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Lutheran religious studies prof asks, Is methodological naturalism racist?

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Robert F. Shedinger came across an open access 2020 paper in Social Psychology of Education, “Why are there so few ethnic minorities in ecology and evolutionary biology? Challenges to inclusion and the role of sense of belonging” which brought up something you are not likely to hear from the
Darwin Lobby:

It is well established that people of color are poorly represented in STEM fields compared with their representation in the larger population. That is for a host of complex sociological and economic reasons. But even taking this into consideration, the authors note that African Americans are even more poorly represented in EEB [ecology and evolutionary biology] fields in comparison with non-EEB fields of biology. This extremely poor representation in EEB cannot be explained by the factors leading to underrepresentation in STEM fields, so there must be something else going on.

To find out what, the authors surveyed a sample of college undergraduates from different racial and ethnic groups about their attitudes towards STEM in general and EEB in particular. The findings point to a number of factors, especially among African Americans, leading to a sense of not belonging in the culture of the EEB community. Two of these factors were a greater tendency toward religiosity and moral objections to evolution.

Surprisingly, and contrary to the expectations of the authors, African American (as well as Latino) undergraduates expressed a greater desire than white students to seek advanced education in ecology and evolutionary biology. Yet despite their interest level, the perceived lack of belonging they would experience in the EEB community appears to prevent their actual pursuit of advanced education (in 2014 African Americans earned fewer than 2 percent of PhDs granted in EEB fields but 5.1 percent in non-EEB subfields of biology).

As the authors note, African Americans consistently score higher on surveys of religiosity than the general population. This will not be surprising to anyone familiar with the African American church tradition. But African American undergraduates seem to be aware of the absolute requirement that EEB research be done in accordance with methodological (and de facto metaphysical) naturalism. Their religious inclinations will therefore be in conflict with the culture within the EEB community and it will be difficult for them to feel a sense of belonging in that community. The same with their moral objections to evolution, moral objections that are well founded in the African American experience (see Human Zoos). The demands of methodological naturalism thus become an impediment to the greater participation of people of color in ecology and evolutionary biology. What insights might we be losing as a result?

Robert F. Shedinger, “Is Methodological Naturalism Racist?” at Evolution News and Science Today (August 27, 2021)

When Shedinger asks, “What insights might we be losing as a result?”, one wants to ask, “Who is the ‘we’”? The Darwinians don’t want insights; they want control. Yes, the rest of us are losing insights but that hardly counts. Breaking the stranglehold sounds like a team effort.

It’s an interesting discussion of the findings in the light of the recent op-ed in Scientific American claiming that creationism was based on white supremacy.

See also: At Evolution News and Science Today: The casual racism of Charles Darwin. Shedinger calls Allison Hopper’s piece in Scientific American, “startlingly vacuous,” which raises — once again — the question of why on earth the mag published it. It’s not as if there is no scholarship on the topic of Darwin and racism. Did the editors not want to address that scholarship? Well, we can’t read minds but we can make some reasonable guesses. How about: Create a big uproar and hope everyone will focus on that and not on the topic at hand? Shedinger also notes perceptively, “One does not become racist because of the view one holds on human origins. One becomes racist for other complex reasons and then reads that racism back into whatever view on human origins you hold.”

280 Replies to “Lutheran religious studies prof asks, Is methodological naturalism racist?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    The civil rights movement destroyed the black professional class.

    In 1940, black neignborhoods had more doctors and teachers and businessmen per capita than white neighborhoods.

    Carver couldn’t get a job today. (Especially because he often talked about God.)

    School integration in the ’50s disemployed black teachers and principals, who never regained their jobs.

    As with all “progressive” movements from feminism to homosexual rights to disabled rights, the allegedly “protected” class lost far more than the “progressive” leaders who were “protecting” them.

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    Your Lutheran religious studies prof hasn’t thought this through. All of science assumes methodological naturalism, not just EEB. So I can’t see how it explains less interest in EEB in religious communities: it should be seen as less interest in all science.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob O’H claims that “All of science assumes methodological naturalism”.

    That oft repeated claim from atheists is an utterly false claim.

    The truth is that all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based upon Theistic, even Christian, assumptions and is certainly not based upon naturalistic assumptions.

    First off, the real ‘assumptions’ that lay behind the founding of modern science in medieval Christian Europe were 1. The contingency of nature, 2. The intelligibility of nature, 3. Human Fallibility

    Dr. Stephen Meyer, who holds a PhD in the philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge, wrote about these three necessary Christian presuppositions in his latest book, “The Return of the God Hypothesis”.

    Dr. Meyer talks about these three necessary Christian presuppositions that lay behind the founding of modern science in the following interview about his latest book.

    “Science in its modern form arose in the Western civilization alone, among all the cultures of the world”, because only the Christian West possessed the necessary “intellectual presuppositions”.
    – Ian Barbour
    Presupposition 1: The contingency of nature
    “In 1277, the Etienne Tempier, the bishop of Paris, writing with support of Pope John XXI, condemned “necessarian theology” and 219 separate theses influenced by Greek philosophy about what God could and couldn’t do.”,,
    “The order in nature could have been otherwise (therefore) the job of the natural philosopher, (i.e. scientist), was not to ask what God must have done but (to ask) what God actually did.”
    Presupposition 2: The intelligibility of nature
    “Modern science was inspired by the conviction that the universe is the product of a rational mind who designed it to be understood and who (also) designed the human mind to understand it.” (i.e. human exceptionalism),
    “God created us in his own image so that we could share in his own thoughts”
    – Johannes Kepler
    Presupposition 3: Human Fallibility
    “Humans are vulnerable to self-deception, flights of fancy, and jumping to conclusions.”, (i.e. original sin), Scientists must therefore employ “systematic experimental methods.”
    – Stephen Meyer on Intelligent Design and The Return of the God Hypothesis – Hoover Institution
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_8PPO-cAlA
    April 2021: Defense of all 3 presuppositions
    1
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727893
    2
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727959
    3
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/brian-keating-on-the-problem-with-follow-the-science/#comment-727980

    Moreover, far from “all of science” assuming methodological naturalism as a starting assumption as Bob falsely claimed, If science actually does assume methodological naturalism as a starting assumption, then that artificially forced assumption of naturalism onto science results in the catastrophic epistemological failure of science in that it renders illusory anything that humans can possibly know about the universe or about themselves.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist and/or Methodological Naturalist may firmly believe that he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for naturalistic explanations over and above God as a viable explanation), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists themselves are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    The primary epistemological failure inherent in methodological naturalism is the denial of agent causality. And it is not only the denial of the Agent Causality of God that atheists deny, but it is also the the agent causality of man himself that atheists deny.

    This denial is insane.

    If methodological naturalism were actually true as atheists falsely claim, then you, as a living, breathing, person, have never been the cause of anything that you have ever done in your life. Naturalistic processes have been the cause of everything you have ever done in your life, and you are merely under the illusion that you have done anything in your life via your own volition.

    Again, this is insane.

    As George Ellis explains, “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    – per uncommondescent

    And as Paul Nelson explains, (if methodological naturalism were actually true),,,”You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural? Who knows?,,,”

    “Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural? Who knows?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.”
    – Paul Nelson
    – per evolution news and views

    Again, the denial of agent causality, and/or free will, by atheists, via methodological naturalism, is simply self-refuting, and insane, nonsense that undermines rationality itself and therefore undermines all of science itself.

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    As Dr. Egnor observed, “To insist that your neurotransmitters completely control your choices is no different than insisting that your television or your iphone control your thoughts. It’s crazy”.

    JERRY COYNE JUST CAN’T GIVE UP DENYING FREE WILL
    Coyne’s denial of free will, based on determinism, is science denial and junk metaphysics
    Michael Egnor – April 2020
    Excerpt: Someday, I predict, there will be a considerable psychiatric literature on the denial of free will. It’s essentially a delusion dressed up as science. To insist that your neurotransmitters completely control your choices is no different than insisting that your television or your iphone control your thoughts. It’s crazy.,,
    https://mindmatters.ai/2020/04/jerry-coyne-just-cant-give-up-denying-free-will/

    Luckily for us science itself could care less that atheists are, via their assumption of methodological naturalism, insanely forced to deny the reality of their own agent causality and/or free will.

    Besides the scientific evidence from neuroscience, via Benjamin Libet, that Dr. Egnor listed in his article for the reality of free will, recent advances in quantum mechanics have also now confirmed the reality of free will.

    Specifically, although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence”, “freedom of choice”, and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:

    Closing the ‘free will’ loophole: Using distant quasars to test Bell’s theorem – February 20, 2014
    Excerpt: Though two major loopholes have since been closed, a third remains; physicists refer to it as “setting independence,” or more provocatively, “free will.” This loophole proposes that a particle detector’s settings may “conspire” with events in the shared causal past of the detectors themselves to determine which properties of the particle to measure — a scenario that, however far-fetched, implies that a physicist running the experiment does not have complete free will in choosing each detector’s setting. Such a scenario would result in biased measurements, suggesting that two particles are correlated more than they actually are, and giving more weight to quantum mechanics than classical physics.
    “It sounds creepy, but people realized that’s a logical possibility that hasn’t been closed yet,” says MIT’s David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and senior lecturer in the Department of Physics. “Before we make the leap to say the equations of quantum theory tell us the world is inescapably crazy and bizarre, have we closed every conceivable logical loophole, even if they may not seem plausible in the world we know today?”
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220112515.htm

    And now Anton Zeilinger and company have recently, as of 2018, pushed the ‘freedom of choice’ loophole back to 7.8 billion years ago, thereby firmly establishing the ‘common sense’ fact that the free will choices of the experimenter in the quantum experiments are truly free and are not determined by any possible causal influences from the past for at least the last 7.8 billion years, and that the experimenters themselves are therefore shown to be truly free to choose whatever measurement settings in the experiments that he or she may so desire to choose so as to ‘logically’ probe whatever aspect of reality that he or she may be interested in probing.

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Abstract:This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

    Thus, as far as experimental science is concerned, free will is a real and tangible part of reality.

    On top of that, and as far as present day science is concerned, when we rightly, and sanely, allow the Agent Causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), then rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, (via the Shroud of Turin), between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”.

    Here is a recent video where I make precisely that case

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://youtu.be/Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Personally, I firmly believe that the Christian founders of modern science, (who very much viewed their practice of science as a way of worshiping God),,,,

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God.”
    (Newton 1687, Principia)

    “When I reflect on so many profoundly marvellous things that persons have grasped, sought, and done, I recognize even more clearly that human intelligence is a work of God, and one of the most excellent.”
    (Galileo, as cited in Caputo 2000, 85).

    “To know the mighty works of God, to comprehend His wisdom and majesty and power, to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance cannot be more gratifying than knowledge.”
    (Copernicus, as cited in Neff 1952, 191-192; and in Hubbard 1905, v)

    “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”
    (Kepler, as cited in Morris 1982, 11; see also Graves 1996, 51).

    “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion. For while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them, confederate and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”
    (Bacon 1875, 64).

    “And thus I very clearly see that the certitude and truth of all science depends on the knowledge alone of the true God, insomuch that, before I knew him, I could have no perfect knowledge of any other thing. And now that I know him, I possess the means of acquiring a perfect knowledge respecting innumerable matters, as well relative to God himself and other intellectual objects as to corporeal nature.”
    (Descartes 1901, Meditation V).

    “The book of nature which we have to read is written by the finger of God.”
    (Faraday, as cited in Seeger 1983, 101).

    “I think men of science as well as other men need to learn from Christ, and I think Christians whose minds are scientific are bound to study science that their view of the glory of God may be as extensive as their being is capable of.”
    – James Clerk Maxwell , as cited in Campbell and Garnett 1882, 404-405

    “Overpoweringly strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie all around us; and if ever perplexities, whether metaphysical or scientific, turn us away from them for a time, they come back upon us with irresistible force, showing to us through Nature the influence of a free will, and teaching us that all living things depend on one ever-acting Creator and Ruler.”
    (Kelvin 1871; see also Seeger 1985a, 100-101)

    “When with bold telescopes I survey the old and newly discovered stars and planets, when with excellent microscopes I discern the unimitable subtility of nature’s curious workmanship; and when, in a word, by the help of anatomical knives, and the light of chemical furnaces, I study the book of nature, I find myself often times reduced to exclaim with the Psalmist, ‘How manifold are Thy works, O Lord! In wisdom hast Thou made them all!’ ”
    (Boyle, as cited in Woodall 1997, 32)

    “Wishing them also a most happy success in their laudable attempts to discover the true nature of the works of God, and praying, that they and all other searchers into physical truths may cordially refer their attainments to the glory of the Author of Nature, and the benefit of mankind.”
    — Robert Boyle (1627-1691) largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, speaking of the Royal Society in his will

    “The examination of the bodies of animals has always been my delight, and I have thought that we might thence not only obtain an insight into the lighter mysteries of nature, but there perceive a kind of image or reflection of the omnipotent Creator Himself.”
    (Harvey, as cited in Keynes 1966, 330)

    “There is for a free man no occupation more worth and delightful than to contemplate the beauteous works of nature and honor the infinite wisdom and goodness of God.”
    (Ray, as cited in Graves 1996, 66; see also Yahya 2002)

    “The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Science brings men nearer to God.”
    (Pasteur, as cited in Lamont 1995; see also Tiner 1990, 75)?

    Personally, I firmly believe that the Christian founders of modern science, (who very much viewed their practice of science as a way of worshiping God), would all be very pleased to learn that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides us with a very plausible resolution to the number one unsolved mystery in modern science today, Namely, the resolution of the quote unquote ‘theory of everything’.

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – you do understand what methodological naturalism is, don’t you? And that one does not have to be a materialist to assume it in one’s science?

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    And Bob, (assuming that you, via your free will, wrote your own post and the laws did not write it for you), you do understand that the assumption of methodological naturalism, whether you are a materialist or not, drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure don’t you?

    Or has that little detail escaped your notice?

    And you do also realize that Atheists, from David Hume onward, have basically been two-bit philosophical thieves who have stolen the laws of nature away from the Christian founders of modern science who first discovered them don’t you?

    Specifically David Hume falsely claimed that, “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature;”

    “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and because firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the case against a miracle is—just because it is a miracle—as complete as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined to be.”
    – David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – 1748

    After self-servingly, and falsely, presupposing that the laws of nature are completely natural with no need of God to explain their existence, David Hume, in the same passage, then goes on to argue that, basically, since a man rising from the dead would violate the laws of nature, then Jesus resurrection from the dead is a violation of the laws of nature and is therefore impossible.

    “Nothing is counted as a miracle if it ever happens in the common course of nature. When a man who seems to be in good health suddenly dies, this isn’t a miracle; because such a kind of death, though more unusual than any other, has yet often been observed to happen. But a dead man’s coming to life would be a miracle, because that has never been observed in any age or country.”
    – David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – 1748

    Yet, David Hume, as an atheist with an overt anti-Christian bias, simply had no right to presuppose that the laws of nature are completely natural with no need of God to explain their existence.

    As Paul Davies stated in 1995, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995
    Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24

    And again in 2007 Paul Davies went on to state, “All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed.,,,
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe,,,”

    Taking Science on Faith – By PAUL DAVIES – NOV. 24, 2007
    Excerpt: All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed.
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11.....avies.html

    And as C.S. Lewis stated, “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”

    When things just don’t fit: Science and the Easter faith – John Lennox – 13 April 2012
    Excerpt: Alfred North Whitehead’s view, as summarised by C.S. Lewis, was that: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.” It is no accident that Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Clerk-Maxwell were believers in God.
    https://www.abc.net.au/religion/when-things-just-dont-fit-science-and-the-easter-faith/10100632

    Again. atheists, especially with their a-priori metaphysical assumption that the ‘the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed’ simply have no right to presuppose that the laws of nature are completely natural with no need of God to explain their existence.

    Atheists, with their ‘bottom up’ materialistic explanations, simply have no realistic clue why there should even be universal laws that govern the universe in the first place:

    “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.
    Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws is in need of constraints (laws) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws.
    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”
    Saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, is another way of saying that laws cannot be explained by physical processes.”
    – Origenes – UD blogger

    Einstein himself stated, “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way”,,, Einstein even went on to chastise ‘professional atheists’ in the process of calling it a miracle!

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    Likewise, Eugene Wigner, after questioning the validity of Darwinian evolution itself to produce ‘our reasoning power’, also stated, “It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,”

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Thus for David Hume, again an atheist with an anti-Christian bias, to self-servingly presuppose that the laws of nature are completely natural with no need of God to explain their existence, and that the laws of nature therefore preclude the possibility of any further miracles from even being possible. i.e. “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature;“, is a severely disingenuous and intellectually dishonest thing for him to have done.

    All of modern science was born out of the Christian presupposition that God ‘miraculously’ upholds this universe via His laws of nature.

    For example, Faraday, Maxwell and even Planck, all held that “the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.”

    The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell – Ian H. Hutchinson – 2014
    Conclusion: Lawfulness was not, in their thinking, inert, abstract, logical necessity, or complete reducibility to Cartesian mechanism; rather, it was an expectation they attributed to the existence of a divine lawgiver. These men’s insights into physics were made possible by their religious commitments. For them, the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nd-maxwell

    “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together.
    We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    – Max Planck

    Again, I hold that David Hume was basically a two-bit ‘philosophical thief’ who stole the ‘miraculous’ laws of nature away from the Christian founders of modern science who first discovered them.

    And all present day atheists who still falsely insist that science is based on the assumption of methodological naturalism, instead of being based on Theistic, even Christian, assumptions as it actually is, are participating in that intellectual and philosophical theft from Christianity that David Hume perpetrated.

    Jeremiah 33:25-26
    This is what the Lord says: ‘If I have not made my covenant with day and night and established the laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’”

  6. 6
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – if you want to criticise methodological naturalism, it might help if you criticised it, rather than attacking philosophical naturalism.

  7. 7
    jerry says:

    Is Methodological Naturalism a logical fallacy? One definition

    Methodological naturalism is a strategy for studying the world, by which scientists choose not to consider supernatural causes – even as a remote possibility.

    It’s the begging the question fallacy.

    https://www.conservapedia.com/index.php?title=Methodological_naturalism

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    All of science assumes methodological naturalism, not just EEB. So I can’t see how it explains less interest in EEB in religious communities: it should be seen as less interest in all science.

    The study of life offers a much more jarring conflict with materialism.
    Beyond that, there is no good reason for science to assume materialism for every cause in the universe (and it is illogical to assume it for the cause of the material universe).

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    The Great Courses science courses are on sale today and tomorrow. Go to

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-of-science-antiquity-to-1700

    And the course is on sale for $24.95 – audio only.

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry,

    Thanks for that update! I was ready to grab it at that price but for some reason my page shows it as:

    Choose a Format
    Instant Audio
    $199.95

    Maybe sale items are custom designed for users. I haven’t purchased for a while so maybe I don’t get the promotional price. When I enter a catalogue code also I’ll get lower prices on some items, so maybe it’s something like that.
    Thanks again for keeping me up to date on this. I’ll check tomorrow also – it could be a delay.

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob, to assume methodological naturalism as a starting assumption in science is to de facto assume that philosophical naturalism is true as a starting assumption for science.

    To clearly illustrate just how absurd your supposed caveat is of “you don’t have to be a materialist to accept methodological naturalism as your starting assumption in science”,, (and since all of science is based on Theistic presuppositions instead of naturalistic presuppositions), I could just as well say that “methodological Theism is the starting assumption of all science but you don’t have to be a Theist in order to accept methodological Theism as your starting assumption.”

    And my statement is far closer to the truth of the situation than your statement is

    Indeed, unwittingly or not, atheists must indeed assume Theistic presuppositions to be true in order to practice science in the first place, In other words, Atheists themselves must accept ‘methodological Theism’ as a starting assumption before they can even ‘do science’!

    As Paul Davies explained, “even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”

    Physics and the Mind of God: The Templeton Prize Address – by Paul Davies – August 1995
    Excerpt: “People take it for granted that the physical world is both ordered and intelligible. The underlying order in nature-the laws of physics-are simply accepted as given, as brute facts. Nobody asks where they came from; at least they do not do so in polite company. However, even the most atheistic scientist accepts as an act of faith that the universe is not absurd, that there is a rational basis to physical existence manifested as law-like order in nature that is at least partly comprehensible to us. So science can proceed only if the scientist adopts an essentially theological worldview.”
    https://www.firstthings.com/article/1995/08/003-physics-and-the-mind-of-god-the-templeton-prize-address-24

  12. 12
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77 @3,
    FYI, the link below is broken:

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://youtu.be/Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Also note that while your posts are long and thoughtful, Bob O’H’s posts are simply assertions, short and vacuous.

    If Bob O’H is not a chatbot, which cannot easily be ruled out, you might want to ask some questions about his assertions. If all you receive in turn is more assertions, then I’d say you’re dealing with a chatbot.

    -Q

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks Querius, here is the corrected link,

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpn2Vu8–eE

  14. 14
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 8 –

    The study of life offers a much more jarring conflict with materialism.

    Irrelevant – we’re discussing methodological naturalism, not materialism.

    Beyond that, there is no good reason for science to assume materialism for every cause in the universe (and it is illogical to assume it for the cause of the material universe).

    It doesn’t. It only assumes that it can study material causes. A lot of scientists think that there are other causes (e.g. the large number of theists). The point is that science is unable to study these. And that’s fine: if we see science as a tool for study the natural world, then methodological naturalism circumscribes what it can study. Horses for courses and all that.

    ba77 –

    Bob, to assume methodological naturalism as a starting assumption in science is to de facto assume that philosophical naturalism is true as a starting assumption for science.

    Not so. The alternative is to take the stance that science can only investigate certain aspects of the universe. See above.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    All of science assumes methodological naturalism, …

    In what way? Please be specific.

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Shedinger’s opening paragraph should have contained the definition of “methodological naturalism”.

    One thing is certain in science- you cannot start out with a conclusion already in hand. That means one cannot exclude the supernatural out-of-hand.

  17. 17
    Bob O'H says:

    ET – science assumes material causes: things we can measure, or whose effects we can measure. e.g. neuroscientists look at how nerve cells fire, and are arranged in the brain. Evolutionary biologist look at births and deaths, and how genetic composition affects these (and how these affect genetic composition). Even the multiverse guys assume that multiple universes are material, and can (eventually!) be measured.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Bob- science can only assume there was a cause for observed effects. Neuroscientists don’t have a materialistic explanation for the existence of a brain. They do not know what starts the firing. Evolutionary biologists don’t even know what determines biological form. They can’t even formulate a scientific theory of evolution.

    The genetic code and life are unexplainable via materialistic processes. Information is also unexplainable via materialistic processes. Information is neither matter nor energy.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    Science only cares about ONE thing-> REALITY. That is, what really happened to produce the effect/ structure/ phenomena/ object being investigated. That is why we investigate. And the investigation CANNOT start out with a conclusion of “only materialistic processes can be considered”.

  20. 20
    jerry says:

    Silver Asiatic

    Try catalog code 197126 and see if that makes a difference. It was in small print on my email.

  21. 21
    jerry says:

    science assumes material causes: things we can measure, or whose effects we can measure.

    No!

    Yes, science does measures material things. But causes are another issue. The conclusions/causes don’t have to be material things.

  22. 22
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    It only assumes that it can study material causes. A lot of scientists think that there are other causes (e.g. the large number of theists). The point is that science is unable to study these. And that’s fine: if we see science as a tool for study the natural world, then methodological naturalism circumscribes what it can study.

    It’s a great point for discussion and I appreciate your analysis.
    Yes, as you state it, that’s the standard understanding and hypothetically that would be the correct way to proceed. Science should study nature (therefore naturalism) and be limited to those sorts of causes. But after that hypothesis, immediately we begin to drift. There are many reasons why this does not work in the real world and even though the proposal (only natural causes) seems reasonable, it ends up quite twisted and unworkable in the end (and also the means for manipulating people and science itself). For example, you state …

    science assumes material causes: things we can measure, or whose effects we can measure.

    Here’s where it doesn’t work. What we find in nature are the effects of causes. Like gravity – we measure it by its effect. However, what the naturalist method is saying is “we will assume that all effects are caused by material causes”. Thus, everything that is observable in the universe (or even beyond it) is caused by a naturalist, materialist cause. By definition, it has removed all other causes from ever having an effect.

    The proof of this error is that we do not see any scientific papers that remove a materialist cause as a possible source of anything that ever occurs. To say “we’re limited to these causes” means you have evaluated other causes. Where does science evaluate the presence and action of other causes well-enough to say that “we have to ignore those”? Science itself cannot create the materialist assumption. That comes from some philosophers or theorists who create this supposed rule. “Science must be limited to natural causes – and we also define what “natural” means”.
    Yes, a consensus agrees with that, but on what basis?
    There would have to be some reason to say that no other causes could be permitted in science.

    Even the multiverse guys assume that multiple universes are material, and can (eventually!) be measured.

    That’s where it’s illogical, since the proposal for a multiverse is to explain the origin of the universe – and the universe by definition is “all material reality”. If we could observe another universe it would be part of our own. What the big bang proposal offers is that all matter, energy and space originated from a singularity. The question “what came before the big bang” is given the answer of multiverse, but that’s just denying what big bang cosmology shows.

  23. 23
    bornagain77 says:

    I stated, “Bob, to assume methodological naturalism as a starting assumption in science is to de facto assume that philosophical naturalism is true as a starting assumption for science.”

    Bob retorts,

    “Not so. The alternative is to take the stance that science can only investigate certain aspects of the universe.,,,”

    HUH??? So if you actually meant what your words actually say,, according to your logic, falsely restricting science so that only naturalistic causes are ever allowed to be invoked is to prevent science from investigating “only certain aspects of the universe.,,,”?

    YOU”VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! That is exactly what methodological naturalism does, it artificially restricts science to invoking only naturalistic causes “in spite of the patent absurdity,”,, “no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying,,,”

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.
    Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. ”
    – Lewontin

    Methodological Naturalism is an absurd and artificial restriction on science that atheists invoke for the plain and simple reason that the science simply does not support atheistic naturalism. i.e. If they ever allowed a ‘Divine Foot in the door’, the game would be over for them. So they have to rig the game before the game even starts and the scientific evidence is honestly evaluated on its own merits in an unbiased manner.

    Moreover, to repeat, I can get along quite well in science without assuming naturalism, but there are certain theistic presuppositions that are essential for doing science, post 3

  24. 24
    Querius says:

    Jerry @21,

    . . . which is exactly the case in quantum mechanics. In Thomas V. Marcella’s recent book, Quantum Entanglement and The Loss of Reality,
    https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Entanglement-Reality-Thomas-Marcella/dp/198180742X

    Marcella asserts that, for example, electrons aren’t “real” in the same sense that we think of a baseball being real.

    Unfortunately, physics is still being taught at the level of 19th century steamships and biology at the level of the 19th century racist theory of evolution, vestigial organs, and junk DNA.

    What we think of as real and material is fundamentally the effect of quantum entanglement between mathematical probabilities known as wave functions.

    -Q

  25. 25
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @22,

    However, what the naturalist method is saying is “we will assume that all effects are caused by material causes”. Thus, everything that is observable in the universe (or even beyond it) is caused by a naturalist, materialist cause. By definition, it has removed all other causes from ever having an effect.

    Good point! And then it remains a mystery what the naturalistic/materialistic cause is of gravity, space-time, quantum entanglement and wavefunction collapse, the Cambrian Explosion, etc. even when faced with overwhelming evidence of non-material causes.

    Instead, we’re supposed to have faith in the God-like qualities of the assumed multiverse.

    -Q

  26. 26
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob- science can only assume there was a cause for observed effects.

    Well yes. Things do happen for a reason.

    Science only cares about ONE thing-> REALITY. That is, what really happened to produce the effect/ structure/ phenomena/ object being investigated. That is why we investigate. And the investigation CANNOT start out with a conclusion of “only materialistic processes can be considered”.

    No, it’s not a conclusion, it’s an assumptíon. And it’s a necessary one to do science. It may, of course, be wrong, but it’s difficult to see how science can work without making that assumption.

  27. 27
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Ultimate Reality is not accesible for science and by science. Science is child play. If somebody is looking for Reality should start browsing the 3-4 big religions of the world ,chose the most credible one(not the most easy one) and start practicing , learning and praying.
    PS: I know is more difficult and painful to change completely your life than bragging about “science” that is worthless to find The Ultimate Reality.

  28. 28
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77,
    Thanks for the revised link to the video, Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything. There are some profound quotes in it. I appreciated the quote from Professor Andrew Truscott of ANU that their experimental results

    . . . proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you’re not looking at it.

    The video also included a number of similar quotes that all point to the fundamental nature of existence below the Logos, consisting of

    • Consciousness
    • Information and entanglement (including the entanglement of the experimenter, equipment, and quantum phenomena)
    • Observation/measurement
    • Free-will choice (as per Anton Zeilinger)

    Derivative factors include such things as

    • Causality
    • Probabilities
    • Space-time and gravity
    • Mass-energy
    • Entropy
    • Chaos dynamics

    Max Planck also noted the hand of God in our experienced existence.

    Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists, He is at the end of all considerations . . . To the former, He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view. – Max Planck, 1931

    It seems to me that the Logos created a mathematical probability field as a sandbox for our consciousness where our choices ripple through it and reveal our true selves.

    Jesus gave a hint of this when he told Pilate that “My kingdom is not of this world,” and

    If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? – Luke 16:11 (ESV)

    Thanks again,

    -Q

  29. 29
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    No, it’s not a conclusion, it’s an assumptíon. And it’s a necessary one to do science. It may, of course, be wrong, but it’s difficult to see how science can work without making that assumption.

    It is a conclusion, Bob. The assumption leads to the conclusion, Bob. Science works via observations and the ability to test our hypotheses on how things came to be the way they are. If you can’t test it, it ain’t science. And no one can test the claim that materialistic processes produced life or the genetic code. So methodological naturalism fails. It forces us to keep plugging away at the impossible just because we are not allowed to think beyond it’s arbitrary box.

    Sir Isaac Newton was an accomplished scientist. Clearly he did NOT adhere to methodological naturalism as he saw science as a way of understanding God’s Creation.

    We have to follow the evidence. And if that leads to something beyond nature, then so be it.

  30. 30
    ET says:

    And as Jerry said, it also question begging. You can only say that materialistic processes produced Stonehenge, for example, if you can show that materialistic processes produced life. So it’s all just a mind game, anyway. And a mind game played by fools.

  31. 31
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob states that “Well yes. Things do happen for a reason.”

    Well actually Bob, your naturalistic worldview holds, as a foundational assumption, that things happen for no reason whatsoever.

    Do you, as an atheist, think that the supposed random quantum fluctuation that created the universe in the atheist’s inflation model happened for any particular reason whatsoever?

    To paraphrase Dawkins, there can be, in principle, ‘no rhyme nor reason’ for why any ‘pitilessly indifferent’ random quantum fluctuation may have happened.

    To drive the fact home that atheistic naturalists hold, as a foundational assumption, that things can happen for no reason whatsoever, I refer, via Dr. Bruce Gordon, to the Boltzmann brain problem for atheists,,

    to quote Dr Gordon “For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science. ”

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,?Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.
    Nowhere is this destructive consequence more evident than in the machinations of multiverse cosmology to “explain” cosmological fine-tuning. Cosmic inflation is invoked to “explain” why our universe is so flat and its background radiation so uniform. All possible solutions of string theory are invoked to “explain” the incredible fine-tuning of the cosmological constant. But the evidence for cosmic inflation is both thin and equivocal; the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science. ?Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    To drive the point even further home that atheistic naturalists hold, as a foundational assumption, that things can happen for no reason whatsoever, I refer to their outright denial of teleology and mind,

    To quote Dr. Egnor, “It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.”

    Teleology and the Mind – Michael Egnor – August 16, 2016
    Excerpt: In this sense, eliminative materialism is necessary if a materialist is to maintain a non-teleological Darwinian metaphysical perspective. It is purpose that must be denied in order to deny design in nature. So the mind, as well as teleology, must be denied. Eliminative materialism is just Darwinian metaphysics carried to its logical end and applied to man. If there is no teleology, there is no intentionality, and there is no purpose in nature nor in man’s thoughts.
    The link between intentionality and teleology, and the undeniability of teleology, is even more clear if we consider our inescapable belief that other people have minds. The inference that other people have minds based on their purposeful (intentional-teleological) behavior, which is obviously correct and is essential to living a sane life, can be applied to our understanding of nature as well. Just as we know that other people have purposes (intentionality), we know just as certainly that nature has purposes (teleology). In a sense, intelligent design is the recognition of the same purpose-teleology-intentionality in nature that we recognize in ourselves and others.
    Teleology and intentionality are certainly the inferences to be drawn from the obvious purposeful arrangement of parts in nature, but I (as a loyal Thomist!) believe that teleology and intentionality are manifest in an even more fundamental way in nature. Any goal-directed natural change is teleological, even if purpose and arrangement of parts is not clearly manifest. The behavior of a single electron orbiting a proton is teleological, because the motion of the electron hews to specific ends (according to quantum mechanics). A pencil falling to the floor behaves teleologically (it does not fall up, or burst into flame, etc.). Purposeful arrangement of parts is teleology on an even more sophisticated scale, but teleology exists in even the most basic processes in nature. Physics is no less teleological than biology.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2016/08/teleology_and_t/

    I could go a lot further in showing how atheistic naturalism is inherently, and deeply, irrational in its foundational basis, but suffice it for now to say that if Bob truly believes that “Well yes. Things do happen for a reason” then Bob should immediately abandon his worldview of atheistic naturalism which holds, as a foundational and primary assumption, that things happen for no reason whatsoever.

  32. 32
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    No, it’s not a conclusion, it’s an assumptíon. And it’s a necessary one to do science. It may, of course, be wrong, but it’s difficult to see how science can work without making that assumption.

    You’re saying that it is a necessary assumption that may be wrong.
    But if it could be wrong, then no – it can’t be a necessary assumption to hold. Because if it was found to be wrong, you’d have to say that “science necessarily must be founded on a false premise”.
    So, you’re overstating your case – making the assumption “necessary”. That’s exactly the kind of dogmatism that we’re talking about.
    Let’s go back to the beginning: it’s an assumption. Science does not require it, but certain people insist upon it.
    Science could just as easily start with the assumption: “God exists and is the first cause of the universe”. Why not? There is more support for that assumption than for the idea that “all natural effects emerge blind, unintelligent material causes”. What’s the evidence to support that?

  33. 33
    Bob O'H says:

    ET @ 29 –

    Sir Isaac Newton was an accomplished scientist. Clearly he did NOT adhere to methodological naturalism as he saw science as a way of understanding God’s Creation.

    Ah, I see. You don’t know what methodological naturalism is: you’ve confused it with philosophical naturalism. Newton clearly wasn’t a philosophical naturalist, but in his experiments used a methodological naturalist approach. He probably blurred the lines between the two, in part because it would be a few hundred years before the distinction was formally made (and also because methodological approaches in science became more refined and codified).

    SA @ 32 – Science makes a lot of wrong assumptions that are necessary (like, well, pretty much all of them). MN is necessary for science, and as an assumption it actually works. To deny that is to deny the advances that science has made. So, even if it is ultimately false, it’s locally true, or at least true enough for us to send rockets to the moon, have GPS, create effective vaccines against infectious diseases like smallpox and Covid-19.

    How would you do science without MN? If you start with “God exists and is the first cause of the universe”, what’s to make you go any further than “Goddidit”? What epistemic methods would you use?

  34. 34
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob is playing stupid word games, (again), trying to defend the absurd apriori imposition of methodological naturalism onto science by atheists.

    i.e. “Copernicus, Galileo, Vesalius, Harvey, Newton — would have considered the MN (Methodological Naturalism) dogma absurd and indeed rather peculiar. In fact, James Hannam has recently examined this issue in some detail and found that religion, far from being antagonistic or an impediment to science, was an integral part of its advance in the Western world ”

    Intelligent Design as a “Science Stopper”? Here’s the Real Story – Michael Flannery – August 20, 2011
    Excerpt: If the “ID is a science stopper” argument rests on weak philosophical foundations, its historical underpinnings are even shakier. The leading natural philosophers (what we would call “scientists” today) of the 16th through 18th centuries, the men who established modern science as we know it — Copernicus, Galileo, Vesalius, Harvey, Newton — would have considered the MN (Methodological Naturalism) dogma absurd and indeed rather peculiar. In fact, James Hannam has recently examined this issue in some detail and found that religion, far from being antagonistic or an impediment to science, was an integral part of its advance in the Western world (see my earlier ENV article on the subject).
    https://evolutionnews.org/2011/08/id_a_science_stopper_heres_the/

  35. 35
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – you might have missed it, but human thought has moved on a lot since Copernicus, Galileo, Vesalius, Harvey & Newton. That’s why I wrote “He probably blurred the lines between the two, in part because it would be a few hundred years before the distinction was formally made (and also because methodological approaches in science became more refined and codified).”.

  36. 36
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    You don’t know what methodological naturalism is:

    I know what MN is, Bob. And you will never be able to show otherwise.

    Newton clearly wasn’t a philosophical naturalist, but in his experiments used a methodological naturalist approach.

    Prove it. You don’t just get to say it.

    Yes, human thought has moved on from those great scientists to the nonsense you and yours promote. Not a good thing. Those scientists would laugh at the nonsense you and yours push as science.

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    per Bob at 35,

    Actually Bob it is atheists, such as yourself, (from David Hume onward), who are the ones who have purposely “blurred the lines” so as to falsely make it appear as if naturalism has anything whatsoever to do with the practice of modern science.

    Naturalism has no place in science.,,, PERIOD!

    No place as either a staring philosophical assumption in science, or in one’s ‘method/practice’ of science, or as a conclusion to be drawn from the scientific evidence. i.e. Through and through, Naturalism has no place in science and is, in fact, worse than useless in science as a guiding heuristic for science.

    As to my first point, i.e. Naturalism is not the starting philosophical presupposition of science,,,,, to repeat, science was born out of essential Theistic, even Christian presuppositions. (See post 3). Naturalism had NOTHING whatsoever to do with the founding of modern science. PERIOD!

    And since you have now tried to sully Isaac Newton’s name with your rotting and worm-infested philosophy of atheistic naturalism, here is a recent video by Dr. Stephen Meyer, who holds a PhD in the philosophy of science from Cambridge, (Newton’s alma mater), discussing Newton’s philosophical/Theological frame of mind when he first made his breakthrough discoveries that led to the founding of modern physics

    Wrong Again: Neil deGrasse Tyson Misrepresents Legacy of Sir Isaac Newton – Stephen Meyer
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgohHoK9mQo

    As to my second point, i.e. Naturalism has no place in one’s method/practice of science,

    The practice of science is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man. In fact, every experiment that has ever been conducted presupposes Intelligent Design and certainly does not presuppose Naturalism

    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is contingent and rational in its foundational nature and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can, therefore, dare understand the rationality that God has imparted onto the universe), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    .
    If Bob disagrees with my claim that every experiment ever conducted presupposes Intelligent Design and does not presuppose naturalism, here’s an easy way for him to disprove my claim, ,,, Bob, name one scientific instrument that was created by naturalistic processes and that was not intelligently designed.

    Examples of scientific instruments
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_instrument#Examples_of_scientific_instruments

    As to my third point, i.e. Naturalism is not a conclusion to be drawn from the scientific evidence.

    Time and Time again, the scientific evidence itself has falsified naturalistic and/or Darwinian presuppositions, but Naturalists/Darwinists simply refuse to ever accept any scientific that falsifies their theory.

    Here are a few falsifications that they simply refuse to accept as falsifications of their theory

    Darwin’s theory holds mutations to the genome to be random. The vast majority of mutations to the genome are not random but are found to be ‘directed’.

    Darwin’s theory holds that Natural Selection is the ‘designer substitute’ that produces the ‘appearance’ and/or illusion of design. Natural Selection, especially for multicellular organisms, is found to grossly inadequate as the ‘designer substitute.

    Darwin’s theory holds that mutations to DNA will eventually change the basic biological form of any given species into a new form of a brand new species. Yet, biological form is found to be irreducible to mutations to DNA, nor is biological form reducible to any other material particulars in biology one may wish to invoke.

    Darwin’s theory holds there to be an extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever.

    Charles Darwin himself held that the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Yet, from the Cambrian Explosion onward, the fossil record is consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. Moreover, Fossils are found in the “wrong place” all the time (either too early, or too late).

    Darwin’s theory, due to the randomness postulate, holds that patterns will not repeat themselves in supposedly widely divergent species. Yet thousands of instances of what is ironically called ‘convergent evolution’, on both the morphological and genetic level, falsifies the Darwinian belief that patterns will not repeat themselves in widely divergent species.

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” Yet as Doug Axe pointed out, “Basically every gene and every new protein fold, there is nothing of significance that we can show that can be had in that gradualistic way. It’s all a mirage. None of it happens that way.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that “If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.” Yet as Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig pointed out, “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it.”

    Charles Darwin himself stated that, ““The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe, with our conscious selves, arose through chance, seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.”. Yet ‘our conscious selves’ are certainly not explainable by ‘chance’ (nor is consciousness explainable by any possible reductive materialistic explanation in general), i.e. ‘the hard problem of consciousness’.

    Besides the mathematics of probability consistently showing that Darwinian evolution is impossible, the mathematics of population genetics itself has now shown Darwinian evolution to be impossible. Moreover, ‘immaterial’ mathematics itself, which undergirds all of science, engineering and technology, is held by most mathematicians to exist in some timeless, unchanging, immaterial, Platonic realm. Yet, the reductive materialism that Darwinian theory is based upon denies the existence of the immaterial realm that mathematics exists in. i.e. Darwinian evolution actually denies the objective reality of the one thing, i.e. mathematics, that it most needs in order to be considered scientific in the first place!

    Donald Hoffman has, via population genetics, shown that if Darwin’s materialistic theory were true then all our observations of reality would be illusory. Yet the scientific method itself is based on reliable observation. Moreover, Quantum Mechanics itself has now shown that conscious observation must come before material reality, i.e. falsification of ‘realism’ proves that our conscious observations are reliable!.

    The reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought holds that immaterial information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis. Yet immaterial Information, via experimental realization of the “Maxwell’s Demon” thought experiment, is now found to be its own distinctive physical entity that, although it can interact in a ‘top down’ manner with matter and energy, is separate from matter and energy.

    Darwinists hold that Darwin’s theory is true. Yet ‘Truth’ itself is an abstract property of an immaterial mind that is irreducible to the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution. i.e. Assuming reductive materialism and/or Naturalism as the starting philosophical position of science actually precludes ‘the truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    Darwinist’s, due to their underlying naturalistic philosophy, insist that teleology (i.e. goal directed purpose) does not exist. Yet it is impossible for Biologists to do biological research without constantly invoking words that directly imply teleology. i.e. The very words that Biologists themselves use when they are doing their research falsifies Darwinian evolution.

    Verse:

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    Test all things; hold fast what is good.

    Besides Darwinian Naturalists refusing to adhere to the criteria of falsification for their supposedly scientific theory, by any other reasonable measure that one may wish to judge whether Darwinian evolution even qualifies as a science or not, Darwinian evolution fails to meet those criteria as well:

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17

    There is simply nothing that Darwinists can point to within their Naturalistic theory and say, ‘and this is what makes Darwinian evolution a hard, testable, science and not a pseudoscience’.

    Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – Robert J. Marks II – June 12, 2017
    Excerpt: Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,
    ,,, there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/

    Simply put, Darwinian evolution is more properly classified as a pseudoscience, even as a Naturalistic religion for atheists, rather than ever being classified as a real and testable science.

  38. 38
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Science makes a lot of wrong assumptions that are necessary (like, well, pretty much all of them). MN is necessary for science, and as an assumption it actually works. To deny that is to deny the advances that science has made. So, even if it is ultimately false, it’s locally true, or at least true enough for us to send rockets to the moon, have GPS, create effective vaccines against infectious diseases like smallpox and Covid-19.

    I think it’s important for you to recognize the point and not just dig your heels and start redefining terms. You present “locally true” and a pragmatic test as equivalent to “necessary for science”. But necessary means “a required element without which science would be impossible”. So you contradict with your previous statement about Newton’s scientific principles. To say that Newton’s mix of material and theological method was “necessary for science” but then it later was rejected means it was not necessary for science. The fact is, we can do science under many different assumptions and if all are wrong, then none are necessary for science. We abandoned Newton’s method and science persists – so his method wasn’t necessary. The same is true for methodological naturalism. It’s an unproven assumption and it can be exchanged for another.

    The science of Aristotle in the 4th century BC was “good enough” for them also. But the thing is, like all human generations, eventually people wanted something better. The same is true now – people want something better than Darwinism and Multiverse fairy tales. So, we look to change the methodology, since materialism does not work on multiple levels.

    How would you do science without MN? If you start with “God exists and is the first cause of the universe”, what’s to make you go any further than “Goddidit”?

    It’s a strange understanding of God. It seems your view is, “If God exists, why would I need to get out of bed in the morning?”

    But I think you’re agreeing that science could start with that assumption instead of a materialist one – so that’s good progress.

  39. 39
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Human thought continues to move on and progress beyond worn-out ideas. Like moving beyond 19th century materialism and uncovering frauds and absurdities that had been propped up in the name of anti-theism. ID is moving science to a better, more productive future.

  40. 40
    ET says:

    This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.- Sir Isaac Newton in Principia

    If THAT is MN then there isn’t any difference between MN and no MN.

  41. 41
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 37 –

    Naturalism has no place in science.,,, PERIOD!

    I think we can consider the shark jumped here. Your “naturalism isn’t part of science because people made machines” is a non sequitur. Even if a telescope was poofed into existence by the telescope fairy, we would still know how it worked, because of the entirely naturalistic physical theories of optics.

    SA @ 38 – I never wrote “that Newton’s mix of material and theological method was “necessary for science”, so please stop making stuff up. Also, you can’t prove assumptions. By, well, definition.

    But I think you’re agreeing that science could start with that assumption instead of a materialist one – so that’s good progress.

    No I’m not. Please stop making up stuff about me. I wanted to know how you think science could be done without methodological naturalism, because I can’t see how it could work. That may be because of my limitations, so I would be happy to see a non-materialistic scientific epistemology that didn’t suffer from the criticism that it use “goddidit” as an ad hoc explanation.

    ET – that isn’t MN. HTH.

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    SA @ 38 – I never wrote “that Newton’s mix of material and theological method was “necessary for science”, so please stop making stuff up. Also, you can’t prove assumptions. By, well, definition.

    You stated that methodological naturalism is “necessary” for science. Now you’re saying that Newton’s contrary view never was necessary for science. Ok, that’s even more interesting and weird. You determined somehow, that your view is today necessary. But Newton’s view during his life was not necessary.
    You point out that I’m making things up, but I’m just trying to fill in the very large and seemingly contradictory gaps in your view.
    Referencing another thread where you offered to write a post explaining your views in detail – here’s a good place for you to do such.
    Question: How did you determine that the methodological naturalist assumption is today necessary, but had you been living during Newton’s time would have insisted that his methodology (which conflicts with MN) was not necessary?
    In discussions like this, it’s best to spell out your views in as much detail as you can. Cryptic on-liners only create a lot more guesswork for your readers. It’s best to just say exactly what you mean. If we miss the point, clarify. In this case, you said I made a mistake about your view – but offered zero additional information to correct it. In fact, I had to restate the whole dialogue just to get this far.

    Yes, you cannot prove assumptions. Therefore you need a reason to adopt any one of them. Why do you think methodological naturalism offers more insight than a view which is open to non-naturalistic causes?

  43. 43
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    Are you saying that Newton’s method did not contribute positively to science?

    I wanted to know how you think science could be done without methodological naturalism, because I can’t see how it could work.

    Science can recognize that certain effects, evident in nature, could not have been produced by material-naturalist causes. Materialist causes can be tested and found to be inadequate. Thus, non-natural, immaterial causes would be the inference to the best conclusion.

    That may be because of my limitations, so I would be happy to see a non-materialistic scientific epistemology that didn’t suffer from the criticism that it use “goddidit” as an ad hoc explanation.

    The ID project has been explaining this sort of thing for a long time. Artifacts known to have been designed by intelligence (and therefore not determined by physical causes) indicate various characteristics. We study and identify those, and then when the same sorts of artifacts are found in nature where we do not know the cause, we infer they came from a non-deterministic (non-natural) source. That remains the best solution to the problem until or unless a material cause can be found to explain them. Science can go on testing material/natural causes, but a non-material cause remains the best, most logical inference.

  44. 44
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    that isn’t MN.

    Exactly! And yet that is how Newton conducted science! You lose.

  45. 45
    Seversky says:

    Bob is right and, as a practicing scientist, understands what is involved better than the non-scientists here.

    Methodological naturalism requires that if you propose an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that it should be a rational case and that data be adduced to support it – if you want to persuade anyone else your case has any merit. That is the only restriction it imposes. You are free to propose your God as a causal agent any time you want but if you want to persuade me your claim has any merit then tell me where to look and what to look for as signs of His effects in the natural world and an explanation of how He does what you say He does. Otherwise, there’s no reason for me to take you seriously

    This is how all the great scientists of the past actually worked, regardless of their personal, religious beliefs. Like it or not, there is no other way. Even those scientists who support ID practice MN when they conduct their research.

    MN is the foundational principle of science and has been for as long as we can tell,

  46. 46
    ET says:

    LoL! @ seversky- Bob can’t say what materialistic processes produced life. He fails at MN. He proves that MN is useless and unnecessary. Newton obviously didn’t use MN. And if that limits my scientific capabilities to Newton’s level, I am more than OK with that.

    You people are clueless. Science cannot be limited by some arbitrary nonsense. And MN is arbitrary nonsense.

  47. 47
    Querius says:

    Devastating rebuttals, Bornagain77, ET, and Silver Asiatic!

    Sadly, Bob O’H can only muster more unsupported assertions. All the evidence supports genomic entropy overall.

    Wasn’t it C.S. Lewis who characterized some people arguing against dusk that it wasn’t getting darker, but rather that it was dawn? Don’t smokers, alcoholics, and drug addicts always tell people that they can quit any time but simply choose not to?

    The reason that Bob O’H and some others here don’t actually engage with your evidence and reasoning, is two-fold:

    1. They feel that their conformance with the current consensus among scientific popularizers makes them invulnerable to being falsified. In other words, even though the evidence and logic you present is devastating, they believe their position must be invulnerable and thus you “musta” made a mistake somewhere.

    2. The personal and moral consequences of their conceding that your evidence and reasoning is rock solid, leads to unthinkable and unacceptable outcomes–a slippery slope than will send them sliding back into a confrontation with their conscience and a crumbling of their rationalizations and edifices of self-justifications and pride.

    Those are the REAL issues at hand. They like to say that their atheism was a result of their Profound Intellect and Significant Study (PIASS). But the actual truth is far less noble, as the rest of us well know and readily admit.

    -Q

  48. 48
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 42 – people can do science whilst holding to views that are not necessary for science. No contradiction there. And yes you are making things up by putting words into my mouth.

    SA @ 43 –

    Are you saying that Newton’s method did not contribute positively to science?

    No, I’ve never suggested anything like that.

    Science can recognize that certain effects, evident in nature, could not have been produced by material-naturalist causes. Materialist causes can be tested and found to be inadequate.

    How=? How can it distinguish between something non-material and something material that we don’t yet understand?

    The ID project has been explaining this sort of thing for a long time. Artifacts known to have been designed by intelligence (and therefore not determined by physical causes) indicate various characteristics.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m physical. And whether consciousness itself is material (i.e. whether there is an immaterial soul) is still, ultimately, an open question.

    We study and identify those, and then when the same sorts of artifacts are found in nature where we do not know the cause, we infer they came from a non-deterministic (non-natural) source. That remains the best solution to the problem until or unless a material cause can be found to explain them.

    OK, so you use methodological naturalism to declare that you can’t explain a phenomenon, and so you say that it’s cause is immaterial (unless or until MN is used to provide an explanation). Or do you have an epistemology for probing further into the immateriality?

    ET – I think Newton did a bit more than saying “isn’t the world wonderful!”. He actually conducted experiments, and did mathematical modelling that could then be compared to observations.

  49. 49
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Bob is right and, as a practicing scientist, understands what is involved better than the non-scientists here.

    Methodological naturalism is not a scientific term or theory. It’s a philosophical concept. So, Bob as a practicing scientist holds no higher authority and perhaps, if he knows little philosophy, will be less qualified to discuss this than other non-scientists here. He has been asked to explain why he accepts this philosophical assumption , but nothing has been forthcoming so far.
    But if he has evaluated various assumptions and then decided that his science only works with the one he has chosen, then that would be worth learning about.

    Methodological naturalism requires that if you propose an explanation of some aspect of the natural world that it should be a rational case and that data be adduced to support it – if you want to persuade anyone else your case has any merit.

    Proposing a non-material, non-natural, first cause of the universe is logical, rational and supported by data. I think recently you stated that God as first cause is a better argument to the origin of the universe than a multiverse theory. But that violates methodological naturalism – so we can see the problem here.
    MN is not open to non-natural causes. It artificially limits all causes to material or natural. If the universe is the totality of all material reality (and nature, space, time, etc), then a material cause for that is illogical.

    That is the only restriction it imposes. You are free to propose your God as a causal agent any time you want but if you want to persuade me your claim has any merit then tell me where to look and what to look for as signs of His effects in the natural world and an explanation of how He does what you say He does. Otherwise, there’s no reason for me to take you seriously.

    That’s a generous view, but you’re redefining the term. MN is not open to other causes. It is not a principle that claims “if you can convince me, I’ll accept it in science”. On the contrary, it will not permit the discussion of other causes – that is closed-off before anything can begin. It pre-judges reality and determines that “only natural/material causes” can be proposed for everything that science studies (all observable effects).
    So, giving a more open-ended view of MN where it would supposedly accept the action of a non-material cause is saying that MN is nothing. It can defy it’s own principles. That’s actually a more reasonable approach and one that ID proponents would accept. There are material causes and non-material. We can start by testing material causes for everything, but when they fail and there is no known physical/material process that can explain them, then a non-material cause is a good candidate to consider. But those who embrace MN reject that out-of-hand. No non-material causes are permitted.

    This is how all the great scientists of the past actually worked, regardless of their personal, religious beliefs. Like it or not, there is no other way. Even those scientists who support ID practice MN when they conduct their research.

    MN is a total view. It eliminates all other causes. ID proposes that intelligence is non-deterministic and therefore non-material. Yes, you can accept the idea that “we will use science to only to study material reality”, but that’s a lot different from saying “all observable effects are caused by material causes”.

    MN is the foundational principle of science and has been for as long as we can tell,

  50. 50
    jerry says:

    Bob presents what is modern day genetics or the protein production model. Very important and does produce changes over time so they can be called evolution. But they are extremely minor in terms of the real evolution debate. They do not have the power of producing a new species.

    With the discovery of DNA by Cricks and Watson and it’s mechanism the world thought they discovered the secret of life. But while important, protein production is a very minor player in that discussion. Somehow body type information and cellular control which is more about life than DNA and is not in the genome but is some place else and it is not known where that is today. Body type information is some how in the egg of the female but where and how activated completely unknown. But where in our cells is the control of millions of processes going on constantly as we write and speak? No one knows.

    So the DNA model is actually a hindrance for understanding the evolution of a new species. Genetics and the consequent very minor evolution within a species are impediments to understanding the real evolution debate, the origin of species.

  51. 51
    Querius says:

    See what I mean @48?

    Quantum mechanics has been around for almost 100 years, which has conclusively falsified materialism, yet materialists still desperately cling to the myth of a division between the material and immaterial.

    Niels Bohr, who was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in physics for his application of quantum theory to atomic and molecular structure, expressed it this way:

    Everything we call real is made up of things that cannot be regarded as real. If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.

    The non-material includes things such as photons, electrons, and all the other tiny things that make up “physical” things.

    -Q

  52. 52
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    I think Newton did a bit more than saying “isn’t the world wonderful!”.

    Yes, I know. Do you have a point?

    He actually conducted experiments, and did mathematical modelling that could then be compared to observations.

    Yes, I know. Again you failed to make a point. Sir Isaac Newton conducted science under the framework of:

    This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.

    You, being neither intelligent nor powerful, don’t seem to understand the implications of that. 😛

  53. 53
    ET says:

    This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.– Sir Isaac Newton. Obviously science works using that assumption, Bob.

  54. 54
    ET says:

    Jerry:

    Somehow body type information and cellular control which is more about life than DNA and is not in the genome but is some place else and it is not known where that is today.

    Information, being immaterial, could actually permeate cells. Each part being able to download, hold, use and transfer its share.

  55. 55
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    There is no chance for naturalists /materialists/atheists.
    1.Information is exclusive a product of intelligence.
    2.Intelligence of humans produced complex things.
    3.None of the things produced by humans surpass cell complexity .
    Therefore
    3.Cell is made by a superior type of intelligence than human’s.

    What do an arrogant man when doesn’t understand something that is too complex for his processor and is too proud to say that he doesn’t understand? He say is appeared by chance . “Chance” is his explanation . Imagine that. :))))

  56. 56
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    – people can do science whilst holding to views that are not necessary for science. No contradiction there.

    People can do science while rejecting methodological naturalism. That’s the point. MN is not necessary for science. It seems that you do not want to accept that you were wrong on that point, but that happens – I’ve done the same many times so we can let it go. I’m not going to keep brow-beating you on this.

    And yes you are making things up by putting words into my mouth.

    It was not my intention to do that – I was trying to understand, but I apologize that it came across that way.

    No, I’ve never suggested anything like that.

    Yes, you did.

    How=? How can it distinguish between something non-material and something material that we don’t yet understand?

    By affirming what we do understand and giving the provision that “at present, this is our best understanding which is always subject to change if better insights are generated”.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m physical. And whether consciousness itself is material (i.e. whether there is an immaterial soul) is still, ultimately, an open question.

    It’s good you keep it an open question, but in so doing, you go beyond what MN would permit.

    OK, so you use methodological naturalism to declare that you can’t explain a phenomenon, and so you say that it’s cause is immaterial (unless or until MN is used to provide an explanation). Or do you have an epistemology for probing further into the immateriality?

    We should clarify something. When we study empirical observations in the physical world, and attempt to find their cause through material means (chemical, physical, biological, etc), that is not methodological naturalism. That is just doing physical science. It’s looking at observations, measuring, comparing and testing theories and predictions about them.
    Methodological naturalism is the idea that we can only consider material/natural causes for all observed effects. It rules out everything else.
    So, we don’t use that method when just studying science. We use that method when we observe something that is possibly a non-material cause and declare that we cannot propose it.
    Again, as I said before – hypothetically this is perfectly ok as long as science only looked at things that were the products of material causes. But science looks at every observed outcome and then MN states that they all must have been caused by material factors alone. That’s actually an abuse of MN, but that’s the way it works in the real world.

    But on your next question, can we pursue immateriality farther than just identifying that it is a highly probable cause?

    Yes, there are many ways this can be approached. For example, we can recognize that there are no known physical processes that can create a logic and intuition based decision process. Physical processes are determinate – they direct the outcome. Only a non-material entity could make free choices. So, we observe free-will choice in humans and can study the effects. Instead of a physicalist-materialist psychology looking for a material-based origin of action, we can recognize that human actions come also from an immaterial soul – informed by immaterial information.
    How does this work? We study the effects and draw inferences about the immaterial causes.

    Regarding the first cause of the universe, which would explain the origin of all matter and energy — that cannot be a material thing because it would not explain the origin of matter that way.
    So, we can see the immaterial cause, recognize what it actually caused (the universe) and infer the power, intelligence and expansiveness (spacelessness) of that entity.

  57. 57
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    You’re not really responding in any meaningful way with ET, Bornagain77, Jerry, LCD, or ET. They’ve all walked down your path in your shoes. Why don’t you trying walking down their path in their shoes? It might open your mind to better freedom in science.

    -Q

  58. 58
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Some information acts as a cause.
    To prove that causal-information is material, you have to create information by something that is material.
    You can’t use a human brain because that is what is disputed.
    You have to produce causal-information through a non-intelligent source.
    Failing that, then causal-information is a non-material cause and MN is falsified.

  59. 59
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius @ 51 – very good reference, thanks!

  60. 60
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LCD

    1.Information is exclusive a product of intelligence.

    For a long time I would say that sort of thing but then I changed my view.
    I would not, now, use the term “product of intelligence” but rather an “interpretation of intelligence” or “received by intelligence”. The reason is, that information can be produced by non-intelligent sources – but only “becomes information” when a mind interprets it.
    A good example would be tree-rings. The tree produces the information in rings, but the tree is not intelligent. But the rings provide information to intelligent minds where we can count the age of the tree that way.

  61. 61
    jerry says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    If you are still interested in the science course,

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-of-science-antiquity-to-1700

    I just opened it and it said $199 but entered the catalog code 197133 at very top right corner and it readjusted price to $24.95

    That will work for today but at some future time will come back again with a different number.

  62. 62
    jerry says:

    Information, being immaterial

    Is it?

    All the information I am conscious of is embedded in some physical entity such as writing on a piece of paper or pixel arrangement. As far as our own personal memories, there is evidence that they are in neuron arrangements in our brain. So a sound, smell, feel or visual image no longer there but is now part of our memories.

    My guess is that the information for body types is embedded in the egg someplace. Information for cell activities is probably embedded in the cell but no one knows how.

  63. 63
    ET says:

    Jerry:

    All the information I am conscious of is embedded in some physical entity such as piece of paper or pixel arrangement.

    Right, but the information isn’t the paper, ink or pixel arrangement.

  64. 64
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry @ 61 – thanks! I just grabbed it – not taking a chance at that price.

  65. 65
    jerry says:

    but the information isn’t the paper or pixel arrangement.

    It is only information if there is somehow a correlation to a physical event in the past or a possible one. It can also correlate to an imaginary event such as a pink elephant or frictionless surface. What is real in that case is the mental image of the imaginary event not the event itself in the material world.

  66. 66
    Silver Asiatic says:

    The information causes something. Stephen Meyer calls it “functional information”. But I think all information causes ideas in the mind.
    Random noise doesn’t cause that.

  67. 67
    jerry says:

    Random noise doesn’t cause that

    Since I don’t believe in the concept of random, all noise causes something. It may be ignored by the brain but if pointed out then the brain can try to assess the origin. It may end up being insect noises, wind, electrical humming or just the blood flowing near the ear.

  68. 68
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 48 –

    He has been asked to explain why he accepts this philosophical assumption , but nothing has been forthcoming so far.

    I’m not sure where I’ve been asked that, but honestly it’s not worth having that discussion when so many don’t even know what methodological naturalism entails, and in particular how it is different from philosophical naturalism. This includes anyone who has thrown Newton back at me (which, in this context, is almost laughable), because it’s clear that he wasn’t a philosophical naturalist, so saw a role for his God.

    MN is not open to non-natural causes.

    No, MN is open to their existence: it’s agnostic about their. It just say that they would have to be investigated using naturalistic tools. Of course, if philosophical naturalists are right, there is no problem. If philosophical naturalists are wrong, then there is almost certainly going to be a problem at some point. But then, how do you decide if philosophical naturalism is wrong when you his this problem, or if it right (at least in regards to this specific problem), but tat you just don’t understand the universe enough to see it?

    Querius @ 51 –

    Quantum mechanics has been around for almost 100 years, which has conclusively falsified materialism,

    Really? How? As far as I know, quantum physicists still treat it all as material phenomena (if a little strange to those of us used to non-quantum thinking).

  69. 69
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Silver Asiatic
    The reason is, that information can be produced by non-intelligent sources – but only “becomes information” when a mind interprets it. A good example would be tree-rings. The tree produces the information in rings, but the tree is not intelligent. But the rings provide information to intelligent minds where we can count the age of the tree that way.

    Nope. Information is never produced by non-intelligent sources. Rings of tree are not information are the consequence of information that made tree to function,to grow ,to feed, etc
    That info(DNA of tree) was not produced by tree(only replicated) ,the tree was produced by the info Somebody else injected to produce the tree(we don’t know “the technology” but we know was a Mind because our mind recognize the information )

  70. 70
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H @68,
    If you’re truly interested in an introduction to quantum mechanics, let me recommend a Youtube video and a book:

    Easy Quantum Mechanics (UKInstitueofLiberty, 5:17 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u_UQG1La1o

    Quantum Entanglement and The Loss of Reality (2018)
    Thomas V. Marcella, PhD
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/198180742X?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

    No, physicists struggle with the interpretations of quantum experiments, but the experiments themselves are perhaps the most precisely verified in all of science (up to 10 parts in a billion) and behave as entangled waves of mathematical probabilities that become “real” only when measured, triggering what’s termed “wavefunction collapse.”

    I hope this helps.

    -Q

  71. 71
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    it’s not worth having that discussion when so many don’t even know what methodological naturalism entails

    Ok, it’s a good point and we ought to figure out what each one is talking about first, regarding what methodological naturalism is, before going much farther. As it stands, I think we’re viewing it in different ways – so that explains the confusion (that I have anyway).

    This includes anyone who has thrown Newton back at me (which, in this context, is almost laughable), because it’s clear that he wasn’t a philosophical naturalist, so saw a role for his God.

    Newton was not a naturalist. This quote “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” shows that he includes more than natural causes into his scientific view. He did not adhere to methodological naturalism. Newton made profound and significant contributions to science.

    No, MN is open to their existence: it’s agnostic about their. It just say that they would have to be investigated using naturalistic tools.

    I have not seen it said that way before. You may be right, I just haven’t encountered that.
    By natural tools, I’m thinking you mean “physical measurements of observed phenomenon”. But that’s cannot be correct for evolution, for example, because we cannot measure evolutionary history – it cannot be directly observed. We cannot even measure the fullness of an organism that we find in the fossil record if we have only a few bones. Instead, the “tools” we use are rational comparison (“this bone looks like another we’ve seen before”) and logic (if a skull is found near a rib-cage, they probably belong to the same organism).
    All of that is fine – but we can use those same tools to determine that there was a first, non-material cause of the universe. We use the same natural tools, rational comparison and logic, to see that the universe probably had a beginning and that the entire material cosmos therefore must have come from a non-material cause. If that idea works with your version of methodological naturalism then I’d fully support it. We use natural tools and discover that non-material causes exist.

    But then, how do you decide if philosophical naturalism is wrong when you his this problem, or if it right (at least in regards to this specific problem), but tat you just don’t understand the universe enough to see it?

    Sure that’s a fair question, but what we do is establish “the best, most probable cause” given the knowledge and understanding we have. That’s the way science should work because new discoveries can change almost any conclusions we’ve made. So, if we find, for example, after 70,000 generations of trial by mutation of bacteria that only a very minor characteristic emerged and nothing like a new organism emerged, and considering, for example that there are 100 billion neurons in the human brain … then we could conclude that “with what we know today, the materialistic theory of evolution of human beings is an inadequate explanation and evidence indicates that a designing intelligence was involved instead”.
    That’s subject to modification or falsification as new information arises.

    We may never know enough about the universe to fully understand what happened but we arrive at our best understanding given what we do know. We see what fails as an explanation and what has more coherence.

  72. 72
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LCD

    I respect that view. We could also take a non-living thing and find information embedded – the layers of rock in the grand canyon, for example. I would agree that a designing intelligence would put information into things. But without the human mind, the rock is not, by itself, trying to create and communicate information. Our minds interpret the patterns and extract knowledge.
    We might say that the rocks and tree-rings are not really information as such. It’s not a symbolic language intended to communicate meaning. But I think that’s just giving different kinds of information. Symbolic-linguistic information would be different from tree-rings. In the case of symbols that communicate variable, logic-based meaning or function (as with DNA) — that can only be produced by intelligence.

  73. 73
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    Since I don’t believe in the concept of random, all noise causes something. It may be ignored by the brain but if pointed out then the brain can try to assess the origin. It may end up being insect noises, wind, electrical humming or just the blood flowing near the ear.

    There’s definitely no way to prove that something is truly random from the cosmic scale. And we could also say that every physical effect in the universe causes something.
    That makes it very tough to sort out what is happening though. We want to indicate the difference between noise and spoken language, for example.
    Dembski used the idea of specified complex information. Then others came up with functional information.
    As you suggest, both could be very difficult to identify. We could say that what we think is random noise actually causes specified complex results. In other words, there’s no difference from the sounds symphonic orchestra playing and a field full of crickets and birds.
    Critics of ID have jumped all over this sort of thing in the past.

  74. 74
    bornagain77 says:

    Leading Darwinists themselves don’r follow their own arbitrary and absurd rule of Methodological Naturalism, so why should anyone else?

    Methodological Naturalism (MN): A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys
    Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    If so — and Coyne has consistently defended the theological propositions in his book as fully empirical — then the very content of evolutionary theory rests on theological assumptions, borrowed or not. Philosopher of science Steven Dilley has carefully analyzed this situation with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”
    Eventually this reality will be grasped by evolutionary biologists themselves, with inescapable consequences for the validity of MN (Methodological Naturalism). If Dobzhansky’s essay genuinely belongs to the explanatory patrimony of evolutionary biology, MN is not only descriptively false (as history), but proscriptively unsound — we shouldn’t follow the rule even if we could. MN is a bad philosophy of science on all counts.
    In Signature in the Cell and Darwin‘s Doubt, Steve Meyer himself provides an exhaustive refutation of those who would enshrine MN as a normative convention for science. He shows that attempts to justify MN using various demarcation criteria — such as observability, replicability and testability — have failed. He also shows that, in any case, the theory of intelligent design is testable in at least three interrelated ways.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/methodological_1/

  75. 75
    bornagain77 says:

    Methodological Naturalism is defined as such,

    Methodological naturalism
    Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Methodological_naturalism

    Yet the unavoidable detrimental consequence of arbitrarily assuming Methodological Naturalism as the supposed “ground rule of science’, (as Judge Jones of the Dover trial termed it),

    Methodological naturalism
    Excerpt: Pennock’s testimony as an expert witness[21] at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial was cited by the Judge in his Memorandum Opinion concluding that “Methodological naturalism is a ‘ground rule’ of science today”:[22]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)#Methodological_naturalism

    Yet the unavoidable detrimental effect of arbitrarily assuming Methodological Naturalism as the supposed ‘ground rule of science’ is that that arbitrary assumption drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.

    And the reason why Methodological Naturalism unavoidably drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure is because it rules out agent causality, as a causal power unto itself, before any scientific investigation has even begun.

    As Paul Nelson explains, “MN (Methodological Naturalism) entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural? Who knows?,,,
    That’s why pushing the MN emergency button is so useful to opponents of ID. Violate MN, if MN defines science, and the game is over.”

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
    Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Assessing the Damage MN (Methodological Naturalism) Does to Freedom of Inquiry
    Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural? Who knows?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    If ID satisfied MN as that philosophical doctrine is usually stated, the decades-long dispute over both wouldn’t have happened. The whole point of invoking MN (by the National Center for Science Education, for instance, or other anti-ID organizations) is to try to exclude ID, before a debate about the evidence can occur, by indicting ID for inferring non-physical causes.
    That’s why pushing the MN emergency button is so useful to opponents of ID. Violate MN, if MN defines science, and the game is over.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    In short, Methodological Naturalism entails an ontology where you, as a causal agent, simply don’t exist.

    If methodological naturalism were actually true as atheists falsely claim, then you, as a living, breathing person have never actually been the cause of anything that you have ever done in your life. Naturalistic processes have been the cause of everything you have done, and you are merely under the illusion that you have done anything in your life via your own volition.

    As George Ellis explains, according to naturalism, Einstein did not actually discover General Relativity, but General Relativity was instead the “product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    – per uncommondescent

    Again, the denial of the reality of agent causality, which is something we each experience first hand, is simply insane.

    As Dr. Egnor observed, “To insist that your neurotransmitters completely control your choices is no different than insisting that your television or your iphone control your thoughts. It’s crazy”.

    JERRY COYNE JUST CAN’T GIVE UP DENYING FREE WILL
    Coyne’s denial of free will, based on determinism, is science denial and junk metaphysics
    Michael Egnor – April 2020
    Excerpt: Someday, I predict, there will be a considerable psychiatric literature on the denial of free will. It’s essentially a delusion dressed up as science. To insist that your neurotransmitters completely control your choices is no different than insisting that your television or your iphone control your thoughts. It’s crazy.,,
    https://mindmatters.ai/2020/04/jerry-coyne-just-cant-give-up-denying-free-will/

    Moreover, and the repeat what I stated in post 3, the denial of agent causality, and/or free will, by atheists, via methodological naturalism, is simply self-refuting, and insane, nonsense that undermines rationality itself and therefore undermines all of science itself.

    (1) rationality implies a thinker in control of thoughts.
    (2) under materialism a thinker is an effect caused by processes in the brain.
    (3) in order for materialism to ground rationality a thinker (an effect) must control processes in the brain (a cause). (1)&(2)
    (4) no effect can control its cause.
    Therefore materialism cannot ground rationality.
    per Box UD

    In short, assuming methodological naturalism, and via its denial of free will/agent causality, drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure since it undermines rationality itself.

    “There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    – The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It: Sam Harris’s Free Will
    Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    https://evolutionnews.org/2012/11/sam_harriss_fre/

    Thus in conclusion,, methodological naturalism is an insane and arbitrary rule that atheists try to invoke simply to try to rig the game before it even starts, since to allow otherwise, and allow the scientific evidence to speak for itself, is simply a no win situation for atheistic naturalists.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to what is good.

  76. 76
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.

    That doesn’t make sense because science ends up filling gaps with whatever – multiverse, materialism, deep-time … there’s always a gap and it gets filled.

    Methodological naturalism could mean that science is limited to studying the natural or physical realm. That’s a reasonable assumption, but it would have to accept that there are other causes at work within nature and science is powerless to study those.

  77. 77
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob claims that “Your “naturalism isn’t part of science because people made machines” is a non sequitur. Even if a telescope was poofed into existence by the telescope fairy, we would still know how it worked, because of the entirely naturalistic physical theories of optics.”

    But alas, if methodological naturalism is true, then there is no agent causality whatsoever, hence no intelligent causality in order to bring telescopes into existence by human beings or by the ‘telescope fairy’. Hence my claim that Intelligent Design must be presupposed to even do science in the first place!

    Moreover Bob, for you to claim that “physical theories of optics” are “entirely naturalistic” is for you to beg the question big time.

    There is certainly nothing natural about our ability mathematically model optics. To repeat what I stated at post 5, both Einstein and Wigner are on record as to regarding it as a ‘miracle’ that mathematics should even be applicable to the universe in the first place.

    Einstein himself stated, “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way”,,, Einstein even went on to chastise ‘professional atheists’ in the process of calling it a miracle!

    On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine – Albert Einstein – March 30, 1952
    Excerpt: “You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the ‘miracle’ which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.
    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles.”
    -Albert Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    Likewise, Eugene Wigner, after questioning the validity of Darwinian evolution itself to produce ‘our reasoning power’, also stated, “It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,”

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Bob, the best advice I can give you right now is that if you find yourself in a hole, as you presently are, the best thing you can do is stop digging.

  78. 78
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/56

    People can do science while rejecting methodological naturalism.

    People can practice science while holding all manner of religious or philosophical beliefs but not without observing the principles of methodological naturalism. MN is scientific best practice.

    Methodological naturalism is the idea that we can only consider material/natural causes for all observed effects. It rules out everything else.

    I would disagree. Naturalism doesn’t rule out anything else, it holds that there is nothing else. From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

    Naturalism

    The term “naturalism” has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed “naturalists” from that period included John Dewey, Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook and Roy Wood Sellars. These philosophers aimed to ally philosophy more closely with science. They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing “supernatural”, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the “human spirit” (Krikorian 1944, Kim 2003).

    So understood, “naturalism” is not a particularly informative term as applied to contemporary philosophers. The great majority of contemporary philosophers would happily accept naturalism as just characterized—that is, they would both reject “supernatural” entities, and allow that science is a possible route (if not necessarily the only one) to important truths about the “human spirit”.

    […]

    As indicated by the above characterization of the mid-twentieth-century American movement, naturalism can be separated into an ontological and a methodological component. The ontological component is concerned with the contents of reality, asserting that reality has no place for “supernatural” or other “spooky” kinds of entity. By contrast, the methodological component is concerned with ways of investigating reality, and claims some kind of general authority for the scientific method. Correspondingly, this entry will have two main sections, the first devoted to ontological naturalism, the second to methodological naturalism.

    In other words, anything that can be observed by any means to exist and thereby has a “nature” that makes it itself and not something else is a part of the natural order. By this understanding, gods or ghosts or “things that go bump in the night” – if they exist at all – are all natural phenomena. They may be very elusive, even beyond our current powers to detect but they are still natural. There is nothing else.

    We should also be careful not to conflate materialism with naturalism. The latter is not confined to the former, certainly not the defunct classical version.

  79. 79
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    I’m not sure where I’ve been asked that, but honestly it’s not worth having that discussion when so many don’t even know what methodological naturalism entails, and in particular how it is different from philosophical naturalism.

    Gee whiz, Bob. YOU said MN uses an assumption. That assumption was that material processes are all that can be considered. Clearly Newton did not do that. MN assumes PN. That is an unnecessary assumption.

    It is not required by science to assume that only natural/ material processes exist. Science cannot be arbitrarily limited. Period.

  80. 80
    ET says:

    seversky:

    People can practice science while holding all manner of religious or philosophical beliefs but not without observing the principles of methodological naturalism. MN is scientific best practice.

    Total nonsense. MN limits scientific inquiry. And science cannot be arbitrarily limited.

    In other words, anything that can be observed by any means to exist and thereby has a “nature” that makes it itself and not something else is a part of the natural order. By this understanding, gods or ghosts or “things that go bump in the night” – if they exist at all – are all natural phenomena. They may be very elusive, even beyond our current powers to detect but they are still natural. There is nothing else.

    So if you arbitrarily define everything as natural then it is a worthless concept.

  81. 81
    ET says:

    Jerry:

    It is only information if there is somehow a correlation to a physical event in the past or a possible one.

    It still remains that information is neither matter nor energy.

  82. 82
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 71 –

    Ok, it’s a good point and we ought to figure out what each one is talking about first, regarding what methodological naturalism is, before going much farther.

    I agree.

    Newton was not a naturalist. This quote “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” shows that he includes more than natural causes into his scientific view.

    I agree, and it’s well known.

    He did not adhere to methodological naturalism.

    And this shows that you don’t know what methodological naturalism is. You have shown that he was not a philosophical naturalist, but haven’t gone any further into how he actually carried out his science.

    I have not seen it said that way before. You may be right, I just haven’t encountered that.

    And this is where it gets strange – you’re happy to tell me that I’m wrong about methodological naturalism, but then you admit you don’t know what it means. And even worse…

    By natural tools, I’m thinking you mean “physical measurements of observed phenomenon”. But that’s cannot be correct for evolution, for example, because we cannot measure evolutionary history – it cannot be directly observed.

    We don’t directly observe gravity either. We only see its effect. It might be good to stop digging.

    But then, how do you decide if philosophical naturalism is wrong when you his this problem, or if it right (at least in regards to this specific problem), but tat you just don’t understand the universe enough to see it?

    Sure that’s a fair question, but what we do is establish “the best, most probable cause” given the knowledge and understanding we have.

    Right, but how do you assign a probability to the God hypothesis?

    That’s the way science should work because new discoveries can change almost any conclusions we’ve made. So, if we find, for example, after 70,000 generations of trial by mutation of bacteria that only a very minor characteristic emerged and nothing like a new organism emerged, and considering, for example that there are 100 billion neurons in the human brain … then we could conclude that “with what we know today, the materialistic theory of evolution of human beings is an inadequate explanation and evidence indicates that a designing intelligence was involved instead”.

    Err, but you haven’t detailed any evidence for a designing intelligence. You’ve actually just used standard methodological naturalism here, and then made a leap (of faith!) to a designing intelligence. What epistemic tool do you use to go to “designing intelligence” rather than “another material mechanism we don’t understand”?

  83. 83

    Science must obviously be limited to what is material / factual, which is another word for methodological naturalism.

    However, because the spirit makes choices, then methodological naturalists are inclined to deny choice is real, and have no understanding of decisionmaking processes. Which decisonmaking processes still falls within the domain of science.

    Also sometimes in research subjective judgements need to be combined with objective facts. Like in medicine, for research on pain medication. Those subjective judgements are outside of science, outside of methodological naturalism.

  84. 84
    jerry says:

    It still remains that information is neither matter nor energy.

    So is gobbledygook

  85. 85
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    You have shown that he was not a philosophical naturalist, but haven’t gone any further into how he actually carried out his science.

    He used methodological naturalism to arrive at this conclusion?

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being”

    you’re happy to tell me that I’m wrong about methodological naturalism, but then you admit you don’t know what it means

    You’re the one who complained about putting words in one’s mouth – and yet you don’t hesitate to do it against me. I know what MN means. I don’t know what you think it means.

    We don’t directly observe gravity either. We only see its effect. It might be good to stop digging.

    I continue to dig because it reveals the problems with MN. On what basis do you assign probability to a multiverse? How do you quantify it?

    Right, but how do you assign a probability to the God hypothesis?

    I’d give it a 99.99% probability of being true, given all the effects we see in the universe are traceable to a cause, so all matter, space, energy and time must have had a cause from an immaterial cause. Then again, we can continue to search for effects that occur without causes. That’s the .01% you’re looking for and that’s generous.

    But you haven’t detailed any evidence for a designing intelligence

    Check multiverse above. Again, we know what intelligence can produce and we know what blind, unintelligent forces produce. We can wait for evolutionists to demonstrate their claims, or we can more correctly accept that an intelligent cause is the best inference we can make.

    What epistemic tool do you use to go to “designing intelligence” rather than “another material mechanism we don’t understand”?

    It’s basic forensics. One option is more likely than the other. One option matches the known criteria, the other does not. The challenge remains open for material mechanisms to produce the results in question. Failing that, intelligent design remains the best conclusion to draw from the data.

  86. 86
    ET says:

    Methodological naturalism assumes philosophical naturalism. Yet Newton understood the universe was the product of an intelligent Being. That means Newton’s science did not make the assumption Bob says is part of MN.

    Right, but how do you assign a probability to the God hypothesis?

    You clearly don’t understand the probability argument.

    Err, but you haven’t detailed any evidence for a designing intelligence.

    The genetic code involves a coded information processing system. There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems. There isn’t even a way to test the claim that nature can. So the claim can be dismissed.

    However, there is ONE and ONLY one known cause for producing coded information processing systems and that is via intelligent agency volition. Therefore, using our KNOWLEDGE of cause-and-effect relationships, in accordance with Newton’s 4 rules of scientific reasoning, we infer the genetic code was intelligently designed.

  87. 87

    Assigning God a 99 percent factual probability is a total heresy.

    God is a creator, and therefore subjective, which means God can only be identified with a chosen opinion. It is logically valid to choose the opinion God is real, and it is logically valid to choose the opinion God is not real. Just the same as it is equally valid to say a painting is beautiful or ugly.

    And with subjectivity you can have 100 percent confidence that God is real.

  88. 88
    ET says:

    It still remains that information is neither matter nor energy.

    Jerry:

    So is gobbledygook

    So what? Information does something. Without it we wouldn’t exist. The universe wouldn’t exist.

  89. 89
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Mohammad

    And with subjectivity you can have 100 percent confidence that God is real.

    That’s certainly true. I was speaking in philosophical terms and even there, 99.99 is a way of saying that’s impossible that God does not exist.

  90. 90
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Silver Asiatic
    We could also take a non-living thing and find information embedded – the layers of rock in the grand canyon,

    I was talking about life and not about simple information but that information-instruction that make a cell, protect a cell, adapt cell to internal/external stimuli . And DNA is not enough information to explain life much more information is required but we don’t know where exactly is.

    It still remains that information is neither matter nor energy.

    It’s like a software is not matter or energy but use matter and energy to acquire a goal the programmer had in mind.

  91. 91
    bornagain77 says:

    I see Bob O’H is still flogging his dead horse of methodological naturalism.
    https://quadrant.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/ZEG7largehorse.jpg

    So, since Bob is so insistent that science adhere strictly to the rule of methodological naturalism, and claims that God has no place whatsoever in scientific explanation, perhaps Bob can tell us exactly why Darwinian atheists themselves flagrantly violate this supposedly ‘strict’ rule of methodological naturalism and, not only use “God talk” in their arguments for Darwinian evolution, but are, in fact, dependent on (faulty) Theological argumentation in their supposedly ‘scientific’ arguments for Darwinian evolution?

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00138329

    Bob may try to object that Darwinists only use Theological arguments because they are dealing with people who believe in God. But that argument rings very hollow. The following study of 32 biology textbooks found that Darwinists have a vital dependence on faulty theological argumentation, instead of on any compelling scientific evidence.,,, as the title of the study put it, “Damned if You Do (use theological arguments) and Damned if You Don’t (use theological arguments)

    Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t – Steve Dilley- 2019-06-02
    The Problem of God-talk in Biology Textbooks
    Abstract: We argue that a number of biology (and evolution) textbooks face a crippling dilemma.
    On the one hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks include theological claims in their case for evolution.
    (Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’) On the other hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution. So, whether textbooks include or exclude theological claims, they face debilitating problems. We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses). In Section 2 of our article, we analyze three specific types of theology these texts use to justify evolutionary theory. We argue that all face significant difficulties. In Section 3, we step back from concrete cases and, instead, explore broader problems created by having theology in general in biology textbooks. We argue that the presence of theology—of whatever kind—comes at a significant cost, one that some textbook authors are likely unwilling to pay. In Section 4, we consider the alternative: Why not simply get rid of theology? Why not just ignore it? In reply, we marshal a range of arguments why avoiding God-talk raises troubles of its own. Finally, in Section 5, we bring together the collective arguments in Sections 2-4 to argue that biology textbooks face an intractable dilemma. We underscore this difficulty by examining a common approach that some textbooks use to solve this predicament. We argue that this approach turns out to be incoherent and self-serving. The poor performance of textbooks on this point highlights just how deep the difficulty is. In the end, the overall dilemma remains.
    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/article/view/44

    I hope that Bob, since he is such a avid proponent of methodological naturalism, will write all these publishers and tell them that, to be truly scientific, they must scrub all Theological arguments from their textbooks and use only scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution?

    But then again, that in and of itself runs into its own problems since the scientific evidence that Darwinists often present for Darwinian evolution in grade-school textbooks is found, in a majority of cases, to itself be fraudulent,

    Must reading for anyone concerned about their children being taught deceptive information about evolution in grade school textbooks is Jonathan Wells’s book ‘Icons Of Evolution’

    ‘Icons Of Evolution’ – Tenth Anniversary
    http://www.iconsofevolution.com/index.php3
    video clip playlist:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS2RPQAPifs6t__mIAqITpYy

    Dr. Wells has recently wrote a subsequent book, “Zombie Science”, showing how Darwinists, since they don’t have any real evidence to support their grandiose claim, are forced to constantly recycle, or try to recycle, fraudulent evidence into grade school textbooks in order to try to deceive students into believing in Darwinian evolution:

    Jonathan Wells Presents Zombie Science at National Book Launch – video – 2017
    https://youtu.be/I2UHLPVHjug?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1rO4HiEiRBLalzTx-TaKYC&t=79

    In short, Darwinists are crucially dependent on fraudulent evidence and faulty theology in order to try to teach a false religion to your children.

    Supplemental notes and how Darwinists themselves flagrantly violate the supposedly sacrosanct rule of methodological naturalism.

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on 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):
    1. Human beings are not justified in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.
    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.
    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.
    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.
    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.
    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.
    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.
    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.
    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

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    Darwinists, with their vital dependence on faulty theological argumentation, instead of on any compelling scientific evidence, in order to try to make their case for Darwinian evolution are, as Cornelius Van Til put it, like the child who must climb up onto his father’s lap into order to slap his face.

    “In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”
    – Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

  92. 92
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LCD

    I was talking about life and not about simple information but that information-instruction that make a cell, protect a cell, adapt cell to internal/external stimuli . And DNA is not enough information to explain life much more information is required but we don’t know where exactly is.

    Agreed. OOL researchers need to produce functional code from non-code with no intelligence involved. I find it amazing and almost incredible that they can get away with avoiding that problem for all of this time. But as you say, that doesn’t even provide all of the information needed even if they could do that (impossible) task.

  93. 93
    Silver Asiatic says:

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-of-science-antiquity-to-1700

    I just opened it and it said $199 but entered the catalog code 197133 at very top right corner and it readjusted price to $24.95

    In case anybody is interested … 35 lectures about 30 min each. I just started and it’s engaging – a good deal for 17 + hours of audio.

    Some highlights:
    Babylon, Egypt
    Early Greek Presocratics
    Plato, Aristotle
    Roman – Pliny the Elder’s massive Natural History.
    Lucretius’s verse recapitulation of Epicurean atomism
    Plato’s Timaeus
    Aristotle’s student Alexander the Great.
    Ptolemy
    The influence of the secretive Pythagoreans is important both directly on Plato
    The rise of Christianity is key in development of science
    What natural philosophy of Christians to St. Augustine of Hippo
    Renaissance of the 12th Century
    natural philosophy developed within Christian theology, motivated by understanding of the creation by God of the world out of nothing as an undoubted article of faith,
    Medieval natural philosophers strove to understand the natural causes at work in creation and how God organized his creation. (But what about methodological naturalism??? :))
    The fascinating Hexameral literature, commentaries on the first chapters of Genesis, used by medieval thinkers for investigations into natural philosophy. (Study of the Bible motivated development of science)
    Science driven by theology – the major new orders of the Middle Ages—Franciscans and Dominicans—developed new natural philosophical outlooks and programs as part of their theology.
    The scientific work of Roger Bacon among the Franciscans and St. Albert the Great among the Dominicans, and others.
    Alchemy and astrology, sometimes dismissed as pseudosciences, were seriously pursued by learned scholars in the Middle Ages. Alchemical texts first came to the Latin West from the Islamic world, but by the 13th century, original Latin treatises were being written. Some show important innovations in matter theory and practical processes.
    How medieval questions could have surprising results; how medieval natural philosophers used and disagreed with Aristotle; and how results of medieval speculation and calculation laid the foundations of the modern science of kinematics.
    the Italian Renaissance (and the subsequent Scientific Revolution)
    Natural philosophy was the rise of “natural magic.” Its goal was to understand the correspondences and powers God had implanted in the world and to make use of them, but relied on topics in science and technology.
    John Dee, the English mathematician who asked angels to tell him the secrets of God’s creation.
    Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs, supported by the reform of the calendar under Pope Gregory XIII.
    This lecture looks at developments in mining and refining, military engineering, and other areas, and pauses to watch the late 15th-century’s “Great Project,” the moving of the 360-ton Vatican obelisk to the center of St. Peter’s Square.
    Kepler’s desire to find the hidden harmonies in the planetary system provided a basis for modern celestial dynamics.
    We explore Galileo’s attempts to create a new physics
    This lecture also describes the natural history method of studying the world—an innovation propounded by Francis Bacon.
    17th-century natural philosophy was mechanical philosophy, an expressly anti-Aristotelian system that envisioned the world as a great machine functioning like a clockwork.
    Although the mechanical philosophy seemed to provide explanations of natural phenomena, it was not without problems—perhaps most crucially in its theologically unacceptable potential consequences. This lecture explores some versions of the mechanical philosophy in the work of Pierre Gassendi, René Descartes, Robert Boyle, and others.
    Through Isaac Newton
    Scientific societies originated in Italy in the 17th century and, ever since, have played a major role in the development of science. Two such societies continue to function today: the Royal Society of London and the Parisian Academy of Sciences.

  94. 94
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky @ 78

    People can practice science while holding all manner of religious or philosophical beliefs but not without observing the principles of methodological naturalism. MN is scientific best practice.

    As indicated elsewhere, scientists throughout history rejected naturalism (in the materialist sense) and contributed significantly to science. But more importantly, you’ve taken the definition of methodological naturalism to a more comprehensive level – beyond what Bob O’H argued for. As follows …

    Naturalism doesn’t rule out anything else, it holds that there is nothing else.

    Agreed. This supports the argument that methodological naturalism is built on, and requires, philosophical naturalism. The “method” does not rule out other causes, it assumes that none other exist. It’s naturalist philosophy. It’s not a scientific concept and it has to be defended on other grounds.

    They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing “supernatural”, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including the “human spirit” (Krikorian 1944, Kim 2003).

    Here they’re ruling out the supernatural, but including the human spirit as part of nature. These are not the kinds of distinctions one can just throw out there. It all has to be supported by a philosophical system that makes sense. The human spirit cannot be empirically observed, only the effects of that spirit – so the inference that the human spirit exist is the same as the inference that God exists. We see the effects and infer the cause.

    In other words, anything that can be observed by any means to exist and thereby has a “nature” that makes it itself and not something else is a part of the natural order.

    This is widely denied by evolution since organisms supposedly all come from the same cells, so there are no “natures”. Speaking of natures that way is the old Aristotelian concept which gave us “human nature” and “animal nature” etc. That has been destroyed by Darwin – but if you want to affirm it, I’ll support that, certainly. It’s a far more rational approach. But since human nature is not empirically observable but is, instead, a philosophical universal (where does the universal exist?), then we can affirm that there is a Divine Nature also.

    By this understanding, gods or ghosts or “things that go bump in the night” – if they exist at all – are all natural phenomena. They may be very elusive, even beyond our current powers to detect but they are still natural. There is nothing else.

    Ok – I am all for that version of methodological naturalism, certainly. We can assert that angels, or God or spirits are part of nature and therefore can be causes within nature and are accessible to science. I don’t see a problem with that. Nothing in reality is omitted as a possible cause – and that includes God.

    We should also be careful not to conflate materialism with naturalism. The latter is not confined to the former, certainly not the defunct classical version.

    As you described it, yes that would be correct.
    As much as I appreciate and support that version of methodological naturalism, where whatever in existence possesses a nature and is therefore included – I think others take a much more limited, and therefore problematic view of it.

  95. 95
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 76 –

    Methodological naturalism could mean that science is limited to studying the natural or physical realm. That’s a reasonable assumption, but it would have to accept that there are other causes at work within nature and science is powerless to study those.

    Well done, you’ve seen the point. MN accetps that there could be other causes, which is can’t investigate.

    SA @ 85 –

    I continue to dig because it reveals the problems with MN.

    It certainly reveals problems with your understanding of MN. In 71 you confuse Newton’s statement that clearly shows he wasn’t a philosophical naturalist to say he didn’t adhere to methodological naturalism. But that statement was nothing to do with his method!

    Right, but how do you assign a probability to the God hypothesis?

    I’d give it a 99.99% probability of being true, given all the effects we see in the universe are traceable to a cause, so all matter, space, energy and time must have had a cause from an immaterial cause.

    I was asking for a methodology for finding your probability. All you’ve given me is “there must have been an immaterial cause therefore there’s an immaterial cause”, with no explanation for why there must be, or what epistemic tools you’ve used to come to this conclusion.

    Rememebr, I’m looking for a science that’s not based on methodological naturalism.

    But you haven’t detailed any evidence for a designing intelligence

    Check multiverse above. Again, we know what intelligence can produce and we know what blind, unintelligent forces produce.

    Have we ever shown that an intelligence has produced a universe? Not that I’m aware of.

    What epistemic tool do you use to go to “designing intelligence” rather than “another material mechanism we don’t understand”?

    It’s basic forensics. One option is more likely than the other.
    On what grounds do you decide it is more likely? Remember, I’m asking you about your episemology: how do you come to this conclusion? What tools do you use to do it?

  96. 96
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    I said:

    Methodological naturalism … would have to accept that there are other causes at work within nature

    You replied:

    Well done, you’ve seen the point.

    Thank you for agreeing. However, you followed with:

    MN accepts that there could be other causes, which it can’t investigate.

    So, given that you agreed with my statement and then presented a conflicting one just following, I’ll stand by my assertion that your understanding is confused.

    In 71 you confuse Newton’s statement that clearly shows he wasn’t a philosophical naturalist to say he didn’t adhere to methodological naturalism. But that statement was nothing to do with his method

    His method involved the investigation of causes that transcend nature and added to that was his theological understanding that enabled him to conclude that the solar system was the product of an intelligent and powerful Being. His theology informed his science and shaped the conclusions he reached after empirical observation.

    Rememebr, I’m looking for a science that’s not based on methodological naturalism.

    Over the history of science, methodological naturalism is a relatively recent concept. The earliest science was founded on theism and the understanding that God had created an ordered world and science could investigate that order — but ultimate origins were beyond what nature could produce. Quite a lot of science came from that basic assumption which is a rejection of methodological naturalism. Another example: By a theistic assumption one could assume that everything in nature exists for a reason. So, something like non-coding DNA would have some purpose and we would investigate it knowing that the underlying cause is from God and not from nature.

    I was asking for a methodology for finding your probability. All you’ve given me is “there must have been an immaterial cause therefore there’s an immaterial cause”, with no explanation for why there must be, or what epistemic tools you’ve used to come to this conclusion.

    The methodology is logic and comparison after analysis of nature. From that, we investigate what kind of non-natural cause could be the source of the universe. We discover it would more likely be a cause with great power than a cause with very little power.

    Have we ever shown that an intelligence has produced a universe? Not that I’m aware of.

    Again, this is basic inference and forensics. We have shown that intelligence produces great, complex, ordered, laws, functions and dynamic symmetries. We have seen that non-intelligent things never produce such. The universe is a great, complex, ordered thing with laws, functions and dynamic symmetries – so the best inference is that an intelligence created the universe.

    Clearly, we have never seen a dinosaur, but we infer that they existed by observing bones.
    You and your fellow biologists have never seen a bacteria evolve into a human being, but you infer that it happened because bacteria can adapt themselves to changing environmental conditions.

    On what grounds do you decide it is more likely? Remember, I’m asking you about your episemology: how do you come to this conclusion? What tools do you use to do it?

    The tools that would be required to propose a non-natural cause for something (like the universe) would be observation, comparison, measurement and logic.

  97. 97
    Silver Asiatic says:

    I haven’t read this yet but from back in 2012 — it’s been a persistent theme here:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/defining-methodological-naturalism/

  98. 98
    Silver Asiatic says:

    From the UD Glossary:

    https://uncommondescent.com/glossary/

    Methodological naturalism — the concept or “rule” that science may ONLY seek to ultimately explain observed phenomena in terms of (i) non-directed mechanical forces, and (ii) non-directed contingencies. That is, it is committed to the idea that the observed cosmos (including ourselves) originated and developed through undirected evolutionary processes — cosmological, chemical, biological, socio-cultural — that are in the end rooted in law-like necessity and/or chance. It therefore often contrasts “natural” vs. “supernatural” explanations; dismissing the latter as un- or even anti- scientific. However, this overlooks or ignores the alternative observed contrast that dates at least back to Plato: natural vs artificial (or intelligent).

    So, if (i) intelligent cause is empirically observed (e.g. humans), and (ii) such causes may leave reliable signs of intelligent action (such as SETI investigators are looking for), then – as we have no good reason to assume that we exhaust the set of actual or possible intelligent agents – (iii) we must leave open the possibility of intelligent causes. At least, if science is to be an unfettered (but intellectually and ethically responsible) search for the truth about our world in light of the evidence of observation and experience.

  99. 99
    ET says:

    Bob O’H is confused. Methodological naturalism assumes philosophical naturalism. Sir Isaac Newton NEVER assumed philosophical naturalism. Newton always held that God Created the universe and that science was the study of God’s Creation.

  100. 100
    Querius says:

    So, Bob O’H,

    Have you taken 5+ minutes to get a very basic understanding of the unnatural-but-scientific world of quantum mechanics yet?

    Easy Quantum Mechanics (UKInstitueofLiberty, 5:17 minutes)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u_UQG1La1o

    -Q

  101. 101
    ET says:

    Max Planck said, “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”

    That can’t be OK with methodological naturalism.

  102. 102
    Querius says:

    Let me suggest that if Bob O’H watches the linked introduction into quantum mechanics, his replies that follow will have the benefit of a common ground for understanding just how immaterial and mathematical “reality” is at the most fundamental level.

    Bob O’H are you listening?

    -Q

  103. 103
    Seversky says:

    Our insight into the immaterial nature of sub-atomic reality is actually an amazing achievement of science. It can observe and measure quantum phenomena to a high degree of accuracy and precision. But it has no idea what underlies it all, what it all means.

    Planck speculated about a great mind or intelligence but he could not show he was right any more than we can show he was wrong. We just don’t know.

    I could conjecture that something like The Force from Star Wars is behind it all. I can’t prove I’m right and no one can prove I’m wrong. We just don’t know,

    Believers will be certain their God is behind it all. We’ll set aside the question of which god. I can’t prove they’re wrong and they can’t prove they’re right. They’ll say they know. I say we just don’t know at this time.

    Most people, quite understandably, are not comfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing – It’s probably part of what drives science – but the reality is that, for the moment at least, we just have to live with it. Maybe we can find common ground in admitting our shared ignorance but I’m not holding my breath.

  104. 104
    ET says:

    Planck was spot on. So was Sir Isaac Newton..

    Universal common descent. Never observed. Can’t be measured. Does it violate methodological naturalism?

  105. 105
    Querius says:

    ET @104,

    But, but, but . . . the reasoning behind the UCD and ID paradigms are totally different and the irony whether MN also applies to UCD is irrelevant because . . . they’re different and not even spelled the same! (wink) And besides, QM does not violate MN because it’s mysterious and there are different interpretations.

    Still waiting for Bob O’H.

    -Q

  106. 106
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 96 –
    You’re splitting hairs here. You wrote “Methodological naturalism … would have to accept that there are other causes at work within nature” and I wrote “MN accepts that there could be other causes, which it can’t investigate.” The distance between the two is small, and the main point, which is what I was trying to get you to understand, is that science can’t investigate non-material causes, so it just sets them aside in its work (and worries about them over beers afterwards…).

    I was asking for a methodology for finding your probability. All you’ve given me is “there must have been an immaterial cause therefore there’s an immaterial cause”, with no explanation for why there must be, or what epistemic tools you’ve used to come to this conclusion.

    The methodology is logic and comparison after analysis of nature. From that, we investigate what kind of non-natural cause could be the source of the universe.

    But how do you ” investigate what kind of non-natural cause could be the source of the universe.”? You’re giving me vague, arm-wavy explanations, and I’m looking for something more specific. I want to know how your non-MN science differs from MN science, and I’m not seeing it: what methods do you use that are different?

  107. 107
    Bob O'H says:

    Querius – Well, if I wasn’t simultaneously catching pokemon, that would have been a waste of 4 minutes. Yes, I know about the double slit experiment. So?

  108. 108
    bornagain77 says:

    Methodological Naturalism blatantly violates the spirit of open scientific inquiry in the most fundamental way possible in that it seeks to force science, prior to any investigation, into providing ONLY naturalistic answers despite the fact that it, via Lewontin, provides naturalistic answers that ‘are against common sense’, and in spite of the “patent absurdity’ of some of its constructs’. Moreover, we supposedly are not even allowed to question these ‘patently absurd’ naturalistic constructs and answers “no how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying” to the uninitiated.

    “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated.
    Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen. ”
    – Lewontin

    Only a dogmatic atheist could possibly be so blind as to not see the absurdity of imposing such an arbitrary and blatantly biased rule onto science before any investigation has even begun.

    Atheists, because of their bias against God, may have a very hard time seeing how such a self-serving presupposition of allowing ‘only naturalistic answers’ goes against the very spirit of open scientific inquiry, but others, (especially those who are not so enamored with the hopelessness inherent in the Atheist’s nihilistic worldview), can easily see that it is very unscientific to try to dictate to science what answers the scientific method is allowed to give prior to investigation.

    Open scientific inquiry obviously entails following the evidence where it leads, no matter where it leads!

    Obviously science, or more particularly the scientific method, in reality, only cares to relentlessly pursue the truth and could care less if the answer turns out to be a materialistic/naturalistic one or not.

    Ironically, since ‘eternal truth’ itself is an ‘abstract’ and transcendent property of the immaterial mind, an ‘abstract’ property which is not reducible to some purely material/natural explanation, then the imposition of Methodological Naturalism onto science prior to any investigation actually precludes ‘eternal truth’ from ever being reached by science!

    11. The Argument from Truth
    This argument is closely related to the argument from consciousness. It comes mainly from Augustine.
    1. Our limited minds can discover eternal truths about being.
    2. Truth properly resides in a mind.
    3. But the human mind is not eternal.
    4. Therefore there must exist an eternal mind in which these truths reside.
    https://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/20_arguments-gods-existence.htm#11

    Moreover, with Methodological naturalism we find that Materialism/Naturalism is not itself a finding of science but is merely a unproven philosophy, (one might even say that it is an unproven hypothesis), that is a-priorily imposed onto science. A completely unproven philosophy/hypothesis which makes the dogmatic assertion that only blind natural/material processes generated the universe and everything in it, including ourselves.

    Materialism/Naturalism is thus, obviously, in direct opposition to Theism which holds that God purposely created this universe and everything in it, including ourselves, even holding that God created us in His image.

    This dogmatic imposition of the philosophy of materialism/natualism, i.e. methodological naturalism, onto modern science prior to any examination of evidence is especially interesting since materialism/natualism had little to nothing to do with the founding of modern science, but instead modern science was born out of the medieval Christian cultures of Europe by men who were, by and large, devoutly Christian in their beliefs.

    Specifically, the Christian founders of modern science believed the universe to be rational and also believed that they had minds that were ‘made in the image of God’ that could dare understand the rationality that God had imposed onto the universe. (See chapter 1, “Return of the God Hypothesis’, Stephen Meyer 2021)

    Arbitrarily imposing materialistic/naturalistic answers onto the scientific method beforehand, ie, methodological naturalism, is especially problematic in these questions of origins since we are indeed questioning the materialistic/naturalistic philosophy itself. i.e. We are asking the scientific method to answer this very specific question, “Did God create the universe and us or did blind material/natural processes create the universe and us?”

    When we realize that this is the actual question we are seeking an answer to within the scientific method, then. of course. it is readily apparent that we cannot impose strict materialistic/naturalistic answers onto the scientific method prior to investigation.

    When looking at the evidence from modern science in this light we find out many interesting things which atheists, who dogmatically cling to the false doctrine of methodological naturalism, miss.

    In fleshing this fact out, it is first important to note that Imre Lakatos, (a prominent philosopher of science in the twentieth century), held that a hypothesis and/or theory is a to be declared a pseudoscience if “its predictions were mostly falsified”,,,

    Imre Lakatos
    Excerpt: According to the demarcation criterion of pseudoscience proposed by Lakatos, a theory is pseudoscientific if it fails to make any novel predictions of previously unknown phenomena or its predictions were mostly falsified, in contrast with scientific theories, which predict novel fact(s).[25] Progressive scientific theories are those that have their novel facts confirmed, and degenerate scientific theories, which can degenerate so much that they become pseudo-science, are those whose predictions of novel facts are refuted. As he put it:
    “A given fact is explained scientifically only if a new fact is predicted with it… The idea of growth and the concept of empirical character are soldered into one.” See pages 34–35 of The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes, 1978.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imre_Lakatos#Pseudoscience

    And the materialistic/naturalistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy have indeed made several contradictory predictions about what type of science evidence we will find.

    Thus, via Imre Lakatos, these contradictory predictions of these diametrically opposed philosophies, (even diametrically opposed hypothesis), and the evidence found by modern science, can be tested against one another to see whether one, (or both), of the philosophies/hypothesis are a pseudoscience or not.

    Here are a few comparisons of the fundamental predictions of each philosophy and/or each hypothesis.

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for intelligent life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    Detailed defense of all 16 predictions:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/15i87oT7IkCI0W0Hxg5mZ_8FP23MG_GTFrR0zvgKH9zU/edit

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the naturalistic/materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and, (via Imre Lakatos), look carefully at the predictions of both the naturalistic/materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, then we find the scientific method is very good at demarcating Naturalism/Materialism as a pseudoscience and also at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true ‘scientific’ explanation.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test all things. Hold fast to the good.

    Thus in conclusion, for dogmatic atheists, such as Bob O’H and Seversky, to self-servingly claim that science must assume naturalism when working with the scientific method, i.e. methodological naturalism, is for them to, in reality, (and via Imre Lakatos), to claim that a pseudoscience, (a pseudoscience whose fundamental predictions have been falsified time and again), must be imposed onto science.

    Clearly that artificial imposition of a pseudoscience, (i.e. methodological naturalism), onto science prior to investigation is an absurd imposition that drives science itself into catastrophic epistemological failure.!

    Moreover, and as much as it may irk dogmatic atheists such as Bob O’H and Seversky to know this, modern science is even very good at pointing us to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as the correct solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’,

    Jesus Christ as the correct “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vpn2Vu8–eE

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  109. 109
    Truth Will Set You Free says:

    BA77@108: Your logic is sound. Your supporting evidence is always strong. You speak truth. You are a tireless warrior for the Lord. Thank you.

  110. 110
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    But how do you ” investigate what kind of non-natural cause could be the source of the universe.”?

    The same way we investigate all phenomena, structures, objects and events caused by TELIC processes, duh. Question-begging people like you just say that telic processes are natural- a bald claim if there ever was one.

    Heck you can’t even investigate the alleged natural processes that produced the universe, life and the diversity of life! You don’t have anything beyond your question-begging nonsense.

  111. 111
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    I want to know how your non-MN science differs from MN science, and I’m not seeing it: what methods do you use that are different?

    Non-MN science starts with what Planck and Newton postulated- that there is an intelligent mind/ being behind our existence. It worked for them.

  112. 112
    Sandy says:

    We must not forget that any experiment have the result that God wants because He controls every atom in this universe.

  113. 113
    ET says:

    Seriously? Where do you get that, Sandy?

  114. 114
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    You’re splitting hairs here.

    The difference is more significant than it might appear – I’m trying to offer precision.

    You wrote “Methodological naturalism … would have to accept that there are other causes at work within nature” and I wrote “MN accepts that there could be other causes, which it can’t investigate.”

    The difference is two-fold. First, I said that MN would be acceptable if it started by asserting that “other causes do exist”. Your view, “that other causes could exist” gives science an atheistic or agnostic starting point. If science started with the affirmation that God exists, then it would affirm that there are other causes. Thus, as with ID, it could study nature to observe evidence of God’s intelligence in nature. Instead, MN rejects that first principle, and has science acting as if God does not exist. Therefore, all effects in nature are understood as the result of blind, unintelligent forces. A non-MN approach is more comprehensive and more inclusive. MN eliminates potential causes.
    The other problem in saying “other causes could exist” is that some evaluation of causes would be necessary. If other causes could exist, but scientists do not investigate them – then how would it be reasonable for MN to include only natural causes? It would choose one cause and eliminate others? On what basis does it choose the one?

    The distance between the two is small, and the main point, which is what I was trying to get you to understand, is that science can’t investigate non-material causes, so it just sets them aside in its work (and worries about them over beers afterwards…).

    That’s an arbitrary rule built on the idea that we can’t know for certain that God exists, but we can know for certain that the material world exists. The idea of God is supposedly too difficult and ambiguous to understand – or it’s kind of a bar-stool conversation that doesn’t matter much. But that our material reality is something certain that science can build on. So, MN will only accept natural causes. In some ways, this could work hypothetically, if science could admit that there are effects which could not have been the result of known natural causes. But that never happens.
    By eliminating the possibility of immaterial cause, MN limits science and misses what is really happening in the universe and reality. And the fact is, even just defining what is natural or what is material (as discussion on quantum physics shows) is even a less certain starting point than the idea that God exists. To build science on blind, unintelligent forces ends up causing problems along the path.

    But how do you ” investigate what kind of non-natural cause could be the source of the universe.”? You’re giving me vague, arm-wavy explanations, and I’m looking for something more specific. I want to know how your non-MN science differs from MN science, and I’m not seeing it: what methods do you use that are different?

    If one’s starting point is that God created the universe and the end conclusion in science is that we have discovered an aspect of God’s intelligence and creative power – then that’s a lot different than MN. That’s how Newton proceeded. He started with the knowledge that God is creator – and that actually helped him discover gravity. Going beyond that, the study of the universe helps us understand characteristics of God. We can recognize that to create the universe it must have required great intelligence and power. To create life, great attention function and detail. This would be impossible in an MN approach which would ascribe all creative power to blind, unintelligent forces. MN would miss and ignore what is really happening, in the belief that it can only accept natural causes for everything.

  115. 115
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Here’s Paul de Vries who coined the term Methodological Naturalism.
    He claims that the concept is compatible with Christianity.

    I let go of my pencil and it immediately falls to the floor. Why? It would not be scientifically enlightening to say, “God made it that way.” Similarly, scientists would not explain a particular rainstorm in terms of an Indian’s rain dance or a farmer’s prayers. Rainstorms are explained in terms of natural factors, such as air pressure and temperature — factors that themselves depend on other natural factors.

    In brief, explanations in the natural sciences are given in terms of contingent, non-personal factors within the creation. If I put two charged electrodes in water, the hydrogen and oxygen will begin to separate. If I were writing a lab report (even at a Christian College!), it would be unacceptable to write that God stepped in and made these elements separate. A “God Hypothesis” is both unnecessary and out of place within natural scientific explanations.

    The naturalistic focus of the natural sciences is simply a matter of disciplinary method. It is certainly not that some scientists have discovered that God did not make phenomena occur the way they do. The original causes or ultimate sources of the patterns of natural are not proper concerns within any of the natural sciences — though they remain a wholesome and legitimate concern of many natural scientists. The natural sciences are limited by method to naturalistic foci. By method they must seek answers to their questions within nature, within the non-personal and contingent created order, and not anywhere else. Thus, the natural sciences are limited by what I call methodological naturalism.

    Methodological naturalism is quite different from metaphysical naturalism. Metaphysical naturalism is a philosophical perspective that denies the existence of a transcendent God. Methodological naturalism does not deny the existence of God because this scientific methodology does not even raise the question of God’s existence. Unfortunately, these two kinds of naturalism have often been confused. As a result, it has seemed to the philosophically careless as if the natural sciences under the guidance of methodological naturalism have provided evidence for metaphysical naturalism. This confusion is regrettable and certainly inexcusable.

    […]

    [p. 390]

    It is fascinating that at the present time there are two notable groups of people that seek to violate the natural sciences: the devotees of evolutionistic scientism on the one had and the devotees of creationistic biblicism on the other — groups represented by Carl Sagan and Henry Morris, respectively. To suit their own purposes, these groups seek to lead natural science away from its methodological naturalism, away from its commitment to systematic analysis of matter and energy. If we respect the proper role of the natural sciences, we will protest both the biblicists’ and evolutionists’ proposals. Whether they are conscious of this or not, both of these groups are exploiting the good name of the natural sciences for their own ideological purposes. In contrast, the success of methodological naturalism provides no threat to Christian truth.
    Paul de Vries (1986). Naturalism in the Natural Sciences: A Christian Perspective. Christian Scholars Review, 15(4), 388-396.

    Where de Vries is mistaken is here:

    Methodological naturalism does not deny the existence of God because this scientific methodology does not even raise the question of God’s existence.

    This is a common response. De Vries blames “evolutionistic scientism” for violating the principle of MN. But what he does not recognize or admit is that contemporary science is scientism. It’s the belief that all aspects of reality can be understood through materialist science alone. That’s the basic, standard belief of science today.

    He is incorrect to say that science does not raise the question of God’s existence. First, to eliminate God as a cause or influence (as creator) in nature directly speaks about God’s existence.
    Secondly, since science attempts to explain the origin of human life, the origin of the universe, the origin of the planet earth, the development of all species on earth, the function and emergence of consciousness, human personality, conscience, free-will and rationality — all of this raises the question of God’s existence.
    So, de Vries is taking a superficial view – and through that, proposing an atheistic foundation for science and then claiming that is compatible with Christianity.
    On the surface it seems so (looking at how a pencil falls – but that’s trivializing the problem), but in reality not so.

  116. 116
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Planck speculated about a great mind or intelligence but he could not show he was right any more than we can show he was wrong. We just don’t know.

    It was more than a speculation to conclude that matter has an origin (Big bang) and persists in existence through bonds in particle through energy in the atom, and that this is the material foundation of the universe”.
    That’s a scientific conclusion supported by observation, logic and reason.
    From that, and from quantum experiments, Planck made the ID inference that a conscious and intelligent mind is fundamental to reality. That conclusion is the result of an argument. It’s something that can be challenged and another proposal could be offered.
    We’ve learned, for example, never to expect evolutionists to say that they really “don’t know” if their proposals about the emergence of life forms on earth are correct or not. But they don’t know.
    As above, they don’t know if universal common descent by materialist evolution is correct. But they never say that they don’t know.
    That there was a creative mind behind the laws and structures of the universe is strong and logical conclusion. Not only that subatomic particles need to have built-in behaviors and determinations, but that ordered process exists in layers from subatomic all the way to the physical universe. All of that order and structure and lawlike determination has to be accounted for.
    A designing mind is the best and strongest conclusion one can draw for what is behind it all.

  117. 117
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77 @108,

    Great list of the failed predictions of NM! We’re told to “follow the science,” but apparently this applies only to science that follows the current narrative. Science that doesn’t include homage to materialism, Darwinism, anthropogenic global warming,and other popular beliefs, is unlikely to get funding. The result is significant stagnation in many areas of science as the demand for orthodoxy triumphs and critical thinking is reduced to swallowing camels and straining at gnats.

    Bob O’H @107,

    Well, if I wasn’t simultaneously catching pokemon, that would have been a waste of 4 minutes. Yes, I know about the double slit experiment. So?

    I guess I should have expected a fatuous response.

    No, you clearly don’t know about quantum mechanics or are unwilling to consider its implications. With your eyes tightly shut, you claim you can’t see any impact on MN.

    If you did allow yourself to consider quantum mechanics, you’d realize that if the observed experimental results were scaled up to our everyday experiences, each type of interaction would be considered a MIRACLE, and each miracle would involve nothing material. People could travel instantly between two places, time could reverse itself, people could appear and disappear instantly, by doing something in one location, you could control what happens in another place light years away instantly.

    But don’t let me tear you away from your Pokemon.

    -Q

  118. 118
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @116,

    We’ve learned, for example, never to expect evolutionists to say that they really “don’t know” if their proposals about the emergence of life forms on earth are correct or not. But they don’t know.
    As above, they don’t know if universal common descent by materialist evolution is correct. But they never say that they don’t know.

    I’ve always been struck by the frequent lack of humility in science textbooks or among science popularizers. One never hears, “We don’t have a clue why . . .” We’re told, something is “not fully understood,” or worse yet, “poorly understood.” In lieu of scientific understanding, we get adamant adherence to one theory, which is immediately dropped by the scientific establishment for adamant adherence to another when enough evidence-based ridicule piles up.

    Frustrating, but true. You might be interested in this article based on Max Planck’s famous observation:
    https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/science-really-does-advance-one-funeral-at-a-time-study-suggests/3010961.article

    -Q

  119. 119
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    We’re told, something is “not fully understood,” or worse yet, “poorly understood.” In lieu of scientific understanding, we get adamant adherence to one theory, which is immediately dropped by the scientific establishment for adamant adherence to another when enough evidence-based ridicule piles up.

    That is a great point and that is strong argument against MN itself. The implication in every one of these situations “not fully understood” is that everything they’re looking at will eventually be understood as the product of a blind, naturalistic cause. That’s MN at work – an arrogant approach to reality. “Give us time, we’ll figure out everything”. But that just means they’re starting with atheism as the foundation. God has no role. As you say, it’s a lack of humility. A reduction of the entire majesty of nature down to some combinations of atoms is destructive.
    They also arrogantly assume that their so-called partial understanding actually is moving closer to the goal, when it could actually (and probably is) moving farther away. “We’re closer to understanding how life accidentally emerged from non-life”. If the goal is wrong (abiogenesis), then moving closer to that goal is moving farther from true understanding of reality.

  120. 120
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Yes, exactly!

    “We’re closer to understanding how life accidentally emerged from non-life”. If the goal is wrong (abiogenesis), then moving closer to that goal is moving farther from true understanding of reality.

    Let’s imagine a stained glass window that’s fallen apart. The pieces are all in a pile, but the people in charge of restoring it, are creating a very different image with liberal amounts of speculative grout between the pieces that no longer fit very well.

    Parts of the new window that emerges are constantly being disassembled and reassembled according to the dictates of the current narrative and the current leadership.

    The problem is that those in charge already have an image in mind that must not appear as the original and they deny there was an original artist. They refuse to answer the question of why there was there a stained glass window in the first place, and they consider how the stained glass formed itself out of nothing–a miracle in itself.

    -Q

  121. 121
    Sandy says:

    ET
    Seriously? Where do you get that, Sandy?

    Everything that happens in this Universe is happening with God’s knowledge AND God’s accept including scientific experiments of scientists .

  122. 122
    bornagain77 says:

    Silver Asiatic thanks for quoting from Paul de Vries when he first coined the term ‘Methodological Naturalism’.

    Of particular interest is this part of the quote,

    I let go of my pencil and it immediately falls to the floor. Why? It would not be scientifically enlightening to say, “God made it that way.” Similarly, scientists would not explain a particular rainstorm in terms of an Indian’s rain dance or a farmer’s prayers. Rainstorms are explained in terms of natural factors, such as air pressure and temperature — factors that themselves depend on other natural factors.

    Please note how Paul assumes naturalism, via “other natural factors’, as the base cause for Rainstorms in the first place.

    To repeat, he claimed “Rainstorms are explained in terms of natural factors, such as air pressure and temperature — factors that themselves depend on other natural factors.

    Yet, Michael Denton would wholeheartedly disagree that the ‘other factors’ that cause rainstorms are naturalistic in their origin.

    In other words, the fine tuning of the conditions on earth that allow rainstorms to even be possible in the first place are far too neat and tidy to be merely attributed to ‘other natural factors’ as Paul de Vries ‘handwavingly’ did when he, unwittingly or not, assumed naturalism as the ultimate cause of Rainstorms.

    The Cold Trap: How It Works – Michael Denton – May 10, 2014
    Excerpt: As water vapor ascends in the atmosphere, it cools and condenses out, forming clouds and rain and snow and falling back to the Earth. This process becomes very intense at the so-called tropopause (17-10 km above sea level) where air temperatures reach -80°C and all remaining water in the atmosphere is frozen out. The air in the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere in the stratosphere (extending up to 50 km above mean sea level) is absolutely dry, containing oxygen, nitrogen, some CO and the other atmospheric gases, but virtually no H2O molecules.,,,
    ,,,above 80-100 km, atoms and molecules are subject to intense ionizing radiation. If water ascended to this level it would be photo-dissociated into hydrogen and oxygen and, the hydrogen being very light, lost into space. Over a relatively short geological period all the water and oceans would be evaporated and the world uninhabitable.,,,
    Oxygen, having a boiling point of -183°C, has no such problems ascending through the tropopause cold trap into the stratosphere. As it does, it becomes subject to more and more intense ionizing radiation. However this leads,, to the formation of ozone (O3). This forms a protective layer in the atmosphere above the tropopause, perfectly placed just above the cold trap and preventing any ionizing radiation in the far UV region from reaching the H2O molecules at the tropopause and in the troposphere below.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....85441.html

    To give us an idea on just how special ‘rainstorms’ actually are on planet earth, “On Venus, it rains sulfuric acid. On Mars it snows dry ice, which is carbon dioxide in a solid state. Saturn’s moon Titan rains methane, and on Jupiter, it rains helium and mushy ammonia hailstones. On Neptune, scientists suspect it rains pure carbon in the form of diamonds.”

    Q: Does it rain only on Earth?
    A: It does precipitate on other planets and moons in our solar system.
    On Earth, when particles fall from clouds and reach the surface as precipitation, they do so primarily as rain, snow, freezing rain or sleet.
    On the average, a raindrop is between 0.1 and 5 millimeters. Raindrops on Earth are made of water. Sometimes they can pick up pollen or dust suspended in the atmosphere as the rain falls toward the ground.
    The rain on other planets has very different chemical compositions. On Venus, it rains sulfuric acid. On Mars it snows dry ice, which is carbon dioxide in a solid state. Saturn’s moon Titan rains methane, and on Jupiter, it rains helium and mushy ammonia hailstones. On Neptune, scientists suspect it rains pure carbon in the form of diamonds.
    https://newsadvance.com/weather/ask-the-weather-guys-how-is-rain-different-on-other-planets/article_7d8934b9-6076-54f4-be9b-63557b5158f0.html
    Image: Rains On Different Worlds – info graphic (sulfuric acid rain, glass rain, diamond rain, iron rain, methane rain)
    https://earthlymission.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/rains-on-different-planets-2.jpg

    Thus I hold that Paul de Vries, unwittingly or not, was being very disingenuous when he stated that “Rainstorms are explained in terms of natural factors, such as air pressure and temperature — factors that themselves depend on other natural factors.”

    And the fine tuning of planetary conditions that allow rainstorms to even be possible on earth in the first place, is way before we even get to the many overlapping, life-enabling, properties of water(H2O) that enable life to even be possible.

    On and on through each characteristic we can possibly measure water with, it turns out to be required to be exactly, or almost exactly, as it is for complex life on this earth to be possible. No other liquid in the universe comes anywhere near matching water in its fitness for life (Denton: Nature’s Destiny).

    Water, Ultimate Giver of Life, Points to Intelligent Design – (Michael Denton 2017) video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2i0g1sL-X4

    Multiple ‘anomalous’ life enabling properties of water
    Excerpt: liquid water is so common-place in our everyday lives, it is often regarded as a ‘typical’ liquid. In reality, water is most atypical as a liquid, behaving as a quite different material at low temperatures to that when it is hot, with a division temperature of about 50 °C. It has often been stated (for example, [127]) that life depends on these anomalous properties of water. The anomalous macroscopic properties of water are derived from its microscopic structuring.
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/anmlies.html

    Pro-Intelligent Design Peer Reviewed Scientific Paper Argues for an “Engineered World”
    Casey Luskin – December 26, 2010
    Excerpt: “The remarkable properties of water are numerous.”,,,
    The sum of these traits makes water an ideal medium for life. Literally, every property of water is suited for supporting life. It is no wonder why liquid water is the first requirement in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
    All these traits are contained in a simple molecule of only three atoms. One of the most difficult tasks for an engineer is to design for multiple criteria at once. … Satisfying all these criteria in one simple design is an engineering marvel. Also, the design process goes very deep since many characteristics would necessarily be changed if one were to alter fundamental physical properties such as the strong nuclear force or the size of the electron.”,,,,
    The authors then quote Fred Hoyle on the subject, who stated, “I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars.”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2010/12/pro-intelligent_design_peer_re/

    Water’s quantum weirdness makes life possible – October 2011
    Excerpt: WATER’S life-giving properties exist on a knife-edge. It turns out that life as we know it relies on a fortuitous, but incredibly delicate, balance of quantum forces.,,,
    They found that the hydrogen-oxygen bonds were slightly longer than the deuterium-oxygen ones, which is what you would expect if quantum uncertainty was affecting water’s structure. “No one has ever really measured that before,” says Benmore.?We are used to the idea that the cosmos’s physical constants are fine-tuned for life. Now it seems water’s quantum forces can be added to this “just right” list.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....sible.html

    I’m sorry for any hurt feelings that I may cause Seversky and Bob, but Paul de Vries allusion to ‘other natural factors’ for causing rainstorms, when he first formulated the term ‘methodological naturalism’, rings very hallow in the face of such extreme fine-tuning for water.

    Paul de Vries simply had no right to assume ‘other natural factors’ when he first formulated the term ‘methodological naturalism’.

  123. 123
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    The problem is that those in charge already have an image in mind that must not appear as the original and they deny there was an original artist. They refuse to answer the question of why there was there a stained glass window in the first place, and they consider how the stained glass formed itself out of nothing–a miracle in itself.

    It’s a great analogy. The artistry, power and meaning of the image is ignored and the whole thing is explained as “some pieces of colored glass”. Then they insist that the entire composition (the entire history of the universe) has to fit their viewpoint (materialism). Then they claimed that they “almost have it solved” when they find two pieces of glass accidentally fitting together. But they can later throw out that finding when later it is admitted that they don’t actually fit.

    Driving home this evening I looked at a radiant sky — the sunlight illuminating streams of cloud formations across a huge space over the horizon. It was one of those moments of beauty you would wish could last forever – or at least always be there. But life moves on. The sun sets. I had to focus on traffic and roadways and movement – so the scene was gone.
    But that’s life itself. We’re only here on this earth for short time. Nothing belongs to us really. The only thing we take into eternity are our virtues and vices. I definitely feel sorry for people who have no sight of God’s presence in the world. Or they don’t permit themselves to be open to the possibility and pursue it with sincerity.

  124. 124
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77,

    The “other factors” also must include the weather itself, which is not deterministic (butterflies in Brazil are infamous for causing tornadoes in Texas). So, what causes chaos? What naturalistic cause formed the earth, and where did matter and how the laws of physics originate . . . surely they must know.

    But, apparently it’s elephants all the way down.

    Or maybe the Logos created and holds together all creation. This is certainly compatible with quantum mechanics, where human observation can cause a wavefunction to collapse into an electron. How much greater then is the power of God in this same respect?

    -Q

  125. 125
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77

    That is a great analysis – thanks! I did not notice that statement by De Vries. I’m glad you caught it.

    Rainstorms are explained in terms of natural factors, such as air pressure and temperature — factors that themselves depend on other natural factors.

    As you said, this is exactly the problem. If all science was doing was explaining how rain falls from clouds, as limited as that – then that’s one thing. But as De Vries says, the rainstorms depend on other things. So, he is pointing to the chain of causes. But again, he limits these to “natural factors”.
    But the rain, sky, clouds, atmosphere depend on factors that continue back through the universe – to the origin of planet earth and its fine tuning. DeVries opens the door for that understanding and then shuts it on “natural factors” alone as causes.
    As you said, this is disingenuous. It’s cheating the process of understanding by loading it with a materialist bias.

  126. 126
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic and I posted the same thought at almost the same second.

    -Q

  127. 127
    Silver Asiatic says:

    It’s like how evolutionists pretend that origin of life has nothing to do with Darwinism. So they cut that out of their analysis. But obviously, however life started will have an effect on how it develops later. It’s just following a causal chain back to the beginning.

    In the same way, the fine-tuning of factors that support life on earth – from the distance and mass of the sun and moon, to the position of earth — these are causal factors in life, so are necessary to include any claim of materialist evolution.

    The clearest point that refutes methodological naturalism is the origin of the universe itself.
    There are 4 ways to answer that question (probably others I cannot think of):

    1. The universe always existed
    2. The universe came from another material entity (multiverse)
    3. The universe came from nothing
    4. The universe was created by an immaterial agent

    The universe is all existing matter and energy.
    1. An eternal universe does not fit with the law of entropy. Over an infinite amount of time, physical elements break down and there would be no order left. Plus, an infinite past is an impossibility in physical terms. Something that had no beginning can never have been started and can never reach a present point of time. Finally, big bang cosmology rules out an eternal universe – it had a beginning.
    So, if the material universe had a beginning, then claiming it came from a material entity is a contradiction. You cannot explain the origin of matter and energy as coming from matter and energy. It’s illogical.
    3. In spite of Lawrence Krauss’ claim, something cannot come from nothing. In order for the process of having something come into existence to work, something must preceed the thing that comes into existence. More simply, everything needs a cause for its existence that pre-exists it. If there ever was nothing, then nothing could ever come from it.
    4. The creation of the material universe from an immaterial source is the best solution.

    Finally, the answer “we do not know” must be ruled out because we do know to a greater or lesser degree which answers fail and which are more successful.

    MN however, would artificially rule out the only answer that actually is reasonable, and have to insist on illogical or unscientific answers.

  128. 128
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius 126 — BA77 set us up for that. Like a slow pitch over the plate.
    And you took a different angle on it – that was good.

  129. 129
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @128,

    Heh. And none of the four options you presented fits very well with naturalism.

    I’ve often noticed that in sales pitches, the salesperson dismisses the most difficult bit first as a premise. Science promoters do this as well and they also distort the unacceptable point. For example

    a. In debates about Darwinism, they first “clarify” that the debate doesn’t include origin of life questions, as you pointed out, which presumably also includes the Cambrian explosion.

    b. In debates about quantum mechanics, they first narrow things down to naturalism. Lee Smolin did this in one of his books (but he did it transparently and with sincerity, which I respect).

    c. Detractors of ID often state something like, “Well if ‘God did it’ is a satisfactory answer, then this stops science and we can all go home.” Or as Carl Sagan famously put it

    “God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it.” – Dr. Arroway in Contact.

    Or as Richard Dawkins also famously put it

    I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the
    world.

    The Biblical perspective doesn’t demand a dismissive “God did it,” but it invites the provocative inference of design—there are things that God created to be discovered, and they will be absolutely amazing! This perspective promotes a delight in learning more about how God created the universe and how it works. And this is exactly what’s been happening among those who treasure God’s love and his creation.

    -Q

  130. 130
    ET says:

    Sandy, Having knowledge of something is not the same as controlling every atom.

    We must not forget that any experiment have the result that God wants because He controls every atom in this universe.

    Everything that happens in this Universe is happening with God’s knowledge AND God’s accept including scientific experiments of scientists .

    The 2nd part of that sentence doesn’t make any sense.

  131. 131
    Querius says:

    God created humans in His image, which I believe has to do with our free will and creativity. The Lord’s Prayer includes the words, “[May] Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This implies that God does not always impose His will on everything, but can change outcomes and, as in the case with many Christian Afghanis who are being executed as I write this, the Bible says that “God Himself will wipe away their tears.”

    From my understanding of the Bible, God can freely move in time, past, present, and future–He is the great I AM. Certain events from the future were written down in the Bible and called prophecies, of which about two-thirds have been fulfilled, IIRC. For example, Jesus told his disciples that he would be betrayed:

    For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed! – Luke 22:22 (ESV)

    Daniel 9:26 indicates that the Messiah would be “cut off” (i.e. killed) and this would be followed by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (which occurred in 70 A.D.). So, it seems to me that certain events are predetermined but some things, such as exactly who would betray Jesus, are not predetermined. It turned out to have been Judas, but it might instead have easily been Peter or one of the others.

    Einstein famously asserted to Niels Bohr once that “God doesn’t play dice,” but Bohr replied that Einstein shouldn’t tell God what He could and couldn’t do. And I won’t either.

    -Q

  132. 132
    Bob O'H says:

    The difference is two-fold. First, I said that MN would be acceptable if it started by asserting that “other causes do exist”. Your view, “that other causes could exist” gives science an atheistic or agnostic starting point. If science started with the affirmation that God exists, then it would affirm that there are other causes.

    Wow. But if science takes an agnostic starting point then it still accepts that other causes exist, but doesn’t become subservient to theology. The advantage of letting science be agnostic about other causes is that it can still function and progress our understanding of the world but without getting sidetracked into issues it can’t resolve. That means that I can happily work with Christians, Muslims, and people of other faiths without problems.

    If other causes could exist, but scientists do not investigate them – then how would it be reasonable for MN to include only natural causes?

    Because they are the only causes it can investigate. If there are other causes, it has no problems with people using other tools to investigate them.

    So, MN will only accept natural causes. In some ways, this could work hypothetically, if science could admit that there are effects which could not have been the result of known natural causes. But that never happens.

    I don’t know about Science (it’s hardly a monolithic structure), but certainly a lot of scientists acknowledge that. All the ones that are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, etc.

    SA @ 115 –

    But what he does not recognize or admit is that contemporary science is scientism. It’s the belief that all aspects of reality can be understood through materialist science alone. That’s the basic, standard belief of science today.

    No it isn’t. Yes, a lot of scientists are atheist, but a lot aren’t. And in practice we don’t discuss our theological views much, because there are more interesting things to talk about over coffee.

    Querius @ 117 –

    If you did allow yourself to consider quantum mechanics, you’d realize that if the observed experimental results were scaled up to our everyday experiences, each type of interaction would be considered a MIRACLE, and each miracle would involve nothing material.

    I was asking for a justification for the claim that QM disproves materialism. I was hoping for a bit more than an argument from incredulity.

  133. 133
    ET says:

    Science requires ideas that are testable and materialism doesn’t offer that. So materialism can be dismissed out of hand.

    Methodological naturalism is unnecessary. The assumption it forces upon researchers is unwarranted.

  134. 134
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob in response to Querius states, “I was asking for a justification for the claim that QM disproves materialism. I was hoping for a bit more than an argument from incredulity.”

    Perhaps Bob, as a materialist, can explain to us exactly why it is not more than a slight problem for his materialistic worldview that atoms are now shown to not exist if we are not looking at them?

    As the following article states, “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,”,,, “”Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,”,,,

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    Or perhaps Bob, as a materialist, can explain to us exactly why the falsification of ‘realism’, via the violation of Leggett’s inequality, is not more than a slight problem for his materialistic worldview?

    Quantum physics says goodbye to reality – Apr 20, 2007
    Excerpt: Many realizations of the thought experiment have indeed verified the violation of Bell’s inequality. These have ruled out all hidden-variables theories based on joint assumptions of realism, meaning that reality exists when we are not observing it; and locality, meaning that separated events cannot influence one another instantaneously. But a violation of Bell’s inequality does not tell specifically which assumption – realism, locality or both – is discordant with quantum mechanics.
    Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger and colleagues from the University of Vienna, however, have now shown that realism is more of a problem than locality in the quantum world. They devised an experiment that violates a different inequality proposed by physicist Anthony Leggett in 2003 that relies only on realism, and relaxes the reliance on locality. To do this, rather than taking measurements along just one plane of polarization, the Austrian team took measurements in additional, perpendicular planes to check for elliptical polarization.
    They found that, just as in the realizations of Bell’s thought experiment, Leggett’s inequality is violated – thus stressing the quantum-mechanical assertion that reality does not exist when we’re not observing it. “Our study shows that ‘just’ giving up the concept of locality would not be enough to obtain a more complete description of quantum mechanics,” Aspelmeyer told Physics Web. “You would also have to give up certain intuitive features of realism.”
    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/27640

    The ‘anti-materialistic’ Theistic implication of such consistent experiments as these from quantum mechanics is fairly easy to see. As Scott Aaronson of MIT stated, “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists,,, But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson – MIT associate Professor (Quantum Computation)
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”
    http://www.scottaaronson.com/democritus/lec11.html

    Verse:

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    Of supplemental note,

    1. Consciousness either preceded (and/or precedes) all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff)
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality (Jerry Coyne). or is an intrinsic property of material reality, (panpsychism, Philip Goff), then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Eight intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that converge on the same inference that consciousness must precede material reality:
    1. Double Slit experiment,
    2. Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries,
    3. Experimental confirmation of Wigner’s friend thought experiment,
    4. Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiments,
    5. Violation of Leggett’s Inequalities,
    6. Quantum Zeno effect,
    7, Quantum Information theory where it is now shown that ‘entropy is not a property of a system but is a property of an observer who describes the system’,
    8. The recent closing of the Free Will loophole by Zeilinger and company.

  135. 135
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    Wow. But if science takes an agnostic starting point then it still accepts that other causes exist, but doesn’t become subservient to theology. The advantage of letting science be agnostic about other causes is that it can still function and progress our understanding of the world but without getting sidetracked into issues it can’t resolve. That means that I can happily work with Christians, Muslims, and people of other faiths without problems.

    Science runs into problems when it demands only one starting philosophical assumption. However, IF what you’re saying is that science is agnostic about what starting point a scientist may have, (not trying to put words in your mouth but proposing a parallel idea based on what I see) then I’d agree with that. Science is and should be agnostic about one’s starting assumption and causes investigated. If it works, then fine. I would say that 80% of science (maybe much more) does not deal with issues that require an adherence to naturalism. It’s like plumbing. You fix the pipes under the kitchen sink. No need for an acceptance or rejection of theology. Most biology is at that level. Observing, counting, recording results. But when the topic moves to theoretical research, there are problems.
    Here are the areas where methodological naturalism will more clearly fail:
    1. Origin of the universe (natural causes cannot create nature itself)
    2. Fine tuning of conditions on earth and solar system for life
    3. Origin of life
    4. Human psychology, morality, spirituality, free will, consciousness (these are tied to theology)
    5. Relationship of humans to animals
    6. Origin of physical and chemical laws and ordered processes

    Methodological naturalism puts an artificial limit on causes in these cases, thus forcing all conclusions to come from naturalism. This conflicts with observed data and with theology.

    Because they are the only causes it can investigate. If there are other causes, it has no problems with people using other tools to investigate them.

    I have indicated how science can investigate and conclude that other causes are more reasonable explanations already, but we’ll leave it at that.

    I don’t know about Science (it’s hardly a monolithic structure), but certainly a lot of scientists acknowledge that. All the ones that are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, etc.

    There are scientists who reject methodological naturalism today, working in the field of science. Most IDists would be in that category and they are employed in scientific roles and write peer-reviewed papers. Many of the theistic scientists you work side-by-side with will see other causes affecting the universe – thus going beyond methodological naturalism. If so, then the insistence that the MN assumption is necessary for science would not be correct. People can reject it and still do good science.

    No it isn’t. Yes, a lot of scientists are atheist, but a lot aren’t. And in practice we don’t discuss our theological views much, because there are more interesting things to talk about over coffee.

    I gave six areas above where science generally conflicts with theism and the result is an atheistic approach. One such: evolutionary psychology where all human behaviors are traceable to determined chemical processes that emerged from blind evolution. This has huge consequences for morality, for example. Where is the conflict about this in contemporary science? As I see it, the only opposition to this evolutionary belief (that we are determined by mutations and selection) comes from creationists and ID. Is free-will a spiritual capacity – immaterial and transcendent? Or is it an illusion created by evolution? There’s the same problem.

    Richard Dawkins attempted to speak for science. His is the mainstream view. Who opposes him?

    The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

    He used methodological naturalism, observed the properties of the universe, and concluded that there is no design, no purpose, no good or evil and everything is blind and indifferent. That all comes from a removal of God as creator. It has a big impact on what science proclaims about reality and nature.

  136. 136
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Q

    Very good points. Theism is not a science-stopper at all.

    “God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it.”

    A big part of the mistake here is aligned with the term “mysteries” as with God.
    People think that means that with God, “we will never know these mysteries so we lack understanding”.
    But it’s actually the opposite. The mysteries of God are infinite in richness of knowledge that we can continue to learn about forever. The theistic world is deeper and fuller than materialism can ever be.
    The materialist thinks he has understood nature and reality by reducing it to the atomic level.
    But that’s a very boring and narrow view. There’s nowhere to go – life is meaningless, there’s no reason for anything, and it’s just materialism. That actually kills all motive for science – why bother?
    With God, we are learning about our infinite, wise, good and powerful creator in the creation – and the knowledge we gain is endless.

  137. 137
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    I was asking for a justification for the claim that QM disproves materialism. I was hoping for a bit more than an argument from incredulity.

    What Bornagain77 wrote in 134 refuted your assertion, but I’d add the following:

    Vlatko Vedral is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College. As a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, here’s how he expresses it:

    The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information––and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.

    So, explain to us how “information” rather than matter or energy still manages to conform to MN without reference to matter and energy.

    -Q

  138. 138
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    And in practice we don’t discuss our theological views much, because there are more interesting things to talk about over coffee.

    That’s generally the way it is throughout academia and basically in highly secularized environments anyway. In corporate America, theological discussions never happen – over coffee, drinks or anything. It’s too easy to be fired. I will image the same is true in academia. People know the theists and avoid talking religion.
    Atheist Michael Shermer reviewed a book recently on the immaterial nature of the mind. In discussing it, he discovered later that the authors were theist. He praised them for the book which had no religion or theological content. But it struck me how surprised he was and I’d guess that he would not have even read the book if he knew both authors were theists.
    It’s an unfortunate conflict. If you, as an atheist, can meet and talk with theists about various things that’s good to know. But religion is a major part of one’s life and it’s a shame we can’t find enjoyment in learning and talking about it. But that’s the way it is – at least in the culture where I live.

  139. 139
    Seversky says:

    Querius/131

    God created humans in His image, which I believe has to do with our free will and creativity.

    There seems to be some difference of opinion on what is meant by “image” here but, in terms of behavior, we have a lot in common with the OT version of God.

    On the “free will” side, not so much.

    The Lord’s Prayer includes the words, “[May] Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This implies that God does not always impose His will on everything, but can change outcomes

    If you endow a creature with free will but ensure that, in any conflict between your will and that of the creature, your will prevails, in what sense does the creature have free will?

    and, as in the case with many Christian Afghanis who are being executed as I write this, the Bible says that “God Himself will wipe away their tears.”

    I rather think that those Afghani Christians would have preferred God had imposed His will and prevented anything like that happening at all. So why doesn’t He?

    From my understanding of the Bible, God can freely move in time, past, present, and future–He is the great I AM. Certain events from the future were written down in the Bible and called prophecies, of which about two-thirds have been fulfilled, IIRC.

    If the future is already determined – it will happen whatever we do – how can there be free will? Remember Peter? It didn’t matter how vehemently he declared he would never deny Christ three times, that’s what he actually did. He had no choice, no free will.

    Einstein famously asserted to Niels Bohr once that “God doesn’t play dice,” but Bohr replied that Einstein shouldn’t tell God what He could and couldn’t do. And I won’t either.

    In other words, what Bohr was allowing was that God could play dice if He wanted. In other words, this whole Universe and the life in it might have been created to fulfill some profound but inscrutable purpose or it might have been created following the toss of a coin or a roll of the dice and there is no more meaning to it than that. I know Christians believe the first possibility is true but is that only because they can’t live with the second?

  140. 140
    ET says:

    seversky:

    If you endow a creature with free will but ensure that, in any conflict between your will and that of the creature, your will prevails, in what sense does the creature have free will?

    Nice strawman. Every time you erect a strawman you prove that you don’t have a clue nor an argument. Their are consequences for our actions. There are laws made by humans to see to those consequences. Do our laws, our will, stop anyone from making their own, INFORMED choices? No.

  141. 141
    Querius says:

    Seversky,

    Sorry, I should have indicated my post was for Sandy. Nevertheless . . .

    If you endow a creature with free will but ensure that, in any conflict between your will and that of the creature, your will prevails, in what sense does the creature have free will?

    God endowed humanity with irrevocable free will. Thus, in the judgment to come, there will be many people who hate God and don’t want to be associated with those who love God. God will regretfully need to tell them, “Thy will be done.” The Bible says that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their evil ways and choose life in Him.

    I rather think that those Afghani Christians would have preferred God had imposed His will and prevented anything like that happening at all. So why doesn’t He?

    You’d be wrong to think that. Read what it says in Hebrews chapter 11. We die to ourselves daily and many of us are being executed now in many parts of the world. Statistics vary considerably due to uncertainty in North Korea, China, and Muslim countries, but estimates indicate about 70 million Christians were martyred over the last 2,000 years, roughly half that total in modern times.

    If the future is already determined – it will happen whatever we do – how can there be free will? Remember Peter? It didn’t matter how vehemently he declared he would never deny Christ three times, that’s what he actually did. He had no choice, no free will.

    Nope. Imagine that you could travel to the future and back like a “time lord.” Does your knowledge of the future remove free will? If you see a rerun of a football game, does it mean those players never had free will?

    In other words, what Bohr was allowing was that God could play dice if He wanted. In other words, this whole Universe and the life in it might have been created to fulfill some profound but inscrutable purpose or it might have been created following the toss of a coin or a roll of the dice and there is no more meaning to it than that. I know Christians believe the first possibility is true but is that only because they can’t live with the second?

    Briefly imagine the intellect of a being who is capable of creating all cell biology, the DNA code systems and chemical cycles.
    1. How likely is it that you would understand that Being’s explanations?
    2. How likely is it that the Being had a purpose in creating all of it? If you’ve ever created something in a large project, did you ever do it for no purpose at all?
    3. If someone maliciously damaged something into which you poured your creativity, wouldn’t you want to fix it? Let’s say you designed a beautiful house with a lovely garden and someone vandalized it, what would you likely do in all honesty?

    -Q

  142. 142
    bornagain77 says:

    To add to Querius’s refutation of Seversky’s faulty, even juvenile, Theological, (not scientific), argumentation, I note that Querius did not address Seversky’s first claim. So I will address that first claim.

    Seversky started off his faulty theological, (not scientific), argumentation with this claim, “There seems to be some difference of opinion on what is meant by “image” here but, in terms of behavior, we have a lot in common with the OT version of God.”

    First, Seversky’s Darwinian worldview holds that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin, ‘Descent of Man’). Theism, on the other hand, holds that we are ‘made in the image of God’.

    So yes there certainly is, especially between Darwinists and Christians, a fairly profound difference of opinion about what is meant by ‘image of God’. Darwinian Atheists, such as Seversky, deny that God even exists, thus there simply can be no ‘image of God’ for man to be made in.

    Yet, although Darwinists hold that the mental difference between man and apes is merely “one of degree and not of kind”, we instead find that in terms of mental abilities, “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses,,” (and that) “Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.,,,”

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals
    Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses. Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.,,,
    The assertion that man is an ape is self-refuting. We could not express such a concept, misguided as it is, if we were apes and not men.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/11/the_fundamental_2/

    Language and mathematics is, of course, how humans communicate their abstract and rational (immaterial) thoughts to one another. Yet, as leading Darwinists in this area of language research themselves honestly admitted in 2014, Darwinists have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,”

    Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language – December 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,
    (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, “The mystery of language evolution,” Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).)
    Casey Luskin added: “It’s difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....92141.html

    And as Robert Berwick & Noam Chomsky themselves further noted in 2019, “Linguists told themselves many stories about the evolution of language, and so did evolutionary biologists; but stories, as Richard Lewontin rightly notes, are not hypotheses, a term that should be “reserved for assertions that can be tested.”4
    The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species.5,,,”

    The Siege of Paris – Robert Berwick & Noam Chomsky – March 2019
    Excerpt: Linguists told themselves many stories about the evolution of language, and so did evolutionary biologists; but stories, as Richard Lewontin rightly notes, are not hypotheses, a term that should be “reserved for assertions that can be tested.”4
    The human language faculty is a species-specific property, with no known group differences and little variation. There are no significant analogues or homologues to the human language faculty in other species.5,,,
    https://inference-review.com/article/the-siege-of-paris
    Robert Berwick is a Professor in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at MIT.
    Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT.

    So thus, as far as the scientific evidence itself is concerned, Darwinists in general, and Seversky in particular, simply has no scientific evidence whatsoever for his belief that the difference between animal intelligence and human intelligence is merely “one of degree not of kind”.

    Moreover, what is more interesting still about the fact that humans have a unique ability to understand and create information, (and have come to ‘master the planet’, not through brute force as would be expected under Darwinian presuppositions, but have come to ‘master the planet’ through the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates), is the fact that, due to advances in science, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’, than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability to infuse immaterial information into material substrates.

    We could go further still in establishing that man is indeed made in the ‘image of God’ by noting that, (of all forms of life on earth that God could have chosen to incarnate Himself in), God chose to instead incarnate Himself, via Jesus, in the human form.

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    Philippians 2:6-11
    Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death-
    even death on a cross!
    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

    Seversky finished off his faulty theological argumentation with this claim, “in terms of behavior, we have a lot in common with the OT version of God.”

    Seversky is fond of portraying God, especially in the OT, as some kind of evil tyrant who, among other things, just willy nilly brought about a worldwide flood that destroyed all of humanity.

    What Seversky continually forgets to mention in his ‘evil tyrant’ caricature version of God is that God had ample justification for His actions in the OT.

    Genesis 6:5
    And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagining of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    And although Seversky, apparently, has a very hard time understanding the entire concept of justice, even small Children are now shown to understand this ‘complex’ concept of justice where bad behavior is punished.

    The Moral Life of Babies – May 2010
    Excerpt: From Sigmund Freud to Jean Piaget to Lawrence Kohlberg, psychologists have long argued that we begin life as amoral animals.,,,
    A growing body of evidence, though, suggests that humans do have a rudimentary moral sense from the very start of life. With the help of well-designed experiments, you can see glimmers of moral thought, moral judgment and moral feeling even in the first year of life. Some sense of good and evil seems to be bred in the bone.,,,
    Despite their overall preference for good actors over bad, then, babies are drawn to bad actors when those actors are punishing bad behavior.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05.....&_r=0

    More telling still, in Seversky trying to judge God in the OT as being morally evil, Seversky, unwittingly of not, inadvertently concedes that an objective standard of good and evil must exist for him to judge God by.

    Yet, if God does not exist, then there can be no objective standard of morality for Seversky to judge by.

    Thus it is very much a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation for Seversky.

    Seversky’s simplistic argument for atheism turns out to be, in effect, that God is morally evil therefore God does not exist. Yet if evil objectively exist, as Seversky must hold to be true in his argument against the reality of God, then it directly follows that God must also necessarily exist.

    Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    – The Moral Argument – drcraigvideos – video
    https://youtu.be/OxiAikEk2vU?t=276

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: Peter Kreeft – Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    “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?,,,
    in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco, Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39.

    So, once again, we find that Seversky’s theological arguments against God are profoundly flawed in their basic logical construct.

    The sad part in all this is that, although Seversky has been shown, time and time again, (and by people who are much more articulate than me), that all his theological arguments against God are profoundly flawed in their basic logical structure, Seversky, apparently, simply does not care that his arguments make no logical sense, and continues to fight against God, day in and day out, and pretend as if his continual rejection of God will not have dire consequences for his eternal soul.

    And while I’m certainly not qualified to know the fate of men’s souls after death, but, (from my reading of the New Testament), the fate of the souls of men who continually fight against God, and choose not to repent, is not to be envied in the least..

    Matthew 13:42
    and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    Because of such ‘potentially’ dire consequences for his soul, (again I am very much NOT qualified to personally know the fate of men’s souls), I can only plead, once again, for Seversky, for the sake of his very own eternal soul, to seriously reconsider his irrational hostility towards of God.

    Verse and Music

    John 3:16
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    The Allman brothers Band – Soulshine – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L3BYTS8uxM

  143. 143
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky poses some questions and I’m grateful for the chance for dialogue on this, at the same time I hope Seversky is listening to the answers given and thinking about them for next time. As I suggested before: allow your knowledge of God to grow and ask a higher-level question next time.

    I rather think that those Afghani Christians would have preferred God had imposed His will and prevented anything like that happening at all. So why doesn’t He?

    To highlight Querius’ excellent reply again: “We die to ourselves daily and many of us are being executed now in many parts of the world.” There’s an infinite wisdom contained in that one sentence. This is Christianity – we should think about it. Start with its Founder. Look at a crucifix and you will see that He was not preferring that God would prevent such a thing from happening.

    But aside from a religious aspect, you ask here “why didn’t God impose His will and prevent the tragedy”? In this case, God would force people to refrain from the evil deeds that murdered people.
    However, just previously, you complained that:

    If you endow a creature with free will but ensure that, in any conflict between your will and that of the creature, your will prevails, in what sense does the creature have free will?

    You just illustrated the wisdom of God right there. In one case, you want God to impose His Will and force an outcome. In the next, you don’t want God’s will to prevail because that would block free will”. He piped you a song and you wouldn’t dance, he sang you a dirge and you wouldn’t mourn. He gives us freedom within limits and he is considered neglectful. He intervenes and prevents worse evils from happening and he is called a tyrant.
    The patriarch Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery – he suffered a terrible crime. The brothers finding him alive were afraid of his revenge, but Joseph said not at all: It was not your design – it was God who sent me here. You sought to do me harm, but God turned it into a good account”.
    We can rightly consider actions as evils, but the results can be a greater good in the end.

    Our challenge is to take the role of philosopher. Think about the situation. Start with the correct first principles and then figure it out.
    Starting with the idea that God is all good and all just – you then look at the situation and find the ultimate meaning.

    In Buddhism and Hinduism, evil deeds are paid with evil consequences as a “law of nature” (karma). You do the crime, you pay the time. There’s no plea-bargain. There’s also no judge or jury. The punishment of sin comes from nature – it’s like a physical law. Nature pays back all sins by hard consequences (natural disasters, disease, lower-caste reincarnation, etc.) So, in that formulation one can assign all evil to the sins of people and all bad consequences are direct result of that individual’s sins – and this includes birth defects or poverty, etc.

    In Christianity, however, mercy is given by God so the voluntary penances of people, and their martyrdom creates a “holy exchange”. No greater love can be shown than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. And love is the measure of human life – we have it, and we have what is important. We don’t have it and our life is empty.

  144. 144
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77 said:

    I can only plead, once again, for Seversky, for the sake of his very own eternal soul, to seriously reconsider his irrational hostility towards of God.

    I feel the same way. Sometimes anger towards God can be a good first step of honesty in prayer, asking God to explain why and sometimes we can be upset about what we see happening and then insist that God give an answer. That can be a good start.
    However, if that spills over into hatred, opposition, ridicule and a bitter attack against God then the person has lost reverence for anything sacred and it’s irrational. To be totally opposed to God is to be opposed to goodness, love, gratitude and meaning. That’s a very dangerous path.

  145. 145
    AnimatedDust says:

    Agreed with 143 and 144. I haven’t seen much progress in Seversky. The resistance has to be willful. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to deny God their entire lives and then wake up to face the fact that he is real. Hitchens, Lewontin, and Steven Weinberg come to mind.

  146. 146
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AD @ 145 – Agreed.
    Especially when we think of all the benefits those famous celebrities gained – book contracts, awards, praise from fans and the media, prestige, honors of all kinds. But if you lose your eternal soul, what good was all of that?

  147. 147
    AnimatedDust says:

    SA, for sure.

    I think he will be particularly unhappy with the likes of Dawkins, who became rich with his lies while leading millions astray.

  148. 148
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AD – true. I always hope that with age and the approach of death, some wisdom will arise. As it did for Anthony Flew – although he didn’t go much farther than “there is a God” but that took quite a lot of humility and repentance of a sort, to publicly admit one’s error like that.

  149. 149
    Querius says:

    Great observations, Bornagain77, Silver Asiatic, and AnimatedDust!

    The problem Seversky can’t overcome is not fundamentally logical or evidential, but visceral and emotional. What he needs to do is honestly explore WHY he maintains such feelings.

    If he simply didn’t care, he wouldn’t be here. To me it’s like he’s either crying for help or trying to rationalize his unsatisfying position. The fact that he jumps on new posts and tends to vanish when things get a little too uncomfortable seems to favor the latter.

    Seversky? Are you still reading these comments or have you simply gone on to venting skepticism on newer subjects?

    -Q

  150. 150
    Querius says:

    . . . or has gone into hiding.

    -Q

  151. 151
    Seversky says:

    Querius/141

    God endowed humanity with irrevocable free will. Thus, in the judgment to come, there will be many people who hate God and don’t want to be associated with those who love God. God will regretfully need to tell them, “Thy will be done.” The Bible says that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their evil ways and choose life in Him.

    God doesn’t say to people “Thy will be done”, people say to God “Thy will be done”. Man’s will is irrelevant. God’s takes unconditional priority.

    You’d be wrong to think that. Read what it says in Hebrews chapter 11. We die to ourselves daily and many of us are being executed now in many parts of the world. Statistics vary considerably due to uncertainty in North Korea, China, and Muslim countries, but estimates indicate about 70 million Christians were martyred over the last 2,000 years, roughly half that total in modern times.

    Yes, all people die sooner or later. It’s only a question of how and when. That is your God’s will. We had no choice in the matter. When people undergo terrible suffering and appalling deaths that must also be your God’s will since He is presumed to have the power to prevent it if He chose. And if those people had done nothing that could conceivably have deserved such suffering, we are faced either with a callous and indifferent deity or the possibility that there is no such being there at all.

    Nope. Imagine that you could travel to the future and back like a “time lord.” Does your knowledge of the future remove free will? If you see a rerun of a football game, does it mean those players never had free will?

    If I watch a soccer game and see one team win 3-1 then hop in my TARDIS and travel back in time and watch the game again from the start, will I see a different result?

    Briefly imagine the intellect of a being who is capable of creating all cell biology, the DNA code systems and chemical cycles.
    1. How likely is it that you would understand that Being’s explanations?

    Are you saying that an all-powerful Being would not be able to explain things to me in terms I could understand?

    2. How likely is it that the Being had a purpose in creating all of it? If you’ve ever created something in a large project, did you ever do it for no purpose at all?

    A Being who created something would have done so with a purpose in mind. That doesn’t mean the purpose was necessarily favorable to humanity. The Being could even just have created everything we see just to amuse itself, a little like human beings creating and solving jigsaw puzzles.

    3. If someone maliciously damaged something into which you poured your creativity, wouldn’t you want to fix it? Let’s say you designed a beautiful house with a lovely garden and someone vandalized it, what would you likely do in all honesty?

    I wouldn’t have created the vandals capable of damaging my house and garden in the first place. Would you?

  152. 152
    ET says:

    seversky:

    I wouldn’t have created the vandals capable of damaging my house and garden in the first place. Would you?

    You can only create strawmen. You are pathological and just cannot help yourself.

  153. 153
    Querius says:

    Seversky,
    Thanks for a sincere response.

    God doesn’t say to people “Thy will be done”, people say to God “Thy will be done”. Man’s will is irrelevant. God’s takes unconditional priority.

    No, not according to the Bible. Consider the Apostle Peter’s words (2 Peter 3:9 KJV)

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    According to the Bible, God’s will is that no one will perish but that everyone, including me and you, should become truly sorry for our words, attitudes, and actions. So, it’s up to you and me, but how does it work? Here what Jesus said:

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

    Jesus also taught his disciples to pray, and part of it goes like this:

    Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    So, I’m instructed to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth, not my own selfish will (or someone else’s). It starts with me.

    When people undergo terrible suffering and appalling deaths that must also be your God’s will since He is presumed to have the power to prevent it if He chose.

    No, he gave people free will and they regularly exercise it leading to that horrible suffering and physical death.

    According to the Bible, the present god of this world is Satan, who will be completely destroyed after as many people as are willing can be rescued from the ultimate judgment and “the lake of fire” originally prepared for Satan and his fallen angels, and sadly anyone who has joined him in hating God and God’s creation: humanity and the earth. Yes, the Bible also says that God will destroy those who destroy the earth. More people should take this to heart.

    If I watch a soccer game and see one team win 3-1 then hop in my TARDIS and travel back in time and watch the game again from the start, will I see a different result?

    Although science fiction loves scenarios like this, God describes himself in the Bible as existing in the past, present, and future: The name He gave Moses in Hebrew means “I AM.” So, if you could step out of time with God, you would see the soccer game simultaneously at the beginning, the end, and all points in between. The game isn’t rerun when you watch it, but it exists at all points. Your knowledge of the score at the end, doesn’t change the free will of the players.

    Are you saying that an all-powerful Being would not be able to explain things to me in terms I could understand?

    Correct. The Bible quotes God through the prophet Isaiah as follows:

    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither 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 ESV

    But the Bible does indicate that God tries to help us understand partially in terms familiar to us.

    A Being who created something would have done so with a purpose in mind. That doesn’t mean the purpose was necessarily favorable to humanity. The Being could even just have created everything we see just to amuse itself, a little like human beings creating and solving jigsaw puzzles.

    Yes, while that’s possible, the Bible makes it clear that God loves you very much, so much so, that He’s given you freedom and creativity! The Apostle Paul in his letter to the disciples in Galatia (modern day Turkey) wrote them this:

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

    The slavery Paul refers to is religious legalism–rules, laws, and customs followed self-righteously to the letter. There’s also a slavery to sinful passions.

    As many of us who are parents know, we want to provide our children with both guidelines for success, but also ultimately freedom and independence, while hoping they make good choices and stay in touch, right? No, not all parents are like that. And some parents try to continue controlling their kids into adulthood, which is never a good idea.

    I wouldn’t have created the vandals capable of damaging my house and garden in the first place. Would you?

    I’m sure the parents of the vandals deeply desire that their kids will repent of malicious deeds and become mature, honest, and productive instead.

    Hope this helps explain what the Bible does and doesn’t actually say, which is not well known, unfortunately.

    -Q

  154. 154

    @querius About the judgement on atheists.

    Atheists always argue along the lines, if there is no evidence for it, then it is not real, and therefore thrown out. Atheists reject the reality of what is subjective. They reject emotions, personal character, the soul, the spirit, God, because they are subjective. (and then they objectify emotions, which are fake emotions).

    So as a logical consequence atheists will lose all what is subjective, meaning lose their emotions, lose their soul etc.

    Then in this situation God will make His judgement.

  155. 155
    Querius says:

    Mohammadnursyamsu,
    While I’m cautious about classification systems, especially binary ones, I agree with you generally, but with some qualifications:

    1. Atheism is a choice, not an objective conclusion. An atheist cannot prove God doesn’t exist without being omniscient and omnipresent.

    2. Atheists do believe in intangibles such as justice, for example. While claiming to objectify emotions, they have a hard time measuring them: can you measure jealousy in joules or compassion in calories? I don’t think they deny or lose their emotions. They usually just don’t want to have anything to do with religion.

    Most important things in life beyond the lowest level in Maslow’s hierarchy, for example, are intangible (or “subjective” if you prefer). Even “money” is based on faith. Certainly, green pieces of paper as objects aren’t intrinsically valuable much beyond decoration, wall paper, or kindling.

    From my perspective, I ask the question “Why?” to an atheist. Was their decision based on some disappointment, guilt, theatrical manipulation, rationalization of their beloved sins, or rejection of moral and ethical responsibility? Perhaps they were disgusted at and reject the human institution of religious practices–meaningless tradition and pointless ritual. Or maybe they want to fashion themselves as smart and modern.

    As a result, I’d like to know whether they would be willing to encounter God on God’s terms or perhaps not?

    -Q

  156. 156
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/142

    Seversky started off his faulty theological, (not scientific), argumentation with this claim, “There seems to be some difference of opinion on what is meant by “image” here but, in terms of behavior, we have a lot in common with the OT version of God.”

    Which we do.

    First, Seversky’s Darwinian worldview holds that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin, ‘Descent of Man’). Theism, on the other hand, holds that we are ‘made in the image of God’.

    I know what theism holds, I would like to know what it means. Are you saying our intelligence is made in God’s image?

    So yes there certainly is, especially between Darwinists and Christians, a fairly profound difference of opinion about what is meant by ‘image of God’. Darwinian Atheists, such as Seversky, deny that God even exists, thus there simply can be no ‘image of God’ for man to be made in.

    We’re not discussing what atheists believe, we’re trying to clarify what Christians mean by “made in the image of God”. You seem to be agreeing with me that there is no agreed definition.

    Yet, although Darwinists hold that the mental difference between man and apes is merely “one of degree and not of kind”, we instead find that in terms of mental abilities, “We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses,,” (and that) “Our difference is a metaphysical chasm.,,,”

    What does any of that have to do with the meaning of
    “made in God’s image”?

    So thus, as far as the scientific evidence itself is concerned, Darwinists in general, and Seversky in particular, simply has no scientific evidence whatsoever for his belief that the difference between animal intelligence and human intelligence is merely “one of degree not of kind”.

    Still nothing to do with the meaning of “made in God’s image”.

    We could go further still in establishing that man is indeed made in the ‘image of God’ by noting that, (of all forms of life on earth that God could have chosen to incarnate Himself in), God chose to instead incarnate Himself, via Jesus, in the human form.

    Isn’t God incarnating himself in human form as Jesus more like God making himself in Man’s image?

    Seversky is fond of portraying God, especially in the OT, as some kind of evil tyrant who, among other things, just willy nilly brought about a worldwide flood that destroyed all of humanity.

    It’s not me portraying God like that, it’s the OT.

    More telling still, in Seversky trying to judge God in the OT as being morally evil, Seversky, unwittingly of not, inadvertently concedes that an objective standard of good and evil must exist for him to judge God by.

    We don’t need any objective morality. If God can make up His own morality then why can’t we? Especially if we are made in His image.

    Yet, if God does not exist, then there can be no objective standard of morality for Seversky to judge by.

    Any morality that doesn’t exist if God doesn’t is not objective.

    So, once again, we find that Seversky’s theological arguments against God are profoundly flawed in their basic logical construct.

    You might want to review your logic.

    … Seversky, apparently, simply does not care that his arguments make no logical sense, and continues to fight against God, day in and day out, and pretend as if his continual rejection of God will not have dire consequences for his eternal soul.

    I’m not fighting against a being that I don’t believe exists. That would be a bit pointless. I’m arguing against His acolytes here on Earth who simply ignore the incoherence of their beliefs.

  157. 157
    ET says:

    Wow. Talk about being completely unaware. The incoherence of materialism and naturalism make any other religion seem totally acceptable and logical.

  158. 158
    bornagain77 says:

    I am quite happy to let readers read my post at 142 and Seversky’s response at 156 and judge for themselves who has made the better argument and who, besides blatantly ignoring many points I made, has put forth “the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning”.

    In my honest opinion, Seversky’s, (ahem), ‘refutation’ at 156 of my post at 142 is a shining example that Leonard Euler’s observation about atheists (freethinkers) is just as true today as when he wrote it in the 1700s, “The freethinkers (atheists) have yet to produce any objections that have not long been refuted most thoroughly. But since they are not motivated by the love of truth, and since they have an entirely different point of view, we should not be surprised that the best refutations count for nothing and that the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning, which has so often been shown to be baseless, is continuously repeated. If these people maintained the slightest rigor, the slightest taste for the truth, it would be quite easy to steer them away from their errors; but their tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”

    A DEFENSE OF THE (Divine) REVELATION AGAINST THE OBJECTIONS OF FREETHINKERS, BY MR. (Leonard) EULER?Excerpt: “The freethinkers (atheists) have yet to produce any objections that have not long been refuted most thoroughly. But since they are not motivated by the love of truth, and since they have an entirely different point of view, we should not be surprised that the best refutations count for nothing and that the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning, which has so often been shown to be baseless, is continuously repeated. If these people maintained the slightest rigor, the slightest taste for the truth, it would be quite easy to steer them away from their errors; but their tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”
    http://eulerarchive.maa.org/do.....2trans.pdf

    Of note, Leonard Euler is considered one of the best mathematicians to have ever existed.

    The God-Fearing Life of Leonhard Euler
    Excerpt: Into Voltaire’s eighteenth-century Age of Reason stepped Leonhard Euler, an unpretentious native of Switzerland who rose to prominence in the royal academies of Russia and Germany and whose extraordinary mathematical prowess was rivaled only by his heartfelt devotion to God. The man acknowledged by Laplace to be “the master of us all,” who according to Arago “calculated without apparent effort, as men breathe, or as eagles sustain themselves in the wind” (Eves, p. 435), was a deeply religious man who in his humility asserted that “the works of the Creator infinitely surpass the productions of human skill” (Euler, Letters, p. 357). That a God-fearing man would gain such stature and reputation in Europe during the man-centered days of the Enlightenment is indeed noteworthy.
    https://acmsonline.org/home2/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/McIntyre.pdf

    In the midst of ‘the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning’ at 156, which Seversky apparently considered to be a coherent refutation of my post at 142, there was this interesting tidbit that Seversky stated,

    In response to my straightforward observation that “we find that Seversky’s theological arguments against God are profoundly flawed in their basic logical construct”, Seversky states, “You might want to review your logic.”

    I will gladly do that Seversky. At the base of Seversky’s atheistic worldview lies randomness and/or chaos.

    Randomness, Chaos Theory, and the Return to the Dark Ages
    Nathan Todd – May 9, 2018
    Excerpt: Firstly randomness. Randomness is the core of a lot of our beliefs as a culture including Darwin’s theory of evolution which relies on the process of random mutation over countless years and countless numbers of organisms to create, through natural selection, the life and diversity that we see.
    However, I challenge that. I believe that randomness is a scapegoat — it is something that cannot be studied. As soon as you include the word ‘random’ in some scientific theory, you are including chaos in your lovely, ordered theory. And chaos, spreads. Order and chaos are fundamentally opposed. I initially want to challenge the underlying assumption that randomness is the default and I believe that this can be seen through some simple thought experiments.
    https://medium.com/@nathantodd_/randomness-chaos-theory-and-the-return-to-the-dark-ages-23712a1ecd60

    Whereas at the base of my Christian worldview lies ‘logos’. logic, and/or ‘divine reason’.

    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    ‘the Word’ in John1:1 is translated from ‘Logos’ in Greek. Logos is also the root word from which we derive our modern word logic?
    http://etymonline.com/?term=logic

    What is the Logos?
    Logos is a Greek word literally translated as “word, speech, or utterance.” However, in Greek philosophy, Logos refers to divine reason or the power that puts sense into the world making order instead of chaos.,,,
    In the Gospel of John, John writes “In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John appealed to his readers by saying in essence, “You’ve been thinking, talking, and writing about the Word (divine reason) for centuries and now I will tell you who He is.”
    https://www.compellingtruth.org/what-is-the-Logos.html

    The insurmountable problem for Seversky in his appeal that “You might want to review your logic”, is that, much like Seversky’s cannot ground objective morality within his Atheistic worldview, Seversky also cannot ground the existence of ‘immaterial’ logic within his worldview of Atheistic materialism and/or Atheistic Naturalism.

    As Dr. Michael Egnor pointed out, “Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.”

    Naturalism and Self-Refutation – Michael Egnor – January 31, 2018
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame.
    The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/

    Seversky’s atheism, especially with its implicit denial of free will, simply cannot provide a foundation for our ability to reason in a logically coherent fashion.

    The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It: Sam Harris’s Free Will
    Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2012/11/sam_harriss_fre/

    So thus it is very humorous that Seversky wants me to review my logic since, if his atheistic worldview were actually true, then it simply would be impossible for anyone to ever review any of their logic.

    In short, much like the existence of objective morality, Seversky must presuppose the existence of immaterial logic in order for any of his arguments against God to make any sense, yet the existence of immaterial logic, in and of itself, refutes Seversky’s worldview of atheistic materialism/naturalism.

    Here are a few more notes along that line of ‘logical reasoning’,

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.”
    – J.B.S. Haldane – “When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927],

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate
    Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.
    The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://justinholcomb.com/2012/.....god-exist/

    Is God Real? Evidence from the Laws of Logic – J. Warner Wallace
    Excerpt: (1) The Objective Laws of Logic Exist
    We cannot deny the Laws of Logic exist. In fact, any reasonable or logical argument against the existence of these laws requires their existence in the first place.
    The Objective Laws of Logic Are Conceptual Laws
    These laws are not physical; they are conceptual. They cannot be seen under a microscope or weighed on a scale. They are abstract laws guiding logical, immaterial thought processes.
    The Objective Laws of Logic Are Transcendent
    The laws transcend location, culture and time. If we go forward or backward a million years, the laws of logic would still exist and apply, regardless of culture or geographic location.
    The Objective Laws of Logic Pre-Existed Mankind
    The transcendent and timeless nature of logical laws indicates they precede our existence or ability to recognize them. Even before humans were able to understand the law of non-contradiction, “A” could not have been “Non-A”. The Laws of Logic were discovered by humans, not created by humans.
    (2) All Conceptual Laws Reflect the Mind of a Law Giver
    All laws require law givers, including conceptual laws. We know this from our common experience in the world in which we live. The laws governing our society and culture, for example, are the result and reflection of minds. But more importantly, the conceptual Laws of Logic govern rational thought processes, and for this reason, they require the existence of a mind.
    (3) The Best and Most Reasonable Explanation for the Kind of Mind Necessary for the Existence of the Transcendent, Objective, Conceptual Laws of Logic is God
    The lawgiver capable of producing the immaterial, transcendent laws preceding our existence must also be an immaterial, transcendent and pre-existent mind. This description fits what we commonly think of when we think of a Creator God.,,,
    – per cold case Christianity

  159. 159
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    I’m not fighting against a being that I don’t believe exists. That would be a bit pointless. I’m arguing against His acolytes here on Earth who simply ignore the incoherence of their beliefs.

    You argue that the world is evil and that God should prevent that (by forcing us to do only good). Then you complain that we don’t have enough free-will to do whatever we want and make up our own morals because God prevents many evils from occurring and commands a moral law.
    Your starting point from where you’re attacking God is materialism which is a blind, unintelligent, inexplicable and incoherent force as creator. The blind watchmaker. In that view, evil cannot be explained nor can goodness, justice or any purpose at all.

    A Being who created something would have done so with a purpose in mind. That doesn’t mean the purpose was necessarily favorable to humanity. The Being could even just have created everything we see just to amuse itself, a little like human beings creating and solving jigsaw puzzles.

    You have to put your evil god theory to rest – because it’s incoherent and illogical.
    Whatever God created must be good and He must have the best intention and love for all creatures. That is logically necessary.
    Evil is the deprivation of good – it’s a lack of being. God is fullness of Being – there cannot be any evil or deprivation or flaw in God.
    The reason for this is that God is infinite and eternal, self-existing. If God had a lack of something, if He was deprived of any part of being – then that would be a potential unfulfilled. But this would create a composite being – two parts held together somehow. Whatever holds those parts (potential and actual) would be outside of God – something God would be dependent upon. Thus, it’s unexplained.
    Instead, God is a purely simple being with no parts to need to be held together by an external source. As pure being with no flaw – there can be no deprivation or potential.
    So, God cannot have any evil.
    He permits creatures with free-will to oppose Him – because he does not force His will on them.
    That’s the source of evil in life on earth.

  160. 160
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77 and Silver Asiatic,

    Brilliant responses!

    But I think that the motivation of Seversky to bother posting responses is to convince himself that his rationalizing atheism is a tenable position, which it’s not. But all excellent reasoning presented to him simply motivates him more to try to find better objections rather than to find truth.

    Why?

    It think it’s because reasoning was never foundational to his decision in the first place.

    -Q

  161. 161
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Q

    But I think that the motivation of Seversky to bother posting responses is to convince himself that his rationalizing atheism is a tenable position, which it’s not. But all excellent reasoning presented to him simply motivates him more to try to find better objections rather than to find truth.

    Agreed. I was going to say that all of his responses are biased towards a negative judgement. So, the starting point is that he thinks God is evil and he continues to circle around that theme.

  162. 162
    Querius says:

    So the more pertinent question would be:

    “When did you decide God is evil and not to be believed in, and why?”

    -Q

  163. 163
    Querius says:

    Seversky, here’s your chance.

    -Q

  164. 164
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Q

    “When did you decide God is evil and not to be believed in, and why?”

    It’s a good follow-up question.
    I always get concerned to see bitterness and projections of evil upon God. Sometimes (not always) it can come from experiences the person had.

  165. 165
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/158

    I am quite happy to let readers read my post at 142 and Seversky’s response at 156 and judge for themselves who has made the better argument and who, besides blatantly ignoring many points I made, has put forth “the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning”.

    And I am quite happy to allow readers to note that after we still didn’t get a straight answer to the question of what it means to be made in God’s image.

    A DEFENSE OF THE (Divine) REVELATION AGAINST THE OBJECTIONS OF FREETHINKERS, BY MR. (Leonard) EULER?Excerpt: “The freethinkers (atheists) have yet to produce any objections that have not long been refuted most thoroughly. But since they are not motivated by the love of truth, and since they have an entirely different point of view, we should not be surprised that the best refutations count for nothing and that the weakest and most ridiculous reasoning, which has so often been shown to be baseless, is continuously repeated. If these people maintained the slightest rigor, the slightest taste for the truth, it would be quite easy to steer them away from their errors; but their tendency towards stubbornness makes this completely impossible.”
    http://eulerarchive.maa.org/do…..2trans.pdf

    Of note, Leonard Euler is considered one of the best mathematicians to have ever existed

    He certainly displays the same intolerant arrogance I came to expect of mathematics teachers.

    And unless he developed some new school of mathematical theology his opinion counts for little more than your or mine.

    I will gladly do that Seversky. At the base of Seversky’s atheistic worldview lies randomness and/or chaos.

    Wrong. We observe the Universe to be ordered. It displays law-like regularities. If it were truly chaotic then it’s unlikely we would be here. Nonetheless, it also includes what appear to be random events.

    This is the basis of the theory of evolution. Living things are highly-ordered beings but mutations occur in the genome which, while caused by something, are not tailored towards improving the fitness of the organism so, from that perspective, they are random. This provides the variation on which natural selection can act.

    The insurmountable problem for Seversky in his appeal that “You might want to review your logic”, is that, much like Seversky’s cannot ground objective morality within his Atheistic worldview, Seversky also cannot ground the existence of ‘immaterial’ logic within his worldview of Atheistic materialism and/or Atheistic Naturalism.

    Morality cannot be grounded in the natural world because the gap between ‘is’ and ‘ought’ is unbridgeable. Moralities are better understood as rules of behavior evolved by human societies to regulate themselves. They exist only in the minds of those who conceive of – and volunteer to be subject to – them.

    I view logic as a specialized ‘language’ we have developed to model the world around us. It’s value lies in the fidelity of the models we use it to create to that which is being modeled.

    Take for example the Law of Identity which broadly states that a thing is itself and not something else. But why should this be? Simply because that is what we observe. For example, we never see something that is both a cat and a dog in the same place and at the same time.

    Not in the macroscopic world at least.

    But suppose the early logicians had been aware of what we now know about the nature of quantum phenomena. Suppose they had known that there are entities at the quantum level that can exist as a superposition of different states at the same place and at the same time. Would that have changed the way they framed the Law of Identity?

    As for location, both logic and morality exist within the conscious minds of beings such as ourselves and we are located in four-dimensional spacetime. If you want to claim they do not exist here, then where are they and what from do they take? If they are not extended in four dimensions could they be said to exist at all?

    In short, much like the existence of objective morality, Seversky must presuppose the existence of immaterial logic in order for any of his arguments against God to make any sense, yet the existence of immaterial logic, in and of itself, refutes Seversky’s worldview of atheistic materialism/naturalism.

    A complete non sequitur. The existence of logic is not necessarily entailed in any way by the existence of the Christian God. Is it a coincidence that the pantheistic Greeks developed logical thinking without the benefits of Christianity?

  166. 166
    Seversky says:

    Querius/162

    “When did you decide God is evil and not to be believed in, and why?”

    As far as I can remember, there was no single event that caused me to lose my belief in the existence of God. I gradually lost it over time both because I saw no credible evidence that such a being was at work in the world and because I became aware of the inconsistencies, incongruities and contradictions in the Biblical accounts.

    Since I think of God as a fictional entity, a bit like Darth Sidious of the Evil Lord Sauron, I don’t hate him any more than I hate them.

    Nonetheless, the Old Testament describes God as committing or inciting acts that most people today would judge to be evil by commonly held standards of morality if they had been the work of some human agent, for example. They are inescapably at odds with the image of benign, loving God which most, though not all, Christians are at pains to present.

    I am hardly the first person to notice such discrepancies however. The whole scholastic edifice of Christian apologetics is founded on trying to resolve such issues. Some of humanity’s greatest intellects have come up with some very clever arguments but none that I find persuasive.

    That said, I could be wrong. I don’t believe in God but neither can I say that I know He doesn’t exist.

    I think that the only things that anger me about Christianity is the failure of the faith to openly condemn those who try to exploit it for personal or political advantage. I’m thinking of those who try to enlist the faith to support blatantly nationalistic purposes. The Christianity I was raised in was a far broader church in which one’s neighbor was anyone in need, regardless of race, creed or color. I’m also thinking of pastors who abuse the congregations in their charge or the televangelists or prosperity gospelers who grow wealthy and powerful while many of their congregants struggle in poverty. They are a measure of how venal and corrupt some parts of the faith have become.

    That said, I am also aware of those who try to live their lives by the example set by Jesus and his disciples. I respect them for that even if I don’t share their beliefs.

  167. 167
    Querius says:

    Seversky @166,

    Thank you for an honest and sincere answer. It deserves a reasonable and commensurate response.
    Let me provide you with my perspective as a Christian who takes the scriptures very seriously both in attitude and action.

    Many challenging questions emerge from what we observe:

    1. There are many competing religions, some are bloodthirsty, others moronic, and most are completely incompatible.

    2. There are many religious charlatans and hypocritical practices in all religions—as well as all other human institutions.

    3. The world, both human and animal, is packed with what most humans would consider as cruel and evil acts and events. But why should humans even recognize anything as cruel and evil?

    4. The world is incredibly beautiful and life appears incredibly complex and well designed.

    5. The universe couldn’t have spontaneously popped out of non-existence, including space and time itself as well as matter, energy, and the laws of physics. Scientific explanations for existence are out of the reach of logical, evidence-based scientific inquiry, but there it is. Speculations can be religious, scientific, or psychological.

    6. If there’s some sort of Creator, why are all aspects of existence so degraded, and why in contrast do we see occasional acts of beauty, kindness, heroism, and sacrifice as well? Is there any overarching purpose to existence or is it all pointless and why should it be pointless? And then there’s death, which refutes all philosophy.

    There are many answers or explanations to these questions offered by many people for many reasons, most of which are self-serving.

    Are you on board or have I missed anything?

    -Q

  168. 168
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Thank you for an honest and sincere answer. It deserves a reasonable and commensurate response.

    I’ll second that. An excellent reply from Seversky – thoughtful and well-stated.

  169. 169
    Viola Lee says:

    I just finished reading “Death Comes to the Archbishop”, by Willa Cather. It paints a very broad picture, without moralizing, of many of the aspects of religion that Sev mentions, including both the strength of and benefits to those who truly believe as well as the ways religion, and individual leaders of religion, is used to exploit the poor and naive. Interesting book.

  170. 170
    bornagain77 says:

    While I fully agree with Querius’s succinct, bullet-point, reply to Seversky, I strongly disagree with Silver Asiatic’s sentiment that it was “an excellent reply from Seversky” that was “thoughtful and well-stated.”

    While his reply may have been ‘well stated’, I find Seversky’s reply to be superficial and to have a stunning lack of any real ‘thoughtfulness’ behind it.

    For example, Seversky states, “Since I think of God as a fictional entity, a bit like Darth Sidious of the Evil Lord Sauron, I don’t hate him any more than I hate them.”

    First off, Seversky’s very own actions directly contradict his words. Although Seversky may claim that he does not hate God any more than he hates the evil fictional character of ‘Darth Sidious’, never-the-less, Seversky spends an inordinate, even an obsessive and compulsive, amount of time on this site railing against an entity that he personally claims to be no more real than the Easter Bunny.

    This simply makes no sense.

    Moreover, (besides Seversky’s own actions directly contradicting his claim that he does not hate God any more that he hates an evil fictional character), a set of studies also contradicts Severky’s claim that he does not hate God any more that he hates an evil fictional character.

    Specifically, as the following article states, “I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like.”

    When Atheists Are Angry at God – 2011
    Excerpt: I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.
    A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western Reserve University and the lead author of this recent study, has examined other data on this subject with identical results. Exline explains that her interest was first piqued when an early study of anger toward God revealed a counterintuitive finding: Those who reported no belief in God reported more grudges toward him than believers.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....gry-at-god

    Moreover, (and even more devastating to Seversky’s claim that God is no more real that an evil fictional character), if God is merely a figment of imagination as Seversky holds, then, (in what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice), Seversky himself turns out to be nothing but a ‘figment of imagination. In short, if God does not exist as a real person, then Seversky himself does not exist as a real person but is only a ‘neuronal illusion’ that is generated by his material brain. i.e. a figment of imagination.

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – Steven Pinker – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    “Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.”
    Steven Pinker – Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.,,,
    – Alex Rosenberg – Professor of Philosophy Duke University – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? Dr. Dennis Bonnette – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    So again, in a shining example of poetic justice, If God does not really exist as a real person, but is merely a figment of imagination, then Seversky himself does not exist as a real person but is merely a ‘neuronal illusion, i.e. a figment of imagination.

    The crushing thing for Seversky in all this, as Rene (“I think therefore I am”) Descartes pointed out, We can doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that we exist to do the doubting in the first place. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….”

    Cogito, ergo sum
    Cogito, ergo sum[a] is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.[b] The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in his Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.[1] It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….” A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”).[c][d] The concept is also sometimes known as the cogito.[2]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito,_ergo_sum

    And from the conclusion that he could only be certain of the fact that he existed in order to do the doubting in the first place, Rene Descartes then went on to use that ‘absolutely certain’ conclusion from his ‘method of doubt’ as a starting point to then argue for the existence of God.

    René Descartes (1596—1650)
    Excerpt:
    5. God
    a. The Causal Arguments
    At the beginning of the Third Meditation only “I exist” and “I am a thinking thing” are beyond doubt and are, therefore, absolutely certain. From these intuitively grasped, absolutely certain truths, Descartes now goes on to deduce the existence of something other than himself, namely God.
    https://www.iep.utm.edu/descarte/#SH4a

    ,,, Every conception of reality that has ever been put forth by humans, (however correct or incorrect that conception of reality may be), starts with the fact that people really do exist as real conscious beings who are trying to make sense of the world. In other words, Consciousness itself is prerequisite to any possible definition of reality that we may put forth.

    But hey, don’t take my word for it, many of the primary founders of Quantum Mechanics held that consciousness, (i.e. our sense of self), must be fundamental to any conception of reality that we may put forth, (again, however correct or incorrect that conception of reality may be.)

    “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists.”
    – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177.

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    – Max Planck (1858–1947), one of the primary founders of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”?
    – Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.?

    Moreover, as if the denial of the fact that he really exists as a real, conscious, person was not more than enough to refute Seversky’s entire atheistic worldview, the catastrophic epistemological failure inherent in Severky’s atheistic worldview cascades into even more outlandish, and absurd, denials of reality.

    Besides denying the fact the he really exist as a real person, Seversky’s atheistic worldview also forces him to deny the reality of free will, morality, meaning and purpose for his life, beauty, and etc.. etc..,,,

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 18, 2021 – Detailed Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/philosopher-mary-midgeley-1919-2018-on-scientism/#comment-728595

    In short, Seversky’s worldview turns out to be a denial of everything that normal everyday people regard as being unquestionably real.

    Thus in conclusion, if God is not real, then nothing else can possibly be real for Seversky. Seversky simply has no anchor for reality to ground his atheistic worldview on and save his worldview from drifting off into, (as Poe semi-prophetically put it), ‘a dream within a dream’.

    A Dream Within a Dream
    BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow —
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand —
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep — while I weep!
    O God! Can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  171. 171
    ET says:

    seversky:

    I gradually lost it over time both because I saw no credible evidence that such a being was at work in the world and because I became aware of the inconsistencies, incongruities and contradictions in the Biblical accounts.

    There isn’t any evidence that nature produced itself. There isn’t any evidence that nature produced life.

    Nonetheless, the Old Testament describes God as committing or inciting acts that most people today would judge to be evil by commonly held standards of morality if they had been the work of some human agent, for example.

    Except that you are totally ignorant as to what was really happening. Your argument from total ignorance is totally meaningless.

    I think that the only things that anger me about Christianity is the failure of the faith to openly condemn those who try to exploit it for personal or political advantage.

    They will be answerable to God. Duh.

  172. 172
    jerry says:

    Leibniz said

    This is the best of all possible worlds

    As a Christian you must believe this.

    The question is why is it best?

  173. 173
    Querius says:

    In my own experience, sometimes people don’t know what truly underlies some of their positions, especially about God.

    I saw this first hand one time with a college student who, when describing his issues about God, digressed into an example about his brother and then suddenly broke out into sobbing. This truly surprised us both!

    Wiping his tears, he told me something like, “Wow, I didn’t know that was there!”

    Please think about it.

    -Q

  174. 174
    Querius says:

    Jerry,

    As a Christian you must believe this.

    As a Christian, no, I reject his reasoning.

    1. His fifth point conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow from his four previous points.

    2. In Genesis, God said his creation was “very good.” He didn’t say it was perfect or the best.

    3. There are 13 passages in the scriptures that tell us God will create a new heaven and a new earth that will be better.

    4. God had to suffer and die for us in order to rescue us from judgment and the ultimate destruction of the world brought in by sin.

    -Q

  175. 175
    jerry says:

    As a Christian, no,

    You then believe in a God who does inferior things either on purpose or not knowingly.

    Rather is this world the perfect imperfect or the imperfect perfect? I prefer the former whereby God creates a series of apparently imperfects to achieve a perfect outcome.

  176. 176
    Querius says:

    Jerry,

    No, I believe in a wonderful God, who does good things and loves us enough to let us have freedom, creativity, and forgiveness even though we’re imperfect. As I said before, in Genesis, God declares that what He’d created was “good” and taken together they were “very good.” Nowhere do the scriptures say that the world was created perfect, and in many places the scriptures mention or refer to God’s creating a new and better heavens and the earth.

    Note that God’s mercy, not justice, compelled Him to die on our behalf so we could avoid God’s perfect justice, which will inevitably have its day, a day when all God’s other efforts have been exhausted.

    Do you think it’s better to live in or demand a world where only the extremes of black and white exist, where perfect justice immediately incinerates the smallest infraction or imperfection? You won’t find that in the scriptures.

    It was once popular to create philosophies based on what seems like binary logic imposed on superlatives. I don’t think that leads anywhere but insufferable human pride.

    -Q

  177. 177
    jerry says:

    Do you think it’s better to live in or demand a world where only the extremes of black and white exist, where perfect justice immediately incinerates the smallest infraction or imperfection?

    It was once popular to create philosophies based on what seems like binary logic

    You apparently do not understand what I am saying and are making things up.

    I nowhere brought up black vs white or a binary world. In fact I argued for just the opposite.

  178. 178
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Viola Lee

    I just finished reading “Death Comes to the Archbishop”, by Willa Cather.

    Great recommendation! Weird coincidence, of all the billions of books in the world – I went to Barnes and Noble last week with the though “if I happen to come across ‘Death Comes to the Archbishop’ I really want to pick that up”. I made zero effort to find it – I don’t even look in the fiction section at all ever for anything. However, just almost literally bumping into the 99 cents used book rack – I looked down and there right under my eyes … Willa Cather. Wow – beautiful. I just started and am enjoying. Yes, there’s always been a corrupt element. We consider that one of Jesus’ own apostles betrayed and sold Him to His enemies. So, it happens. We become concerned when we see it in the Church – because we measure by Jesus as the standard. A very high standard morally and we wish for ourselves to try to reach it, and especially for our religious leaders to do the same. That’s why the fall of priest and ministers is especially tragic – and I believe Willa Cather is showing that in a spirit of reverence and admiration for religion, not condemnation of it.

  179. 179
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    In my own experience, sometimes people don’t know what truly underlies some of their positions, especially about God.

    Yes, I fully agree – and great example given with the college student.
    In my life, talking with people like that – the only way to make progress is to build a foundation of trust in the conversation – as you did in that case. Our religious belief and views on God almost always have a deeply-rooted origin. I don’t think we can analyze someone just from some blog comments, even someone who has been posting a long time (although it is easier).
    For me, ID is about building on commonality. There can be atheists IDists, Deists, Polytheisists. ID is not a Christian project in itself — it’s root go back to Greek philosophy.
    We start with some area of agreement and if we can go farther. Try to figure out where the obstacles are and work on better arguments to overcome them.
    Getting honest feedback from atheists, to me, is extremely valuable and to be appreciated.
    I’ll also say that your comment applies to believers also – we always should look at the roots of our belief and understand ourselves.

  180. 180
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Jerry

    This is the best of all possible worlds. As a Christian you must believe this.

    That statement can’t just work as an unqualified fact that we all have to sign-on to. Nowhere in Christian doctrine does it say we have to believe that, and even to do so would be illogical.
    First, a world is created for a reason.
    This world was created for a reason. If God had chosen another reason to create a world, then that would would be better than this one. We could say “this is the best possible world for sinful creatures to exercise free-will choices temporarily until its usefulness expires”. It’s the best possible world for that reason.
    But the best possible of all worlds? The fact that this world is temporary, to be replaced with an eternal kingdom of God tells us “no”. There could be, and will be, a much better world overall.
    But for the purpose of a proving-ground for people who will live for 70 or 80 years, this is the best possible world for that purpose, yes.
    It’s not an inferior world – it perfectly meets it purpose. But one-to-one match, there is a better world and that is our hope and something to look forward to.

  181. 181
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @179,

    Yes, I fully agree!

    And what you recommend is something I’ve done myself, namely examine what I believe, why I believe, and in what order of priority.

    -Q

  182. 182
    jerry says:

    It’s not an inferior world – it perfectly meets it purpose. But one-to-one match, there is a better world and that is our hope and something to look forward to.

    You have just agreed with me.

  183. 183
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @179,

    Getting honest feedback from atheists, to me, is extremely valuable and to be appreciated.

    I’ll also say that your comment applies to believers also – we always should look at the roots of our belief and understand ourselves.

    The problem I run into is that so many objections and skepticism cannot to addressed by evidence or reason because they act as shields for some people who otherwise would be forced to face their true motives and reasons that they lie to themselves.

    But there are a few people I’ve run into who have genuine questions that disturb them. In contrast, I’m happy to remove roadblocks and stumbling blocks to their faith.

    When I was in high school, my biggest stumbling block was the thickness of the layers of strata exposed by erosion. I tacitly believed in uniform deposition of the strata. Then, I realized that the difference between uniformitarianism and catastrophism is simply a problem of scaling and perspectives. For example, is volcanism uniform or catastrophic? Some geologists are finally admitting that the Missoula floods could be considered catastrophic.

    Thankfully, I discovered that there were trans-strata fossils and Mount St. Helens strata and deposits of sediment through laminar steamflow and other, relatively quick processes. But college textbooks don’t have room to mention these.

    -Q

  184. 184
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    The problem I run into is that so many objections and skepticism cannot to addressed by evidence or reason because they act as shields for some people who otherwise would be forced to face their true motives and reasons that they lie to themselves.

    That’s it. For example, there could be a person who was abused in some way by a parent or religious teacher and this causes a lot of anger and hostility towards religion. So, it can appear as if the person is totally convinced by materialism, but in reality, the anger is just a shield for protection surrounding the inner wound which cannot be exposed to the possibility that religion is true. This affects even something as gentle as ID (which is not even religious) – just the slightest threat that God may be involved provokes a strong response.
    So, we can’t really dialogue with those people.
    But there are others, as you say, who are willing to look at various questions — and most importantly, make progress from one truth to the next. I’ve seen that happen and it was great to observe.

  185. 185
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    Yes, exactly! What happened to me in an outstanding college course in Biology was that I recognized the historical struggle between spontaneous generation and biogenesis continues to this day.

    Van Helmont insisted that life, mice in this case, could generate spontaneously from dirty rags and some grain left in a corner for a couple of weeks. The only difference between van Helmont and today’s Darwinists is in the recipe itself:

    – A dirty planet instead of dirty rags
    – Some amino acids and other random chemicals instead of some grain
    – And a billion years or so instead of a couple of weeks

    Redi’s experiment falsified the hopes of those promoting spontaneous generation, but the debate was re-ignited with Anton van Leeuwenhoek’s “cavorting wee beasties” under his microscope. It took Louis Pasteur’s broth experiment in 1859 to quiet the proponents of spontaneous generation, but . . .

    In 1871, Charles Darwin was bold enough to suggest, in a letter to Joseph Hooker, that the original spark of life could be conceived to have begun in (in his words) a “warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity, etc. present, so that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes”.
    https://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_life_theories.html

    Fortunately, it’s been demonstrated that extremophiles can live in a Martian environment. The age of Mars is about the same for that of earth and it’s now known that the surface and subsurface of Mars has water available. So, presumably Mars should be teaming with forms of life courtesy of the same Darwinian evolutionary processes available on earth.

    -Q

  186. 186
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    quoting from that source:

    This is the only place in all of Darwin’s public and private writings where he even speculated about the initial stage of life, and his main purpose in suggesting this hypothetical scenario was mainly to refute the argument put forward by some that, if life could indeed form spontaneously, then we should see it happening today too.

    To me it indicates Darwin’s lack of honesty and his agenda-driven project. He had to have a materialist origin of life, otherwise his evolutionary theory (which was designed to support the blind watchmaker) would be useless for his purposes. But he had to deal with Louis Pasteur who just 10 years earlier killed off spontaneous generation which was the only atheistic hope.
    So, Darwin pretended his theory was limited to the period after life had started, but then to “refute” the argument against spontaneous generation he came up with abiogenesis in the warm pond. That argument is even more profoundly idiotic today than it was back then (his claim was that all the conditions had to be just right and were only a one-time event).

  187. 187
    Querius says:

    Good point and great quote, Silver Asiatic!

    Yeah, I understand that Darwin was mad at God about losing his daughter. So the “warm pond” and special conditions was just another speculative recipe for spontaneous generation.

    The special and perfect conditions argument is still used today. After all, there are many warm ponds across the earth and billions of years. Of course that could also be the argument for spontaneous generation of unicorns, elves, and the flying spaghetti monster as well.

    So how about an actual experiment?

    1. Culture a large amount of bacteria.

    2. Put in a sterilized blender and make a bacteria smoothie out of them (make sure the lid is securely fastened).

    3. Pour out onto a sheet of agar and top off with warm water with some extra minerals and vitamin supplements.

    4. Gently irradiate to increase mutation levels, but make sure it doesn’t get too hot.

    5. Put into a strong container in case there’s a Cambrian explosion and put warning signs all over.

    The Darwinian Law of Spontaneous Self-Assembly Due to Random Interactions should start yielding results fairly quickly since all of the components of life are clearly present.

    -Q

  188. 188
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    I understand that Darwin was mad at God about losing his daughter.

    I had forgotten about that – but it’s a classic case of that kind of hostility towards God that we were talking about. He uses the theory to attack God – and it’s even the evil God theory itself where nature is a violent warfare for survival. That’s basically the atheist mindset.
    I notice some people weren’t actually hit by tragedy like the death of a daughter like that, but even something like weak or irrational religion during youth causes a hostile reaction later. A guy like Dawkins gives me that impression.

    The Darwinian Law of Spontaneous Self-Assembly Due to Random Interactions should start yielding results fairly quickly since all of the components of life are clearly present.

    Exactly – none of the components are rare to find. They could even start with a full cell structure itself.

  189. 189
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    And what do we get from Darwin promoters?

    – We don’t know the exact recipe, but it “musta” happened because we’re here!

    – It was an incredibly rare one-time event. (Science doesn’t work well on one-time events).

    – It was imperceptibly slow.

    – The fossil record is incomplete.

    – You can only get funding if you research global warming or something that pretends to confirm how something “musta” evolved.

    – We will eventually find conclusive evidence, but in the meantime, we’re getting closer and closer and closer.

    – Double down on the assertions: “Evolution is a fact.”

    I probably missed some.

    -Q

  190. 190
    Seversky says:

    Querius/167

    1. There are many competing religions, some are bloodthirsty, others moronic, and most are completely incompatible.

    That’s right, so the next question is, can we find any way to decide between them?

    2. There are many religious charlatans and hypocritical practices in all religions—as well as all other human institutions.

    Again that’s true, although that would seem to count against the belief that religious belief somehow immunizes people against immoral behavior.

    3. The world, both human and animal, is packed with what most humans would consider as cruel and evil acts and events. But why should humans even recognize anything as cruel and evil?

    At root, we base it on what causes unwarranted pain, suffering and death to ourselves and those we love.

    4. The world is incredibly beautiful and life appears incredibly complex and well designed.

    Some of it, yes. Other parts are ugly, incredibly destructive and deadly to us.

    5. The universe couldn’t have spontaneously popped out of non-existence, including space and time itself as well as matter, energy, and the laws of physics. Scientific explanations for existence are out of the reach of logical, evidence-based scientific inquiry, but there it is. Speculations can be religious, scientific, or psychological.

    We agree you cannot get something from nothing. The corollary is that, since there is something, there must always have been something. That means that if this Universe began in a Big Bang, it follows there must have been something before.

    6. If there’s some sort of Creator, why are all aspects of existence so degraded, and why in contrast do we see occasional acts of beauty, kindness, heroism, and sacrifice as well? Is there any overarching purpose to existence or is it all pointless and why should it be pointless? And then there’s death, which refutes all philosophy.

    Yes, there are still a lot of profound mysteries out there.

  191. 191
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/170

    First off, Seversky’s very own actions directly contradict his words. Although Seversky may claim that he does not hate God any more than he hates the evil fictional character of ‘Darth Sidious’, never-the-less, Seversky spends an inordinate, even an obsessive and compulsive, amount of time on this site railing against an entity that he personally claims to be no more real than the Easter Bunny.

    I am pointing out to believers that the image of a wise, benign, loving God is contradicted by accounts in their own holy texts. ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.

    Specifically, as the following article states, “I’ve never been angry at unicorns. It’s unlikely you’ve ever been angry at unicorns either.,, The one social group that takes exception to this rule is atheists. They claim to believe that God does not exist and yet, according to empirical studies, tend to be the people most angry at him.

    That may be true for some but not for me. The only anger I feel is towards some of his self-proclaimed followers whose behavior is a stain on the faith in my view. There is also an apparent reluctance for other Christians to speak out against them which does not speak well of their faith.

    Moreover, (and even more devastating to Seversky’s claim that God is no more real that an evil fictional character), if God is merely a figment of imagination as Seversky holds, then, (in what I consider to be a shining example of poetic justice), Seversky himself turns out to be nothing but a ‘figment of imagination. In short, if God does not exist as a real person, then Seversky himself does not exist as a real person but is only a ‘neuronal illusion’ that is generated by his material brain. i.e. a figment of imagination.

    Once again, that is illogical. It does not follow that if God does not exist then neither do I. Your faith teaches that God is the Creator of all that exists but there are other faiths that offer different accounts for existence. The scientific evidence is insufficient to answer the question at this time. We just don’t know and we may have to live with that mystery for some time.

    The crushing thing for Seversky in all this, as Rene (“I think therefore I am”) Descartes pointed out, We can doubt the existence of all things save for the fact that we exist to do the doubting in the first place. As Descartes explained, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt….”

    I don’t doubt my own existence and I am confident of the existence of the world beyond me, even if I can only experience it within my mental model. None of that implies the existence of a god.

  192. 192
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/184

    The problem I run into is that so many objections and skepticism cannot to addressed by evidence or reason because they act as shields for some people who otherwise would be forced to face their true motives and reasons that they lie to themselves.

    That’s it. For example, there could be a person who was abused in some way by a parent or religious teacher and this causes a lot of anger and hostility towards religion. So, it can appear as if the person is totally convinced by materialism, but in reality, the anger is just a shield for protection surrounding the inner wound which cannot be exposed to the possibility that religion is true. This affects even something as gentle as ID (which is not even religious) – just the slightest threat that God may be involved provokes a strong response.

    I agree that there are some who turn against religion because of traumatic experiences in their past but I think it is far from being true for all. I also think that believers default to such an explanation for non-belief because they find it inconceivable there could be any other explanation for not believing something which is, to them, so obviously and unquestionably true.

  193. 193
    Seversky says:

    Querius/185

    Fortunately, it’s been demonstrated that extremophiles can live in a Martian environment. The age of Mars is about the same for that of earth and it’s now known that the surface and subsurface of Mars has water available. So, presumably Mars should be teaming with forms of life courtesy of the same Darwinian evolutionary processes available on earth.

    Except that Mars’ gravitational field is only about a third of that of Earth so much of its atmosphere escaped into space and surface water evaporated early on in its life. The surface of the planet is also exposed to much stronger radiation than we are here on Earth. That would have brought the evolution of life on Mars, on the surface at least, to a complete halt. If there is subsurface liquid water then there may be something there but we haven’t found any yet.

  194. 194
    Querius says:

    But we know experimentally that extremophiles can live on current Martian soil, atmosphere, pressures, and temperatures.

    As to liquid water on Mars, it’s been found. check this out:
    https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid-water-flows-on-today-s-mars

    Bacteria can survive in much higher concentrations of ionizing radiation than other life on earth. The LD50/30 (lethal dose 50% in 30 days) of humans is about 200-250 Rads. In comparison, the LD50/30 for cockroaches is about 3,500 Rads, and for bacteria, it’s about 20,000 to 50,000 Rads.

    While Mars has only about 38% of the atmosphere compared to the earth, it’s also 50% farther from the sun as the earth. But Mars lacks a magnetic field to deflect high-energy particles. Nevertheless, humans can likely survive Martian radiation:
    https://www.wionews.com/science/astronomers-discover-natural-shelter-on-mars-against-radiation-411572

    This makes many researchers confident that they will *someday* find life on Mars, but haven’t yet so far.

    -Q

  195. 195
    Querius says:

    Seversky @190,

    My comments to yours:

    That’s right, so the next question is, can we find any way to decide between them [various religions]?

    Back to you. IF (!) the one true God actually exists, then what would you expect that the answer would be?

    Again that’s true, although that would seem to count against the belief that religious belief somehow immunizes people against immoral behavior.

    My trust in Jesus has profoundly changed me and many other people that I know, including criminals who I know personally. That some, many, or even most people remain immoral doesn’t falsify those who have been transformed.

    At root, we base it [what’s evil] on what causes unwarranted pain, suffering and death to ourselves and those we love.

    And why should we even have the capacity to care? Shouldn’t we be untroubled by what nature itself has no concern about?

    Some of it, yes. Other parts are ugly, incredibly destructive and deadly to us.

    The ugly parts are typically the result of human greed or indifference. The deadliness of the Antarctic, deserts, volcanoes, the crushing abyss, and the rarefied atmosphere of the tallest peaks, still evoke pleasure from their beauty.

    We agree you cannot get something from nothing. The corollary is that, since there is something, there must always have been something. That means that if this Universe began in a Big Bang, it follows there must have been something before.

    Your corollary doesn’t necessarily follow. Space and time (space-time) *began to exist* at the Big Bang. Time didn’t exist before then, so there’s no “before.” The red shift indicates an accelerating expansion of space-time, which has been extrapolated into the past as the Big Bang (or more accurately, the big stretch).

    Yes, there are still a lot of profound mysteries out there.

    Are those mysteries profound enough to hide God’s possible existence?

    -Q

  196. 196
    bornagain77 says:

    At 191, Seversky ignores the fact that his very own obsessive and compulsive, day in and day out, posting on this site, railing against God, directly contradicts his claim that he does not hate God any more that he hates, say, the Easter Bunny, and claims that he is merely “pointing out to believers that the image of a wise, benign, loving God is contradicted by accounts in their own holy texts.”

    I don’t know what Bible Seversky is reading but it certainly is not my Bible. My Bible certainly does not contain accounts of an ‘evil tyrant God’, as Seversky falsely imagines God to be, but my Bible instead contains accounts of an infinitely holy and just God who patiently, (for centuries sometimes, and very much like a loving Father), calls on a people to repent of their evil sins and turn to Him so that they might be saved from their sin and therefore saved from death. For sin separates people from God who is the source of all life.

    And then, in the several instances in the Bible where a people fail to repent of their sinful deeds and turn to God who is the source of all life, God lets the people reap what they have sowed and let’s them have exactly what they have, apparently, wished for with their choosing sin over and above choosing to have fellowship with God, i.e. he let’s them have separation from God and therefore let’s them have the death that they themselves have chosen over and above choosing God and therefore choosing life,

    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Moral Objections to the Old Testament? – Peter Williams
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0rCsQixNIg

  197. 197
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – you need to get a bible that has the Old Testament in it, then. The Noachian flood, for example, seems closer to the act of an ‘evil tyrant God’ than of one “who patiently, (for centuries sometimes, and very much like a loving Father), calls on a people to repent of their evil sins and turn to Him so that they might be saved from their sin and therefore saved from death.”

    And then, in the several instances in the Bible where a people fail to repent of their sinful deeds and turn to God who is the source of all life, God lets the people reap what they have sowed and let’s them have exactly what they have, apparently, wished for with their choosing sin over and above choosing to have fellowship with God, i.e. he let’s them have separation from God and therefore let’s them have the death that they themselves have chosen over and above choosing God and therefore choosing life,

    What if he had been a bit more patient, though? And in some of these cases he didn’t punish individuals, it was whole communities (e.g. cities, nations and in one case almost the whole world) he slaughtered.

  198. 198
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob tells me to get a bible with an Old Testament and brings up Noah’s flood and insinuates that God did not wait patiently for the people to repent before he destroyed the world with a flood.

    Well at least Bob did not try to deny that the worldwide flood even happened. Which is just as well since we now have evidence for worldwide cataclysmic flooding approximately 13,000 to 14,000 years before the present.

    Humanpast.net
    Excerpt: Worldwide, we know that the period of 14,000 to 13,000 years ago, which coincides with the peak of abundant monsoonal rains over India, was marked by violent oceanic flooding – in fact, the first of the three great episodes of global superfloods that dominated the meltdown of the Ice Age. The flooding was fed not merely by rain but by the cataclysmic synchronous collapse of large ice-masses on several different continents and by gigantic inundations of meltwater pouring down river systems into the oceans. (124)
    What happened, at around 13,000 years ago, was that the long period of uninterrupted warming that the world had just passed through (and that had greatly intensified, according to some studies, between 15,000 years ago and 13,000 years ago) was instantly brought to a halt – all at once, everywhere – by a global cold event known to palaeo climatologists as the ‘Younger Dryas’ or ‘Dryas III’. In many ways mysterious and unexplained, this was an almost unbelievably fast climatic reversion – from conditions that are calculated to have been warmer and wetter than today’s 13,000 years ago, to conditions that were colder and drier than those at the Last Glacial Maximum, not much more than a thousand years later. From that moment, around 12,800 years ago, it was as though an enchantment of ice had gripped the earth. In many areas that had been approaching terminal meltdown full glacial conditions were restored with breathtaking rapidity and all the gains that had been made since the LGM were simply stripped away…(124)
    A great, sudden extinction took place on the planet, perhaps as recently as 11,500 years ago (usually attributed to the end of that last ice age), in which hundreds of mammal and plant species disappeared from the face of the earth, driven into deep caverns and charred muck piles the world over. Modern science, with all its powers and prejudices, has been unable to adequately explain this event. (83)
    http://humanpast.net/environme.....ent11k.htm

    Moreover, we now also have evidence for a deep reservoir of water in the earth’s mantle, which just so happens to match exactly what was said to have occurred in the Bible,

    Study: Deep beneath the earth, more water than in all the oceans combined – June 16, 2014
    Excerpt: And it’s a good thing, too, Jacobsen told New Scientist: “We should be grateful for this deep reservoir. If it wasn’t there, it would be on the surface of the Earth, and mountain tops would be the only land poking out.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/16/study-deep-beneath-north-america-theres-more-water-than-in-all-the-oceans-combined/

    Genesis 7:11
    “When Noah was 600 years old, on the seventeenth day of the second month, all the underground waters erupted from the earth, and the rain fell in mighty torrents from the sky.”

    What does Genesis 7:11 mean?
    Excerpt: We are told that on that day all the fountains or springs of the great deep burst forth. The picture is of geyser spewing its contents into the sky, implying that a great underground ocean had existed and had been under some amount of pressure since the beginning of creation. In addition, the “windows of heaven” were opened. Great torrents of rain poured from the sky.
    https://www.bibleref.com/Genesis/7/Genesis-7-11.html

    And Bob, in your insinuation that God did not wait patiently for the people to repent from their wickedness before destroying the world with a flood, you are aware of the little fact that it took Noah over 50 years to build the Ark, with Noah continually warning people to repent of their sins while he was doing so since God was going to destroy the world with a flood?

    For crying out loud, he was building an Ark while he was warning them! 🙂

    Do you think that over 50 years was not a long enough warning from God? or that a man building an Ark far away from the ocean was not a big enough warning sign for the impending judgment by a flood? 🙂

    Bob also insinuated that he would have done things differently if he were God.

    All I can say is, Thank God that Bob ain’t God! 🙂

    .

  199. 199
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 – you’ve avoided the central issue: you have a God whose acts include killing large numbers of people, without waiting centuries for them to repent, and many would not have had the chance. According to the Bible, in Egypt he even killed cattle amongst the firstborn, and they certainly didn’t have much say in the matter of the Israelites. This is collective punishment – under the 4th Geneva Convention it’s considered a war crime.

  200. 200
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Bornagain77
    At 191, Seversky ignores the fact that his very own obsessive and compulsive…

    Thank God for Seversky , he is an example how we will became is we continue to sin and also he is a test for pacience and love of Christians. We should not counfound the sin with the sinner, Christians hate the sin ,but love the sinner. Many times we forget that and become haters of our brothers.

    Bob O’H
    ba77 – you’ve avoided the central issue: you have a God whose acts include killing large numbers of people,

    :))) God doesn’t kill(only people kill) just take the people, according to His Ultimate Knowledge and Goals , from School of testing from Earth and transfer them into other dimmensions. On Earth remain only the protective clothing ,we call body ,that is just a tool used for School of Testing the soul.

    🙂 Your atheist dogma says God kills?
    1: if God doesn’t exist killing is not bad (do you remember darwinist theology?) so why you act as killing is bad? 😉
    2.if God exists then He is the source of objective morality not Bobby so everytime Bobby say God is immoral means Bobby is immoral. And Bobby knows s/he is immoral .
    😉

  201. 201
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob falsely claims that “you’ve avoided the central issue: you have a God whose acts include killing large numbers of people,”,,,, Bob also ignored the fact that I pointed out that God gave at least 50 years of warning in the case of the Noah’s flood in particular, (and gave even longer warnings of a few hundred years in other instances in the OT).

    In regards to Bob’s false accusation that God kills/murders people, and as LCD pointed out, “God doesn’t kill/murder(only people kill/murder)” God being the ultimate judge of all humanity, renders justice on people and for people, not murder!

    Atheists seem to have a very hard time understanding the radical, night and day, difference there is between rendering justice and murder.

    “My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and 3,000,000 displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry.
    Though I used to complain about the indecency of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”
    – Miroslav Volf – Croatian theologian – quoted from “Yawning at Tigers; You Can’t Tame God so Stop Trying” – pg. 59
    https://books.google.com/books?id=BkwnAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA59

    Atheists also seem to have a very hard time understanding that their moral argument against God collapses in on itself. In other words, in their denial of God as the basis for morality, atheists have forsaken any objective moral standard to be able to judge God by: As Dr. Egnor pointed out, as far as ‘the problem of evil’ is concerned, “Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.”

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

  202. 202
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky @ 192

    I also think that believers default to such an explanation for non-belief because they find it inconceivable there could be any other explanation for not believing something which is, to them, so obviously and unquestionably true.

    I agree that many believers default to that explanation through a lack of understanding of the issues. It’s also difficult to understand unbelief from atheists themselves who often do not give reasons, but just hostility towards God. It’s also a default because that anger-from-abuse is very a common source for the evil-God theory. But it’s not the only cause, as you say. Paradoxically, the desire in contemporary Christianity to present God as very soft and tolerant creates a backlash when people encounter the teachings in the Old Testament. We see it socially in the US where the very same voices that preach tolerance and understanding – end up being intolerant and shutting-down dissent.
    Anyone giving a critique of God needs to include the attributes of God that work together. It’s like giving a critique of evolution without understanding the concepts. You have to work within the definitions and logical structures.
    The idea that God is absolutely tolerant, uncaring and indifferent is a distortion. God can’t tolerate falsehood or evil – it just goes against His nature.
    God’s love is described by prophets as very intense – the same God who created the immense, burning star of our solar system – has that kind of power. Yes, there is mercy, kindness, understanding in God – but also a perfect justice. Forgiveness is given – for those who sincerely seek and ask it. Those who don’t want forgiveness and mercy choose a different result Everything works in a balance. So, within that, there’s an intolerance for evil and sin – those things which damage human life (the self, others and the whole universe). People want God to be tolerant of evils – but it can’t work that way. That would be unjust.
    People who hate God choose a path that has consequences. The fact that God is all-goodness (and therefore opposed to evil) is not much of an argument against the existence of God.
    Vindication against evil is something that people can rejoice about. Tolerance of evil and all the harm it does just destroys rational thought itself.
    Because falsehoods and lies are evil.
    Absolute tolerance for lies and false concepts destroys reason – which requires an adherence to truth.

  203. 203
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    What if he had been a bit more patient, though?

    It would have gotten worse for everyone. In mercy, He cut the time shorter.

    And in some of these cases he didn’t punish individuals, it was whole communities (e.g. cities, nations and in one case almost the whole world) he slaughtered.

    We have to consider “the second death” (Rev. 20:14-15).

  204. 204
    Bob O'H says:

    LCD @ 200 –

    Your atheist dogma says God kills?

    No, that’s what the Bible says.
    1: if God doesn’t exist killing is not bad (do you remember darwinist theology?) so why you act as killing is bad? ?

    2.if God exists then He is the source of objective morality not Bobby so everytime Bobby say God is immoral means Bobby is immoral.

    Are you saying that genocide is not immoral, or just that it is only immoral if God does not do it?
    ba77 @ 201 –

    In regards to Bob’s false accusation that God kills/murders people, and as LCD pointed out, “God doesn’t kill/murder(only people kill/murder)” God being the ultimate judge of all humanity, renders justice on people and for people, not murder!

    In what sense is collective punishment just? Only if God does it, or is there a deeper reasoning?

  205. 205
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    In what sense is collective punishment just?

    When the collective share in the guilt of the crime.

  206. 206
    Querius says:

    Bornagain77, Silver Asiatic, and Lieutenant Commander Data,

    Great quotes and good points! Considering that roughly 100% of humanity is dead, dying, or going to die apparently doesn’t bother atheists since it’s obviously Nature’s way of handling ecology and overpopulation . . . except when it’s to find fault with the Creator.

    Nature and Evolution can and do commit genocide, and this is no problem for atheists. They don’t hate Nature for doing so, but they exclude all consideration of God, who created Nature, from consideration precisely for the same reason!

    But the people who believe in the Creator also believe in an eternal afterlife and a judgment of all people based on their attitudes, priorities, and behaviors on earth. The amazing and incredible genius and love of God should warn us against projecting human evil motives and actions onto God such as the ancient Greeks did with Zeus and their other capricious gods.

    Jesus is recorded in Matthew 25 as telling a parable about several different people with different abilities given gold by their manager to invest, which they did. Except one of them had a great excuse–the manager was UNFAIR and they were AFRAID of him! Here’s what happened in Jesus’ parable:

    “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’“

    His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest . . . throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    God basically tells such people, “Nice try, but that excuse doesn’t hold water.”

    But go ahead and have fun and think you’re smart now, live as you please, and worry about the weeping and gnashing of teeth later “if it happens.”

    -Q

  207. 207
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob at 203

    Bob, as a Darwinian atheist who does not believe in God or in any other gods, pays no attention to the fact that for him to try to sit in judgement of God, as he is trying to do so now, that he must have some sort of objective moral standard of good and evil to judge by. But without God, and as a Darwinian atheist, there simply can be no objective standard of morality for Bob to judge by.

    Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    The Moral Argument – drcraigvideos – video
    https://youtu.be/OxiAikEk2vU?t=276

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: Peter Kreeft – Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    Bob in totally reliant on our God given, intuitive, sense of objective morality in order to try to invoke some type of moral outrage against God in us. Yet, without God, the judgment seat that Bob is trying to sit in against God simply does not exist.

    As Cornelius Van Til put it, “As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”

    “In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”
    – Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

    C.S Lewis, (a former atheist who saw more evil in WWI than most people can even imagine seeing, and who eventually who converted to Christianity in spite of the carnage that he saw in WWI), put the fatal flaw of his ‘argument from evil’ 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?,,, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”

    “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?,,,
    in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless–I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
    – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. Harper San Francisco, Zondervan Publishing House, 2001, pp. 38-39.

    Perhaps if Bob would at least acknowledge the necessity of God for his moral argument to even be coherent in the first place, then perhaps he could then argue for some other god being morally superior to the God of the Bible, (And that would be a very interesting debate to have with Bob). But as Bob’s argument stands now, and as a Darwinian atheist, the judgement seat of morality that Bob is trying to sit in against God simply does not exist.

    Again, Bob needs God in order for him to try to oppose God.

  208. 208
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Bob O’H

    LCD
    Your atheist dogma says God kills?

    No, that’s what the Bible says.

    :)Does Bible say that for Bobby the atheist? For Christians doesn’t say that. Why in the world would think Bobby that he knows better than Christians what Bible says? Who would learn about Bible from atheist websites? Who would learn about engineering from a ballerina?

    Are you saying that genocide is not immoral, or just that it is only immoral if God does not do it?

    Bobby is confused ,again:
    1.If God doesn’t exist genocide is neither good nor bad , is “survival of the fittest” 😉 so Bobby why do you think genocide is bad?
    2.If God exists He is the creator/keeper/administrator of objective morality and any moral opinion against Him is immoral because you Bobby you are just an immoral user of objective morality(if you believe in God) or a thief of objective morality (if you are an atheist).

  209. 209
    bornagain77 says:

    Since both Bob and Seversky are Darwinian atheists, instead of just run of the mill village atheists, it is worth pointing out that morality for the Darwinian atheist is not just the absence of morality, i.e. amorality, ‘pitiless indifference’ as Dawkins put it, but turns out to be, (when you throw the Darwinian precept of ‘survival of the fittest; on top of the atheist’s naturalistic worldview of ‘pitiless indifference’), a worldview that turns out to be downright ‘ANTI-Morality’, not just amorality.
    Alturistic behavior of any sort is simply completely antithetical to the entire ‘survival of the fittest’ precept of Darwinian evolution. (and in fact finding pervasive altruistic behavior at the levels of biological molecules, of cells, of multicellular organisms, as well as in human behavior, falsifies a core ‘prediction’ of Darwinian evolution)
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/the-rawlsian-myth-of-the-morally-neutral-perspective/#comment-715215

  210. 210
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 205 –

    In what sense is collective punishment just?

    When the collective share in the guilt of the crime.

    OK, that makes sense, so presumably killing the first-borns in Egypt wasn’t just (or, perhaps, wouldn’t be if a human did it) because many (most?) couldn’t share in the guilt of the Pharoah’s actions.

    Querius @ 206 –

    But the people who believe in the Creator also believe in an eternal afterlife and a judgment of all people based on their attitudes, priorities, and behaviors on earth. The amazing and incredible genius and love of God should warn us against projecting human evil motives and actions onto God such as the ancient Greeks did with Zeus and their other capricious gods.

    This suggests one resolution to the problem: essentially God kills newborns etc. and then makes it up to them in the afterlife. Is this what you were hinting at?

    LCD @ 208 –

    Does Bible say that for Bobby the atheist? For Christians doesn’t say that. Why in the world would think Bobby that he knows better than Christians what Bible says? Who would learn about Bible from atheist websites? Who would learn about engineering from a ballerina?

    No, I learned about the bible from Christians – I was even confirmed into the Church of England. There are clear descriptions of God killing people, e.g. the Noachian flood, the plagues of Egypt, Sodom & Gomorrah etc.

    Are you saying that genocide is not immoral, or just that it is only immoral if God does not do it?

    Bobby is confused ,again:

    OK, if I’m confused then neither of those options is correct (although you do suggest the second is right). The only alternative that I can see is that you think that genocide is OK even if humans do it.

  211. 211
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob continues to blatantly ignore the fact that he, as a Darwinian atheist, simply has no objective moral basis in which to sit in judgment of God.

    Not letting such a minor detail as the falsification of his entire Darwinian worldview get in his way, Bob continues to try to argue that God has no right to judge entire Nations for their sins.

    Yet, according to Bob’s supposed logic*, where the collective guilt of Nations is to be ignored and only individuals are to be punished individually for their sins, the Allied powers had no right to destroy the entire German Nation as a whole during WWII, but only had the right to destroy Hitler and those individuals who were participating directly in the genocide of the Jewish people.

    Something tells me that Bob has not really thought the logic* of all this through very deeply.

    “My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and 3,000,000 displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry.
    Though I used to complain about the indecency of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”
    – Miroslav Volf – Croatian theologian – quoted from “Yawning at Tigers; You Can’t Tame God so Stop Trying” – pg. 59
    https://books.google.com/books?id=BkwnAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA59

    (*of note: besides morality, even ‘logic’ itself can find no basis within Bob’s Darwinian worldview)

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – – 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate
    Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.
    The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,
    http://justinholcomb.com/2012/.....god-exist/

  212. 212
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob continues to blatantly ignore the fact that he, as a Darwinian atheist, simply has no objective moral basis in which to sit in judgment of God.

    Well, yes. Because it’s not relevant to what I’m asking. I could still ask about the seeming disconnect between the concept of a loving God and a God that’s described as doing a fair bit of smiting whether I was an atheist, Hindu, Taoist, or follower of the FSM. If there is a solution to this apparent contradiction, then I would assume that Christians would know what it is (and even if not every Christian would know this solution, they would be able to find out).

  213. 213
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob claims that the fact that his very own Darwinian worldview is rendered incoherent and false by ‘the moral argument’ itself is not to be considered of central importance, “Because it’s not relevant to what I’m asking.”

    And there you have it folks. Darwinian Atheists don’t even care that their very own worldview is rendered completely incoherent by ‘the moral argument’ itself, just so long as they can continue to make their juvenile theological arguments against God.

    Sorry Bob, it just doesn’t work that way. There is an admission price to be paid so as to be able to make moral arguments against God in the first place, and Darwinists can’t even begin to pay that ‘moral price’.

    But alas, since Darwinists have no real time scientific evidence supporting their grandiose claims that all life, in all it amazing complexity and diversity, arose via mindless processes, faulty juvenile Theological arguments is apparently all Darwinists really have.

    This was true of Charles Darwin in the beginning, and continues to be true of Darwinists still today, (as Bob himself is giving witness to in this very thread).

    Evolution as a Theological Research Program – by Cornelius Hunter – August 2021
    Introduction Excerpt:
    ,,, theological claims are common in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (Darwin 1859), where they are essential to his science. The religion is not a tangential message, and one need not read between the lines to see it. In the Origin, it would not be an exaggeration to say the religion drives the science. Darwin’s religion is not merely present, it is prominent and has primacy over the science. The religion is foundational.
    The importance of religion in Darwin’s theory is also apparent in the science he presented. As Section 5 shows, Darwin did not have sufficient scientific arguments and evidence to advance his theory. Finally, as Section 6 and Section 7 demonstrate, these roles and relationships between religion and science persisted after Darwin. This religious foundation was by no means peculiar to Darwin’s thought. It has remained foundational since Darwin in motivating and justifying the theory. What we find in Darwin continued in later evolutionary thought. Therefore, the thesis of this paper is that evolution is best understood as a theological research program.
    https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1444/12/9/694/htm

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89971.html

    The role of theology in current evolutionary reasoning – Paul A. Nelson – Biology and Philosophy, 1996, Volume 11, Number 4, Pages 493-517
    Excerpt: Evolutionists have long contended that the organic world falls short of what one might expect from an omnipotent and benevolent creator. Yet many of the same scientists who argue theologically for evolution are committed to the philosophical doctrine of methodological naturalism, which maintains that theology has no place in science. Furthermore, the arguments themselves are problematical, employing concepts that cannot perform the work required of them, or resting on unsupported conjectures about suboptimality. Evolutionary theorists should reconsider both the arguments and the influence of Darwinian theological metaphysics on their understanding of evolution.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00138329

    Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don’t – Steve Dilley- 2019-06-02
    The Problem of God-talk in Biology Textbooks
    Abstract: We argue that a number of biology (and evolution) textbooks face a crippling dilemma.
    On the one hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks include theological claims in their case for evolution.
    (Such claims include, for example, ‘God would never design a suboptimal panda’s thumb, but an imperfect structure is just what we’d expect on natural selection.’) On the other hand, significant difficulties arise if textbooks exclude theological claims in their case for evolution. So, whether textbooks include or exclude theological claims, they face debilitating problems. We attempt to establish this thesis by examining 32 biology (and evolution) textbooks, including the Big 12—that is, the top four in each of the key undergraduate categories (biology majors, non-majors, and evolution courses). In Section 2 of our article, we analyze three specific types of theology these texts use to justify evolutionary theory. We argue that all face significant difficulties. In Section 3, we step back from concrete cases and, instead, explore broader problems created by having theology in general in biology textbooks. We argue that the presence of theology—of whatever kind—comes at a significant cost, one that some textbook authors are likely unwilling to pay. In Section 4, we consider the alternative: Why not simply get rid of theology? Why not just ignore it? In reply, we marshal a range of arguments why avoiding God-talk raises troubles of its own. Finally, in Section 5, we bring together the collective arguments in Sections 2-4 to argue that biology textbooks face an intractable dilemma. We underscore this difficulty by examining a common approach that some textbooks use to solve this predicament. We argue that this approach turns out to be incoherent and self-serving. The poor performance of textbooks on this point highlights just how deep the difficulty is. In the end, the overall dilemma remains.
    https://journals.blythinstitute.org/ojs/index.php/cbi/article/view/44

  214. 214
    ET says:

    All Bob O’H has is an argument from extreme ignorance, as usual. According to Bob, Bob “learned” about the Bible from Christians, not from reading it. Not from reading it and asking informed questions to the people who have studied it. That means Bob cannot make informed, educated opinions on anything the Bible says. So just consider the source when Bob spews his Biblical ignorance.

  215. 215
    ET says:

    On another note: The “retired physicist” has died in a car crash last Saturday, September 11. Steve Story, 45, of Lake City, FL died in a head-on collision with a semi. The report says it was around 5 am and somehow Steve was on the wrong side of the road.

  216. 216
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    OK, that makes sense, so presumably killing the first-borns in Egypt wasn’t just (or, perhaps, wouldn’t be if a human did it) because many (most?) couldn’t share in the guilt of the Pharoah’s actions.

    Right. Your first parenthetical is important and good.
    It would not be moral for someone to break into my house, steal my computer and wipe out all the data on it. But it would be moral for me to take my own computer and wipe out the harddrive. It’s my data – so it belongs to me. If someone else does the same thing, then that’s a problem.
    Life does not belong to us. That’s the essential point for every human on earth to think about and accept. The life of Bob O’H doesn’t belong to you – as strange as that may seem. You didn’t create your own life. You also didn’t create Bob O’H. That person was created and given to “you” – even the “you” here is not something you made.
    If your own life belongs to your creator, then it is His.
    So, it wouldn’t be immoral for God to take children out of this life and bring them to live with Him forever in heaven — right? You can see that, I’m sure.
    In fact, taking children out of this life where there could be misery and crimes against them, and taking them to a place of eternal peace and happiness … how could that be immoral?

  217. 217
    Silver Asiatic says:

    ET

    According to Bob, Bob “learned” about the Bible from Christians, not from reading it. Not from reading it and asking informed questions to the people who have studied it. That means Bob cannot make informed, educated opinions on anything the Bible says.

    I think that’s an essential and important point. Bob has said that he’d only be interested in talking about religion in casual conversations with people, and not even that much at all. So, how could any serious critique come out of that? It’s like arguing against evolution without knowing anything about biology at all and having no interest in learning anything. Never reading or studying a single book about it.
    … I’m hoping Bob would take a different approach. Take some time to study the Bible and what it says – as a complete whole, not just a quote here or there.

  218. 218
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    I could still ask about the seeming disconnect between the concept of a loving God and a God that’s described as doing a fair bit of smiting whether I was an atheist, Hindu, Taoist, or follower of the FSM. If there is a solution to this apparent contradiction, then I would assume that Christians would know what it is (and even if not every Christian would know this solution, they would be able to find out).

    Asking questions is good. But I’m hoping you will build upon what you learn from the Christians who respond. You might not like the answers, but ask the next level question. Don’t just fall back and repeat what has been already answered. Dig into it more deeply – that way your knowledge will advance.

  219. 219
    Silver Asiatic says:

    BA77 said

    Perhaps [Bob]… could then argue for some other god being morally superior to the God of the Bible, (And that would be a very interesting debate to have with Bob).

    I didn’t want that point to be lost because it really would be a good discussion to have with Bob.

  220. 220
    jerry says:

    Because it’s not relevant to what I’m asking. I could still ask about the seeming disconnect between the concept of a loving God and a God that’s described as doing a fair bit of smiting whether I was an atheist, Hindu, Taoist, or follower of the FSM

    Three things

    First, The author of life has the authority to take it. Christians believe their God is that author.

    Second, the Christian God, which presumably is the same God of the Old Testament has revealed that this life is trivial in comparison to eternal life. There is no indication that all those people killed will be denied eternal life.

    Third, the realization of the purpose of existence was gradual. What was necessary to emphasize what was positive and what was negative changes in how they are treated over time. As we all know in our current world, fear rules most of our actions. It most certainly did thousands of years ago.

    An aside: maybe a meaningful world requires uncertainty.

  221. 221
    jerry says:

    The passages in the Old Testament which show either God causing loss of life or ordering it exist. They are constantly brought up by people who have studied the Bible and repeated by commenters here.

    Either this God does not exist or He does?

    If he doesn’t exist, then the argument is irrelevant.

    If He exist, then He has a good reason to do so or He doesn’t. What has to be provided by the common challenges that are being made, are good reasons for doing so.

    What these arguments are meant to accomplish is to convince others that either there is no God or the creator has no benign vision for his creation and is thus, not the Judeo/Christian God.

    These arguments are directed at Christianity not a creator per se.

  222. 222
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    There are clear descriptions of God killing people

    🙂 You really are confused. How would God(of the Bible) kill people if God Himself created them with immortal souls ? Can you explain that ?

    Probably you understand “killing” in an naturalist-atheist interpretation ( matter is all there is ,and there is no soul) but how in the world your mind process the concept of God ? :))) God in an atheist mind must be some darwinian materialistic concept (a brother of Bobby, maybe ? ). Can you explain to us what is God in your darwinian mind ,another man like you or what ?

  223. 223
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    Your complaint that God kills babies suggests that you also strongly object to doctors killing babies as well. One of my professors in college advocated the right of mothers to have “postnatal abortions” up until two years of age because no child should be unwanted! Agree?

    You must then also be angry at the universe for the fact that 100% of all humans will die. Right?

    You’ve received excellent answers from Bornagain77, ET, Jerry, Silver Asiatic, and Lieutenant Commander Data, but you’re still struggling to find reasons to object to the existence of God.

    Seversky seems to have chickened out when I challenged him to examine why he was MOTIVATED to find reasons for not believing in God. Would you be courageous enough to find the motivations behind your appearance here at UD to spend time fighting against the belief that God exists?

    -Q

  224. 224
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    One of my professors in college advocated the right of mothers to have “postnatal abortions” up until two years of age because no child should be unwanted!

    That guy is a psychopath. For me it’s difficult to respond calmly to such a thing – an attack on humanity and against the most vulnerable.

  225. 225
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @224,

    Yes, and I was horrified at his twisted mind! He was also the chairman of his department. I had some terrific professors but I also had some real sickos!

    -Q

  226. 226
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/202

    Anyone giving a critique of God needs to include the attributes of God that work together. It’s like giving a critique of evolution without understanding the concepts. You have to work within the definitions and logical structures.
    The idea that God is absolutely tolerant, uncaring and indifferent is a distortion. God can’t tolerate falsehood or evil – it just goes against His nature.

    This is not a critique of God per se but of the logical inconsistencies in the Christian definition thereof.

    Once again, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful then nothing happens but by His will. If human beings are capable of behaving in ways He finds offensive then that is how they must have been designed by Him. If He is all-powerful, he could have designed us otherwise – indeed, He should still be able to change us if He chose. If He is all-knowing then He would have known exactly how we were going to behave right from the start. It is irrational therefore for either you or He to blame humanity for being the way they were designed to be.

    Of course, one way out of this problem would be to drop the claims of omniscience and omnipotence. He would then be capable of mistakes which He did not have the power to rectify and would not necessarily be able to foresee the consequences of all His actions. Unfortunately, if you demote Him from being the Greatest of All Possible Beings then you also demote Him from being any kind of Supreme Moral Authority. In effect, He would be just another highly-advanced alien.

  227. 227
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/209

    Since both Bob and Seversky are Darwinian atheists, instead of just run of the mill village atheists, it is worth pointing out that morality for the Darwinian atheist is not just the absence of morality, i.e. amorality, ‘pitiless indifference’ as Dawkins put it, but turns out to be, (when you throw the Darwinian precept of ‘survival of the fittest; on top of the atheist’s naturalistic worldview of ‘pitiless indifference’), a worldview that turns out to be downright ‘ANTI-Morality’, not just amorality

    It appears that, as usual, you are ignoring the naturalistic fallacy. “Survival if the fittest” is a pithy phrase which describes what we observe in Nature. We can’t logically infer from those observations that is how we should behave towards one another in society. Although, as I’ve noted before, it’s a tad ironic that those who are so quick to condemn “survival of the fittest” as a moral guideline for society, defend it as an economic policy. They strongly believe that only the fittest companies should survive.

    It’s also ironic that believers criticize non-believers for daring to form moral beliefs of their own when said believers admit they would not know right from wrong except by what their God tells them.

  228. 228
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    if God is all-knowing and all-powerful then

    :))) Do you know how is to be all-knowing and all-powerful ?

    If human beings are capable of behaving in ways He finds offensive then that is how they must have been designed by Him.

    So you admit that you don’t have free will and you are just a designed bot. Only one problem :did He programmed you to talk against Him or you have a virus ? When did you last run the antivirus program? Maybe you should renew the licence?

    one way out of this problem would be

    To update your software?

  229. 229
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    If human beings are capable of behaving in ways He finds offensive then that is how they must have been designed by Him. If He is all-powerful, he could have designed us otherwise – indeed, He should still be able to change us if He chose.

    I see why you’re misunderstanding the response. You’re taking an atheist starting point – namely that organisms are designed (determined) to function in a certain way. Then, you’re plugging in a God on top of the structure. So, now God is the “determiner” of action. Thus, God is to blame for human actions. Again, that’s an understandable mistake. You’re using your own worldview for half of the equation and putting in God for the other half. But you have to change the assumptions of your worldview to understand how it works.

    It is irrational therefore for either you or He to blame humanity for being the way they were designed to be.

    As above, you’re equating the term “designed to be” with “determined to be”. That’s the mistake.

    if God is all-knowing and all-powerful then nothing happens but by His will.

    You have a God here who causes everything to happen, but you’re ignoring that God willed that his creatures would be able to understand and actually have responsibility for their actions.
    It’s not a simplistic model where God created the beings and then directly causes everything they do.
    Clearly, you know this – since you’ll take responsibility for your actions just as everyone on earth is capable of doing. When you make a mistake, you take ownership for it. But you’d legitimately (given your worldview) be able to deny that. “I was determined by evolution to do it, officer”. That might work if ever you’re arrested – at least to make someone question your sanity. But nobody is going to accept it as a reason for your behavior – and that’s not a Christian bias. Atheists know and act as if they own their own behavior. That’s part of human nature. The Christian view is the same – we own some responsiblity (not all) for for our actions.

    If He is all-knowing then He would have known exactly how we were going to behave right from the start.

    This has been answered multiple times. Please acknowledge that. Knowing that someone will do something is not equivalent to forcing them to do it. The fact that something of the future is known, does not take away the choice.
    You cite St. Peter’s denial of Christ – but we know that St. Peter repented of that sin. He did so because he knew it was his free choice to deny Christ. We all know that for ourselves. Evolution does not force us to do things – nor does God.
    We pray for help from God to make decisions – but even there we know we have the freedom to choose.

    Unfortunately, if you demote Him from being the Greatest of All Possible Beings then you also demote Him from being any kind of Supreme Moral Authority. In effect, He would be just another highly-advanced alien.

    Exactly. Denying omnipotence and omniscience would mean that he would be a flawed being, dependent on something else for existence – and therefore would not be God.

    Omniscience means knowing. It does not mean forcing free creatures to act in certain ways. That is the genius of God. A machine-like god creates beings that must act according to the machinelike-program. God creates beings that can choose against God’s will. That’s the beauty of it.
    God has the power to force people – but more than that, He has the power to create beings who fully understand that they own responsibility for their actions. We deserve credit for the good, and punishment for the bad.

    We all know this – it’s built into us by God.

  230. 230
    Seversky says:

    Querius/223

    One of my professors in college advocated the right of mothers to have “postnatal abortions” up until two years of age because no child should be unwanted! Agree?

    Absolutely not! My personal belief is that the right to life should be extended to conception or, more practically, that any detectable prenatal entity, be it zygote, blastocyst, embryo or fetus, should be automatically presumed to have the right to life. Who is this professor? What is his discipline? Is there anywhere I can look to see what he has written about this?

    You must then also be angry at the universe for the fact that 100% of all humans will die. Right?

    It seems a bit pointless to be angry about something about which we can do nothing. On the other hand, as Dylan Thomas wrote,

    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Seversky seems to have chickened out when I challenged him to examine why he was MOTIVATED to find reasons for not believing in God. Would you be courageous enough to find the motivations behind your appearance here at UD to spend time fighting against the belief that God exists?

    I remind you of the burden of proof. Anyone who claims that God exists and wants to convert me to that belief is obliged to provide arguments and evidence to support that claim.

    I was raised a Christian and initially accepted what I was taught about the faith without question. Over time, however, I gradually started to question what I had been taught and found that the arguments and evidence to support Christian claims just weren’t there.

    I seriously doubt that anything I write here will change any minds and I’ve not seen anything yet that would change mine but it’s useful intellectual exercise and who knows?

  231. 231
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerry states that “What has to be provided by the common challenges that are being made, are good reasons for doing so.”

    So did God have good moral justification for Noah’s flood, and for, say, the often mentioned destruction of the Canaanites?

    Well according to the Bible, God did have ample moral justification,

    In regards to Noah’s flood we find, Genesis 6:5 “The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.”

    Genesis 6:5-7 – The Flood Story: A Grieving God, Not an Angry God
    Summary
    The flood story begins by revealing not an angry God, but a God who grieves over what has become of the human race, even expressing sorrow at creating them in the first place (6:5-7).
    Analysis
    The opening verses to the flood story are central to its interpretation. The initial statement about the human situation (6:5) provides the rationale for what follows: the great wickedness of humankind and the evil inclinations of the human heart. The words only, every, and continually specify the depth and breadth of human sinfulness. Genesis 6:11-13 will lift up the “violence” of human beings in particular. Notably, the flood story concludes with essentially the same description of the human race (8:21). In other words, the flood did not have any effect whatsoever on the sinfulness of humankind. God makes a decision to continue with the world even without any human change; the world’s future will depend upon God’s promises.
    The basic character of the human heart is set alongside the response of the divine heart (6:6). God appears not as an angry and vengeful judge, but as a grieving and pained parent, distressed over what has happened. The NIV translation says it best: God’s “heart was filled with pain.” These remarkably expressed divine emotions, which issue in a decision to destroy all living things (6:7), are resolved on the side of mercy in God’s choice of Noah and his family.
    God’s regretful response to human sin assumes that human beings have successfully resisted God’s will for the creation. Such language thereby reveals that the flood was not planned by God, but was a divine response to human sin and its disastrous effects on the creation.
    Genesis 6:5-7
    5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6And the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’
    https://www.enterthebible.org/Controls/feature/tool_etb_resource_display/resourcebox.aspx?selected_rid=356&original_id=20

    And in regards to the destruction of the Canaanites, the Canaanites weren’t destroyed simply because they were Canaanites (genocide, as atheists often try to imply). Rather, God judged the Canaanites precisely because of their evil, sinful, deeds, like child sacrifice to their false god, In fact God had given the Canaanites 400 years to repent from their many sins against Him..

    Here is a very good video on the subject,

    Chances are… we’ve misunderstood the God of the Bible – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW8MbUbpOPI

    I particularly liked this quote from the preceding video

    “My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people wre killed and 3,000,000 displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalized beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry.
    Though I used to complain about the indecency of God’s wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn’t wrathful at the sight of the world’s evil. God isn’t wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.”
    – Miroslav Volf – Croatian theologian
    https://books.google.com/books?id=BkwnAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA59

    And here is a more detailed defense against the Atheist’s fallacious argument that God was a evil tyrant for commanding the destruction of the Canaanites.

    GENOCIDE AND THE GOD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT – OCTOBER 4, 2016
    https://crossexamined.org/genocide-god-old-testament/
    In Genesis 15:13 and 16, when God promises Abraham that He will give the land of Canaan to his descendants, He informs him that it will not take place for another 400 years because their sins “do not yet warrant their destruction.”

    “for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.”
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+15%3A13-16&version=KJV

    So, according to the Bible itself, God had ample moral justification for what he did in the OT.

    Moreover, regardless of whether atheists ever honestly admit that, according to the Bible itself, God had ample moral justification, I still hold that for atheists to even bring up the ‘problem of evil’ is for them to refute their own atheistic worldview in the process.

    To repeat what Dr. Egnor noted in regards to the atheist’s ‘argument from evil’, “Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.”

    The Universe Reflects a Mind – Michael Egnor – February 28, 2018
    Excerpt: Goff argues that a Mind is manifest in the natural world, but he discounts the existence of God because of the problem of evil. Goff seriously misunderstands the problem of evil. Evil is an insoluble problem for atheists, because if there is no God, there is no objective standard by which evil and good can exist or can even be defined. If God does not exist, “good” and “evil” are merely human opinions. Yet we all know, as Kant observed, that some things are evil in themselves, and not merely as a matter of opinion. Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence. From that starting point, theodicy begins. Theists have explored it profoundly. Atheists lack the standing even to ask the question.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-universe-reflects-a-mind/

    To repeat, if objective morality exists, (as the atheist must presuppose to be true for his moral argument against God to even have a chance of succeeding), then God must also necessarily exists.

    Premise 1: If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist.
    Premise 2: Objective moral values and duties do exist.
    Conclusion: Therefore, God exists.
    The Moral Argument – drcraigvideos – video
    https://youtu.be/OxiAikEk2vU?t=276

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: Peter Kreeft – Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    To repeat, atheists need God to be real in order for them to even have the capability of trying to oppose Him.

    “In other words, the non-Christian needs the truth of the Christian religion in order to attack it. As a child needs to sit on the lap of its father in order to slap the father’s face, so the unbeliever, as a creature, needs God the Creator and providential controller of the universe in order to oppose this God. Without this God, the place on which he stands does not exist. He cannot stand in a vacuum.”
    – Cornelius Van Til, Essays on Christian Education (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company: Phillipsburg, NJ, 1979).

  232. 232
    jerry says:

    I gradually started to question what I had been taught and found that the arguments and evidence to support Christian claims just weren’t there

    The argument for Christianity is very simple

    (1) there is a creator/God – ID does a great job of supporting/justifying that belief as well as traditional logic.
    (2) Jesus is God or sent by God – the New Testament is the most documented series of writings in history. If they were made up, they were incredibly unlikely made up documents.
    (3) Jesus started a religion/Church. – obvious from these early documents

    So which of the three is unbelievable? (1) and (3) are no brainers as well documented/justified. So it has to be (2).

    (2) is not the province of ID except for possibly The Shroud of Turin.

    So which arguments/which evidence are just not there? That seems to be a silly claim. Everything is extremely well documented.

  233. 233
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    My personal belief is that the right to life should be extended to conception or, more practically, that any detectable prenatal entity, be it zygote, blastocyst, embryo or fetus, should be automatically presumed to have the right to life.

    That is surprising and very good to see. Surprising because I misjudged how you would have reacted – I would have bet against your taking that view. But it tells me again, I’ve learned from bad experience — it’s not good to judge someone, atheist or not, on these moral issues until the person has a chance to explain. People will say it’s inconsistent with atheism, etc – but standing up for and defending life of the child in those earliest stages is something great in my book.
    It takes some insight that a lot of people in our culture don’t have.

  234. 234
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Bornagain77

    Michael Egnor
    Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence.

    Well that is a monumental luxurious roast . Truth in simple words is like a double edged sword. The face of atheists is full of cuts, bruises and they tell us they are masters of the double edged sword.
    Yes, for sure…

    To repeat, atheists need God to be real in order for them to even have the capability of trying to oppose Him.

    True but their unoriginal comments(that they copy-paste from atheists websites) are for people who believe in God with simplicity and haven’t thought before at all logical fallacies of atheists. But this is part of the trial for weak Christians and part of adding more sins for atheists. :))) Atheists involuntarily doing a very good job for God . God didn’t ask them to do that therefore God won’t reward them because atheists had no intention to help God but they did it anyway.

  235. 235
    ET says:

    seversky:

    Once again, if God is all-knowing and all-powerful then nothing happens but by His will.

    Just because you can say it doesn’t make it so. Grow up.

    If human beings are capable of behaving in ways He finds offensive then that is how they must have been designed by Him.

    So what? We all still have to take responsibility for our actions. Do you even have a point?

    It is irrational therefore for either you or He to blame humanity for being the way they were designed to be.

    It’s the responsibility for your actions thing, duh.

    Of course, one way out of this problem would be to drop the claims of omniscience and omnipotence.

    Only people who cannot think say there is a problem. And here you are.

  236. 236
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    I was raised a Christian and initially accepted what I was taught about the faith without question. Over time, however, I gradually started to question what I had been taught and found that the arguments and evidence to support Christian claims just weren’t there.

    It’s good to know that because you’re coming at the question with some knowledge already built-in from teaching in the past and actually having accepted it by faith. What changed for you occurred through questioning – and that means either that good answers weren’t given or that there are no good answers.
    Many people are taught something about Christianity and then they discover Darwin, for example, and their faith dies off and never returns. Other people will try to get answers but the answers make the situation worse. For example, someone arguing against evolution by using the Bible alone. That ends up creating more atheists in many cases.
    But thinking the Bible alone has all answers to science is just as simplistic as thinking that Darwin alone destroys the meaning of all religious faith. Some forms of evolution are compatible with Christianity. Even when ID says that there is a designer and evidence of design, it doesn’t mean that adaptations are not possible or that the designer just created everything from nothing.

  237. 237
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Even to raise the problem of evil is to tacitly acknowledge transcendent standards, and thus to acknowledge God’s existence.

    To argue against God you have to adopt the theistic worldview. You have to imagine the God-created world and all it entails. So, you actually have to imagine what it is like to be a believer and then accept all that a believer accepts. From that point of view, then you can criticize.
    Otherwise, if you argue against God from an atheistic-worldview – then God is having no effect on the world. God would just be “out there” – so you’d be targeting a being that has not changed the world radically by His existence.
    It’s similar to arguing against historical periods using 21st century knowledge. You have to go back mentally, and put yourself in place in the ancient worldview. You have to see things as the people did – then criticize from there.

  238. 238
    Querius says:

    Seversky @230,

    Thank you for responding. You’ve received some interesting replies already. Let me add mine.

    The professor’s name eludes me after so many years, so I spent some time last night searching through emeritus websites to try and answer your question without success. I agree that it would be interesting to find whether he left any published information about his horrifying beliefs. He’s undoubtedly dead now, and must face God in answer to his intellectual violence. I’m sure everyone in his class was shocked, but no one dared to object, sadly including me.

    I remind you of the burden of proof. Anyone who claims that God exists and wants to convert me to that belief is obliged to provide arguments and evidence to support that claim.

    Rest assured that no one has the power to wrestle you into belief in something that you don’t want to believe in. But, I would say that we know the universe could not have created itself, nor that Nothing (non-existence) has the power to create Everything.

    Theoretical physicist Laurence Krauss claims that all that’s required for Everything to come out of Nothing is “gravity.” But, besides no one knowing what gravity really is and considering Einstein’s theory that gravity is a distortion of space-time, I think it’s relatively safe to believe that gravity cannot exist in or transcend Nothing. The belief in the multiverse is outside the reach of the scientific method and is fundamentally no different than a belief in God.

    I was raised a Christian and initially accepted what I was taught about the faith without question. Over time, however, I gradually started to question what I had been taught and found that the arguments and evidence to support Christian claims just weren’t there.

    It’s been said that “God has no grandchildren” in the sense that you must question the faith you were raised in and have the power of a freewill choice. You’ve taken the first step, but whether you take a second step depends on the following:
    2. Are you willing to be open to the existence of God.
    3. Are you willing to experience a gentle, non-coercive interaction with the Holy Spirit.
    4. Are you willing to follow where that coaxing leads you?

    Having pounded on my beliefs and evidences in my own life, I might be able to remove some roadblocks and blind alleys, but not before you take the previous steps.

    As Blaise Pascal wrote in The Pensées, “Christian evidences are evidences for Christians.”

    -Q

  239. 239
    JVL says:

    jerry: the New Testament is the most documented series of writings in history. If they were made up, they were incredibly unlikely made up documents.

    Really? We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels! Also, there is a dearth of confirming evidence from other sources.

  240. 240
    jerry says:

    Really? We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels! Also, there is a dearth of confirming evidence from other sources.

    Watch.

    https://alphausa.org/alpha-with-nicky-gumbel-preview#episode-5940245e579fb316e48c7eb2

  241. 241
    jerry says:

    Every once in awhile Scott Adams produces a great Dilbert cartoon. Here is one today about truth telling.

    https://dilbert.com/strip/2021-09-17?creator=Dilbert_Daily

  242. 242
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    JVL
    Really? We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels! Also, there is a dearth of confirming evidence from other sources.

    🙂 Another reliable atheist has been directed here(against his will) by the chemical reactions from his brain to teach us about Gospels .

  243. 243
    Querius says:

    Jerry,
    Brilliant presentation, great choice!

    JVL,
    Probably a waste of keystrokes, but . . .

    Matthew’s account was written from a Jewish perspective. Matthew’s Hebrew name was Levi and he was a tax collector. Jesus chose Matthew to be one of his original twelve followers.

    Mark was a young Jewish man from Jerusalem with family ties to Cyprus. Mark was mentored by Peter, another one of the twelve apostles. Most scholars believe that Mark wrote down Peter’s account of the life of Jesus, translating it into Greek.

    Luke wrote his account in excellent Greek from the perspective of a well-educated physician and historian. Luke was a close friend and travel companion of the apostle Paul.

    The fourth account is anonymous, but attributed to the apostle John in collaboration with an unknown person fluent in Greek. There have been speculations that it might have been written by Lazarus or by Thomas (for some very good reasons), but . . .

    – Irenaeus, writing at about AD 200, says that the Beloved Disciple was John
    – Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus (AD 189–198), refers to John’s association with the Gospel in his letter to Victor the Bishop of Rome
    – Clement of Alexandria (c. AD 200) agrees
    – The Latin Muratorian Canon (AD 180–200) also agrees

    Each of these four gospel accounts record events, teachings, miracles, and encounters involving Jesus. There are varying degrees of overlap and variation between the narratives. The variations are consistent with what is
    expected from independent eye-witness testimony rather than collusion.

    See Cold-Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace, a retired cold-case homicide detective from Southern California who examines the gospels using the same methods he used for interviewing witnesses in murder investigations.

    Naturally, none of this evidence is relevant to you and you will continue to propagate your grossly misinformed opinion.

    -Q

  244. 244
    JVL says:

    Jerry: Watch. https://alphausa.org/alpha-with-nicky-gumbel-preview#episode-5940245e579fb316e48c7eb2

    That doesn’t answer, and no one can, who wrote the Gospels. Josephus and Tacitus both attest to historicity of Jesus up to the crucifixion but most scholars consider references to the resurrection as later interpolations.

    I was just saying I don’t think the Christian view of Jesus is all that well documented by contemporary source material.

  245. 245
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Q

    Irenaeus, writing at about AD 200, says that the Beloved Disciple was John

    And Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp – who knew the apostle John personally.
    There’s no real doubt about who wrote the Gospels. There is no one other than the authors who signed them that has been proposed (with any scholarly credibility). The scholarly consensus on this is strong.

  246. 246
    Querius says:

    JVL,

    Really? We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels! Also, there is a dearth of confirming evidence from other sources.

    After getting refuted on your precious assertion, you write

    I was just saying I don’t think the Christian view of Jesus is all that well documented by contemporary source material.

    How many hostile accounts and secular references from that time would it take to convince you?

    How many contemporary copies of the gospels would it take to convince you of the reliability of the text?

    I think I already know the answer.

    -Q

  247. 247
    jerry says:

    I was just saying I don’t think the Christian view of Jesus is all that well documented by contemporary source material.

    You’re pointing to an obscure small group of poor common people and their beliefs/activities are the best documented writings of the time. They were peasants/fishermen and were outcasts in their environment. Who would spend their time writing about these fools.

    Amazing!!!

    The documents are from several sources and written shortly after Jesus’s lifetime and early copies exist. As I said the best documented writings of anything from antiquity.

    And a lot of people died for their beliefs.

  248. 248
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,
    Yes, John working with another person fluent in Greek is most likely the author due to the sources you mentioned.

    Vernard Eller’s The Beloved Disciple makes the case for Lazarus in part based on the reference to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” mentioned in John 11:1-5 referring to Lazarus. Perhaps John and Lazarus collaborated for this account.

    -Q

  249. 249
    bornagain77 says:

    Per Querius

    JVL,

    Really? We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels! Also, there is a dearth of confirming evidence from other sources.

    After getting refuted on your precious assertion, you write

    I was just saying I don’t think the Christian view of Jesus is all that well documented by contemporary source material.

    How many hostile accounts and secular references from that time would it take to convince you?

    How many contemporary copies of the gospels would it take to convince you of the reliability of the text?

    I think I already know the answer.

    -Q

    To add another interesting tidbit, JVL, (who has defended Darwinian atheism from time to time), (falsely) claimed that “We don’t even know who wrote the Gospels!”

    Yet if Darwinian atheism were actually true, then there are no authors. PERIOD! Authors simply do not exist in the Darwinian scheme of things.

    As Paul Nelson explained, if the naturalism that undergirds Darwinian thought were actually true then, “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.”

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
    Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Assessing the Damage MN Does to Freedom of Inquiry
    Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural? Who knows?,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    And as George Ellis explained, “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    So for JVL to (falsely) claim that nobody knows “who wrote” the gospels is for him to ignore a rather large and glaring elephant in his Darwinian living room. Namely, if Darwinian atheism were actually true then authors who, via their own volition, write books, simply don’t exist on the Darwinian scheme of things.

    The Darwinian insanity of denying the existence of authors aside, it is also interesting to note that the New Testament was correct in its prediction that life had an author a few thousand years before DNA was even known about,

    Acts 3:15
    You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    To point out the obvious, for the New Testament to predict that life had an author two thousand years before DNA was even known about is a rather amazing and stunning prediction to have confirmed by modern science. If JVL is not impressed by that fact, I’m sure the Christian founders of modern science would have, never-the-less, been very impressed by that fact.

    Supplemental note:

    Harvard cracks DNA storage, crams 700 terabytes of data into a single gram – Sebastian Anthony – August 17, 2012
    Excerpt: A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard’s Wyss Institute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA, smashing the previous DNA data density record by a thousand times.,,, Just think about it for a moment: One gram of DNA can store 700 terabytes of data. That’s 14,000 50-gigabyte Blu-ray discs… in a droplet of DNA that would fit on the tip of your pinky. To store the same kind of data on hard drives — the densest storage medium in use today — you’d need 233 3TB drives, weighing a total of 151 kilos. In Church and Kosuri’s case, they have successfully stored around 700 kilobytes of data in DNA — Church’s latest book, in fact — and proceeded to make 70 billion copies (which they claim, jokingly, makes it the best-selling book of all time!) totaling 44 petabytes of data stored.
    http://www.extremetech.com/ext.....ingle-gram

  250. 250
    Bob O'H says:

    SA @ 216 –

    Life does not belong to us. That’s the essential point for every human on earth to think about and accept. The life of Bob O’H doesn’t belong to you – as strange as that may seem. You didn’t create your own life. You also didn’t create Bob O’H. That person was created and given to “you” – even the “you” here is not something you made.
    If your own life belongs to your creator, then it is His.

    OK, thanks. I can see your logic.

    So, it wouldn’t be immoral for God to take children out of this life and bring them to live with Him forever in heaven — right? You can see that, I’m sure.

    It conflicts with notions of God giving us free will, though. But I’m not sure to what extent that’s considered a moral issue.

    In fact, taking children out of this life where there could be misery and crimes against them, and taking them to a place of eternal peace and happiness … how could that be immoral?

    True, but then would not rescuing them when you could be considered immoral? I guess that’s just one aspect of the problem of evil, wish I guess is an issue best left for another day.

  251. 251
    Bob O'H says:

    LCD @ 222 – it seems that you have a very different idea about what killing is. I don’t think it’s one many other people would agree with: by your definition, killing is impossible because we all have immortal souls. That makes not breaking one of the 10 commandments a bit easier, at least.

  252. 252
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    It conflicts with notions of God giving us free will, though.

    Only to those with very limited minds.

  253. 253
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob O’H

    True, but then would not rescuing them when you could be considered immoral?

    As you say, this is an aspect of the problem of evil and it’s complex because we only see part of the story. In the end, everything works out to perfect justice. Some people live a long life, others short. Some have a lot of advantages for things, others few. Some have knowledge, others none. Some had help and prayer and mercy from God, some didn’t know anything about God.
    In the end, advantages are weighed against disadvantages. How the person used the talents he had, what he did with his life, what he contributed – how he helped others, all of those go into it.
    Jesus gives the story of the widow who gave just one small coin as a gift. He explains that is greater than people who gave much bigger sums of money in charity – because she gave everything she had. So, it’s what we do with what we have.
    In the end, we have to show ourselves worthy – that’s another big issue.
    We receive the gift of life. What did we do with it? Are we worthy of mercy or punishment? What do we deserve in the end?
    Enemies of God and of life and of other human beings – people who are committed to pleasing themself only at the cost of everyone else, and with no gratitude to God for anything — and who cause pain and misery for many — we hope they will change and turn on a good path.
    But if not … let’s just say it’s not a good situation to be an enemy of God. He does good for us. Good should be returned for good. We understand that from life itself.

  254. 254
    Bob O'H says:

    In the end, we have to show ourselves worthy – that’s another big issue.
    We receive the gift of life. What did we do with it? Are we worthy of mercy or punishment? What do we deserve in the end?

    But if God takes away that chance, to show we are worthy…?

  255. 255
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Bob

    But if God takes away that chance, to show we are worthy…?

    It’s definitely a mystery because we can’t see all the variables that go into the outcome. By faith we accept that everyone has a full chance and opportunity to show this – or with the case of children, it won’t be needed because they are innocent in that state (especially the baptized).
    For any adults, every day is a chance to show our best. So God gives us a chance while we’re living. Why do some people never care about this? Would they have changed if God just gave them a few more years? Why would God cut them off when they are deep in sin and violence?
    It’s like Lazarus and the Rich Man. The Rich Man is in hell after persecuting Lazarus during life with no mercy. But then the Rich Man asks Lazarus to go and tell his brothers that they need to repent because Hell is very bad and very real. But Lazarus tells the Rich Man that he can’t do it. “If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets, they won’t listen even if one would come back from the dead.”

    To me, that’s one of the most frightening and “real” stories in the Bible. Some people are arrogant in their wealth and others suffer a lot. In that story, we see how it works out. The Rich Man asks God for mercy in hell – and God says “No – you received good things in your life and Lazarus evil”.
    That’s where I always get uncomfortable. I’ve received many good things in this life. Am I like the Rich Man?
    But the point here is that the Rich Man’s brethren wouldn’t repent even if Lazarus came to them from the dead. Jesus wasn’t even talking about the Gospel. “If they don’t listen to Moses and the Prophets” – in other words, they’re totally closed off from spiritual truths. The Old Testament was good enough to tell them not to revel in their luxuries and watch others suffer in need.

    But they’re so locked-into their own mind, they can’t change. They don’t want to show themselves worthy.
    God eventually brings their life to an end – and they’re heading for the place where the Rich Man ended. God is merciful and cuts their life short because if it continued, they would do worse evils, hurt more people on earth and their punishment hereafter would be even worse.
    So, they get a chance. The Rich Man had a chance. So do all of us while we’re living. We can show ourselves worthy of mercy and to be a person who cares about others and cares about the goodness of God – basically to love God and neighbor. Very basic human things.
    But we don’t know if we have tomorrow. If we need to show more worthiness we can pray and ask for more time (as I do) but also just trust that God will bring us to worthiness and sanctification. We can’t do it by ourselves. Our creator can create a good, living soul within us and forgive our sins.
    That’s the “divine economy” – good and evil, reward and punishment – balanced out in justice and mercy.

  256. 256
    Querius says:

    Bob O’H,

    But if God takes away that chance, to show we are worthy…?

    I think you misunderstood Silver Asiatic. He’s not saying that salvation is actually based on our own worthiness, but rather that people typically do rely on their worthiness.

    Trying to gain worthiness on our own is never successful–everyone fails in respect to keeping the 10 Commandments. That’s why God in the form of Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross for us in our place.

    However, God has mercy on babies and children below the age of their accountability because they were denied a choice. You should not begrudge them a free pass as a result, nor fault God for his mercy on them while you yourself are in peril of God’s judgment.

    Someday when it’s too late, it will be obvious to you that the brilliant design genius of God in the creation could not have occurred as a result of, for example, a random explosion in a chemical factory.

    -Q

  257. 257
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    He’s not saying that salvation is actually based on our own worthiness …

    Well, I’m saying that we have to be worthy of it. We have to be turned towards the good and not evil – and this is the result of our choice. We have to make the choice for God and heaven, and then stick with it. That’s the path of virtue that is open to every human being. And yes, more than just virtue – the sacrificial death of Jesus provided the unique means for forgiveness for all people.
    But then, how we actually become worthy is a different matter.
    Can we forgive our own sins against God and neighbor? Clearly no – we ask God for mercy and forgiveness. So, becoming worthy is not something we just declare for our self. But we have to do our part continually. Yes, God our creator changes us – by grace, love, power, relationship, infused charity, divine virtues – all of those things. That’s why we pray. We ask for these gifts. That’s the only way to do it. But in the end, we have to show ourselves as deserving of the reward.

    Some Bible quotes on how we must show ourselves worthy:

    He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

    Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come.

    Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

    God gives us the chance in this life. We are invited to the feast – we have to put on the wedding garment of prayer and good works. We have to take up the cross of being generous, kind and truthful – and a lot of hardships we don’t like. We have to detach even from family members and friends if they become an obstacle to our spiritual growth.

    There’s kind of a radical Protestant view that says “we can do nothing at all”, but not all Protestants believe that. What it should be is that “we need God’s help to do good – but even with God’s help, we have to do our part, we have to make choices.” We have a responsibility.

    Yes, we all have flaws, we have all done wrong and need to be forgiven, and we need to try to repair the wrong we have done as best we can. But we have to make the effort.

    We ask God for forgiveness through the death of Jesus — He did the penance that it was impossible for humanity to do.

  258. 258
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic,
    Yes, and the way I understand it from the New Testament, after we accept the free gift of forgiveness and salvation that we cannot possibly earn or be worthy of, it’s normal that our lives and attitudes will change–namely a fruitfulness of love, joy, kindness, generosity, forgiving other people, and so on with the help of the Holy Spirit working in them.

    To your point, all these changes will certainly manifest themselves continually in tangible ways, or the person is a phony and not worthy of the gift they were offered.

    -Q

  259. 259
    vividbleau says:

    Bob OH

    “But if God takes away that chance, to show we are worthy…?”

    Actually we can never be worthy

    “Romans 3:9–12 (ESV): both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:
    “None is righteous, no, not one;
    11  no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    12  All have turned aside; together they have become WORTHLESS
    no one does good,
    not even one.”

    Jesus did not come for those who think they are healthy He came for those who know they are sick.

    Vivid

  260. 260
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I pause to come by, I think a few notes will perhaps help:

    1] This thread long since drifted from the OP focus, “Lutheran religious studies prof asks, Is methodological naturalism racist?” . . . on creation of a hostile climate for Afro-Americans in a sub discipline otherwise attractive to them.

    2] Methodological naturalism is arguably a question-begging imposition and ideological distortion of science away from seeking truth about the observable world informed by empirical evidence and reasoning reviewed by the community, into a priori imposition of evolutionary materialism as say Lewontin admitted.

    3] That imposition leads to polarisation with the culture and with groups in it who are inclined to theism, so can indeed impose an institutional barrier to minorities inclined to theism.

    4] However, the bigger issue is ideological captivity of science to evolutionary materialistic scientism used to further take the wider culture captive to radical secularist humanism and linked dubious policies and marches of folly and chaos.

    5] Given known rhetorical patterns, it is unsurprising that the thread was rapidly diverted to more or less typical rhetoric targetting the heritage of Christendom, the Christian Faith and its main source documentation, the Bible. In particular, God is a moral monster and oh the documentation is dubious and the like.

    6] As some of those raising such are long term objectors, they know these go beyond the proper focus of UD, and that if one genuinely seeks serious answers such can be found in other web venues where that is focal and backed by people with relevant advanced qualifications. So, the question of toxic, tainting distraction arises, implying that the original point from OP is on target but inconvenient.

    7] Of course, repeated distraction of a leading blog on the design inference into debates on Bible etc opens the rhetorical inference that oh see this ID stuff is just Creationism dressed up in a cheap tuxedo etc. Thus there is intent to pose a dilemma, allow hostile accusations and tainting to pass unanswered or find oneself tainted as leading a fraudulent pseudoscientific agit prop campaign.

    8] As those who tried to entrap Jesus over a woman caught in the act of adultery [where was the man?] soon discovered, this sort of entrapping, toxic false dilemma is a destructive fallacy that points rather to those who play such rhetorical cards.

    9] Shortly before my ongoing life crisis, I had to address much the same tactic here at UD. The first thing is that as our weak argument correctives clearly and adequately document, the design inference stands on its own empirical merits, independent of any particular religious tradition or movement such as Biblical Creationism, old or young earth. Those who habitually resort to these tactics do so in the teeth of readily accessible correction and so are promoters of polarising falsehoods. Such must be corrected.

    10] In outline, start with the known centrality of complex coded 4-state digital algorithmic information in the heart of the living cell. Language applied to computation using astonishing molecular nanotechnologies. There is no other empirically warranted source of such computational information but intelligently directed deeply knowledgeable contrivance and configuration. The inference to design is well warranted for the world of life from the cell on up.

    11] Set that in the context of an observed cosmos — the only actually observed cosmos — that credibly began some 14 BYA, and which shows considerable fine tuning that supports C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life. Start with the fine tuning to get to the element abundance pattern and related physics, chemistry, galactic and circumstellar habitable zones etc for such life. Cosmological design is a warranted empirically grounded inference. With again no reference to any particular traditions or movements.

    12] Further to this, we can readily see that ciceronian first duties of reason are inescapable first principles of our morally governed rationality: to truth, to right reason, to prudence [including warrant], to sound conscience, to neighbour, so to fairness and justice, etc. The attempted objector will find himself unable to avoid appealing to what he would overthrow, and one attempting to prove will find herself similarly appealing to such duties at every step. These are start-points of rationality, indicating that moral government is foundational to a world with creatures such as we are.

    13] So, it is highly reasonable to hold that the required necessary being root of a contingent cosmos and of whatever wider reality might be, is the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being. One worthy of loyalty and of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good that accords with our evident, morally governed nature. Again, independent of particular religious traditions, indeed at core this is Plato and Cicero speaking with many others. It is reasonable to be an ethical theist, and sciences should not build in barriers to such.

    14] But then, what of the Dawkins indictment and the like?

    Dawkins, The God Delusion: “The God of the Old Testament [= The God of Israel . . . ] is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully . . . ” [Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Great Britain: Bantam Press, 2006, 31. Kindly, see links and remarks in response at the just linked.]

    15] This of course, comes from the same man who indicts those he targets as “ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked,” while failing to understand not only the blinding nature of out of control rage and vituperation, but that to argue on the binding nature of moral obligation one must have an adequate foundation for such binding moral obligation. After centuries of debates, it remains that there is only one such, the God of ethical theism. So, the commenters above are quite right to point out this fatal flaw in atheistical appeals to anti-God arguments from evil.

    16] And that is before we note that 50 years ago now, Plantinga broke the back of the deductive argument from evil by showing that the theistic set is coherent. That’s why that argument and linked inductive arguments have lost much of their persuasive force. At least, with the reasonable and reasonably informed.

    17] Next, there are considerable responses to the Dawkins accusation and the like that are readily accessible, if one is perplexed and seeks genuine answers. A 101 start is here on. (Where, we should note that the culture agenda target is to try to shame and silence those who adhere to the heritage of our Judaeo-Christian roots, opening the way to aggressive, essentially amoral secularisation and the nihilistic principle that might and manipulation make ‘right,’ ‘rights,’ ‘truth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘knowledge,’ ‘science,’ ‘history’ [= victory propaganda], ‘policy,’ ‘law,’ etc. Those caught up in this tide of accusation should be aware of what it leads to.)

    18] As a start, try Copan here and in his writings. There are many others who have seriously tacked these themes such as William Lane Craig, e.g. here.

    Coming back, it is clear that methodological naturalism as an imposition is not a legitimate epistemological principle of science, so it is unsurprising that it has pernicious effects. Going beyond, the distractions and associated accusations and false dilemmas have answers and we need to be aware of where some would take our civilisation. I doubt that many want to end up there.

    KF

  261. 261
    Querius says:

    KF,
    Wonderfully articulated and stepped through!

    Since there are some who continually impose and propagate methodoligical naturalism in spite of numerous and overwhelming evidences to the contrary (fine tuning, origin of the big bang, origin of stupendous design, origin of mind-boggling information in nature, the biochemical origin of life, the interaction of entropy, the shattering experimental discoveries in quantum mechanics, the persistent racism within Darwinism, and so on), questions of “why” emerge.

    1. Why do some detractors care when they are already intractably wedded to MN?
    2. Why do some detractors not seem to interested in cogent dialog for learning purposes?
    3. Why do some detractors repeatedly raise the same debunked objections from the past?
    4. What kinds of motivations impel different detractors? Self justification? Mockery? Debate? Gamesmanship? Trolling and disruption? Or perhaps a cry for help?

    Back to the OP . . .

    Robert F. Shedinger came across an open access 2020 paper in Social Psychology of Education, “Why are there so few ethnic minorities in ecology and evolutionary biology?

    How many jobs are available in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology? How employable is a degree in Extraterrestrial Biology, to use an extreme example?

    “Ethnic minorities,” especially recent immigrants, are keenly aware of the necessity of getting a job, so they choose practical fields of education. As an immigrant myself, this has also been true for my family.

    But African American undergraduates seem to be aware of the absolute requirement that EEB research be done in accordance with methodological (and de facto metaphysical) naturalism. Their religious inclinations will therefore be in conflict with the culture within the EEB community and it will be difficult for them to feel a sense of belonging in that community. – Robert F. Shedinger

    Yes! Many people, including people of color, have noticed that there’s quiet hostility against authentic Christians in the U.S. who are not “true believers” in Darwinism and methodological naturalism. This results in them being filtered out from positions in academia, from high-level promotions in business, and from the media.

    I once received a call from someone associated with public broadcasting interested in interviewing me for a program. When they discovered in the initial, informal phone interview that I was a Christian, the conversation ended something like this:

    Interviewer: “You didn’t tell me you’re a Christian!”
    Me: “Oh, was that important?”
    Interviewer: “That won’t work at all.” (click)

    Let me reaffirm that ID is not specifically Christian. All ID provides is a scientific alternative to a MN paradigm in research. There’s no logical reason that science must presuppose MN, Uniformitarianism, or Darwinism, and then try to rationalize science to fit these ideas. Similarly, I’m opposed to trying to syncretize science with the Bible, if for no other reason that science is always changing while the Bible is not.

    -Q

  262. 262
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    1. Why do some detractors care when they are already intractably wedded to MN?
    2. Why do some detractors not seem to interested in cogent dialog for learning purposes?
    3. Why do some detractors repeatedly raise the same debunked objections from the past?
    4. What kinds of motivations impel different detractors? Self justification? Mockery? Debate? Gamesmanship? Trolling and disruption? Or perhaps a cry for help?

    All these are necessary for Christians that’s why are allowed by God . Think :”Cross”. Just trust God and live like a Christian. This world is made by God to produce saints(to replace fallen angels) everything else is garbage.

  263. 263
    Seversky says:

    Silver Asiatic/216

    If your own life belongs to your creator, then it is His. So, it wouldn’t be immoral for God to take children out of this life and bring them to live with Him forever in heaven — right? You can see that, I’m sure

    The idea that God somehow owns the living creatures He creates is morally problematical because it is too close to slaves being owned by others. I would argue that any principle which asserts one person can be the property of another is immoral.

    Human parents are regarded as being responsible for the care and well-being of their children but they are not regarded as having perpetual ownership of them. Once the child reaches an age where they are held to be capable of being self-sufficient they are on their own.

    In fact, taking children out of this life where there could be misery and crimes against them, and taking them to a place of eternal peace and happiness … how could that be immoral?

    If it would not be immoral for God to do that then by the same argument, parents killing their children to preserve them from possible misery and crimes would also not be immoral.

  264. 264
    Querius says:

    Seversky,
    The problem is when you try to anthropomorphize God.

    God created space and time and does not have human limitations involving space and time. God doesn’t live within our space and time. God doesn’t sit on a cloud as a throne and doesn’t have a long, white beard. God also establishes truth and justice, but humans are limited to a subset.

    For example, if you throw away a piece of paper, is that the moral equivalent of murder? What if you destroy life by eating it? Murder? What if you turn off your cell phone. Murder? Slavery?

    -Q

  265. 265
    vividbleau says:

    KF

    Welcome back I hope things are settling down for you
    Vivid

  266. 266
    Hanks says:

    Seversky
    The idea that God somehow owns the living creatures He creates is morally problematical because it is too close to slaves being owned by others.

    God and humans are different categories so your mixture is an ontological/category error . Then morally problematic is a human that have few years of experience on Earth and knows almost nothing thinks that is smart enough to judge the Creator of Universe. Go figure that.

    If it would not be immoral for God to do that then by the same argument, parents killing their children to preserve them from possible misery and crimes would also not be immoral.

    Same ontological error.

  267. 267
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    To your point, all these changes will certainly manifest themselves continually in tangible ways, or the person is a phony and not worthy of the gift they were offered.

    Good point. I see it in slightly a different way – for example, it’s difficult to think that a believing person after, say, 25 years of ministry who later falls away – never really was sincere at the beginning, but we’re saying the same thing basically in different terms.

  268. 268
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Seversky

    Human parents are regarded as being responsible for the care and well-being of their children

    Yes, exactly. We don’t use the term “ownership” but parents have rights to their children in the same way.

    but they are not regarded as having perpetual ownership of them.

    They are regarded as having perpetual parentage of their children and are always in that role – nothing can take it away. And in healthy relationships, children always reverence their parents, show them respect and care for them. It’s the same with God – He always has parentage of His children. Replacing “parent” with “owner” is your usage here and not what I would say. Yes, parents have the right to guide and make decisions for children and they do have ownership of responsbility for them. God has the same for His children. Being an adult in the family of God does not mean being free to act against what God wants – given that is acting against ultimate good, and therefore choosing evil.

    Once the child reaches an age where they are held to be capable of being self-sufficient they are on their own.

    As above, a child is never not the son or daughter of parents. The child, no matter how old, is never independent that way. Moreso, being “on one’s own” as separate from God – who is not only the creator but the continual sustainer of one’s life is self-destructive.

    If it would not be immoral for God to do that then by the same argument, parents killing their children to preserve them from possible misery and crimes would also not be immoral.

    You’re not thinking this through. Parents are not the creators of those children. Their parentage is secondary – it’s a privilege given to them. They do not ultimately own the origin of their children. Taking their lives would be usurping authority they don’t have.
    Additionally, what you have to keep in mind (you seem to forget) is the concept of “eternal life” and “immortal soul”.
    God gives this in exchange for taking the life of a person on earth.
    It’s an exchange that a parent cannot give.
    The parent does not have the authority to take the child, created by God – in the same way, I would not have the right to take the life of someone else’s child. If a parent takes a life, he cannot replace it with eternal life. Only God can.

    A key thing to remember — everything you have has been given to you. This is either directly or indirectly. You don’t have real pure and independent ownership of anything. Yes, you have responsibility, for example, for your actions and thoughts because they are “yours” in a limited sense. But the capability for life did not come from you – it came from your creator.
    In that highly dependent condition, it’s difficult to see how you can make judgements against the one who gives life, creates the moral law and even gave you the capability to think and understand.

    Aside from your vices, since, virtues and goodness – nothing much accompanies your soul upon death. This how we can see the limits of our ownership.

  269. 269
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LCD

    This world is made by God to produce saints(to replace fallen angels)

    Great thought – perfectly stated.
    That thought makes sense of everything. Whatever we go through is meant for that exact goal – making us saints. This world is not meant to be an utopia. We certainly try to make it better, but in the end it’s temporary. Every generation has its crosses – for the purpose of helping us and perfecting us in the struggle.

  270. 270
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    What if you destroy life by eating it? Murder?

    It’s a great question. There have been human societies that permitted and encouraged cannibalism. In South America, Christian missionaries put an end to that (at a high cost in the struggle to do so). Why do we continue to hold the Christian idea?
    Other societies even today consider it a crime of sorts to eat certain animal life. Is it?

    20 out of 28 states in India had various laws regulating the act of slaughtered cow, prohibiting the slaughter or sale of cows.

    Western atheism adopts the Christian ideas on these matters as if they’re self-evident, but they’re not – they come from theology.

  271. 271
    ram says:

    Are Hindu-theists allowed here? Or only Christians?

  272. 272
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @267,
    Good points all. On the subject of parentage, my wife and I always assumed that our children were entrusted to us by God. We don’t “own” them, but rather it’s our responsibility and ministry to raise them.

    This profound responsibility includes discovering what special and unique gifts each of them were born with, and then to help them flourish in those gifts. In other words, we didn’t try to force them toward any field or career, but to counsel, encourage, and facilitate their growth.

    -Q

  273. 273
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, this one will not settle down for a long time. My attenuated monitoring and eventual intervention above reflect a commitment to carry forward my remaining life purpose. KF

  274. 274
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Querius

    This profound responsibility includes discovering what special and unique gifts each of them were born with, and then to help them flourish in those gifts. In other words, we didn’t try to force them toward any field or career, but to counsel, encourage, and facilitate their growth.

    That approach shows not only respect for the freedom of the children, but accepting that we don’t really know what is the best path for them. Our job is to collaborate with God’s guidance.
    So that’s the huge difference. God may choose to take a young child out of this life because He knows the whole curve of the trajectory – the peaks and valleys. He also responds to all prayers offered – from parents to even strangers who pray for all people, and from each individual.
    All of that gets weighed in the balance. What gifts did we receive? Some have more, some less.
    Those who have been given more, more will be required of them.
    For me, it’s easy to blame atheists for lack of faith, but some people simply did not receive the best things in youth, or as we said, some people were badly abused. Others are proud and arrogant because they feel hatred for themselves and want to over-compensate.
    A lot of atheism is opposition to one’s father.
    Faith of the Fatherless by Paul Vitz, psychiatrist – that book talks about it. Breakdown in relationship with father in the family leads to distance and even hatred of God as Father.

  275. 275
    Querius says:

    Silver Asiatic @274,
    Well said.

    Breakdown in relationship with father in the family leads to distance and even hatred of God as Father.

    Ouch. I’ve never considered this, but I can see where it applies.

    I wonder how much teachers and counselors actually promote the break between children and parents under the guise of “independence,” substituting their own atheistic beliefs as the rational alternative.

    In class, a professor can embarrass and intimidate a student’s upbringing or non-Marxist opinions simply by asserting their position of authority by eye-rolling. I know I had this experience in a few college classes.

    -Q

  276. 276
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ram

    Are Hindu-theists allowed here?

    Yes, definitely. ID is not aligned with any specific religion.
    One of the best ID books I’ve read was written by a Hindu polytheist group. All of the facts and science are the same as Christian IDists (although they stuck some Hindu theology in at the end, in the way Christians put some Bible verses – but aside from that the same).

  277. 277
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Q

    In class, a professor can embarrass and intimidate a student’s upbringing or non-Marxist opinions simply by asserting their position of authority by eye-rolling. I know I had this experience in a few college classes.

    Exactly. They use their power to silence any opposition – without ever having to give an argument.

  278. 278
    ram says:

    Silver Asiatic,

    What is the name of the book?

  279. 279
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Ram –

    Natures IQ: Extraordinary Animal Behaviors that Defy Evolution, by Balaz Hornyansky & Istvan Tasi

    It’s a work of art – in it’s ideas, science, observations of nature, logic and visual display.
    The last chapter tries to identify the designer using Vedic theology and that part didn’t do much for me, but that’s just the philosophy of the authors. For all the rest, their science is great and this is a great insight on the amazing variety of animal behaviors that ornament our world.

  280. 280
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, there are even atheists who are ID supporters. KF

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