Intelligent Design

The Benefit of Arguments at UD

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Probably one of the most daunting aspects of carrying on debates either about proper critical thinking, theism vs atheism, or intelligent design and its implications is the seeming implacable nature of those we debate here and elsewhere. It most often seems that no amount of logic, evidence or even reasonable discourse makes one iota of difference to our interlocutors; however, I think this is probably because most of those who will take the time to seek our position out and criticize it on its home turf are already fully committed against such positions, and are often emotionally entrenched.

Not only has my time here at UD aided in my personal transition from atheist to theist, I’d like to let the regulars here know that because of the information and arguments I found here, and after honing my understanding and my ability to deliver that information and those arguments through years of participation here, that time spent has had a nice payoff.

A few weeks ago my family and I were sitting in my living room talking one day when my adult granddaughter (mother of my great-granddaughter), who was either agnostic or an atheist, out of the blue asked me why I believed in god. I presented evidence and argument concerning cosmological fine-tuning, bio-semiotics and cellular nano-technology, and also first-cause and moral arguments. She was really interested, but didn’t say much at the time. Some time later my daughter informed me that she overheard my granddaughter telling her boyfriend that since that talk she now totally believes in god because of the information and argument I was able to provide due to many years of participation here.

Every once in a while it’s nice to be reminded that, sometimes, reason and evidence can actually get through to a person.

48 Replies to “The Benefit of Arguments at UD

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    I’m sure the clarity with which you delivered the evidence for ID was excellent as well. For instance, here are a few gems of yours that I have tucked away:

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    “virtually all of science proceeds as if ID is true – it seeks elegant and efficient models; it reverse engineers biological systems; it describes evolution in teleological terms; it refers to natural forces and laws as if there is some kind of prescriptive agency guiding matter and energy; it assumes that the nature of the universe and human comprehensive capacity have some sort of truthful, factual correspondence.”
    William J Murray

    “If you do not assume the law of non-contradiction, you have nothing to argue about. If you do not assume the principles of sound reason, you have nothing to argue with. If you do not assume libertarian free will, you have no one to argue against. If you do not assume morality to be an objective commodity, you have no reason to argue in the first place.”
    – William J Murray

    I’m sure there are many more gems of yours that I have missed. The point being, that some people, such as yourself, have an admirable gift for making hard subjects easy to grasp.

  2. 2

    If ever a committed materialist left UD a little less committed, its more likely than not that they just read you, WJM.

    Thanks for being here.

  3. 3
    Barry Arrington says:

    Wonderful story WJM. And of course the phenomenon of which you speak is a two-way street. Iron sharpens iron. And as UB says, you are one of our very best steels.

  4. 4
    mike1962 says:

    You’re an excellent writer, and I always enjoy your posts, WJM.

    Nice that you had some personal payoff from your participation here.

  5. 5
    mk says:

    hi william. nice post.

    my favorite argument is the self replicating watch argument. the main atheists objection against the watch argument is that watch dosent have a self replicating system or made from organic component like dna, unlike a living things. so we cant compare between them . so what if we will find a self replicating watch with dna?, according to their logic we need to conclude that this kind of watch doesnt need a designer because it have a replicating system. but we actually know that this kind of watch in this case will make the design argument even stronger because this kind of watch is more sophisticated and complex then a regular watch.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    MK, of course, Paley made the self replicating watch argument in Ch 2 of his Natural Theology, so all the arguments against failed analogy on this point, over the past 150+ years, have been strawman fallacies. KF

  7. 7
    bill cole says:

    WJM

    Great heart warming post. I Just shared with family and close friends.

  8. 8
    Allen Shepherd says:

    I placed a comment some months ago that was removed for some reason, and so have not felt I could post. But I feel compelled today.

    This site has been of such benefit to me. I have used the arguments presented here in numerous discussions and debates. It is the best site I know for support for YEC and iD. You guys do a great job. Thanks for all the time you spend researching, arguing and honing those arguments.

  9. 9
    J-Mac says:

    WJM,

    Great story and reflection…

    Do you have any ideas as to WHY people would hang on to their set of beliefs with the exception of Nazi Regime, or directorships such as the communist countries?

  10. 10
    Pindi says:

    J-Mac@9

    Obviously because they believe they are correct. Same reason you do.

  11. 11
    Rationalitys bane says:

    Apparently your OP struck a nerve with Larry Moran.

  12. 12
    tgpeeler says:

    Glad I dropped by and got to see this. Helping to change one mind makes all of the effort that goes into understanding truth worth it.

  13. 13
    jdk says:

    Everyone hangs on to their beliefs: it’s part of human nature. The theists and IDists here are hanging on to their beliefs just as much as the atheists and materialists.

    We have to believe something: our belief systems, both personal and cultural, provide a framework in which to organize our understanding of the world, including our nature and role as a human being. We can change our beliefs ( I posted about this in the Gnosticism thread), and we can become more broad-minded and able to entertain a spectrum of beliefs without feeling unduly attached to a specific place on the spectrum, but we still have to have a belief system in order to be who we are.

    But because of our dependence on learning, we are cultural animals, and so we have to have beliefs that we are attached to – hang on to – to a large degree unless we find the right opportunities and environments to grow and change.

    In addition, people (this is a general principle) strive to protect themselves, so if someone’s belief system is challenged in an unfriendly way, most people fall back into a defensive posture about their beliefs.

    Therefore, in a place like UD, where most discussions between people with different views are often somewhat antagonistic, people are much more like to double-down on their positions rather than open themselves up a bit to examining their own positions and possibly change. People need to feel safe in order to open themselves up to change.

    And in keepin with the posting style of others who always include some quotes and links, I offer:

    Dylan, from “High Water”: “You can’t open up your mind, boys, to every conceivable point of view.”

    John Dewey: “For education to be effective, it must first be humane.”

    Don Juan, in one of Carlos Castenado’s books (paraphrased): “To help someone change, you have to be outside the circle of people pressing in on them.”

    And the ultimate story about our need to believe: from Douglas Adam’s “Dirk Gently and His Holistic Detective Agency”, the chapter on the Electric Monk. http://theelectricmonk.com/ElectricMonk.html 🙂

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    tgpeeler:

    Glad I dropped by and got to see this.

    waves!

  15. 15
    Mung says:

    jdk:

    The theists and IDists here are hanging on to their beliefs just as much as the atheists and materialists.

    jdk, I’ve run into an atheist who claims to lack belief. So what would he be holding on to? Disbelief?

  16. 16
    jdk says:

    Belief in anything? I doubt that is true about this person. It seems more likely that he meant he lacked belief in God, which he would of course as an atheist.

    No one can lack belief.

  17. 17
    Robert Byers says:

    To persuade someone is a art or science. who is so easily persuaded by what must be short and not well done arguments normal people make. We are not very good at making a case which is why lawyers are famous for making cases against other lawyers who are pretty good. there must be a curve for ability in argumentation.
    I’m not doing well with the curve although confident.
    P{eople are logical and do submit to evidence. Juries are based on this concept.
    however they do select out juries’ who they think have a bias and so it affects clear thinking.

    The truth side should be on higher ground and do a better job.
    the error side must have more problems proving thier case.
    i think iD/YEC does very well and the evolutionist/creator deniers don’t do as well in making a case. Especially when thier side is the textbook side.
    thats why I know evolutionism won’t last 15 years. its already failed where it should of mopped up resistance.

    Of coarse the problem was making a biological theory on non biological evidence. except for minor selectionism as Matthew/Darwin/Wallace observed.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: how this theist is “clinging” (and part of why this theist joins many others to hold that evolutionary materialist scientism is utterly self-falsifying and bankrupt) — I would suggest that if you want to play at worldviews grounding, there is more than one side to that story. KF

  19. 19
    Andre says:

    I will ask in this thread too;

    So lets have a conversation.

    This is in particular to our atheist friends who has been very vocal about gay rights and the people here at UD being bigots.

    I am very interested in your thoughts on this;

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....-love.html

  20. 20
    harry says:

    WJM,

    I have enjoyed your posts. It was good to hear how the efforts of theists here made a difference in your life.

    If you don’t already, let us know when you come to understand that the God you now believe in assumed our human nature and walked among us. That was the most profound event ever in human history and in natural history. The Creator became a part of His creation. The Author of human nature assumed it.

    And when you believe that that happened I expect you will be able to articulate its profound significance with the same original style and extraordinary insight you have already demonstrated here.

    God bless!

  21. 21
    J-Mac says:

    Pindi,

    I don’t necessarily disagree but I believe that there is more to it. I personally try to get to the truth whatever that may be…

    Here is my favorite quote:

    “We are just trying to get to the truth! (let’s assume both sides do that)

    1. I get it! But what you need to remember is that there’s what people want to hear, there’s what people want to believe, there’s everything else, THEN there’s the truth!

    2 . And since when it’s that OK? I can’t even believe you are saying this to me! The truth means responsibility!

    1. Exactly! Which is why everyone dreads it!”

    1.While responsibility to a “higher power” could be a factor in how people choose their beliefs, I personally believe it is predetermined early on (for a reason or two perhaps).
    People who don’t accept a higher power may have been misled by unreasonable religious beliefs.
    2. I find that some find it difficult to comprehend that If God is “omnipresent and omnipotent” He is responsible for ALL the evil in the world.

  22. 22
    kairosfocus says:

    J-Mac, cf here re problem of evil, an effectively outdated issue post Plantinga. KF

  23. 23
    buffalo says:

    Many materialists will not want to consider God, for if they do they will have to change their life. That is very scary to some. Many do not want to. They argue to justify their current lifestyle.

    But here is something sure to have them reconsider:
    Devout Catholics Have Better Sex, Study Says
    Group says Catholics have more enjoyable sex, more often. http://www.usnews.com/news/art.....better-sex

    So come on over, we do have fun. Lots of it. 🙂

  24. 24
    buffalo says:

    @J-Mac 21

    Catholics understand God to be almighty.

  25. 25
    bb says:

    jdk @13

    “Everyone hangs on to their beliefs: it’s part of human nature. The theists and IDists here are hanging on to their beliefs just as much as the atheists and materialists.”

    I think WJM was saying that he DIDN’T hang on to his belief, or disbelief as Mung noted. He responded to reason and evidence. He rejected materialism because it has no evidence and no real logic to support it.

    I think he also personally experienced something fantastic, and otherwise unexplainable, as positive evidence for God. Anecdotal? Yes, but as some have said, a vast collection of anecdotes is what you call data.

    WJM,

    Are you the same William J Murray that is the son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair? If you either confirmed or denied it in an earlier post, I missed it. Regardless, it’s always a pleasure to read your posts. God bless.

  26. 26

    bb @25:

    No, I’m not that William J. Murray.

    J-Mac @9:

    People hang onto their beliefs because, for most people, beliefs represent aspects who they are. Their beliefs are like physical appendages. Core, worldview beliefs are like organs. Logically criticizing a belief is experienced like someone trying to cut off a hand or thrusting a knife through your lung. It’s physiologically threatening and painful.

    My granddaughter wasn’t particularly committed to atheism which is why I think she was more of an actual agnostic, and I think she actually wanted to believe in god if someone could just give her intellectually satisfying reasons to do so.

    I’ve had other talks with some of my children, though, that show how deeply entrenched beliefs can be and how problematic it can be to have them challenged. I had a political discussion with one of my daughters once that left her physically sick & vomiting for a couple of days.

  27. 27

    William J. Murray: “and are often emotionally entrenched”

    It’s a deeply psychological issue. The pressure to do your best from society, family, work, one’s own ideals, is ENORMOUS. This leads people to conceive of choosing in terms of sorting out the best result, losing sight of the human spirit deciding, as well as God the holy spirit deciding. And as choosing is the mechanism of creation, this is why people become blind to creation theory.

    The result of the decision is conceived of as to follow from the facts about good and evil, which sort out the best option, and not come from the spirit making one of alternative futures the present.

  28. 28
    Rationalitys bane says:

    WJM@26, I agree. Everyone’s beliefs are deeply entrenched. As are their morals, their likes and dislikes, there sexual attractions and proclivities, etc. But neither the depth of this entrenchment, nor the number that share the same belief (etc.) makes them true.

    I’m sure that you and I share many of the same beliefs that we would both argue vociferously over but, unfortunately, without evidence to support them, they are little more than opinion. But regardless, that doesn’t make them any less important in our own lives.

  29. 29

    Rationalitys bane said:

    I agree. Everyone’s beliefs are deeply entrenched.

    No, not everyone’s.

  30. 30
    J-Mac says:

    Catholics understand God to be almighty.

    How many Catholics understand what that means?

    What’s your interpretation of “being almighty’?

  31. 31
    buffalo says:

    God can do what He sets out to do as long as it not contrary to His nature. He cannot lie, deceive, be unjust, break promises, make square circles, etc. Atheists misunderstand this distinction.

    ARTICLE I
    “I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH”

    Paragraph 3. The Almighty

    268 Of all the divine attributes, only God’s omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God’s power is loving, for he is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”.103

    “He does whatever he pleases”104

    269 The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the “Mighty One of Jacob”, the “LORD of hosts”, the “strong and mighty” one. If God is almighty “in heaven and on earth”, it is because he made them.105 Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will.106 He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: “It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm?107

    “You are merciful to all, for you can do all things”108

    270 God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us (“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”):109 finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

    271 God’s almighty power is in no way arbitrary: “In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical. Nothing therefore can be in God’s power which could not be in his just will or his wise intellect.”110

    The mystery of God’s apparent powerlessness

    272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus “the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”111 It is in Christ’s Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth “the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe”.112

    273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God’s almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ’s power.113 The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that “nothing will be impossible with God”, and was able to magnify the Lord: “For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”114

    274 “Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God’s almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe – even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature.”115

  32. 32
    jdk says:

    At least some of everyone’s bel;iefs are deeply entrenched, and other are much more malleable. AS with virtually everything, there is a spectrum of entrenched-ness.

  33. 33
    buffalo says:

    “312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you”, said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.” From the greatest moral evil ever committed – the rejection and murder of God’s only Son, caused by the sins of all men – God, by his grace that “abounded all the more”, brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.” Catholic Catechism

  34. 34
    kairosfocus says:

    I suggest the issue on entrenched beliefs is worldviews level analysis. Which seems to be at a severe discount, or at least too often dodged these days.

  35. 35
    Rationalitys bane says:

    WJM, “No, not everyone’s.”

    Do you have examples?

  36. 36
    kairosfocus says:

    RB, WJM is a case in point. KF

  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    “any examples”

    “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite intelligence. I believe that the universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science.”
    Antony Flew – world’s leading atheist philosopher for most of his adult life until a few years shortly before his death
    The Case for a Creator – Lee Strobel – video (26:00 minute mark)
    http://www.saddleback.com/mc/m/ee32d/

    Antony Flew on God and Atheism – Lee Strobel interview – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHUtMEru4pQ

    How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind
    Antony Flew: There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself—which is far more complex than the physical Universe—can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins’ comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a “lucky chance.” If that’s the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.
    http://www.strangenotions.com/flew/

    Five atheists who lost faith in atheism – 13 August 2015
    4. Anthony Flew
    His name may not be familiar, but Flew was one of the most significant atheist thinkers of the pre-Dawkins era. He was a prominent critic of religion, suggesting that atheism should be the default position until evidence for God could be produced; that the burden of proof should be on the faiths, not on the faithless. He carried these beliefs late into life, even signing 2003’s Third Humanist Manifesto. However, just a year later, he announced that he had dramatically changed his philosophical allegiance.
    Flew hadn’t converted to the Christian faith, but he had embraced deism – the belief in God. So convinced was he, that in 2007 he published his final book, There is a God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind. It has been discredited by atheists ever since who claim that Flew’s change of position was due to his declining mental health, and that the book was mainly the work of his co-writer. However, before his death in 2010, Flew lucidly and specifically addressed this in one of his final articles, itself a rebuttal of Dawkin’s references to him in The God Delusion.
    http://www.christiantoday.com/...../61784.htm

    Professor Antony Flew reviews The God Delusion –
    Antony Flew
    Excerpt: This whole business makes all too clear that Dawkins is not interested in the truth as such but is primarily concerned to discredit an ideological opponent by any available means. That would itself constitute sufficient reason for suspecting that the whole enterprise of The God Delusion was not, as it at least pretended to be, an attempt to discover and spread knowledge of the existence or non-existence of God but rather an attempt – an extremely successful one – to spread the author’s own convictions in this area.
    http://www.bethinking.org/athe.....d-delusion

    of supplemental note: What should be abundantly clear is that anyone who is going to claim science as a basis for knowledge is SUPPOSE to hold dispassionate examination of the evidence as one of his highest virtues. This highest virtue of a true scientist is sadly lacking in almost every internet atheist I have ever debated. Evidence, no matter how crushing to the atheistic position, simply does not matter to the vast majority of internet trolls.

    “But this long history of learning how to not fool ourselves – of having utter scientific integrity – is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.
    I would like to add something that’s not essential to the science, but something I kind of believe, which is that you should not fool the layman when you’re talking as a scientist … I’m talking about a specific, extra type of integrity that is not lying, but bending over backwards to show how you’re maybe wrong, that you ought to have when acting as a scientist. And this is our responsibility as scientists, certainly to other scientists, and I think to laymen.”
    Richard Feynman – commencement address at Caltech in 1974:

  38. 38
    Rationalitys bane says:

    BA77, how does that answer my question? I did not say that deeply entrenched beliefs could not change. Deeply entrenched beliefs are just more difficult to change.

  39. 39
    jdk says:

    As I said above: “At least some of everyone’s beliefs are deeply entrenched, and other are much more malleable. As with virtually everything, there is a spectrum of entrenched-ness.”

    Some people have profound and sudden changes sometimes (I have seen/heard of this with people in therapy), where deeply entrenched beliefs are suddenly uprooted. But (dare I use the word) evolutionary changes are much more common than revolutionary. People grow and mature throughout their life (at least some do), and the potential for re-examining and changing one’s beliefs is always there.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    RB, sorry, my misunderstanding.

    As to dispassionate examination of the evidence (which is what science is suppose to be all about!):

    Theism compared to Materialism/Naturalism – a comparative overview of the major predictions of each philosophy – video
    https://youtu.be/QQ9iyCmPmz8

    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 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).

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

    Resurrection of Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything – Centrality Concerns
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uHST2uFPQY

    as well, Let us be VERY clear to the fact that ALL of science is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility.,,, Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use naturalism as our basis for understanding the universe and practicing science then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. sense of self. observation of reality, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasies and imagination.

    Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy – August 2016
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q94y-QgZZGF0Q7HdcE-qdFcVGErhWxsVKP7GOmpKD6o/edit

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks,

    There is a focal issue regarding how many are approaching issues that is important enough to call attention back to.

    As WJM opens and concludes the OP:

    Probably one of the most daunting aspects of carrying on debates either about proper critical thinking, theism vs atheism, or intelligent design and its implications is the seeming implacable nature of those we debate here and elsewhere. It most often seems that no amount of logic, evidence or even reasonable discourse makes one iota of difference to our interlocutors; however, I think this is probably because most of those who will take the time to seek our position out and criticize it on its home turf are already fully committed against such positions, and are often emotionally entrenched . . . . Every once in a while it’s nice to be reminded that, sometimes, reason and evidence can actually get through to a person.

    The locking into schemes of thought, the polarisation that blinds to focal facts and cogent reasoning, or leads to a pattern of ignoring such and triggering off on tangents that veer off to side-tracks etc are not signs of sound intellectual health.

    We need to ask some serious questions about the habits of thought and argument that have become all too typical.

    For, such habits will distract from, cloud over, polarise against and lead people away from what should be priority.

    As an antidote at worldviews level, here are some issues at 101 level that may open up fresh thinking about key matters.

    We need to cultivate intellectual virtues and a sober-minded seriousness about pivotal matters, rather than allowing our intellectual habits to be shaped by patterns of distraction, resistance to facts and logic, and polarisation. Such things can only lead to marches of stubborn folly, ultimately over the cliff.

    KF

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Looks like I messed up a link, pardon: here.

  43. 43

    Rationalitys bane @35,

    Philosophical pragmatists, for example, do not have entrenched beliefs because they are not psychologically or emotionally invested in he idea that their beliefs reflect truths about reality. To a pragmatist, a belief is only a tool and there are many tools available in the toolbox that can be used for various practical purposes.

  44. 44
    Axel says:

    William J Murray, I thought your post, in which you identified our least thoughts and actions as having a mysterious, supernatural origin mind-blowingly insightful and incisively written. And the funny thing is, I don’t normally set too much store on a high level of our worldly analytical intelligence. Is it possible you could re-post it on this thread, so that I can save it to Favourites.

    It won’t seem so to you, but to me, it seems almost comical that you could have so easily succumbed to drink, despair, inanition, etc. I don’t know if you’re up there with the likes of Planck and Einstein, but it seems to me that you must be at the top of the tier just below that. Were you always top in your studies ?

  45. 45
    Axel says:

    ‘We need to cultivate intellectual virtues and a sober-minded seriousness about pivotal matters, rather than allowing our intellectual habits to be shaped by patterns of distraction, resistance to facts and logic, and polarisation. Such things can only lead to marches of stubborn folly, ultimately over the cliff.

    KF’

    What KF said ! Seriously, it would be apt also in the thread : ‘Moshe Averick : ‘Easy to be Atheist if You Ignore Science, ‘ Maybe Barry’s too. Will check late. In a bit of a rush.

  46. 46
    bb says:

    If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong: but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.

    -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Axel says:

    Thank YOU, William. I’m grateful that you responded so generously. Must dash to read it again !

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