Darwinism Intelligent Design theism

Wintery Knight asks: Can one believe in both God and Darwinian evolution?

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Maybe, but it’s fair to note that it has been a way out of serious religious commitment for many people. WK offers one example:

Biologist Stephen Matheson is a longtime critic of the theory of intelligent design. His extensive attacks on Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell, for one, ranged from the substantive to the trivial and personal. The tone was frequently…abrasive, and we responded at the time. With Arthur Hunt, Dr. Matheson has debated Dr. Meyer in a forum at Biola University. Formerly a professor at an Evangelical Christian school, Calvin College, Matheson is still listed as a Blog Author at the theistic evolutionary website BioLogos, where it notes that he enjoys “explor[ing] issues of science and Christian faith.”

Well, his theistic evolutionary explorations have now terminated. As he reports on his personal blog page, where he took a hiatus of more than five years along with a break from his teaching, he is “happily” no longer a Christian.

Wintery Knight, “Can A Person Believe in Both God and Darwinian Evolution?” at Wintery Knight

WK goes on to talk about Howard Van Till, also a Darwin defender, once at Calvin College and now an adherent of Freethought (?).

One of the outcomes of the huge backlist of stories here at UD (over 24,000) is that interesting stuff turns up in searches. We ran a search on Matheson and this stuff came up from 2011 about why he is no longer at Calvin College: “Calvin College leaders sent a letter to students, parents, faculty and staff Friday saying a professor resigned after a student claimed she had a ‘multi-year sexual relationship’ with him, a college spokesman confirmed.”

Note: The original link out from UD to Fox News at that time is dead. But a search on expected terms turned up the page linked at this post from mlive in Grand Rapids.

Again, a link from UD to a remarkable statement by Matheson at his blog a decade ago went dead. But we found it at ScienceBlogs, courtesy tfk on April 12, 2012: “Your Discovery Institute is a horrific mistake, an epic intellectual tragedy that is degrading the minds of those who consume its products and bringing dishonor to you and to the church. It is for good reason that Casey Luskin is held in such extreme contempt by your movement’s critics, and there’s something truly sick about the pattern of attacks that your operatives launched in the weeks after the Biola event. It’s clear that you have a cadre of attack dogs that do this work for you, and some of them seem unconstrained by standards of integrity. I can’t state this strongly enough: the Discovery Institute is a dangerous cancer on the Christian intellect, both because of its unyielding commitment to dishonesty and because of its creepy mission to undermine science itself. I’d like to see you do better, but I have no such hope for your institute. It needs to be destroyed, and I will do what I can to bring that about.”

Matheson now blogs at (but, of course) Peaceful Science where he describes himself as a “secular humanist” (August 3, 2020).

All of which raises a question: Do people embrace Darwinism and then lose their faith? Or is it more like this: Darwinism is a convenient and socially acceptable explanation for loss of faith, which may also have other roots?

30 Replies to “Wintery Knight asks: Can one believe in both God and Darwinian evolution?

  1. 1
    Belfast says:

    ‘Do people embrace Darwinism and then lose their faith? Or is it more like this: Darwinism is a convenient and socially acceptable explanation for loss of faith, which may also have other roots?’

    Who cares?
    “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass!”

  2. 2
    BobRyan says:

    Remove ID and you cannot have a single law of physics, since no law can come out of chaos. The laws had to come from something with far greater intelligence than man, since man is bound by the laws. Something created energy, but we cannot. Energy is not created by anything, since it cannot be created. That leaves only a great intelligence who created all the laws, including the creation of energy.

    Without ID, you cannot have life anywhere, since life cannot come from no life. Something cannot come from nothing.

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Ideology isn’t really relevant. Darwin is simply a prestige brand-cult like Tesla and Bitcoin. Biologists who actually work with genes abandoned the actual theory a long time ago. When you need to be approved in the Correct Circles, you need to loudly cheer for the Prestige Brands, and loudly mock the Neanderthal Brands. Apparently Matheson feels the need to be approved.

  4. 4
    Concealed Citizen says:

    “Believe in”?

    Interesting how people use that verb with regards to Blind Watchmaker-ism.

    Nobody ever says they “believe in” gravity or quantum physics or fluid dynamics.

  5. 5
    buffalo says:

    One can be an IDvolutionist!

  6. 6
    ET says:

    In other words, religion is compatible with modern evolutionary biology (and indeed all of modern science) if the religion is effectively indistinguishable from atheism.1

    The frequently made assertion that modern biology and the assumptions of the Judaeo-Christian tradition are fully compatible is false.2

    Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.3
    ————–
    As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.4
    ———
    ‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.’ 5
    1- Academe January 1987 pp.51-52 †

    2-Evolutionary Progress (1988) p. 65 †

    3- “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life” 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address 1 2 †

    4- No Free Will (1999) p.123

    5- Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1), p.9, 1994.

  7. 7
    AaronS1978 says:

    I love how they refer to themselves as FrEeThOuGhT or FrEeThInKeRs as if being an atheist is anything of the sort.

    They adherently stink to atheism as the only possible and logical choice. All others are intellectually dishonest, and anyone who believes in the others are roobs. Religious thought is cancerous and should be terminated. Darwinian evolution is the only outcome and there is no reason to believe in other possibilities. This is not free thought and they certainly don’t want me to think differently. Their debates and protests are proof of that.

    Now I’ll sit with my mug and sign saying “change my mind”

  8. 8
    asauber says:

    “Darwinism is a convenient and socially acceptable explanation for loss of faith, which may also have other roots?”

    I suspect it is this in most cases. I’d say there are a lot of spiritually and intellectually lazy people who could easily shift worldviews based on what’s they see as popular or trending, culturally.

    But the Big Questions still can’t be answered by Darwinism/Evolution/Atheism. D/E/A has nothing to offer, and it’s really pathetic that someone even with just half a brain would religiously embrace that slop of empty ideas. But, that’s where we are.

    Andrew

  9. 9
    EugeneS says:

    A blind evolution requires a blind faith.

  10. 10

    I think News has said it very well. We have two kinds of truths that we live by: objective and subjective truths. Objective truths are the same for all people everywhere and at every time. Like the law of gravity for example. Subjective truths vary, but are nonetheless true: pain, happiness, depression, glory, worship, insults. Somewhere in the Enlightenment, we were told that we must live for objective truth, and let ethics/morality handle the subjective ones. This division of labor led to many advances that we have come to appreciate: machines, electricity, airplanes, computers. But it also led to poverty of spirit.

    In the aftermath of WWII, Victor Frankl talked about the deadening effect of Nazi materialism, writing a book “Man’s search for meaning”. Meaning is one of those subjective truths that no amount of objective truth is going to satisfy. Faith is a form of meaning, or as St Paul puts it, the evidence of things not seen.

    So what can remove our faith?

    Certainly not objective truths. Only subjective truths are good at that. Infidelity, shame, betrayal–these are all the sorts of subjective truths that attack our faith. Christopher Hitchens was a vocal atheist who openly admitted that the suicide of his mother in the apartment of a priest was the factor that caused him to hate the Catholic church in particular and God in general. I listened to him debate Doug Wilson, and Chris’ argument distilled was “I am so angry at God that I get even by not believing he exists.” As an example of objective logic it totally failed, but Chris didn’t care.

    So can objective truth, can Darwinism destroy faith?

    Probably not, but having dispensed with subjective truth, it is very convenient to tell people that you are a Darwinian who no longer accepts the validity of subjective truth. And maybe you mean it, maybe those subjective truths of betrayal and shame are easier to bottle up, once you repeat the Mantra “only matter only” enough times.

    Matheson and van Till may fool “Peaceful Science” people but they don’t fool me. Atheism has been the refuge of traitors, scammers, and degenerates since the beginning of written history. It is only since the Modernist century that atheism regained respectability. Now we see what that respectability consists of–a cheap tuxedo over prisoner’s orange. And now that tuxedo is threadbare and ripping at the seams.

  11. 11
    Seversky says:

    EugeneS/9

    A blind evolution requires a blind faith

    Except in the case of evolution there is no need for blind faith. But if you want to ignore it you can be blind to the evidence.

  12. 12
    AaronS1978 says:

    No part of your reply to Eugene actually discredits him

    You make a accusation claiming that he ignores the evidence of evolution

    And what version of evolution are you referring too

    I hope it’s not Darwinian evolution because that’s a philosophy and that’s what most people here hate

    Are you referring to modern synthesis, were natural selection isn’t the centerstage, it’s still immensely important, but there’s so many other factors that poor little old man Darwin didn’t know about

    And so far for all of your evidence the only form of evolution that we have seen so far is that an organisms adapt to its environment

    NOBODY IS BLIND TO THIS OR ARGUES IT!

    So are you talking about abiogenesis because that’s very debatable or have you been blind to all of the science on that

    And evolution seems to be very dependent on our immensely fine-tune physics

    Which is generally the starting point of a lot of Christians (we both agree YEC are wrong don’t bring them up)

    Also are you referring to macro evolution or micro evolution

    In any case Darwin didn’t have a freaking clue about any of this

    And was completely blind to all of the evidence that science is found today, much of which does and does not support his original theory
    And if did them Lamarck wouldn’t be making a come back

    But magically his philosophy, oops I mean, sorry scientific theory was able to adjust to all of it

    Hooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwww Convenient

    And that’s because Darwinian evolution can explain everything from a fish to a toaster

    It has a very powerful God of gaps formula too

    Much like if you can’t explain it you can claim God did it

    When you can’t explain it then you can claim it’s evolutionary Sprandel with the magic of evolution

    So when evolution fails, well, it’s just Sprandel but then when it succeeds it’s evolution toiling away making everything perfect

    That’s exactly like God of gaps that is literally god of gaps

    And if you can’t see that and you claim it to be this wonderful for scientific theory then you were willfully ignorant

    How many times has in organ been tossed away is evolutionary Sprandel to be found out later that it actually had important function and still does. Appendix is a great example, consciousness is the current evolutionary sprandel (thanks Coyne you so cool)

    There have been so many organs that have been pulled out of the closet that were deemed evolutionary Sprandel because we couldn’t figure out what it was at the time

    This does not make a good scientific theory because it can explain what ever, that is a huge weakness in the theory and people are willfully blind to that because they don’t want to except that their theory it’s just the reverse of God of gaps, it’s godless gaps.

  13. 13
    Seversky says:

    Robert Sheldon/10

    I think News has said it very well. We have two kinds of truths that we live by: objective and subjective truths.

    “Truth” being defined how in this case?

    Meaning is one of those subjective truths that no amount of objective truth is going to satisfy. Faith is a form of meaning, or as St Paul puts it, the evidence of things not seen.

    Faith that our lives have meaning in the sense that they fulfill a purpose conceived by some other being? How is that better than defining our own purpose?

    So what can remove our faith?

    True faith should be impervious to any other influence. This is why I take the strength of the attacks on evolution as a measure of how unsure the attacker is of their own faith.

    Christopher Hitchens was a vocal atheist who openly admitted that the suicide of his mother in the apartment of a priest was the factor that caused him to hate the Catholic church in particular and God in general.

    The trope of the angry atheist is an old and a tired one. It is absurd to be angry at a being you don’t believe exists. I am not angry at Emperor Palpatine or Lord Sauron.

    I was raised as a Christian and, for a while, was as certain God and Jesus exist as I am that the Sun exists. Over time, however, I became more interested in science and gradually lost my faith. I still regard much of the core morality of Christianity as good and if anything angers me it is how corrupt the public manifestations of the faith in the US have become, the televangelists, prosperity gospelers, the so-called pastors who preach the sort of hatred and bigotry that has nothing to do with compassion, charity or the Golden Rule but everything to do with pandering to the worst instincts of their congregants.

    So can objective truth, can Darwinism destroy faith?

    No, the theory of evolution has nothing to say about God. There is no reason why a God could not have devised the processes of evolution to fulfill some mysterious purpose of His own.

    Probably not, but having dispensed with subjective truth, it is very convenient to tell people that you are a Darwinian who no longer accepts the validity of subjective truth. And maybe you mean it, maybe those subjective truths of betrayal and shame are easier to bottle up, once you repeat the Mantra “only matter only” enough times.

    What exactly have I betrayed or should I feel ashamed about?

    Atheism has been the refuge of traitors, scammers, and degenerates since the beginning of written history. It is only since the Modernist century that atheism regained respectability. Now we see what that respectability consists of–a cheap tuxedo over prisoner’s orange. And now that tuxedo is threadbare and ripping at the seams.

    I can point to Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies, the Inquisition, the pogroms against the Jews or just so-called heretics over the centuries in Christian Europe, the colonization by those same Europeans of other lands, atrocious treatment of the indigenous populations such as being forcefully dispossessed of their lands and their children confined to boarding-schools where they were forced to wear European clothing and forbidden to speak their own languages or practice their own faiths, all by those who considered themselves good Christians by the standards of their times.

    The fact is that people have been behaving badly towards their fellows throughout recorded history whether they were religious or atheist because the problem is within all of us and until we have the humility to acknowledge this rather than the arrogance which says my “in-group” is better than all the rest, this will continue regardless of faith or the lack of it.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Robert Sheldon is down right poetic at the end of post 10:

    Matheson and van Till may fool “Peaceful Science” people but they don’t fool me. Atheism has been the refuge of traitors, scammers, and degenerates since the beginning of written history. It is only since the Modernist century that atheism regained respectability. Now we see what that respectability consists of–a cheap tuxedo over prisoner’s orange. And now that tuxedo is threadbare and ripping at the seams.

  15. 15
    bornagain77 says:

    At 13 Seversky asks,

    Faith that our lives have meaning in the sense that they fulfill a purpose conceived by some other being? How is that better than defining our own purpose?

    Nothing like an illusory self making up illusory purposes for your life, eh Seversky? 🙂

    “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.
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9 –

    The point Rosenberg, an atheist, is making is that, if atheism is true, then our lives truly are objectively meaningless.

    But hey, you don’t have to believe Alex Rosenberg, even though he is an atheist himself, As Dr. Craig points out in the following video and article, many leading atheistic philosophers in the past, such as Sartre and Russell, have also honestly admitted that, without God, life is objectively meaningless, but choose, (as if they had the free will to choose), in an act of self delusion, to make up illusory purposes for life.

    Is There Meaning to Life? – Dr Craig videos (animated video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKGnXgH_CzE

    The Absurdity of Life without God – William Lane Craig
    Excerpt: Meaning of Life
    First, the area of meaning. We saw that without God, life has no meaning. Yet (atheistic) philosophers continue to live as though life does have meaning. For example, Sartre argued that one may create meaning for his life by freely choosing to follow a certain course of action. Sartre himself chose Marxism.
    Now this is utterly inconsistent. It is inconsistent to say life is objectively absurd and then to say one may create meaning for his life. If life is really absurd, then man is trapped in the lower story. To try to create meaning in life represents a leap to the upper story. But Sartre has no basis for this leap. Without God, there can be no objective meaning in life. Sartre’s program is actually an exercise in self-delusion. Sartre is really saying, “Let’s pretend the universe has meaning.” And this is just fooling ourselves.
    The point is this: if God does not exist, then life is objectively meaningless; but man cannot live consistently and happily knowing that life is meaningless; so in order to be happy he pretends life has meaning. But this is, of course, entirely inconsistent—for without God, man and the universe are without any real significance.
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god/

    Is Human Life a Cosmic Accident?
    Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, atheist and agnostic thinkers (i.e., materialists and positivists) have considered everything, including humans, as merely the product of accidental processes. This means that human life no longer has any value or moral significance. This talk examines the way that many thinkers, such as the eminent British philosopher Bertrand Russell, espoused this view, but also contradicted themselves by implying that humans are important.
    https://youtu.be/o1ZvX_uh5ds

    The fact that leading atheistic philosophers themselves honestly admit that, without God, their life is objectively meaningless, and yet they choose to make up illusory meaning and purposes for their lives anyway, underscores the fact that Atheism itself can not possibly be true but instead Atheism must be based on a delusion.

    Namely, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Moreover this act of self-delusion on the part of atheists, (of making up illusory meaning and purposes for their lives although they personally believe their lives are objectively meaningless), besides being self-refuting to their worldview, is also of an extremely limited benefit for them.

    Numerous studies have now shown that faith in God has a tremendous beneficial effect on both our mental and physical health.

    As Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”,,,
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100

    In fact, in the following study it was found that, “those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.” and live 9.45 and 5.64 years longer,

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Study: Religiously affiliated people lived “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/study-religiously-affiliated-people-lived-religiously-affiliated-lived-9-45-and-5-64-years-longer/

    Thus, it is readily apparent that the Atheist’s attempt to create illusory meaning and purposes for his life, minus belief in God and an afterlife falls dramatically short for the atheist on both the mental and physical level.

    Personally, I don’t see how anyone can possibly live their lives without any hope whatsoever that their lives, and especially the lives of their loved ones, will continue on in a heavenly paradise.

    Moreover, it is not as if belief in a heavenly paradise is something for which we have no evidence.

    In fact, as Dr. Egnor has pointed out, we have far more evidence that heaven is real than we have evidence for Darwinian evolution.

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    So it is not as if Christians are asking atheists to believe in some ‘pie in the sky’ fairy tale. To repeat, we, literally, have far more evidence for the reality of heaven than we do for Darwinian evolution.

    Supplemental notes on the surprising scientific evidence supporting the reality of heaven and supporting the reality of our ‘quantum’ souls,

    My favorite ‘scientific’ proof for heaven comes from Einstein’s special theory of relativity.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/sabine-hossenfelder-makes-it-to-slashdot/#comment-691159

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 12: 2-4
    I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

  16. 16
    AaronS1978 says:

    “Faith that our lives have meaning in the sense that they fulfill a purpose conceived by some other being? How is that better than defining our own purpose?“

    Not to be insulting here, but it will sound that way

    Because as a single spec in an infinite universe, you have zero intrinsic value. You are meaningless, worthless, and effectively nonexistent. The only real worth you may have would be for breeding and food for something else. Your value can’t simply be declared as value is placed on you by something else finding worth and purpose in you. By yourself you are meaningless. If you existed but no knew what value would you really have? No one cares if they don’t no known.

    Secondly if you think you have purpose and value derived from yourself, then you would be delusional, a psychopath, naive, arrogant, or all of the above.

    It would simply take one person who cared not for your self given value to eliminate it.
    Victims of abuse, severe bullying (what happened to me), torture, violence and so on know this to be very very true. We spend years repairing our self worth and often rely on others to provide it for us

    And Darwinian evolution doesn’t provide me it actually strips at

    So a person can pretend that they’re special all they want and everybody else can consider them crazy

    In the world of science you can tell yourself in the mirror all you want but you have purposing meaning. Meanwhile I’ll be fetching your medications so you can cope with this horrible world

    Because your self-worth and purpose is no more in illusion than love, your consciousness, your feelings, and anything else that you value

    In the end you’re just a carbon bag that moved around 90+ years and then you stop existing and you insignificant self purpose goes with it
    (The human race is doomed to extinction at some point so no matter what anyone does it doesn’t matter)

    If God doesn’t exist then we all suffer this fate

    If God exists and gives human beings and life value then we can disregard this

    So I hope for everybody’s sake that God exists because even if it’s Spinoza is God, it cared enough to allow us to continue our existence

  17. 17
    Querius says:

    Nonsense. There’s tons of evidence for evolution . . . or so we’ve been told. Repeatedly. Ad nauseum. Only . . . all of the supposed evidence seems to fall apart when it gets carefully examined.

    We used to have scores of vestigial organs, junk DNA, a gradual and incremental succession of fossils, strata being deposited over millions of years, birds whose beaks evolve slowly over time, moths that evolve from white to sooty and back, and on and on.

    But most “vestigial” organs have been found to be functional, “junk” DNA is now termed “non-coding DNA” after more and more of it has been shown to be functional, fossil succession has been falsified by “living fossils” and earlier manifestations of what appear to be modern organisms far back in the “fossil record,” strata contain tree trunks that cross millions of years of strata, carbon 14 is found in places where it shouldn’t exist such as the stretchy marrow in dinosaur bones that are supposedly 65+ millions of years old, finches beaks can change shape in a single generation due to epigenetic coding, the peppered moths story is a science myth as are Disney’s suicidal lemmings, a long and infamous list of “missing links” has been touted and then abandoned, and on and on.

    Actually believing that prebiotic coacervates evolved into kangaroos takes a massive amount of faith, gullibility, or desperation for God not to exist.

    -Q

  18. 18
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ querius
    I mentioned that above really anything is considered evidence for evolution

    Darwinian evolution is heads I win tails you lose

    It explains the bad and the good

    And as you and I put it, there are so many vestigial organs that have ended up being important but we’re declared useless originally by darwinsplain

    Currently it’s consciousness, it’s just evolutionary sprandel.

    Ta-da the power of evolution!

    Now we just leave it at that and we have to except it. It is settled science because evolution did it, we don’t need to explore it anymore or actually even do science!

    Godless gaps!

  19. 19
    BobRyan says:

    Seversky

    Pravda and other Soviet propaganda sources were anti-Semitic and divisive from the moment Stalin took control. His 1st 4 years in power led to the death of 10,000 people, 600,000 of which were Jewish. As Hitler rose to power, nothing about Nazis being anti-Semitic was reported. Prior to Stalin agreeing to split eastern Europe with Hitler, Trotskyites were called Nazi agents among many other things. When the agreement was made with Hitler, Jewish communists who had fled Hitler were handed over to the SS via trains heading west. Even after the Hitler broke his deal with Stalin, Soviet propaganda within the Soviet Union never mentioned Jews as being targeted by the Nazis. 100s of thousands of people under Soviet control were pulled east after the invasion by Hitler, but most Jews remained where they were.

  20. 20
    JVL says:

    BobRyan: led to the death of 10,000 people, 600,000 of which were Jewish

    Someone needs to read what he wrote before he posts it.

  21. 21
    Querius says:

    A reasonable estimate of “excess deaths” between 1932 and 1939 under Stalin is estimated from census counts at about 10 million, not 10 thousand.

    Regarding treatment of the Jews, most nations have an abysmal record. Before the Second World War, most nations of the world accepted exactly zero Jewish refugees. Before 1941, the Soviet Union admitted around 250,000-300,000 Jewish refugees, the largest number of any nation on earth, but sadly, most were murdered by the Nazis after their invasion of the USSR in 1941. And how about the USA? The U.S. admitted only about 124,000 and turned away more Jews than the USSR gave sanctuary to, fulfilling only about 10% of the authorized quota. And now the U.S. is allowing a new wave of antisemitism. Lovely, isn’t it, JVL?

    -Q

  22. 22
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77/15

    Nothing like an illusory self making up illusory purposes for your life, eh Seversky?

    How is a purpose we create for ourselves any more illusory than one created by a god?

    The point Rosenberg, an atheist, is making is that, if atheism is true, then our lives truly are objectively meaningless.

    They would still be objectively meaningless even if there were a god.

    The fact that leading atheistic philosophers themselves honestly admit that, without God, their life is objectively meaningless, and yet they choose to make up illusory meaning and purposes for their lives anyway, underscores the fact that Atheism itself can not possibly be true but instead Atheism must be based on a delusion.

    Belief in a god in the face a lack of substantive evidence for such a being is also arguably delusory.

    In fact, in the following study it was found that, “those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.” and live 9.45 and 5.64 years longer,

    In other words the study found a health benefit for any religious belief, which was also what Professor Sims claimed. None of those studies found that only Christian belief provided those benefits.

    Personally, I don’t see how anyone can possibly live their lives without any hope whatsoever that their lives, and especially the lives of their loved ones, will continue on in a heavenly paradise.

    Which may well be the case for most people and explains the persistence of religious belief to this day. It may not be true but it makes people feel a lot better about life. Hence Marx’s comment about the “opium of the people”.

    In fact, as Dr. Egnor has pointed out, we have far more evidence that heaven is real than we have evidence for Darwinian evolution.

    NDE’s may be reports of what patients actually experienced but that does not make them any more real than some sort of dream. They are near death experiences. Nobody has died and then come back to life days or weeks later to report what heaven is like.

  23. 23
    Seversky says:

    AaronS1978/16

    Because as a single spec in an infinite universe, you have zero intrinsic value. You are meaningless, worthless, and effectively nonexistent. The only real worth you may have would be for breeding and food for something else. Your value can’t simply be declared as value is placed on you by something else finding worth and purpose in you. By yourself you are meaningless. If you existed but no knew what value would you really have? No one cares if they don’t no known.

    All very true and, as wrote above, may well explain the prevalence of religious belief. And, as you say, value or worth or meaning are not intrinsic properties of anything. They exist, like beauty, only in the eye of the beholder. So. even if there were a god who values us for some reason, that does still not mean we have intrinsic worth.

    Secondly if you think you have purpose and value derived from yourself, then you would be delusional, a psychopath, naive, arrogant, or all of the above.

    Which, if true, would also apply to a god who thought in the same way?

    Victims of abuse, severe bullying (what happened to me), torture, violence and so on know this to be very very true. We spend years repairing our self worth and often rely on others to provide it for us

    And Darwinian evolution doesn’t provide me it actually strips at

    The theory of evolution in biology was not intended to provide psychotherapy for victims of abuse.

    Because your self-worth and purpose is no more in illusion than love, your consciousness, your feelings, and anything else that you value

    If you don’t value yourself, who else will?

    In the end you’re just a carbon bag that moved around 90+ years and then you stop existing and you insignificant self purpose goes with it

    At one level of description, yes we are a bag of chemicals and water but that is not all we are.

    If God exists and gives human beings and life value then we can disregard this

    That is what most believers hope, yes. Unfortunately, the evidence from the Old Testament tends not to support that interpretation.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Earth to seversky- Your willful ignorance is not an argument. There isn’t any evidence that nature can produce coded information processing systems and living organisms are ruled by them. There isn’t even a way to test the claim that nature is up to the task. However, there is ONE and ONLY one known cause for coded information processing systems and that is via intelligent agency volition.

    And that is substantive evidence for such a being. Especially when taken in with everything else. Without such a being all you have to try to account for our existence is sheer dumb luck. And that is the antithesis of science and reason.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    What does the alleged theory of evolution in biology say? Somethings happened sometime in the past for some unknown reason and here we are? Thanks to evolutionary biology, evolutionary biologists still don’t know what determines biological form! The most basic question in biology remains unanswered.

  26. 26
    Seversky says:

    BobRyan/19

    Pravda and other Soviet propaganda sources were anti-Semitic and divisive from the moment Stalin took control. His 1st 4 years in power led to the death of 10,000 people, 600,000 of which were Jewish.

    Which was sort of my point. The anti-Semitism of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany was a continuation of what had been endemic in Christian Europe for centuries before. In other words, neither religious beliefs nor political ideologies vaccinate people against committing atrocities against their fellows. The fault is in us. What is needed is humility and compassion, not nationalism and exceptionalism.

  27. 27
    Steve Alten2 says:

    Querius “ And now the U.S. is allowing a new wave of antisemitism. “

    Could you elaborate? How is the US allowing a new wave of antisemitism?

  28. 28
    Querius says:

    Haven’t you read the newspaper accounts of increasing attacks and labels against Jews in the US?

    Here’s a quote from a Jewish publication from last October:

    While the last few months of sickness, civil unrest and political tumult has brought American Jewish anxiety to the fore, it had been building steadily for years, surveys suggest. In the June 2019 version of an annual survey conducted by the American Jewish Committee, 65% of respondents said they considered the status of American Jews less secure than a year previously (15% said it was more secure), up from 55% in 2018. In this year’s survey, released this week, 43% said U.S. Jews are less secure than a year ago and 52% said it’s about the same as last year.

    In previous years, when the question asked about anti-Semitism specifically, 41% said in 2017 that anti-Semitism was a serious problem in the U.S., up from 21% in 2016, 21% in 2015 and 14% in 2013 (there was no survey in 2014).

    American Jews traditionally think of anti-Semitism as something that happens over there – in France, in England, online, in the Muslim world. But the signs that anti-Semitism has come home have become harder and harder to ignore: Months of attacks against Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn in 2019. The massacre in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018, which killed 11 and was the deadliest-ever anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. The shooting at the Chabad of Poway, California, in April 2019, which killed one. Attacks weeks apart in December 2019 in Monsey, New York and Jersey City, New Jersey, in which four people were killed by assailants.

    “First, we need to recognize the problem for what it is: an epidemic. We are no longer talking about isolated, occasional actions – bad enough as those are – but a regular phenomenon,” wrote a Jewish congresswoman, Nita Lowey, along with the head of the American Jewish Committee, David Harris, in an op-ed in The New York Times that month. “Second, we must acknowledge that there are multiple ideological sources feeding this paroxysm of hate; it is not a result of a single political outlook.”

    Today, the anti-Semitic sentiment seems to come from all sides: QAnon conspiracy theorists who, alleging that Satan-worshipping Democrats are running a secret global pedophile network, are also promoting classic anti-Semitic tropes. College students who harass and marginalize Jewish students who dare to openly support Israel or fail to denounce Zionism as racism. Black athletes and celebrities posting anti-Semitic messages on social media.

    Republican congressional candidate Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is heavily favored to win her election next month to the U.S. House of Representatives, has posed for photos with a former neo-Nazi leader, shared a video with an anti-Semitic claim about “Zionist supremacists” trying to flood Europe with refugees and promoted conspiracy theories that accuse George Soros and the Rothschild family of trying to control the world.

    Then there are the actual anti-Semitic incidents, which hit an all-time high in 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Over 2,100 incidents of anti-Semitic assault, vandalism and harassment took place in 2019, including five killings. In 2020, pandemic lockdowns that limited outdoor activity seem to have reduced the number of actual anti-Semitic assaults. However, anti-Semitic rhetoric has flourished online, where some conspiracy theorists blame Jews for spreading the virus.

    While online media continues to ban people for various statements, this sensitivity has not extended to banning online hate speech against Jews.

    -Q

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky has apparently gone off the deep end into his atheistic insanity and has now, literally, completely ‘lost his mind’

    Seversky asks,

    “How is a purpose we create for ourselves any more illusory than one created by a god?”

    and Seversky also states,

    They, (i.e. our lives), would still be objectively meaningless even if there were a god.

    For crying out loud, the denial of purpose for life is literally the defining foundational prerequisite in the Darwinist’s claim that life was created randomly by chance, and was not created by the purposeful intention of an intelligent mind.

    random
    adj
    1 lacking any definite plan or prearranged order; haphazard

    CHANCE ALONE,” the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Jacques Monod once wrote, “is at the source of every innovation, of all creation in the biosphere. Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of creation.”
    – David Berlinski

    Teleology, (i.e. goals, purposes) is simply denied altogether within the primary precept of random chance that lies at the basis of Darwinian thought,,

    teleology
    1 Philosophy
    The explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than of the cause by which they arise.
    1.1 Theology
    The doctrine of design and purpose in the material world.

    Again teleology, (i.e. goals and/or purposes) of any sort is simply denied altogether in Darwinian explanations for why life exists.

    And yet Seversky, even though the denial of purpose for life is literally the defining prerequisite of the Darwinian worldview, has the audacity to ask, “How is a purpose we create for ourselves any more illusory than one created by a god?”

    You simply can’t make this level of ignorance up. Nobody would believe it.

    Moreover, Darwinists, although they insist, (with their primary claim that life is the result of random chance), that there is no teleology, (goals, purposes) for, or within, life, are, (self-refutingly), forced to use the language of teleology, i.e. of goals, purposes, in their explanations of life.

    As biologist J. B. S. Haldane honestly confessed, “Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.”

    “Teleology is like a mistress to a biologist: he cannot live without her but he’s unwilling to be seen with her in public.”
    – J. B. S. Haldane

    It is simply impossible for Darwinists to speak of biological life for any length of time without illegitimately using teleological langange.

    As Stephen Talbott points out in the following article, it is impossible to describe the complexities of biological life without illegitimately using “language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness” (i.e. teleology):

    The ‘Mental Cell’: Let’s Loosen Up Biological Thinking! – Stephen L. Talbott – September 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Many biologists are content to dismiss the problem with hand-waving: “When we wield the language of agency, we are speaking metaphorically, and we could just as well, if less conveniently, abandon the metaphors”.
    Yet no scientist or philosopher has shown how this shift of language could be effected. And the fact of the matter is just obvious: the biologist who is not investigating how the organism achieves something in a well-directed way is not yet doing biology, as opposed to physics or chemistry. Is this in turn just hand-waving? Let the reader inclined to think so take up a challenge: pose a single topic for biological research, doing so in language that avoids all implication of agency, cognition, and purposiveness 1.
    One reason this cannot be done is clear enough: molecular biology — the discipline that was finally going to reduce life unreservedly to mindless mechanism — is now posing its own severe challenges. In this era of Big Data, the message from every side concerns previously unimagined complexity, incessant cross-talk and intertwining pathways, wildly unexpected genomic performances, dynamic conformational changes involving proteins and their cooperative or antagonistic binding partners, pervasive multifunctionality, intricately directed behavior somehow arising from the interaction of countless players in interpenetrating networks, and opposite effects by the same molecules in slightly different contexts. The picture at the molecular level begins to look as lively and organic — and thoughtful — as life itself.
    http://natureinstitute.org/txt.....ell_23.htm

    Denis Noble also notes that “it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language”.

    “the most striking thing about living things, in comparison with non-living systems, is their teleological organization—meaning the way in which all of the local physical and chemical interactions cohere in such a way as to maintain the overall system in existence.
    Moreover, it is virtually impossible to speak of living beings for any length of time without using teleological and normative language—words like “goal,” “purpose,” “meaning,” “correct/incorrect,” “success/failure,” etc.”
    – Denis Noble – Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy, and Genetics of the Medical Sciences Division of the University of Oxford.
    http://www.thebestschools.org/.....interview/

    This working biologist also agrees with Talbott and Noble’s assessment and states, “in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.”

    Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails – Ann Gauger – June 2011
    Excerpt: I’m a working biologist, on bacterial regulation (transcription and translation and protein stability) through signalling molecules, ,,, I can confirm the following points as realities: we lack adequate conceptual categories for what we are seeing in the biological world; with many additional genomes sequenced annually, we have much more data than we know what to do with (and making sense of it has become the current challenge); cells are staggeringly chock full of sophisticated technologies, which are exquisitely integrated; life is not dominated by a single technology, but rather a composite of many; and yet life is more than the sum of its parts; in our work, we biologists use words that imply intentionality, functionality, strategy, and design in biology–we simply cannot avoid them.
    Furthermore, I suggest that to maintain that all of biology is solely a product of selection and genetic decay and time requires a metaphysical conviction that isn’t troubled by the evidence. Alternatively, it could be the view of someone who is unfamiliar with the evidence, for one reason or another. But for those who will consider the evidence that is so obvious throughout biology, I suggest it’s high time we moved on. – Matthew
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....nt-8858161

    Thus, the very words that biologists themselves are forced to use when they are doing their research, (words that invoke teleology, i.e. goals, purposes), directly refutes their Darwinian worldview and their foundational claim that there is no purpose in, or for, life.

    Without mind, there simply can be no teleology and/or purpose, in, or for, life. (or in, or for, anything else for that matter).

    As Michael Egnor explains, “Stated another way, physical processes (understood without teleology) have no purpose. Mental processes always have purpose. In fact, purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) is what defines the mind. And we see the same purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) in nature.
    Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature.
    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.”

    Teleology and the Mind – Michael Egnor – August 16, 2016
    Excerpt: From the hylemorphic perspective, there is an intimate link between the mind and teleology. The 19th-century philosopher Franz Brentano pointed out that the hallmark of the mind is that it is directed to something other than itself. That is, the mind has intentionality, which is the ability of a mental process to be about something, rather than to just be itself. Physical processes alone (understood without teleology) are not inherently about things. The mind is always about things. Stated another way, physical processes (understood without teleology) have no purpose. Mental processes always have purpose. In fact, purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) is what defines the mind. And we see the same purpose (aboutness-intentionality-teleology) in nature.
    Intentionality is a form of teleology. Both intentionality and teleology are goal-directedness — intentionality is directedness in thought, and teleology is directedness in nature. Mind and teleology are both manifestations of purpose in nature. The mind is, within nature, the same kind of process that directs nature.
    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/

    Thus for Seversky to ask,,,

    “How is a purpose we create for ourselves any more illusory than one created by a god?”

    ,, is for Seversky to profoundly misunderstand what the foundation of his own Darwinian worldview actually entails. i.e. that life, (and everything else), is the product of random chance and is therefore completely devoid of any teleology, i.e. of any purpose.

    It is only with the intentionality of a conscious mind that we are able to derive any teleology, i.e. purpose, for life at all. Teleology of any sort simply does not exist in the Darwinian worldview.

    And I might add, (with the Mind of God being infinite in omniscience), then the teleology, i.e. purpose, that God has for our lives on this earth, and for our lives in the afterlife, is, necessarily, infinite in extent.

    As the apostle Paul stated,

    1 Corinthians 2:9
    But as Scripture says:
    “No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
    and no mind has imagined
    the things that God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

  30. 30
    Querius says:

    Ah, so now we’re hiding in Nihilism. From Wikipedia

    Nihilism (/?na?(h)?l?z?m, ?ni?-/; from Latin nihil ‘nothing’) is a philosophy, or family of views within philosophy, expressing some form of negation towards life or towards fundamental concepts such as knowledge, existence, and the meaning of life. Different nihilist positions hold variously that human values are baseless, that life is meaningless, that knowledge is impossible, or that some set of entities do not exist.

    So, lessee . . . what’s left to deny?

    I know–Free Will doesn’t exist . . . and neither does Consciousness, which is merely a hallucination. And hallucinations don’t exist either and neither do we exist. So, how can God exist when nothing else exists? Hah! Gotcha now. LOL

    Try stabbing your hand with a fork. Not too hard though because things might exist after all. Gosh, wouldn’t that be embarrassing . . .

    -Q

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