Why it is simply logical to believe in an intelligent Creator
a thought that came to me while I was walking in Riverside Park yesterday, April 17, a beautiful afternoon in New York City. A little above 79th Street, I stopped and looked at a small tree with flowers that had yellowish greenish petals, and, inside the petals, yellow, red, and green stamens and pistils of such perfect harmony, symmetry, and beauty that it seemed to me that these flowers were coming out of God. And I thought: everything in nature embodies design and intelligence. Yet if we
simply state that the evident signs of design and intelligence in nature indicate that nature is the product of design and intelligence, the Darwinists declare us to be sub-intellectual, faith-crazed religious bigots!
Of course, if the Darwinists reject the notion that living things are the product of design and intelligence, based on the Darwinian theory of evolution, that is their right. But isn’t it absurd of them to write us down as unthinking people in thrall to blind superstition, when in fact our conclusions are entirely reasonable?
Again—nature is overwhelmingly informed by signs of design and intelligence. Therefore it is simply logical to infer that nature is the expression of an intelligent being. That belief may turn out to be incorrect, but it is certainly not irrational.
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Vivek G. writes:
“Therefore it is simply logical to infer that nature is the expression of an intelligent being. That belief may turn out to be incorrect, but it is certainly not irrational.”
If one rewrote it as:
“Therefore it is surely not obviously illogical to infer that nature is the expression of an intelligent being. That belief may turn out to be incorrect, but it is certainly not irrational. “
Then the weakness of Darwinians becomes even more obvious. The Darwinians often use this false setting in which they state:
It has not been proven that nature IS an expression of an intelligent being, blah blah; Therefore, it is proved that IT IS NOT an expression of an intelligent being.
As you have rightly mentioned, belief in “intelligent being behind nature” MAY turn out to be INCORRECT; but nevertheless the question of random mutations versus intelligence REMAINS unsettled as of now.
But in a society run by liberal ideology, are Darwinians answerable? One wonders …
Adela Gereth writes:
I have often had the same experience you describe, of seeing something in nature so perfectly formed that it is self-evidently the work of God.
Some atheists seem to have an aesthetic sense which allows them to appreciate what you so aptly call “the perfect harmony, symmetry and beauty” found everywhere in nature. But I cannot help feeling that without an abiding awareness of God as Creator, they are missing—and missing out on—so much.
Being an engineering nerd, one day I sat and pondered and was generally astounded by the pervasiveness of Pi, and how marvelous that constant is. (I was specifically thinking of the tide coming in and going out.) And we don’t even know it’s exact value! Anywhere there is something round, or something rotating, or something cycling, there is Pi. I think it’s God’s magical number.
Just look at this description of Pi in Wikipedia (emphasis added):
It is an irrational number, which means that it cannot be expressed as a fraction m/n, where m and n are integers. Consequently its decimal representation never ends or repeats. Beyond being irrational, it is a transcendental number, which means that no finite sequence of algebraic operations on integers (powers, roots, sums, etc.) could ever produce it. Throughout the history of mathematics, much effort has been made to determine pi more accurately and understand its nature; fascination with the number has even carried over into culture at large.
Dana A. writes:
The intelligent creator you sense may be in fact be your intuitive grasp of this.
This number phi is the building block of the universe
The dogmatic atheists not only reject the God of the Bible, they reject even the ancient Greeks’ great discovery, central to our civilization, of an inherent harmony in nature, a natural law that men can strive to imitate, because to admit that there is a harmony in nature is to say that there is, ummmmm, INTELLIGENCE in nature. And that they cannot do. If they note the evidence of law and harmony, they will say that this is the accidental result of chance random mutations and natural selection. But law and harmony resulting from random accident, from a blind, purposeless material process, is a contradiction in terms. Thus today’s aggressive secularists are not only at war with Christianity, they are at war with the most basic human experiences of law and harmony in the world around us.
Richard B. writes:
You said “…nature is the expression of an intelligent being.”
If I said, “nature is the expression of an intelligence be-ing”, are we not thinking the same?
The first sentence has being as the noun. The second has be-ing as a verb, and “an intelligence” as a noun.
So, when you look at that flower, are you seeing an expression of (God’s) intelligence or are you seeing God himself?
Does the beauty of the flower give you an experience of “seeing” God, or an experience of witnessing “the manifestation of” God?
Darwin may speak to the workings of nature, but not at all to nature’s being. Truly, there is nothing “random” about God.
Perhaps the answer may be found in the idea of the Holy Trinity, The duality of perception is transcended by God himself?
There were two experiences I described in the blog entry.
The first was seeing these flowers as coming out of God, seeing them as a cosmic expression of God. I was not “seeing God,” but seeing the flowers as an expression of his infinite being.
The second was the discursive thought, which was not about God per se but about intelligence and design, that such things show a very high order of design and intelligence, therefore it is at least reasonable to assume that they are the product of design and intelligence.
So, the first thought was: The flower is an expression of God’s infinite being.
The second thought was: It’s reasonable to think that living things are a product of design and intelligence.
Then my concluding sentence, which you’re asking about, joined those two separate thoughts into one: “It’s reasonable to believe that living things are the expression of an intelligent being.”
Beyond that, I can’t break it down. I don’t know if this has been helpful.
Dana A. writes:
Are you aware that when the human brain perceives beauty (aka, symmetry a la the golden ratio) it releases chemicals that cause a sense of well being?
It’s not that the ancients and mystics were wrong in perceiving a sublime sense of transcendence in the presence of the beauty of nature, art, or church music—it’s that they didn’t know the genesis of that feeling.
Yes, but what was the genesis of the chemical properties that cause the sensation of well-being? And what was the genesis of the release of those chemicals by the perception of beauty? And what was the genesis of the beauty?
The chemicals are material substances that produce certain sensations, but those chemicals are the instruments of a non-material experience and realization. In the same way, the transistors in a television set are material devices that allow sound and images to appear on a tv screen, but they are not the source of the sounds and images, they are instruments that transmit the sounds and images that were created elsewhere. Moreover, these instruments that convey the sounds and images were produced by the same human intelligence that produced the sounds and images. Similarly, the same divine intelligence that created beauty, created the biological/chemical systems that allow us to experience pleasure in that beauty.
Dana A. writes:
The “randomness” occurs in the circumstances that lead to a population being isolated in such a manner that changes in their genome occur in order to adapt
Random in this case means merely undirected and unpredictable.
A population of hominids managed to survive and adapt during the last ice age (a population bottleneck)—that those hominids, would be in that place at that time and that they would be able to adapt was where the randomness entered in. there are populations of animals that become isolated or experience changes in their environment that they fail to adapt to because the genetic ability to adapt to the new circumstances is not present in that particular groups make-up There is also such a thing as gene expression. When certain genes are “switched on,” it switches other genes on, or causes them to “express” their traits. Some of the traits in the new array may be unexpectedly adaptive, maladaptive or irrelevant. This is also sometimes understand as part of the randomness, that one genetic change can trigger a host of others that are less than predictable by us.
Regarding your previous question about “who put the brain chemicals there”: Science seeks to explain nature in natural terms alone. That’s its sole project, that there may be supernatural explanations for things is beyond its bailiwick. I am not a scientist, but I hold with the scientific method for ascertaining the working of the universe. There is lots of writing on the evolution of neurotransmitters from the earliest chordates, most over my head. The fact that we may not know or ever know the naturalistic explanation for a given phenomenon in no way leads logically to a supernatural explanation, but merely to an expression of the limits of human knowledge at this time or possibly for the entire lifespan of our species.
Science is a dynamic PROCESS based in the ability to acquire data via falsifiable experiments, not a dogma, contrary to popular belief, and any layperson that treats it as a static dogma is simply making a religion of any current data set.
First, you are implicitly attributing to a species or to genes the purpose of adapting, as when you speak of “the genetic ability to adapt to the new circumstances.” But there is no genetic ability to adapt, and there is not even any genetic adaptation, words that imply the act and purpose of adapting. There are only accidental, purposeless mutations in genes which by pure happenstance happen to help the possessor of those genes live longer and have more offspring.
Adaptation implies a being or entity that is adapting. But in Darwinism consistently and honestly understood, there is no adaptation on the part of any being. There are only accidental changes in genes, which result in the organism that possesses those genes being a (slightly but significantly) different being from its parents. The organism is thus the epiphenomenon of its genes. The upshot is that there is no entity—neither an organism, nor the species to which it belongs—that does any adapting. “Adaptation” is thus one of those teleological concepts that Darwinians have no right to use, since Darwinism radically excludes not just teleology (as I’ve argued before), but the very existence of any being that could do the adapting.
Second, you write:
“My lack of an answer simply doesn’t lead me to a supernatural conclusion, it leads me to the conclusion that I/everyone just doesn’t know.”
Hey, that’s MY position. But it’s NOT the Darwinists’ position. It is now the official creed of Darwinists that Darwinism is the truth, or, as they put it more cleverly and dishonestly, “a theory that has such great explanatory power and is so massively supported by the evidence that we can treat it as a fact.” And the fact that it is a dogma is shown by the fact that you, appealing to the exclusive legitimacy of material science, objected to my offering a reasoned, non-material explanation for the experience of beauty. By contrast, I am the one who is not asserting my beliefs as a dogma. Please read the initial entry again. I simply said that the belief in intelligence and design is NOT IRRATIONAL and therefore should not be excluded, as I also said that the Darwinists have the right to have their view. It is the Darwinists, not I, who are trying to impose a dogma on others.
You say that “we don’t know the truth,” but there are two problems with this. First, that is certainly not the way the official and leading lights of Darwinism feel. When it comes to the the meaning of an ideology, it is not the idiosyncratic beliefs of individual believers as to its meaning that matter, but the public, agreed on belief as to its meaning.
Second, you contradict your statement that we don’t know the truth when you say that only the material, i.e., Darwinist explanation is acceptable and that my non-material explanation is not acceptable.
Dana A. writes:
“Second, you contradict your statement that we don’t know the truth when you say that only the material, i.e., Darwinist explanation is acceptable [emphasis mine] and that my non-material explanation is not acceptable.”
No. Only material, aka natural, explanations are SCIENCE,—all other explanations are NOT science, acceptability has nothing to do with it. Science has NOTHING to say about the nonmaterial world or nonmaterial explanations for the material processes of the world. While I personally do not accept non-scientific methods as being able to shed light on the nature of the Universe, there are other, non-scientific methods used to explain the nature of the Universe and they are accepted by many. But those methods CANNOT be “science”—they are what they are—mysticism, supernatural, paranormal, ideological whatever they may be—no judgment is implied here, merely accurate description.
See one of the real problems again is linguistic, someone of my worldview and yours use the same words but mean very different things when we do. I am not concerned with making normative statements regarding how things “should” be (eg. Acceptable)—I am concerned with attempting to observe and describe how things are with no emotional or moral content.”
But it seems to me that it comes to the same thing. Since, as you put it, you’re only interested in “science” (materialism), you therefore exclude “non-scientific” (non-materialistic) explanations from the get-go. That’s the dogma that I think is implied in the materialist scientific position, because it says that materialistic science is simply identical to the truth about the universe, and nothing not knowable by material scientific methods can be true. .
For example, you say that “Science has NOTHING to say about the nonmaterial world…” But science has lots to say about how such things as consciousness, beauty, and belief in God came into being (Dawkins wrote a whole book explaining the belief in God). Consciousness, beauty, and belief in God are non-material things. But Darwinian thinkers who think there is no knowable reality outside matter would have to think that consciousness, beauty, and belief in God are material things. THAT is the dogma that Darwinian thinkers do not see as a dogma, because it is to them as the ocean is to the fish.
Dana A. writes:
There is a materialist explanation of Beauty—for example—the human brain’s experience of the golden proportion. This has been shown repeatedly in falsifiable cross cultural studies. Plastic surgeons use a set of proportion derived from phi to CREATE beautiful faces from deformed ones.
Maybe there is a non-natural explanation for it—but the scientific explanations MEET THE CRITERIA OF SCIENCE, a.k.a.—different scientists in different countries around the world can repeat the experiments that led to the conclusion or design new experiments that suggest OR show FALSE the conclusion.
This “falsifiability” is what separates science from not-science. What I mean when I say non material explanations can’t be science is that they are by nature untestable. I certainly can’t prove the existence of the Platonic form of Beauty, but I can show 1000’s of people from 1000’s of cultures 1000’s of pictures of women or every race and ethnicity, derive a set of common traits from those most often designated highest on a scale of beauty, then I can generate a computer image of a woman that exhibits those traits and ask another 1000 people from 1000s of culture how they rate it for beauty and determine that for humans, X=Beauty. I can do the same with flowers, architecture, music, paintings, sculptures, etc
More importantly, ANOTHER group of scientists can replicate my experiment, and either prove the same results, or prove it false—in which case, I was wrong.
Which of our views is right, that beauty is material or nonmaterial? Maybe both! But the scientific view isn’t science intruding on the nonmaterial—its science explaining an demonstrably material process in material terms
I discussed that yesterday and showed the problems with it. How is it that this golden proportion, co-extensive with a certain type of beauty, exists? How is it that looking at this golden proportion produces certain chemical reactions in the human brain? How is it that these chemicals produce the human consciousness of well-being? All these phenomena involve non-material realities, they involve MEANING. You cannot derive MEANING from chemicals. It’s like saying you can derive the Empire State Building from a speck of dust on 34th Street.
The experiments that show that the golden proportion produces this result are not controversial and do not answer my question. I’m not questioning that this result exists. I’m questioning how this result exists. And I’m saying that the answer is self-evidently beyond matter. Even if there was an experiment that showed precisely what characteristic of the golden ratio triggered precisely what feature in the human brain, that would still not answer the question why such things exist in the first place. To which the materialist scientists would answer that the question is irrevelent to them because they are not interested in any reality other than what can be shown by experiment.
Maybe there is a non-natural explanation for it—but the scientific explanations MEET THE CRITERIA OF SCIENCE, a.k.a.—different scientists in different countries around the world can repeat the experiments that led to the conclusion
Maybe there is a “non-natural explanation” for what? The scientific experiments you mention do not explain anything. Rather, they demonstrate that the golden proportion produces a certain result in humans across cultures, and that people in every culture have certain common notions of beauty. Even when science is pointing to transcendent realities that material science cannot explain, you see it as a satisfactory proof that materialism explains everything!
Which of our views is right, that beauty is material or nonmaterial? Maybe both! But the scientific view isn’t science intruding on the nonmaterial—its science explaining a demonstrably material process in material terms.
I agree that the science, properly understood, is not intruding on the non-material, and if you thought that that was my position perhaps that explains our disagreement. However, if you and the scientists are saying that these scientific experiments explain anything (beyond the fact that the golden ratio is the physical basis, or rather the physical correlative, of beauty across cultures), then I would reply that science is indeed intruding on the non-material, because it is claiming to have explained—and to have explained in material terms—something it has not explained at all.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 18, 2008 01:12 AM | Send