Originally Posted by axiom-tech
So, since "atheism" is not a belief per say, but rather the negation of a belief, I won't be arguing 'for atheism' but rather metaphysical naturalism which simply happens to be atheistic in that it adopts a scientific basis.
What specifically do you mean by belief? If one denies a certain belief, in reality they are also a true believer in another set of beliefs. For example, due to you denying the existence of God, you're a believer in metaphysical naturalism. This is not to say that you're worshipping it but simply means that you hold it as true. I am sure you think this or you wouldn't be having this debate. You admit though that MNaturalism "happens" to be the same as the basic belief of an atheist correct? How is this not arguing for atheism when metaphysical naturalism is basically the belief that the natural world is all there is? I don’t think any atheist would argue for a supernatural being in any way.
1) Every explanation that has been confirmed and met the test of time has been naturalistic
2) Super naturalistic 'explanations' have always been replaced with naturalistic ones, never vice versa.
The rational conclusion is that all future explanations will be naturalistic, and a logical extension of this would be that all of existence is natural.
For the sake of argument, we will call the known fact that our ancestors attributed natural phenomena to the supernatural but was later found out that it is explainable by natural processes. This will be called HX. It is, however, entirely possible that our ancestors could’ve believed differently by only attributing the supernatural for only the good arguments such as the origin of life, cosmological principle, meaning of life etc and naturalistic phenomena was generally not attribute to God. This will be called HY. In the case for HY, it wouldn’t be enough for the non-existence of God if the history was actual of course. So would you argue that HB would make God’s existence more likely than in HX? If so, how could this be? We are living the exact same universe and nothing has necessarily changed between HX and HY except for the theological claims of our ancestors. The universe hasn’t changed in objectivity so how could the existence of God be more or less probable? The probability of God’s existence should rather be focused on the coherence of the arguments that are used for His existence. For example, the argument that moral values exist will have the same premises and conclusion in HX or HY and this is true for all other arguments. Is it not obvious that God’s existence is independent of the fault arguments of our ancestors? This probably not much in relation to your argument but I am noticing the similarities from Jeffrey Jay Lowder’s arguments and it is often times used against us theists. Regardless, I do think this argument at least applies in some way as you’re arguing that a replacement of supernatural explanations have been replaced by natural ones therefore making the exist of the natural world as all there is. Just because naturalistic explanations replace the supernatural, it doesn’t make it unlikely for there to be any true supernatural explanations. Come to think of it, you do get your arguments from Lowder! Did he not argue for the physical minds as well? This is not to say that he’s the inventor of such an argument, and there may well be others who use the argument but it’s coincendential that he uses the History of Science argument along with the physical mind although your addition of induction is a lot more effective in my opinion. My apologies if I am making a false claim because I don’t exactly read as much about philosophy than I do in science.
A naturalistic explanation doesn't automatically entail the BEST explanation. Facts are facts and they only become interesting if one tries to explain it. For example, the observational statement that I saw a flash of light at 12 pm is a factual statement. However, there is no significance in this fact unless we attempt to explain it. The flash of light that I saw at 12 pm could've been the headlights from a car, lightning, an explosion, a plane wreck etc. As you can see, facts only become interesting when we try to explain it. MNaturalism, is simply that, a philosophy which attempts to argue that everything that can be said to exist is nature. Since you'd rather use arguments like these, then you should logically be able to accept my arguments...
1) Historically, all observations point to Life coming from life (law of biogenesis)
2) Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that all life will continue to come from life.
From this you cannot infer a naturalistic explanation because all observations point to life always existing. The christian, on the other hand, is justified in saying that life always existed (God) and therefore this existence can bring others into existence. Without existence, then existence shouldn't be inferred. Logic, couldn't even be used...at least in your world-view. One could argue that these observations have nothing to do with origins but that's exactly my point! Merely because we continually explain things through naturalistic explanations doesn't entail that the past is the same and so God cannot be excluded. If you do, then my above argument is valid and naturalism is defeated either way.
Now, one may argue that I am excluding other considerations such as the Big bang which logically, no life could exist. If no life existed before the big bang, then it would be reasonable from someone's perspective, that life cannot exist at that time of course.
1) Historically, there hasn't been life in this universe.
2) Therefore, it would have been reasonable to conclude that there will continue to be no life.
Now you are stuck with another dilemma I believe... You cannot infer a naturalistic explanation for the evolution of non-life to life because all observations pointed to life not existing at that time. The christian, on the other hand, is again justified in saying that life always existed (God) and therefore this existence can bring others into existence. Once again, you could argue that these observations doesn't entail what the future will hold but that is exactly my point! Merely because we continually explain things through naturalistic means doesn't imply that the past and/or future will be the same and so God cannot be excluded. The past says that life did not exist, but the future of the big bang says that life does exist. Therefore, inference cannot work even in this situation with 2 considerations unless you can come up with a further argument.
Excluding the consideration that God could've created it would therefore give you false reasoning! For example, as you said the scientific method is consisted by drawing inferences on observed data but many times this conclusion is reached by a colored rejection of certain kinds of facts. The field of observation is then limited by the criterion of the scientist is then narrowed and the conclusion may be incorrect. By rejecting data that one dislikes, they can arrive at the wrong principle. Attempts to explain the origin of life point to a intelligent designer but if a biologists is a Mnaturalist, he rules out such data as impossible and limits his findings to his own group. Yet you insist that "historically all confirmed explanations have been naturalistic explanations". The reason for something being explained by naturalistic processes is because what we observe is in itself part of the natural world! As I said, origins science cannot be observed. Naturalism is so deeply part of thinking in people’s thinking today that they find it difficult to look at it in a different way. For most of them, only a modest amount of evidence is needed to prove the whole system and even if they do reach doubts, their naturalism remains untouched. Since there can’t be anything outside of nature, there must be something that produced everything to and so they wait for a satisfactory naturalistic mechanism to be discovered. If the supernatural could be admitted as a possibility, then trouble comes for naturalism but if it is excluded then it cannot lose. Logically, it follows that the evidence will always support the naturalistic alternative. Merely because scientists know a good deal about the behavior of bacteria and electricity doesn’t follow that they know the origin in the first place.
The problem of induction also gives the problem of claiming that absolute truth can only be achieved through the senses. Only by making a inductive leap of faith can one make a universal statement from a finite number of specific observations.
Originally Posted by Bertrand Russell 1945, 673
I It is therefore important to discover whether there is any answer to Hume within a philosophy that is wholly or mainly empirical. If not, there is no intellectual difference between sanity and insanity. The lunatic who believes that he is a poached egg is to be condemned solely on the ground that he is in a minority or rather - since we must no assume democracy - on the ground that the government does not agree with him. This is a desperate point of view, and it must be hoped that there is some way of escaping it.
If it is unprovable, then what makes science distinguished from religious truth? Perhaps one could argue in terms of probabilities but this again is flawed because most inductive statements cannot be assigned high probabilities. Unless one wanted to confine themselves to making probabilistic statements about common occurrences (water is wet), Hume’s problem is still a big problem at least for historical science and sometimes even future science.
p1) All that exists is natural or an extension of nature
All that exists, for which we can be tested is indeed natural. We can nevertheless discover design in the natural world. Do you believe that everything has to be explained through the senses in order for it to be true?
p2) God is something 'non-natural' or 'supernatural'
What do you mean by the laws of nature? If by the laws of nature we mean how we think things work then the supernatural events do occur all the time. The Mpemba effect demonstrates that hot water freezes more quickly than cold water! This of course wouldn’t make sense to us and it would violate the laws of nature as we know them to be. Nevertheless it still occurs and is fully natural even though we don’t understand it. How then, could we define the laws of nature as how we think things work when nature is bigger and more complicated than us? If it is said that all events that we don’t understand is supernatural and don’t study them because it is in violation of the laws of nature then there will cease to be progress. What if we define nature as how things work? If this was the case, the the supernatural realm would bare no meaning because either something happens or it doesn’t. For example, Jesus being born of a virgin is natural because it happened. If he wasn’t then this event isn’t supernatural but is a false story.
In other words, things that happen should be studied but things that do not happen are not supernatural and is simply false and science should prove it false. It should be noted that the laws of nature is defined by scientists as how we think things work. If one doesn’t believe that God exists then you would naturally conclude that it is unscientific t o claim that God did one thing and another. However, neither is the premise that God doesn’t exist a scientific position but rather a philosophical position. Whether God does or doesn’t exist are both equally unscientific. To the supernaturalist, the question isn’t about whether miracles are supernatural or not, but rather on whether it even occurred. God either does things or He doesn’t. Going back to the previous example, either Jesus rose from the dead or He did not. Despite the incredible claim, it is still a question whether it actually happened. Therefore science must permit creationism as a possibility. If God created the universe and life itself then it is history and we should find evidence consistent with this theory. If it did not occur, then the event is simply false and not supernatural and science has the job of refuting it.
Originally Posted by The Limitations of Scientific Truth
Science is a process of search for the truth, and few things are more certain than the fact that as the process continues, current theories will be revised and eventually abandoned in favor of new theories.
Is it not the job of science to find out what is true? Why should we exclude the supernatural? The assumption that God is unscientific is mostly premised on the belief that He doesn’t exist or hasn’t done anything in the universe. If God does things, then it is possible to attribute actions to HIm and it would also be necessary because any other explanation would be false. We merely believe that God could have acted in the universe and attempts to exclude this possibility is saying that there is a criterion for what can be true. Namely, naturalists most likely maintain that only naturalistic explanations can be true so this by definition automatically excludes God even if He did do things in our universe. The question should be on what explanation is best support by the evidence. Is the Bible not full of accounts that can be observed? Most of them are observable, such as the global flood, burning bush, staffs into snakes, etc. Of course we cannot conclude from this that all supernatural events are observable but this doesn’t exclude that the fact that a lot of events were indeed observable. The fact that we can’t observe a supernatural being is a direct result of our limitations rather than a inadequacy in God. For example, we were not able to see the other side of the moon but there was nevertheless reason to believe it probably did exist. It then occurred that our technology allowed us to travel there and confirm that it did exist.
Going back to your previous argument on naturalistic explanations replacing the supernatural, it is true but still a false analogy. Those who argued for the supernatural for X event, was because nature was rather poorly comprehended. A scientific application of supernatural explanations can conclude that natural processes is a inadequate explanation, not because we have a lack of knowledge but because of an actual inability (from what-we-know) of natural laws and chance to explain it. Is this to say that a natural explanation cannot replace it? Of course not! Even though it is entirely possible that we will find a naturalistic explanation, the reverse is just as possible in that we’ll find and even more inadequacy with a natural explanation. Either way, both of these hypothesis are simply replacing one another as is the nature of science.
Each of the phenomena that is in need of explanation forms a philosophical starting point for the existence of God. Here we argue that since phenomenon X is not expected, odd, and puzzling but X is expected if there is a God. Remember that I am not providing “proof” of good but a justification for believing in HIs existence rather than it’s negation. Therefore phenomena x provides reasonable justification for God’s existence. For those who think the world doesn’t work that way then consider an example. A detective is on a murder case and discovers various clues. (1)The wife lacked a an alibi (2) No evidence of broken windows or a forced open door (3) perfume on the murder weapon. (4) insurance on the husband was recently pulled out. All these cumulation of evidences confirm that the wife did it. For something to be a good argument, it must first cite evidence that is not likely to occur. Second, the event must be made more expected if it is true. Lastly, the hypothesis must be simple. We could say that someone was pretending to be the wife (H2) and it would be equal the to hypothesis (H1) that the wife did it. However, H2 isn’t supported by the evidence where as H1 is because it postulates that the wife is one object doing one act -murder- that leads us to expect the evidence that we find.
You're welcome to speak on the issue of the problem of induction, but please don't embarrass yourself by making the false accusation that my using induction begs the question, since to beg the question I must presuppose the conclusion in one of my premises. Since my conclusion is MNaturalism is true, and not the 'nature is uniform' I am not committing the fallacy.
Well, I think you should be a little bit more less closed-minded on the issue. I am not necessarily going to accuse you that you are indeed begging the question but I will ask some questions that maybe you can point out as incorrect. In order for MNaturalism to make a claim with induction, it must assume that nature is uniform because without it, you cannot use the induction as there might be explanations that naturalistic processes cannot explain. As Frank said, it would take naturalistic explanations to explain the uniformity of nature and MNaturalism just goes on to assume it as true. Do you even have a justification for using induction in your view?
p1) All minds require brains
This only applies to the physical universe and has no relation to the non-existence of a immaterial mind. You could then state that the inductive method can say something about the supernatural realm which pretty much contradicts metaphysical naturalism no? Perhaps you may be justified in believing that any mind in the physical world requires a brain as there is evidence against the existence of non-material minds. Is the inductive method not taking a specific case and then making general conclusions for the natural world only? How then are you suddenly using it to say something about the supernatural realm?
Furthermore, it may be true that the soul is independent from the mind but the mind may be merely a tool that is an expression of the soul for the physical world. Even if our brain gets injured or starts decaying, all this means is that our souls are less capable to express itself in the physical world. The existence of the soul isn’t my area of discussion, so I will stay away from that and also considering mind-body dualism isn’t my area of knowledge.
p2) God is defined as a being with a mind with no brain
Not to mention that God is a being who is transcendent...If God had a brain, this would of course make Him physical and therefore make Him limited…
c) Therefore God does not exist.
How is this an evidential argument against God? Even if we can conclude that a soul doesn’t exist, it would take a very large leap in logic to claim that God can’t exist without a brain simply because humans don’t. Why not argue that God must have a beginning so He doesn’t exist because we had a beginning? Anything without a beginning cannot exist since of course, everything that we know has a beginning! How would we know that an immaterial mind cannot exist merely because of the physical realm’s attributes? Has it never occurred to you that physical and non-physical are opposite? If so, I see no reason why X which is opposite to Y should be able to tell it’s opposite (Y) what properties it should have or vise versa. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that a natural mind exists in world X and is limited like us. The spirits one day contemplate about whether it is possible for anything but non-physical minds to exist. They make an inductive argument in their world and state that the only thing which could exist is a non-physical mind. What would this say? All it would demonstrate is that their realm doesn’t have any other types of known form of minds but this doesn’t go far in drawing the conclusion that there must be no other possible mind unless it is spirit. It seems this is just a argument from ignorance but formed in a different way instead of saying that “since all minds have brains in this universe, there’s no evidence that other minds can exist without having brains therefore they don’t exist”. Due to our finite observations and capabilities - how could we even say that a spirit cannot function as a mind without a brain?
"For myself, faith begins with the realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith, for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence--an orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic statement ever uttered--'In the beginning God.'" Arthur Compton, Nobel Prize winner
Over the past 3 decades or so, scientists have discovered that the universe is just right for life to exist. Research has continually accumulated over that time and we have seen that things haven’t been going well for a naturalistic explanation. Is it merely coincidental that the universe is fine-tuned for life? The basic constants are set so that life is possible and if the values of these constants were changed even slightly, it would not be possible for life to exist or even our universe for that matter.
if gravity was altered by just 0.1%, it would be catastrophic. Such a small adjustment would increase gravity a billion fold although this number is small when we compare it to the total range of force strengths in nature. Our sun, and neither would we exist! Any animal that is near the size of a human being would be crushed and even insects would need to have thick legs and animals couldn’t get much larger. A planet that has a thousand times greater gravitational pull than earth would have about only 40 feet in diameter which isn’t enough to sustain an ecosystem. Imagine that you were in control of creating a new universe and it had to be decided how strong the explosion of the Big bang would be in order to begin the universe. You might think that we could have a slightly less powerful bang but if this was done, then the contents of the universe wouldn’t expand fast enough and it would start contracting to a Big Crunch thus ending the universe. You may then decide to make the big bang more powerful than our Big Bang. The reverse would happen, in that the contents of the universe would fly out at an incredible speed and never would slow down to star contracting again. Moving on to gravity, you could decrease it in order for us to be less exhausted when we run or do other hard jobs. Once again a problem occurs because this would meant that the hydrogen that was left over from the big bang is lying around instead of clumping together to form stars because the gravity needs to pull in a large amount of material. We would only get red giants which are very small and cold because the atoms at the core isn’t undergoing enough pressure to fuse and produce heavier atoms that life requires. The stars wouldn’t undergo a supernova and even if there happened to be a couple of heavy atoms, they wouldn’t get outside the star. Moving on, you might want to put gravity above normal and it would be true that stars would form quicker due to stronger gravity. However, like the other examples the reverse is at work here and the stars would literally start burning very quickly and would collapse under their own weight and as such, it wouldn’t last long to warm the planets up that is around them.
"A second example of design involves the basic forces of nature. One of these is the law of universal gravitation. According to this law, all masses are found to attract each other with a force F which is inversely proportional to the square of a separation distance, r, between the masses. Discovered by Isaac Newton 300 years ago, this fundamental force holds the universe together. Gravity maintains the moon's orbit around the earth, the earth's orbit around the sun, and also the rotation of the entire Milky Way galaxy." "Scientists have always wondered about the factor 2 in this equation. As Science News put it, this relation "has always seemed a little too neat. Is the exponent some fraction near two, which would be messy but might seem more empirical?"3 In an evolved universe, one would not expect such a simple relationship. Why is the factor so exact; why not 1.99 or 2.001? The gravity force has been repeatedly tested with sensitive torsion balances, showing that the factor is indeed precisely 2, at least to five decimal places, 2.00000. As with the proton's mass, any value other than 2 would lead to an eventual catastrophic decay of orbits and of the entire universe. The gravity force clearly displays elegant and essential design." De Young
A nuclear force is basically what binds protons an neutrons togther in the nuclei of atoms and the value of strength of this force can be changed as well. Increase this by around 13% and you’ll get atoms that are only made of to protons and no formation of neutrons. This would quickly decay into atoms only made of two neutrons and there will be no hydrogen, water, nor hydrocarbons which means no life!
We have around 21 percent of oxygen in our atmosphere and if it was to increase to 25 percent, fire would erupt in a instant. If it was around 15 percent then we would suffocate. Even a change in one constant can effect others which are necessary for life! Without oxygen, water would not exist nor would electricity exist. According to the Big Bang, the universe was a place full of nuclear reactions. It was then left with a mixture of three quarters of hydrogen and one quarter helium and if there was a slight change in this balance, would give us no hydrogen and no water. It is also said that the elements were probably produced inside the stars during the nuclear reactions(carbon and oxygen). For this to happen, the atomic nuclei resonance levels must match the levels of the processes which create them. Even the big bang requires fine-tuning in it’s earliest moments!
Originally Posted by Hugh Ross
"As you tune your radio, there are certain frequencies where the circuit has just the right resonance and you lock onto a station. The internal structure of an atomic nucleus is something like that, with specific energy or resonance levels. If two nuclear fragments collide with a resulting energy that just matches a resonance level, they will tend to stick and form a stable nucleus. Behold! Cosmic alchemy will occur! In the carbon atom, the resonance just happens to match the combined energy of the beryllium atom and a colliding helium nucleus. Without it, there would be relatively few carbon atoms. Similarly, the internal details of the oxygen nucleus play a critical role. Oxygen can be formed by combining helium and carbon nuclei, but the corresponding resonance level in the oxygen nucleus is half a percent too low for the combination to stay together easily. Had the resonance level in the carbon been 4 percent lower, there would be essentially no carbon. Had that level in the oxygen been only half a percent higher, virtually all the carbon would have been converted to oxygen. Without that carbon abundance, neither you nor I would be here."
As we know, liquid water is vital for any carbon-based life form and carbon is great for allowing complex chemical bond reactions which is essential for life. It has very unique properties and if it was slightly different, there wouldn’t be life on earth. If the polarity of the water molecule was great then vaporization and the heat of fusion wouldn’t allow life to exist. If it was smaller, then the heat of fusion and vaporization would be too small for life because the liquid water wouldn’t be a solvent for life chemistry to proceed. John Barrow (Astrophysicist) and Frank Tipler (mathematician) explain that water is uncommon:
"Water is actually one of the strangest substances known to science. This may seem a rather odd thing to say about a substance as familiar [as water,] but it is surely true. Its specific heat, its surface tension, and most of its other physical properties have values anomalously higher or lower than those of any other known material. The fact that its solid phase is less dense than its liquid phase (ice floats) is virtually a unique property. These aspects or the chemical and physical structure of water have been noted before, for instance by the authors of the Bridgewater Treatises in the 1830's and by Henderson in 1913, who also pointed out that these strange properties make water a uniquely useful liquid and the basis for living things."
Here I have merely scratched the surface of how precise these constants must be in order to permit life. The universe is elegant with just a few simple equations that describes the basic laws, and the tremendous complexity in such a way to produce a vast diversity of life. According to Hugh Ross, the universe is at least a factor of 10^10,000,000,000 times too small or too young for life to occur by itself through natural processes. This unification of constants wasn’t produced by the explosion of a big bang or singularity but instead must have been prior to the bang . Structures that we see in nature can be the produce of random chance processes but they could only exist and made possible by a higher blue print that was here before the accidental universe (that is, assuming a materialistic philosophy) which may have caused everything else. What would account for such a blue print? A larger accident or an infinite regress of accidents? In addition to my justification argument, if X has a certain property or characteristic and unless there is reason for not thinking that X has such a characteristic, we are justified for believing in it. In order for this explanation to be replaced, there must be a fully working naturalistic explanation. This type of argument isn’t meant to be persuasive to the non-theist per se because it’s a justification for a belief.
1) Computer X has the characteristic of being susceptible to viruses.
2) There is no other simpler and evidentially support explanations as to why Computer X isn’t susceptible
(3) We are justified in believing Computer X is susceptible.
Is this not a valid argument? As for my argument, it is very similar to it.
1. The universe exhibits the appearance of design.
?2. There is no simpler explanation with evidential support to explain design.
3. Therefore, we are justified to believe that the universe is designed
Some may get the wrong impression that simple explanations implies Occam's razor - but it is rather an argument based on pattern recognition and therefore we have a justified inference based on that recognition. For example, Jean Lamarck in 1801 came up with a theory of evolution - the concept is notably not new on the data that people inherent fitness strength if their parents worked out a good amount. If this was true, it may be a simpler explanation than creationism because nature would be explained without reference to God but on the other hand, it simply didn’t fit with the evidence and the explanation was impaired by perceived problems. His argument didn’t refute the justified belief one could have in creation due to it being a whole coherent theory. Likewise, unless a fully featured naturalistic explanation can be formed and is evidentially supported then we will continue to be justified in this belief. To many, Darwin’s theories has rendered the teleological argument as defunct in most of biology but in my opinion, there is still a big argument in this regard and it is not close to being settled at the moment. The stiff-necked and boastful attitude of evolution being as proven as gravity is quite rhetorical most of the time without support. One wonders why physicists don’t claim that the theory of gravity is as proven as evolution
Back to the topic, if it wasn’t the case that the universe is designed then one could say that there is no God or even a deistic god as there would simply be no reason at all to invoke one and would not fit with the evidence. As a designer, we would expect design in nature. In order to avoid the objection from physical necessity, I will formulate a probabilistic justification.
1. There is no purpose in nature, a god or inherent design.
2. In our knowledge, there is no inherent reason for why our universe is physically necessary in order to support life.
3. Life exist.
4. Under (3), it would make (1) and (2) improbable.
Note that physically necessary doesn’t imply that other types of universes cannot exist, but instead saying that our universe must have the laws it currently has or it wouldn’t exist. If the universe is all there is or ever will be then why is it that the constants support to existence of life? Therefore we can correctly conclude that life is rather improbable under atheism and under theism, it has not even the slightest bit of improbability in regards to the anthropic principle.
Origin of Life
"What is so frustrating for our present purpose is that it seems almost impossible to give any numerical value to the probability of what seems a rather unlikely sequence of events... An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle." Nobel laureate Dr Francis H. Crick (atheist)
There are only two options, either life was created by an intelligent being or it was done by naturalistic processes. One of the major objections in this regard is basically a God of the gaps argument which I shall address more thoroughly than I did with my introduction later. It was once thought that spontaneous generation could explain the origin of life from non-living matter. This belief was surprisingly accepted by intellectuals such as Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, Copernicus and Galileo. In the 19th century, two developments contradicted the idea of spontaneous generation. In 1802, William Paley’s argument from design was published which gained wide acceptance. Followed by Louis Pasteur in the 1860s who provided his famous disproof of spontaneous generation by showing that sealed jars of nutrients didn’t produce life but it was merely arising from pre-existing life. Due to the rise of modern physics and Darwinism, scientists then turned to a mechanistic philosophy of nature and realized that nature was indifferent to life and has no special workings in favor of it. They viewed chance as the major factor of the origin of life and that the details remain to be filled-in by research. In fact, a prize of a million dollars is being offered for anyone who could find a “highly plausible mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life.”
. This is certainly a sign of desperation because they have truly been unable to reproduce a reasonable method to which life could’ve arisen without a creator. Many have remained agnostic on the issue and will just frequently dodge the issue by claiming that abiogenesis is not part of the theory of evolution. The optimism that was fueled mostly by Darwnian enthusiasm in the 1950s is now gone. At the International Conference on Origin of Life in 1999 was described as full of frustration, desperation and even pessimism.
Now, if spontaneous generation is now known as basically impossible, why can’t he same be done to the origin of life? At least from what we know, spontaneous generation is impossible and the same is the case for the origin of life. Merely research alone will not solve the problem as it is getting worse the more we know. Us creationists are not merely arguing that because there is a lack of explanation, it must be God. At least when it comes to the origin of life, we have evidence against a naturalistic explanation as I will present. As they continue to realize the complexity of even the simplest life, they come up with stories that are very similar to science-fiction with their story-telling about how it could be possible that we can get something even simpler. I am telling you that it would have to take a large decrease in complexity and information in order to create a very limited life form which probably wouldn’t even exist in the first place. The opposite is occurring according to a article published in Nature that says to have underestimated the size of the minimal bacterial genome by as large as 50%! What is even worse is that some textbooks act as if the origin of life problem has been achieved or is at least getting there. Here we have the evolutionists who complain about the scientific standards of creationists yet they have lies and they know it. If they cannot consider the possibility of an intelligent designer then why can’t there be explanations for why it has problems? Apologies for entering the crevo controversy but I find it necessary to educate those who don’t know about the issue.
One of the major obstacles to the naturalistic explanations is our atmosphere. The ozone (O3) forms when molecular oxygen (O2) is struck by cosmic radiation. Without oxygen in our atmosphere, there can be no ozone and without it the ultraviolet radiation would destroy any life that is exposed to the sun. Not to mention that ultraviolet radiation can penetrate tens of meters beneath the ocean’s surface which would cause ocean currents to circulate (deep water included) and expose the organic contents to destruction. According to Cairns-Smith, this ultraviolet rays would convert surface materials into materials that destroys organic molecules even more effectively than oxygen gas. Scientists realize that oxygen is a hinderance to the origin of life so they had to come up with the myth of a primitive atmosphere. Reductionism doesn’t work there and it goes only so far until you end up with a pause even with the so-called “simple life”. Without the existence of life, there can’t be any production of oxygen and no ozone so there simply cannot be life! There has been no successful naturalistic explanation for this as of yet. Furthermore, oxygen would be produced by photo-dissociation of water vapour and oxidized minerals have been found in rocks as early as 3.8 billions years old which is in itself 300 million years older than the earliest life.
Many just assume that there is a pre-biotic soup with all the necessary chemicals in order to make life. Charles Darwin came up with the same story-telling that we see in darwinism in regards to how life might have originated. He said, “a protein compound was chemically formed...in some warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts light, heat, electricity, etc. present”
But where is the evidence for such a thing? If there was a lot of amino acids, then the early sediments on earth should show nitrogen rich minerals but such a thing has never been located. Even if we are to assume it’s existence, there are a variety of problems that have been noted through Stanley Miller’s experiment. Miller’s experiment tried prove that there could be a natural explanation but it is self-defeating because his experiment is intelligently designed! Instead of disproving design, it confirmed it. His amino acids reacted rather quickly with the other chemicals that resulted in brown-fudge which is not a step to life at all but rather against it. To solve this problem, scientists then remove those other chemicals to make future reactions more open to creating life (intelligent design!). There is also simply no evidence for a primitive atmosphere as many try to suggest.
No geological or geochemcial evidence collected in the last 30 years favors a strongly reducing primitive atmopshere, … Only the success of the laboratory experiments recommends it. (Kerr, 1980, p 42)
Naturalistic explanations are having a lot of trouble getting even off square one! It’s like saying that a bunch of scrabble letters in a pool with all the components ready to make a book will then be able to produce Hamlet. The situation for naturalists is a lot more complex and if they can’t even explain this, then as far as I am concerned, it cannot be true. Do people here realize that the genome has enough information to cover at least 1 whole baseball field? That is far more than simply producing a book like Hamlet. Genes requires enzymes to function but genes are necessary for producing enzymes. One of the most fundamental requirements for life to even work or prosper is ATP syntase because it provides energy for us and it is almost 100% efficient and is indeed a very splendid and complex machine. I would say that this is a more powerful argument than the flagellum because every single life, even the simplest has it. The ATP cannot work without the DNA which codes for them and vise versa. This is the primary source for reactions from heat generation to protein synthesis. For those who wish to know more about this incredible machine, all it takes is a google search and you’ll find more details. Not to mention the other complex structures necessary for life such as polymerase, helicase, ribsomes, glyrase, and proteins. Jerry Bergman points out,
Among the questions evolutionists must answer include the following, “How did life exist before ATP?” “How could life survive without ATP since no form of life we know of today can do that?” and “How could ATP evolve and where are the many transitional forms required to evolve the complex ATP molecule?” No feasible candidates exist and none can exist because only a perfect ATP molecule can properly carry out its role in the cell.
In addition, a potential ATP candidate molecule would not be selected for by evolution until it was functional and life could not exist without ATP or a similar molecule that would have the same function. ATP is an example of a molecule that displays irreducible complexity which cannot be simplified and still function (Behe, 1996). ATP could have been created only as a unit to function immediately in life and the same is true of the other intricate energy molecules used in life such as GTP.
Even the first molecule would be hard to explain since you need the right bonds between amino acids. The amino acids must come in left-handed versions and not right-handed and it must be specified in a specific sequence. The chance of this occurring is 10^125!! This would only be one protein, which by itself can do nothing and single parts of the cell must come together at once (DNA, ribosomes, ATP, helicase, glyrase, proteins etc). The cell wold require around three hundred to five hundred protein molecules. As stated before, you would need to be able to polymerize but the process of depolymerization is much faster than polymerization and water is a poor help in this area because they will usually hydrolyze. There are even other problems such as the fact that sugars are easily destroyed after the reaction that is supposedly the cause for forming them. There is also great instability in the building blocks such as ribose and cytosine which are hard to form.
Where is the transitional forms for life forming from non-life? The law of biogenesis rightly states that life only comes from life and this is a very established law that is being confirmed even more by the progress in science. The fact of the matter is, it relies very heavily on faith since there has never been an instance of abiogenesis which is directly contradictory to this law. Yet evolutionists complain about how we are religious when they already make a tremendous leap of faith in saying that natural processes did it when the evidence is overwhelmingly against it. Since Lewis Pasteur’s work was limited to the natural world, and yet resisted a natural explanation proves that axiom’s premise that everything can be explained by naturalistic processes as false. The origin of things has never adequately been explained and is in fact challenged by data against it! It would be laughable to have someone in the time of the Greeks to argue that life occurred by natural processes although without a mechanism and claim that science will eventually solve that problem. Here we are, still trying to figure the problem and lacking a mechanism along with have evidence against it. The 2nd law of thermodynamics rather nicely refutes the notion that order can come from disorder as entropy tends to decrease and not increase. There would need to be some mechanism to prevent it.
1. Naturalism can explain everything.
2. There is no need for a designer.
3. Irreducibly complex life forms exist.
4. (3) makes (2) and (1) improbable therefore we are justified in believe that God created it.
In conclusion, we see here that naturalistic explanations suffers greatly and we are just scratching the surface. I purposely avoided the complex situations just incase you weren’t informed in biology. To believe that naturalistic processes did it is basically to believe in a miracle. Jay Roth, a former professor of cell and molecular biology said:
“Even reduced to the barest essentials, this template must have been very complex indeed. For this template and this template alone, it appears it is reasonable at present to suggest the possibility of a creator.”
Meaning of Life
Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose? Sir John Templeton
I am beginning to realize that this argument fits perfectly with my previous arguments although I never really did it intentionally. Theists claim that we have a meaning to our existence where as atheism(or MNaturalism for that matter) implies that our existence is essentially meaningless. Fact of the matter is, each of us will die and not just a temporary death according to naturalists but eternal death. We will be no more forever. If we simply cease to exist in the future, then how can any action have meaning or purpose? After we are dead, does it make any difference whether we were alive or not? There won’t be any memories of our life and such a brief existence is of no use. Imagine being stuck in out space being geared toward the burning sun. Can any of this guys actions have any meaning to his inevitable death? Everything that he thinks, acts and believes is essentially meaningless and this is the same with our lives. One could argue that our life could help others whether good or bad but this just bring the problem up a step higher. Would it matter whether we treat a person good or bad? After all, there is no such thing as morals under the atheistic view, at least in the absolute sense. Besides, the universe will once die out anyways so everything will simply be erased and there would be no meaning for our existence. No action can end the result of our complete death. It’s as if we had a dream but forgot about it, and merely went on. The dream was of no significance! So too with our lives, as it will just soon be a forgotten dream and it would be like it never happened. Someone could then argue that we can assign meaning to our lives but there is not a basis for why we should even assign meaning for ourselves in the first place. Either we have meaning or we do not. This is nothing more than self-deception into thinking that you have meaning. This argument cannot overturn our inevitable complete death. Even if we achieved goals and assigned ourself meaning, it wouldn’t matter because everyone will still die and not remember the impact on others nor his goals. The death of the entire human race destroys any attempt to create meaning under a atheistic world-view as it is pointless at best to even do so.
Theism, on the other hand, implies that we have meaning to life and we won’t have complete death. Thus many theists maintain that our actions will effect our afterlife so we have tremendous meaning because every choice will effect how we spend eternity. Our choices could effect other people for good or worse in eternity as well. We also owe our praise to the God who created us and He has given us a moral code to follow, according to Christianity. As Willaim Craig pointed out:
“In a remarkable address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991, Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some ‘Noble Lie’ into thinking that we and the universe still have value. Claiming that ‘The lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case,’ Dr. Rue muses that the consequence of such a realization is that one’s quest for personal wholeness (or self-fulfillment) and the quest for social coherence become independent from one another. This is because of the view of relativism the search for self-fulfillment becomes radically privatized: each person chooses his own set of values and meaning. ‘There is no final, objective reading on the world or the self. There is no universal vocabulary for integrating cosmology and orality.’ If we are to avoid ‘the madhouse option,’ where self-fulfillment is pursued regardless of social coherence, and ‘the totalitarian option,’ where social coherence is imposed at the expense of personal wholeness, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so achieve social coherence. A Noble Lie ‘is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race.’ It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction ), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false). ‘But without such lies, we cannot live.’”
Is it not the atheists who are trying to say that God is lie yet they want to create meaning (a noble lie)? It would be more reasonable to believe in theism than atheism. The first objection I’d probably get is, well we can’t believe in Santa Claus because it makes us happy! True but theism is not giving us happiness but rather providing a foundation for meaning. Abortion could be disregarded because a person’s views are merely seen as some reactions rather than in his stated views. Why chose a lie when we could adopt theism which has the possibility of being true? We need meaning in life in order to function and not to be happy.
1. We should adopt a worldivew that provides meaning and not in lies.
2. Atheism provides no meaning.
3. Theism provides meaning.
4. Therefore theism should be adopted.
Now here is where my above arguments goes very well with this. There is evidence that we do have a purpose because the universe permitted life and even the existence of the universe itself. It would be absurd, to say that at least we are not justified in saying that the universe was purposely created for us to exist and we do have meaning. Is it merely coincidental that many believe in theism, or search for meaning and the reason why we exist?
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
We are not the product of irrational causes as C.S Lewis said:
‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents—the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts—i.e. of materialism and astronomy—are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’
All of this fits perfectly with theism and I hope that many will find this enlightening to at least encourage themselves to look at the debate more objectively and learn more about it. I will also, if possible present a refutation to the argument from ignorance objection more thoroughly as well as provide a more comprehensive critique of naturalism.