I noticed thread Thread 156175
and thought perhaps it would be good to share my own personal experience in a new thread (would likely receive more attention), yet without giving away too many personal details.
I have a bachelors, masters, and med degree and currently am working on a PhD. My academic background is Chemistry, Philosophy, trauma care, and now working on ethics (PhD). So have a mixed yet useful background. I am not a philosopher or scientist though. So keep that in mind.
Permit me to talk a little about epistemology (the study of how we know).
It should be understood that there is almost no knowledge that can be proven as indubitable (i.e. beyond doubt), and this is primarily because of the human aspect (we are subjective thinkers) and are prone to error. Yes, for you logicians you can even test my very statement here, but I'll assume for the moment that you agree. Yet, this does not suggest there is no objective truth, but merely our interpretation is subjective to our own limits.
Therefore, when we approach knowledge philosophically we really should approach it in terms of levels of certainty. I've had discussion on here several times regarding belief structures and I like to point to the fact that I feel my personal view best answers all questions that are thrown my way. Yet, I won't say it has been proven to be absolutely true; because, as an academic I can't really say anything has been proven. Only your hard core evolutionist (Dawkins etc) and hard core creationists (Henry Morris etc) would argue that their view is indubitable. Most, will give the academic nod and see there is an intelligent argument on both sides. Aldous Huxley who was a very intelligent man himself attested that he was worried that so many intelligent people were on the other side. (i.e. creation).
So hopefully that sets a starting point for the discussion.
Now with this in mind and taking a purely scientific approach, neither evolution or intelligent design can be proven 'true'. In fact, taking Descartes's approach, nothing can be 100% proven true (even my own statement that I just made about truth). Also, science is simply observation, experimentation, and then theorizing and the formulation of laws based upon that observation of phenomena. However, the process of both evolution and intelligent design cannot be thought of purely scientific as no capability to observe the actual process is present. I believe most honest scientists on both sides would agree with this statement.
So, the question of which is better is honestly the better way to ask it. Which fits reality as we now see it best?
So permit me, to explain my process of getting to where I am now.
I was raised in a non-religious home, and remained non-religious until my mid 20s (I'm now in my early 30s). I went from an extreme Atheist and proponent of evolution to intelligent design and then later Christian.
Now, I have noticed that some of you, on both sides I might add, like to call evolutionists and creationists 'non thinkers'. Some yes are that way. Yet, to be perfectly frank. My process of 'conversion' was all very carefully thought through. I am very capable of thinking and weighing evidence, and I respect my peers on the other side of the coin and I would ask you other coin siders to do the same for me and seriously consider my own path.
I for a long time held to Bertrand Russel's stance that, 'If it is neither mathematical or scientific then toss it away as sophistry.' I lived and died by this until I was about 25. Then one day, I had a friend who I was having a coffee house debate with point out that this statement itself was neither mathematical or scientific. In other words, it failed itself and simply couldn't be true.
I had always prided myself on being logical, and I simply couldn't get passed that statement. So I was forced to recognize that there was a whole body of evidence out there that wasn't in the scientific or mathematical realm that was true. And this was really fundamental to me as it really changed my epistemology. How I viewed my source of knowledge.
So I began to study knowledge. How I can know things. As it seems very important to me and reality at large. I was faced with the dilemma that scientists are actually split almost down the middle on the question of belief in God. Alister McGrath documents this cogently in his book responding to Dawkins entitled 'Dawkins Delusion' stating the split is 55% atheist/agnostic and 45% theist. There are heavy weight academics on both sides, often teaching in the same schools in the same departments. Freemon Dyson is one such academic that first opened my mind to the legitimacy of both sides-although Dyson himself is an Christian and is one of the most celebrated theoretical physicist and mathematicians of our day. Just look his name up to confirm. Every statement I've made here has been carefully planned out I hope. I began reading his works and listening to his speeches.
Dyson was the first to introduce me to the concept that the natural world was intellectually malleable. Meaning, it was open to many interpretations. Some are obviously wrong, but there is no one interpretation that dominates the forefront in higher academics.
Let me explain. There are 3 realms that reason/culture/acadmics play in. The theoretical, the arts, and the coffee house. The theoretical is our universities and speeches given by scientists. The arts are movies, music, paintings etc. Coffee house is what I'm doing right now by writing this to you. Evolution dominates the coffee house largely, and largely in the past 100 years dominates the arts, yet there is a virtual equal playing field in the theoretical, and obviously historically intelligent design dominates (but that is obviously because Darwin didn't publish his book until 1859).
So, my move was one of what I would call academic honestly. I didn't believe in God or a god or gods. And honestly, I didn't want there to be one in my early 20s. I was like Thomas Nagel at the time, and allow me to quote him.
"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that."
Yet, I realized that a moral predisposition is totally nonacademic and lacks integrity (in my view) and honesty. So I began to try and weigh the evidence as I saw it as unbiasedly as I could (and that is impossible actually).
What I began to see was so much. I saw a new found intricacy of knowledge.
I'm not here to post a treatise on intelligent design, but I'll just share some of the small simple facts that I found more convincing that lead me to where I am now (a Christian and creationist).
1) Irreducible complexity. I had no answer and did not find any satisfactory answers from my acclaimed elite.
2) The fossil record. Darwin himself saw this as an issue, Huxley knew it was an issue, and it is still an issue and I was actually incensed to really come full round and realize I had been lied to, yes, lied to
in college by my professors. What I found was the fossil record contains very little (yet debated and contested highly) material to nothing in support of evolution. That was the first time I really understood the philosophical need for punctuated equilibrium etc.
3) Design. I began examining the full uniqueness of the natural world. The enzyme, the stars (billions of them), the exact mathematical placement of everything. I was forced to admit that the sheer mathematical probability that all that came to be from chance was so so so so very low that it approached zero%. And that bothered me. I read this, (sorry to quote so long again)
"For example, consider a very simple putative organism composed of only 200 integrated and functioning parts, and the problem of deriving that organism by this type of process. The system presumably must have started with only one part and then gradually built itself up over many generations into its 200-part organization. The developing organism, at each successive stage, must itself be integrated and functioning in its environment in order to survive until the next stage. Each successive stage, of course, becomes statistically less likely than the preceding one, since it is far easier for a complex system to break down than to build itself up. A four-component integrated system can more easily "mutate" (that is, somehow suddenly change) into a three-component system (or even a four-component non-functioning system) than into a five-component integrated system. If, at any step in the chain, the system mutates "downward," then it is either destroyed altogether or else moves backward, in an evolutionary sense.
Therefore, the successful production of a 200-component functioning organism requires, at least, 200 successive, successful such "mutations," each of which is highly unlikely. Even evolutionists recognize that true mutations are very rare, and beneficial mutations are extremely rare—not more than one out of a thousand mutations are beneficial, at the very most.
But let us give the evolutionist the benefit of every consideration. Assume that, at each mutational step, there is equally as much chance for it to be good as bad. Thus, the probability for the success of each mutation is assumed to be one out of two, or one-half. Elementary statistical theory shows that the probability of 200 successive mutations being successful is then (½ ) 200, or one chance out of 1060. The number 1060, if written out, would be "one" followed by sixty "zeros." In other words, the chance that a 200-component organism could be formed by mutation and natural selection is less than one cha...