On Darwin.

Actually all that would be revealed by discovering the method of the replication is “how the aliens (or God) does it”. It says nothing concerning the existence of the aliens or of God.

Evolution is merely one of God’s ways of getting things done, just like gravity and electric forces.
Understanding it might take away the fascination for many, but it doesn’t take away the fundamental cause (the definition of “God”).
Even in Physics, there are 4 “gods” called the “fundamental forces in nature” beneath which no one can know their cause, “they just are”.

How is that any different than saying, “God does it” other than merely adding more detail as to what is being done and how?

Well, James, I suspect you might mean something rather idiosyncratic by “God”. Otherwise, I’m not sure how to make sense of your post, especially in light of the commonly Judeo-Christian notion of God–which seems, in any case, to be the notion most often assumed in philosophical discourse.

Well you are right in that I do not take the stereo typical image of God that common people do. Having a much deeper understanding of the whole issue and seeing that fundamentally, “God” is directly referring to the “most fundamental cause” of existence (“First Cause”), I can see the rational since in many religious and philosophical expressions that otherwise seem just silly.

But my point was that knowing more detail of HOW something comes about doesn’t dismiss the Cause, it merely adds to the detail of what is happening.

Evolution was a very brilliant revelation within the proper limits. But people ALWAYS try to extend their bits of wisdom to include ALL of reality to an infinite degree every time they come up with the slightest new thought (Science is no exception).

When the details of “how” contradict directly the nature of the cause, then surely those details lessen the likeliness of that cause’s legitimacy. But all this is irrelevant since I’ve been setting this thread against the Judeo-Christian notion of God, and your conception obviously diverges.

Certainly. Much of what passes for evolutionary psychology is a nice example of this.

The point, while maybe overstated in the OP, is the Darwinism removes the necessity of a guiding intelligence, as commonly accepted up until the time, and thereby any reason to take the natural world as evidence of one. Other evidence may of course be compelling, or not. But it’s generally considered good form to provide evidence for existence, as there are a great many more things that don’t exist than do. If that’s not too convoluted a turn of phrase :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s not theological, that’s a description of the mechanism. You may invoke all sorts of things in your description of evolution, but the theory itself as put forward by Darwin doesn’t.

Are you asking for concrete evidence of a lack of existence? Really?

Allow me to extend the same warning to you as I did to a-e: be civil, please, or you will be warned. You seem dead set on making this a personal matter of cutting someone down to size, for some reason; this is not acceptable.

I realize my rhetoric often borders on the hyperbolic. But do note how I qualified myself.

Emphasis added. It should go without saying that my claim that Darwin murdered God is an invocation of the Nietzschean maxim. The proclamation that God is dead means that we no longer need to take the hypothesis seriously; it doesn’t do anything for us, it is dead, useless.

It definitely has an impact. It deludes folks like yourself in to thinking they’ve somehow proven their favorite theory on infinite scale questions.

It’s like reading a car manual until we understand all the systems in detail, and then declaring this proves that nobody made the car. Sloppy.

I think you might actually just be “trolling” to see the lengths to which I’ll go in responding to you. But I’m not exactly sure. If you can’t see how the thesis that humans are animals that evolved the same way that all other animals did, non-purposively, by chance, and through a mechanism that works foundationally by death, that they came about as an accident and could just as easily not have survived or not have evolved at all, if you can’t see how this impacts the concept of God, then we’ve little left to say to each other. First: it means that God did not create humans; at best, it means He created simple forms of bacteria and hoped that millions and millions of years down the line, something resembling a being with intelligence would emerge from the piles of failed adaptations and decomposed bodies. Second: it means that God is not working actively to minimize suffering; rather, He created a mechanism whereby death works to drive further creation: natural selection. Third: it means that God did not have a plan. Adaptation, mutation, and natural selection work mostly by chance, and everything that happened could easily have happened otherwise. And you still fail to see the impact?

This analogy fails in every regard. The proper analogue to your example would be the following: With a working knowledge of anatomy and an understanding of the human organs, we can conclude that no one created the human body. But this isn’t at all what I’ve said. My claim is that by understanding the process of evolution, which includes much more than the anatomy of the human body, it includes its genus as well as the process that drove it, we no longer need to invoke God to account for the existence of the human being, the existence of higher intelligence, the existence of a proliferation of different types of animals, and so on. This is because evolution tells us how these things came about. Whereas we once said: human beings were created by God to hold dominion over the rest of nature, we now know that a claim like this can only work by ignoring the overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. Humans are part of nature; they do not stand over and above it. They came about, just as everything came about. This hurts the concept of God. If you are, as James is, working off an idiosyncratic concept of God that evolution somehow corroborates, then please make it clear. If not, then I can only assume that you have no intention to argue in good faith and are content with offering nothing more than the odd inflammatory line, proclaiming nonetheless that you have the better of the argument, and that I’m unreasonable and deluded.

Another member of the forum provided this example. I apologize for not remembering who, and crediting them appropriately. Dear reader, if it was you, please claim your credit, for it’s a good example.

Imagine you’re walking through the woods, and come upon a 747 airliner. You’ve never seen such a thing before. If you then assumed this mysterious 747 was created by some form of intelligence, why would you assume this? Go in to this please. Why did you assume intelligence as the source?

Why didn’t you assume that the sophisticated complexity of the airliner, which you can observe for yourself, fell in to place by random chance?

I don’t claim this argument is proof of anything, but it is a thoroughly reasonable argument.

Understood. And this is my demand as well.

Please show us the evidence for the existence of anyone’s ability to arrive at meaningful answers to questions the scale of the God proposal.

The phrase “there’s nothing transcendent being evoked” is very simply nothing other than a theological assertion.

The accurate, factual, reason based statement that should replace this wild speculation is…

We the scientists aren’t aware of anything transcendent being evoked.

Which might quickly be followed by…

Until only 100 years ago, we the scientists weren’t aware of 99+% of all of reality. And may still be in that position.

Put another way, the fact that somebody doesn’t see something does not automatically equal nothing being there. A lack of evidence sufficient to conclude the question one way or another proves…


Does Darwin himself invoke the various fantasy knowings being sold in this thread, or does he wisely stick to facts?

I’m asking anyone who claims to know to provide evidence of such an ability.

I agree the rhetoric is out of hand on both sides, and will make a good faith effort to comply with your request.

I have no personal animosity for the OP, and wish him well in his studies.

I’m responding to a very long standing pattern of such intellectually arrogant claims by many young punk posters on many forums, and am hoping that a bit of public embarrassment might assist some of our young friends in being more thoughtful in their public declarations. If I should embarrass myself in such a project also, ok, so be it, then I must need a teaching as well, we never get too old for that.

No, I’m not trolling, and hold a sincere point of view here. But I do agree we’ve gotten a bit too wound up in our exchanges, and am agreeable to dialing back the rhetoric.

You wish to declare your loyalty to reason, and I support you in this goal. I’m challenging you to surrender further to reason.

You have adequate evidence to make convincing statements about the process by which life continually adapts to it’s environment. I have no complaint with you here, and have already stated you make these points in an articulate and intelligent manner.

You don’t have adequate evidence to make infinite scale type statements, and so I am suggesting loyalty to reason involves recognizing this, and that the appropriate reason based declaration in the absence of convincing evidence either way is…

I don’t know.

“I don’t know” may not be a satisfying destination, but reason is more ruthless than any Jehovah, and doesn’t give a shit about that. :smiley:

Right, it could be that some intelligent agent used evolution to create and manage all life, including humans. We would do the same thing ourselves if we could, create a system that took the job off our hands.

Yes, death fuels life and life leads to death. You’ve described a system. You’ve proven nothing about who might have created the system, and what their intention might be.

Chance is God’s plan. Or so the theist can so very easily say, and you have nothing with which to refute it. Casino’s use chance in much the same way. Each individual transaction is based on chance, but the casino knows the odds are weighted in favor of a certain outcome.

I’ve already explained what the impact is, and out of respect for you and the mod, will not repeat myself. :smiley:

As far as I know, nobody is requiring you to invoke God in your personal explanation of reality.

Please prove that some intelligent agent didn’t use evolution to create human beings, and that you would be in a position to understand the intentions of such an agent, should one exist.

I agree with this, just not the way you came to it. I actually feel humans are hanging on to the bottom rung of the ladder, but that’s a topic for another day.

We’re working off the same system.

  1. You want evidence of God, or you decline to believe in God.

  2. I want evidence of anybody’s ability to answer infinite scale type questions, or I decline to believe in such ability.

This is merely the blind watchmaker argument, which is precisely what the theory of evolution disarms.

No, you’re placing the burden on the sceptic. If you have further evidence for the existence of a guiding intelligence, accepting that evolution places the evidential status of your 747 in question, please share it.

This is sophistry. A proposal needs some evidence or argumentation; scale alone doesn’t cut it.

No, the theory itself is wholly known, unlike reality. It’s known because it is a theory, and has been formulated. And it evokes no transcendence.

Of course not. But it is a fine working hypothesis, if no-one else can show any reason that something is there.

If your friend claims there is a ghost in the darkened room next door and offers as evidence that he has heard it, and you find that that noise can be clearly explained by the wind whistling through the chimney, do you still hold that there is a ghost in the next room? Do you let the fear of ghosts hold you back from entering the room? That does not seem the rational path.

So… “yes”. Yet that’s not how rational standards of enquiry, be they scientific, judicial or theological, work. At least, not since the 16th Century :slight_smile:

This is not the forum to mount your personal crusades against imagined foes. And if your chosen form of embarrassment is to bait them into ill-temper, it’s you that will be warned. That’s all.

This is merely an empty declarative statement, devoid of any useful explanation of why you hold this view.

The burden is not a ball that gets passed back and forth. Everybody who makes a claim bears their own burden. If anybody claims they know XYZ, they bear the burden for demonstrating such an ability.

I’m afraid scale is relevant here, as the God proposal is that of an entity above and outside of the system of reason we would use to evaluate the claim. That is, as usually defined, a God would not have to be logical, as it was God that created the logic.

I’ve used the example of the owner of this forum.

The forum owner created the rules. The forum owner can change the rules at any time. Thus, we can’t assume the forum owner will act in a manner consistent with known rules, as they are not bound by the rules they themselves created.

We are bound by the rules, we are within the system, and we can be analyzed by that system. The forum owner is above and outside the system. The forum owner is in a fundamentally different situation than we are.

So I’m supposed to believe in your ability to answer infinite scale questions based on faith alone? You refuse to provide evidence of such an ability?

I’m not baiting anybody. I am rather, joining the question the OP asked us to address, in the very same manner the OP himself addressed the questions he wished to investigate.

Further, but briefly because it’s off topic, I would suggest that anonymous screen names have no reason to fear other anonymous screen names. On internet forums, all wounds are self inflicted.

You think you’ve embarrassed me? Read back over our exchange. You’ve been consistently unreasonable. Given everything you’ve conceded to the theory of evolution, you maintain that the existence of God remains unquestioned. This cannot possibly be the Judeo-Christian God.

Of course, you define God as beyond logic, and so beyond the realm of rational discourse entirely–for how could we say anything at all about a God to which neither the law of self-identity nor the law of non-contradiction applies? Why even invoke such a conception of God when you concede openly the impossibility of evaluating claims about Him one way or the other? Surely, you see the horrific fallacy here. Working within such an understanding of God, the problem isn’t that evolution doesn’t touch Him, the problem is that nothing at all human is capable of touching him–not philosophy, not argument, not theology, not doctrine, not scripture, nothing. He is, as you’ve said: outside of reason. And yet you act as if this conception of God is common enough to go without saying. Because, until now, you’ve yet to expound it. By keeping secret your concept of God, while simultaneously insisting that the theory of evolution leaves His existence unquestioned, you’ve been nothing short of intellectually dishonest.

I will go along with the notion being expressed that “we” don’t need the common “God” concept if understanding the universe is all we need.

But I can’t go along with the notion that understanding the universe is really all we need.
And Darwin fails miserably on the other needed aspects.

And so is that. :stuck_out_tongue:

I hold the view because it’s the blind watchmaker argument, substituting a 747 for a pocketwatch.

If you’re arguing for an a-rational god who is outside the rules of logic, then you’re not relying on reason. Yet this is precisely what you claimed to be doing, against “theological” assertions. If you attack the OP for making theological assertions, it seems strange to counter them with wilder, more theological and less rational speculation on your own part.

It is of interest only if you’re interested in reason and rational debate in good faith. It’s not for everybody. I’m not claiming any magical abilities for you to believe in, I’m saying that in rational discourse claims of existence require proof. There are several centuries of evidence and argument backing this up; if you don’t believe it, it will handicap your abilities to think critically and argue rationally. But I can’t make you believe it.

This may help clarify matters:

You are talking of young punks, juvenile high horses and using sarcasm. I assume we’re both old enough not to be coy about it.

I maintain that all claims on the subject remain unproven, and that no claimant has provided convincing evidence of their ability to answer such questions. The existence of God has always been questioned.

It’s not my definition. A dominant definition of God is that of an all powerful intelligent agent that created everything. This is what the word “God” generally means in common usage.

Starting from this typical definition, it’s a mere baby step to propose that such an entity would be beyond logic. Or to be more precise, such an entity could, like the forum owner, choose to remain above and outside the rules that it created, and thus we would have no way of knowing if our reasoning applied to it or not.

It seems we’ve proven that we’re perfectly capable of having rational discourse on the subject of God. Whether this discourse accomplishes anything is another matter.

I’m not personally declaring God exists. I’m claiming you have in no way proved that it doesn’t. I’m claiming we don’t know.

This is very very simple. You have not proven your ability to know such things, thus I don’t believe in that ability.

It’s the very same test which you apply to the God proposal.

The problem you’re having is that you want to apply this test to other people’s claims, but not to your own. This is a form of intellectual dishonesty which is very common in most ideologies, including both theism and atheism. First a conclusion is reached via faith, and then hand picked arguments are arranged to support the conclusion. This isn’t reason.

You might be interested in another thread we’re working on, which is addressing this question. To greatly summarize, you said “nothing is capable of touching God”. Take that literally, and you’ve opened the door to new territory that can be explored. Or not, as you wish.


My concept of God is hardly secret, very simple, and stated all over the forum. I have no idea if one exists, and neither does anybody else.

My writing can be confusing to some forum posters, as they arrive on the scene all geared up to fight the same old theism vs. atheism debate which they’ve memorized from previous encounters. It’s sort of like a ritualized dance where everybody knows the steps assigned to them, and thus they’re comfortable with the routine.

In your case, you’ve suited up to do battle with theists. But I am not a theist. I’m challenging you with the very same reason you yourself are attempting to use. I’m challenging you from inside of your own camp, an unexpected direction perhaps.

I’m using atheist reasoning (no belief without proof) and following that reasoning through to it’s logical conclusion.

Unless you can convincingly demonstrate an ability to know what does or doesn’t lie at the heart of all reality (an arena we can’t even define) then I choose not to believe you possess such an ability.

Your own reasoning…

Applied to yourself.

Hello again,

I have no objection if you find that you can not address this argument, whatever you want to call it. I can’t address it either, and that’s what makes it interesting to me. Labeling the argument is not meeting the argument.

I’m not arguing FOR such a god. I’m only saying that if anything like the normal definition of the word “God” exists, an all powerful creator of everything, it would be, by that definition, above and outside of the rules of logic. This is very clearly quite simple reason.

My theological assertion, which is repeated all over the forum, is that we’re all talking out of our butts when it comes to theological assertions of any flavor. “All” would include me as well.

In the other thread I referenced above, we’re exploring how this shared ignorance might be put to good use.

As I keep repeating ad nauseam, I’m saying EXACTLY THE SAME THING. The only difference is that I’m applying this process equally to everybody and all claims.

One More Time: If a speaker can not prove they have the ability to know what does or doesn’t lie at the heart of all reality, reason, as you yourself describe it, requires us to not believe in such an ability.

I’m arguing more rationally than those who are engaging me here. You are applying reason to one side of the argument, the side you hope to defeat. I am applying reason equally to all sides of the argument. I’m demanding you be loyal to your own chosen method, reason.

I’m talking of young punks and juvenile high horses because I have proof of their existence. I’m using sarcasm to prove that even old punks can ride juvenile high horses. :smiley:

Cutesy tootsy cleverness aside, your points are reasonable and I’m attempting to comply, as I believe the other posters are as well. You are playing a useful role by suggesting we kids in the playpen take a time out.

No one can prove that anything doesn’t exist. However, it looks rational to assume that:

For any given conceivable thing, if there is no evidence for its existence, then it does not exist.

This is rational because there is an indefinitely large number of conceivable things, yet only a finite number of existing things, such that the probability of any given conceivable thing existing (when there is no evidence for that things existence) is next to zero. This is basically the rational behind Occam’s razor, which atheists effectively apply to god. (resisting bearded-god joke here).

When someone says ‘dragons don’t exist’, nobody jumps out at them and says ‘you can’t prove that’, because its just common sense to assume that something that we a) have no evidence for existing and b) can track back (as a concept) to a bundle of old stories now known not be true , does not exist.

It’s been addressed by biologists and mathematicians, who’ve all found evidence that a guiding intellect is not necessary for the appearance of design, and that randomness combined with selection pressures are sufficient given the timescales involved. It’s been done for several complex biological structures. That’s why it’s not evidence for a guiding intellect - because an explanation without an intellect makes as much sense, and is more parsimonious.

But reason doesn’t apply to this God, so you can’t make any such conclusion.

Then I have no reason to pay any heed to your assertion, surely?

I am saying that I have the ability to draw conclusions on something’s existence based on a lack of any compelling evidence for that thing. Don’t you? Do you live in a world of fairies, unicorns and Easter bunnies? I believe not.