Intelligent Design

Think of atheists like the mafia and ID as cutting into their profits

Spread the love

Intelligent design leads to forsaking atheism
By Jerry Bergman

Why did the court rule against teaching intelligent design in the Dover, Pa., case? Judge Jones’ ruling was summed up by one commentator as follows: Critical analysis of evolutionism leads to intelligent design, which leads to the Creator requirement. The Creator requirement leads to religion, which leads to God. The courts have consistently ruled that the state cannot hinder or aid religion – and that teaching intelligent design aids religion.

Of the many examples I know of people who left atheism and became theists because of intelligent design, I will cite only two.

Antony Flew, professor emeritus at Reading University, was a leading 20th-century intellectual and author of many books including “Atheistic Humanism.” Although as a youth Flew was a devoted Christian, during his teens he rejected Christianity because of his study of Darwinism. He concluded that evolution could fully account for the creation of all life – and that no need existed for a Creator who had been put out of work by science. Flew eventually became a leading defender of atheism for over half a century.

Flew kept reading and thinking about this topic, though, and eventually came back to the theism of his youth. His conversion was primarily because of his study of intelligent design. As he told The Associated Press, his views were now similar to the “American ‘Intelligent Design’ theorists who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe.” Michael Behe’s and William Dembski’s books were especially influential. Flew added that an argument from design, “assures us that there is a God” and that DNA research has provided us with “a new and enormously powerful argument” for design. Flew stresses that the main reason for “believing in a First Cause God is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first reproducing organisms.” He states that his whole life has been guided by the principle of Socrates, “follow the evidence where it leads” and, in this case, it led him to theism.

The second is Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Timothy Johnson. Johnson is most well-known as an ABC News medical correspondent, and for his many documentaries. His new book on intelligent design titled “Finding God in the Questions,” a New York Times best-seller, both defends intelligent design and reviews his own spiritual journey beginning from his childhood religious beliefs to his acceptance of skepticism, then back to belief. He discusses in detail why, as a scientist, intelligent design was critical in his journey from agnosticism to belief.

Johnson graduated from high school as valedictorian and, after two years of college, decided to become a minister. His theology studies at the University of Chicago, instead of deepening his faith, caused him to lose it. In his words, “under the challenge of some very bright and skeptical teachers at the University of Chicago” he began to “doubt most everything” he had learned. This included the belief that the Bible was God’s word, that Jesus was God’s son, and that God rules the universe. No longer a believer, he graduated and was ordained but did not enter the ministry. He elected to study medicine, partly because of his seminary field placements in hospitals.

He came to believe in God only after many years of examining in detail the major questions that trouble many of us. He began by questioning the evolutionary belief that the universe is a product of only time, natural law, and chance. After extensively studying the scientific research, especially intelligent design, Johnson concluded that our inner and outer universes are not only far too vast and complex to be the result of natural forces but are constructed so as to force the conclusion that they were created by an intelligent designer. Johnson concluded the footprints are found everywhere, from the human conscience to our basic need to form the complex social relationships that shape our lives.

Johnson cites the major intelligent design literature, which he recommends highly. His journey parallels that of many people today and is why intelligent design has been a major means for many to convert from atheism to theism, and why courts rule teaching it is religious advocacy. The above are only two case histories involving conversion from atheism to theism because of intelligent design discussed in a book I edited that will be published this fall by Master Books.

Source: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/living/14682288.htm

47 Replies to “Think of atheists like the mafia and ID as cutting into their profits

  1. 1
    Doug says:

    Would Flew be considered more of a deist? It’s closer to theism than it is atheism. But I still think a better description would be that of deistic.

    I remember when that story 1st broke. Over at IIDB people were scurrying around to find justifications for Flew’s ‘switch’. Then there was one article that contained, “but rest assured, he still doesn’t believe in an afterlife”. Pretty pathetic. What’s even more pathetic is that the author of the article that stated that claim also tried to rationalize away Flew’s conversion along the lines of, ‘when a person gets to the end of their life (Flew being advanced in age) they start to hope dearly that there is something more out there’. But this assesment contradicts when the author noted that Flew ‘still doesn’t believe in an afterlife’.
    Pathetic indeed.

  2. 2
    bFast says:

    I read Flew’s book, “God & Philosophy”. Let me suggest that Flew’s move to thiesm is tentative at best. I would not raise him up as a standard of ID’s success in theising someone.

    On the other hand, Dr. Timothy Johnson’s story sounds intriguing, and refreshing. (Though I have also heard of a few similar stories.)

    “Critical analysis of evolutionism leads to intelligent design, which leads to the Creator requirement. The Creator requirement leads to religion, which leads to God. The courts have consistently ruled that the state cannot hinder or aid religion – and that teaching intelligent design aids religion.”

    One day the courts will discover the fondness that teleologists have with the big bang theory, and the strong antropic principal. At that point, the courts will be obligated to remove the big bang from all textbooks because it may lead some to discover the creator.

  3. 3
    mike1962 says:

    (sigh) These kinds of posts make me weary. Since detecting design in nature implies no supernatural whatsoever, what the hell is the point of postings like this?

    ID is not about religion or any particular supernatural god or gods, or any supernatural at all. Please resist the temptation to link the two. Those of us, like me, who are ID friendly and who are also agnostic about any sort of “supernatural” (whatever that might means) bristle at these sorts of posts. It only adds fuel to the charge that ID is merely repackaged creationism.

  4. 4
    Mats says:

    *gasps* Bill, you have revealed our plan ahead of time!

    Seriously now, as it was said before, and by qualified people, the only reason Darwinists reject ID is due to its clear implications.

    I think Bill said something like this in his Kansas presentation. The moment you start thinking about unevolved Intelligence, the Big *G* starts materializing and the Darwinian alarms start sounding.

    However, as Mike Behe said in his book, other centuries had their schocks, why not we?

  5. 5
    Mats says:

    Mike@3
    ID scientists have been more than clear in stating that, if you have a theistic worldview, ID is friendly to that. Steven Meyer said that him being a Christian made him more open to ID. However design theorists have been also clear in making a distinction between what the data reveals (ID) and with the implications.

    Darwinists might acuse ID of being Creationism, but that doesn’t anul the fact that biological system reveal Intelligent Design.

    Adding to that, even if all Discovery Institute scientists were closet Creationists, that would not anul their scientific criticism to Darwinism.

    Having said that, I really see no problem in revealing the sucess of ID among atheists (now, ex-atheists).

    Mike said

    Since detecting design in nature implies no supernatural whatsoever, what the hell is the point of postings like this?

    Well, I believe that the point of the post was to show why Darwinists fear ID, and the logic behind Judge Jones’ ruling. But that’s just my take on that.

  6. 6
    LowenheimSkolem says:

    I’ve read a number of different accounts of Flew’s purported conversion, and most seem to contradict each other.
    As Doug notes, many athests have a stake in Flew and his earlier work. For that reason it seems clear that they are going to downplay the importance of things he has said recently. On the other hand, theists also have a stake in the matter. If Flew is really a theist of any sort, that lends a bit of extra credibility to our position.

    So does anyone know what Flew’s current view is?

  7. 7
    leebowman says:

    Why did the court rule against teaching intelligent design in the Dover, Pa., case?
    Judge Jones’ ruling was summed up by one commentator as follows:

    1/ “Critical analysis of evolutionism leads to intelligent design … “
    If one sees the earmarks of design, and also sees the madness behind ‘purposeful randomness’, especially in that even if that is possible, the ‘fact’ of it being the dominant evolutionary principal over eons is untenable.

    2/ ” … which leads to the Creator requirement.”
    Only by inference. Design is not necessarily creation.

    3/ “The Creator requirement leads to religion, which leads to God.”
    I can almost see Judge Jones nodding in agreement with the ACLU’s lawyers. I’ll state again what everyone here knows: Evidence of design is just that, and says nothing about who, when or why, nor does it infer a present day deity.

    4/ “The courts have consistently ruled that the state cannot hinder or aid religion – and that teaching intelligent design aids religion.”
    The falsity of 2 & 3 falsify 4. Christianity is a subset of religion, which is a subset of a creation premise, which is a subset of design inference. How then is design synonymous with religion? It is not.

  8. 8
    bFast says:

    Leebowman: “The falsity of 2 & 3 falsify 4. Christianity is a subset of religion, which is a subset of a creation premise, which is a subset of design inference. How then is design synonymous with religion? It is not.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. Mind if I restate:
    Though Christian is religion, not all religion is Christian.

    Though (some) religion has a creation premise, not all creation premises are religious.

    Though a creation premise is a design inferrence, not all design inferrences are a creation premise.

    Might I add:

    The big bang and strong anthropic principal can easily be viewed as a design inferrence. This design inferrence may be seen by religious people as supporting their religion. Some religious people who see the big bang and strong antropic principal as supporting their religion are Christian. Therefore, for the courts to be consistent, the courts must legislate that the big bang not be taught in schools.

  9. 9
    Rude says:

    It seems to me that there would be no science without two qualities that materialism must deny: passion and honesty.

  10. 10
    Chris Hyland says:

    Why must materialism deny passion and honesty?

  11. 11
    Fred Hudson says:

    I have read Flew’s book. Claims that he has become a theist are utter nonsense. Read the book, people. Dishonesty and ignorance does not do ID any favors.

    Flew has embraced intelligent design but not supernatural designers or an afterlife. Definitely not a theist but on the other hand he’s no longer an atheist. He seems to be right in line with me now. Better late than never I guess. I gave up atheism for intelligent design about 15 years ago when I was 30-something. -ds

  12. 12
    BK says:

    The design inference doesn’t lead directly to a creator requirement. It leads to non-biological intelligence, but it isn’t necessary that this intelligence be God.

  13. 13
    formlessandvoid says:

    Chris #9: passion and honesty belong to nonmaterialistic categories. If your worldview is materialistic, you cannot meaningfully speak of nonmaterialistic things — they are nonexistent in that worldview.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    So does anyone know what Flew’s current view is?

    Fortunately Flew has not reached the conclusion that Darwinism is not science, or the pressure on him to recant would be immense.

  15. 15
    Rude says:

    Ah, just before departing work I blathered, “It seems to me that there would be no science without two qualities that materialism must deny: passion and honesty.” ’Twas a mistake, should have said “… that materialism cannot explain”—my opinion, of course. One must never suggest that materialists can’t be passionate and/or honest—some of my best friends are such. Nevertheless in answer to Chris Hyland who asks, “Why must materialism deny passion and honesty?” I do think that materialists—if honest—must deny the reality of right and wrong—J. Budziszewski puts it well in his books. Also it’s hard to imagine a passionate machine, and so those who admit only to mechanism—if logical—have a hard time accounting for passion.

    Science isn’t some kind of unique procedure, rather it is old fashioned observation and reason and authority (the latter because human knowledge builds cumulatively and no one can prove everything to himself). Science was birthed in Europe not so much because of some unique insight into methodology but because enough folks passionately and honestly wanted to know. All cultures—indigenous, ecclesiastical, academic or otherwise—resist new understanding because it is ALWAYS destabilizing. Therefore the rise of science is one of the greatest anomalies of history.

    BK is right. ID is simply being honest when it concedes that making a design inference says nothing about whether the designer is “natural” or “supernatural”, in time or out of time, corporeal or incorporeal, animist or Judeo-Christian, or any other speculative consideration. Not, of course, that these are philosophical issues that cannot be turned into scientific theory. I believe it is unwise to demarcate areas that we cannot know, for how can one know so much as to know that he cannot know (forget who said something to this effect).

  16. 16
    GilDodgen says:

    “Of the many examples I know of people who left atheism and became theists because of intelligent design…”

    I can’t claim to have left atheism in favor of theism (and, more specifically, mere Christianity) because of intelligent design theory. I give that credit to my then (12 years ago) five-year-old daughter, C.S. Lewis, and You Know Who. But once my intellect was freed from the blinders of purely materialistic preconceptions, I realized how vacuous and nihilistic those preconceptions were, and how contemporary scientific evidence contradicted those preconceptions at every turn.

  17. 17
    Raevmo says:

    To paraphrase Von Neumann: Sir, if you tell me exactly what passion and honesty are, I will build a machine that can be just that.

  18. 18
    Lurker says:

    I realized how vacuous and nihilistic those preconceptions were, and how contemporary scientific evidence contradicted those preconceptions at every turn.

    That’s just it. You either accept the naturalistic/deterministic/materialistic science that tells you your emotions, your free will, your morality, etc. are illusions, thereby rendering your unique identity/personhood an illusion.

    -OR-

    You accept your emotions, free will, morality, etc at face value meaning they are not illusions, thereby rendering naturalism/determinism/materialism an illusion.

    Quite frankly I find it easier to think the latter is true because my brain keeps telling me I exist as a person and that I’m more than a bundle of atoms.

    There’s a third option. You admit you don’t know for sure either way. -ds

  19. 19
    DaveScot says:

    For the peanut gallery at ATBC

    Bob OH wonders how old I am. I turn 50 this year.

    Some seem to think because I gave up atheism for ID 15 years ago that makes me a born again Christian.

    I don’t get the connection. I’m not a reborn Christian. I gave up a positive disbelief in God for the belief that there might be a higher intelligence of some sort. I traded in atheism for agnosticism 15 years ago which is where I remain today.

    Someone else in the peanut gallery thinks my admission means that ID is really a religion. The unspoken implication is that their admission means that they consider atheism to be a religion. I agree. At least for constitutional/legal purposes atheism should be considered a religion. Its practice should be protected by the 1st amendment freedom clause and its promotion by the gov’t restricted by the establishment clause. IMO it is getting the protection but its promotion is not being restricted. Eliminating any reference to God in gov’t is in fact promoting the godless religion of atheism. This is what makes ID such a hot political issue to me. The drive to get any mention of God out of gov’t has spilled over to such ridiculous extent that even a theory about intelligent design based on observation of hideously complex programmed machinery in living cells, a theory that has religious implications, is legally excluded from public education just because it has religious implications to some people. Meanwhile, the modern synthesis gets a free pass even when science luminaries like Richard Dawkins freely admit it has religious implications – “Evolution made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

  20. 20
    Michael Tuite says:

    Hello Dave,
    Is there a category for folks whose absence of belief does not rise to the religiosity of “atheism”?

    Of course. -ds

    agnosticism n 1: a religious orientation of doubt; a denial of ultimate knowledge of the existence of God; “agnosticism holds that you can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence” 2: the disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge [syn: skepticism, scepticism]

  21. 21
    apollo230 says:

    Any insinuation that the evolution of life was guided by something other than strictly random variations and strictly natural selections generates umbrage amongst some people and generates accusations that religion is being “stuffed” into the scientific realm. Such responses are often very emotional, which betrays the very unthinking nature of the bias Darwinists have against any view contrary to their own.

  22. 22
    Mung says:

    Such responses are often very emotional, which betrays the very unthinking nature of the bias Darwinists have against any view contrary to their own.

    Almost religious, some might say.

  23. 23
    Lurker says:

    There’s a third option. You admit you don’t know for sure either way. -ds

    That might work for you, but it doesn’t work for me. Nobody else but me can prove that I’m more than a bundle of atoms ruled by the laws of physics and chemistry so I’m sticking with what has already been proven to me.

  24. 24
    Rude says:

    “agnosticism holds that you can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence”–I call this arrogant agnosticism. My father was a humble agnostic–he didn’t know but neither did he know that you cannot know.

    An agnostic agnostic. Now there’s real skepticism! 🙂 -ds

  25. 25
    bFast says:

    DaveScott: [blockquote]At least for constitutional/legal purposes atheism should be considered a religion. Its practice should be protected by the 1st amendment freedom clause and its promotion by the gov’t restricted by the establishment clause.[/blockquote] (I’ll figure out how to do a quote on this site yet.)

    Yes!!!

    Use angle braces instead of square braces for html commands like blockquote. Glad you agree. The founders of the U.S. wanted us to have freedom of religion. The modern interpretation seems to be increasingly freedom from religion. Obviously the modern interpretation is dead wrong. There are references to a monotheistic deity scattered all over the place in gov’t documents and buildings from the founding times. The constitution guarantees you a right to ignore such things but not to have them removed from your view. In point of fact, how can any nation founded upon God-given inalienable rights not mention God and still be the same nation? -ds

    IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

  26. 26
    tinabrewer says:

    Hello, Dave. Might I suggest that the reason you are still in the same place you were 15 years ago (namely an agnostic, convinced of intelligent causation, but unsure of a creator) is that you might be using the wrong “organ” to seek that knowledge out (namely your intellect, which is space/time limited) when your intuitive perception, the voice of your spirit, is what is at your disposal, by design, for such higher pursuits? Just a friendly thought…

    How does one determine that a sense of spiritual connectedness to something larger than oneself isn’t an internally generated illusion? Like billions of other people I have feelings of being part of something bigger but there’s no way to measure or quantify what it is or where it comes from. -ds

  27. 27
    BK says:

    A few points:

    1. One of Judge Jones many disservices to this debate is that he created a new definition of religion, one so broad that it subsumes philosophy. Now, any sort of philosophical theistic position is “religion”.

    2. I believe Flew would be classified as a deist. He believes in some sort of “first cause” similar to that of Aquinas’ proofs.

    3. A designer is not necessarily a creator. In Christian metaphysics, creation is something logically distinct from designing.

    4. IDists ought to read J.R.R. Tolkien’s creation myth in his “silmirillian”(sp) to help expand their imagination when speculating on ID matters.

  28. 28
    tinabrewer says:

    It might be an internally generated illusion, but one feels it nonetheless. This deep inner feeling, which is synonymous with intuition, is the “still small voice” (Gandhi again) which yearns for expression and exploration. The brain says things like “to measure or quantify” because that is its nature. The spirit says things like “bliss. beauty. eternity.” because that is its nature. Like anything, the spirit obeys the laws of creation. If one wishes to makes ones muscles stronger, one must USE them to lift things. If one wishes to make one’s intuition (and its associated insights) stronger, one must USE it. Its voice is so small because it so little used, and so grossly overshadowed by the very loud voice which says “to measure and to quantify”.

    You can exercise the spirit but it doesn’t change its nature. It still comes from within while reality comes from without. Blurring the boundaries between physical reality and spiritual feeling has no benefit as far as I can tell. Indeed, it just seems to lead to quashing of the spirit. For instance, just about the time you get the spiritual feeling that God loves you your dog gets hit by a car in the prime of his life and you then wonder what sort of rotten God would do that to you. It’s best to keep the real and the spiritual in different compartments and don’t mingle the two together. -ds

  29. 29
    Mark Frank says:

    Re #28. I completely respect Tina’s opinion – but it is also rather a clear demonstration of how religious belief is based on a very different kind of evidence than atheism. An atheist restricts themselves to the intellect, and that is why atheism is not based on faith and is not a religion.

  30. 30
    Mark Frank says:

    Re #24. Atheists are arrogant. Some agnostics are arrogant. How come believers are never arrogant for believing their particular God exists?

  31. 31
    tinabrewer says:

    well said, Mark Frank. now what was that thing again with which the serpent tempted us? The “fruit of the tree of knowledge”? I can’t think of a better metaphor for enslavement to the bounds of intellect.

    Dave: just about the time you think “what sort of rotten God would do that to [me]” all of a sudden you get a flash of insight from your intuition which says “maybe everything isn’t all about me, and my hopes and desires…”

    Whatever. -ds

  32. 32
    Rude says:

    “I can’t think of a better metaphor for enslavement to the bounds of intellect.”

    Well, but there’re so many interpretations of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil [×¢Öµ×¥ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע]. The French Protestant Jacques Ellul says (The Humiliation of the Word, p. 96), “It is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and not, as some have insisted on saying, the tree simply of ‘knowledge’! As I have shown, this knowledge is the power to decide on one’s own what is good and what is evil.”

    And then there’s Sforno. Don’t have his commentary before me, but he nearly says the opposite of you, that the wrong tree represents distinguishing between good and evil on the basis of “taste”, i.e., emotion.

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    Some interesting material for thought popping up here, hehe. I tend to disagree with tina that there is any “intuition” that one can use/hear (the voice of your spirit). But then, I tend to rely on the metaphor of birth and death when it comes to spiritual things, as those are more in keeping with my faith tradition.

    One must be born of the Spirit. You can’t use something you don’t have. You can’t be a human until you are born of a human, and that connects you to humanity. You can’t be spiritual until you are born of a spirit, and that connects you to the source of spirit. So forget the mind and the spirit. You have to be born, again :).

    But that said, man was created by God and in the image of God. This would include the mind of man. So I would not say that the mind was hopelessly useless. I’d rather have somone using a mind which they have, and which is the result of a creative act of God, than to have them trying to use a spirit which they don’t have, lol!

    …but it is also rather a clear demonstration of how religious belief is based on a very different kind of evidence than atheism. An atheist restricts themselves to the intellect, and that is why atheism is not based on faith and is not a religion.

    Excuse me? Atheism is not based on any evidence. It is based on the lack of evidence. So yes, I’d say they are different. You restrict yourself to the intellect, you say. And what do you suppose religious believers have in addition to their intellect? One could argue that restricting oneself to the intellect requires faith, and atheism is therefore a religious belief.

    What, pray tell, is your intellect good for, how did it get to be that way, and why is it at all trustworthy? Sounds to me like you have a great deal of faith.

  34. 34
    Rude says:

    Re #30: “How come believers are never arrogant for believing their particular God exists?”

    Why said they weren’t?

  35. 35
    GilDodgen says:

    On the subject of reason and spirit I have a book recommendation: “God, The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World,” by Patrick Glynn. The last chapter is entitled Reason and Spirit, and it’s one of the best essays on the subject I have ever read.

    As a former devout atheist I can attest to the fact that atheism is based on a philosophical pre-commitment, not reason or evidence. The universe, living things, and our own consciousness scream design and purpose. I no longer have enough faith to be an atheist.

  36. 36
    Scott says:

    On the topic of religious faith and evidence… one musn’t overlook the powerful testimony of historical evidence. For example, there is compelling historical evidence which supports the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. And the attempts to explain this particular event away simply don’t stand up in light of the volumes of harmonious manuscript evidence that we have in support of it. In fact, there is more consistent historical evidence in support of Christ’s resurrection than there is of George Washington as the first President. There is the science of Textual Criticism which is used to determine the integrity of historical documents, etc… So, I would argue that legitimate faith is a faith based in facts.

    And great point, Gil.

  37. 37
    Lurker says:

    I tend to disagree with tina that there is any “intuition” that one can use/hear (the voice of your spirit)

    Why would you disagree with this? Without intuition nothing can be proved – write that down (a little JD humor) – including the intuition that says the scientific method and philosophy can explain reality. Intuitively I know that I exist and that I’m more than a bundle of atoms flying through the universe. How about you?

  38. 38
    tinabrewer says:

    Is it possible that a born-again Christian is sincerely asserting that human beings do not have an immortal soul and consist entirely of their bodies (including intellect)? The atheists should be coughing, raising eyebrows and thinking to themselves “I guess we are born-again Christians after all!”

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    That’s correct. I do not believe in an immortal soul. This is probably not the place to get into it though. I’d jsut recommend that you do your own study on the soul and on eternal life. Or ask yourself this question, if you have an immortal soul, don’t you have eternal life?

  40. 40
    LowenheimSkolem says:

    The idea that intuition isn’t epistemically viable strikes me as mistaken. For example, I think that the case for the sort of ethical intuitionism proposed by W.D. Ross in “The Right and the Good” is pretty strong. As I understand it an intuion is something like a non-inferential intellectual perception, the kind of thing that (as Godel says of the axioms of set theory) “forces itself upon us.” I don’t see why we shouldn’t go with beliefs born of such intuitions, unless we encounter a serious defeaters for them.

    It seems that intuition is being confused with feeling and emotion. Intuition is a leap in knowledge without a reasoned chain of thought leading up to it – a hunch. One might call it a gut feeling but if the knowledge acquired isn’t verifiable then it’s just wool gathering. It’s all well and good to talk about a spiritual connection to something beyond ourselves and it might lead to good personal feelings and comradery with like minded others but it isn’t knowledge. -ds

  41. 41
    Chris Hyland says:

    “As a former devout atheist I can attest to the fact that atheism is based on a philosophical pre-commitment, not reason or evidence.”

    That may be true for you but most atheists I know say that they do not believe in God becuase they see no evidence for God. If they see evidence for a God they have nothing to gain by ignoring it.

    “My father was a humble agnostic–he didn’t know but neither did he know that you cannot know.”

    The question I always want to ask agnotics is are they agnostic to simply the supernatural or specifically the Christian God. If the latter does that mean there is a chance in their mind that they are going to hell?

    It’s nothing short of incredible that any thinking adult can look at the world around them and not see evidence of creation. Equivocal evidence, sure, but evidence nonetheless. Atheism is positive belief that the universe is an accident without design. There’s no rational basis at all for that positive belief. -ds

  42. 42
    BK says:

    People generally don’t behave according to reason. It’s possible to have a revelation where you say “damn, materialism is a load of $%&^ and it looks pretty plausable that there is something to this God business” and yet still could easily live as if there were no God, and as if materialism were true. There is a deeper mover in human behavior than mere reason. There is a struggle to conform to the truth. It’s like a gravity that is constantly pulling us to evil and rebellion.

    I think atheism is the result of ceasing to struggle against that gravity; it’s the rationalisation of giving in to the pull of that gravity. In the end I think the most sublime explanation of what really moves men is in the story of Genesis where after Adam and Eve sinned, it says that they heard God walking in the garden, and they tried to hide themselves. It’s not about reason, but about running from God.

  43. 43
    tinabrewer says:

    Dave: I agree with you that intuition should not be confused with emotion or feeling. What I don’t understand is why these insights must be called ‘wool gathering’ if they cannot be scientifically verified. (?) I guess this depends upon your definition of ‘verify’. If you learn about a spiritual truth, you certainly should be able to test it out for yourself and see if it proves reliable. Its just that you cannot use test tubes and petri dishes. You must use your inner perception and your conscience.

    For example you might take the spiritual analogon to the physical law of reciprocity (action/reaction) which could be stated “Only in giving is there recieving”. This implies that one can/should only expect to receive in direct proportion to what he gives (spiritually speaking) Well, an easy test might be to change a particular part of your personality. Say you are stingy with your money and time. Change this. Start giving (and the giving must be genuine, out of a good volition) and offering to help others, etc. After a time, you should begin to percieve a distinct change in your psychic and even material state. There should be more joy, more lightness. Things which were difficult for you, or stuck, should begin to be loosened. Help should begin to come to you when you need it. A friendly word here, a helpful suggestion there. If you experience this for years and do so in humility, then after a time, you can say that you have conviction that it is TRUE that in spiritual things, ‘only in giving is there recieving’. Again, it won’t grow in a petri dish, but this joyful recognition should be valued much MORE highly than a mere fact of matter, since it uplifts your whole being.

    Giving help then getting help when you need it is reciprocity. Nothing spiritual about it. As far as giving, on New Year’s Eve fate put 7 abandoned 4-week old german shepherd puppies in my path. One was almost dead from exposure. I took all seven into my home and became their mother. If you’ve ever had 7 big puppies without a mother in your home you’re in for a real treat. They sleep about 2 hours at a time, seldom all of them at once, and when they’re not sleeping they’re crying for attention. And they make quite a mess which has to be cleaned up every few hours lest they start getting it all over themselves. Over the next 4 weeks I nursed the sick one back to health (the vet didn’t think he’d make it), got them all their shots, socialized them with people and other dogs, trained them to not touch people with doggy teeth, and generally groomed them into fine pets. By that time most of them had homes lined up. Word gets around. I fell in love with the runt who almost died and today he’s a 50 pound bundle of energetic joy whose love and loyalty to me is beyond question. There’s something spiritual. It doesn’t yield to analysis. I’ve rescued and raised dozens of different kinds of animals over my 50 years of living and to me it’s the most rewarding thing life has to offer. It’s also educational in a naturalist sort of way. Every animal, even those of the same species, have unique personalities along with traits common to their species. You can read about the common traits but you can only learn through experience the unique bits. My cup overfloweth in every imaginable way both spiritual and otherwise. Thanks for your concern but it’s misdirected. -ds

  44. 44
    tinabrewer says:

    Dave: I’m sorry if my generosity example sounded like I meant it to describe you personally. It sounds like you are extremely giving, and have reaped great rewards through your devotion to the animals in your life. I am glad your cup runneth over. On the issue of reciprocity, however, which I was only using as one possible example, why do you dismiss its spiritual aspects so readily? Isn’t it a little bit mysterious, from a material perspective alone, how it is possible that doing what you did with those dogs could bring you so much joy? You got LESS sleep, you have LESS money, you have MORE worries and tasks to perform each day. Mathematically this looks like a loss in every way. However it is a total gain. I think this speaks to something wonderful going on beneath the surface. I just wonder why this is wool gathering. Now that I think of it, though, I really don’t even know exactly what wool gathering IS!

    I said it was spiritual and defied analysis. It isn’t wool gathering because it isn’t intuition. It’s emotion. Love and trust in particular. You’re still confusing intuition with emotion. -ds

  45. 45
    GilDodgen says:

    Gil: “As a former devout atheist I can attest to the fact that atheism is based on a philosophical pre-commitment, not reason or evidence.”

    Chris Hyland: “That may be true for you but most atheists I know say that they do not believe in God becuase they see no evidence for God. If they see evidence for a God they have nothing to gain by ignoring it.”

    Wrong. They do have something to gain by ignoring it: freedom from a sense of ultimate accountability.

    It should be obvious why the question of origins arouses such passions. This question impinges with great force on everything that ultimately matters in human existence.

  46. 46
    bdelloid says:

    GilDodgen:

    “They do have something to gain by ignoring it: freedom from a sense of ultimate accountability.”

    How is that something to gain ?

    Also, belief that there is no god does not logically lead to no sense of ultimate accountability. I am an atheist and I have a tremendous sense of accountability for my fellow man and the earth we live on and share.

    And remember, atheism is a belief, not necessarily an assertion. While there may be some atheists who assert to others there is no god, most atheists like myself simply believe there is no god with no moral imperative to convince others of this. This is just my belief. And it certainly is a rational belief, since I haven’t had any personal and irrefutable experience with a deity.

  47. 47
    LowenheimSkolem says:

    DS- Just to clarify- the kind of intuitionism ‘m talking about is manifestly different from emotivism or anything like that.

    In fact, intuitionism in ethics involves a metaethical commitment to moral realism, while emotivism involves a metaethical commitment to anti-realism.

    Further, it’s not their emotional appeal that make the axioms of set theory true, is it? Maybe there’s some confusion here, but this is the sense with which I’m using the term “intuition.”

    You don’t infer information you gain via sense perception, you just get it. Unless you encounter a defeater of some kind, or a reason to question the veracity of what you’ve perceived, you’ll just go on believing that your perception was/is veridical. Similarly, you don’t infer information gained by “intellectual perception” you just get it. But it’s not a matter of emotional response.

    Now I’m not arguing that one can obtain this any kind of information about the soul in this way. But, on th face of it, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

Leave a Reply