Need help with answers! Creationut is haunting my local Forum.

Hello all. I need a hand dissecting this chunk of 'arguments' from a local fundie. Get ready, it's all over the map.....Hurts my head.

Once you're ready to ask the question, "does God exist?" here are a few observations to consider as you begin your search for an objective answer:

Discoveries in astronomy have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the universe did, in fact, have a beginning. There was a single moment of creation.

Advances in molecular biology have revealed vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell, and molecular biologists have discovered thousands upon thousands of exquisitely designed machines at the molecular level. Information requires intelligence and design requires a designer.

Biochemists and mathematicians have calculated the odds against life arising from non-life naturally via unintelligent processes. The odds are astronomical. In fact, scientists aren't even sure if life could have evolved naturally via unintelligent processes. If life did not arise by chance, how did it arise?

The universe is ordered by natural laws. Where did these laws come from and what purpose do they serve?

Philosophers agree that a transcendent Law Giver is the only plausible explanation for an objective moral standard. So, ask yourself if you believe in right and wrong and then ask yourself why. Who gave you your conscience? Why does it exist?

People of every race, creed, color, and culture, both men and women, young and old, wise and foolish, from the educated to the ignorant, claim to have personally experienced something of the supernatural. So what are we supposed to do with these prodigious accounts of divine healing, prophetic revelation, answered prayer, and other miraculous phenomena? Ignorance and imagination may have played a part to be sure, but is there something more?

Peace and thank-you.

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Jumpin' jesus on a pogo-stick! How does one go about peeling away the layers of these onions.
Mr. Dank, beware of dumbness from people that can't even make a link work.
Heads up appreciated. Thanks
A lot of supposed atheists have, in effect, substituted science for religion in their belief systems thinking that science provides alternative answers to ultimate questions. They learn intricate, technical, convoluted arguments which, in the end, evade the ultimate questions. They pay lip service to scepticism but only practice it against religious statements. They develop great skill with math and science but not much understanding. Despite their denials to the contrary, science becomes a matter of faith. Students of religion are aware of this and learn how to use it against the student of science. If the scientist is motivated by atheism, rather than desire to know, it is that much easier for the religionist to confuse the argument. The arguments you've listed here are typical. They are designed to focus attention on the technicalities; to obscure the forest with the trees. To counter this one must focus on the fundamentals.

First, and most important, science does not and never will provide the final answers. Science is, by design, a work in progress with no final conclusion, or even light at the end of the tunnel, in sight. It is grounded in the arguable assumption that we can learn about the world by "looking" at it, as opposed to just thinking about it. This seems a simple enough assumption but it immediately leads to questions and endless arguments about how we interpret and express what we see. It has developed into a mix of looking and thinking and arguments between scientists as to what is the proper mix. It has shown NOTHING "beyond reasonable doubt". And, given the immensity of the object of investigation, the universe, it probably never will. The best that any scientist can say is "as far as we can tell, under the assumptions we've made, it sort of looks like this, for now. I'll get back to you after further investigation."
Science is a limited view of the world which does not consider questions of god and supernatural. Within that limited view god is not relevent. This is demonstrated by the fact that no concept of god is required to understand the theories of science. This does not mean that science "proves" that there is no god. It just means that within the domain of science, god is not necessary. Attempts to use science to show that there is no god demonstrate the same misunderstanding of science as attempts to use science to show god's immenence in the world. These arguments are not science. They are philosophical and the raise the same questions about both religion and science (what do we know and how do we know it?).

I happen to think that science, up to a point, provides the most likely story about how things work in this region of the universe. But that all it is, a likely story. The reasons for thinking this are philosophic, not scientific. Science is just as controversial between scientists as religion is between theologians. This gets glossed over when the argument is between religion and science. Because there is some definiteness about the domain of their investigations, many scientists have learned to view philosophy with some repugnance choosing not to entertain questions about that definiteness. Theologians, on the other hand, have cherry picked and incorporated a lot of philosophy into their theories and, with some success, coopted the word "philosophy": they would have us regard philosophy and theology as the same thing. If the scientist wishes to counter theological arguments, he must "wax philosophical" in order to gain a neutral playing field.

The observations of astronomy have not shown beyond reasonable doubt that there was a single moment of creation. These observations have been interpreted by some, but not all, as supporting a theory which is based on some controversial assumptions. Big bang is currently a very popular, "big hit on broadway" but it is not the final word. The fact that it is somewhat isomorphic with theological cosmology accounts for a lot of the attraction. However, it is only the best story we've got, for now, given the formalisms of science. We are not all convinced that the only explanation of "redshift" is objects moving away at high velocity, or that CMB is the "end of the universe", or that a quantum singularity is a physical possibility, or even that parallel lines intersect in a point at infinity and that space-time is some kind of physical presence with a character somehow similar to material objects. Big bang is just the most comprehensive, coherent theory to come along so far. But to take it as supporting a creation theory is a failure to recognize its limits.

Information encoding, etc. are modeling techniques. They are the elegant results of the application of human intelligence not the discovery of "exquisitely designed machines". Elegantly designed models do require intelligence: human intelligence. To attribute intelligence to things we design models of is to confuse our talk with the things we talk about. It is to treat the things as though they are identical with the talk. Any one who wants to can observe that the world (nature) is instransigently sloppy, messy, complex, riddled with elements of randomness and unpredictability. We use our capabilities to "put things in order" in ways that are intelligible to us. The fact that we make mistakes in this regard demonstrates that the things in the world are in no way compelled to comply with our sense of order. Information processing, cybernetics, etc. are the current ways of modeling observed messy, complex biological activities. We develop the models under the principle "keep it simple stupid" and strive for elegance. The only examples of intelligent design are systems designed by man and those are kept simple as possible. Unmanageable, unintelligable complexity is not a sign intelligent design.

Life "arising from non-life" is something we see every day. Every living thing, including humans, is nothing but a bag of ordinary chemicals configured in such a way that when functioning the product is life. The fact that we have not worked out the complete structure/function of it does not mean that it's impossible. The only thing impossible is the expectation that science execute capabilities that are ordinarily only attributable to a god. That ain't gonna happen. Better we impose upon those who use science to "prove" there is a god to explain how come they don't know the answer since most of them also claim to have a personal relationship with him/her/it.

Natural laws are generalizations abstracted from our experience at putting things in order. They server only the purposes of our desire to understand which, in turn, is a product of our own biological and phycho-social and philosophical evolution.

Many philosophers do not agree the "a transcendent Law Giver in the only plausible expanation...". Only theologians agree on that. Objective moral standards are more plausibly explained as products of human experience and logical processes of objectification in human mental activity. These explanations provide us with reason why it is not the case that all people in all societies/cultures/civilizations share the same objective moral standards: something which transcendent Law Givers do not provided. In fact, explanations based on human experience even explain why different civilizations have different transcendent Law Givers.

The fact that all kinds of people claim supernatural experience only shows that all people interpret their experience in terms of their own knowledge and beliefs. Human perception is conditioned by knowledge, belief, experience and history leading up to the circumstances of the event. On rare occasions an adult, mature, experienced person can encounter events which cannot be integrated with prior beliefs, knowledge, etc. In such cases the individual may very well "see" the event as supernatural because he has no other idea that fits within his repertoire. Others might see the same event as a UFO encounter, or karma, or just plain luck (my favorite). For every person, of any kind, that has experienced the supernatural, there are probably people of the same kind who've experienced the same kind of event and did not see anything supernatural.
Go away. Your 'answers' have nothing to do with the questions asked. I have no need for christian apologetics.
What christian apologetics? Your "local fundie" opponent has proposed that current theories and findings of science can be taken to support a claim that "god must exist". The biggest mistake people (christian or otherwise) about science is to believe that it provides final answers. This is simply wrong. Nothing has been shown, proven or demonstrated "beyond reasonable doubt" by science. Its theories and findings are subject to argument between scientists on scientific grounds. They cannot be taken as supportive of ultimate claims about the existence of god.

Your opponent claims that science has shown "beyond reasonable doubt" the the universe began in a "single moment of creation". He is attempting to use some version, or interpretation, of big bang theory to support a claim that "god must exist". His argument depends on a supposition that big bang is undeniable on scientific grounds. I offered some reasons why the theory should NOT be taken as the final word on the subject, thereby denying his supposition. The only way this can be taken as christian apologetics is if one agrees with that big bang is undeniable. In that case, your argument with the fundie is one of faith against faith and the only thing you can do is "agree to disagree."

Similarly with all his other arguments. If you agree with his assertions that these findings of science are the final word on the subjects involved, then you don't need to disect the arguments. Just agree to disagree.
David S: The biggest mistake people (christian or otherwise) about science is to believe that it provides final answers.

Funny thing is, you don't even realise how badly you just shot yourself in the foot.

You're not wearing any clothes.
Correct. Poorly worded. Should have said "One big mistake...".
You still didn't get it - even when its pointed out.

science is to believe that it provides final answers.

Read this slowly - unlike religion, science doesn't claim to have final answers - not as long as there is still data coming in.

You're not wearing any clothes god-boy.
As I'm reading this I'm trying my best to figure out how anything you've written has anything to do with the questions asked.
you need to burn them, they are witches.
Wow, well there are a lot of bald assertions with no back up. I'd combat those first. This is what I'd tell fundy...
1) "Information requires intelligence." Explain.
2) Please support claim that universe was created and required a first cause. Scientific journals will be accepted as support (credible ones that is).
3) Regarding life from non-life: Abiogenisis. Look it up. We don't know everything about it yet, or how it works specifically, but it's fascinating. As time goes, I'm sure we'll know more.
4) What makes you think natural laws have a purpose? Or that they "came from" anywhere and did not simply exist? (If fundy says they can't just exist, tell him/her god can't "just exist" either.)
5) Philosophers do NOT agree on a transendent law giver. Epic FAIL. Morals are subjective. Cooperation is necessary for species survival. I absorb my morals from common sense, from my environment, and from my decision making faculties (aka prefrontal cortex of the brain, the portion of the brain which makes us different from our animal cousins).
6) "Miraculous phenomena" are anecdotal. Humans and human perceptions are fallible. Studies of intercessory prayer show no effect. God fails spectacularly in laboratory settings.

That will probably just be your first round response. Creationists like to keep going at it, so keep us updated :)


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