A Clarification of the Debate

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posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 11:02 PM
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I want to preface by stating that I am a firm believer that life evolved on this planet. My point here is not to "disprove" what has been proven over and over again by any objective scientist.

However, there is a lot of philosophically misguided information put out there on both sides. Here is some nonsense from an evolution supporter in an otherwise way cool article:

"If there's one way we can be sure that life on Earth really is the result of evolution, and not the guiding hand of a cosmic engineer, it's the hideous design flaws. The examples are too numerous to list, but let's just consider one: human males have their testicles on the outside.

It seems they work better that way, because sperm production works best slightly below human body temperature. But it isn't half inconvenient – as any male who has ever been kicked in the goolies will tell you."

www.newscientist.com...

OK, well, this might be a response to a philosophically flawed argument from Intelligent Design supporters who create their own strawman to be used against them by suggesting that life is "perfectly designed." The term "design" is not really a religious term. It is a term from manufacturing. It entered the world with the development of capitalism, the idea of streamlining. I do not see it in most ancient religious texts. It is really a cultural overlay from industrial capitalism and not something that I see either in Nature or in any honest discussion of religion.

The earliest concept of a Creator (or creators) was the idea that all of what we see in Nature is Divine Will, including what we consider imperfections. For the ancients, an animal did not have to be perfectly adapted to survive in order for there to be Divine order in Nature. It might be the Divine Will for that animal to have to endure a certain amount of suffering. It might be Divine Order for a creature to have a tail bone that no longer holds a tail, and for the creature to be less than fully adapted. Indeed, it may well be that believers could argue that males have their "goolies" (as the author would say) on the outside precisely to help female assault victims to survive. That would not necessarily be an "evolutionary" reason, since I doubt that evolution put our reproductive organs on the outside of us for that reason, but believers might argue it as a metaphysical reason (perhaps). Or, maybe the reason is one we could never fathom.

My point is that biology should not be confused with metaphysics. In philosophy an "Is" does not necessarily imply an Ought. Because Nature is a certain way we cannot then make who philosophical or religious arguments from that, as ID supporters and detractors both seem to think. It may be that the Creator designed Nature simply as an art project, not as an exercise in "intelligent design," design being a cultural projection from modern capitalism and marketing and not something that exists in Nature per se. Perfect design in DNA may be less important than humans think. For us, such perfection is important but who are we to say that a virus that limits our population may not be part of the broader Divine Will? Most ancient texts would say so.

Hitchens pointed to a fish that had eyes but then lost eyesight as "proof" that ID is flawed because, well, if a creature has an eye then the eye should see. This is a perfect falsification of the ID argument, and he is right given the assumptions of the ID argument as promoted by the Discovery Institute. But, I think that many people of religious faith are more mature than ID proponents, who are often right-wing conservatives pretending to be sincere believers. The fact is that God may intend for a fish to have an eye that does not see, and for that to be part of the great Design of Nature. If one reads the the Hebrew Bible, we can see a great deal of tolerance for the seeming randomness in life, in which one only discovers the order of things long after one has grappled with dirt, sweat, procreation, and the desert sun. At no point is "design" perfect in either Nature or humanity if one reads the Bible in its original cultural context.

Again, I not only believe in evolution, I rejoice in the unity of life shown by the fossil record. My point is that both ID proponents and ID opponents are often philosophically shallow. Not always, mind you, but many on both sides cannot understand philosophical arguments that are too complex. Darwinians are often worse in my experience, by the way. But, Creationists are often contradictory in other ways. Most of them could care less about endangered species, and yet environmental concerns should be central to any Creationist who believes in Genesis 2:15.

Between the two positions, Darwinians are correct in saying that randomness defines Nature. However, they have it only half-right. Randomness is not a denial of creativity. It is the essence of creativity. (I love Fractals, by the way) Perhaps the idea of the Divine Artist is the best notion of God we have. That is the concept I hold to. Of course, all artists have critics. But, if you are the Divine Artist then you have power that other artists only dream of, that of smiting your critics (and trust fund officers). The fact that critics of the Divine Artist are not stricken with leprosy may be a sign that a true Artist knows mercy, and values what the ancient Chinese called "non-interference" more than "design." Picasso would not be so generous.




posted on Mar, 25 2012 @ 11:44 PM
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reply to post by EarthEvolves
 

A very elegantly written post. I agree with you that there can no reverse Argument from Design proposing that life was not created because it shows design flaws; a creator could well have incorporated these flaws for reasons of its own. They may not even be flaws from the creator's perspective. Well and good.

However, a creator that produces imperfectly designed beings is also, by implication, one that is either incompetent or one that condones and causes suffering. In other words, either this creator cannot be omnipotent, or it cannot be good.

I, for one, am willing to meet creationists halfway. I will accept their arguments for a Designer if they will accept that the Designer cannot be omnipotent or benevolent. Any takers?


The fact that critics of the Divine Artist are not stricken with leprosy may be a sign that a true Artist knows mercy, and values what the ancient Chinese called "non-interference" more than "design."

Or, more plausibly, that such an Artist simply does not exist.

edit on 25/3/12 by Astyanax because: of a design flaw.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 12:39 AM
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"However, a creator that produces imperfectly designed beings is also, by implication, one that is either incompetent or one that condones and causes suffering. In other words, either this creator cannot be omnipotent, or it cannot be good."

The other possibility that a Theist might hold would be that our judgement of what is good is not obligatory on anything outside of the human sphere. We do not criticize a bear for eating a man. We might end that bear's life, but that bear is not morally obligated to respect our concept of the sanctity of the self.

Nor would any concept of a Creator be obligated to fit our concept of what is good. If one believes, then it would be our obligation to fit the Creator's concept of what is good and not the other way around. I think that this is an honest answer to the problem of suffering. I for one have never believed that any Creator was obligated to create a Universe in which humankind is central. Quite the contrary, it is we who need to broaden our circle of compassion to include not only all humans, but all life. (Einstein)



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 12:52 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by EarthEvolves
 

A very elegantly written post. I agree with you that there can no reverse Argument from Design proposing that life was not created because it shows design flaws; a creator could well have incorporated these flaws for reasons of its own. They may not even be flaws from the creator's perspective. Well and good.

However, a creator that produces imperfectly designed beings is also, by implication, one that is either incompetent or one that condones and causes suffering. In other words, either this creator cannot be omnipotent, or it cannot be good.

I, for one, am willing to meet creationists halfway. I will accept their arguments for a Designer if they will accept that the Designer cannot be omnipotent or benevolent. Any takers?


The fact that critics of the Divine Artist are not stricken with leprosy may be a sign that a true Artist knows mercy, and values what the ancient Chinese called "non-interference" more than "design."

Or, more plausibly, that such an Artist simply does not exist.

edit on 25/3/12 by Astyanax because: of a design flaw.


I believe in evolution and creation.... (how you like that..lol)

I will translate the arabic terms, it's just easiest for me to explain that way:

I believe Allah (God) to be Al-Fattah (the opener/starter) and Al-Awwal (the first/beginning). I was taught to take the meanings a step further. Why could the Creator, not just be the one who set off this chain of events. Meaning not one who makes turns on the road as they come, but programmed the car to turn at the appropriate distance. It is also taught that Allah (God) is "the overseer of affairs". I don't remember the arabic term right now. lol I believe he set a chain of events into motion and is the overseer.

I never have, and never understood why people use the argument of IF, then there would be no.. Nowhere does God say he would stop suffering. I've seen explanations, and have come to terms with why people suffer, and guess what, it's not based in sin. It's the test of life. Life is a test. Children die. People are born with birth defects. People suffer mental disorders. LIFE SUCKS. But in the end, the creator is Al-'Aleem, (The All Knowing).

God never said life was perfect.... True men of spirituality say "to the spiritual man, life is hell"...

God said he created the heavens and the earth in 6 days. Muslims believe 6 days on earth to translate into some hundreds of thousands of years, or multiples more, in "heavenly time measurement" (nothing else to call it). Why couldn't this be the big bang? He never said he hand crafted it...

IDK, most people who follow religion don't dig deep enough for my liking. Seems like they're only in it for the heaven part....
edit on 26-3-2012 by My.mind.is.mine because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 01:27 AM
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reply to post by EarthEvolves
 


A Theist might hold would be that our judgement of what is good is not obligatory on anything outside of the human sphere.

But a theist would hold that it is not our judgement. Morality is always regarded by such people as divinely ordained, usually with the deity's behaviour held up as a model for mortals to follow. To believe otherwise would be to imply that morality is not absolute and universal but specific and contingent, and that our moral sense either does not come from God or is somehow different from the absolute morality He represents.

It is certainly possible to believe in a 'do as I say, not as I do' kind of God, but such belief lacks many of the vital consolations and satisfactions of religion. Historically, it has never been very popular except among intellectuals who propose it as an answer to the Problem of Evil. There are, of course, exceptions such as the Manicheans and the Yedzi.


We do not criticize a bear for eating a man.

That is because we do not attribute moral consciousness to a bear. We do, however, expect it in our gods.


If one believes, then it would be our obligation to fit the Creator's concept of what is good and not the other way around.

But since belief is an internal rather than an external reality, the Creator's concept of what is good is never anything else than the believer's concept of what is good!


I for one have never believed that any Creator was obligated to create a Universe in which humankind is central. Quite the contrary, it is we who need to broaden our circle of compassion to include not only all humans, but all life.

The problem of suffering and evil in a divinely ordained universe is not solved by making God amoral.

edit on 26/3/12 by Astyanax because: of chopped logic.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 01:28 AM
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reply to post by My.mind.is.mine
 


LIFE SUCKS.

And Allah, who knows all things past, present and future, has decreed that it should.

Do you get it now? If life is a test, God is a sadist.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 02:10 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


I could not copy-paste very easily. So, I will respond to your statement in lump-sum form. Firstly, let me state that I have a life off-forum and will not go in to a double helix with you on this thread. So, I will simply post some thoughts and then be done.

The essence of your argument is that we expect God to be moral, and that therefore there should be a world designed according to our comfort and convenience. Since it is not designed for our comfort and convenience, then God is either not moral or not omnipotent. That is your argument. This does not follow logically from any premise. It is not even remotely logical. We do not expect our fellow human beings to design a life for us that is comfortable. We do not expect it of advanced aliens to get to Earth and clean up our environmental mess for us (although if they did I would be grateful to them. They can kick every money grubbing S*B out of Washington and Wall Street while they are at it). We do not hold it against space rocks that an asteroid hit the dinosaurs, or against the Ebola virus if we die from it. If a Creator exists, then we have even less right to hold that this Creator even regard our ego-bound understandings as being remotely valid. We would be in His Universe and not Him in ours. (The male pronoun issue is linguistic)

We all acknowledge that there are some things in the Universe not bound by human concepts of morality. However, we as a species extend kindness and compassion to each other and to other creatures when we are at our best. When we do this, we realize that it is not about us. That to me is the essence of any honest religion. If a Creator exists, then the Creator is not your personal meals on wheels. It may well be that we would not understand the whole plan, and that it is not given to us. Perhaps the world was created for the dolphins, and that humans are on a lesser evolved plane. I think that the best thing for two legged primates to do is to shut up and to learn. Part of learning is in realizing that life is about the service we can render and not what we get.

In response to the "do as I say and not as I do" them, it may well be that the Creator has shown enough mercy simply by letting us be. Every morsel of bread, every drop of water. It is often more than we have given to those outside of our circle of compassion, human and animal. The Native Americans had it right when they were thankful for the sunlight. It tends to be the mean and vicious who go on and on about the suffering of life and complain. Something tells me that if they were the Creator they would show no mercy at all. They judge what they cannot understand, and presume wisdom where silence would have been preferable.

Nothing against you personally. I don't know you. You sound like an intelligent person, and possibly someone who is a sensitive soul. You are probably wise and intelligent, and will give you credit for having wisdom in your soul that will mature over time. Maybe you can think of the Cosmic Artist less as Rembrandt and more as Jackson Pollock. You think that all you see are paint blotches. But, what you are really seeing requires context beyond what is simply on the canvass. It requires a knowledge of the philosophy of the time, of McCarthyism and all of its repressions. It would require a knowledge of sexual politics, and the influence of so-called "religion" on society, organized religion that often repressed the artists. So it may well be with the Universe and its meaning. Looking at molecules is like looking at the canvass. It is not enough, at least in my view. One needs a broader context, just like with a Pollock.

But, hey, diversity of opinion is what forums are for. I appreciate you posting.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 02:12 AM
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PS. This being ATS I guess some people will claim Pollock was CIA.

I still like his paintings either way.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 03:08 AM
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reply to post by EarthEvolves
 


I personally believe in creation by intelligent design but I can actually see the logic and truth in what you say. Personally I've always found the biggest problems with the debate are ;

1) So often everybody is arguing about the appropiate interpretation of the SAME evidence.

2) No one seems to understand the difference between evolution and natural selection.

3) So many of us seem to be completely incapable of being open minded about the debate.

4) You have presented a point of view that I have never hheard of or considered before... I will have to digest
that little tidbit of information and reassess.

Thankyou.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 03:30 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
reply to post by EarthEvolves
 


However, a creator that produces imperfectly designed beings is also, by implication, one that is either incompetent or one that condones and causes suffering. In other words, either this creator cannot be omnipotent, or it cannot be good.

edit on 25/3/12 by Astyanax because: of a design flaw.


If you do not know the purpose of creation, are your conclusions not based on false assumptions? If our life here was to be all bliss and happiness then yes, you can draw the conclusions that you do. People are mad at God the world over because of the suffering here on Earth, and this anger usually leads a lot to blame a Creator as being "mean" or "indifferent". The book of Job in the Bible is a case in point - his entire world was nearly taken away from him but upon questioning God, Job was told basically "how dare you question, and draw conclusions, based off of something that you have no understanding of..." (my poor paraphrasing)

Let's say God's plan is for all of us to experience a world that has these imperfections for our eternal good... or that we must experience evil in order to consciously reject it... or what if, as the Bible states, this Earth Age is to draw those who will reign with Christ in the next ages to come? In any of these examples, people may conclude differently than "mean" or "indifferent" and simply leave it for God to execute or seek Him for understanding.

So to me, any debate and it's conclusions has to include the correct assumptions to begin with. As a Christian, I accept the Bible as fully inspired by the Holy Spirit of God and His stated reasons of where we are at this time in the life of humanity. Other religions give different reasons for creation and therefore the sufferings on Earth. But if one has no faith in God and believes that we evolved from goo, then their conclusion is nearly always the same. - that IF there is a God, he must be cruel. It's a debate that never goes anywhere because all sides have different reasons as to the purpose of physical life. I believe the Bible, others believe Hinduism for example. I know that God isn't "mean" or "indifferent" and that my physical life is but a drop in the ocean of eternity.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 08:21 AM
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reply to post by EarthEvolves
 


The essence of your argument is that we expect God to be moral, and that therefore there should be a world designed according to our comfort and convenience. Since it is not designed for our comfort and convenience, then God is either not moral or not omnipotent. That is your argument.

It most certainly isn’t. I speak not of comfort or convenience, neither mine nor anyone else's, but of pain and suffering and misery – and not of my own, nor even that of humans exclusively, but of all beings. To allow beings to suffer when one has the power to prevent it is wicked, no matter what the final end such suffering might achieve. To speak as though all I am concerned about human comfort and convenience is to misrepresent and trivialize my argument.

edit on 26/3/12 by Astyanax because: of spikes.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 08:23 AM
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reply to post by WhoKnows100
 


If you do not know the purpose of creation, are your conclusions not based on false assumptions?

No, they are not.

edit on 26/3/12 by Astyanax because: of superfluous repetition.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 08:50 AM
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Let's not forget all the human specific pathogens such as Onchocerca volvulus that live in the eyes of people causing eventual blindness, pain and misery. No loving God would design such things. So, even if somebody wants to refute reality and argue for a designer, at least argue for a malevolent designer. Why anyone wants to worship such evil hypothetical being is beyond me..

Epicurus put it well:



Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 09:05 AM
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Reminds me of a quote I read recently, cant remember who it was from but it went along the lines of:

"I'm reminded of the boy sat on a riverbank in Africa, with his whole life ahead of him, and a tiny parasitic worm burrowing through his eye that will in short order leave him blind for the rest of his life."

benevolent creator? or malicious torturer?



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by Prezbo369
"I'm reminded of the boy sat on a riverbank in Africa, with his whole life ahead of him, and a tiny parasitic worm burrowing through his eye that will in short order leave him blind for the rest of his life."

This quote was the inspiration for my post. Is it Sagan? Or maybe Attenborough? I can't remember..



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by rhinoceros

Originally posted by Prezbo369
"I'm reminded of the boy sat on a riverbank in Africa, with his whole life ahead of him, and a tiny parasitic worm burrowing through his eye that will in short order leave him blind for the rest of his life."

This quote was the inspiration for my post. Is it Sagan? Or maybe Attenborough? I can't remember..


It was Attenborough.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by rhinoceros
Let's not forget all the human specific pathogens such as Onchocerca volvulus that live in the eyes of people causing eventual blindness, pain and misery. No loving God would design such things. So, even if somebody wants to refute reality and argue for a designer, at least argue for a malevolent designer. Why anyone wants to worship such evil hypothetical being is beyond me..

Epicurus put it well:



Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?


A sure way to show we weren't designed is to put a group of engineering students in a room and ask them to design a human body. If God designed us, he was a terrible engineer.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 09:22 AM
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Originally posted by hudsonhawk69
1) So often everybody is arguing about the appropiate interpretation of the SAME evidence.

There aren't interpretations of scientific evidence. Experiments are run on the evidence to find out what it indicates based on our already gargantuan fields of biology and genetics. That's the biggest difference between science and religion. Science can be used to prove things, while religion can be interpreted differently. There isn't personal interpretation or "faith" involved when it comes to science.


2) No one seems to understand the difference between evolution and natural selection.

Including you I presume. Natural selection is PART of evolution. That's like saying there is a difference between psychics and E=MC2, they are part of the same thing.


3) So many of us seem to be completely incapable of being open minded about the debate.

I agree with this completely, and it especially applies to the science deniers.

Very interesting post, OP. I like it.



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 09:29 AM
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reply to [url= by HappyBunny[/url]
 




Many thanks!

I always thought that if there really was a God, not the biblical one but a nice god, then he would have the voice of Sir Attenborough.
edit on 26-3-2012 by Prezbo369 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 26 2012 @ 11:44 AM
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I just find it curious that 95% of the ID proponents on this site seem to be christians.. Why do they take it so personal and verbal?






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