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Author Topic:   The problem with creationism and god
Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3322 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 1 of 109 (531410)
10-17-2009 3:57 PM


Creationists (and I include "Intelligent Design" advocates) observe all the diverse wonders of the natural world, and say "This is all so complex and wonderful, it can't possibly be due to random chance, therefore a god or a designer must have made it." Plus, we've got a book where it says that that is actually what happened. Problem solved! Science is pointless.

The assumption behind this belief is that any extremely complex "product" must have a more intelligent (and/or more complex) designer than the product itself. This fits in with our human perspective of the world around us. Jumbo jets don't come into existence on their own, do they? No, they have been designed by clever humans.

If you accept that complex products - living things for example - must always have a more complex designer, the immediate problem which arises is that the designer-god which made the Universe must therefore have a more intelligent or complex designer than itself. A "supergod" is needed to design the original god.

So this line of reasoning leads to an infinite regress of gods, each one more complex than the one which it designed, and so on. That can't be right, surely? Even creationists don't believe that.

So, er, what's the answer?

Edited by Blzebub, : typo


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Message 2 of 109 (531482)
10-18-2009 7:26 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the The problem with creationism and god thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
cavediver
Member (Idle past 1724 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 3 of 109 (531487)
10-18-2009 7:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Blzebub
10-17-2009 3:57 PM


A "supergod" is needed to design the original god.

It's quite simple really - you simply axiomitise God. Just after I became a Christian at age 14, my brother challanged me with the age-old - if God made everything, who made God? The answer was obvious to me - God is by definition that ultimate being who is eternal and is not created. If he were created, he wouldn't be God, now would he? Worked a charm on my brother and on just about everyone since Wouldn't try it here though, as there's some smart loigical types about!

I think your OP hits on a far more interesting point that I see repeatedly here - every man-made object has intelligence behind its design and construction (for loose definitions of intelligence). Life, which is far more complex than any man-made design, must therefore have SUPER-intelligence behind its design. It's the most bogus "logical" argument ever made.


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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 2271 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 4 of 109 (531490)
10-18-2009 7:56 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by cavediver
10-18-2009 7:40 AM


One of the problems with the techno point to deities is that when man invented the anthropomorphic gods, he had yet to learn what makes nature tick. He saw the sun, moon, and natural items like trees & animals. He saw natural disasters such as floods and was overwhelmed by them. Although humans had the ability to think & reason, this capability was totally untapped and in an effort to confront this took what he would have seen as logical, "There has to be an entity that caused all this." Thus the invention of deities. He even gave these deities human biases, prejudices and emotions.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1182 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 5 of 109 (531492)
10-18-2009 7:58 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Blzebub
10-17-2009 3:57 PM


The Subjectiveness of 'Complexity'
The issue with complexity is, what are you referencing complexity off of? Everything can be considered complex from life itself down to subatomic particles and superstrings (as I am sure Cavediver can attest to). So if everything is complex, than nothing is since there is not something you can say is not complex.

Can you say a quark in nonliving matter are less complex than quarks in living matter? Of course not. When you boil things down to their ultimate fundamental structure we are the same. It is the arrangement that differs as we macroscopically scale up. Does this differing arrangement make things more or less complex? Not really. Are you saying that 2x1027 atoms in a living cell are more
"complex" than 2x1027 in an ice crystal the same size?

I guess the real question than is, what is complexity?

In my opinion, the only thing we can say is that some things "appear" to be more complex than others in an anthropomorphoc way. Like the term "beauty", "complexity" is subjective rather than objective and to me is an unscientific term you do not see often in the scientific community which is precisely why the ID and creationists try to capitolize on it.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : Fix html code


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World


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cavediver
Member (Idle past 1724 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 6 of 109 (531493)
10-18-2009 8:03 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by bluescat48
10-18-2009 7:56 AM


He even gave these deities human biases, prejudices and emotions.

Exactly - and just to tie this to DrA's thread on heaven and hell, they gave these deities the unwelcome characteristics of human rulers, kings and emperors: their own selfish prideful requirements for worship, adoration, and kingly status. John's Revelation reveals far more of just how anthropomorphic the Christian godhead really is - if you were to wake up as the ultimate conscious being, would your first thought be "hmmm, could really do with some seraphim around here, and a nice big gold throne"

Edited by cavediver, : No reason given.


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onifre
Member (Idle past 1032 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


(1)
Message 7 of 109 (531536)
10-18-2009 1:48 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Blzebub
10-17-2009 3:57 PM


what about non-complex things?
I find myself agreeing with Devils Advocate on this, however I take it in a few different directions. I came to realize that creationist end up shooting themselves in the foot when they argue for complexity.

I do think complexity is subjective rather than objective; if ID folk credulously believe that life is too complex to have emerged without intelligence guilding it, then yes, they must also explain how any other particular complex designer emerged without design.

As cave explains, religous people get past this by stating that god is god because he is eternal.

But sometimes, in many discussions here on EvC you'll see creationist call certain things "less complex," or "non-complex."

In this case there is a different approach, because now there is a curveball to the original concept that complexity requires design. But what about for things that are not complex? Do they require design? Well no, not according to the original premise. Only complex things require design.

And again comes the concern, what is considered not complex?

A rock? A hydrogen molecule? An atom?

If humans and life in general is complex and requires design, then, following that logic, non-complex things like molecules and atoms don't require design.

Here's where creationist get stuck in their logic and have to change things around to make sense.

If humans and life are complex and requires design, and, if atoms and molecules are not complex, then the Big Bang was a non-complex event, and, according to the logic in the argument, the BB doesn't require a designer.

They try to avoid this by saying that NO, the BB was extremely complex because it was the moment our universe expanded from a singularity - Something must have triggered that.

But the singularity would be smaller than an atom (in fact, atoms don't show up for some time after the BB), so if the atom is not complex, then surely something smaller is less complex than the atom...? If it's less complex than something that is considered non-complex, then it doesn't require a designer.

It's fun to see creationist dance around this logic. Some just say that everything is complex and everything requires design. Which at that point the word "complex" becomes meaningless. So their argument is not "complex things require design," it's "existance requires design."

From that point it blows up in a creationists face.

Because, if existance requires design, but god doesn't because he is outside of existance, then oddly enough, they begin to make a case for "god doesn't exist."

- Oni


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Fallen
Member (Idle past 1954 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 8 of 109 (531539)
10-18-2009 1:56 PM


Out of curiosity, who are these infamous ID advocates who believe the world is to complex not to be designed? I've heard so much about them from the evolutionist side, but I've yet to find that claim in the ID literature. Does anyone have a reference I can look up?


Beatus vir qui suffert tentationem
Quoniqm cum probates fuerit accipient coronam vitae

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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3322 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 9 of 109 (531543)
10-18-2009 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Fallen
10-18-2009 1:56 PM


Out of curiosity, who are these infamous ID advocates who believe the world is to complex not to be designed? I've heard so much about them from the evolutionist side, but I've yet to find that claim in the ID literature. Does anyone have a reference I can look up?

The "Intelligent Design" hypothesis is argued from two main precepts. These are "irreducible complexity" and "specified complexity".

A Google search using those terms will bring up a lot of amusing links. Here's one to get you started:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/behe.html

In 1996, the Free Press published a book by Lehigh University biochemist and intelligent design advocate Michael Behe called Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. The book's central thesis is that many biological systems are "irreducibly complex" at the molecular level. Behe gives the following definition of irreducible complexity:

By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning. An irreducibly complex system cannot be produced directly (that is, by continuously improving the initial function, which continues to work by the same mechanism) by slight, successive modifications of a precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. An irreducibly complex biological system, if there is such a thing, would be a powerful challenge to Darwinian evolution.


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Fallen
Member (Idle past 1954 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 10 of 109 (531545)
10-18-2009 2:33 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Blzebub
10-18-2009 2:16 PM


I am actually quite familiar with both of those arguments, but neither of them are the brute appeal to complexity that you described in your opening post. Specified complexity and irreducible complexity are both attempts to identify the sorts of complexity that can be exclusively associated with intelligent involvement. Intelligent design advocates using these methods of design detection do not claim that complexity, by itself, is evidence of intelligent involvement, even if a vast amount is present. That is why the modifiers “irreducible” and “specified” are attached.

Edited by Fallen, : Grammar issues


Forgive me Father, for I know not what I do.
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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3322 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 11 of 109 (531547)
10-18-2009 2:58 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by Fallen
10-18-2009 2:33 PM


I am actually quite familiar with both of those arguments, but neither of them are the brute appeal to complexity that you described in your opening post. Specified complexity and irreducible complexity are both attempts to identify the sorts of complexity that can be exclusively associated with intelligent involvement. Intelligent design advocates using these methods of design detection do not claim that complexity, by itself, is evidence of intelligent involvement, even if a vast amount is present. That is why the modifiers “irreducible” and “specified” are attached.

The fact that the two main plinths of "ID" ("specified complexity" and "irreducible complexity") both contain the word "complexity" doesn't persuade you that "complexity" seems a tad important in the wonderful world of "ID"?

Oh well. Black is white, I guess.


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Fallen
Member (Idle past 1954 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 12 of 109 (531550)
10-18-2009 3:27 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Blzebub
10-18-2009 2:58 PM


There is a massive difference between claiming that a particular kind of complexity indicates intelligence and the claim that complexity alone indicates intelligence. Of course complexity is an important concept for intelligent design advocates. But there is much, much more to intelligent design than simply appealing to complexity.


Forgive me Father, for I know not what I do.
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Blzebub 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3322 days)
Posts: 129
Joined: 10-10-2009


Message 13 of 109 (531557)
10-18-2009 4:07 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Fallen
10-18-2009 3:27 PM


There is a massive difference between claiming that a particular kind of complexity indicates intelligence and the claim that complexity alone indicates intelligence. Of course complexity is an important concept for intelligent design advocates. But there is much, much more to intelligent design than simply appealing to complexity.

Fascinating.

In "ID" circles, is the putative "designer" thought to contain irreducible or specific complexity itself, or is it a more "simple" entity?


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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1182 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 14 of 109 (531569)
10-18-2009 6:11 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Fallen
10-18-2009 3:27 PM


Fallen writes:

There is a massive difference between claiming that a particular kind of complexity indicates intelligence and the claim that complexity alone indicates intelligence. Of course complexity is an important concept for intelligent design advocates. But there is much, much more to intelligent design than simply appealing to complexity.

Behe writes:

It was once expected that the basis of life would be exceedingly simple. That expectation has been smashed. Vision, motion, and other biological functions have proven to be no less sophisticated than television cameras and automobiles. Science has made enormous progress in understanding how the chemistry of life works, but the elegance and complexity of biological systems at the molecular level have paralyzed science's attempt to explain their origins. There has been virtually no attempt to account for the origin of specific, complex biomolecular
systems, much less any progress. Many scientists have gamely asserted that explanations are already in hand, or will be sooner or later, but no support for such assertions can be found in the professional science literature. More importantly, there are compelling reasons-based on the structure of the systems themselves--to think that a Darwinian explanation for the mechanisms of life will forever prove elusive.

I don't know about you but what I get from this is that Behe is implying that life is complex. However, the question has to be asked "Complex in comparison to what?". Is a star complex or not? How about an individual atom? The question that is begging to be asked is "What is complexity?" and "How is it measured?". If we can't answer those two fundamental questions than bringing up the subjective term 'complexity' is a moot point. It would be like saying life is beautiful and that is why we should believe in God. Anyone who thinks life is beautiful has not seen the ravishing affects of life on other life:

child suffering from ebola

The same is subjectiveness is true with the term 'complexity'. Complexity is a completely subjective term, if you think otherwise talk to a particle physicist who can explain the complexity of particle physics.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous.” - Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection

"You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe." - Carl Sagan

"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." - Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World


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Fallen
Member (Idle past 1954 days)
Posts: 38
Joined: 08-02-2007


Message 15 of 109 (531779)
10-19-2009 8:11 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Blzebub
10-18-2009 4:07 PM


In "ID" circles, is the putative "designer" thought to contain irreducible or specific complexity itself, or is it a more "simple" entity?

Unfortunately, the evidence doesn't give us an answer to that question. Design detection methods try to find the barrier between objects that can be created by natural processes and objects that can only be put together by an intelligent agent making choices. Because literally all intelligent agents can make choices, all we can say is that an intelligence of some kind was involved.


Forgive me Father, for I know not what I do.
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