Excellent post John Mann. I was going to make a similar post but I doubted it was worth the effort. I've been reading books by Raymond Brown recently, and he is so reasonable it almost makes you want to become a Catholic - except for the teaching on sex which is abysmal.
It's important to keep in mind that former JWs, and Dawkins-type atheists often have a very particular kind of Christian believer in mind when building refutations. The Catholic Church and many other churches (representative the vast majority of Christians) accept evolution and do not see science and faith in competition.
It's interesting on this thread to see the various strategies Cofty has used to make my points seem extreme when actually they are mainstream. He claims I don't like science. It's actually his view that scientific discoveries can tell us about the likelihood of God which is a marginal philosophical position. He has used insults instead of arguments, introduced a flat earth (again) and postmodernism, when postmodernism has nothing to do with the subject of the thread, or the mainstream view I promoted that science, philosophy and theology deal with different areas of knowledge.
The idea, popular among reductionist materialists such as Dawkins, is that science is on the march, and is vanquishing religion. It disproved creation in the nineteenth century and soon it will disprove that God is the origin of life. What will believers do then, Cofty asks? What excuses will believers have left?
But this misunderstands what science is. Science can tell us how something probably happened. It cannot tell us why it happened or its meaning. Scientists may, or probably will, one day discover how life started. But this is not one inch closer to proving that God didn't do it.
Yes it does! Of course it does! If it happened all by itself, then this proves God had nothing to do with the origin of life! How can you be so thick! (Comes the retort)
But really it proves nothing of the sort. All it proves is that the universe is consistent in observing patterns and laws all the way back. Whether God instigated these laws, or used them for his purposes, science cannot tell us one way or another. Using scientific discoveries to try to figure out a God or not-God is wrong headed. It's using the wrong tool for the stated purpose. It's like expecting to be able to measure the temperature of water with a ruler.
I am not representing an extreme philosophical position here, and has nothing to do with postmodernism or a flat earth. These are rhetorical strategies along with the insults. It is a mainstream view that science and philosophy deal with different kinds of questions.
It is actually Cofty who holds an extreme and marginal philosophical position: scientific and materialist reductionism. In this view only matter exists and science is the only true source of knowledge. Other kinds of knowledge are collapsed into science by various means. In its most extreme forms this marginal world view even claims that branches of philosophy such as ethics can be collapsed and redefined as science. Yes Cofty actually believes that ethical problems have a definite scientific solution. (He stated this on the forum a couple of heads ago) You or I might think euthanasia or abortion, for example, are complex ethical dilemmas that admit a number of perspectives and solutions. Not for an adherent ofscientific reductionism. All such issues have definitive scientific answers which can be discovered. That's how extreme his claims for science are. So if we want to talk about flat earth type nonsense that's where we could start.