Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
 
Spore and intelligent design

I was idly wondering whether the religious right would protest against Spore, because that game is based on the theory of evolution, which is contrary to the beliefs of the creationists. But then it struck me that Spore isn't pro-Darwin at all! The DNA mutations that lead from an amoeba to a race conquering space are not at all random and subject to the survival of the fittest; instead they are directed by a higher power, invisible to the creature itself, the Spore player. So in fact Spore promotes the theory of Intelligent Design. That should be okay with the religious crowd, although maybe they have problems with the whole god-sim concept.

More realistically is the scenario where nobody besides me makes any comments at all on the relationship between Spore and the conflicting theories of how man was created. If we ever see a big public protest against Spore, it will be because some teenager found out that he could create a humanoid biped with a pink texture skin and boobs, and that creature ends up being on the top spot of downloaded Spore creatures. :)
Comments:
There are already a ton of perverted spore creatures that have been created. They are not letting them be loaded for download. you can find clips on youtube of the nonsense.

I have not tried the creator, figured I would just wait for the game.
 
I'm not sure if the religious right are too worried about god-sim games. After all, they've had their chance previously with games like Populous and Civ.

I reckon once the pimply faced teen figures out how to get nips on that pink humanoid biped... well watch the fur fly then! :-)
 
Spore seems to be very cool. :)
 
I think Spore investigates Freud more than Darwin. =P

Warning, penile creature:
http://grumpygamer.com/images/SPOREyaddlemonster.jpg

Ron Gilbert caught this phenomenom early on with his "time to penis" theory of Sporn: http://grumpygamer.com/6907656
 
They probably just haven't noticed Spore yet. Once they do, the logic of guided creation is not likely to be a factor. The player appearing to be god should be enough to rouse the rabble.
 
I'm one of those creationist folks, and I think spore's representation of how to create an organism is awesome (not very entertaining to me personally though). Seeing as how the Darwin folk can't create a reproducible experiment, maybe they'll wise up...haha not likely.
 
Seeing as how the Darwin folk can't create a reproducible experiment

Oh really?
 
I'm in favor of games that let the gamer become the developer to some extent. There just needs to be some kind of content ratings system via peer voting or something. Not touching that Intelligent design allusion with a ten foot pole :P Its not my job to convince anyone that they are wrong or right. You need to figure that out for yourselves. Black and White was another game that played on this. Was a bit boring actually in many regards, with too much mini-managing once you got bored of training the creature. We'll have to see if Spore turns out to be lasting fun for people to interact through or a passing diversion.
 
There's actually quite a few creatures from WoW that people have made. I'm rather looking forward to building the great Murloc interstellar empire. :)
 
Actually I've never understood why Evolution and the idea of a higher power have to be mutually exclusive. Even I, in my diminished state of mortality, can see the value of creating life that is able to adapt to the circumstances around it and improve upon iteself.
 
Askander said...

Actually I've never understood why Evolution and the idea of a higher power have to be mutually exclusive. Even I, in my diminished state of mortality, can see the value of creating life that is able to adapt to the circumstances around it and improve upon iteself.


They are mutually exclusive as science has a method and way of describing observations, empirical observations I hasten to add... usually with statistical data to demonstrate the theory thus allowing falsifiabilities to be observed and the theory corrected or trashed.

As post grad biologist... I add there is no empirical or observable evidence to suggest anything like a higher being at work.

Thus the two are mutually exclusive until evidence suggests otherwise.

In the world of philosophy you may make such statement... but not in science.
 
Unfortunately, the scenario where nobody besides you "makes any comments at all on the relationship between Spore and the conflicting theories of how man was created" was blown out of the water at least two years ago...

Will Wright talks Spore, Leipzig, next-gen

This nice little Gamespot interview (which uses the word 'evolves' only once) spawned six pages of back-and-forth rants in the comments having little or nothing to do with the game itself.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." -Albert Einstein
 
I think it depends on just how popular Spore becomes. If it has success on scale with The Sims then some "semi-religious" organizations might see a benefit in attacking it.

I use the word "semi-religious" since most of the organizations you see setting up news conferences or protests on television or video games are more about getting publicity and public donations then real faith.
 
As post grad biologist... I add there is no empirical or observable evidence to suggest anything like a higher being at work.

As a Ph.D. chemist I add there is no empirical or observable evidence to disprove anything like a higher being at work. Science simply can't prove or disprove that god exists.

I'm with Askander here: I believe in evolution insofar as it describes the timeline of events leading from amoeba to human beings. But science tells me that the chance to find a planet in the universe where exactly the right conditions existed for life to spontaneously and randomly to appear is infinitely small, we haven't detected another one of them as far as our telescopes can reach. I can not discount a higher power having manipulated probability to the effect of creating life. The idea of god as a bearded old man in a white nightdress creating creatures like out of modelling clay is of course silly. But I can't believe in man being the result of a string of extremely unlikely random chances either. I have to believe in a Watchmaker.
 
Who says it has to be a teenager? :)
 
The scientific method is not set it stone it has changed and will continue to change based on the input and recognition from fellow scientists. I wouldnt discount philosophy so quickly, as it really is only a different focus to problem solving. Scientific method relies heavily on structure and consistancy, but when something shakes the cage or goes beyond the structure of scientific method then its back to square one.

Things that shake the cage are psuedo science issues, that cannot be proven or disproven. Take for example the shroud of turin, empirical evidence will be able to date it back to a time and possibly place.. however on the other end of analysis a philosopher elench a reason where/why/who with out relying about the what/when aspects.

Bringing it back to Spore, this game if it sells well enough might be a bugle for religious fanatics, but really attempts on previous games were counterproductive (ie Hale mission in Resistance, english church).

~Tenmohican
 
Tobold,

With all due respect you should be wary of injecting religion and politics in a blog about gaming. The term "religious right" has a lot of baggage and is a pejorative used by some on the left in America and in other parts of the world to castigate people who don't agree with them.

Using labels to stereotype and pigeonhole people is wrong. There seems to be this notion held by the intelligentsia in Europe that the so-called religious right in America is a Taliban-like group of crusaders that go around burning books, CD's and video games.

I myself am religious and right of center in my political leanings. In America that is not a crime (yet) as we have freedom of religion and freedom of speech and freedom of association. Am I then part of the "religious right"?

Yet I am a game designer. I enjoy playing games on many platforms and especially MMO's. America has over 300 million people that purchase and enjoy video games. I would assume that many of them are religious and lean to the right. Are they part of the religious right as well?

I do appreciate your points about creationism and intelligent design with regard to Spore. However, I think there is no need to use a politically charged moniker like "religious right" to make your point. Thank you.
 
"America has over 300 million people that purchase and enjoy video games."

Just to clarify my above statement: I meant to say that America has many people that purchase and enjoy video games among that vast population of 300 million. I wish I could edit my previous post to reflect the error. Thanks.
 
Considering tobold isnt from usa, i think its fine to use pejorative terms within context. Religious right when describing the complainers among video games is nto out of bounds, imo. Perhaps a nice and simple term to describe it would be the naysayers or onslaught of noobs or a pop culture term that describes everything and means nothing such as whatever.

~ten
 
Tobold said...

As a Ph.D. chemist I add there is no empirical or observable evidence to disprove anything like a higher being at work. Science simply can't prove or disprove that god exists.


Exactly... science can't prove or disprove since there is no data... it is then no concern to a scientist until such data is discovered.

IMHO however... since there is no data to suggest someone playing dice with our base pairs... I am led to firmly believe one can rule out a motivating hand in evolution.

Until a higher hand is shown to take place in evolution, the two are mutually exclusive.

What we might want to think is a different issue, and in our own versions of the universe we can then lump them together.
 
However, I think there is no need to use a politically charged moniker like "religious right" to make your point.

That, curiously, again is a very American thing to say. A term starts out as neutral and descriptive, e.g. "black", or "dwarf". Some idiot uses that neutral term like a pejorative. The group thus described objects, and suddenly everyone has to call them by some other "politically correct" name. "Black" becomes "person of color", "dwarf" becomes "little person". But it never stops, because you can use "little person" in an insulting tone as well, and then everybody will have to stop using that, and call them "vertically challenged", until that becomes an insult too, and so on, ad infinitum.

If I call a group "religious right", I imply that a) they are religious, and b) they are opposite of the left side in the political spectrum. If you think that is an insult, the insult is purely created in your own head, thus you are the solely responsible for it. That doesn't require me to change my language. "Liberal" isn't an insult either, so I'd use it as well. The hole political correctness languange facism is just bullshit.
 
Tobold said...

"As a Ph.D. chemist I add there is no empirical or observable evidence to disprove anything like a higher being at work. Science simply can't prove or disprove that god exists."

This is true but, of course, applies to all supernatural beings - the invisible pink unicorn, Odin, Baal, Arthas, the flying spaghetti monster, Kil'jaeden and tooth fairies. Science cannot disprove that Hogger has had a hand in designing life on this planet. However, there is no evidence to support this hypothesis. By contrast, the evidence that evolution has led to the diversification of life is overwhelming.

(PhD biochemist here ;-).
 
By contrast, the evidence that evolution has led to the diversification of life is overwhelming.

Where is the contrast? I'm not saying that evolution hasn't led to the diversification of life, I'm just saying that some higher power was behind that.

Story: A man visits a physicist and his wife. He hears a tea kettle whistling in the kitchen, and asks the two "why is the tea kettle whistling?". The physicist starts explaining how the heat excited the water molecules until the vapor pressure is higher than the ambient pressure, at which point they leave the liquid phase and push out past the whistle, resulting in the sound. The physicists wife says "the kettle whistles because I put it on the fire". Which of the two explanations is correct? Answer: Both of them. One is the scientific explanation of the mechanism. The other is the explanation of the intent that made this happen. There is no contrast between the two, and there is nothing in the scientific explanation which would exclude the physicists wife from having put the process into motion.

Science cannot disprove that Hogger has had a hand in designing life on this planet.

But whether you call him Hogger, god, or just higher power doesn't matter for this argument. The majority of humans in the course of history had some sort of religion thinking that some sort of higher power created life. It is totally possible that they were all right on that particular point, but all wrong in their detailed description of that higher power. Intelligent design does not require that higher power to be the Christian god.
 
I do not think the teapot analogy holds. Both explanations (wife's action and physical/chemical properties of water) describe two of many natural causes for the observation (teapot whistling). The wife's part in making tea is as scientific as the properties of water.

Again, I agree with you that it is "possible" that "a higher power" has created life. The alternative possibility is that life's origin on this planet has natural causes. No evidence exists for a supernatural cause. The available evidence (albeit fragmentary) supports the natural cause (Miller-Urey experiment, self-replicating RNA etc.).

Intelligent Design proponents remain understandably vague about the identity of the designer (Who designed him/her/it ? Is he/she/it not "alive" ?). Their claims are not restricted to how life got started in the first place (which is not covered by evolution theory anyway). They maintain that the "designer" had an active role in the diversification of life. Many ID'ers would disagree that humans and chimpanzees (or gnomes and tauren) have common ancestors.
 
The kettle analogy doesn’t quite work I’m afraid. An analogy invented by a man of the cloth - John Polkinghorne. I am really quite amazed, as a fellow scientist, that you accept this analogy as an acceptable debunk of millions of peer reviewed journal articles and in fact proof of something tantamount to ‘Intelligent Design’.

Grammatically both correct… as a logical and scientific explanation only one comes close.

--- Intelligent design does not require that higher power to be the Christian god.

I will grant you that… however it does require a higher power! Point me in the direction of empirical data to suggest this higher hand exists. You can’t as there is no data to suggest this.

Lacking data… it is clear that evolution and the concept of a higher hand are mutually exclusive.
 
Point me in the direction of empirical data to suggest this higher hand exists. You can’t as there is no data to suggest this.

Point me in the direction of empirical data with proof that this higher hand does not exist. The belief in the total absence of a god is exactly as irrational as the belief in its existence. Neither is scientifically provable. I'm not saying that you are wrong, I just happen to believe that there is a god, and you can't prove that there isn't one. So my belief is as valid as yours, and yours is as valid as mine. Whatever gets you through the night.

Lacking data… it is clear that evolution and the concept of a higher hand are mutually exclusive.

No, they aren't. Evolution just describes a process based on random mutations. A higher power would simply have to manipulate probability to create whatever he wanted. Which to me appears to be a more clever way of creation than using modelling clay and breathing life into it. Scientific theory cannot tell the difference between an event that happened randomly and one in which the probability was manipulated with intent. The only thing science can tell you to check for manipulation is that a series of events is suspiciously improbable. And hey, the existence of life anywhere in the universe is suspiciously improbable.

Disclaimer: I don't subscribe to all the tenets of the official "intelligent design". I'm just using the term in the sense of "evolution with intent behind it".
 
Lacking data… it is clear that evolution and the concept of a higher hand are mutually exclusive.

Sorry but that's wrong. It may be your opinion (which you certainly are entitled to as long as you just acknowledge that it's an opinion) that it's mutually exclusive, but scientifically it certainly isn't. Lacking data is just that, lacking data. It could just be that we with our current knowledge and technology don't have the possibility to measure it.

Remember that much of our technology, knowledge and techniques seen with the eyes of someone from a few hundred years ago would be very supernatural. Just take the cell phone as an example. That would seem like a very magical box for someone from say, the 10th century.

In fact, many of the sci-fi themes that you often see in movies with alternate realities, multiple dimensions and such could very well also be true just because we don't have any way to measure it at the moment. Is it even possible to measure? There's even chaos theory. And I know I read some years ago about some object that behaved completely different when being observed compared to when it was not. How do you even measure something that behaves different when measured? It's really too bad that I don't have a link to that story but I don't remember enough to even google it.
 
This is fun! Unfortunately, discussions like this tend to go on forever without one side being able to convince the other.

Just a few brief points:

Atheism is not a "belief" similar to theism. Atheists tend to use the scientific method (we can argue over whether they "believe" in the scientific method). That is to say, we try to explain the world around us by making hypotheses and then testing the predictions made by these hypotheses experimentally. The results will either refute the hypothesis entirely or force us to modify it such that it is in agreement with the data. Over the last few thousand years, mankind has found explanations for a myriad of phenomena using this method. None of of models and theories that have been developed to explain the world we live in require a supernatural being. There is no need to and the atheist is not concerned with disproving the existence of supernatural beings. If all religions suddenly and magically dissappeared from this planet, the atheist's worldview would not change one bit.
The theist's belief rests on the unsupported hypothesis that supernatural beings exist. By contrast, the atheist's view does not rest on the hypothesis that supernatural beings do not exist. The atheist's rejection of supernational beings is merely a consequence of applying the scientific method.

"Evolution just describes a process based on random mutations."

I know that you are aware of this, but I feel it is important to stress that evolution is a combination of random mutation and selection. Selection is not random, quite the contrary.

Regarding your idea that a higher power might have tweaked the probablilities to steer evolution in the desired direction (evolution with intent): Given the millions of species that have become extinct over the last 4 billion years and given the existence of horrible infectious diseases (e.g.) that have evolved, the higher power must be either incompetent or malicious or both. Not a comforting thought.

Finally, the probability of "life anywhere in the universe" depends on the number of planets capable of supporting life (we do not know this number) - and the number of universes. The jury is still out on whether life is improbable or inevitable.
 
sid67: Oh really?

Reproducible!

Reading is hard I know. And without guidance by a higher power that experiment will not reliably, reproducibly produce a human being. If it even can with human intervention.

However, take DNA and get someone who knows how to manipulate it (a higher power perhaps. Call it a pink unicorn if you want) involved and you could turn that little bacteria into anything.

Scientist are so closed minded it's disgusting.
 
It’s pretty much impossible to have this debate without mixing philosophy with science. From purely a philosophical standpoint, even empirical data requires a “belief” that your observations or experiments represent a true reality. As Plato illustrated best in the allegory of the cave, a false reality can easily exist when a truth is not known or understood. In the end, the only thing that we really know exists is our own thoughts. It’s for this reason that any first year Philosophy student can tell you that the arguments for god are just as good as the arguments against god. In fact, I would argue that philosophically the arguments FOR god are much better than those against. This is why the concept of evolution and God cannot be mutually exclusive. It’s impossible to disprove God, therefore you can always make the argument that he had his hand in creation – even if that was simply the manipulation of random events or just the spark that created the universe.
 
sid67: Oh really?

BugHunter: Reproducible! Reading is hard I know.


Actually, I suggest you actually read the story I linked. The point is that they ARE able to reproduce a “random” mutation, or rather prove that such a mutation was random by comparing it against a control sample. It’s basically like taking a short recording of evolution in process and having the ability to keep rewinding the tape to see when it happened. It’s a pretty big point in favor of evolutionary theory.

That being said, nothing about the story disproves God. It simple takes a step forward in proving evolution. As I pointed out in my last post, due to the philosophical nature of God and the inability to disprove God, the ideas two ideas will never be mutual exclusive. Any opinion to the contrary is simple narrow minded.
 
"As I pointed out in my last post, due to the philosophical nature of God and the inability to disprove God, the ideas two ideas will never be mutual exclusive. Any opinion to the contrary is simple narrow minded."

OK. Trying to keep this simple. Two possibilities: God (I don't mean any particular god here - substitute your favourite "higher power") exists or does not exist. Neither hypothesis can be formally disproven. However, they contradict each other, cannot both be true at the same time and, therefore, are mutually exclusive.

Although I cannot prove or disprove the existence of god that does not mean that both hypotheses are equally likely. The available evidence favours the hypothesis that god does not exist (did not have a hand in evolution etc.pp.) by a huge margin. Therefore, god most likely does not exist.

However, if evidence is found that strongly supports the existence of god, I will change my opinion accordingly. Not being prepared to change ones opinion on this matter based on evidence would be narrow minded and, indeed, unscientific.
 
Saying you can't prove if an omnipotent being exists either way is a rather daft argument... at least to a scientist.

I can't prove or dissprove it based on no evidence at all?

Where does that leave us? You are able to tell me that whilst Im logged off WoW my toons go drinking down at the canal district in Stormwind. Or that a tribe of 50 foot Amazonian women live somewhere in deepest Africa.

I can't prove it either way... so they must be able to co-exist with scientific theory.

The fact is... the is no tangible evidence to support any possible idea of ID.

You can't have such wild what-ifs!

Evolution is a doctrine of Science.

Higher Entities are a doctrine of philosophy.

Evolution being a science, built on the back of 100's of thousands of peer published research articles in the fields of - geology, microbiology, endocrinology, chemistry, ethology, anthropology, genetics, botany, zoology etc etc etc makes the science of Evolution mutually exclusive from the philosophy of higher beings.

Find me one single little piece of peer published research in trusted journal to persuade me that someone is playing dice... and I'll accept that the two are mutually inclusive.

The belief in the total absence of a god is exactly as irrational as the belief in its existence.

Why? I have never ever been given a reason for having faith... nothing has ever touched me to make me think hmmmm maybe! To then wildly stab out and say I believe... that's irrational... the rational thing to do is (for me) is conclude that there is no omnipotent being at all.
 
GG:

See my previous post. Within all that we don't know today there is future science to be discovered. Whether that scientifical future contains a higher power or not only time will tell. Provided that we don't destroy ourselves with the science we aquire though. ;)
 
The available evidence favours the hypothesis that god does not exist

It favors neither hypothesis. Prove evolution beyond any reasonable doubt and people who believe in god can still make the very real and compelling argument that God simply used evolution as a means to an end. Evolution they would argue, is simply the tool used to complete his work. It’s two different discussions – one is about the validity of evolution, the other is about the existence of God. Don’t make the mistake that because some crazies believe that God placed dinosaur bones in the ground that it invalidates the entire “there is a God” argument. Belief in God and Belief in Evolution is not a contradiction.

The philosophical equivalent of an Achilles’ heel for empirical science is that the only thing you can really know for certain are your own thoughts. If something only exists when you can prove it exists by touching, smelling or hearing it – then what happens when you leave a room? Do the things in the room cease to exist because I left? No. I know they are still there because I believe they still exist based on my own past experiences. I have FAITH that those things still exist when I return to the room. At some level, even empirical scientists must believe in something even if it’s as basic as the reality of their own five senses. When something challenges our beliefs, we call it enlightenment.

People believe in God because ultimately they believe that the Laws of Nature are simply not just random happenstance. Experience tells us that anything as complex as the things that exist in our universe and the rules that govern them must have been guided or nurtured. They have FAITH that such a higher power exists if only to put structure to such things as the laws of physics and theory of evolution. Ironically, the deeper we delve into explaining the mysteries of Science, the more clearly we see that the universe is a grand, expansive and very ordered thing. The point of Tobold’s earlier analogy is that Science teaches us the “How” of things, but it doesn’t teach us the “Why” of it. It can teach us how the universe is created and how things work in it, but it can’t answer “Why” the universe exists. The only truly logical explanation for “Why” any of us exist is God.
 
si67, I did read it. It was pretty clear that they could only get one of the 12 populations to reproduce the mutation, then only if they "rebooted" from the 20000th generation of that population. Those scientists are still completely incapable of starting over with an E coli population and creating a citrate metabolizing mutation, let alone going from a puddle of ooze to a bacteria.

Don't scientists have any standards anymore? I was pretty sure that in order to conclude that a theory is true you had to be able to describe an experiment that would reliably reproduce the results, else you just have cold fusion. :)
 
It was pretty clear that they could only get one of the 12 populations to reproduce the mutation, then only if they "rebooted" from the 20000th generation of that population.

I’m sure it was pretty clear, since that was the entire point of the experiment. The other populations were control populations. They were looking to produce a random mutation that significantly altered complex traits in a bacteria. If it had happened in the other control populations then it wouldn’t have been random. The fact that it only happened in one of the populations and is NOT reproducible in any other populations is evidence that such major evolutionary shifts can and do occur randomly. Moreover, they can reproduce it from the 20,000 generation on despite the fact that the actual trait doesn’t appear until 10,000 generations later. This is important because it proves approximately when the shift occurred despite the fact that the trait itself is not observed until many generations later. The fact that it doesn’t occur in the other control populations (dating before 20,000 generations) is evidence that something special (the random mutation) happened in the sample that developed the trait.
 
It you want to get nitty, the scientist technically "selected" the growths and "designed" experiments to do what? Show that through trial and experiment there would be evolutionary evidence to bolster a specific or random result.

He can do his experiment 1,000 times and do you think he will reproduce the same deduction each time? Hardly a breakthrough imo, as the deeper they dig the easier it is to see just because someone has results doesnt mean they have answers.

~ten
 
"In the world of philosophy you may make such statement... but not in science."

And we are in neither, we are in the world of games.
 
"The point is that they ARE able to reproduce a “random” mutation"

In this case, isn't 'they' a higher power relative to the organisms manipulating the environment that the organisms are in?
 
"Why? I have never ever been given a reason for having faith... nothing has ever touched me to make me think hmmmm maybe! To then wildly stab out and say I believe... that's irrational... the rational thing to do is (for me) is conclude that there is no omnipotent being at all."

How can you know for certain that there is no omnipotent being? Wouldn't that require that you be omniscient yourself?
 
Sid67 - thank you very much for your insightful posts.

"Prove evolution beyond any reasonable doubt and people who believe in god can still make the very real and compelling argument that God simply used evolution as a means to an end."

This is correct. But if I accept evolution was the mechanism that brought about the diversity of life there is no need to add God. "Evolution" as an answer is sufficient (Occam's razor).

"Evolution they would argue, is simply the tool used to complete his work. It’s two different discussions – one is about the validity of evolution, the other is about the existence of God."

I agree. It is important to keep these two questions separate.

"Do the things in the room cease to exist because I left? No. I know they are still there because I believe they still exist based on my own past experiences. I have FAITH that those things still exist when I return to the room. At some level, even empirical scientists must believe in something even if it’s as basic as the reality of their own five senses."

Yes, we all have to assume that the physical laws do not suddenly change. We have "faith" that they do not but this kind of "faith" is supported by empirical observations we make during every second of our lifes. This is very different to having faith in the existence of God.

"People believe in God because ultimately they believe that the Laws of Nature are simply not just random happenstance. Experience tells us that anything as complex as the things that exist in our universe and the rules that govern them must have been guided or nurtured."

Our personal and shortlived experience as Homo sapiens on this tiny planet bears absolutely no relevance here. Is that not the line of argument that ID'ers take ? Such as: Our personal experience tells us that something as complex as the human eye must have been designed (originally put forward by Paley).

"They have FAITH that such a higher power exists if only to put structure to such things as the laws of physics and theory of evolution. Ironically, the deeper we delve into explaining the mysteries of Science, the more clearly we see that the universe is a grand, expansive and very ordered thing."

Order does not imply conscious design. Famous counterexample (I think this is from one of Dawkin's books): On a beach, smaller pebbles are further removed from the waterline than larger pebbles. The pebbles are ordered according to size but there is no design involved.
I grant you that it would be in some sense satisfying and in agreement with our personal experience and make us feel better if a creator existed but that is not good enough.

"The point of Tobold’s earlier analogy is that Science teaches us the “How” of things, but it doesn’t teach us the “Why” of it. It can teach us how the universe is created and how things work in it, but it can’t answer “Why” the universe exists."

Sure ! (although I resent the use of the term "created" in this context :-)

"The only truly logical explanation for “Why” any of us exist is God."

What ??? You have lost me here. The logic is not "everything looks as if it was created therefore there was a creator", is it ?
 
I would explain a creatinist point of view with this example.

Lets say someone was deaf/blind/unable to smell with their nose/unable to taste with their mouth and only real perceptive sense was the sense of touch. Now lets say they are quite naturally intelligent and infact able to communicate through the sense of touch. Now if you were to ask the person to hold 2 things, a rubber ball and a turtle and have them explain how both of them exists the best they could using all the knowledge and perception readily available, would someone with ONE sense (or even 5 senses) be able to answer that type of question with a credible, concrete answer or solution?

Everyone who believes, or nonbelieves from my glass-half-empty perspective is a complete hypacrit. People can loudly explain their nature vs nuture, chicken vs egg (with their head in the sand) but when it comes down to where this points a person like myself, I am looking at a world which may not have existed before I was born, even our own senses are not an absolute truth regarding proof of life. Ill deduce my own reasons WHY, but when it comes to the how it doesnt matter on a creationist/intelligent design front vs evolutionist/darwinist front, its all moot.

~Tenmohican
 
aka pinball wizard.
 
@kaifas

"But if I accept evolution was the mechanism that brought about the diversity of life there is no need to add God."

If there's food on your table every time you come home, is there no need to thank the person who put it there? If a child is self-sufficient and obeys her parent's every wish, does it matter if she does not acknowledge the parent's presence? Is it alright to receive love and not return it? God is a person, not just a ball of energy. As such, it matters greatly whether or not we acknowledge Him.

"This is very different to having faith in the existence of God."

Not really. Most religious people witness God in their lives, periodically or constantly. As one knows the wind exists by perceiving the things it moves and feeling it against the skin, human beings know God exists by perceiving His influence in the world and feeling an unshakable longing for something beyond the world they know. And a significant proportion of people have had or know someone who has had direct, sensory experiences with spirits such as angels. Many religious claims are regularly verified through experience. Miracles happen every day.

But faith always comes into play at some point. Faith is a choice to trust, and trust is always a choice. If someone tells you nothing but the truth your whole life, it doesn't mean they won't tell a lie the next moment; and vis versa. Faith supports reason, and reason supports faith. Catholics have long held that faith and reason cannot contradict each other (faith must be supported by reason; see the encyclical "Fides et Ratio").

You cited Occam's razor (a principle suggested by a man whose reason was guided by his Christian faith, by the way). Many scientists say that random mutation theory requires more leaps of faith and leaves more logical gaps than guided mutation; if they're right, Occam's razor supports guided mutation. I happen to know a number of biomedical engineers (agnostics) who took entire courses on evolution at various universities, and they all think the logical gaps in random mutation theory are obvious and laughable (they literally laugh when they talk about it). I'm not saying you must accept that guided mutation is the simplest answer... only that many intelligent and informed scientists do hold that view.

Ultimately, the existence of God and evolutionary guidance can be neither proven nor disproven. But it's incorrect, and often cynical, to think that believers in God and design have no sound reasoning and sound evidence which supports their faith.

Scientific theories and laws are good only while tempered with humility... with an acknowledgment that our knowledge is forever limited and there is always more to learn.

Scientific laws are based on assumptions of continuation. That something has always happened before does not mean it must happen. Thus, that gravity has always existed on Earth does not mean that Earth must have gravity... only that we can reasonably expect it to continue to have gravity.

As for theories... Until we discovered deep ocean vents only decades ago, it was universally accepted among scientists that all ecosystems must begin with photosynthesis (now we know of chemosynthesis). Until we discovered the electromagnetic spectrum only centuries ago, we were not even aware of energy which surrounded us and penetrated us every day of our lives. Plate tectonics was generally scoffed at only a generation ago.

It's not the possibility of random mutation that is so controversial, or even the assertion of its probability. It's the unreasonable certainty of some of its proponents that leads to such heated debates.
 
It's not the possibility of random mutation that is so controversial, or even the assertion of its probability. It's the unreasonable certainty of some of its proponents that leads to such heated debates.

So if I understand you correctly... you are suggesting there is support for directed mutation at the chromosomal level?

So an elephant sp. developed longer hair at some point to become mammoth and survive an ice age? Via specific and directed mutations in the genotype.

Then equally sickle cell anaemia evolved via a directed mutation that causes protein folding errors in haemoglobin.

So the force that directs, instructs and guides evolution is both Evil and Caring?
 
I always enjoy reading the eloquent arguments proffered about Intelligent Design versus Darwin's Evolution. Both camps staunchly defend black and white positions as if there could be no grey. The world is flat. The world is round. We now know it's neither. We're a bit off-round. The sun circles the earth, no, the earth circles the sun. Now we know that the earth circles the sun, but the sun also circles trillions of other suns...some of which have their own earths (as recently discovered by exoplanet astronomers like Geoff Marcy). While we're slinging arrows at each other, could there be a middle ground? Perhaps man did evolve, over millennia, to the Homo Erectus state, where he stayed for millions of years. But perhaps evolutionists could at least consider that something intelligent started the spark of life here on earth? And perhaps intelligent designers could be so benevolent as to grant God the freedom of taking as long he'd like to create man? Perhaps his 6 days equated to 6 billion years. Has anyone asked Him? Back to the evolutionists, can any one of you explain how, overnight in evolutionist terms, Homo Erectus went from super-dumb to pretty smart--i.e. Homo Sapiens? While you're chewing on that one, how then, again, did Homo Sapiens suddenly, VERY overnight, become brilliant? Complete with language, math, science, biology and civilization in the blink of a cosmic eye? How did we become Homo Sapiens Sapiens (yes, that is the correct term and not a typo)? How did the ancient Sumerians, Mayans, Acadians, etc. know more about astronomy, math, time, etc. than we do today? How did they know the color, location and size of Pluto when we did not even discover that planetoid until 1930? Let's not hide behind science, folks. The so-called scientists of our past thought we should bleed ourselves to get well. And let's not hide behind religion, either. The so-called righteous crucified Christ. Let's all of us begin to open our minds to the evidence. I recently wrote a book titled DNA (search on Amazon.com under DNA-Reed) that explores this evidence from a new perspective and offers startling answers that I encourage you to explore. Perhaps the two camps--Intelligent Design and Darwin's Evolution—are much closer than you think. Perhaps you're both right...but both wrong. If you truly are passionate about this topic, becoming more informed can be exciting and eye opening, not to mention fun. Read the book, then let’s talk.
 
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