Intelligent Design

Door Number Two: The existence of evil is the Most Powerful Argument

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In my previous post I discussed David Barash’s op-ed piece in the New York Timesreviewing the usual religious beliefs that motivate evolutionary thinking. Barash’s piece is not peculiar, it is standard evolutionary reasoning. For instance, another evolution professor, Jerry Coyne, responded today, in support of Barash’s arguments. Coyne explains that he agrees with Barash “100%” and adds a few additional comments of his own.  Read more

50 Replies to “Door Number Two: The existence of evil is the Most Powerful Argument

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I’ve never understood why people think the argument from evil is such a strong argument for atheism.
    The existence of evil necessitates that there be an objective, transcendent, standard of good that was departed from in order for evil to exist. i.e. Evil cannot exist without a reference point to good! C.S. Lewis, who was once an atheist, put the dilemma with evil for atheists like this:

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    ========

    ‘Right and Wrong’ – A Clue to the Meaning of the Universe? by C.S. Lewis Doodle – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmHXYhpEDfM

    Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis Doodle – animated apologetics (the trancendent nature of moral law)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_VYCqCexow

    Moreover, if Coyne is really concerned about the evil in the world, then he should give up atheism immediately since atheism’s track record for increasing the evil in the world is overwhelming and consistent:

    Compilation of morality statistics that don’t bode well for atheists: Section 11.
    http://creation.com/atheism

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of note to the ‘problem of evil’, both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on the same day and shared many strange similarities in their lives, but the one common thing they shared that separated the two men drastically was the way they choose to handle the evil that happened in their lives. Darwin, though drifting away from God for a long while, was permanently driven away from God because of what he perceived to be the ‘unjust’ death of his daughter, Whereas Lincoln, on the other hand, was driven from his mild skepticism into a deep reliance upon God because of the death of his son.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-443197

    Held- Natalie Grant – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk_y9204TBM

  3. 3
    Collin says:

    And, BA, as a corollary, whence the good?

    But to be fair, the atheist could say that we are the people positing the existence of good and evil and God and that they are just pointing out a contradiction. But by doing that they are committing themselves to utter relativism, which means they cannot make moral judgments whatsoever.

  4. 4
    Dr JDD says:

    The argument regarding “evil” is certainly not a new one – despite the “New Atheists” thinking that they have come up with some novel insights into it.

    The problem is two-fold:

    1) Definition of evil is non-standard (and impossible from a naturalistic view-point, but we will leave that aside for now)
    2) To criticise religion, you must do so from its own interpretations, not your own preconceptions

    With regards to 1) where there are 2 types of evil often presented: firstly evil that man does to another this is a non-starter in a world where we were to accept free-will, for obvious logical reasons that even a juvenille could grasp. Secondly, with regards to natural disasters, illnesses and the like, the question remains to establish that these are truly evil which is certainly a point for contention and a false assumption to simply state they are.

    With regards to 2) you do not have to accept it, but if you are to criticse a religious view regarding “evil” you must understand its viewpoint which is not as simple as is stated. This is the point I make that this argument is far from new. In fact, from the Christian perspective this very thing was asked of Jesus in His day:

    Luke 13:1-9
    1Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2And Jesus said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4“Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? 5“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

    6And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. 7“And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ 8“And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’”

    The point is that the Christian faith clearly teaches that many of these things are not evil, but in fact those that willingly choose to disobey the standards set (i.e. sin; and that is all who are guilty) are all worthy of such things – so you better repent or the same thing will happen to you.

    The problem then is that the “New Atheist” rejects a God and takes that argument with them to a religious table and says “You are wrong because evil exists.” Because they reject a God, they reject a standard of living or a moral code that we are obliged to keep to attain to God’s standard (which, incidentally is impossible since the Fall thus the requirement for a perfect sacrifice) and thus see themselves and the majority of people as “good.” I.e. they create the standards and judge God by it rather than accepting His standards to understand why “bad” things happen in the world, thus use that as an argument against His existence.

    Luke 18:18-19
    A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

    So thus is the arrogance of man – the assumption that we are “good enough” which is what most agnostics/theists will actually say. Most will say, “If there is a God, I think He will let me into heaven or not judge me because I haven’t been that bad, I have led a generally good life. I’m no Hitler/Stalin/murderer/rapist, etc” Thus their offence when something bad happens to them or someone they love/see as “not bad”. Its the same as the Luke 13 story – this question has not changed in 2000 years. Neither has the answer.

  5. 5
    awstar says:

    Bible believing Creationists have an explanation for evil that has held up all these years. Coyne has an argument not against intelligent design, for it is not based on science, nor against creationism, for we have a valid explanation. It’s an argument against theistic evolution, which we should all be pleased to be rid of.

  6. 6
    the bystander says:

    God is believed to be the ID agent by many of us, but that may not necessarily be true. Don’t ask me what other agent comes to mind.I still can’t figure out – nor can any other fellow ID members.

  7. 7

    ba77 said

    I’ve never understood why people think the argument from evil is such a strong argument for atheism.

    It’s extremely strong emotional rhetoric against theism, which I suppose is a form of argument. Logically, it’s self-refuting nonsense.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    The argument from complexity. As we all know, evolution dispelled this most powerful argument for God when Darwin showed that “design-like” features could arise from a purely naturalistic process.

    There’s only one problem. That is a lie. What Coyne writes here is not an exaggeration, not a controversial point, not a questionable point, not an unsupported suggestion. There simply is no nice way to put it—this is a bald faced lie, period.

    Let’s call the that BIG LIE of evolution.

    In order for Darwin to have done this, Darwin would have to have had an objective way to identify “God-like design.”

    I’ve always wondered what objective criterion of design the critics of ID use when they claim RS+NS is a “design” mimic.

  9. 9
    Vishnu says:

    The bottom line is: evil = suffering

    Nobody likes to suffer

    But what if you agreed to it?

    Problem solved

    P.S. Reality is a lot more interesting that anyone’s pedantic theoretical ideas of “good and evil.”

    Really it is

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    The non-existence of anything at all is the most powerful argument for atheism.

  11. 11
    Querius says:

    Mung wrote

    In order for Darwin to have done this, Darwin would have to have had an objective way to identify “God-like design.”

    I’ve always wondered what objective criterion of design the critics of ID use when they claim RS+NS is a “design” mimic.

    Great observation, Mung!

    -Q

  12. 12
    Evolve says:

    ///Because they reject a God, they reject a standard of living or a moral code that we are obliged to keep to attain to God’s standard ///

    Total fail.
    Why do predators brutally kill their prey? Just like humans, all other life also fall ill and suffer without performing any “sin” nonsense. Why did the dinosaurs who thrived for 150 million years vanish suddenly? God decided enough is enough?!
    Nature is pregnant with ruthless opportunism – a fact that screams nobody is overseeing all this.

  13. 13
    Evolve says:

    ///God is believed to be the ID agent by many of us, but that may not necessarily be true. Don’t ask me what other agent comes to mind.I still can’t figure out – nor can any other fellow ID members. ///

    But they still want to call ID science!!

  14. 14
    Evolve says:

    ///I’ve always wondered what objective criterion of design the critics of ID use when they claim RS+NS is a “design” mimic.///

    ID has not shown design can only arise via an agent. Everyday we witness design arising on its own by purely natural processes. Humans developing from a single cell, a seed sprouting into a plant which grows into a tree, a shapeless chicken embryo taking the shape of a chicken…all these happen right before our eyes with NO supernatural intervention or design engineer as far as we can see.

    ID rests on the false premise that design must come from a designer. No, nature can produce design on its own as we see all around us on a daily basis.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve, and exactly how are you able to form this idea that the world is cruel and unjust in the first place if there is, as you hold in your materialist/atheist worldview, no real objective, transcendent, standard of good that has been departed from?

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve states at 13, in regards to ID’s minimal inference to intelligence:

    “But they still want to call ID science!!”

    Yet, as Evolve has just proven in his argument from evil at 12, Evolution is itself dependent on (twisted) Theistic metaphysics. i.e. ‘God would not have done it that way!’

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    ,,, Moreover, as Plantinga and others have shown, naturalism is the ‘anti-science’ worldview in that naturalism epistemologically self-defeating.

    “Refuting Naturalism by Citing our own Consciousness” Dr. Alvin Plantinga – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r34AIo-xBh8

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve claims that embryological development is a ‘natural’ process,

    ID has not shown design can only arise via an agent. Everyday we witness design arising on its own by purely natural processes. Humans developing from a single cell, a seed sprouting into a plant which grows into a tree, a shapeless chicken embryo taking the shape of a chicken…all these happen right before our eyes with NO supernatural intervention or design engineer as far as we can see.
    ID rests on the false premise that design must come from a designer. No, nature can produce design on its own as we see all around us on a daily basis.

    Yet, contrary to what Evolve believes, reductive materialists cannot explain embryological development ‘naturally’,,, i.e. cannot explain how a single fertilized egg of a billion protein molecules transforms into a functional cohesive whole of trillions of cells, at a billion trillion protein molecules total, nobody has a firm clue how this occurs ‘naturally’. In fact, reductive materialism, cannot explain the ‘form’ of DNA and proteins much less does it explain body plans

    Neo-Darwinian evolution, i.e. reductive materialism, cannot explain the ‘form’ of DNA and proteins much less does it explain body plans
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-515498

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    https://vimeo.com/91322260

    HOW BIOLOGISTS LOST SIGHT OF THE MEANING OF LIFE — AND ARE NOW STARING IT IN THE FACE – Stephen L. Talbott – May 2012
    Excerpt: “If you think air traffic controllers have a tough job guiding planes into major airports or across a crowded continental airspace, consider the challenge facing a human cell trying to position its proteins”. A given cell, he notes, may make more than 10,000 different proteins, and typically contains more than a billion protein molecules at any one time. “Somehow a cell must get all its proteins to their correct destinations — and equally important, keep these molecules out of the wrong places”. And further: “It’s almost as if every mRNA [an intermediate between a gene and a corresponding protein] coming out of the nucleus knows where it’s going” (Travis 2011),,,
    Further, the billion protein molecules in a cell are virtually all capable of interacting with each other to one degree or another; they are subject to getting misfolded or “all balled up with one another”; they are critically modified through the attachment or detachment of molecular subunits, often in rapid order and with immediate implications for changing function; they can wind up inside large-capacity “transport vehicles” headed in any number of directions; they can be sidetracked by diverse processes of degradation and recycling… and so on without end. Yet the coherence of the whole is maintained.
    The question is indeed, then, “How does the organism meaningfully dispose of all its molecules, getting them to the right places and into the right interactions?”
    The same sort of question can be asked of cells, for example in the growing embryo, where literal streams of cells are flowing to their appointed places, differentiating themselves into different types as they go, and adjusting themselves to all sorts of unpredictable perturbations — even to the degree of responding appropriately when a lab technician excises a clump of them from one location in a young embryo and puts them in another, where they may proceed to adapt themselves in an entirely different and proper way to the new environment. It is hard to quibble with the immediate impression that form (which is more idea-like than thing-like) is primary, and the material particulars subsidiary.
    Two systems biologists, one from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Germany and one from Harvard Medical School, frame one part of the problem this way:
    “The human body is formed by trillions of individual cells. These cells work together with remarkable precision, first forming an adult organism out of a single fertilized egg, and then keeping the organism alive and functional for decades. To achieve this precision, one would assume that each individual cell reacts in a reliable, reproducible way to a given input, faithfully executing the required task. However, a growing number of studies investigating cellular processes on the level of single cells revealed large heterogeneity even among genetically identical cells of the same cell type. (Loewer and Lahav 2011)”,,,
    And then we hear that all this meaningful activity is, somehow, meaningless or a product of meaninglessness. This, I believe, is the real issue troubling the majority of the American populace when they are asked about their belief in evolution. They see one thing and then are told, more or less directly, that they are really seeing its denial. Yet no one has ever explained to them how you get meaning from meaninglessness — a difficult enough task once you realize that we cannot articulate any knowledge of the world at all except in the language of meaning.,,,
    http://www.netfuture.org/2012/May1012_184.html#2

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    As well, I would like to know how reductive materialists explain the recent finding of ‘spooky action at a distance’ quantum entanglement in molecular biology

    Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit

    i.e. quantum entanglement cannot be reduced to a within space-time reductive materialistic explanation

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    Evolve:

    ID has not shown design can only arise via an agent.

    No one has shown that nature can produce design.

    Everyday we witness design arising on its own by purely natural processes.

    No, we haven’t.

    Humans developing from a single cell, a seed sprouting into a plant which grows into a tree, a shapeless chicken embryo taking the shape of a chicken…all these happen right before our eyes with NO supernatural intervention or design engineer as far as we can see.

    THAT is your “reasoning”? Are you a baby?

  20. 20
    Dr JDD says:

    Evolve says @12:

    Total fail.
    Why do predators brutally kill their prey? Just like humans, all other life also fall ill and suffer without performing any “sin” nonsense. Why did the dinosaurs who thrived for 150 million years vanish suddenly? God decided enough is enough?!
    Nature is pregnant with ruthless opportunism – a fact that screams nobody is overseeing all this.

    Which really proves my original point I made in my original post:

    2) To criticise religion, you must do so from its own interpretations, not your own preconceptions

    So, your argument here may be able to criticise your own perception of what a “god” should look like and behave, however you are the one who has totally failed on an attempt to criticise the God of the Bible if that is who you wish to criticise based on an evil and morality argument.

    Romans 8:20-22
    For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

    And yet, when redemption finally does come (to creation) and the curse on the earth is reversed, we will see a creation that appears more like it was originally intended before man’s falleness:

    Isaiah 11:6-9
    And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

    So you can criticise the idea of a “god” who allows such things, but you cannot use your logic here to criticise the Judeo-Christian worldview because it has an explanation for your observations around us that give the appearance of “evil” and suffering everywhere. You can choose not to accept this explanation, fine, but you cannot say that what we observe does not fit with this worldview. You just do not subscribe to that worldview.

    Hence my original point which you have just proved in principle – you cannot criticise a worldview on your own standards when it claims different standards itself. I.e. the observed world around us is consistent with what the Bible says it should be with the characteristics of the God it claims to be true.

  21. 21
    Joe says:

    the bystander:

    Don’t ask me what other agent comes to mind.I still can’t figure out – nor can any other fellow ID members.

    Q- there are you happy now?

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ID has not shown design can only arise via an agent. Everyday we witness design arising on its own by purely natural processes. Humans developing from a single cell, a seed sprouting into a plant which grows into a tree, a shapeless chicken embryo taking the shape of a chicken…all these happen right before our eyes with NO supernatural intervention or design engineer as far as we can see.

    Ok, good examples of genetic programming. But doesn’t it make you wonder how that works? The future state of an organism is contained in a cell or seed – then grows from embryo to maturity “by itself”?
    We’re looking at the origin of such things. Mutation and selection really don’t work as an explanation. There is simply no reason that kind of genetic blueprint/planning would develop from mutations.

  23. 23
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Why do predators brutally kill their prey? Just like humans, all other life also fall ill and suffer without performing any “sin” nonsense. Why did the dinosaurs who thrived for 150 million years vanish suddenly? God decided enough is enough?!
    Nature is pregnant with ruthless opportunism – a fact that screams nobody is overseeing all this.

    I think you have to admit that there’s quite a lot of harmony mixed with the ruthless opportunism.
    At the same time, I would tend to agree with you if you mean “overseeing” as equivalent to “controlling” or “determining” everything.
    That would be a different view of God – if you expected that. For example, that would be God building a world, and placing all the characters and objects in it, then moving them around like dolls or puppets.
    But that way, nobody could freely do a good deed or actually show real love or commit a sin.

    So, you can still have an overseer and yet have lack of control.

    A classic example is with human parents and their children. There is some control and some freedom. It’s a trust-based relationship – letting the kids have enough freedom to make mistakes.

  24. 24
    Silver Asiatic says:

    the bystander:

    Don’t ask me what other agent comes to mind.I still can’t figure out – nor can any other fellow ID members.

    I find it very hard to believe that you asked this question of the ID community.

    You could try directed panspermia, for one thing.

  25. 25
    bornagain77 says:

    SA,,

    Since protein folding itself cannot be explained in purely ‘naturalistic terms’, without reference to non-local, beyond space and time, quantum entanglement/computation, then certainly embryological development also falls outside the purview of ‘natural’, i.e. within space-time, processes’.

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Confronting Science’s Logical Limits – John L. Casti – 1996
    Excerpt: It has been estimated that a supercomputer applying plausible rules for protein folding would need 10^127 years to find the final folded form for even a very short sequence consisting of just 100 amino acids. (The universe is 13.7 x 10^9 years old). In fact, in 1993 Aviezri S. Fraenkel of the University of Pennsylvania showed that the mathematical formulation of the protein-folding problem is computationally “hard” in the same way that the traveling-salesman problem is hard.
    http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~ro.....Limits.pdf

    Yet it is exactly this type of ‘traveling salesman problem’ that quantum computers excel at:

    Speed Test of Quantum Versus Conventional Computing: Quantum Computer Wins – May 8, 2013
    Excerpt: quantum computing is, “in some cases, really, really fast.”
    McGeoch says the calculations the D-Wave excels at involve a specific combinatorial optimization problem, comparable in difficulty to the more famous “travelling salesperson” problem that’s been a foundation of theoretical computing for decades.,,,
    “This type of computer is not intended for surfing the internet, but it does solve this narrow but important type of problem really, really fast,” McGeoch says. “There are degrees of what it can do. If you want it to solve the exact problem it’s built to solve, at the problem sizes I tested, it’s thousands of times faster than anything I’m aware of. If you want it to solve more general problems of that size, I would say it competes — it does as well as some of the best things I’ve looked at. At this point it’s merely above average but shows a promising scaling trajectory.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....122828.htm

    Since it is obvious that there is not a material CPU (central processing unit) in proteins busily computing answers, in a purely ‘material’ fashion, by crunching bits, then it is readily apparent that this monster ‘traveling salesman problem’, for protein folding, is somehow being computed by ‘non-local’ quantum computation;

    related note:

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

  26. 26
    Evolve says:

    ///But doesn’t it make you wonder how that works? ///

    Well, we know (or more correctly, we have increasing knowledge of) how that works. Which is why we are able to control and manipulate the development of chickens or even humans, and develop treatments like in vitro fertilization. We’re able to introduce new genes or remove existing ones at our will and trace the entire developmental process. There’s absolutely nothing that suggests that some mysterious, supernatural force is fiddling with the development of organisms.

    /// We’re looking at the origin of such things. Mutation and selection really don’t work as an explanation. There is simply no reason that kind of genetic blueprint/planning would develop from mutations. ///

    Well, it does. Because all of life’s processes can be reduced to chemistry. DNA is a chemical molecule whose components are present in nature. It is not a software program. Mutations in DNA occur naturally and changes the way the molecule interacts with other molecules around it. Altered interactions produce different results – which is the basis of evolution. All the evidence we have clearly shows how all organisms evolved from a common origin.

    To deny the weight of our observations and evidence, and invoke imaginary designers requires quite a leap of faith.

  27. 27
    Evolve says:

    ///So, your argument here may be able to criticise your own perception of what a “god” should look like and behave ///

    World has no evil -> Bingo, God!
    World is full of evil -> Bingo, not the kind of God you want, but still God!

    Your God is really flexible and malleable, I must say. He neatly fits into any scenario one comes up with! He’s virtually indistinguishable from natural processes. Such a God becomes redundant, unnecessary and is totally useless in explaining anything.

  28. 28
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Because all of life’s processes can be reduced to chemistry.

    That’s the assumption – unproven at this point.

    DNA is a chemical molecule whose components are present in nature. It is not a software program.

    Well, I think it’s more accurate to compare the genetic operations that drive a fertilized egg through a mature organism as genetic-programming than merely to chemical reactions. I think that’s the common understanding in bio-chemistry also.

    All the evidence we have clearly shows how all organisms evolved from a common origin.

    To me that sounds wildly overstated — I don’t think we have evidence that shows clearly how all organisms evolved.

    To deny the weight of our observations and evidence, and invoke imaginary designers requires quite a leap of faith.

    To draw conclusions on imaginary evidence regarding what happened in the history of life on earth may require a much greater leap of faith.

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    Evolve:

    There’s absolutely nothing that suggests that some mysterious, supernatural force is fiddling with the development of organisms.

    No fiddling required. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest that natural selection, drift and neutral substitutions can do anything, let alone produce organisms and their diversity.

    Because all of life’s processes can be reduced to chemistry.

    That is the great hope of materialism. Yet nothing suggests that is so.

    NA is a chemical molecule whose components are present in nature.

    And yet nature cannot produce DNA.

    It is not a software program.

    The genetic code acts like one and the ribosome acts like a genetic compiler.

    Mutations in DNA occur naturally and changes the way the molecule interacts with other molecules around it.

    The question is “are all mutations random, as in happenstance, events?”

    All the evidence we have clearly shows how all organisms evolved from a common origin.

    From the Intelligent Designer of Life.

  30. 30
    Evolve says:

    ///There is some control and some freedom. It’s a trust-based relationship – letting the kids have enough freedom to make mistakes.///

    We’re not talking just about humans, but about all of nature.
    The ruthlessness in nature is not about “some freedom to make mistakes”. It’s all about pitiless indifference and terrible suffering. You just cannot reconcile this with a benevolent creator as most believers hold.

    To get around this inconvenient truth, theists are ready to impart shades of grey/evil to God, as we saw Dr. JDD doing above. This is easy because God is such a vague concept that one can fit him into any scenario.

    The challenge for creationists is to pin God down to a set of principles. Define him. Then and only then can we test what God is likely to do, and whether our observations of nature are compatible with him. Otherwise, invoking an abstract God is a futile exercise because he is indistinguishable from what one expects in a random, unguided, unsupervised, natural world.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve, since you have mentioned chicken embryos twice now, I think video clip from ‘Flight: The Genius Of Birds’ might interest you:

    FLIGHT: The Genius of Birds – Embryonic Development – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ah-gT0hTto

    I really want to know how that is done in completely ‘natural’ terms.

    Begin your protein by protein explanation as to how that all comes together ‘naturally’ and I will not stop you until you get to something you can’t explain ‘naturally’ such as say, your first protein.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve at 30, The challenge for Darwinists is to provide empirical evidence for Darwinism, such as say the generation of one novel protein domain by unguided material processes, and to quit relying on twisted theological argumentation to try to make their case for Darwinism.

    i.e. In case you do not understand, Just because you don’t like God, nor the way He made the world, is not scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution!

  33. 33
    drc466 says:

    Evolve,

    Everyday we witness design arising on its own by purely natural processes. Humans developing from a single cell, a seed sprouting into a plant which grows into a tree, a shapeless chicken embryo taking the shape of a chicken…all these happen right before our eyes with NO supernatural intervention or design engineer as far as we can see.

    Take a chicken embryo. Let it grow. What does it become? A chicken. Take another. Let it grow. What does it become? Another chicken. Take a third. Let it grow. Another frickin’ chickin’. Ad infinitum.
    Now, to anybody but an evolutionist, this must mean that all of the design required for a chicken already exists in the embryo. There is no “design arising” – the design is already there (you get an F on this assignment).

    So, again, to anyone but an evolutionist, the sensible, logical question is, “where did the design built into the embryo come from”?
    Well, according to an evolutionist,

    As we all know, evolution dispelled this most powerful argument for God when Darwin showed that “design-like” features could arise from a purely naturalistic process.

    Lie.

  34. 34
    Evolve says:

    ///That’s the assumption – unproven at this point…. genetic-programming than merely to chemical reactions///

    Unproven in which universe?
    We can work with life’s molecules, such as DNA, in the lab. They fall into distinct classes of chemicals that have typical chemical properties and undergo typical chemical reactions. It’s all chemistry. Period.

    ///And yet nature cannot produce DNA.///

    Again, in which universe?!
    Nature can and does produce DNA by the truckloads – in each and every cell on the planet, unaided and unguided.

  35. 35
    Evolve says:

    /// Now, to anybody but an evolutionist, this must mean that all of the design required for a chicken already exists in the embryo.///

    No, the design is NOT already there. What’s already there is a collection of molecules. The design is a fallout of a chain of events or processes that’s contingent upon the environment in which the molecules interact.
    None of these events require supernatural explanations, NONE. We can manipulate any step in between and predict what the outcome would be.

    ///where did the design built into the embryo come from”?///

    From nature. From natural contingencies.
    As I said, the whole ID enterprise rests on the completely bogus notion that design requires a designer. It doesn’t. Natural processes produce design – everything from stones to mountains to planets to life.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    drc466: Now, to anybody but an evolutionist, this must mean that all of the design required for a chicken already exists in the embryo. There is no “design arising”

    The design required for a chicken already exists in the DNA which codes for a chicken to develop from the embryo.

    Evolve: No, the design is NOT already there. What’s already there is a collection of molecules.

    Interesting answer. It’s just a collection of molecules with no design – no genetic program to develop a chicken. I had never heard that before.

    The design is a fallout of a chain of events or processes that’s contingent upon the environment in which the molecules interact.

    The design occurs after the molecules interact with the environment? So we can’t determine that a chicken embryo will produce a chicken based on the design built into the embryo?

  37. 37
    Joe says:

    Evolve:

    Nature can and does produce DNA by the truckloads – in each and every cell on the planet, unaided and unguided.

    No, cells, with existing DNA, produce DNA. Nature has never been observed to produce DNA.

  38. 38
    Silver Asiatic says:

    We’re not talking just about humans, but about all of nature.
    The ruthlessness in nature is not about “some freedom to make mistakes”. It’s all about pitiless indifference and terrible suffering.

    Again, I think you’re overstating. I don’t see all of nature in a state of lack-of-pity, indifference and terrible suffering. To lack pity means you know what pity is. To know indifference means you know what caring, empathy and compassion is. To think that all of nature is undergoing terrible suffering is to be omniscient. Is my front lawn suffering because dandilions are growing in it?
    Are the dandilions suffering because they are going to seed?

    You’re judging the condition of nature from some basis – a god-like perspective. Are you pitiless and indifferent to everyone around you? I can’t imagine that you are.

    So, already you’d have to explain why there is compassion, why there is order, why there is harmony and cooperation.
    Of course, evolution supposedly explains all of those contradictions.

    But you’re more correct to take the hard-line Darwinian view that nature became diversified because there is a constant war for survival and every species is suffering brutal competition to overcome extinction.
    You’d be more correct with that, but it still would make no sense and be totally unrealistic.

    Why does any species care if it goes extinct? If all of nature is nothing but terrible suffering, why struggle to live? Death and extinction is obviously preferable.

    You just cannot reconcile this with a benevolent creator as most believers hold.

    The challenge for creationists is to pin God down to a set of principles. Define him. Then and only then can we test what God is likely to do, and whether our observations of nature are compatible with him.

    I think I’ve shown that nature does not reflect the view you’ve given.

    Otherwise, invoking an abstract God is a futile exercise because he is indistinguishable from what one expects in a random, unguided, unsupervised, natural world.

    No, we wouldn’t expect order, design, harmony, purpose or social collaboration in a random, unguided world. We wouldn’t expect intelligence. We might be able to expect chaos of matter — but even that couldn’t be sustained without ordered, predictable natural laws (where did they come from?)

    I think you have to be careful and not borrow from theism to build what you think is a random, unguided world. You really have to start from nothing and then give a good reason why anything would emerge from that. Even with matter and natural laws (which are not random, thus you have to explain that), you don’t provide a reason why things struggle to survive. What is the purpose?

  39. 39
    Querius says:

    Evolve,

    You haven’t addressed bornagain77’s challenge:

    Evolve, and exactly how are you able to form this idea that the world is cruel and unjust in the first place if there is, as you hold in your materialist/atheist worldview, no real objective, transcendent, standard of good that has been departed from?

    -Q

  40. 40
    Evolve says:

    ///The design required for a chicken already exists in the DNA which codes for a chicken to develop from the embryo.///

    It’s not exclusive to chickens. The same genes also contribute to widely different designs such as humans, flies, fish and worms! Humans and chickens are about 60% identical at the DNA level, though you probably couldn’t tell that with a cursory glance at the two species!

    Now, what does that tell you? The so-called DNA code is not set in stone, its fallout is decided by the context in which it operates – how it interacts with other molecules in its environment. We understand this, which is why we can predict what certain genes would do under given conditions, and manipulate them to create chickens with teeth, or flies with legs on their heads or fish sprouting rudimentary limbs!

    This is because everything DNA does is chemistry, governed by natural principles, much like how molecules in the air or water react. If you don’t feel hard-pressed to invoke magical designers to explain atmospheric gas composition, then there’s no reason to do that for life either.

  41. 41
    Evolve says:

    ///You haven’t addressed bornagain77?s challenge:///

    I normally skip his posts. But since you asked…

    ///Evolve, and exactly how are you able to form this idea that the world is cruel and unjust in the first place if there is, as you hold in your materialist/atheist worldview, no real objective, transcendent, standard of good that has been departed from? ///

    Cruel and unjust from the viewpoint of a loving and caring God, as he’s portrayed in popular culture and as most believers consider God to be.
    People pray and try to appease God to win him over and ensure a better life for themselves both on earth and in heaven. The concept of such a God is totally incompatible with the grotesque violence inherent in nature.

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve you state,,

    “Cruel and unjust from the viewpoint of a loving and caring God,”

    which boils down to,,

    “atheists have their theology, which is basically: “God, if he existed, wouldn’t do it this way (because) if I were God, I wouldn’t (do it that way).”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....85691.html

    In case you have not noticed Evolve, you ARE NOT God!

    supplemental notes:

    “Hawking’s entire argument is built upon theism. He is, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.
    Take that part about the “human mind” for example. Under atheism there is no such thing as a mind. There is no such thing as understanding and no such thing as truth. All Hawking is left with is a box, called a skull, which contains a bunch of molecules.
    Hawking needs God in order to deny Him.”
    Cornelius Hunter
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....s-soy.html

    supplemental note:

    The Problem of Evil by Benjamin D. Wiker – April 2009
    Excerpt: We still want to cry, Job-like, to those inscrutable depths, “Who are you to orchestrate everything around us puny and pitiable creatures, leaving us shuddering in the darkness, ignorant, blasted, and buffeted? It‘s all well and good to say, ‘Trust me! It‘ll all be made right in the end,‘ while you float unscathed above it all. Grinding poverty, hunger, thirst, frustration, rejection, toil, death of our loved ones, blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation — that‘s the meal we‘re served! You‘d sing a different tune if you were one of us and got a taste of your own medicine.”
    What could we say against these depths if the answer we received was not an argument but an incarnation, a full and free submission by God to the very evils about which we complain? This submission would be a kind of token, a sign that evil is very real indeed, bringing the incarnate God blood-sweating anxiety, excruciating pain, humiliation, torture, and finally a twisted and miserable annihilation on the cross. As real as such evil is, however, the resurrection reveals that it is somehow mysteriously comprehended within the divine plan.
    With the Incarnation, the reality of evil is absorbed into the deity, not dissolved into thin air, because God freely tastes the bitterness of the medicine as wounded healer, not distant doctor. Further, given the drastic nature of this solution, we begin to recognize that God takes the problem of evil more seriously than we could ever have taken it ourselves. ,,,
    http://www.crisismagazine.com/.....em-of-evil

  43. 43
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The same genes also contribute to widely different designs such as humans, flies, fish and worms! Humans and chickens are about 60% identical at the DNA level, though you probably couldn’t tell that with a cursory glance at the two species!

    I’m starting to lose your point here. The genetic structure of chickens are unique to them. That’s what we mean by the phrase “the design required for a chicken already exists in the DNA”. Large percentages can be similar to other species, as you mention — and there’s more than just DNA at work, but DNA in general dictates what will develop from a chicken embryo. That’s why we can predict what a fertilized chicken egg will produce.

    The fact that very similar DNA combinations produce strikingly different organisms is more of an argument for design since it shows the power of those genetic programs.

  44. 44
    Querius says:

    Evolve,

    You’re missing bornagain77’s point. You stated

    Cruel and unjust from the viewpoint of a loving and caring God, as he’s portrayed in popular culture and as most believers consider God to be.

    From your perspective, since there isn’t any “loving and caring God,” the terms you used, “cruel and unjust,” have absolutely no meaning and should only be in your vocabulary in an anachronistic, pre-scientific sense. With Darwinism, you’re left only with survival and reproduction (and the social norms that facilitate them). Check out B.F. Skinner.

    Now if you understood the scriptures, you would know where cruelty and injustice comes from—not from God.

    God is in process of allowing the demonstration of the pathologies arising from human selfishness, stupidity, jealousies, lusts, and so on come to an end. And God has also provided a way out from guilt and judgment.

    But instead, you hold God accountable for the consequences of peoples’ free will decisions, without interfering with yours.

    Would you want a “kind and loving God” to stop you from any potentially harmful actions or choices? You light up a cigarette, but you can’t put it to your mouth. You start to say something hurtful, but the words can’t come out. You start watching some porn, but your screen goes blank.

    Or maybe your “kind and loving God” should let everyone do as they pleased, but has to make sure that magically there are no bad consequences for anyone. But everyone still dies, so what’s the point?

    -Q

  45. 45
    bornagain77 says:

    Evolve is far from the only Darwinist to use theological argumentation to try to make the ‘scientific’ case for Darwinism. Charles Darwin himself relied primarily on theological argumentation, instead of empirical evidence, in his book ‘Origin Of Species’,,,

    Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:
    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):
    ,,,,
    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.
    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    And subsequent Darwinists, to this day, have employed theologically based argumentation to try to make the supposedly ‘scientific’ case for Darwinism,,,

    Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of theology? – Dilley S. – 2013
    Abstract
    This essay analyzes Theodosius Dobzhansky’s famous article, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution,” in which he presents some of his best arguments for evolution. I contend that all of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon sectarian claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. Moreover, Dobzhansky’s theology manifests several tensions, both in the epistemic justification of his theological claims and in their collective coherence. I note that other prominent biologists–such as Mayr, Dawkins, Eldredge, Ayala, de Beer, Futuyma, and Gould–also use theology-laden arguments. I recommend increased analysis of the justification, complexity, and coherence of this theology.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23890740

    In fact, in the twisted world of Darwinian reasoning, Dr. John Avise used the fact that mutations are overwhelmingly detrimental, which is actually a very powerful scientific argument against Darwinism, as a theological argument for Darwinism since, according to Darwinian theology, God would never allow such things as detrimental mutations:

    Inside the Human Genome: A Case for Non-Intelligent Design – Pg. 57 By John C. Avise
    Excerpt: “Another compilation of gene lesions responsible for inherited diseases is the web-based Human Gene Mutation Database (HGMD). Recent versions of HGMD describe more than 75,000 different disease causing mutations identified to date in Homo-sapiens.”

    I went to the mutation database website cited by John Avise and found:

    Mutation total (as of 2014-05-02) – 148,413
    http://www.hgmd.cf.ac.uk/ac/

    Contrary to what Dr. Avise may believe, such an overwhelming rate of detrimental mutations is NOT a point of evidence in favor of Darwinism, but is, in fact, a very powerful scientific argument against Darwinian claims!,,,

    Darwinists simply have no empirical evidence whatsoever that unguided material processes can produce a single protein, or a molecular machine, much less can they produce the unfathomed levels of complexity we find in life,,
    But what is interesting in Evolve’s, and other Darwinists theological argumentation is the emotional appeal of it. ,,, And the emotional appeal of the argument is all they have since the logic of the argument from evil, as C.S. Lewis has clearly shown, implodes in on itself,,,

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    ,,,Yet, as stated before, the emotional appeal of the argument from evil is what Evolve, and other Darwinists, are counting on to presuade people that they may be right that.
    For instance of the emotion appeal that Evolve tries to employ in his argument, please note the term ‘grotesque violence’ that he uses when he makes his theological argument against a ‘loving and caring’ God,,

    “Cruel and unjust from the viewpoint of a loving and caring God, as he’s portrayed in popular culture and as most believers consider God to be.,,,
    The concept of such a God is totally incompatible with the grotesque violence inherent in nature.”

    But apparently what Evolve completely fails to realize is that the grotesque violence in the crucifixion of Christ is the very method that God chose to redeem mankind from sin and death with!
    Thus, apparently unbeknownst to Evolve, it is, in fact, completely compatible for ‘a loving and caring God’ to use grotesque violence to achieve his desired purpose of redeeming mankind from sin and death.

    Shroud Of Turin – 3 Dimensional Hologram Reveals Words ‘The Lamb’ – video
    https://vimeo.com/97156784

    Music and Verse:

    Alive – Natalie Grant
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=KPYWPGNX

    1 Peter 1:18-20
    ,,,you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world,,,

  46. 46
    Axel says:

    Interesting to see the photo, almost a portrait, of David Barash, beaming in a way that seems rather inanely exaggerated, next to his dog, an Alsatian/German Shepherd, which, contrastingly, looks rather thoughtful.

    Barash may have a point, you know.

  47. 47
    Axel says:

    Barash has the expression of a Cocker Spaniel. I was trying to think what he reminded me of in that photo. Havng his tongue hang out would have completed the picture nicely.

    Strange that because of their ‘reverse pathetic fallacy’, it’s virtually impossible to insult Darwinists by comparing them with our dumb chums.

  48. 48
    Querius says:

    Apparently Evolve got really busy and doesn’t have time to address the philosophical choices I’m offering in response to his objections. Hmmm.

    I know. Maybe I’ll save my post and present it to him the next time he pops up. 😉

    -Q

  49. 49
    not_querius says:

    Maybe he’s been banned?

  50. 50
    Querius says:

    Oh, hi A_b/WS. You’ve been off for a while.

    -Q

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