C. S. Lewis Evolution Intelligent Design

At Evolution News: An Argument from C. S. Lewis for Intelligent Design

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John G. West writes:

November 29. Perhaps best known for his Chronicles of Narnia and works of Christian apologetics including Mere Christianity, Lewis was a first-rate scholar of medieval and renaissance English literature, and a first-rate mind on many topics.

Photo: C. S. Lewis, by Asar Studios/Alamy (Photo by Hans Wild/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images).

As I discuss in my book The Magician’s Twin, Lewis frequently examined the impact of modern science on human life, including debates over evolution and what has become known as intelligent design.

In the waning days of World War II, Lewis published two little-known essays advancing a positive argument for intelligent design: “Is Theology Poetry?” and “Who Was Right — Dream Lecturer or Real Lecturer?” Both essays were published in 1945, although the first was originally delivered as a talk to the Socratic Society at Oxford University in November 1944. The second essay was later republished under the title “Two Lectures.”

“Universal Evolutionism”

According to Lewis in these essays, “universal evolutionism” has schooled us to think that in nature complicated functional things naturally arise from cruder and less complicated things. Oak trees come from acorns, owls from eggs, and human beings from embryos.

But for Lewis, this “modern acquiescence in universal evolutionism is a kind of optical illusion” that defies the actual data of the natural world.

In each of the aforementioned cases, complex living things arose from even more complex living things. Every acorn originally came from an oak tree. Every owl’s egg came from an actual owl. Every human embryo required two full-grown adult human beings.

We see the same pattern in human culture. The “evolution” from coracles to steamships, or from one of the early locomotives (the “Rocket)” to modern train engines, requires a cause that is greater than either steamships or train engines. Wrote Lewis: “We love to notice that the express [train] engine of today is the descendant of the ‘Rocket’; we do not equally remember that the ‘Rocket’ springs not from some even more rudimentary engine, but from something much more perfect and complicated than itself — namely, a man of genius.”

Lewis made clear the relevance of this truth for understanding the wonderful functional complexity we see throughout nature: “You have to go outside the sequence of engines, into the world of men, to find the real originator of the Rocket. Is it not equally reasonable to look outside Nature for the real Originator of the natural order?”

An Explicit Argument for ID

This is explicitly an argument for intelligent design, and Lewis implies that this line of reasoning was central to his own disavowal of materialism. “On these grounds and others like them one is driven to think that whatever else may be true, the popular scientific cosmology at any rate is certainly not.”

This argument for intelligent design does not in and of itself lead to the Christian God according to Lewis. But it opens the door to considering the alternatives to materialism of “philosophical idealism” and “theism,” and from there Lewis believed that one may well progress to full-blooded Christian theism after further reflection.

Evolution News

121 Replies to “At Evolution News: An Argument from C. S. Lewis for Intelligent Design

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    If every effect, whether simple or complex, necessarily entails an even more complex cause then what is the cause of God?

  2. 2
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    Seriously? You are going to trot out the “what caused God” canard? Good grief.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    It’s a reasonable question.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt: A critic might reasonably question the arguments for a divine first cause of the cosmos. But to ask “What caused God?” misses the whole reason classical philosophers thought his existence necessary in the first place. So when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/06/not-understanding-nothing?

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    It’s a reasonable question

    No, it’s not reasonable.

    It suggests an infinite progression and anything infinite leads not to just one creator, but to an infinite number of creators. Infinity has consequences which neither side of the debate wants to address.

    Aside: the term infinite has many different understandings just as material has many understandings. The tendency is to take one understanding and then conflate it with another. Infinite in time does not mean infinite in knowledge/power though one leads to another in a time based existence.

    To talk of a creator outside of time is reasonable. Especially when an understanding of time is so fluid and relates to changes in positioning of material entities. The creator outside of time just had to somehow create the material entities and let them change, thus creating time.

    The eternal mystery – Why does anything exist?
    ——————————

    This argument for intelligent design does not in and of itself lead to the Christian God according to Lewis. But it opens the door to considering the alternatives to materialism of “philosophical idealism” and “theism,” and from there Lewis believed that one may well progress to full-blooded Christian theism after further reflection

    ID does not point to a specific creator, only a creator. The nature of that creator lies outside of ID.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Egnor’s synopsis of his debate last year with an internet atheist is also relevant.

    The Divine Hiddenness Argument Against God’s Existence = Nonsense – Michael Egnor – Oct. 4, 2021
    Excerpt: We will set aside Scriptural revelation and personal experience (given that atheists like Dillahunty discount these anyway) and consider the ways in which God shows Himself in nature (i.e., the ten ways that God’s existence can be known that I listed during my debate with Dillahunty. Here are three excellent references for the details of these various arguments: Aquinas: A Beginner’s Guide, (Edward Feser), Five Proofs of the Existence of God (Edward Feser), and Letters to an Atheist (Peter Kreeft).
    These and other works cover evidence such as Aquinas’ First Way (by change in nature), Aquinas’ Second Way (by cause in nature), Aquinas’ Third Way (by contingent existence), Aquinas’ Fourth Way (by degrees of perfection), and Aquinas’ Fifth Way (by design in nature) as well as the Thomistic argument from existence, the Neoplatonic argument (from the order of things), the Augustinian argument (from abstract objects), the rationalist argument (from the principal of sufficient reason), and the argument for Moral Law (from the reality of objective moral obligation).
    Each of these proofs of God’s existence is revealed to us through our intellect.,,,
    Natural science provides massive evidence for His existence as well. The Big Bang — i.e., the creation of the universe from nothing in an immense primordial flash of light — is a remarkable confirmation of the beginning of the book of Genesis. Astrophysicists have discovered dozens of physical forces and properties in the universe that must have very specific values to permit human life — and of course these forces and properties do have exactly the values necessary for our existence (as if Someone rigged physics just for us). The DNA in living things is an actual code — in every meaningful sense like a computer code with letters and words, grammar and phrases, sentences and punctuation. And life forms’ intracellular metabolism is run by an astonishingly intricate and elegant system of biological nanotechnology.
    So my question to Dillahunty and to other atheists who endorse the Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence is this: What is it about God’s existence that you still consider hidden?
    https://mindmatters.ai/2021/10/the-divine-hiddenness-argument-against-gods-existence-nonsense/

    Also of note, here is a recent Stephen Meyer lecture on “Return of the God Hypothesis”,, (Big Bang included)

    Stephen C Meyer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApNrqJ8eloY

  7. 7
    chuckdarwin says:

    In each of the aforementioned cases, complex living things arose from even more complex living things. Every acorn originally came from an oak tree. Every owl’s egg came from an actual owl. Every human embryo required two full-grown adult human beings.

    This is nothing more than an inane truism. I fail to see what relevance CS Lewis has to modern cosmology or evolutionary biology. He never really had a coherent view on evolution; I think at best he would be classified as a “theistic evolutionist.” But, again, I think that is giving him more credit than due. The notion of “universal evolutionism” may be interesting to a gaggle of classics and humanities mavens, but it is of no use to the biologist or paleontologist…..

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    CS Lewis: “In each of the aforementioned cases, complex living things arose from even more complex living things. Every acorn originally came from an oak tree. Every owl’s egg came from an actual owl. Every human embryo required two full-grown adult human beings.”

    ChuckyD: “This is nothing more than an inane truism. I fail to see what relevance CS Lewis has to modern cosmology or evolutionary biology.”

    So ChuckyD, since you apparently agree with that ‘inane truism’, then there is no ‘hopeful monsters’ hypothesis for you? I.e. the hypothesis of one species instantaneously giving birth to a brand new species? i.e. Of Oak trees giving birth to Pine trees?

    per rational wiki (which is certainly not friendly to ID),,,

    Richard Goldschmidt
    The German geneticist Richard Goldschmidt (1878–1958) was the first scientist to use the term “hopeful monster”. Goldschmidt thought that small gradual changes could not bridge the hypothetical divide between microevolution and macroevolution. In his book The Material Basis of Evolution (1940) he wrote “the change from species to species is not a change involving more and more additional atomistic changes, but a complete change of the primary pattern or reaction system into a new one, which afterwards may again produce intraspecific variation by micromutation.” Goldschmidt believed the large changes in evolution were caused by macromutations (large mutations). His ideas about macromutations became known as the hopeful monster hypothesis which is considered a type of saltational evolution.[1]
    According to Goldschmidt “biologists seem inclined to think that because they have not themselves seen a ‘large’ mutation, such a thing cannot be possible. But such a mutation need only be an event of the most extraordinary rarity to provide the world with the important material for evolution”.[2] Goldschmidt believed that the neo-Darwinian view of gradual accumulation of small mutations was important but could only account for variation within species (microevolution) and wasn’t a powerful enough source for the origin of evolutionary novelty to explain new species. Instead he believed that big genetic differences between species required profound “macro-mutations” a source for large genetic changes (macroevolution) which once in a while could occur as a “hopeful monster”.[3][4]
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Hopeful_monster

  9. 9
    chuckdarwin says:

    BA77

    It’s not a matter of agreement or disagreement. That’s why it’s called a truism. Let’s put it this way–there are roughly 500 species of Lewis’ happy oak trees/shrubs. How do you explain so much variation in one genus? Did God sit down one Monday morning after a lazy sabbath watching football and create each one ex nihilo? Or was there variation in the acorns, some of which thrived and some of which did not, depending on environmental and climatic conditions?

    Pick your poison…………

  10. 10
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    As a Creationist, I’d like to enlighten our Atheist friends who keep asking, in some variation, this question:

    If every effect, whether simple or complex, necessarily entails an even more complex cause then what is the cause of God?

    The answer is: Nothing caused God.
    The premise of the question “IF EVERY EFFECT blah blah blah” is false.
    The very nature of God, almost the very definition of God, is “the Uncaused Cause”
    Even a home schooling high school grad like me knows that this is basic Thomas Aquinas 101 stuff

    Here’s a tip for you Atheist guys who had to ask the question:
    If you got an education beyond high school you should to sue your college for leaving you so ignorant. Take em to the cleaners.

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES/10

    If every effect, whether simple or complex, necessarily entails an even more complex cause then what is the cause of God?

    The answer is: Nothing caused God.
    The premise of the question “IF EVERY EFFECT blah blah blah” is false.
    The very nature of God, almost the very definition of God, is “the Uncaused Cause”

    In other words, every effect must have a cause. Except for your God. Why? Because you say so. It’s called special pleading.

  12. 12
    chuckdarwin says:

    “Nothing caused God.”
    In which event we should be worshiping Nothing, rather than God, as the ultimate cause of the universe…….

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    CD: “we should be worshiping Nothing, rather than God,”

    But I thought Krauss was already trying his damnedest to worship ‘nothing’, instead of God, as his creator?

    Lawrence Krauss and the atheist definition of nothing
    by Matt Slick | Mar 17, 2012 | Atheism, Secular Issues
    Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a very well-educated and intelligent man. There is no doubt his prowess in the area of science exceeds my own by an extremely wide margin, and I’ll be the first to admit that physics is certainly not my area of expertise.
    But I have a bone to pick with Dr. Krauss about his latest book, A Universe from Nothing, which has the subtitle Why there is something rather than nothing? Those having taken an intro to philosophy class will recognize that Krauss’ subtitle is a rendition of the most basic philosophical question of existence, which has been attributed to truth-seekers such as Gottfried Leibniz who asked, “Why do we have something rather than nothing at all?”
    You would think that by the title of Krauss’ book he answers the question that Leibniz posed, but he doesn’t. Instead, he redefines what ‘nothing’ is. ‘Nothing’ to Dr. Krauss would be empty space or the quantum vacuum. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who is an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, says in his brief review of the book: “Nothing is not nothing. Nothing is something. That’s how a cosmos can be spawned from the void–a profound idea conveyed in A Universe From Nothing that unsettles some yet enlightens others. Meanwhile, it’s just another day on the job for physicist Lawrence Krauss.”
    Dictionary.com defines ‘nothing’ as:

    no thing; not anything; naught: to say nothing.
    no part, share, or trace (usually followed by of ): The house showed nothing of its former magnificence.
    something that is nonexistent.
    nonexistence; nothingness: The sound faded to nothing.

    But, I think the best definition of ‘nothing’ is Aristotle’s: “Nothing is what rocks dream about.”
    Why does Krauss attempt to redefine ‘nothing’? Because Krauss is an atheist and a fairly acerbic one at that. He not only doesn’t believe in God but also doesn’t like God. Here is the problem Krauss faces: If nothing is really nothing and we have something (the universe) from a real nothing, then it points to the universe having a beginning. And as Stephen Hawking has observed, “Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention.”
    The problem is that empty space and/or the quantum vacuum aren’t nothing; they’re something. So Krauss’ book does absolutely ‘nothing’ to answer Leibniz’s question and leaves his readers no better off than they were before where the issue of the origin of the universe is concerned.
    All the scientific evidence points to the universe exploding out of true nothingness, but atheists like Krauss hate this truth. So they do their best to spin and redefine the facts to try and placate their worldview. As Dr. Robert Jastrow says, “Theologians generally are delighted with the proof that the universe had a beginning, but astronomers are curiously upset. It turns out that the scientist behaves the way the rest of us do when our beliefs are in conflict with the evidence.”
    Yes, Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a very well-educated and intelligent man. But he doesn’t know anything about nothing.
    https://carm.org/atheism/lawrence-krauss-and-the-atheist-definition-of-nothing/

  14. 14
    Seversky says:

    I don’t understand the need to ‘worship’ anything so nothing it is …

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    CD: “was there variation in the acorns, some of which thrived and some of which did not, depending on environmental and climatic conditions?”

    A. L. Hughes’s New Non-Darwinian Mechanism of Adaption Was Discovered and Published in Detail by an ID Geneticist 25 Years Ago – Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – December 2011
    Excerpt: The original species had a greater genetic potential to adapt to all possible environments. In the course of time this broad capacity for adaptation has been steadily reduced in the respective habitats by the accumulation of slightly deleterious alleles (as well as total losses of genetic functions redundant for a habitat), with the exception, of course, of that part which was necessary for coping with a species’ particular environment….By mutative reduction of the genetic potential, modifications became “heritable”. — As strange as it may at first sound, however, this has nothing to do with the inheritance of acquired characteristics. For the characteristics were not acquired evolutionarily, but existed from the very beginning due to the greater adaptability. In many species only the genetic functions necessary for coping with the corresponding environment have been preserved from this adaptability potential. The “remainder” has been lost by mutations (accumulation of slightly disadvantageous alleles) — in the formation of secondary species.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2011/12/a_l_hughess_new/

    “Darwin had a lot of trouble with the fossil record because if you look at the record of phyla in the rocks as fossils why when they first appear we already see them all. The phyla are fully formed. It’s as if the phyla were created first and they were modified into classes and we see that the number of classes peak later than the number of phyla and the number of orders peak later than that. So it’s kind of a top down succession, you start with this basic body plans, the phyla, and you diversify them into classes, the major sub-divisions of the phyla, and these into orders and so on. So the fossil record is kind of backwards from what you would expect from in that sense from what you would expect from Darwin’s ideas.”
    James W. Valentine – as quoted from “On the Origin of Phyla: Interviews with James W. Valentine” – (as stated at 1:16:36 mark of video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtdFJXfvlm8&feature=player_detailpage#t=4595

    Do Phyletic Lineages Evolve from the Bottom Up or Develop from the Top Down? – Robert F. DeHaan – 1998
    Excerpt: The authors concluded:
    “Most higher taxa were built from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. The fossil record suggests that the major pulse of diversification of phyla occurs before that of classes, classes before that of orders, orders before that of families…the higher taxa do not seem to have diverged through an accumulation of lower taxa.”48 and 49,,,
    48 D. H. Erwin, J. W. Valentine, and J. J. Sepkowski, “A Comparative Study Of Diversification Events: The Early Paleozoic Versus The Mesozoic,” Evolution 41 (1987): 1177ñ86.
    49 Ibid., 1183. Herein lies the origin of the “top-down” and “bottom-up” metaphors.
    https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1998/PSCF12-98DeHaan.html

    Evolutionists Are Losing Ground Badly: Both Pattern and Process Contradict the Aging Theory – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: Contradictory patterns in biology include the abrupt appearance of so many forms and the diversity explosions followed by a winnowing of diversity in the fossil record. It looks more like the inverse of an evolutionary tree with bursts of new species which then die off over time.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....badly.html

    Scientific study turns understanding about evolution on its head – July 30, 2013
    Excerpt: evolutionary biologists,,, looked at nearly one hundred fossil groups to test the notion that it takes groups of animals many millions of years to reach their maximum diversity of form.
    Contrary to popular belief, not all animal groups continued to evolve fundamentally new morphologies through time. The majority actually achieved their greatest diversity of form (disparity) relatively early in their histories.
    ,,,Dr Matthew Wills said: “This pattern, known as ‘early high disparity’, turns the traditional V-shaped cone model of evolution on its head. What is equally surprising in our findings is that groups of animals are likely to show early-high disparity regardless of when they originated over the last half a billion years. This isn’t a phenomenon particularly associated with the first radiation of animals (in the Cambrian Explosion), or periods in the immediate wake of mass extinctions.”,,,
    Author Martin Hughes, continued: “Our work implies that there must be constraints on the range of forms within animal groups, and that these limits are often hit relatively early on.
    Co-author Dr Sylvain Gerber, added: “A key question now is what prevents groups from generating fundamentally new forms later on in their evolution.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-s.....ution.html

    If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking? – January 20, 2011
    Excerpt: John Hawks is in the middle of explaining his research on human evolution when he drops a bombshell. Running down a list of changes that have occurred in our skeleton and skull since the Stone Age, the University of Wisconsin anthropologist nonchalantly adds, “And it’s also clear the brain has been shrinking.”
    “Shrinking?” I ask. “I thought it was getting larger.” The whole ascent-of-man thing.,,,
    He rattles off some dismaying numbers: Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.”
    http://discovermagazine.com/20.....-shrinking

    New analysis provides fuller picture of human expansion from Africa – October 22, 2012
    Excerpt: A new, comprehensive review of humans’ anthropological and genetic records gives the most up-to-date story of the “Out of Africa” expansion that occurred about 45,000 to 60,000 years ago.
    This expansion, detailed by three Stanford geneticists, had a dramatic effect on human genetic diversity, which persists in present-day populations. As a small group of modern humans migrated out of Africa into Eurasia and the Americas, their genetic diversity was substantially reduced.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-10-a.....nsion.html

    Finding links and missing genes: Catalog of large-scale genetic changes around the world – October 1, 2015
    Excerpt: “When we analysed the genomes of 2500 people, we were surprised to see over 200 genes that are missing entirely in some people,” says Jan Korbel, who led the work at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany.,,,
    African genomes harboured a much greater diversity overall.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....094723.htm

    etc.. etc.. etc…

  16. 16
    relatd says:

    Humans are identified by skull shape, but this is downplayed in the literature. Look at European, Asian and African skull shapes. Evolutionists still insist on a process that acquired information from nowhere to upgrade “primitive” humans into “modern” humans. There’s no such thing. Some “modern” humans have Neanderthal DNA. Paintings of Neanderthals from the 1950s have shown a change since then. They now look like “modern” humans.

    I can imagine the following.

    “Modern” human father: Now boys. I don’t wanna see you hangin’ out with any of those Neanderthal girls.

    Apparently, they didn’t listen.

  17. 17
    AaronS1978 says:

    @3 it not a reasonable question, it’s a strawman that purposely misunderstands the concept of God being immutable to create an infinite regression to make the concept of god look preposterous. The same infinite regression happens with the multiverse and determinism creating an absurd chain of cause and effect into infinity.

  18. 18
    JVL says:

    AaronS1978: it not a reasonable question, it’s a strawman that purposely misunderstands the concept of God being immutable to create an infinite regression to make the concept of god look preposterous.

    It is a reasonable question if someone doesn’t see the truth of there being an immutable . . . thing. (How can a being be immutable? It never learns or grows or gains insight? Such a being would have no need of worshippers because their worship wouldn’t change it. See why we ask questions.)

    Why do you think it makes sense that there can be a being of some kind that didn’t come from something else? Why do you think your concept is at the root of reality instead of something like the Big Bang which also may have no discernible cause.

  19. 19
    JVL says:

    Relatd: Paintings of Neanderthals from the 1950s have shown a change since then. They now look like “modern” humans.

    So . . . pop culture representations are now part of your scientific argument? I’m really not sure what point you think you are making.

  20. 20
    relatd says:

    JVL at 19,

    Pop culture? You should really try to avoid making assumptions. From the Smithsonian:

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/new-research-redefining-what-we-thought-about-neanderthals-180971918/

  21. 21
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 14,

    I can picture Seversky standing before God. Go ahead, pick one.

    “I… uh… thought you didn’t exist.”

    “No one showed me any evidence you exist.”

    “Gosh. Can we talk? I mean I don’t want to go to that uh… place. You know what I’m saying?”

    John 3:19

    “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”

  22. 22
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ 18
    JVL your response seems to have a similar purpose as the question Sev presented.

    For one you take a hyper literal interpretation of the immutability of god to attempt to make it look absurd. This is a problem with your concept of God and is not shared by the individuals you criticize for it

    This commits the same fallacy Sev does with his question which is why it’s not reasonable and harbors no objective truth as you implied.

    Your version of immutable means unchanging right down to the molecule.

    This is your concept, and it is not shared by the people you criticize, although you are criticizing those people for how you view their God

    God has an immutable nature, meaning that God’s nature cannot change, that doesn’t mean God cannot act, like you seem to propose. It just means that God’s nature is unchanging, and therefore cannot be created or destroyed much like “energy”.

    Second, you assume God is physical, which is another thing that Christians and many other individuals do not believe. Again this is a problem with your interpretation of my belief.

    It feels that you criticize people on your interpretation of things and really not theirs.

    Finally in response to why I think my reasoning is at the root cause of reality is because of the fact that the alternative is an infinite regression of stupidity, that results in infinite stupidity, and I’m not being facetious about this

    Infinity becomes absurd, and if it’s an infinity that is tied to an infinite number of events then anything can happen, and it will happen indefinitely. So universes can infinitely pop into existence. Universes can also infinitely disappear for any reason. These events are guaranteed, but somehow we just don’t observe them.

    The other reason why I think personally that God is at the root of reality is because of how physics panned out of which I cannot attribute to luck logically

    So I have two choices

    Either:

    You have an intelligent being that has always existed, that creates a universe with intelligent physics, that results in intelligent beings, that can explore the universe and observe it. God has always been there and very likely has been the source of an infinite number of creations

    Or

    You have a small black unintelligent dot known as a singularity, that always existed, that creates a universe with intelligent physics, that results in intelligent beings that can explore the universe and observe it. It was always there and then all of a sudden it did something for no good reason and we got really really really lucky because this dot is unaware of what it is doing because if it was aware it would be the first choice

    So I’m sorry but I am going to pick the first option and I think it’s pretty obvious why

    If you think your version of how the universe came into the existence is more logical, well more power to you. But not only do I find it unsatisfying, but I find it relatively implausible.

  23. 23
    Belfast says:

    @Seversky @1
    It may have been a ‘reasonable question’ when you asked for the first time, or even the second time, after you had first read it your Materialist’s List of Snappy One-liners to Stump Theists.
    It is no longer reasonable when you can hardly still be ignorant that the question has been addressed both here and in thousands of articles and books back to Aristotle, his issues of an unmoved mover, infinite regression, and the like.
    Now it is stale, and boring, yet is still put like a child who thinks he found a funny riddle to puzzle adults.

  24. 24
    vividbleau says:

    “In other words, every effect must have a cause.Except for your God. Why?”

    Strawman alert, because God is not an effect. If God is an effect, and every effect must have a cause, God must have a cause, this is true but this is not the classical theistic ( Judaeo Christian) position.

    To be precise every finite, contingent effect must have a cause, anything that begins to exist must have a cause. God is neither finite, an effect nor has a beginning.

    I gotta agree with Tammie Lee

    “If you got an education beyond high school you should to sue your college for leaving you so ignorant”

    Vivid

  25. 25
    vividbleau says:

    Probably a waste of time posting this link “Aseity” by Sproul but who knows maybe somebody who is actually interested may take the time to get philosophically educated. He covers a wide range of topics,some of which have been brought up on this thread. He tells the story of his personal interaction with Jastro and Sagan. immutability, being verses becoming ( we are not human beings we are human becomers.)

    Highly recommend because if you are going to say stupid stuff the only cure for that “ stupid stuff” is to become familiar with why you are saying stupid stuff.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj6mZiRRuUU

    Vivid

  26. 26
    JVL says:

    AaronS1978: For one you take a hyper literal interpretation of the immutability of god to attempt to make it look absurd. This is a problem with your concept of God and is not shared by the individuals you criticize for it

    Well, in this context, what does ‘immutability’ mean?

    God has an immutable nature, meaning that God’s nature cannot change, that doesn’t mean God cannot act, like you seem to propose. It just means that God’s nature is unchanging, and therefore cannot be created or destroyed much like “energy”.

    Okay . . . what does it mean to say that something’s ‘nature’ cannot change. What is ‘nature’ in this context?

    Second, you assume God is physical, which is another thing that Christians and many other individuals do not believe. Again this is a problem with your interpretation of my belief.

    How does God interact with the physical universe without having some kind of physical or energy manifestation?

    You have an intelligent being that has always existed, that creates a universe with intelligent physics, that results in intelligent beings, that can explore the universe and observe it. God has always been there and very likely has been the source of an infinite number of creations

    A . . . being which you cannot measure or detect or test in a lab. When you say ‘has always existed’ does that not mean ‘infinitely far in the past’? Are you not appealing to an infinite argument?

    You have a small black unintelligent dot known as a singularity, that always existed, that creates a universe with intelligent physics, that results in intelligent beings that can explore the universe and observe it. It was always there and then all of a sudden it did something for no good reason and we got really really really lucky because this dot is unaware of what it is doing because if it was aware it would be the first choice

    Who says the ‘singularity’ was ‘always’ there? When you say ‘always’ are you not saying ‘infinitely far in the past’?

    If you think your version of how the universe came into the existence is more logical, well more power to you. But not only do I find it unsatisfying, but I find it relatively implausible.

    Fair enough. Not much to say then.

  27. 27
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    I agree with the theologically sophisticated responses here to Seversky, but I would also say that C. S. Lewis opened himself up to Seversky’s criticism by talking about “complication” (“more complicated”) in the first place.

    The problem turns on how the argument from analogy is supposed to work. If the reason why we’re supposed to say that the complexity of the device is explained by the complexity of the mind that made it, then we would certainly be open to Seversky’s quite reasonable objection.

    We would not want to reason as follows:

    1. Human designed artifacts are complex.
    2. The complexity of those artifacts is explained by the complexity of the human mind.
    3. Livings things are vastly more complex than human designed artifacts
    4. Therefore, the complexity of living things is explained by a vastly more complex kind of mind.

    This would be a disaster for theology, since it would entail that the Designer is vastly more complex than any human mind. If that were right, then the Designer could not possibly be God, since God is “simple”: He has no parts, no internal structure, and therefore cannot be complex in the sense that artifacts and living things are.

    What we need is a different kind of concept altogether to explain what minds are and the relation between minds and the complexity of the things that can generate.

    Lewis himself hints at the right idea when he writes “much more perfect and more complicated” about the mind of the inventor. The mind of the inventor is more powerful than the creation, because it has more potency, it can do more different things. A machine can only do what it was designed to do, but a mind can do create all sorts of ideas for machines, plans, intentions, structures, etc.

    So now we have something more agreeable to theology:

    1. Human designed artifacts are complex.
    2. The complexity of artifacts is explained by the creative power of the human mind.
    3. Living things are vastly more complex than human-built artifacts.
    4. Therefore, the complexity of living things is explained by a vastly more powerful creative mind.

    (The astute reader will notice that I shifted from “complicated” to “complex” here. I don’t think anything hangs on that, for the moment.)

    I still don’t think (4) would get us to God, since it would at most get us to a Demiurge. But at least it’s not as openly inconsistent with classical theism as the first version is.

    To understand why God exists, it is sufficient to notice that if we were to begin with the concept of God as an infinitely powerful being and meditate carefully on what that means, it becomes obvious that God must exist and that nothing else can exist apart from God.

    That’s why I’m not an atheist: because I understand that God must exist in a philosophical sense.

  28. 28
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ jvl

    In regards to all of your questions on immutable nature of God

    https://www.catholic.com/search?q=God%E2%80%99s%20immutable%20nature

    Also I recommend Edward Fesser and his book the first mover. If you truly want to understand want I think and you aren’t asking questions just for the sake of arguing. Here is is blog

    http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/

    “How does God interact with the physical universe without having some kind of physical or energy manifestation?“

    This was addressed back in my last response, this is a problem with your concept of God. You limit God based off your logic and therefore something that is immaterial cannot act on the material based on rules you are imposing. Why could it not interact? There are plenty of theories (m-theory) that purpose things like multi dimensional beings that could interact with our universe, and we would know no different, and they would not be considered physical by our standards. For example, two dimensional being would not know that a three dimensional (us) being is drawing on the paper that it exists on. All the two dimensional being would know and be able to interact with is the new line we put there with the pencil. Anything above our dimension would be considered outside of our universe, and very likely not made of the material of our universe, making it not material, but it would still be able to interact with us. It’s very possible and very conceivable. Why is it that you continue to believe that if it’s immaterial that it is not capable of interacting with any part of your universe? That’s you putting limitations on what I believe and then criticizing it. You are also claiming all things are composed of the substances our universe is composed of.

    “A . . . being which you cannot measure or detect or test in a lab. When you say ‘has always existed’ does that not mean ‘infinitely far in the past’? Are you not appealing to an infinite argument?“

    Well, it depends on how you look at it, if the past did not exist until this being will it so.
    Secondly, if the universe is organized and not a giant chaotic mess, because of a creator, then there could be an infinite past that we might not be able to observe yet. Unlike the multi-verse, which has an infinite past, that would not be organized, unintelligent, and thus dangerous to itself and us.

    “Who says the ‘singularity’ was ‘always’ there? When you say ‘always’ are you not saying ‘infinitely far in the past’?”

    Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, and Sean Carol for starters, but there are many individuals that have said similar and have a myriad of theories about an infinite past.

  29. 29
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @28

    . You limit God based off your logic and therefore something that is immaterial cannot act on the material based on rules you are imposing. Why could it not interact? There are plenty of theories (m-theory) that purpose things like multi dimensional beings that could interact with our universe, and we would know no different, and they would not be considered physical by our standards.

    That seems a bit weird to me. Beings from higher dimensions might not be detectable to us, or detectable to us only in ways that are difficult to understand. But God is not like a higher dimensional being — something that we can conceive of quite exactly, even if we don’t know how to imagine or experience. He is genuinely transcendent, absolutely infinite, and transcends all possible comprehension by finite minds.

    You can’t get to the concept of God by starting off the idea of Superman and just making him more and more powerful. That would at most make Superman a god, but there is a massive ontological gulf between gods and God. That’s exactly what New Atheists fail to appreciate in their stupid “we just believe in one less god than you do” argument.

    So I don’t think that one can appeal to Flatland or n-dimensional topology to explain how God interacts with the universe.

    The real question is, why would God need to interact with the universe at all? To imagine God as interacting with the physical universe, one would need to begin with the idea that God and the universe are somehow distinct, because only things that are distinct can interact.

    But if one begins with the thought that God is an absolutely powerful being, completely unlimited in every possible way, then it becomes perfectly obvious not only that God must exist, but also that only God can exist. Because if anything existed that wasn’t God, then the existence of that thing would be a limit on God’s power. Which cannot happen, since God is absolutely unlimited.

    In other words, if we begin with the idea that God is absolutely powerful and completely unlimited in His power, we must accept not only that nothing can exist independent of His willing it to exist, but that strictly speaking, nothing exists that is distinct from God in any way. Everything that has existed, can exist, or will exist is only a specific aspect of God. That would include the entire physical universe.

  30. 30
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ 29
    Wow, I am genuinely impressed with your response. I agree with what you are saying. My intent was to say if exhibit A was capable at doing this action then logically speaking exhibit B should certainly be able to.

    I might be assuming incorrectly that JVL is a physicalist. So I was just pulling from a theory that I knew that might help show my point.

    I really appreciate your response on 29. I honestly do. Thank you.

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I agree with Aaron1978 regarding PM1’s post @29 and also his @27. Excellent depth of philosophical analysis. Yes, CS Lewis made a mistake referring to God as being the most complex because God is not composed of parts which are held together, but instead is the most simple being.

    From the link posted regarding God’s immutability:

    God is pure being itself, so he does not change in any way. In creating the world God is the same, the only thing that changes is how we are related to God. The philosopher Peter Geach, who perhaps most powerfully made the argument, calls this a “Cambridge change,” named after the Cambridge University philosophers to whom he was responding.

    Here’s how it works: suppose a son grows up and ends up becoming taller than his father. This direct change is recognized by the father who says “my son is now taller than me,” but when the same father says “I am now shorter than my son,” he is recognizing a change not directly in himself, but in the difference between him and his son.

    The same thing happens when we say God created the universe—nothing changes in God’s immutable nature, but the world around us is “changed” by becoming real in an act of being that is created from nothing.
    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/is-it-impossible-that-god-created-the-universe

    God’s creative action does not result in a loss of power by God since it is just a manifestation of His same power. Also, God’s creative actions occur all at one eternal moment and are manifested over time.

    So just as a lawmaker can stipulate in one decree when a law begins and ends, and the binding power of that law begins and ends based on that one decree, so too God in one eternal decree determines the moments in time when an effect will come into existence and go out of existence, and when that effect comes into or goes out of existence it will be due to the one act of God’s intellect and will.

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/online-edition/god-is-both-immutable-and-active

  32. 32
    Querius says:

    Here’s what Jesus is recorded as having said about God:

    But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” – John 4:23-26 (NASB)

    I’d suggest being very cautious about any descriptions or details about the loving creator-genius who created the cosmos and all that it contains. I suspect that no human mind can contain all that the Creator truly is.

    -Q

  33. 33
    buffalo says:

    Seversky 11

    Either we have the uncaused cause or infinite regression. Which one – you pick

    33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God’s existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. The soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”,9 can have its origin only in God. 34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”. Catechism

  34. 34
    TAMMIE LEE HAYNES says:

    Dear Buffalo
    at 33

    Please try to be gentle with our nice Atheist friends
    Put yourself in their shoes. How would you like it if the basis of your belief system collapsed, and all you could hope for is that nobody would find out. And now the cat is out of the bag.

    You noted their quandry when you wrote “Either we have the uncaused cause or infinite regression. Which one – you pick”. Well, an Atheist cant pick “the Uncaused Cuase”. Because that’s another name for God.

    But the Infinite regression began to tank when Big bank was discovered 90 years ago. When that was realized, the Atheists had to fly with infinite regression. AKA a Cyclic Universe. OBig Bang then Big Crunbch then another Big band and another big crunch. In an Infinite regression.

    Poor guys, that went south when when it was dicovered that the expansion rate of the universe is increasing. That means the universe will keep getting bigger and bigger, so it will never cycle back to a big crunch. That means curtains for the Cyclic Universe. And that menas c urtains for our Atheist friends, poor guys, Uncaused Cause its what the Science says.

    Uncaused Cause, Fine Tuning, Origin of Life, Irreducible Complexity.
    Phew. Getting hit by Creationist Science from all sides.
    Okay, but I say this: No laughing at our Atheist friends. Us Creationists, let’s show that we can be good winners.

  35. 35
    Seversky says:

    Buffalo/33

    Either we have the uncaused cause or infinite regression. Which one – you pick

    The uncaused first cause is as unsatisfactory as the infinite regression.

    That said, there is general agreement that you can’t get something from nothing. That being the case, since there is clearly something there must always have been something, even preceding the Big Bang, although we have no idea what. But there’s that infinity again.

    Maybe there’s a third possibility that we haven’t thought of yet.

  36. 36
    buffalo says:

    Seversky 35
    Agnostic are you?

    It is unsatisfactory to you, but satisfactory to billions. Logic, reason, evidence and personal experiences support it for these. The universe without absolute truth is unthinkable. Presumably you are in search of truth or yours is a wasted exercise. Uncaused cause = God = Truth

    Since we have Revelation (from outside the frame), we can be confident that the uncaused cause is the real deal. If we didn’t (since we are inside the frame) your position would be more palatable.

  37. 37
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @35

    there is general agreement that you can’t get something from nothing. That being the case, since there is clearly something there must always have been something, even preceding the Big Bang, although we have no idea what. But there’s that infinity again.

    I don’t quite follow this line of reasoning. Once we accept that “nothing can come from nothing” as a basic principle of metaphysical reasoning, it follows that the only alternative to an infinite causal chain of contingent beings is a necessary being — something that does not need a cause for its existence because it has always existed and therefore did not begin to exist.

    One could, I suppose, reject the principle that nothing can come from nothing. But this comes at a high cost. For if one asserts that the universe came into existence from nothing at all, then one cannot explain why the universe has any of the fundamental physical structures that it does. We would need to give up on the principle of sufficient reason (that all facts can be explained).

    So if we’re committed to the principle of sufficient reason, and if an infinite regress of contingent causes is ruled out, then we’re left with a necessary being.

    The question would then be, what can be reasonably said about this necessary being except that it has the power to bring about or cause at least one universe?

    If we had reason to believe that ours is the only universe that it created, that would allow scope for some theological inquiries.

    But we do not know if the necessary being created other universes, then it becomes much more difficult to accommodate the speculations of classical theism. It could be, for all we can tell, that the necessary being created other universes that are even more perfect than ours, in ways that we cannot ascertain because our sensibility of what counts as perfect is inseparable from the process that led to our (contingent?) emergence in this universe.

    So while I think it makes good sense to say that there is a necessary being, and it makes good sense to say that this necessary being is God if by God we mean a being of absolute and unlimited power, I’m less sure that we can salvage classical theism in this way.

    Or, put more charitably, that’s as far as natural reason can take us — we would need revelation to go any further, and that raises some thorny and perhaps irresolvable questions about the reliability or authenticity of revelation. (Personally I think Kierekegaard was right when he claimed that it takes a leap of faith, going beyond what natural reason can possibly establish, in order to accept a revelation as a revelation, rather than as a hallucination or epileptic episode.)

  38. 38
    Upright BiPed says:

    .

    The question would then be, what can be reasonably said about this necessary being except that it has the power to bring about or cause at least one universe?

    If one was to suspect that this “necessary being” might also be responsible for the appearance of life on earth, then by way of physical analysis, they would know that this entity used a system of rate-independent tokens and non-integrable constraints in order to specify (among alternatives) the proteins that make life on earth possible — just as predicted.

  39. 39
    jerry says:

    We fail to understand what is necessary for the existence we have to be meaningful.

    Logic will take one some of the way. However, the same logic is necessary in order to understand what is required to make the existence meaningful. Does there have to be doubt for the existence to be meaningful?

    Will this logic lead to what on the surface looks like contradictory outcomes, that is doubt. But are these seemingly contradictory outcomes not contradictory but actually necessary.

    In other words what some use to challenge things are actually necessary for a meaningful existence.

    Aside: the existence of other universes is irrelevant. The one we observe is certainly big enough to incorporate an almost endless variety of options.

    If a myriad of options are desired, one universe or several will do. My guess, one is enough.

    Essential question: Do we live in the best of all possible worlds?

  40. 40
    asauber says:

    Oh, I have educated Catholic friends who think that Evolution applies outside biology, to the Universe (whatever that is) as a whole. Not sure where they get that idea, and why they choose to sustain that specific belief, since it’s obviously wrong, and defies the data, as Lewis points out.

    Andrew

  41. 41
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 40,

    The Catholic Church holds the position that God is the cause of causes. That He is in charge of the development of life. That He works infallibly in His Creation. He literally knows when a sparrow falls.

  42. 42
    asauber says:

    “The Catholic Church holds the position…”

    Relatd @ 40,

    Indeed, but my friends feel the need for a secular genuflection to Evolution at the same time, to appease their New England liberal neighbors. I’m a Catholic from flyover country/the Midwest, and I don’t fall to the Left when getting out of bed. I don’t have the cultural hangups. It’s a political triangulation, and I find it offensive. lol

    Andrew

  43. 43
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 42,

    The truth is before pleasing others. We should always speak the truth for ourselves and others. After years of repeating the same thing over and over, secularists have caused confusion. They are offended by other beliefs. By truth itself.

  44. 44
    Seversky says:

    Relatd/41

    The Catholic Church holds the position that God is the cause of causes. That He is in charge of the development of life. That He works infallibly in His Creation. He literally knows when a sparrow falls.

    So how come He didn’t know Adam and Eve were being lured into eating the Forbidden Fruit?

  45. 45
    jerry says:

    So how come He didn’t know Adam and Eve were being lured into eating the Forbidden Fruit?

    Another incredibly stupid question.

    Do you practice asking inane questions?

  46. 46
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @37,
    Nicely articulated!

    Upright BiPed @38,

    . . . this entity used a system of rate-independent tokens and non-integrable constraints in order to specify (among alternatives) the proteins that make life on earth possible — just as predicted.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t understand what you mean. What are rate-independent tokens, non-integrable constraints, and what were the predictions?

    Thanks,
    -Q

  47. 47
    Querius says:

    Jerry @39,

    Essential question: Do we live in the best of all possible worlds?

    Why is this an/the essential question?

    If we live in the best of all possible worlds, would you be the best of all possible Jerrys?

    Engineers typically admit their designs are adequate, good, very good, or excellent based on the specifications, constraints, and compromises they accommodate.

    In the Genesis account, I noticed that God judged his creation using two descriptive terms “good” and “very good.” Presumably, very good is better than good, but less than perfect.

    -Q

  48. 48
    Seversky says:

    PyrrhoManiac1/27

    I agree with the theologically sophisticated responses here to Seversky, but I would also say that C. S. Lewis opened himself up to Seversky’s criticism by talking about “complication” (“more complicated”) in the first place.

    I find references to sophisticated theology inevitably calls to mind the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. This is not to diminish the fact that greater minds than mine have grappled with these issues but human beings, if nothing else, are inveterate storytellers. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings is a sophisticated narrative – although it is far from the only one – yet it is a work of fiction. Sophistication alone is not a guarantee of truth. In fact, I would argue that one of the roots of science is the need to find a means of discriminating between competing narratives.

    To understand why God exists, it is sufficient to notice that if we were to begin with the concept of God as an infinitely powerful being and meditate carefully on what that means, it becomes obvious that God must exist and that nothing else can exist apart from God.

    As I said before, the only reason I see for positing an uncaused first cause is to close out an infinite causal regress, although it is hard to see what you gain by exchanging one infinity for another. To me, neither is intellectually satisfying and I can’t choose between them but what else is there?

  49. 49
    Seversky says:

    Jerry/39

    Essential question: Do we live in the best of all possible worlds?

    If this is the only one we have, how does it matter?

  50. 50
    Silver Asiatic says:

    PM1

    The question would then be, what can be reasonably said about this necessary being except that it has the power to bring about or cause at least one universe?

    Through metaphysical reasoning we can say more about the necessary being than merely that it had enough power to create one universe.

    First of all, there cannot be two necessary beings. There can only be one. If there is more than one, then we have a relationship between those two which is contingent. One will be distinguished (different) than the other and therefore greater or lesser, having or lacking something of the other.
    Where would those differences come from and why are they sustained in an equilibrium (or one being is getting stronger and the other weaker)?
    We terminate an infinite regress into one cause, not multiple. More than one necessary being would just continue the infinite regress of potentiality changing to actuality. One being is potentially greater than the other and one potentially less – so they change over time. Beings that can change over time have possibilities that can be fulfilled – one can cease to exist entirely. One could absorb all the power of the other.

    So the necessary being is one. In the same way, the necessary being is the source of all power, since it cannot be dependent on other beings to receive power. So, it not only has the power to create our universe but must have the power to create every possible universe -no matter what properties those universes have.

    In the same way, anything the necessary being has must be the most complete and perfect since it is not dependent on anything else to gain greater perfection.

    Therefore, not only does the necessary being have all power, it has all being — or the fullness and completeness of being itself.
    With that, it must be immutable, because having all power and all being – it cannot change.
    It also cannot be constrained by space or time or any contingent thing.
    One, immutable, all powerful, fullness of being, spaceless, timeless …

    And also as you mentioned also, not composed of parts (which would be changeable, contingent elements bound together by something for some reason). Therefore, completely simple.

    So, just starting with your necessary being, you have a lot of attributes. That’s still a Deistic God and you would have to use more reasoning to move towards the perfections of rationality, intention and will (desiring the good of others).

    But with that, there couldn’t be any evil in God at all, since that would be an imperfection in power or being. So we’d add all-good to the list.

  51. 51
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    As I said before, the only reason I see for positing an uncaused first cause is to close out an infinite causal regress, although it is hard to see what you gain by exchanging one infinity for another.

    God is a single cause, not an infinite string of them. God terminates the causal regress into a first cause.

    You see a string of box cars passing by on the railroad track. The box cars do not have the power to move themselves. So, there has to be an locomotive engine moving the whole string.

    You could say:
    The box cars move themselves (caused by nothing)
    They are an infinite string (but impossible to traverse that so they wouldn’t appear on the tracks today)
    Or, the movement terminates in a first cause (a train-engine).

    What you gain in accepting God as the first cause is a rational termination of an infinite string of causes and you avoid saying that nothing is the cause.

    The fact that God is infinite in being is not the same kind of problem as having an infinite chain of material causes.

  52. 52
    jerry says:

    Presumably, very good is better than good, but less than perfect.

    So based on this reasoning, the creator made an inferior world on purpose.

    Why? Did the creator not have the knowledge or the power?

  53. 53
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @51,

    The fact that God is infinite in being is not the same kind of problem as having an infinite chain of material causes.

    The material involves masses and energies that are finite, not infinite. Infinities are the result of divide-by-zero errors.

    What’s considered spiritual and what are considered desirable attributes, such as love, peace, joy, kindness, honesty, generosity, compassion, trustworthiness, righteousness, faith, and so on, are not bounded by space and time, nor do they have specific locations in space or in time.

    Can you measure honesty in grams or compassion in candelas? Do you have to travel somewhere to find them or wait up until exactly midnight on a certain day to obtain a kilogram of kindness?

    They exist outside of space and time. Just as God who created space-time.

    -Q

  54. 54
    jerry says:

    If this is the only one we have, how does it matter?

    It matters because it was chosen.

    So assume that the entity with the power and knowledge to do so had an objective. The question is why was this particular one chosen?

  55. 55
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    The material involves masses and energies that are finite, not infinite. Infinities are the result of divide-by-zero errors.

    True. We cannot have material things existing for an infinite sequence of time. So we have to have a first cause which is immaterial and timeless.

  56. 56
    Querius says:

    Jerry @52,

    Why? Did the creator not have the knowledge or the power?

    Does the Creator NOT have the power to CHOOSE to create humans “a little lower than the angels”?

    Psalm 8:4-6 (literal Greek from the LXX) states:

    What is man that you remember him,
    Or a son of man that you visit him?
    You lessened him some–a little (lower) than the angels,
    (With) glory and honor you crowned him;
    And established him over the works of your hands;
    All (things) you submitted underneath his feet . . .

    -Q

  57. 57
    jerry says:

    Does the Creator NOT have the power to CHOOSE to create humans “a little lower than the angels”?

    I have no idea how this is relevant especially to ID.

    I’ll go with the more powerful and knowledgeable creator who knew what he was doing.

    Aside: never heard of any angels existing in this universe. They supposedly come and go but rarely.

  58. 58
    Querius says:

    Jerry @57,

    I have no idea how this is relevant especially to ID.

    Well, you’re the one who raised the question in @39! Silly me, I responded to your question.

    I’ll go with the more powerful and knowledgeable creator who knew what he was doing.

    I never said God didn’t know what he was doing! I said that God CHOSE to create humans “lower” than the angels according to Psalm 8 (and quoted in Hebrews 2). I also mentioned that in the book of Genesis, God described his creation as “good” (in several places) and “very good” (cumulatively).

    Aside: never heard of any angels existing in this universe. They supposedly come and go but rarely.

    The Bible has a number of passages that report encounters with angels. You might want to read it sometime.

    There are many people who claim they personally encountered angels, but I don’t put a lot of weight in that. However, a relative of mine, an engineer who I respect deeply, told me that he believes in angels after encountering one under miraculous circumstances.

    The Bible also says that some people encounter angels “unaware” of who/what they are.

    -Q

  59. 59
    whistler says:

    Jerry
    So assume that the entity with the power and knowledge to do so had an objective. The question is why was this particular one chosen?

    The answer is in your own comment …because (the Designer) has an objective . This world is not the objective in itself it’s just a tool. A car is just a tool to travel to home or to work or to holiday or…No matter how much you will study the car components you will not find the goals of the owner of the car …unless the owner wants to share them to you .

  60. 60
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: We cannot have material things existing for an infinite sequence of time. So we have to have a first cause which is immaterial and timeless.

    Is not timeless another way of saying: existing infinitely distant in the past? Are you not accepting the idea of an infinite regress into the past? Kairosfocus says you can’t do that.

    If someone could explain to me how you cannot go step-wise back into the past to infinity but you can have a being which has always existed I’d be very interested.

  61. 61
    asauber says:

    “Is not timeless another way of saying: existing infinitely distant in the past?”

    JVL,

    No.

    Andrew

  62. 62
    jerry says:

    The answer is in your own comment …because (the Designer) has an objective . This world is not the objective in itself it’s just a tool.

    How do you know that?

    This is the first I ever saw this asserted in ID.

    A car is just a tool to travel to home or to work or to holiday or…No matter how much you will study the car components you will not find the goals of the owner of the car

    Why not?

    The car is built a specific way and not in other ways. That choice should be commensurate with the intended use of the car. To take this example, there are lots of uses for a car and they will surely be obvious from the design.

    So what is the objective of the tool if the world is not the objective and just a tool? You have pulled a switch here. The owner and designer are different. Are you saying that whoever designed and made this world is different from the owner of the world? Are they different entities? That is new!!!

    …unless the owner wants to share them to you

    Maybe he does but that is not ID. Also how do we know when the designer of the world wants to share? Or owner of the world who is not the creator of the world wants to share if they are different.

    Again, I fail to understand why the concept of owner has been introduced. This has never appeared in any ID discussion I have seen. We should stick to just designer unless you believe the creator and designer are different entities. The concept of owner has no parallel.

  63. 63
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    Andrew answered your first question @61.

    Here is St. Thomas to explain the difference between timelessness (eternity) and time (succession).

    On the contrary, Eternity is simultaneously whole. But time has a “before” and an “after.” Therefore time and eternity are not the same thing.

    I answer that, It is manifest that time and eternity are not the same. .. for eternity is the measure of a permanent being; while time is a measure of movement. Summa Theologiae, Prima Pars, Q. 10, art 4

    So, eternity (timelessness) is “simultaneously whole” – it is not a succession of intervals.

    If someone could explain to me how you cannot go step-wise back into the past to infinity but you can have a being which has always existed I’d be very interested.

    Time is a sequence. November 19 to 20 to today. You cannot traverse an infinite sequence. You cannot go back an infinite distance because at whatever point you reach in the past, there is always an additional point farther back. Thus, you cannot go back step-wise across a sequence.

    Timeless is not a sequence. It’s a simultaneous whole. It’s a completeness without the movement or change of parts. A being that it timeless is not measured by a sequence of time – obviously, since it is not bound by time. To say that the being “always existed” would be incorrect also. Rather, it is a being that fully exists – it is always in a present, timeless state.

    Jesus explained that when asked about his heritage:
    Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

    When the Jewish leaders heard this they tried to kill him.

    Do you understand what Jesus was saying in that statement?
    Do you know what He was referring to and why the Jews were especially triggered against Him?

  64. 64
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry wondered how the nature of God is relevant to ID.
    Stephen Meyer explained that in his recent book. Here’s an excerpt from an interview:

    Because the first two books I wrote were making an argument for intelligent design without attempting to identify the nature of the designer. We know from our uniform and repeated experience that mind is the only known cause of the generation of large amounts of specified information. Especially when we find it in a digital or alphabetic form as we do in the molecules that make life possible. So, from the discovery of the functional digital information in living systems, I inferred that a designing intelligence must’ve played a role in the origin and subsequent development of life. But I didn’t attempt to identify the designing an agent involved. Many of my readers wanted to know, well, who do you think the designing intelligence is? And what can science tell us about that question? And so, to address that question, I broadened the range of phenomenon under consideration. And instead of looking just at the evidence of design in biology, I also looked at developments in physics and cosmology about the origin and fine-tuning of the universe. Because one of the proposed identities of the designing intelligence responsible for life is that it was an imminent intelligence within the cosmos. Even Francis Crick and and Richard Dawkins have floated that idea, that maybe life was seated here on earth because it was so difficult to get life going here. Maybe it started someplace else, and that life form evolved and eventually became very intelligent and seeded some simple cells on planet earth. I argue in the new book that that’s an unsatisfactory explanation for a number of reasons. But one thing that that hypothesis clearly can’t explain is the origin of the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics and the initial conditions of the universe, that pre-seed the origin of any possible imminent intelligence within the cosmos. Dawkins, when Dawkins proposed this, he suggested that such a being would have evolved by purely natural processes. But not being within the cosmos can be responsible for the fine-tuning of the laws and constants of physics upon which its very origin and evolution depend. And so, the fine-tuning points not to an imminent intelligence, but requires instead as a condition of its explanation, both an intelligent cause, but one which also lies beyond the boundaries of matter, space, time and energy, one which is transcendent. And so, when you bring in the evidence for the beginning of the universe and for the fine-tuning of the universe from the beginning, I think this precludes the idea of an imminent intelligence within the cosmos, and points rather to a designing agent which transcends the universe. But then because of the biological evidence, is also active in the creation. So we have not a deistic creator, not a space alien, but rather a theistic designer that has the attributes that Jews and Christians have always described to God.

    https://www.hoover.org/research/stephen-meyer-intelligent-design-and-return-god-hypothesis-1

    So, the designer of ID, according to the leading ID theorist, is the theistic God of Judaism or Christianity. So, what we know about God, even just from a theistic perspective, is relevant to what ID is claiming.

    This was a big surprise to me, after many years of defending the idea that ID says nothing about the nature or identity of the designer. In fact, I was quite upset about that since it contradicted my arguments for years that ID did not (could not) identify or explain attributes of the designer. It could only point to the existence of a designing intelligence, since that’s all that the science could show.
    But Dr. Meyer contradicted that by saying that ID does, in fact, indicate that the designer is not the Deist God but is rather Theistic.
    I disagree with Meyer on that point and will continue to insist that ID cannot determine what kind of God is the designer (or even if it is not multiple gods or not – notice how Meyer assumes without scientific proof that the designer of the cosmos is the same designer of biological life on earth).
    But it’s part of the ID community now that Stephen Meyer says that ID does, in fact, identify the designer and it is the Theistic God of Judaism and Christianity.
    … I think that opens up the criticism that ID is nothing but Creationism in disguise, but that’s a different matter for the DI to deal with.
    In any case, talking directly about what God is or what God does – is now considered (or must be according to Meyer) a part of ID. I could live with that because I’m more of a creationist than an IDist anyway so maybe it’s all for the best.
    But how ID could be considered just a scientific project on that basis is a mystery to me. It would become a theological project at this point, as I see it.

  65. 65
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @63,

    You nicely articulated difference between timeless and infinite time!

    What we can observe in our reality includes

    – The massive range between the very smallest and very largest things
    – Our ability to create tools observe and explore
    – Amazing beauty and exciting discoveries
    – Mind-boggling complexity and interrelated designs throughout
    – Our ability to comprehend far more than any other living thing
    – Danger, ugliness, and depravity are also comprehensible to us
    – The freedom to act and choose far beyond instinct and fixed action patterns
    – Intelligence and creativity far beyond what’s necessary merely to survive
    – A sense of morality and duty not present in other living organisms
    – Programmed death (outside of microorganisms)
    – A sense of justice
    – A sense of guilt and a desire to either to in touch with the Creator or hide ourselves

    I was exposed to computer-generated virtual reality near the beginning of that technology and had the experience of navigating within an experimental cyberspace populated by simple 3D geometric shapes using a data glove together with a set of polhemus devices for tracking movement and a VR headset. I was warned that some people experience adverse reactions to cyberspace and not to be surprised. What I found was, despite the power to jet around VR space simply through gestures, there quickly was

    – a terrible sense of loneliness and disappointment in a VR space. I concluded that the human mind craves detail and the ability to discover new and surprising things.

    -Q

  66. 66
    jerry says:

    So, the designer of ID, according to the leading ID theorist, is the theistic God of Judaism or Christianity.

    No, he is saying that the creator is consistent with Judaism, Christianity and probably several other religions.

    So, what we know about God, even just from a theistic perspective, is relevant to what ID is claiming.

    No, what we know about the creator that ID is claiming is relevant to several religions.

    Meyer hardly addresses Christianity in his book. He does mention it a few times mostly with the rise of science.

    We can know somethings about the creator from science and logic. I am saying there is probably a lot of things we can know but few of them are ever discussed on ID. For example, how could this creator be so smart and powerful and create an inferior world? The answer is that the creator wouldn’t.

    So we have to examine the creation and assume it met objectives perfectly. That might help us understand the creation better. Since that is based on science and logic, it fits into ID. It is not religion. But it is not inconsistent with many religions.

  67. 67
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    No, he is saying that the creator is consistent with Judaism, Christianity and probably several other religions.

    What he said was:

    So we have not a deistic creator, not a space alien, but rather a theistic designer that has the attributes that Jews and Christians have always described to God.

    So he is saying that ID can distinguish between a deistic creator and a theistic designer. Beyond that, the ID designer has attributes that Jews and Christians described to God. So, he’s saying that the science tells us that the designer is God (theistic not deistic) and science indicates various attributes of God. For Meyer, ID is talking about God – not merely “a designer”.

    Meyer only mentioned Judaism and Christianity has having the characteristics of the ID designer.
    A theistic God is a creator who interacts with creation, responds to prayer and has made himself known by revelation of sacred scripture.
    If Meyer is talking about religions other than Christianity and Judaism, then he really should make that known. He also asserts that the ID designer is one God – therefore he thinks science rules out polytheism. There aren’t a lot of monotheistic religions of revealed scriptures besides Christianity and Judaism that I can think of. So I wouldn’t think he’s talking about several other religions. But again, if so – he owes it to his scholarship to define precisely what he’s talking about.

    For example, how could this creator be so smart and powerful and create an inferior world? The answer is that the creator wouldn’t.

    ID has been proposed as a scientific project alone – not a philosophical or theological one. By science alone, you cannot tell what kind of world the designer would or could create. You can’t tell if there’s only one designer. Science doesn’t show this. Meyer thinks it does, but I disagree. Meyer does make a religious claim by distinguishing deism from theism as the identity of the designer. That’s religion, not science.

    So we have to examine the creation and assume it met objectives perfectly. That might help us understand the creation better. Since that is based on science and logic, it fits into ID. It is not religion. But it is not inconsistent with many religions.

    Again, he is saying that the designer is theistic. That’s a specific nature of God. That’s talking about what God is. Theism requires a revelation – sacred scripture. That’s religion.

  68. 68
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I would think that some ID vocabulary should change, at least from Stephen Meyer. He is saying clearly that the designer is the theistic God. So, why use the term “designer”? He should just replace that term with God – since that’s what he’s talking about.

  69. 69
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius @65

    – The massive range between the very smallest and very largest things
    – Our ability to create tools observe and explore
    – Amazing beauty and exciting discoveries
    – Mind-boggling complexity and interrelated designs throughout
    – Our ability to comprehend far more than any other living thing
    – Danger, ugliness, and depravity are also comprehensible to us
    – The freedom to act and choose far beyond instinct and fixed action patterns
    – Intelligence and creativity far beyond what’s necessary merely to survive
    – A sense of morality and duty not present in other living organisms
    – Programmed death (outside of microorganisms)
    – A sense of justice
    – A sense of guilt and a desire to either to in touch with the Creator or hide ourselves

    That is excellent. There is a lot to think about in that list. Each element could be expanded out into a valuable study of reality.

  70. 70
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: Timeless is not a sequence. It’s a simultaneous whole. It’s a completeness without the movement or change of parts. A being that it timeless is not measured by a sequence of time – obviously, since it is not bound by time. To say that the being “always existed” would be incorrect also. Rather, it is a being that fully exists – it is always in a present, timeless state.

    To say that a ‘timeless’ being is always in a present state but not that it ‘always existed’ . . . well, there doesn’t seem to be much science or mathematics behind such philosophical thinking.

    Anyway, you answered the question which I appreciate. Even if I don’t really see the distinction, particularly because we have no observational data to show the distinction is possible.

  71. 71
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @50

    So, just starting with your necessary being, you have a lot of attributes. That’s still a Deistic God and you would have to use more reasoning to move towards the perfections of rationality, intention and will (desiring the good of others).

    But with that, there couldn’t be any evil in God at all, since that would be an imperfection in power or being. So we’d add all-good to the list.

    I agree that we can infer that there is only one necessary being, that it has the power necessary to create every possible universe (including this one), and that is must be “simple” in the metaphysical sense.

    But I’m much less confident that we could ascribe to God such person-like properties as intention and will. And whether God is all-good depends on whether we accept a privation theory of evil to begin with, I think.

    Where I really part ways from most people, including (I believe) everyone at Uncommon Descent, is that I reject the assumption that God must be supernatural, in the sense that God exists in a domain of reality separate from the one in which we live. I would classify myself as a “theistic naturalist“. It’s an unusual view and no doubt raising it here invites some tough challenges. I’m sharing that about myself just to indicate why I keep insisting that I’m not an atheist.

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1,

    I beg to differ.

    First, we are — self evidently — morally governed creatures. We are bound by the ciceronian first duties and even objectors cannot but appeal to same to give force to objections. Branch on which we all sit self evidence. I know certain objectors will predictably try cheap stunts to dismiss, but these are what I mean:

    1st – to truth,
    2nd – to right reason,
    3rd – to prudence [including warrant],
    4th – to sound conscience,
    5th – to neighbour; so also,
    6th – to fairness and
    7th – to justice
    [ . . .]
    xth – etc.

    Obviously, an objector saying they lack warrant or are poorly argued or are not the case is actually appealing to the first three or four. Self-defeatingly.

    So, part of what we need to account for is a world with rational, responsible, significantly free so morally rather than mechanically or stochastically governed creatures.

    Post Hume, that can only be done by bridging the is-ought gap in the root of reality, on pain of ungrounded ought. That requires that the necessary being root be adequate to both be and be inherently good including being utterly wise.

    For this, there is just one serious candidate. The inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being; worthy of our loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature.

    Such a being would be personal and loving, as well as designer of worlds.

    This is of course a worldview argument and an invitation to comparative difficulties.

    KF

  73. 73
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, the core of math is eternal and necessary being. So, mathematics is implicated. As our world is credibly empirically finite in the past and on mathematics cannot come from a prior causal-temporal thermodynamically constrained entity that is infinite in the past number of years . . . such cannot be traversed year by year . . . it is not the root. Non being has no causal power so it is non viable. We are looking at necessary being world root. KF

  74. 74
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, a designer is not immediately equivalent to God. Certainly, life on earth could come from a molecular nanotech lab. Venter shows that in the early stages. Cosmos designer is where we go to see need for the transcendent. KF

  75. 75
    jerry says:

    For those pushing Christianity here,
    Stephen Meyer endorses Islam as a religion compatible with ID.

    Is Dr Meyer a Muslim?

    Those trying to connect Christianity specifically with ID are doing ID a disservice

  76. 76
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    SA, a designer is not immediately equivalent to God.

    I fully agree, so your comment here is directed at Stephen Meyer who stated that the designer is, indeed, immediately equivalent to God, and not any God but the God of theism with characteristics of Judaism and Christianity.

    Certainly, life on earth could come from a molecular nanotech lab. Venter shows that in the early stages. Cosmos designer is where we go to see need for the transcendent.

    Again, I agree but Meyer rejects this as an ID proposal. See my post #64. Meyer is stating, clearly, that the designer is God.

    [The designer of ID is] not a deistic creator, not a space alien, but rather a theistic designer that has the attributes that Jews and Christians have always described to God.
    https://www.hoover.org/research/stephen-meyer-intelligent-design-and-return-god-hypothesis-1

    As I said, this is a major change by an ID theorist. Identifying God and the nature of God (non-deist) moves ID out of science and into religion. That’s not my thinking, but Stephen Meyer’s. He explains the same thing in his God Hypothesis book.

  77. 77
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Stephen Meyer endorses Islam as a religion compatible with ID.

    Many theologians would identify Islam is deistic, not theistic.
    Where is the science that tells Stephen Meyer about the nature and attributes of God? What gods does science eliminate from ID? I’d like to see the peer-reviewed scientific research on this.

  78. 78
    Silver Asiatic says:

    PM1 @71
    Regarding will and intent in God, that involves the motive or source of God’s actions.
    The deist view would say that God’s actions are strictly determined by His nature – so there’s no freedom. But the theist will say that this puts limits on God, and if humans have freedom then we would have more freedom than God does. If humans don’t have free will then we have the problem of determinism.
    A pagan, primitive view would say that God’s actions are caused by something else (some created thing) but that’s illogical since the created thing cannot cause God to create itself.
    The theistic view answers the origin of rational thought, which we see in human life, requires freedom.
    So, if the human rational mind has freedom to choose, then God would have the ultimate freedom and would therefore create by His will and not be determined or compelled by His nature.

    Regarding theistic naturalism, I had not encountered that before. The introduction in the link provided is good. It seems to be a means of moving beyond deism to a God that interacts with nature, and at the same time avoiding God as outside nature. I see problems with contingency and dependency in God since God would be part of a transient entity (nature). But maybe that is all worked out somehow in the details.

    From the link:

    That is to say, I argue that there is a form of theistic naturalism which can accommodate the distinction – and indeed, the relation – between God and nature. The arguments are complex, they pose a challenge to the assumption that we are remotely clear about the question of being (to put the point in Heideggerian terms), and they are borrowed from those used by the secular expansive naturalist to defend his own position against scientistic naturalism.

    She says that “the arguments are complex” and I would think they would need to be in order to work around some of the problems posed by classical theism.
    I see it as part of a theological journey … from Atheism, which does not work on many levels, to Deism which is an improvement but lacking in the relationship between God and nature … to this view of true God (not pantheistic) and nature, but combined somehow.

  79. 79
    Silver Asiatic says:

    JVL

    there doesn’t seem to be much science or mathematics behind such philosophical thinking.

    As KF points out in #73, science and mathematics are secondary to philosophy. Science and math depend upon philosophical structures, so they would not be “behind” philosophy. Philosophy is required first – it’s the primary thought. Then you derive science and math from your philosophical foundation. So, asking for the math behind the philosophy does not work.
    Notice, that you make an implied proposal:
    “This argument does not work unless there is math and science behind the philosophy”.
    That’s your claim (JVL’s Claim 1). However, using your own standard: where is the math and science behind JVL’s claim 1? You made a philosophical proposal, but it’s not supported by math or science.

    Even if I don’t really see the distinction, particularly because we have no observational data to show the distinction is possible.

    I’ll propose this as JVL’s Claim #2: “The argument is not valid unless we have observational data to show the distinction.”

    Again, where is the science or math to support JVL’s Claim #2? Where is the observational data that would make your claim convincing?

    Instead, you’ve offered philosophical arguments in opposition to other philosophical arguments, but then you demanded that the philosophical arguments you oppose must be supported by math or science. But you have not supported your own philosophical argument with math, science or observational data.

  80. 80
    Querius says:

    JVL @70,

    To say that a ‘timeless’ being is always in a present state but not that it ‘always existed’ . . . well, there doesn’t seem to be much science or mathematics behind such philosophical thinking.

    Apparently, you’ve never heard of state diagrams. Your assertion merely points out your ignorance.

    -Q

  81. 81
    Querius says:

    Jerry @75,

    For those pushing Christianity here, Stephen Meyer endorses Islam as a religion compatible with ID. Is Dr Meyer a Muslim?

    Steven Meyer is correct in my opinion. For example, Muslim scholars came up with the Kalam Cosmological Argument. No, Steven Meyer is not Islamic.

    Those trying to connect Christianity specifically with ID are doing ID a disservice

    Baloney! As a Christian, I’m trying to SEPARATE scientific ID from Christianity.
    ID is a pragmatic, often validated paradigm that looks for purpose in complex structures that look designed. For example, there’s no assumption in ID that the majority of DNA is “junk” as first raised by Dr. Susumu Ohno and grimly held onto in the face of falsifying evidence by those whose faith is in Darwin.

    -Q

  82. 82
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @71,

    But I’m much less confident that we could ascribe to God such person-like properties as intention and will.

    Are you suggesting that the God who created humans with intention and will, does not have intention or will? How is your belief different than pantheism?

    Where I really part ways from most people, including (I believe) everyone at Uncommon Descent, is that I reject the assumption that God must be supernatural, in the sense that God exists in a domain of reality separate from the one in which we live.

    So, I’m sure you don’t imagine that the God who/that created the reality in which we live exists only in that same reality, but rather, that this “natural” God is synonymous with our reality, right? This again seems like pantheism.

    The existence of the natural God, must have a presence and be detectable in the properties of natural subatomic entities such as quarks and leptons . . . or perhaps is synonymous with the Higgs boson, which is indeed sometimes called “the God particle.” Does this make sense to you?

    -Q

  83. 83
    kairosfocus says:

    SA (attn Jerry, et al, also PM1),

    Deism is properly a sub set of theism, albeit with peculiar doctrines regarding prophetic revelation and other miracles in human history.

    Islam is a religion pivoting on a claimed revelation in history — as the shahada, its creedal confession, declares: there is but one God, known as Allah, and Mohammed of the Quraish is his prophet — and so is committed to miracles in the here and now not just a remote past of creation.

    Second, generic ethical theism that simply sees God as inherently good utterly wise creator is obviously design friendly.

    So are varieties of Hinduism, pantheism, panentheism etc.

    So is the neo-stoic view that reality embeds a rational order that expresses itself in what is or comes to be.

    So is Platonism with the demiurge.

    And so forth.

    What is violently opposed is evolutionary materialism, whether the sophist form Plato summarised in The Laws Bk X or today’s evo mat scientism and its fellow travellers. And yes, PM1, insofar as theistic naturalism seeks to follow the lead of evolutionary materialistic scientism, it would fall under the same self referential incoherence highlighted by Haldane 90+ years ago now. Clipping your linked:

    Expansive naturalism is a defensible form of naturalism, and I argue that it should be embraced. So I agree with philosophical orthodoxy that we should be naturalists, but I deny that we should be scientistic naturalists. What does it mean to be a naturalist in this more liberal sense? The answer is complex, but a clue is to be found in what Griffin says in the context of defending a (liberally) naturalistic conception of value: ”[v]alues do not need any world except the ordinary world around us – mainly the world of humans and animals and happenings in their lives. An other-worldly realm of values just produces unnecessary problems about what it could possibly be and how we could learn about it’ (Value Judgement, p.44). So being a naturalist in this sense involves acknowledging that we are natural beings in a natural world (the only world there is), it gives expression to the demand that we avoid metaphysical flights of fancy, and ensures that our claims remain empirically grounded. Griffin adds that to defend such a picture one does not have to adopt a reductive form of naturalism.

    The expansive naturalist grants at least some of the items which are deemed ‘other-worldly’ by the lights of the scientistic naturalist – ‘other-worldly’ in this context referring to anything which exceeds the ambit of science. However, he stops short of God . . . . there is a form of theistic naturalism which can accommodate the distinction – and indeed, the relation – between God and nature . . . .

    we must reconfigure our understanding of the naturalism versus theism debate so as to allow that naturalism and theism can both be true.

    That is, we here see a form of theistic evolutionism that specifically denies signs of intelligently directed configuration relevant to a design inference. Presumably, on the world of life, but as theistic issues are present, on cosmological fine tuning. With emergentism as a ghost haunting the seminar room.

    Elsewhere, Fiona Ellis writes:

    https://www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/why-i-am-not-atheist

    The theist, on the other hand, rejects the assumption that reference to God is explanatorily redundant; although, pace Grayling, he does not think that theism is tantamount to ‘refut[ing] the findings of physics, chemistry and the biological sciences’ so as to justify the alternative claim ‘that the universe was created, and is run, by supernatural beings’. At least, he does not if he is remotely sensible. He accepts the findings of modern science and, consequently, does not think that the universe is run by supernatural beings. It is governed by nature’s laws; and in any case, God is not a being amongst beings, not even those of the supernatural variety – if, indeed, we are clear about what this description really amounts to. The theist thinks that there is more to reality than what the scientist comprehends: it is God-involving; God is the creator of everything, but His role as creator is compatible with the idea that things – including things like ourselves – do their own thing. So the idea that God ‘runs’ things is not intended to imply that we – and everything else – are just puppets on a cosmic string, nor that God functions as any kind of coercive force. Equally, this is not intended to be an alternative to scientific explanation. On the contrary, we are concerned with a dimension of reality which has absolutely nothing to do with science and is therefore entirely compatible with its findings. In saying this, the sensible theist is challenging that other familiar fundamentalist atheist – Richard Dawkins: God’s existence or non-existence is precisely not a scientific fact about the universe, and the presence or absence of a ‘creative super-intelligence’ (to use Dawkins’ preferred and perhaps predictable vocabulary) is not ‘unequivocally a scientific question’.

    A lot of this turns on what scientism is and its deeply embedded materialism. It is obvious it fails the Haldane test of free rationality, which we extend to morally governed so responsible. It is self refuting as it is an allegedly rational theory that there are no rational frameworks to have credible theories.

    Going beyond, on moral government, design evidence and inference on signs in the cosmos there is excellent reason to acknowledge God. And, to recognise that he is a serious candidate necessary being. So, if not impossible of being, actual as framework to this and any possible world.

    KF

  84. 84
    JVL says:

    Silver Asiatic: As KF points out in #73, science and mathematics are secondary to philosophy.

    Perhaps this is the place to part company, as it were. I cannot agree that man-made philosophy should take precedence over facts and data and mathematics. What’s the point of doing science if it can be disregarded based on a philosophical stance?

    I can see a great use of philosophy as a way of interpreting reality, but not to define reality. That is a path I cannot take.

  85. 85
    asauber says:

    “I cannot agree that man-made philosophy should take precedence over facts and data and mathematics.”

    JVL,

    Deliberately obtuse.

    Andrew

  86. 86
    jerry says:

    I know Meyer is not a Muslim.

    I am just pointing out ID has nothing to do with religion. That doesn’t stop people spending a lot of time discussing it. So any discussions that are religious in nature or use religious references are not about ID.

    They can form a basis for beliefs but don’t use them as evidence about the nature of ID. The conclusions of ID flow from science and logic.

    Aside: Meyer believes deism and theism are different animals, not one a subset of the other. Is he the final arbiter of ID? No.

  87. 87
    asauber says:

    It’s like the people who regurgitate “People Over Principle”, because it sounds good.

    “People Over Principle” IS a principle. So, you aren’t following your own rules.

    Sigh

    Andrew

  88. 88
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    Good grief. More lectures from JVL on logic and reason?

    JVL: I would not be surprised at all if we find electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings in other solar systems

    UB: How would we know if we found “electromagnetic evidence of intelligent beings”? What would that be?

    JVL: Something like in the movie Contact. A signal that’s very clearly NOT produced by unguided processes. A signal which, after inspection, was shown to have compressed data.

    UB: So you accept encoded symbolic content as a universal inference to the presence of an unknown intelligence in one domain, while immediately denying that same physical evidence in another domain.

    Why the double standard?

    JVL: Because there is no plausible designer available.

    (…)

    And after you are asked “Then who is the designer in your signal from space”, suddenly realizing that you cannot answer that question without clearly demonstrating the double-standard in your reasoning, you reply:

    JVL: There isn’t one.

    (thud)

    (,,,)

    You have been given an inference to design in biology that you cannot refute. In fact, you were eventually forced to agree to the historical and experimental facts that support the inference. But you chose to deny that inference based on the use of a common logical fallacy. You denied the inference not based on the actual experimental facts and data that researchers have documented in the literature, but by the undemonstrated opinions of authorities. You actually reasoned that recorded history and documented experimental results are invalidated by the mere speculation of authority figures. When this was brought to your attention, you simply repeated the fallacy, and can now do no more than repeat it again and again.

    This has all been documented in excruciating detail on these pages over a long period of time. The exchanges where you launch your fallacies have been copied and pasted (and put back in front of you) dozens of times. In fact, you have basically become is a lab rat – a demonstration – on how an educated ID critic repeatedly avoids and denies documented science and history that they cannot even begin to refute — universal physical evidence that is not even controversial. You then made matters worse by enthusiastically endorsing the exact same design inference that you completely deny to ID. This is the double-standard fallacy we’ve talked about many many times And here again, when confronted with this, you became patently dishonest – suggesting that you said things you never said. You were even willing to blow up your entire (enthusiastic) reasoning — just to avoid having to deal with the obvious contradictions you put on the table. And all along, you attack me in order to divert attention away from the incoherence in your reasoning.

    You admit to none of this. You admit to none of this, no matter how many times your own words are copied and pasted and put back in front of you. This is the lab rat demonstration – which you never fail, and will not fail the next time I put it in front of you (as we all will observe). If you respond to this comment with a defense of your reasoning, you will do it again.

  89. 89
    asauber says:

    “the lab rat demonstration – which you never fail”

    Love it.

    Andrew

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, first, a useful understanding of math is that it is [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity. That logic is an aspect of logic of being, and as being is present in reality. Indeed a core is framework to any possible world, is necessary and universal. This is the root of the power of mathematics. However these are issues of foundations of math which are essentially philosophical, indeed logic of being is a way to say ontology. There is a sense in which by the nature of being and tied reasoning, philosophy is the root discipline. Of course epistemology and logic are also philosophical, pervasive matters: how we reason, how we warrant, how we know. Neither math nor physics are autonomous, nor other disciplines in general insofar as they address these themes. This is before one gets any particular worldview. KF

  91. 91
    vividbleau says:

    SA
    “Instead, you’ve offered philosophical arguments in opposition to other philosophical arguments, but then you demanded that the philosophical arguments you oppose must be supported by math or science. But you have not supported your own philosophical argument with math, science or observational data.”

    Ouch!!

    Vivid

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    SA:

    I observe, Meyer’s table of contents, Part II:

    Part II: Return of the God Hypothesis
    4: The Light from Distant Galaxies
    5: The Big Bang Theory
    6: The Curvature of Space and the Beginning of the Universe
    7: The Goldilocks Universe
    8: Extreme Fine Tuning—by Design?
    9: The Origin of Life and the DNA Enigma
    10: The Cambrian and Other Information Explosions

    Notice, his ordering. He starts with cosmological issues, highlighting fine tuning, then turns to OoL and of information rich body plans. All in a context where origin of the cosmos fitted for such life has already been put on the table.

    That is, he has shifted the frame from the usual focus for debates, the world of biological, cell based life on earth.

    That pretty well fits with my own framework that inference on signs for design of life on earth points to intelligently directed configuration but not to any particular designer or ontological status. It is however vital to challenge an entrenched framework that is ill founded, proposing as established causes factors never shown to have adequate capability to create complex, functionally specific organisation and/or associated information. Until that is recognised there will be no willingness to reconsider the establishment narrative, regardless of onward import such as the self defeating undermining of rationality, reason, ability to warrant knowledge and the responsible freedom such require. Which, of course, then acts like oil of vitriol attacking the foundations of civilisation, moral government, justice and lawful government. These point, clearly, to a return of lawless oligarchy with arbitrary rule, buttressed by the prestige of the lab coat and the ideology of evolutionary materialistic scientism.

    We must highlight the clear signs of design in cell based life, in body plans and our own life. We must not shun to point out that reasoning on science and mathematics is reasoning and requires the acceptance of responsible, rational freedom; which is morally governed, being informed by branch on which we all cannot but sit first duties of reason. Thus we are entitled to ask pointed, weak anthropic questions, what sort of world, what sort of reality roots, what sort of logic of being best accounts for the possibility of creatures like us. Such is a grand, hard, fundamental, worldviews question. That is, it is by definition philosophical and shows again that phil is the mother discipline from which all provinces of learning come. For instance Mathematics can be seen as [the study of] the logic of structure and quantity, of course resulting in a certain, growing body of knowledge.

    The hostility to phil we see is generally speaking little more than ill informed resistance to asking and following up on hard questions that have no easy answers and where all answers bristle with difficulties so a core method is comparative difficulties.

    Understandable but in the end indefensible.

    Turning to the cosmological issues, the fine tuning setting up a life friendly operating point, clearly points to design. The logic of a causal temporal, thermodynamically constrained succession of years from the once present but now past, to the now present, raises the issue of the past of origins. With a little help from the hyperreals, R* we can see that it is an infeasible supertask to traverse a transfinite past of years. Even on models appealing to fluctuations bubbling up into sub cosmi, the actual past is inherently finite. Something from utter non being fails, on want of causal capability and circular retrocausation is similarly something from nothing. The not yet cannot be its own cause. Though, once things are we may ask, what sort of causes could account for such.

    Logic of being points to a necessary being, fabric to all possible worlds and with capability to design worlds. Necessary being has no beginning [is causally independent] and cannot end. For trivial, concept building example, try to imagine a distinct, possible world where two-ness so distinction of being and nature, does not exist or begins to exist or ceases. The very act of so marking out a world already bakes in distinct identity, so twoness. Two, and with it, 0, 1 and by von Neumann succession and extensions, NZQRCR*+ are all necessary entities and structures. Thence, of course, the answer to Eugene Wigner’s wonder on the general power of mathematics.

    In such a distinct world, we are responsible, rational and significantly free so able to warrant and build up bodies of credible knowledge, also being morally governed. Post Hume, the associated is-ought gap may only be bridged in necessary being reality root.

    That points to the only serious candidate. Already, we see a necessary being designer. Now, we see requisites to be inherently good and utterly wise. So, we have on the table the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great, eternal, supreme, being. Who — personality is a direct implication of many attributes — is worthy of loyalty and of the reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident nature.

    This is the God of generic ethical theism, and is compatible with the God recognised through the Judaeo-Christian, prophetic-scriptural tradition. Where, Islam is a later variant form, as is deism. The latter being a weakly metastable state.

    In that course, we have seen that a necessary being designer of worlds would be a legitimate alternative to account for cosmological fine tuning, and would be a very plausible source for OoL, body plans and rational, responsible creatures capable of doing science. Which is a case where we, as participant-observers are ourselves observable empirical evidence.

    Meyer has not set up an arbitrary cloud cuckoo land empty hypothesis.

    KF

  93. 93
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    It’s an interesting view and it represents a change in what ID has claimed for many years.

    That pretty well fits with my own framework that inference on signs for design of life on earth points to intelligently directed configuration but not to any particular designer or ontological status.

    ID has never been limited to studies of life on earth. Studies of cosmological ID have been ongoing for decades. But nobody said that merely a change of focus to the cosmos , enabled science to determine what the nature and identify of the designer is – until now at least.
    You (and Meyer) seem to be saying here that if ID is speaking of life on earth, only then can ID say that the designer cannot be identified.
    However, when turn to the cosmological issues and analyzing those you conclude that:

    This is the God of generic ethical theism, and is compatible with the God recognised through the Judaeo-Christian, prophetic-scriptural tradition. Where, Islam is a later variant form, as is deism. The latter being a weakly metastable state.

    Is this the same designer of the biological world? I don’t see the science that supports that notion. What you’re talking about is philosophical and theological analysis. The science doesn’t tell us about the nature of God – whether theist or deist. It’s a religious question to speak of the difference between theism and deism. However, it seems here you are saying that the ID designer is God. Period.
    Why not just say it like that? Is it true that all these years with references to “the unidentified designer” ID really was covering up the fact that it had already discovered that the designer is the theistic God?
    How did science determine that the God of Aristotle was not the true designer?

    Once you have the theistic God as the designer (if science supposedly could determine that, which it cannot), then you have a God who interacts with nature. It’s a God who could create mutations at any time. Darwin’s theory would be unchallenged. You could have a God who creates fossils and plants them in the earth. Would science disagree and say: “The ID designer/theistic God wouldn’t do such things”? Again, where is the scientific evidence about the nature of God?

    Meyer said in the interview I posted above:

    Because the first two books I wrote were making an argument for intelligent design without attempting to identify the nature of the designer. We know from our uniform and repeated experience that mind is the only known cause of the generation of large amounts of specified information. Especially when we find it in a digital or alphabetic form as we do in the molecules that make life possible. So, from the discovery of the functional digital information in living systems, I inferred that a designing intelligence must’ve played a role in the origin and subsequent development of life. But I didn’t attempt to identify the designing an agent involved. Many of my readers wanted to know, well, who do you think the designing intelligence is? And what can science tell us about that question?

    Meyer is saying that in his first two books, he didn’t “attempt” to identify the nature of the designer.
    This conflicts with what many IDists would and have said – that ID “cannot” identify the nature of the designer because such a study is outside of the scope of physical science. But Meyer is saying that he just didn’t get around to seeing what the science had to say about the nature of the designer. He is now claiming that he looked at “what science can tell us” about the nature of the designer. So, he’s claiming it is science, not philosophy here.

    And so, to address that question, I broadened the range of phenomenon under consideration. And instead of looking just at the evidence of design in biology, I also looked at developments in physics and cosmology about the origin and fine-tuning of the universe.

    Meyer says that “the science” indicates that there is only one designer responsible for the origin of the universe and life on earth and that designer is “active in creation” so it cannot be the deistic God.
    He provides no scientific support for those claims however, only philosophical conjecture.
    All ID really has is evidence of intelligence as a cause.
    That’s the way it has always been.
    Extrapolating from that to the theistic, ethical God – is far beyond what science can do.

    But again, if ID is saying that “science has discovered that the designer is God” – then just say it. Don’t hide behind “the unidentified designer”. That’s not honest. Creationists just say they’re talking about God. ID should do the same.

    In support of this claim anyone could provide scientific papers delineating the activity of the deistic God versus that of the theistic God. Again, this requires standard scientific evidence – something observable and measurable. What “would the deistic God do” versus what “would the theistic God do”? Is the ID-creator-God a perfect being? What do the scientific observations of God tell us? If Yes – the theistic-ID-God is perfect, then that kills all those defenses of “imperfect design says nothing about the nature of the designer” since science, supposedly would have to show what “a perfect theistic God would do” and measure observations against that.

    This is a game-changer, as I see it. This certainly destroyed a lot of claims I’ve made about ID over the past decades. It also makes a huge mess of things. The only thing that makes sense, for me is the (old) ID proposal is that “science cannot tell us about the nature of the designer” since that is non-observable. Science cannot observe what happened before the origin of the material universe. It therefore cannot observe the nature of designers of the same. Science can only say it’s some kind of intelligence. It does not even know what kind of powers that designer has or if it is a poly-deist entity. Science must be silent and so must ID.
    But going beyond this and claiming that science indicates that the designer is a certain type of God, blows all of that out of the water and leaves ID apologists like myself looking very foolish.

    The truth is, Dr. Meyer made a big mistake here. It’s not even close – there is nothing in the scientific literature to support such a distinction between theism and deism and how, supposedly we could determine that from empirical observation. Science cannot tell you about the nature of God.
    That’s philosophy and religion.

  94. 94
    Silver Asiatic says:

    From the Frequently Raised but Weak Arguments …
    https://uncommondescent.com/faq/

    Bad Design Means No Design
    … Beyond such theodicy-tinged debates, ID as science makes no claims about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.

    From a scientific perspective, a cosmic designer could, in principle, be an imperfect designer and, therefore, create a less than perfect design; indeed, that was precisely the view of many who held to or adapted Plato’s idea of the Demiurge. So, even if one rejects or abandons theism, the “bad design” argument still does not offer a challenge to ID theory as a scientific endeavor.
    The real scientific question is this: Is there any evidence for design in nature? Or, if you like, is a design inference the most reasonable conclusion based on the evidence?

  95. 95
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, my point is, that signs of intelligently directed configuration in observed biology [here on earth so far] allow us to infer design. But that is a process inference, and from Thaxton et al it has been noted this by itself cannot make a conclusion as to within or beyond the cosmos. As you have seen, for a decade or more I have pointed to Venter et al and suggested bio life within a century likely, will be synthesised in a molecular nanotech lab. Yes, I know Tours thinks 500 or more, but maybe he is over pessimistic. Turning to the cosmos, signs of fine tuning, a beginning and the mathematical logic of attempted transfinite traverse in steps point to design of the observed cosmos. Including, for models that propose that ours is a fluctuation. So, we see here extracosmic thus by definition supernatural design. Notice, Meyer starts from this end, indeed with Olber’s paradox on the dark night sky. Going beyond sci and math, logic of being [which undergirds the core of math] indicates a need for a necessary being root of reality as was already outlined. Such is eternal. Further our rational, responsible, free, morally governed nature points to requisites for such a root of reality. The God of generic ethical theism is still philosophy and is on the table as the only serious candidate explanation that solves the root of morality issue. We have not got to theology yet, much less theistic traditions and religion. But lurking here is the serious candidate necessary being challenge: such a candidate — as opposed to composites such as flying spaghetti monsters etc — is either impossible of being due to mutually contradictory core characteristics [Euclidean plane square vs circle] or is actual as fabric to any possible world. KF

  96. 96
    jerry says:

    ID as science makes no claims about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.

    Yes, it does.

    How could a creator of such a well designed product such as the universe and our solar system been inept to allow it not be better. This creator would know what to do.

    So our inferior minds knows how this creator screwed up but the creator didn’t. This is nonsense. So assume the creator did it right. Then our job is to understand why it is right.

    What ID doesn’t do is associate this creator with any specific religion. But that is what most here want to do. A specific religion and ID should never be discussed together in a causal relationship.

    That is what most of the comments here are about. Refraining from this would reduce the number of comments 90 fold. But maybe the discussions would get more relevant.

  97. 97
    Silver Asiatic says:

    KF

    Further our rational, responsible, free, morally governed nature points to requisites for such a root of reality.

    That is basic philosophy. ID is unnecessary for this kind of reasoning. ID contributes nothing to it.

    The God of generic ethical theism is still philosophy and is on the table as the only serious candidate explanation that solves the root of morality issue.

    Ok, we could say that theism is a philosophical category, although I believe that borders on a religious question. In either case, as above – that is just philosophy. It’s been around for centuries. ID does nothing in that field at all. Philosophers have had no need for ID to draw those conclusions you propose here. ID is supposed to be about science and there’s nothing of science in that.

    We have not got to theology yet, much less theistic traditions and religion.

    Theology is the study of theistic God. If science can determine that the designer is theistic (which it cannot do) then it can study the nature of the theistic God, and that is theology.

    But lurking here is the serious candidate necessary being challenge: such a candidate — as opposed to composites such as flying spaghetti monsters etc

    Yes, I agree that such composite does not work philosophically. Again, ID adds nothing to this. ID is not a player in the world of philosophy. It has always just attempted to be a scientific project.
    Beyond that, Meyer is not saying this is just a serious candidate, but that ID (not classical philosophy) has determined, scientifically, that the designer is “a theistic God”.

    If ID wants to be a philosophical project (which it has never claimed to be) then it should be battling in the world of contemporary philosophers. Instead, it battles with evolutionists and physicists as if it is entirely a scientific project.

    If we would allow ID to be a philosophical proposal, choosing classical theistic philosophy, why shouldn’t ID be a religious proposal also and just say that the Christian God is the best candidate among all of the theistic Gods?
    ID choosing to be “just science and philosophy” is arbitrary. ID could easily add on the field of theology in the very same manner.

    To me that’s a subterfuge. ID works as an empirically scientific project alone.
    As I just posted, even in the UD FAQ page, it states that deism is a valid conclusion from ID science.

  98. 98
    jerry says:

    it states that deism is a valid conclusion from ID science.

    That is wrong.

    We can tell by the specific design that purpose was part of the objective. If purpose was part of it, then expect a reason for each aspect of the design. In other words the creator wanted a specific creation. That includes intelligent life.

    Why design intelligent life if you are a deist?

  99. 99
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The statement below:

    ID as science makes no claims about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.
    https://uncommondescent.com/faq/#nobdesn

    … comes from the official Uncommon Descent, FAQ page as linked above.
    That’s the statement from ID headquarters. ID makes no claim about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.

    That statement has been made by ID theorists for decades. That statement has appeared on the FAQ page without controversy for just as long. That’s been the basic idea: ID says nothing about the nature of the designer. ID makes no claims about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.

    Now all of a sudden, all of that is wrong and has to be rewritten?

    The good news is we can see it’s not a problem with, for example, my view and Jerry’s view.
    It’s a conflict exposed right here. Jerry is opposing the official statement I posted from the FAQ page.
    So, who is right? The (old?) ID claim as posted on the FAQ? Or the new idea that ID does, after all, identify the nature of the designer and it is “a theistic God” of some kind?

    I’m happy to let the powers-that-be in the ID world fight that one out, but please change the FAQ page to reflect the current thinking on this matter (if it needs to be changed).
    Personally, I don’t care either way. But if ID identifies the designer, I just want to know that.
    If ID has refuted its previous view, that’s ok with me – I just don’t want to try to defend something that ID has changed its mind about.
    However, as stated – there’s no need for ID if the project is a philosophical one. There are plenty of excellent philosophy programs already doing this kind of argumentation.

  100. 100
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @94,

    Bad Design Means No Design
    … Beyond such theodicy-tinged debates, ID as science makes no claims about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.

    Yes, but the FAQ is poorly framed.

    To say the least, science does not have a complete understanding of how DNA, epigenetic markers, cellular machinery, metabolic systems (such as in dieting), organs, ecosystems, etc. operate and interact in complete detail. HOWEVER . . .

    Professors have no qualms about proliferating Pompous Pronouncements ™ that something is “poorly designed.” What a load of crap! They don’t know enough to make such pronouncements.

    Remember when they used to say that the human retina was actually positioned backwards?

    -Q

  101. 101
    jerry says:

    If ID has refuted its previous view, that’s ok with me – I just don’t want to try to defend something that ID has changed its mind about.

    There is no ID authority.

    So there is nothing official to refute. There are people who write on ID and examined various propositions. Also people on this site make lots of claims. Thus, one can dispute the various interpretations they make, agree with them or suggest modifications.

    To me the deist position makes no sense given what we know about the fine tuning. People in the 1700s knew squat about it. Intelligent life was intended from the start. That’s obvious.

    This site was started by Dembski, then run by DaveScot and now Barry. It’s not the final arbiter of ID. That belongs to evidence and logic.

  102. 102
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @99,

    Beat you to @100 (wink).

    ID says nothing about the nature of the designer. ID makes no claims about an omnipotent or omniscient creator.

    I completely agree with this position. To make a claim about the identity of the designer goes beyond science. The sole difference between ID and Darwinism is in the handling of new, poorly understood structures or processes:

    Darwinism: It has no known function, so it must be junk produced by random mutations.

    Intelligent Design: It has no known function, but in all likelihood, it has a wonderful, amazing purpose as if it were engineered.

    There is another difference. Darwinian assumptions have been repeatedly falsified, while there have been zero cases where a biological structure was shown to have no useful function after all.

    -Q

  103. 103
    kairosfocus says:

    SA, the further matter is one that goes with the design argument, this is now on the nature of a designer at root of our morally governed existence. This shows how further considerations allow us to identify the designer of a world involving creatures able to reason scientifically and otherwise with some capability, on origins. KF

  104. 104
    kairosfocus says:

    Q and SA, notice the key proviso, AS SCIENCE. Even going on to design friendly philosophy, notice the careful phrasing. First, worldviews level inference to best current explanation. Second, serious candidates to be root of reality, requiring necessity of being. Third, sole serious candidate, things like a flying spaghetti monster not being serious. Then, not omnipotence, omnibenevolence and omniscience, but instead terms of generic ethical theism [a worldview not a theology or dogma], inherently good, utterly wise creator God [phil sense], a necessary and maximally great being. This opens up a world of discussion that turns on a coherent view. The inherently good and utterly wise creator as reality root is able to bridge is and ought — requiring the good as he is intelligibly good — as well as to come to a sound design tradeoff for a world. Necessary being, fabric to and causative of any possible world, also, inherently eternal and start point of reality. Maximal greatness, if there is any ladder of being, this is the ultimate with all great making and no great-breaking properties, to maximal compossible degree thus the supreme being. And more. This would also help us clarify what omni and infinite terminology reasonably mean, etc. Not, asserted to be, but seen as serious candidate, which on logic of being either is impossible of being due to incoherent core characteristics or else is actual. Thus, answering to the various forms of atheistical and materialistic claims; have you shown or seriously tried post Plantinga, that the theistic vision is incoherent rendering God, not, what one disbelieves, but what one has shown impossible of being? No, patently. Then, we must take seriously the logic of necessary, reality root being, credibly actual. KF

  105. 105
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @104,

    Personally, I’m very cautious about deriving or extrapolating anything about God.

    The difference in my understanding and God’s is likely much greater than between my understanding and that of my poodle.

    Now, poodles are pretty smart, but he can’t understand why I’m sitting here making tapping noises with my fingers. He can’t even solve simply linear equations and I’ve given up teaching him to read!

    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways
    And My thoughts than your thoughts.
    – Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB)

    Does this perspective make sense to you?

    -Q

  106. 106
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, yes, you have that right. Notwithstanding, big questions, hard and core ones are on the table and they need to be addressed. If we do not, collectively, others will push their own answers and often those are incoherent or worse. That has been going on for a long time and some of the civilisation level consequences are playing out; where, it is civilisation that provides the framework for billions of us to live on our planet; and to have a base for responsible, lawful freedom; something we are explicitly instructed to pray regarding. As for that text, there are also texts that show that there are aspects of God’s reality that are open to us if we are not blinkered by destructive thinking. Much, is potentially at stake. So, I believe it is time for us to speak to logic of being, possible worlds and root of reality. KF

  107. 107
    Alan Fox says:

    ID works as an empirically scientific project alone.

    I don’t think that’s accurate. Maybe “would work” if that path were taken.

  108. 108
    kairosfocus says:

    AF, inference to the best, empirically tested explanation, on observed signs. You have nothing even close. KF

  109. 109
    jerry says:

    I don’t think that’s accurate

    A clueless response.

    ID is not a scientific discipline but applies the tools of science to data generated by science. That’s why it is science+

    So to try to look for a scientific theory is fruitless.

  110. 110
    jerry says:

    Science is

    P=> Q where P is a combination of forces of physics.

    Not Q => Not P or P is not the forces of physics, So what could P be?

    ID says that for a small number of physical phenomenon Q there is no known or possible P of natural forces then concludes that P is not a combination of physical forces. So what else could P be?
    .
    That is why ID is not traditional science but actually uses the principles of physics/science as an essential part of it.

    So anyone who asks what is the science behind ID is being disingenuous. It accepts traditional science for nearly everything but not all.

    Thanksgiving dinner is about to be served.

  111. 111
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @72

    So, part of what we need to account for is a world with rational, responsible, significantly free so morally rather than mechanically or stochastically governed creatures.

    I agree with that. (Where we disagree is whether such an account is possible using naturalistic resources.)

    Post Hume, that can only be done by bridging the is-ought gap in the root of reality, on pain of ungrounded ought. That requires that the necessary being root be adequate to both be and be inherently good including being utterly wise.

    This part doesn’t make sense to me. Hume doesn’t really have an “is-ought gap”. What he says is that he’s never seen a deductively valid argument that has only descriptive claims in the premises and a prescriptive claim in the conclusion. (And he’s clearly doubtful that there could be one.)

    But, from the idea that there’s no deductively valid argument that has only descriptive premises and a prescriptive conclusion, it doesn’t follow that therefore the ground of all being must also be the ground of all obligations. That just seems like one big non sequitur to me.

  112. 112
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @111,

    . . . it doesn’t follow that therefore the ground of all being must also be the ground of all obligations.

    Sorry, I’m not a philosopher so I’m a bit confused:

    Is “being” something that doesn’t ever have “obligations”? Are there any “obligations” that don’t first require “being”?

    From another topic, I was curious about what you see as the difference between your beliefs about God and those of Pantheists.

    -Q

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1, Hume spoke to the is-ought gap and attempts to bridge it in the surpris’d remark we both allude to; is-is then ought-ought. There’s your gap, no valid bridge. An is at reality root that simultaneously grounds ought answers the gap, including the Euthyphro dilemma. That is why ethical theism is so powerful. And the context is, our branch on which we all sit first duties of reason, where even you just appealed to duties to truth, right reason and warrant. What adequately grounds responsible, rational freedom, governed morally not merely dynamically-stochastically such as on a gigo limited computational substrate? (Which, has no responsibility of itself, nor can it truly reason, at best it expresses the canned responsibility and rationality of its programmers and other designers.) KF

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, I have no particular architecture of computation in mind, digital, analogue, neural network, etc.

  115. 115
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, all science becomes science+ explicitly, once issues of the logic and warrant or explanatory power come into focus. Implicitly, it always is so. That is why Newton spoke of natural philosophy and the result of a sound process being knowledge, scientia in Latin. Knowledge creation, weak defeat-able sense always involves epistemology and logic. Just, these issues seem to be left implicit. KF

  116. 116
    PyrrhoManiac1 says:

    @113

    PM1, Hume spoke to the is-ought gap and attempts to bridge it in the surpris’d remark we both allude to; is-is then ought-ought. There’s your gap, no valid bridge.

    To repeat myself, Hume’s “gap” consists only of the following point: there is no deductively valid argument that has only descriptive statements in the premises and a prescriptive statement in the conclusion.

    It does not follow from this point (which I think is unobjectionable) that therefore the ground of being, the ultimate fons et origo of all reality, must therefore also be the ultimate fons et origo of all values.

    I am not, I should clarify, objecting to the idea that there is a transcendent dimension to Goodness, to the Good. I rather like Ellis’s idea that we experience the transcendence of the Good, as we experience the transcendence of the Beautiful, in our experiences of nature.

    @112

    I was curious about what you see as the difference between your beliefs about God and those of Pantheists.

    I quite like pantheism, but having discovered Ellis’s version of theistic naturalism only a few days ago, I rather prefer that.

    The difference, I think, is that Ellis wants to hold onto the thought that God is intimately bound up with the experience of transcendence: the feeling of the boundaries of the self being weakened or giving way.

    Mystical or spiritual experience is very important on her view, I think: she takes it that what we experience is a dimension or aspect of nature, or perhaps better, a certain way of being attuned to nature as a unified whole with which we can be in an intimate participatory relation.

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    PM1,

    the gap Hume spoke to is as follows (1739):

    In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, it’s necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.

    As a general note, from Phil index:

    https://www.philosophy-index.com/hume/guillotine/

    Hume’s Guillotine, also known as the is-ought problem or Hume’s law is a criticism of writings by ethicists who make normative claims (about what ought to be) based on positive premises (about what is). The problem was articulated by David Hume in his most important philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (Book III, §I).

    Hume argued that one cannot make a normative claim based on facts about the world, implying that normative claims cannot be the conclusions of reason.

    The term “Hume’s Guillotine” is meant to describe the severance of “is” statements from “ought” statements, which similarly, and colourfully, illustrates the resulting removal of the head from many ethical arguments . . .

    This suffices to show that the gap is real and is claimed to separate oughtness from rational considerations, as is actually implied by your: “there is no deductively valid argument that has only descriptive statements in the premises and a prescriptive statement in the conclusion.” It is more, it attempts to sever ought utterly from reason on what is, i.e. it effectively moves it out of reality. Which is the fatal flaw in it.

    My comment, and that of many others before me, is that the gap is answerable based on the root of being, the necessary being creator God, being inherently — i.e. by his core nature — good and utterly wise. This, the good and the wise, the is and the ought are unified inextricably from the root or wellspring of reality. Oughtness is baked in, in short.

    Nor, have I made the argument that you suggest, a leap of assertion.

    Instead, note kindly, that even in our discussion, you cannot but sit on the same branch of first duties as the rest of us, clearly pointing to duties to truth, to right reason, to warrant etc, which you suggest or invite inference I have failed to fulfill. I do assert this and suggest that no objector can escape it, in reasoning: such branch on which we sit first duties are thus self evident and undeniable, on pain of reducing our reasoning to a chaos of confusions and delusions. That is, our reasoning is manifestly morally governed, and we face a need to address its source.

    In that context, we can see Hume reasoning is-is || ought-ought, but what happens now when we go to the necessary being root of reality? Could there be such a source that is both existing an IS and ground of moral government, OUGHT [which would require goodness and wisdom]? This is a matter for worldview level inference to the best so far explanation. Which is NOT a deduction, it is a worldview framing matter.

    That matter, then considers candidates, and in the history of our civilisation there has been just one serious candidate: the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great, thus supreme, being. Such a being once not as impossible of being as a square circle, would be as fabric to any possible world, would have neither beginning nor end, would be eternal, and would be the unique source of all else that is or could be, possible worlds. At the same time, that IS-ness would be morally infused with inherent goodness, which will in key parts be intelligible to rational, responsible, significantly free entities in such worlds, as it reflects wisdom.

    Thus, we see is + ought in the place we commonly fail to look, the ultimate source of existence.

    One may overturn this by showing such a candidate being to be impossible of being, which has never been done, or to credibly lack necessary being status — tantamount to saying God is a causally dependent being, a creature rather than creator.

    This is of course the Sunday School tickler, who made God. It manifestly fails to understand fundamental modes of being: contingent vs necessary.

    Going back to the key point, the alternative candidate root of reality is ______ . It avoids infinite regress of causal stages or circular cause by ________ . It retains our rational credibility and first duties of reason by ________ . It shows that the God of ethical theism is not a valid alternative as ________ .

    It would be interesting to see answers to these.

    KF

  118. 118
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, I cite Holmes in his Ethics, to show how some others have pondered the matter:

    However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . . R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

    Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments [–> i.e. of the inherently good, utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, who would command and instruct in the good precisely because of his character of goodness AND wisdom] . . . .

    [The relevance of this comes out as soon as we consider the concept that we have rights:] If we admit that we all equally have the right to be treated as persons, then it follows that we have the duty to respect one another accordingly. Rights bring correlative duties: my rights . . . imply that you ought to respect these rights.[3]

    In short is and ought are at the centre of justice, including justice in reasoning.

  119. 119
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, on roots of law, i.e. first, in-built law, per Cicero, as a reminder:

    —Marcus [in de Legibus, introductory remarks,. C1 BC, being Cicero himself]: . . . the subject of our present discussion . . . comprehends the universal principles of equity and law. In such a discussion therefore on the great moral law of nature, the practice of the civil law can occupy but an insignificant and subordinate station. For according to our idea, we shall have to explain the true nature of moral justice, which is congenial and correspondent [36]with the true nature of man.

    [–> Note, how justice and our built in nature as a morally governed class of creatures are highlighted; thus framing the natural law frame: recognising built-in law that we do not create nor can we repeal, which then frames a sound understanding of justice. Without such an anchor, law inevitably reduces to the sort of ruthless, nihilistic might- and- manipulation- make- “right,”- “truth,”- “knowledge,”- “law”- and- “justice”- etc power struggle and chaos Plato warned against in The Laws Bk X.]

    We shall have to examine those principles of legislation by which all political states should be governed. And last of all, shall we have to speak of those laws and customs which are framed for the use and convenience of particular peoples, which regulate the civic and municipal affairs of the citizens, and which are known by the title of civil laws.

    Quintus [his real-life brother]. —You take a noble view of the subject, my brother, and go to the fountain–head of moral truth, in order to throw light on the whole science of jurisprudence: while those who confine their legal studies to the civil law too often grow less familiar with the arts of justice than with those of litigation.

    Marcus. —Your observation, my Quintus, is not quite correct. It is not so much the science of law that produces litigation, as the ignorance of it, (potius ignoratio juris litigiosa est quam scientia) . . . . With respect to the true principle of justice, many learned men have maintained that it springs from Law. I hardly know if their opinion be not correct, at least, according to their own definition; for “Law (say they) is the highest reason [–> centrality of reason], implanted in [–> esp. our rational, responsible] nature, which prescribes those things which ought to be done, and forbids the contrary.” [–> core of justice] This, they think, is apparent from the converse of the proposition; because this same reason, when it [37]is confirmed and established in men’s minds, is the law of all their actions. [–> a pervasive so self evident (as, undeniable, branch on which we all sit) first principle]

    They therefore conceive that the voice of [–> sound!] conscience is a law, that moral prudence[–> including, warrant on right reason] is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones. They think, too, that the Greek name for law (NOMOS), which is derived from NEMO, to distribute, implies the very nature of the thing, that is, to give every man his due. [–> this implies a definition of justice as the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities] For my part, I imagine that the moral essence of law is better expressed by its Latin name, (lex), which conveys the idea of selection or discrimination. According to the Greeks, therefore, the name of law implies an equitable distribution of goods: according to the Romans, an equitable discrimination between good and evil.

    The true definition of law should, however, include both these characteristics. And this being granted as an almost self–evident proposition, the origin of justice is to be sought in the divine law of eternal and immutable morality. This indeed is the true energy of nature, the very soul and essence of wisdom, the test of virtue and vice.

  120. 120
    Querius says:

    PyrrhoManiac1 @116,

    I quite like pantheism, but having discovered Ellis’s version of theistic naturalism only a few days ago, I rather prefer that.

    Thank you. Interesting and understandable in my opinion.

    I once had a couple of conversations with a retired physics professor who’d embraced pantheism and cosmic humanism, even providing public lectures on the subject. My assumption was that his previous deterministic materialism left a void in his life. The opinion of a less-generous person with whom I shared this, speculated that this drift was common among “aging physicists” . . . Hmmm.

    However, the professor was still very intelligent and impressed me with his answer to my question, “How many digits of Pi would be necessary to locate all points on the circumference of the known universe to a Planck length?” He described the calculation as performed it in his head (at the time, I was 9 digits short in my memory of Pi).

    Pantheism associates an intrinsic consciousness to all matter as a logical requirement for explaining our own consciousness in materialist terms. It sounds like Fiona Ellis tends toward to “cosmic consciousness” as expressed by Richard Maurice Bucke and yogic practice, but is less mystical in her articulation of “scientific naturalism.”

    In any case, the source of such consciousness is attributed to and emergent from the matter in the universe. Thus, it avoids the term, supernatural, but sacrifices ultimate causality as a consequence.

    Do you believe that the universe had a beginning and will have an end?

    -Q

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    Q

    Do you believe that the universe had a beginning and will have an end?

    A key question.

    KF

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