Posted by: FLPatriot | August 21, 2009

Someone, please explain this for me.

Recently I was watching PZ Meyers favorite documentary, “Expelled”. To avoid going down well tred rabbit trails there is one part in the documentary that I missed the first couple times I watched it that jumped out at me this time.

In the interview with Richard Dawkins, Mr Dawkins says some very interesting things. Ben Stein asks “How did it get started?” (the creation of the universe) and the brilliant Mr Dawkins answers “nobody knows how it got started.”

So let me see if I got this right. Dawkins does not know how life got started but he does know that no one knows. Thats it, God must be a figment of my imagination, I am totally convinced now.

Seriously though, this is what I am asking for help to be explained. Why is it a logical argument to say that no one knows how the universe, and ultimatly life, was started (created) but we know it was not God?

If you do not know how something was done is it a possiblity that God was involved?


Responses

  1. In other words: “anything but God”

  2. Let me put it to you this way: suppose your car was stolen. Nobody saw this event take place, but you know it happened because your car isn’t where you left it. However, because nobody saw what happened, we cannot turn around and blame it on George, just because you “know” George did it.

    In other words, just because we don’t know how the universe started doesn’t mean god did it.

  3. And just because we don’t know how it happened doesn’t mean we can’t eliminate certain possibilities.

    There are a number of possibilities for how the universe began (if it ‘began’ in any real sense) and many of them fit the current observations and evidence.

    A god doing it is not one of those possibilities that fits the evidence. Neither is a giant, universe-creating dragon.

  4. To be fair, Personal Failure, that wasn’t the question and he didn’t draw the conclusion that Dawkins statement meant that “God did it”. It seems to me, simply enough, that he feels that there is some dissonance in the rationale and statements and is asking for someone to clarify.

    It is not the typical logical “argument from ignorance” fallacy. Argument from ignorance goes both ways. More simply, if you don’t know – you don’t know – how can you say it was _not_ god — and that’s what he is driving at I think.

    The problem as I understand is that the statements seem contradictory and that you find that frustrating. I understand your frustration Mike. So did Aristotle. He explained very well that much of this lies in the ambiguity of the language that we use. This is one of the primary reasons that scientific, mathematical and technical fields have so many words – for specificity and clarity.

    Allow me to illustrate: What is the value of Pi to 28 million decimal places? I don’t know, but I know that the answer is not “42”. Because math is the language of science this serves as a somewhat simple illustration that science works not only by confirmation of what is true, but by refutation of what is not. Dawkins is wholly right or wrong isn’t the point – the statements are not in fact logically contradictory in any way.

    Use of the word generic word “God” adds even more ambiguity since it begs the questions “could there be a God?” and “what is does it mean to be God?” or even “who or what is God?”.

    As I think moresec0de was trying to point out: Do you consider or discount the idea that Ra, the self-created God made the elemental gods air(Shu) and water(Tefnut) out of boredom with his… er… “bodily fluids,” who in turn mated and gave birth to the Earth(Geb) and the Sky(Nut) who copulated so incessantly that Shu finally separated them, placing Nut far away (the sky) and that from their children things continued until at last we have the world, animals, people, etc.? Ra was what the embodiment of idea of “God” to many ancient Egyptians.

    Without specificity the term “God” can mean anything – perhaps some more plausible than others – and I think probably implies to most people that you expect that we should consider any ridiculous thing if we don’t have an answer… Something that I am quite sure is not the case – I give you quite a lot more credit than that.

    So… Do you feel like you can understand the statements to be non-contradictory, or do you feel like perhaps you would like to clarify the question yourself?

  5. When Ben Stein asked, “How did it get started”, and Dawkins replied, “Nobody knows”, Dawkins was stating a fact.

    But, when Dawkins says there is no God, he is stating his opinion.

  6. Evolution is not happening, this is why Dawkins and those researching evolution do not know how it happened. Over the last 50 years, they have been trying in a lab but without any results.

    It seems strange I would think if you are an evolutionist that there are no observations in nature which shows dead chemicals producing life. It also seems strange while the earth was supposedly becoming more friendly toward life all of a sudden or over time, the dead chemicals simply stopped producing life.

    Another aspect includes: How is it possible for energy to produce solid rock with chemicals that supposedly started life? It almost sounds something right out of the occult. Zap! it’s there and now it’s directed by an unthinking process. Great for science fiction, but not reality.

    So now we have evolutionists who have faith, that somehow it all works out, because they want to reject God.

  7. “Evolution is not happening,”

    Yes it is.

    “this is why Dawkins and those researching evolution do not know how it happened.”

    Sure they do. They don’t know absolutely every evolutionary step absolutely every species has made, but they know a great deal.

    Besides, the Dawkins/Stein quote is not referencing evolution. It’s referencing abiogenesis, which is something completely different.

    “It seems strange I would think if you are an evolutionist that there are no observations in nature which shows dead chemicals producing life.”

    First of all, there’s no such thing as a dead chemical. There’s only chemicals.

    Secondly, they’ve shown in a lab both the amino acids forming from only chemicals and RNA from only chemicals. Don’t know what scientific studies you’re reading.

    I suspect none at all.

  8. Abiogenesis is also known as “chemical evolution”, and with out it at the start Darwinian evolution (as subscribed to by Dawkins) could not happen.

    I agree with you morsec0de, micro-evolution does happen, but I suspect that Michael was talking about Darwinian evolution, or macro-evolution, which has never been observed.

    It has never been demonstrated that combining chemicals can create a living, self-aware creature (life). Creating a piece of protein, or amino acid, or any other tid bit of a living creature does not show that life can be created, that is what Darwinists believe so they can deny God.

    But to get back to the original post, why do Darwinists exclude God as a creator when they can not disprove it happened? If my car is not where I left it I do not exclude that anyone from the crime until it is proven they where not able to have committed the crime.

    Until you can prove God did not create life you have no scientific bases to exclude Him.

  9. “Abiogenesis is also known as “chemical evolution””

    By Kent Hovind. And perhaps other people currently in jail.

    I may be wrong (it’s happened before), but I don’t think any actual scientist refers to abiogenesis as chemical evolution.

    “and with out it at the start Darwinian evolution (as subscribed to by Dawkins) could not happen.”

    So? It’s still an entirely different subject. Lumping things together just makes everything more confusing. Be specific, mcoville. It really helps.

    And once again, there is no such thing as micro and macro evolution. There is only evolution.

    How can you avoid to walk a mile taking one step at a time?

    “It has never been demonstrated that combining chemicals can create a living, self-aware creature (life).”

    This is called moving the bar.

    Years ago it was “it can’t be demonstrated combining chemicals can create the building blocks of life”. Now we’ve pushed it to “a living, self-aware creature.” Do you even realize you’re doing it?

    “Creating a piece of protein, or amino acid, or any other tid bit of a living creature does not show that life can be created, that is what Darwinists believe so they can deny God.”

    No. This is what biologists and scientists surmise because that is what the evidence indicates. It has nothing to do with a god. Just ask Ken Miller and Francis Collins. (They just happen to be the most famous of god-believing scientists. I’m sure there are more.) They’ll do a better job of explaining all this to you, and they’ll tell you that they can still believe in a god.

    “But to get back to the original post, why do Darwinists exclude God as a creator when they can not disprove it happened?”

    Two reasons: The evidence is there to support evolution, and saying ‘goddidit’ answers nothing.

    “If my car is not where I left it I do not exclude that anyone from the crime until it is proven they where not able to have committed the crime.”

    And how do you go about finding who took the car? You look for evidence, and you follow what the evidence says.

    You don’t look at the evidence, find evidence that the car was taken to a chop shop, and then conclude a ghost snatched it and disappeared with it.

    “Until you can prove God did not create life you have no scientific bases to exclude Him.”

    I don’t mean to be rude…but you really don’t understand the scientific method or the burden of proof, do you?

  10. mosrse, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis, nuff said about that.

    According to you, the scientific method means that I look at one possibility and none other as long as I am happy with that theory?

    There is plenty of evidence that leads to God creating life, you choose to dismiss it. But I guess your happy with “timedidit” as an explanation.

  11. “the scientific method means that I look at one possibility and none other as long as I am happy with that theory?”

    No. It means you look at the evidence, and you develop a theory based on that evidence. You don’t look at the evidence and then make stuff up. Or just make stuff up and ignore the evidence all together. Or claim that the evidence says the exact opposite of what it actually says.

    “But I guess your happy with “timedidit” as an explanation.”

    Time didn’t do it. Natural processes did. We’re just lucky that the planet itself hasn’t been destroyed in the time it took for natural processes to bring us to this particular moment.

    Do you really think that the world wasn’t created until after the domestication of the dog?

  12. mosrsec0de:”It means you look at the evidence, and you develop a theory based on that evidence. You don’t look at the evidence and then make stuff up. Or just make stuff up and ignore the evidence all together. Or claim that the evidence says the exact opposite of what it actually says.”

    I agree completely. When are you going to recognize the intelligence of the Creator?

    “Do you really think that the world wasn’t created until after the domestication of the dog?” What kind of irrational statement are you trying to build a rabbit trail with? Save this one for your own blog.

  13. Nothing irrational. We have solid evidence that dogs were domesticated longer ago than young-earthers think the age of the planet is.

  14. Morsec0de’s request for specificity is absolutely logical and shouldn’t be so hastily dismissed. After all, it appears to be precisely over a confusion from lack of specificity which started this conversation in the first place. Unfortunately the discussion seems to have “evolved” into something new – which illustrates part of the problem: “evolve” and “evolution” are commonly overloaded terms referring to an exceptionally broad concept. Several references aren’t really Darwin’s – in fact – d many have nothing to do with life at all. We say, for example, that the 2010 Chevy Volt is the “next evolution” of electric cars – it’s simply a recognition of the relationship of change over time.

    Immediate dismissal of the comment regarding to your use of “abiogenesis” and its correlation to Darwinian evolution by producing a simple a link to wikipedia is kind of part of the problem here – it doesn’t elevate the debate – and if you’re only interested in preaching to the choir, then what’s the point? If you think that there is a point, take the time and explain it clearly – there just might be….

    Let us be clear on this: Darwinian Evolution and abiogenesis are completely different ideas. Wikipedia is a great reference, but anyone can edit it and sometimes even the simple overloading of terms can imply something unintentional. That stated, it seems clear that the sentence right after the one that you are citing (“chemical evolution”) says “It should not be confused with evolution, which is the study of how groups of living things change over time.” The only connection of this “hypothesis” to Darwin is a letter in which he merely speculates about one possibility. I use quotes around the word “hypothesis” because “abiogenesis” is itself not a single hypothesis – it is simply a word describing the _very broad concept_ of “a natural explanation of how living stuff got started”. Ironically, even in the broadest concept, this idea has “evolved” over time and like Darwin’s tree (and indeed Creationism itself) has spawned lots of variants.

    The general idea predates Christ by hundreds of years and was called “Spontaneous Generation” which held that complex organisms could spontaneously arrive from nothing – to be clear though: This was a position long favored by Creationists and initially developed by Theists at a time when “science” was a thing done with an understanding that generally speaking: It was God. Spontaneous Generation in its earliest forms let us all know that the Creator was still at work creating all the time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spontaneous_generation

    Please note from the article describing the forms “The first form is abiogenesis, in which life emerges from non-living matter. This should not be confused for the modern hypothesis of abiogenesis, in which life emerged once and diversified.”

    The very primitive building blocks of life emerging once by a happy confluence of events and conditions in the entire history of the universe is quote a lot different than fully evolved beings regularly spawning from a pile of old rags… To suggest otherwise is disingenuous. Either way, Darwinian Evolution is about biogenesis, not abiogenesis.

    There are numerous additional sources for the term abiogenesis freely available which will confirm what I’ve told you:

    * http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Abiogenesis

    * http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/abiogenesis

    * http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Abiogenesis
    Abiogenesis: (Science: study)

    * The American Heritage Science Dictionary (searchable available online previews on Google Books)

    * The Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    Now – I think that your larger point that you are trying to make is that Darwinian evolution (biogenesis) _requires_ some kind of (abiogenesis). Logically speaking, you must realize that this simply isn’t true. The first life must have gotten started somehow, but what path it took from there is a completely different study. The origin of the Cosmos is another study still, and is also not related to Darwinian evolution.

    It would be no more fair to equate them as necessary to one another than it would be for me to say that since there was no sun, moon or earth to orbit during the biblical “first day,” “morning and evening” could not refer to 24 hour earth days and therefore conclude that Adam and Eve did not exist, and as a result, King David did not exist either because his lineage draws back to Adam in the genealogies of the Bible, and likewise draw the same conclusion for the non-existence of Jesus.

  15. One more note: “Until you can prove God did not create life you have no scientific bases to exclude Him”

    I don’t know what that means. Take a mental trip with me…

    Imagine that scientists could somehow create some tiny bit of “life from nothing” (abiogenesis). That wouldn’t prove anything except that we could create some “living stuff” from some “non-living stuff”. It doesn’t mean that it can evolve beyond some simple organism (biogenesis) and it doesn’t mean that’s how it happened: It just means that that’s how it _could_ have happened. Realistically – would this change your mind?

    Imagine that we redo the experiment on some earth-like planet in a way that we have virtually no impact (by satellite perhaps) and your children and morsec0de’s and all of theirs and so on continued this debate on the same side as their fathers and grandfathers – and on and on. And over perhaps millions of years we observe something that fits the Darwinian model. That doesn’t proved that that’s how it happened. It only proves that it _could have_ – and only that far. Realistically, would this change your mind?

    What if generation by generation we watched it over millions upon millions of years as it went through many, many things that you call “speciations” in our forms of life. Again – it’s not proof that it happened that way, and it’s still not human, so does it sell you that that’s how humans got here?

    Even if it arrived at a self-aware, conscious thing that looked _just like_ a human being – it’s unlikely that you would even call it such. ALL of this wouldn’t prove that God did not create life – it would only prove that we have figure out how too… And if God _did_ have a hand – our experiment doesn’t even prove that we did it the same way God did it. It would just mean that based on the data we _think_ that’s how.

    In other words – it’s not possible to prove that something didn’t happen with absolute certainty – especially when by nature of the problem you are required to factor out all natural laws and deal with the supernatural.

    So – is that really what you mean – or is it actually more specific?

  16. Michael said, “Evolution is not happening, this is why Dawkins and those researching evolution do not know how it happened. Over the last 50 years, they have been trying in a lab but without any results. ”

    This is not true. Evolution has been observed in a lab. For instance, scientists found that bacteria growing in a DuPont holding pond had evolved the ability to feed on nylon. They were able to show that the bacteria did not have this ability prior to its exposure to nylon. It had evolved within the DuPont holding pond. The bacteria had evolved the enzyme now known as nylonase.

    Then, some scientists decided to try to reproduce this in a lab.

    “They took a culture of Pseudomonas bacteria that had no ability at all to metabolize nylon compounds and grew it on a medium containing small fragments of the nylon molecules as the sole source of food.”

    “After just nine days they found colonies of ‘hypergrowing’ bacteria that had masted the trick of using nylon fragments as food. They then transferred these bacteria to a medium containing another nylon compound, and within three months they found that some of the bacteria had evolved the ability to grow on this compound as well.” (from Only a Theory — Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth R. Miller, p. 83)

    This is one example out of several where evolution has been observed within a lab.


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