Are we not seeing accurately when assessing the universe and our place in it?
Is there anyone out there, who knows where to begin?
Dr Donald Hoffman is a cognitive scientist at The University of California; he discovered while researching the decline of Australia's jewel beetle that life cannot see accurately - this includes all life and leads to big questions about both religion and science.
The jewel beetle had been evolving for nearly two million years and only the male of the species can fly. This enables him to spot a female on the ground; the female is brown, shiny and dimpled. The Australians after drinking their beer, would throw their empties into the Outback. The empty bottles were brown, shiny and dimpled, the poor male beetle couldn't tell the difference between a female and a bottle; hence their decline. The Australians had to get rid of their bottles to save their beetles.
Taking this further; if all life cannot see accurately and this is beneficial to life, then what seems like an handicap, is anything but.
When an intelligent species 'us' comes across something that we can't explain, then in a desperate attempt at clarification we reach for the supernatural, but instead of clarifying we are doing the opposite; we are doing the same as the beetle.
Darwin can't be wrong can he? Let's take a look.
It was in the 1930s when biologist David Black went to the Galapagos Islands to confirm Darwin's theory of natural selection. When he arrived at Galapagos he found finches of all shapes and sizes and all proven to be from one ancestor. He noticed the finches with the bigger and much stronger beaks were eating the same food as the birds with a much weaker structure. He assumed that the birds had evolved in this way because there was no evidence to prove otherwise. He began to think that Darwin had been wrong.
Black was called home early because the dark clouds of war were on the horizon and he left without completing his work. It was sometime later, he discovered by chance that there had been a drought prior to his arriving on Galapagos and many of the foods had not grown, especially the food that was eaten by the the much stronger beaked. He again assumed, rightly or wrongly that he now had what he set out to do, which was to confirm Darwin's theory of natural selection.
Of course it is only a theory; what if the food the smaller birds with the much weaker beaks depended on, had not grown; how could the birds with the weaker beaks have survived? If all the birds had been capable of eating more than one type of grain or berry, then all the the birds would have had a better chance of surviving, but this would have meant evolution supplying all the birds with the same beaks and the same structure to go along with the capabilities they had acquired.
I do admit that at first glance things do appear as Darwin had predicted; the finches had evolved due to what was eaten by each individual species, but are we seeing accurately? Was Black right with his first assumption and was Darwin wrong?,
These mutations seem to occur just to give variety, which in turn gives intelligent life purpose and purpose is the occurrence that gives life its need to evolve. Imagine the benefits this ability to mutate in an organized way, would bestow on the field of medicine if it could be harnessed. Perhaps the age of miracles is yet to come, but it will only come from science.
You seem to put a lot of faith in the words of Donald Hoffmann and Charles Darwin. One of the most common misconceptions is so-called “scientific proof.” Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a scientific proof. Proofs exist only in mathematics and logic, not in science. Mathematics and logic are both closed, self-contained systems of propositions, whereas science is empirical and deals with nature as it exists. The primary criterion and standard of evaluation of scientific theory is evidence, not proof. All else equal (such as internal logical consistency and parsimony), scientists prefer theories for which there is more and better evidence to theories for which there is less and worse evidence. Proofs are not the currency of science.
Proofs have two features that do not exist in science: They are final, and they are binary. Once a theorem is proven, it will forever be true and there will be nothing in the future that will threaten its status as a proven theorem (unless a flaw is discovered in the proof). Apart from a discovery of an error, a proven theorem will always be a proven theorem.
In contrast, all scientific knowledge is tentative and provisional, and nothing is final. There is no such thing as final proven knowledge in science. The currently accepted theory of a phenomenon is simply the "best" explanation for it among all available alternatives. However, I might add, other alternatives must T be considered and not summarily dismissed. In my experience, many supporters of evolutionary theory will not even consider the alternative explanations provided by creation scientists. Any "accepted status" of a theory is contingent on what other theories are available and might suddenly change tomorrow if there appears a better theory or new evidence that might challenge the accepted theory. No knowledge or theory (which embodies scientific knowledge) is final. To imply that it is would be disingenuous and misleading.
Hello SMS. You have misunderstood me; I was criticizing Darwin and I was not having faith in Donald Hoffman, I was using the jewel beetle as evidence.
You are right, science does not have the definitive answers, but neither does religion, but you will deny this. I will try to demonstrate the lack of insight your religious dogma initiates.
Galileo was the perfect example; he risked life and limb to get his ideas across due to the pressure from the religious hierarchy; today he would have received the Nobel Prize.
You say that science is based on empirical values, but you trust religion which is only based on faith - which is the most reliable pathway to the truth?
I have asked you so many times when engaging on the (What is and what isn't ) debate to answer one question, which you have repeatedly ignored to answer. Why? Even after I have given you the answer. The attitude that existed in the 17th century is still prevalent today and that is why you can't reply. With your myopic religion's stance, Galileo would have been prevented from allowing an intelligent species from progressing. If it was not for free thinking men and women, religion would be taking us on a journey backwards in time, back to extinction.
We are made from the same dust as the stars and therefore we are the children of the universe and the universe must be what determines our future. The intelligence that evolved here on Earth is an intelligence that will go on growing for as long as the universe exists. Our environment when life first started has now grown into what may be an infinite environment, changing with the advance of our abilities. Looking at the universe we can ask this question; is it finite or infinite? If it is finite then it must have a boundary, but if it has a boundary, what lies beyond that boundary? We know now with the knowledge gathered from quantum mechanics that protons can appear from nothing; does this mean beyond the boundary is the beginning of forever? Looking at it from nature's point of view, omnipotence will never happen to our species - the horizon will always be just beyond our reach.
I hope this explains why empiricism is the only way to go. Religion will wake one day to recognize its misguided logic.
@windar12q, I would be very interested in seeing the original research that you say determined that protons can appear from nothing. Would you care to provide a citation or a link?
@Jonathan Schulz Hello Jonathan. Look up quantum mechanics then follow through with quantum entanglement. I also suggest you read the last book by Stephen Hawking titled,
'Brief Answers to the Big Questions.'
Nice to hear from you.
Hello windar12q! As you may have guessed, I believe that God created the world to have the variety that we see today. The Bible is the first reason (see Genesis 1-2) but there is some scientific evidence as well.
1. All mutations that we observe result in a loss of genetic information. Even though some mutations benefit the organism, new genetic material is not created. Old DNA gets combined in a different way or some parts lose functionality, but entirely new sequences are not created by nature. Evolution (or any description of life based solely on natural processes) requires creation of new genetic material to be a frequent event.
2. Changes in organisms happen within Biblical kinds. A "kind" is a term used by creation scientists to describe organisms that are similar enough to mate with each other, and is similar to a genus. We do not observe new species forming that are wildly different from their predecessors, but we do see variations on a theme within each kind. It is believed that God created each kind with the genes needed to produce all the varieties we see.
3. DNA is information. All meaningful codes have a sender who created them and an intended recipient who can read them. If humans did not exist, would there be writing? It's a similar situation with DNA, God is the sender who created the "writing" and the organisms' bodies are the "readers".
When I look at the variety in nature, I marvel at God's creativity. It's like God is an artist and the universe is His canvass. His glory is on full display as He creates His masterpiece. Out of all the things He created, all the variety, He chooses to have a special relationship with us. His most beautiful work is His redemption through Jesus.
3 He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
4 He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit. - Psalm 147:3-4
Hello ekrause1406. Thank you for joining my new debate.
I gather by what you say, that DNA is guided by God's hand and variety is the result. You were honest enough to attempt an answer to my question in the other debate and I know you will try to answer my next attempt to convey the truth.
My question is; you believe that DNA proves that there is a God; my answer to that is, I don't know. Which of these two answers is the most intelligent? You must be aware that your answer must be demonstrated if it is not the latter?, By demonstration, I don't mean quoting a passage from a book, I mean being pragmatic, which is what my position is and I know you will reciprocate.
I must also point out that the wrong answer could stop our species from thinking and like in the case of SMS refusing to answer, your reply could also take us back to the 17th century with its lack of innovation.
I will eventually try to explain where this variety could come from by just looking at facts, but first I have to try the impossible and change your mind-set, or at least come to some kind of compromise.
@windar12q Hello windar12q! I understand what you mean that "I don't know" doesn't have to be proven. However, the easy answer isn't always the right one. There is evidence for God, but there is no way to scientifically test Him. There is no way to test the formation of the universe through natural means only, either. Whichever one you choose to believe in, science cannot confirm it beyond any challenges so it must be believed by faith. One of them must be true, after all, the universe exists; so believing something through reasonable faith is not wrong, but the only option if you want to have a belief about our origins. We have evidence, but scientific proof is impossible to obtain for either belief.
I know Jesus because He has worked powerfully in my life. During prayer or worship sometimes His presence is so tangible it's almost like seeing the Holy Spirit or sensing His presence in the room. When I look around sometimes during this time I see each person responding to God; He has a special relationship with each of them and with me.
@ekrause1406 Hello ekrause1406, The reason for the question was; the first answer stops you from thinking; the 'I don't know' keeps you thinking in a constructive way.
With respect, SMS and yourself are unable to give an answer because of your faith; I pointed out that in the 17th century Galileo was unable to get his ideas of the solar system allowed because it disagreed with religion's version of the universe. It was only Galileo's free thinking that has allowed us to go forward and explore the universe. Your way of thinking, by letting your faith be the cause of not being able to answer a simple question, is putting you back into the 17th century. Your idea that there is a reliable faith defies all logic; faith is a fifty fifty chance and if you get it wrong the first time, you are going the wrong way with any decision you make afterwards. You will have a continuous heritage of equivocal decisions, which is a heritage the Bible is without a doubt following.
You and SMS are both unintentionally destroying the most important part of intelligent life; you have both stopped constructive purpose.
If you were thinking clearly, there could only be one honest answer and that is 'I don't know.' It's only by giving a honest answer will you begin to think clearly and be co-productive.
You must remember what I said about the beetle and intelligent life's contingency to guess when it comes up against something that cannot be explained; it then reaches for the supernatural as an explanation. What happened at the beginning of intelligence, was it assumed that supernatural was the right side of the coin (fifty, fifty chance) and this has been passed on to generations that have followed; all being led down the wrong path. The question now is how do we get back on the straight and narrow? It is happening, but the change is very slow and when the light of day eventually shines without any shadows, will we begin to realize the peace that we have been depriving the world of.
Hello windar12q! There are definitely some things we don't fully understand about God. Our limited human minds cannot fathom God's infinite power, His unchanging perfection, or His existence as three (God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit) in one perfectly unified God (if you want to read a book about these attributes, try A. W. Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy). We don't understand how exactly God's plan works even when life is hard, or why a good God would allow something bad to happen. However, wondering about these questions brings me closer to God, not further from Him. God is big enough to handle your biggest questions. Even if He doesn't reveal an answer He will always remind you that He loves you so much He sent Jesus for you, and that He is in control. One saying I enjoy is this: Christianity is not a religion, it's a relationship. It's more than just a source of answers.
Another question ekrause1406, Why do you think that biologically we are not perfect and why do some people live longer than others?
@windar12q Hello windar12q. The reason we are not biologically perfect is because of the Fall into sin. When God first created us, He made us to be the best of all of His creatures, He even made us in His image (which means we have eternal souls). He also gave us free will; we could choose whether to follow God or disobey Him. Adam and Eve chose to disobey. God, since He is just, had to punish their disobedience: most notably by allowing death into the world (see Genesis 3 for the whole account). The whole creation suffers the consequences of sin.
As for why some people live longer than others, lifestyle choices and access to health resources plays an important role, but I think your bigger question is why bad things happen to good people. For that, I don't have an answer. We can take confidence from knowing that God has a plan. We may not understand it, but we know He is using it to save people through Jesus.
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. -Proverbs 19:21
God's plan also made me think of this passage. It is from one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I thought you might appreciate it because the Bible says that the Bible sounds crazy (now that I think of it, that's a very good word to describe God's unconditional love for us. Have you ever heard the worship song "Reckless Love"?).
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[b] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. -1 Corinthians 1:21-25
@ekrause1406 Hello equause, I'm going to be blunt because I see no other way to put it, but please don't take offence, it's just my way of making you see the truth.
Your God is omnipotent, and would have known about sin before it happened. I know you are going to bring in the gift of free will, but don't you understand that that doesn't change a thing, your God is still omnipotent and would have known this also. If you can imagine yourself outside of kindergarten and listening, you will see and hear children having the same kind of banter. This is how it appears to those like myself when I hear you twisting this way and that to defend the indefensible. It really does come over as childish and I wish I could make you see this. The question of love and hate and your unintentional description of God being a psychopath is the perfect example of childish banter. Children when they become stuck do the same thing; they begin to fantasize.
I apologise again for being blunt, but I think it important to get a point across and maybe put you on your guard the next time something like this comes up.
It's the same with our biological make-up. We have plenty of evidence of how life evolved with DNA proving we come from one ancestor,and as life evolves so does our knowledge. 200 years ago, life expectancy was an average of 30 to 40 years and it has steadily increased; now today the average is 75 to 85 in the developed world. who knows what the future will bring as we begin to learn more and more? We are going where your God forbade us to go; we might one day live forever - your God's word cannot be taken for granted; to do so is embarrassing when all around us it is being proved to be false.
To give you an idea of how the free mind works, I'm going to give you another question - All creatures great and small, how did this variety come about and why didn't all life reach the same level of intelligence?
Once again you submit your opinions and assertions as fact. "I've already proved that Satan doesn't exist." When did you prove that? Simply saying that something is a fact doesn't make it a fact. Also, you say that "we have to know bad or we wouldn't know good." Could it be that we have to know good first or we wouldn't know bad? God created a perfect world, so Adam and Eve only experienced perfect good. Thus, they first knew good before they knew the bad that evil brought into the world. We know what bad is because there is an objective standard outside of ourselves that declares to us what is good and what is bad. It's called God's Law -- the Ten Commandments. This perfect standard from God doesn't change, no matter how hard human "morality" tries to change it. Human "morality" may change (and often does for the worse), but God's standards do not change, nor does His justice and judgment when that standard is violated. God demands perfection, and when we "break the law" there is a penalty to pay. "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23)
Thankfully, we have a Savior who is our Substitute. Jesus took upon Himself the wrath of God's judgment in our place. He then credits His perfect human life to us, making us holy and blameless in the sight of God. The Almighty God demands payment for your sinful rebellion. Either you're going to pay the penalty for your sins, or Jesus took that punishment for you. There are no other options. Trusting in Jesus means eternal life. Trusting in something else (whatever that something else is) means eternal death. Which will it be for you? Jesus says, "Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends" (John 15:13) Jesus did that for us when He died on the cross, and He did that for you, too.
John 3:36 (Jesus said), "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."
Romans 3:10-25 "None is righteous, no, not one; (11) no one understands; no one seeks for God. (12) All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
(18) "There is no fear of God before their eyes." (19) Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. (20) For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (21) But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- (22) the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (25) whom God put forward as the atoning sacrifice by his blood, to be received by faith.
This whole conversation is not just a matter of academic discussion and debate. It's a serious matter of eternal life vs. eternal death.
"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives, so let not your hearts be troubled, and don't be afraid" (John 14:27)
Hello S.M.S. I do not make up that which is obvious to anyone who can for one moment shred the vanities of a book. You still fail to pass on the 'assertions ' that you accuse me of; just to say that a thing is true or false is not valid in this debate, or any other debate; I need it to be demonstrated. You accuse, but you are not prescriptive. How can I reply if I don't know what to reply to?
Again you make the same mistake - good didn't come before bad; they are both the same emotion, they are the two sides of the same coin and could only have arrived at the same time; this is because we cannot know one without the other. Why is it that you cannot see this? You experience the same emotions as me and must know this to be true and yet you allow yourself to deny it.(Remember, you couldn't answer the question about love and hate for the same reason?) If HATE is a positive emotion, then SATAN cannot exist. What more proof do you need, than that which is part of you and is much a part of me; this includes everyone else too? Your book doesn't make sense and if you think about it, you will come to realize this.
You are also mixed up about the Ten Commandments, it's the emotion of hate that provides us with the knowledge of right and wrong. You know this, but you couldn't answer the question because it would reveal the sham that religion is. If we didn't know wrong how could we ever know right? The answers you seek are not in a book, they are in our everyday existence; they are in our future and our past, but only if we open our minds.
Your bible preaches both hate and love, but the emphasis is on love, this is because who ever wrote it was human and was trying to make excuses the same as you. The only way out of a problem is by understanding it, but a book won't do this; only an open mind will take you down the pathway to truth.
I will just add; your God is the one guilty of bringing sin into the world, if you believe your bible - if he is omnipotent, then he must have known how everything would turn out, this includes giving us free will.
You write, "If hate is a positive emotion than Satan cannot exist." You have not proven that hate is a positive emotion. I don't know of anyone who would describe hate as a positive emotion. I have not read any author who posits that hate is a positive emotion. There is no historical example of hate ever bringing about a positive outcome. Your assertion that hate is a positive emotion has no foundation in reality. And finally, you cannot empirically prove that Satan does not exist any more than I can empirically prove that God DOES exist. Your position is based on faith and trust just as much as mine. I would submit that your faith and trust are misplaced. With regards.
All our emotions have a negative and positive side; we experience them therefore the evidence is within ourselves. The universe and all that is within, obeys our negative and positive make-up. When a star reaches a volume that cannot sustain it, it will then give way to the forces of nature and implode creating a Black Hole. The Black Hole will eventually settle and fit into the cycle that is its place, it will no longer rely on a singularity, but become a part of the bigger picture. This same universal energy is displayed in our evolving; if all life reached the same level of intelligence, life itself would implode. (Become extinct.) Like the star, if life is one energy and obeying the same laws of nature, then that explains the variety of life and why all life has not reached the same level of intelligence. Life isn't guided by a God, it is guided by the laws of nature. (Energy) I don't have to read a book to work this out; the opposite is the case - the reason I don't need to read a book is because my open mind leads me. I can also explain a lot of the supernatural using the laws of nature, that's along with the reason for all creatures great and small. Hate is the guiding light, showing us the right way to go, without it there would be no love, no empathy, no altruism and no us. Satan + hate = 0. You don't need any more proof than this.
These are facts based on our knowledge of energy, can you reply using the same - facts only? If you can only answer by quoting from a book, a book that cannot be demonstrated to be true, then it is you who is making assertions.
S.M.S You have a belief that cannot be justified, I have facts that tell me to keep going, to keep discovering, and I have found the peace that religion can never give. Religion will always have that doubt and that is why you are trying to defend that which cannot be defended without proof to sustain it. Words from a book are not sufficient.
I do not share the same burden, because atheism is not a belief based on faith alone, in fact it is not belief at all.
Think about your everyday living, could you guide your day with faith alone and ignore the facts? By that I mean could you just by saying a prayer remain safe when eating or walking, or climbing, do you really believe a prayer will keep you from danger, regardless. How long do you think you would last? If you were in a plane over the Atlantic and the pilot said he was going to leave the landing to a supernatural God, would you just say a prayer and know everything would be alright? You don't have to answer that one because we know that this has already happened. When planes have been taken over by terrorists the prayers were not answered. The peace of mind that facts give me is unequalled in religion and the reason for this is - one is based on reality and the other on shifting sands. I and the rest of the human race are on a journey so unbelievable it is almost impossible to imagine and I get my inspiration from being part of it. Try it before you criticize atheists.
I don't believe I criticized atheists. I merely made a personal comment about my inability to believe all the things that atheists must believe in order to be atheists.
Is the creation account reasonable? I submit that it is far more reasonable than what atheists believe. If one does not believe God created the heavens and the earth, what is the alternative? Which takes more faith: to believe God made everything in the universe, or to believe He didn’t? Consider the vast intricacy, order, and complexity of the universe, and the lavishly diverse beauty of life around us. Which is more reasonable? To say ,“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” or “In the beginning nothing became everything all by itself?” Either God is the Creator of all things, or they came about by happenstance. Either God created life, or dead things somehow sprang to life all by themselves. Suppose you had an old, fancy pocket-watch all taken apart, with all of its intricate parts strewn out on the kitchen table. Does it take more faith to believe that the watch pieces could somehow spring to life on their own to assemble themselves into a functioning watch, or to believe that a Master Watchmaker put it together to make it tick? How much more is there reason to believe in the Creator of the universe, instead of all things randomly springing into existence from nothingness? That's why I don't have enough faith to believe what atheists believe.
Hello S.M.S. Atheism is not a belief.
How the universe came about is a question without an answer. To say you know the answer without any evidence is foolhardy. If your answer is God with no facts to demonstrate this and I say I don't know how the universe began, which answer appears the most logical?
If I found the innards of a watch spread around, I would instantly know there was a designer, because I could eventually trace that designer; you cannot do this with a God.
The unity of things, including life are based on the laws of physics; these laws also control the energy that produces them. This energy has to obey the same laws and that is the answer to the conformity that has you puzzled. ( There is a design in nature, but it doesn't come from a God.)
@windar12q Like I said before, I don't have enough faith to believe all the assumptions you just asserted. And, yes, atheism is most definitely a belief system. You believe there is no god. That is a statement of faith. I believe there is a God. That is a statement of faith. I believe this God took on our human flesh and blood to rescue us from our sin and our death. That is Christianity.
@S.M.S. Your faith is blurring your judgement - how can I have faith in something that I don't think exists? Faith is a consuming emotion that works the other way. Think of it like this - I have faith in fairies because I don't think they exist. I don't have to provide a burden of proof, it is you that has to do that. My answer to your assumption that atheism is a faith, is, I don't know if God exists, because I cannot prove it either way, how is that a belief? The difference in your stance and mine, is mine is based on facts and yours is not. It is you that is assuming. At this point I must apologise for being blunt, but my aim is at religion and is not personal; it is religious assuming that has caused most of our historical bloodshed and still is. It will go on destroying for as long as we go on assuming.
The laws of physics is not an assumption, this is another way your religion is making you fantasize.