1. Joined
    15 Aug '12
    Moves
    11620
    31 Oct '13 06:061 edit
    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...
  2. Joined
    15 Aug '12
    Moves
    11620
    31 Oct '13 06:08
    continuing reading here.

    chance out of a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Lest anyone think that a 200-part system is unreasonably complex, it should be noted that even a one-celled plant or animal may have millions of molecular "parts."

    This was a huge tipping of the weight to me.

    4) lastly for now. A philosopher once said, all worldviews must answer these four questions aptly. Origin (what I was just talking about), meaning, morality, and destiny. I was no longer certain of evolution's viability for origin, but meaning, morality, and destiny. Well, that is another whole discussion but I'll just say this.

    Belief in no god/gods/God gives no meaning to me. I'm transitory, I have no satisfaction, or hope (ultimately).
    It also does not give an absolute morality. Where do we say right and wrong ultimately come from. If it is merely utilitarian, well I have issues there. Bertrand Russel once said he can tell the difference from right and wrong from how he feels. Zacharias asks him, "Mr. Russel, some societies prefer to love their neighbor others prefer to eat them, do you have a personal preference?"
    And destiny...well, atheism gives no hope there. Ever heard of Pascal's Wager? Well, look it up if you like.

    So that is a short (I know, long post) of my history from walking from Atheism to Christianity. And honestly, I am personally so much happier. So that is a short bit of my testimony. Hope you find it intriguing and perhaps useful.
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
    Walk your Faith
    USA
    Joined
    24 May '04
    Moves
    148423
    31 Oct '13 06:31
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    continuing reading here.

    chance out of a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Lest anyone think that a 200-part system is unreasonably complex, it should be noted that even a one-celled plant or animal may have millions of molecular "parts."

    This was a huge tipping of the weight to me.

    4) lastly for now. A philosopher once said, ...[text shortened]... happier. So that is a short bit of my testimony. Hope you find it intriguing and perhaps useful.
    I hardly ever read long posts, but enjoyed these, thanks.
    Kelly
  4. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    31 Oct '13 06:41
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    Most, will give the academic nod and see there is an intelligent argument on both sides.
    Only those who are not scientifically educated. Most scientists will happily admit that we cannot know anything with absolute confidence, but that doesn't mean that creationist have an intelligent argument. If creationists had intelligent arguments to make they would be publishing them as scientific papers. They are not.
    Let me be clear here: I am not saying creationists are not intelligent, I am saying their arguments for creationism are not intelligent.

    Now with this in mind and taking a purely scientific approach, neither evolution or intelligent design can be proven 'true'.
    But it is important to note that they can, in theory, be shown to be false (proven is the wrong word).
    Arguments for or against them can also be shown to be false.

    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.
    Why is this a dilemma? Surely it is merely a reflection of the fact that much of the population is theist, and many scientists stop being theist as a result of their scientific education.

    1) Irreducible complexity. I had no answer and did not find any satisfactory answers from my acclaimed elite.
    How hard did you look, because there is plenty of material out there.

    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.
    It sounds to me like someone has lied to you that you were lied to. Have you actually looked at the fossil record?

    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.
    That is because you don't understand basic probability. This is why I say creationist arguments are not intelligent. I would be happy to explain this to you if you wish.

    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...
    I recommend you read Dawkins' book 'Climbing Mount Improbable'.
    But to summarize, you have got your probability calculation all wrong.
    1. With natural selection, incorrect choices are weeded out at each generation, so you cannot multiply the probabilities.
    2. You are assuming that the resultant creature is the only possible viable creature, yet it is blatantly obvious from the variety of life on earth that this is not so. In fact, nearly every single living thing on earth that has ever lived has a unique DNA code. This shows that the viable solution space is vast.

    So, now I am curious to find out whether you will become atheist again now that you know all your reasons for becoming creationist were mere misinformation/misunderstanding on your part.
  5. Joined
    24 Apr '10
    Moves
    14574
    31 Oct '13 06:42
    A philosopher once said, all worldviews must answer these four questions aptly. Origin (what I was just talking about), meaning, morality, and destiny.

    Evolution is a scientific theory. Just like gravity is. Please explain how the theories on gravity answer the "questions" origin, meaning, morality and destiny.

    Thanks.
  6. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    31 Oct '13 06:44
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    4) lastly for now. A philosopher once said, all worldviews must answer these four questions aptly. Origin (what I was just talking about), meaning, morality, and destiny. I was no longer certain of evolution's viability for origin, but meaning, morality, and destiny. Well, that is another whole discussion but I'll just say this.
    Evolution isn't a 'world view' nor intended to be.

    Belief in no god/gods/God gives no meaning to me. I'm transitory, I have no satisfaction, or hope (ultimately).
    It also does not give an absolute morality. Where do we say right and wrong ultimately come from. If it is merely utilitarian, well I have issues there. Bertrand Russel once said he can tell the difference from right and wrong from how he feels. Zacharias asks him, "Mr. Russel, some societies prefer to love their neighbor others prefer to eat them, do you have a personal preference?"
    And destiny...well, atheism gives no hope there.

    So I assume you are now Muslim. Or may I suggest believing in fairies?

    Ever heard of Pascal's Wager? Well, look it up if you like.
    Most people know the logical flaws in Pascals Wager. Look it up if you like.
  7. Joined
    15 Aug '12
    Moves
    11620
    31 Oct '13 06:53
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    [b]A philosopher once said, all worldviews must answer these four questions aptly. Origin (what I was just talking about), meaning, morality, and destiny.

    Evolution is a scientific theory. Just like gravity is. Please explain how the theories on gravity answer the "questions" origin, meaning, morality and destiny.

    Thanks.[/b]
    Surely you can see how evolution would have implications regarding these 4 questions?
  8. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    31 Oct '13 06:53
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    Belief in no god/gods/God gives no meaning to me.
    I notice that in your first post you said:
    And honestly, I didn't want there to be one in my early 20s.

    So you start of saying that you started to believe creationism despite a desire to not believe in God, then list as one of your reasons for becoming theist: your desire to believe in God.
    Can you clarify please. Did your desire for the existence of a God change as you got older?
  9. Joined
    15 Aug '12
    Moves
    11620
    31 Oct '13 07:242 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Only those who are not scientifically educated. Most scientists will happily admit that we cannot know anything with absolute confidence, but that doesn't mean that creationist have an intelligent argument. If creationists had intelligent arguments to make they would be publishing them as scientific papers. They are not.
    Let me be clear here: I am not sa ...[text shortened]... ll your reasons for becoming creationist were mere misinformation/misunderstanding on your part.
    twhitehead.

    I understand probability just fine, and your approach is very reminiscent of Dawkins, who is losing credibility in the academic realm from creationists and evolutionists alike. You assume I misunderstand, meaning you somehow assume a doctoral student and M.D. is incapable of understanding rudimentary statistics.

    There are many scientific papers. Are you familiar with Freemon Dyson, Nobel candidate? Do you read much? My turn to make a jab at you, but I mean it sincerely.

    You miss the point-many scientists and academics (myself included) begin atheist and turn theist. Also, your response that it is merely a reflection is very misguided and you clearly are not an academic (and the funny thing is online you'll spare with me, but in a real world academic setting we'd never meet). Maybe you are, but if you are in the Dawkin's dillusion of thought, well that's worse.

    Yes, I've looked intensely at the fossil record. I've read hundreds of pages on irreducible complexity.

    Don't treat another person's views lightly. It isn't kind, academic, or respectable. I have a high regard for statements presented logically and this includes yours, but I have no regard for your assumptions about me or your perceived inability on my part to somehow grasp basic 101 statistic principles.

    And if what you write on probability is your understanding, it's cool. But it simply isn't correct.

    Pascal's Wager, is not meant to be a logical syllogism (I've noticed you seem to live and die by your perception of rhetoric which is very reminiscent of courtroom technicalities-which I have no desire to partake in). Yet, the argument of Pascal's wager stands.

    Here is the basic line (again, realize this is not a logical syllogism, and neither is it intended to be-remember indubitable proves). I'm not arguing it is a nail in any casket.

    A Christian by believing in God wins in his life if he is right because he has lived a good life and a Christian wins in his death if he was right because he is awarded with heaven. But if a Christian is wrong, he still lived a good life and he loses nothing when he dies. There is no concept of hell in atheism.

    An atheist by not believing in God loses in his life because he doesn't believe in the truth, and he loses MAJORLY in his death because he goes to hell. Yet, he gains nothing if he is right in his life and gains nothing in his death if he is right.

    That is the basic argument. Again, not a logical treatise-so don't treat it as one.
  10. Joined
    15 Aug '12
    Moves
    11620
    31 Oct '13 07:282 edits
    I did not post this as a treatise, so you need not respond to it as a treatise. It was merely to demonstrate certain lines of thought that are prevalent and accepted academically today, and should be treated with weight by all sides. Those who don't carefully consider, and those who laugh and claim unintelligence are dishonest academics.
  11. Joined
    24 Apr '10
    Moves
    14574
    31 Oct '13 07:38
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    Surely you can see how evolution would have implications regarding these 4 questions?
    The theory of evolution has been formulated using the same kinds of scientific methods as the theories about gravity. If evolution *must* answer these questions, then so *must* gravity.

    Unless of course you think that evolution is used as a replacement for "god". Then I would understand your questions a bit better. However, it is usually only theists that think that (the theory of) evolution tries to replace god.
  12. SubscriberPianoman1
    Nil desperandum
    Seedy piano bar
    Joined
    09 May '08
    Moves
    184084
    31 Oct '13 07:45
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    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, tr ...[text shortened]... 200-component organism could be formed by mutation and natural selection is less than one cha...
    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%.

    The argument that complex things could not have come about by chance is flawed. Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion :

    "Many people define "come about by chance" as a synonym for "come about in the absence of a deliberate design". Not surprisingly, therefore, they think improbability is evidence of design. Darwinian natural selection shows how wrong this is with respect to biological improbability. And although Darwinism may not be directly relevant to the inanimate world - cosmology for example - it raises our consciousness in areas outside its original territory of biology.

    Darwinism teaches us to be wary of the easy assumption that design is the only alternative to chance."
  13. Cape Town
    Joined
    14 Apr '05
    Moves
    52945
    31 Oct '13 07:47
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    I understand probability just fine,
    No, you quite clearly do not. And this is mathematics, and in mathematics we can do indisputable proofs.
    So lets go through your organisms evolution step by step. We start with the organism having one component and we want to find the probability of it gaining 200 components. Lets initially assume we are talking about a specific 200 mutations in a specific order.

    So step 1:
    What is the probability that it will gain 1 mutation . Well we need to know how large the population is, what the probability of any given individual getting the mutation is for each generation, plus the number of generations over which we need it to gain the mutation, plus the number of generations required for the mutation to spread throughout the population.
    So, already we see that you didn't take into account any of the above, so your calculation is necessarily way off the mark.
    So, lets assume that there are 100 individuals and of those 10 experience a mutation in every generation. Lets also assume that only 1 out of 10 of those mutations is a 'good' mutation.
    Then in each generation there will be 90 individuals that do not change, 9 that die off, and 1 that has a good mutation. The calculation is a bit long, but I am sure you can see that it won't be long before the whole population contains the good mutation with nearly 100% probability. Although we need to include things like the selection pressures, population growth survivability etc to really do the calculation properly. But there can be absolutely no doubt that if the good mutation gives a survival advantage it will spread through the population.
    So, for 200 such mutations the probability is also essentially 100%.

    So, what do you disagree with?
  14. Joined
    15 Aug '12
    Moves
    11620
    31 Oct '13 07:48
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    The theory of evolution has been formulated using the same kinds of scientific methods as the theories about gravity. If evolution *must* answer these questions, then so *must* gravity.

    Unless of course you think that evolution is used as a replacement for "god". Then I would understand your questions a bit better. However, it is usually only theists that think that (the theory of) evolution tries to replace god.
    Actually you bring up an interesting point that I can refer to in my original post.

    We are taught today that evolution was formulated in this manner, yet it clearly wasn't (examine the Origin of Species). Yes, there are scientific methods to proved evolution as evolutionists say post factum (hopefully I get the latin right) post factually. Yet, we know this is merely experimentation and not observation. That was my big point that I originally posted-neither creationism or evolution's starting point is purely scientific. Many evolutionists and creationists would to argue that, but it simply isn't true.

    Consider the scientific concept of the singularity. All laws of science are presumed to point back to it (latest big bang theory stuff). Yet, we all know that at the singularity all laws of science break down (this is common knowledge). So there, that starting point which seems to be gaining ground today isn't technically scientific either.

    My point, evolution and gravity have not used the same formula, they simply can't. Interesting that the modern scientific method was actually created by the Cappadocian Fathers formulated the scientific method on their basis and understanding of theology. That the world was ordered and therefore knowable.

    Evolution does not technically replace 'god', as that would be suggesting the two are the same analogically or you would have to admit they are simply not the same, which means they couldn't replace each other. Yet, evolution does provide a framework to understand reality apart from God. And this is why I realized my views on evolution would greatly affect my views on everything else. Even morality. I mean, taking it quite literally-the strong survive and take what they must. Speaking purely physically, then men should dominate the planet. Yet, we all know that is wrong. And that is not an evolutionary ethic but rather a Christian Judeo ethic.

    And that is the point and why evolution factors in so heavily in worldviews. It supports atheism.
  15. Subscribersonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    slatington, pa, usa
    Joined
    28 Dec '04
    Moves
    52614
    31 Oct '13 07:492 edits
    Originally posted by King Tiger
    I did not post this as a treatise, so you need not respond to it as a treatise. It was merely to demonstrate certain lines of thought that are prevalent and accepted academically today, and should be treated with weight by all sides. Those who don't carefully consider, and those who laugh and claim unintelligence are dishonest academics.
    The issue of probability has some evidence on the side of non-randomness. What you see as highly improbably may in fact be just the level of our knowledge. As time goes by, we see certain processes that allow reactions to take place as self assembly of simpler molecules to more complex ones. I will try to find the link about that. It begins to refute the idea that things could not come about without an intelligent designer.

    Before I show you the link, I have a question: How devoted to your intelligent design theory are you? That is to say, your thinking led you to view the world coming about as the result of intelligent design.

    Could evidence to the contrary cause you to change your stance?

    I ask that because no matter the evidence for some people, the stance never varies because of the programming of Christianity inculcating a life long internal ban on the ability to change ones thinking about the origins of life on Earth.

    You probably know who I am talking about.

    So answer me this: Can your thinking change?

    Here is the link to the latest thinking about life origin and probability:

    http://phys.org/news/2013-10-chemists-life-earth-fluke.html#ajTabs
Back to Top