The Probabilty of there being an Intelligent Designer

by cantleave 140 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • bohm

    I first began posting on this thread because certain 'God proofs/arguments' was being thrown around that seemed to rely on faulty assumptions and poor logic - i didnt set out to disprove a God!

    WOBBLE: The nature of God - first off, when i use 'God' i use it in the sence of Einstein (as do many in science): I would for example say "So God made the big bang and then..." when you want to communicate is: "I dont have any idea of why this is so and i happily admit that, but here we are so lets begin to study its properties and see where we end". There is nothing else in it :-). So i read your question as why mathematics is true - I think the underlying question is if it is possible to imagine a universe where different matematical truths were truths than in ours, perhaps an universe where modus ponens where not true, or where DD's argument was entirely logical. Its a deep question, you may wish to read up on Tarski (mathematican around Gödels time) for some interesting truths about the nature of 'Truth' that will really boil your noodle.

    JUSTHUMAN14, QUIETLYLEAVING: The problem here is a lot of things are mixed together, so i will only talk about evolution and the 'intelligent designer' here.

    It is clear that evolution could have gone any number of ways; for example (if i remember correctly) mammals are only here because a virus spliced itself with reptilian DNA so the imune system could be suppressed instead of attacking the embryos. So exactly what specific species are here today is totally random and chaotic in the sence that very small perturbation of initial conditions would lead to a completely different ecosystem. it is impossible to know if that process was guided if God wanted to be subtle about it (which seem to be the case).

    Nevertheless, i think an important question to ask is why stop there? If we have made one scientific theory 'guided', why not others? How about 'guided' gravity, where it seems like its just physical laws at work (like in the case of evolution), but God is there, 'guiding' it all to make sure it turns out just the way he want it. Or 'guided' quantum mechanics, quantum mechanics appear to be totally random, but what if all decoherence phenomena are really guided by god so they turn out just the way he wants them to turn out?

    If i began to write long books about guided gravity, i would have a pretty strong case.
    The problems we attribute to dark matter/energy (95% of the universe is made of dark matter/dark energy. It has never been observed, we just think its there because otherwise gravity makes no sence) is just Gods guiding hand and work, and all the problems with singularies in black holes could be an argument that it required Gods guiding hand to set things straight.
    But nobody does that, and i think the reason are twofold: a) Evolution is in conflict with a litteral reading of genesis and thus have a large 'tradition' of denial around it and b) it would sound pretty silly.

  • MissingLink

    Sylvia, are you saying that "the devil" is responsible for our universe not being "like a finely tuned clock" that we were taught to believe it is?

    It's not just the odd rock hitting the Earth now and then, entire Galaxies collide with each other (including ours in a few million years or so).

    If there is a creator, he/she did a pretty crappy job.

  • Razziel

    My take:

    Bluntly put, intelligent design is just an attempt to rationalize the fact that the creation account as presented in the Bible conflicts with well-established scientific findings. Both evolution and creation predict things other than what they were introduced to explain, so they are both testable. Over the last 150 years many of the novel predictions of evolution have proven to be true, whereas the predictions from creationism conflict with nearly everything scientists have discovered.

    I would say the emergence of ID is a vindication of evolutionary scientists because it's basically a result of scientifically-literate creationists realizing "we can't beat 'em, so we'll join 'em, and say God did it that way."

    There are a few problems with that. First, ID is not a theory, though it is presented as one. ID is an explanation, but it predicts nothing. So it can't be tested. At least the creation account in Genesis could be tested and proven right or wrong.

    Next, ID still explains things by appealing to something incomprehensible, an Intelligent Designer and his/her incomprehensible ability to guide evolution. It doesn't increase our understanding of anything, so it really isn't an explanation at all. It has no scope.

    Finally, ID is fine with me as a spiritual belief in light of what we've learned about the universe, but it is NOT science and it might as well be its own new religion. It throws Christianity and the purpose of Christ's ransom on its head. Yes, one can do all sorts of mental gymnastics and re-purpose Christ's ransom, but it directly conflicts with the teachings, writings, and beliefs of thousands of years of Christians and Jews and what is recorded of Christ himself.

    All that said, I know where the facts and empirical evidence leads, but I still haven't come to terms with what I personally believe.

  • snowbird
    Sylvia, are you saying that "the devil" is responsible for our universe not being "like a finely tuned clock" that we were taught to believe it is?

    I'm saying I believe just that; the Evil One is out to wreak havoc on God's creation.


  • BurnTheShips
    I allready mentioned that space-time may form a circular structure embedded in a higher-dimensional space - that would throw out causality.

    No, it would not. I fail to see how a cyclical Universe in any way defeats the argument from causality I posted previously.

    that would throw out causality. Secondly, lets take something like good old quantum mechanics: You got two electrons at a high-energy state. That state will decay (we can even measure or calculate the half-time), but we cannot say WHICH electron will decay or WHEN: It just do. That billiard-ball idea of cause and effect is deeply rooted in newtonian mechanics and you shouldnt take it as an established fact when talking about the origin of the universe (and the time coordinat itself).

    What you are describing is indeterminacy, not acausality. These are not the same thing.

    There is another moral of the story: Philosophers could have pondered that question for millinias and never come to a conclusion. Mathematics allowed it to be resolved in just 30 pages (if my memory serves).

    Not to knock mathematics, but it took mathematics millenia to arrive at Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, Bohm. Like I said, philosophy undergirds science. Your own mention of Godel's work proves this. Even science is forced to rest on unprovable assumptions. It cannot, in itself, prove these. They must be taken on faith.


  • BurnTheShips
    Is there a grand unified theory of space, time and the fundamental forces?

    If we humans are natural beings only, then we will never arrive at a complete, perfected Theory of Everything, only better approximations. We'll never have a naturalistic, complete, consistent ToE, while existing as physical, natural beings bound within this Universe. There is that pesky Godel's Incompleteness Theorem again. We exist within the system (Universe). As part of the system, we cannot fully explain it. Neither the system nor any lesser component thereof can explain itself. The system can only be fully explained by something outside of it.


  • bohm

    BTS: hm. Let me try to make myself more clear: Your argument (as i understand it) relies on the following proposition(s): "The chain of causality cannot extend backwards infinitely. This would create a paradox. If there was an infinite chain of cause/effects, then it would take an infinite amount of time to arrive at the present". 10 years ago i would have bought that argument as 'common sence'. the problem is that physics often collide with common sence, let me give you two examples why i think it *may* have problems (and at least need to be specified).

    First off, imagine Acme Spacecraft X. (ASX). ASX is radio controlled and can go as fast as you want it to (but less than light speed!) around a track with the push of a button. We put Bob on ASX and let Alice (who stand along the track) control the speed. ASX start out with speed x, but every time one time unit elapse (in alices frame) it increase its speed such that the clocks in ASX takes twice as long (in alices time) to measure out the next unit of time.

    That is, from alices point of view, the time on bobs clock at time n will be:

    1/1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 ... + 1/2^n

    Notice that the sum of this is 2. The implications is the following: At the time bobs clock measure 2, an INFINITE amount of ticks on alices clock will have passed. Will bob say that Alices chain of causality extend backwards infinitely? my point is that one needs to define these things *very* carefully, taking into account different reference frames and so on.

    Second example is good old quantum mechanics: A electron-positron pair is created in the middle of empty space because of zero-point oscilations. What were the cause?

    The real issue here is that the big bang was the BEGINNING of space and time -- how can you define events without space and time? Can you then talk about a cause/effect relationship? this is such a weird thing that i just dont think its prudent to throw in an intelligent creator in the middle of it.

    But lets put the physical objections asside and focus on the argument itself. You seem to assume that all things in the universe has a cause effect relationship, even though quantum mechanics may make it hard to see what it is. Why is the 'first cause' any different? why does he not have a cause, if everything else has? Is that a definition or what?

    UPDATE: ASX ofcourse start out with speed x=1 :-).

  • bohm

    BTS: The exact fallout of Gödels incompleteness theorem in the case of physical systems and the mind is hard to gauge - Gödel only worked with a special types of formal systems he very carefully defined and i have only read the mathematics and not much about the rest. But if it applies in a way you describe - it also applies to the meta-system(s), and ultimately to 'God'. Thus i believe this line of reasoning leads to a positive answer to a kind of 'can God create a rock that is to hard to lift' type of question. :-).

  • BurnTheShips

    Bohm. Your thought experiment, while very well written, is incorrect. Time dilation (relative to another reference) is caused by a difference in relative motion, or gravity, or a combination of the two, not acceleration.

    Your example uses acceleration. And even if acceleration caused time dilation, there is an upper bound to the acceleration. ASX cannot accelerate past c.


  • bohm

    BTS: General relativity shows that gravity an acceleration has the same effect. Infact you could take it as a defining property of GR. Look it up if you think im full of it.

    Special relativity put a limit to what velocities can be archived by acceleration, namely c. but if you go through the details you will see this does not affect the spacecraft, since its velocity will only approach c.

    If you compare bobs experience with what an astronaut will experience when he fall into a black hole, the example is not so artificial... The schwarzchild solutions is the first thing you will see in GR, but its very, very strange stuff. i dont really understand it.

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