘CIS’ evidence for God.

Now it doesn’t seem to matter that no one originally claimed there was such evidence, or that he failed to define what constitutes such evidence, or that CIS evidence is a particular kind of evidence which is limited to a particular setting (like a courtroom) and that the rules that govern such evidence may vary depending on jurisdiction, history, even the particular judge in question; and that even then it can be suspect from a scientific perspective.

I suspect that the introduction of such an odd argument has more to do with the fact that Notredame is a lawyer (or has some legal training) than the fact that it is useful to make a determination about the existence of God – and that he is uncomfortable discussing biology or logic, and so feels compelled to frame it in a way he thinks he can contribute, however obtuse the contribution.

Nonetheless, it does pose an interesting question – what would constitute forensic evidence of a murder (CIS evidence), that is, a death that is the result of intelligence and planning as opposed to a natural death (which could include suicide)?

I think it is helpful to consider an extreme case first. Imagine if you will, a person found in a room who has multiple stab wounds and bullet wound to the back of the head. It is shown through investigation the person died as a result of blood loss from the same wounds. Intuitively, most would consider this a murder – but why? The primary reason is because the alternatives are too unlikely – that is there is no known mechanism by which knives and bullets, themselves products of intelligent design, can cause the death of a person apart from intention; that is that it is too unlikely that multiple stab wounds coinciding with a bullet wound could cause the death of a person. It is in essence a statistical argument that the chance of such a thing happening by accident, or as the result of wholly natural events is so unlikely as to not being worth consideration.

And what is not necessary to proclaim the scene a crime scene is not to know who did it, or why they did it, but merely to be confident that someone must have done it. And it doesn’t matter if the person who did it themselves stabbed and shot the person, or if they devised a clever machine to do the work; the event is still ultimately the product of intention.

Contrast with a 100 year old person with cancer who dies in their sleep at home; there is little reason to suspect foul play, particularly after disease and age are determined to be the only factors. Now obviously there are many cases that lie in-between, but we see the usefulness of the principle.

And such forensic work is effective even thousands of years after the events, as seen with the investigation of the death of the Tollund Man ‘bog body’– even though over time such evidence can degrade. The same logic is applied to scientific investigations – for example when considering the difference between artefact and geofacts, or determining whether a signal is ‘natural’ or of conceivably of alien origin, as SETI attempts to do.

In fact, the most robust scientific statements are those which take the form of a falsifiable statement; that is a statement which can be disproved by simply producing a case to the contrary. We can see this in something like investigations into germ theory by Pasteur, who demonstrated by his experiments that organisms do not propagate by way of spontaneous generation. To disprove Pasteur would be a simple matter – all that would be need is the demonstration of a single case of spontaneous generation. Of course this has never been done, and so Pasteur’s finding stands. In the same way certain forensic evidence would weaken if it was ever demonstrated that bullets and knives could simply find their way into bodies through wholly natural events – of course this has never happened either.

Which brings us to the case Notredame was attempting to argue – that there is no such evidence for the work of God in the natural world. From an intelligent design perspective, we can consider certain structures and systems which exist on the world, both with human technology and in biology; namely information systems and machinery. Indeed, the case is much more robust than that – for what exists in biology are information driven machines capable of sustaining and replicating. Since we can observe the origination of such systems and machinery in human technology and compare them to what we find in biology, we can come up with a falsifiable statement, namely that information system driven machinery only ever results from the work of an intelligent agent. Now this is an eminently falsifiable statement, easily disprovable by showing a case to the contrary – and since this has never been done, it constitutes evidence that the existence of information systems and machinery in biological systems constitutes evidence (either ‘CIS’ evidence, or scientific evidence) for the origination of those living systems.

Now I think there is much evidence beyond this, but this in and of itself is sufficient to establish the case. And furthermore it provides a basis for the truth of the verse being discussed in the same thread:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:20

Indeed.

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9 Responses to CIS evidence for God?

  1. Bettawrekonize says:

    Lawyers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

  2. jackhudson says:

    Bizarre comments continue at this thread; someone named ‘Trixter’ made the well worn and already disproving argument that, “With no evidence of the existence of a designer or the designer’s designer, you expect us to regard ID as acceptable science.” If this were true, nothing could be considered science because no science can answer for the origination ultimate causes.

    Thus one could ask – what causes species to exist? Natural selection acting on living organisms over time. What caused living organisms to exist? -ummm, not sure.

    Conclusion? Biology isn’t science!

    You see the absurdity of the argument. Science deals with proximate causes, not ultimate ones, and intelligent agency is a proximate cause.

  3. jackhudson says:

    So now ‘Trixter’ (living up to his name)is making ths complaint:

    No, my complaint is that ID is limited to questions of origins. It assumes a designer without addressing direct evidence of the designer, or addressing the reasonable assumption of the designer’s designer. After all, if everything points to design, then even the designer must have been designed– why should we scientifically assume otherwise?

    Of course this is different from his earlier objection that ID didn’t tell us who designed the designer. That objection having failed, he makes up a whole new one – that ID only deals with ‘origins’ and (tacked on) that ‘everything points to design’.

    Obviously ID doesn’t say ‘everything points to design’ – if that were the case, then we wouldn’t be able to differentiate between hieroglyphics and scratches on rocks.

    Insttead, it claims certain structures and systems very specifically result from design (the presence of information and machinery for instance)and so when they are present it is an indicator that an intelligent agent was at work. These indicators aren’t found elsewhere in nature (for example in rocks or the movement of water) and so the presence of intelligent agency can’t be detected there. It is a specific detection schema.

    And despite the fact that Bettwekonize has excellently answered this, Trixter continues with the canard that ‘ID only deals with origins’ which he contrasts with evolution, which he is apparently unaware deals with the origin of species. Even then, he is wrong because ID deals with causes, and can be used in regard to deal with proximate causes of observable events.

    And he also proposes the other odd argument that “Biology, evolution, chemistry, physics, etc. do not need to assume a designer in order to be tenable theories; on the other hand, ID does need to assume designer(s) a priori.” – which of course is absurd, as ID only claims certain indicators reliably indicate the presence of intelligent agency – how this claim is an ‘a priori‘ assumption isn’t explained, and causes me to assume that Trixter doesn’t really know what ‘a priori‘ means, and is merely parroting certain atheist sites.

  4. Bettawrekonize says:

    You need to get yourself unbanned because I’m starting to run out of patience with people that keep making the same bad arguments over and over. I don’t know how you can handle it, don’t you get tired of refuting the same thing over and over?

  5. jackhudson says:

    You need to get yourself unbanned because I’m starting to run out of patience with people that keep making the same bad arguments over and over. I don’t know how you can handle it, don’t you get tired of refuting the same thing over and over?

    No, because I have four kids, three of whom are or were teenagers. 🙂

    I have been meaning to tell you you are doing a great job over there.

  6. Bettawrekonize says:

    I’m not sure where on your blog to post this but I was kinda thinking about why the properties of the Universe itself support intelligent design. I hadn’t really seen a satisfactory answer but the closest I have ever come up with (and I’ve probably posted this idea on the forum a long time ago) is the notion of a first person shooter video game. We look at such video games and we can reasonably deduce they are designed. Otherwise the hard drive will have a bunch of bits randomly configured and they will not form a video game. The big configuration on the hard drive is specific in such a way that produces a video game that exhibits properties of design. One can kinda think of the universe in the same way, why should it be that there is anything meaningful at all that exists like the laws of physics. Why couldn’t there be nothing that exists or just a bunch of randomness that doesn’t form a reasonable set of coherent laws?

    So I kinda wanted to get down to exactly why we can deduce the Universe is designed based on that.

    The reason a video game looks designed is because there are multiple parts or “functions” of it working together whereby if you destroy some of the parts/functions it won’t work and the game would crash. So in a sense the game exhibits “irreducible” or maybe “specified” complexity. The physics engine must work with the characters, the characters must work with the weapons, which must work with the powerups, and all of these must work with the various maps and textures and whatnot. Various aspects of the physics engine must work together. If you remove certain aspects of the physics engine or start randomly changing bites it can very well ruin the entire game.

    The universe is kinda the same thing. It kinda exhibits “irreducible” or “specified” complexity of its own. The various laws (or functions perhaps if you’re programming) of physics must all work together and they must work with the objects within the universe itself and be able to handle the various possible configurations of the universe without “crashing.” The laws of physics must be configured so as to be able to maintain life.

    These thoughts are not very well developed, maybe you can work with them and come up with better thoughts being you’re such a fanatic of intelligent design.

  7. Bettawrekonize says:

    sp/The big configuration on the hard drive is specific in such a way that produces a video game that exhibits properties/the BIT configuration …

  8. Bettawrekonize says:

    and perhaps these ideas do have possible falsification too! Perhaps if you can get a hard drive and randomly stick a magnet to it and create a whole physics engine with an entirely complex universe, BY CHANCE (not design), within the computer and have it start up and work by itself it will show the possibility that it’s possible for such configurations of existence to emerge by chance.

  9. Bettawrekonize says:

    Now this can also be applied to the idea that the universe was designed to allow humans to accurately observe it.

    Think of an application within your operating system that displays all running tasks (a task manager) and the application perhaps allows you to also view the files on your hard drive (a file manager). In order for that application to work the operating system (ie: the universe) must have an API that enables you to view the contents of memory and the hard drive. and API’s don’t make themselves, they are designed and API functions that enables applications and users (people) to observe the operating system (the universe) form interdependent systems. You can’t just have a hard drive full of random bytes and expect that those random bytes will themselves provide enough to enable you to search and explore the hard drive and memory and properly ascertain what’s on there. Furthermore you must have an application (ie: eyes, ears, etc…) that work with the operating system in such a way that allows the application and the users to observe various aspects of the universe. and applications don’t just create themselves either.

    Just like it’s unlikely that a bunch of randomly configured bytes will be enough to enable one to observe and search through the hard drive, it’s unlikely that a randomly configured universe will provide capabilities to reasonably explore the universe. We would expect a system of interdependent “functions” (in the case of programming) or “laws” (in the case of the universe) that enable such a thing.

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