And here's my reply I'm considering sending:
I'm a bit confused by your email. I took great effort to answer your
questions and explain the reasoning and
evidence behind my answers. I wrote
over 60 pages explaining the evidence for evolution. I wrote over 12 pages
explaining why I do not believe the existence of matter/energy proves an
intelligent designer. My emails were, I
think, polite and respectful and I was
very patient with you not answering any of my questions (or even
them in most cases). But my email still seems to have upset for some reason and
I'm not sure why.
You have not offered any reason for why I am wrong on any particular
point, but your last email seems to suggest
that I am ‘unable to explain the
(basis) for my beliefs in simple terms’. It seems unfair to me to make this
but offer no reason, example or explanation for why this is the case.
Particularly so considering the effort I have
put into answering all your
questions when you have repeatedly failed to answer any of my own.
If you could show me any error in my thinking it would allow me the
opportunity to reconsider my beliefs on a
particular point but I can't do this
if you don't tell me why I might be wrong. So please tell me, in what way am I
unable to explain the basis for my beliefs? What beliefs in particular do you
feel I have not explained? What claims
have I made that I have not
substantiated with sufficient reason or evidence?
Your email also implies that I am unable to point to a solid basis
underpinning my beliefs but I do not think this is
true. I can very easily
point to the principles upon which my beliefs are based; they are reason,
logic, evidence and
critical thinking. My beliefs are underpinned by what is
known as 'scientific scepticism'.
Scientific scepticism causes me to reserve judgement and not commit to
any particular position when there is
insufficient evidence from which to draw
a conclusion with confidence. Such is the case regarding the origin of the
universe. I openly admit I do not know the answer and I acknowledge the
possibility of an intelligent designer. But
I also accept the possibility of
alternative explanations that I personally consider to be slightly more
I can't offer any proof but I've given the reasons for why I believe
this to be the case:
The net energy/mass of the
universe appears to be zero (meaning no pre-existing energy or matter
required to create it)
At the quantum level, the
normal rules of causality break down so it is demonstrably not true that all
events must be preceded by a cause. The quantum world is probabilistic not
The conclusion that an
intelligent designer can exist without a cause breaks the premise upon which
intelligent designer’s existence is predicated. For example, the argument
that 'the universe must have a cause therefore God exists; but God has no
cause' is logically inconsistent.
If an intelligent designer can
exist without a cause then so too can the conditions from which a universe
could emerge. To admit one is possible and not the other is inconsistent.
The ‘universe from nothing’
hypothesis seems more likely to me than an ‘intelligent designer from
because it assumes fewer conditions (both assume the possibility of something
For example, quantum fluctuation and virtual particles have been
detected and fit our current understanding
of physics. There is also a
mathematical proof demonstrating that virtual
could in theory create a universe very similar to our own under certain
conditions. There is however no experimental evidence demonstrating the
existence of an intelligent designer and no understanding of the laws or
conditions from which an intelligent designer could emerge.
The multiverse hypothesis
explains the fine tuning of our universe as well as an intelligent designer.
Therefore the fine tuning of our universe is not proof of an intelligent
Maybe these reasons are invalid but it would be nice if you could
explain to me why this might be the case rather
than just asserting my
reasoning is baseless. Because I'm really not sure how you can claim my beliefs
baseless when you have not even addressed the reasons I have given for
Your email also seems to imply I should just believe whatever you say
because 8 million people happen to share
the same belief as you. This is a poor
reason to hold a belief because the popularity of a particular belief is not a
reliable indicator of its truth. For example, in Sweden the majority of people
are either atheist of irreligious
whereas in North America the majority of
people believe in God. Does this mean God exists in America but not
or is it more likely that popular belief is driven by culture to some degree?
Should I be swayed by the
prevailing secularism in Sweden or the religiosity in
America? To which group should I defer my own judgement?
The truth is not subject to popular opinion and 8 million people is not
an impressive number in any case. As of 2012
there were over 7 billion people
on the planet so 8 million people represents a tiny minority (just 0.11% of the
overall population! Just one tenth of one percent). There are 320 million
people in North America and Pew poll data
indicates that 3.1% of them are
atheists. This means there are more atheists in North America alone than there
members of your religion in the entire world. I would never claim this is
evidence for atheism (which is generally a
minority view in most places and a
tiny minority globally) but you seem to think 8 million people agreeing with
you is somehow evidence. It is not. You would not accept the belief shared by
another group (such as Mormons)
as evidence for anything so why should I accept
your group's belief as evidence?
Besides this, how do you know 8 million people are in complete agreement
with you? If any of those 8 million
people openly disagreed with you then they
would be liable to be shunned by their entire family and social
are not free to express their beliefs so you can't know how many are true
The reason I mentioned God holding my family hostage is because many
religions teach this to be case; unbelievers
will not go to heaven or will be
punished in some way. Your analogy about my family's safety on travelling on my
plane seemed to imply their real life well-being was somehow related to my
personal beliefs. Perhaps I
misunderstood the point.
You claim that the 'true god' would not punish people for holding the
wrong beliefs. I hope this is true
(because such a God would be very cruel) but
this does appear to be what your own religion teaches.
You are a member of a
religious organisation (a member of the clergy class no less) whose leadership
speak for God. This organisation has claimed in print that only
members of their organisation will survive an
immanent mass genocide:
Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the "great crowd," as a
united organization under the
protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any
Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end
of this doomed
system dominated by Satan the Devil."
Watchtower 1989 Sep 1
Jehovah is using only one organization today to accomplish his will. To receive
everlasting life in the earthly
Paradise we must identify that organization and
serve God as part of it."
Watchtower 1983 Feb 15 p.12
final period of the ancient world that perished in the Flood, Noah was a
faithful preacher of righteousness.
(2 Peter 2:5) In these last days of the
present system of things, Jehovahs people are making known Gods righteous
standards and are declaring good news about the possibility of surviving into
the new world.
(2 Peter 3:9-13) Just as Noah and his God-fearing family were
preserved in the ark, survival of individuals today
depends on their faith and
their loyal association with the earthly part of Jehovahs universal
Watchtower 2006 May 15 p.22 "Are You Prepared for
Is this not holding my family's well-being hostage? Maybe you don't
share these beliefs (and I hope not because they are
hateful beliefs) but this
rather undermines your claim unity of belief between 8 million people.
You are right about one thing however; science will never disprove the
existence of God. But this is because God is an
untestable and unfalsifiable
proposition and therefore beyond the purview of scientific investigation.
Science will never
disprove the existence of the Christian god in the same way
it will never disprove the existence of Zeus or Raa but this not a
to believe in one particular God over another. The burden of proof is on the
believer or the proponent of a
particular claim not the other way around.
Like I've said before, you are an atheist regarding every God accept for
one. You do not need to disprove every other God to
hold this position because
the burden of proof is on the believers of those other gods to prove their God
not you to prove they don't exist. Likewise, the burden of proof is on
you to prove your God exists.
I can't prove he doesn't exist but neither can I
prove Zeus doesn't exist - but what reason can you give me that I should
believe in Jehovah but not Zeus?
If you disagree with the burden of proof and think your own beliefs
should just be uncritically accepted by everyone then
we really do have a
different understanding of evidence and reason.
And you keep quoting scientists or linking to articles about scientists
who happen to believe in intelligent design like it
proves something. It does
not. The fact that some scientists believe in intelligent design does not make
intelligent design a
legitimate scientific idea. There are standards of
evidence in science and ideas are measured by the weight of evidence not
personal authority of individual scientists who happen to believe in those
ideas. Intelligent design simply does not meet
scientific standards if evidence
because it is unfalsifiable and generates no predictions that can be tested.
So citing the fact that some scientists believe in intelligent design
does not in itself validate your beliefs. Your beliefs should
stand on their
own evidential merit not be held because other intelligent people happen to
believe them to be true. And you
still completely ignore the fact that the
overwhelming majority of scientists disagree with creationism and intelligent
general. The National Academy of Science charted belief in God as low
as 5.5 percent among biologists and 7.5 percent
among physicist and astronomers
in a 1998 survey. If you think scientists are a group who should be listened to
matters why do you ignore what the majority of them actually say?
I've explained this to you before but you don't address the points and
instead just repeat the same discredited talking points.
So yes, some very
intelligent, highly educated scientists believe in intelligent. I accept this.
But what is the actual evidence in
your own words?
And please, perhaps before trying to make a case for intelligent design
or linking to creationist articles you should consider
addressing the 60 pages
of evidence I presented showing the reasons why I believe evolution is true and
creationism is false.
So, here are my questions:
1) do you accept that scientific theories can confirmed via the testing of their predictions
2) in what way does evolution not meet the definition of scientific theory? (the Encyclopedia you keep referring to
does not support your position).
3) are there any arguments against evolution (for example, a lack of fossils) you would no longer use after reading
my evolution email?
4) you claim there is no evidence for evolution - In what way do homologous Endogenous Retrovirus Insertions
(ERVs) not qualify as evidence for macro evolution? How can homologous ERVs (and their phylogenetic distribution)
be explained by an intelligent designer?