Class Warfare Blog

October 30, 2018

#2 of the 10 Reasons to Believe God Exists

Yesterday I covered #1 on this list, so if you need to see where this list was posted and by whom, please consult that post. Here is #2!

  1. Designed Creation (Teleological Argument). Hugh Ross has argued that there are over 180 cosmological constants in the universe so finely tuned that if they were to be changed by the nth degree, life and the universe itself would not exist. Even the theoretical multiverse would need to be designed to such a degree that it would require a designer. I believe wholeheartedly that physicists will eventually find design attributes and constants in the quantum realm if they haven’t already. Design argues for a Designer.

Once again, this is not a new argument, variants of it having been made by Plato and Aristotle and even earlier philosophers. The scientific window dressing is new and also incorrect. (Hugh Ross* was wrong! Gasp!) For one, there are not 180 “cosmological constants.” What are being referred to is a much smaller set of fundamental physical constants. When this “fine tuning” argument was first made, it inspired a number of physicists to investigate if it were true (the criticism of the conjecture and criticism of science). It turns out that a fair amount of variation in several of the parameters is not at all destructive. We also don’t know if these parameters are fundamentally linked somehow that they all influence the others to make them what they are.

The fundamental flaw in the argument is, again, the powers and identity of any claimed designer are not inferable from the design. Arguments like “God must look like us because we were made in His image” are, of course, circular. So, again, our universe could have been created by a powerful alien, like the character Q in the Star Trek franchise, for example. The creation and the design are not necessarily from the same source, either. (Outside of space and time, there may be pre-packaged “Acme Universe Creation Kits” for all we know.)

All of that aside, there is something fundamentally wrong with this argument. The argument for “the existence of God from the evidence of order, and hence design, in nature” mistakes order for design. In fact, the “intelligent design” crowd has never been able to come up with a coherent definition of “intelligent design.”

Clearly patterns abound in nature. Many mineral substances create highly ordered crystals that can be found lying around on or in the ground. Ordinary table salt (sea salt, NaCl, etc.) forms crystals shaped like little cubes. With some encouragement, those crystals can grow to be large, clear, and quite beautiful. The reason those crystals appear and grow as they do is that they are made of sodium and chloride ions (Na+ and Cl–) arranged in alternating fashion in all three cardinal directions. Well, who organizes them this way? They organize themselves by the simple attraction and repulsion of their electrical charges. Each ion has six ions of the opposite charge above and below, to the left and right, and front and back, there is another set of ions that are repulsive because they are of the same charge, but they are 40% farther away and the rule of attraction is an inverse square law, with the distance being the thing both inverse and square, so the repulsions are fully twice as weak as the attractions. If you continue to study chemistry and biology, you will quickly see that nature is self-organizing, no Organizer™ needed. The organizing principles are simple physical behaviors described by simple physical laws. Complexities arise naturally when large numbers of different atoms and molecules get involved.

So, nature is literally steeped in patterns, and along we come. Our brains are clearly designed (by evolution) to see patterns. We see patterns when they are not even there (many optical illusions are based upon this). Why? Because our survival as individuals and, hence, as a species is enhanced by this ability.

So, patterns, patterns, everywhere is the structure of our environment. But patterns and designs are two different things. The touters of the teleological argument claim that all reasonably complex patterns are actually designs. They have established no criteria for how one can tell this, basically they are claiming this “because God.” (Note that the author claims that “physicists will eventually find design attributes.” Why? Because they have not yet been found. So, if “design argues for a designer” and there are no designs yet found, what would you conclude?)  Again, they have a presupposed solution and generate a problem to fit it. If you pick up an ordinary rock, does it look “designed”? If you pick up an extraordinary natural crystal, like a gemstone, does it look designed?

The theory of evolution, on the other hand, shows over and over and over how these patterns form in living things. It also points out flaws in the patterns from nature’s use of already developed genetic instructions that were easily modified and cause what happened, but resulted in actually hazardous designs. The argument from design has no such process other than “God did it.”

* “Hugh’s unshakable confidence that God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. He scouts the frontiers of origins research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what’s being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology.” (Source: A “Just Right Universe” by Hugh Ross, Ph.D.)

It seems Dr. Ross has a bias (“do not, will not, and cannot” aren’t scientific attitudes) he is willing to share.

80 Comments »

  1. “Our brains are clearly designed (by evolution) to see patterns. We see patterns when they are not even there (many optical illusions are based upon this)…The theory of evolution, on the other hand, shows over and over and over how these patterns form in living things…”

    How does the theory of evolution explain the development of pattern recognition?
    Would you agree that there is a difference in complexity between salt cubes and DNA molecules?
    When I see a sandcastle on a beach, I know it was designed intentionally by an intelligent being. Why should I assume my brain came to exist without a designer?

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 9:28 am | Reply

    • Uh, your brain is not a sand castle. If you look at the things that are designed by humans, they are made of structural materials, have lots of straight lines and hard edges. Brains are soft and squishy and quite oddly shaped. How would anyone decide that such a thing was designed?

      On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 9:28 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 30, 2018 @ 11:07 am | Reply

      • You didn’t answer the questions.
        Reasonable people who find a sand castle on the beach know it didn’t get there by unguided, natural processes. Brains are infinitely more complex than sand castles.
        You can deny this simple reality but that doesn’t address the argument.

        Like

        Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 11:27 am | Reply

        • So, explain why you can detect design in something as simple as a sandcastle and then extend your powers to something as complex as a brain. What are the commonalities between the two? Did sandcastles evolve over billions of years? Why did brains take so long to appear when sandcastles occurred very rapidly (probably when the first human child encountered wet sand at a beach)?

          On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 11:27 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — October 30, 2018 @ 11:38 am | Reply

          • You still didn’t answer the questions…

            What are the commonalities between the two?
            They both show evidence of design.

            Did sandcastles evolve over billions of years?
            No. They are created intentionally by intelligent beings.

            Why did brains take so long to appear when sandcastles occurred very rapidly?
            This is a non-sequitor. Nobody knows how long it took brains to appear. It is irrelevant anyway.

            The question remains: If I don’t believe sandcastles exist without a designer, why should I believe that my brain exists without a designer?

            Like

            Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 11:44 am | Reply

            • Well, how about their methods of construction are totally different? (And we do know how long brains have been around; the fossil record is quite clear.)

              On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 11:44 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Liked by 2 people

              Comment by Steve Ruis — October 31, 2018 @ 8:44 am | Reply

        • A city that grew chaotically has a more complex street map than one that was planned, a jury-rigged tool looks more complex than one made specifically for its purpose, and a rotted stick has a more complex shape than a baseball bat.

          Complexity does not indicate design; elegance does. Things that are well-designed are exactly as complex as they have a reason to be.
          (Obviously I’m talking about a functional definition of design, not an artistic one.)

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by D.T. Nova — October 30, 2018 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

        • Reasonable people who find a mountain won’t assume that an intelligent agent made the mountain for mountains are formed by unguided, natural processes

          Like

          Comment by Jonathan — November 1, 2018 @ 6:41 am | Reply

          • And a mountain is far more complex than a sandcastle

            Like

            Comment by Jonathan — November 1, 2018 @ 6:49 am | Reply

            • I agree.
              I also doubt that you believe sandcastles, though less complex than mountains, are formed by unguided natural processes.

              Like

              Comment by John Branyan — November 1, 2018 @ 7:03 am | Reply

              • The point is that the reason we assume that a sandcastle was probably made by a child playing in the beach is not because of complexity.
                It is rather because of our prior knowledge, because we have seen how sandcastles are made ( or we have made one ourselves or heard how they are made ), that is the reason we arrive at that conclusion.
                Even though many rock and sand structures are made by natural processes, some are far more complex than a sandcastle

                Like

                Comment by Jonathan — November 1, 2018 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

                • Actually, the point is that it’s easy to tell the difference between things that are designed and things that occur through natural unguided processes.

                  Like

                  Comment by John Branyan — November 1, 2018 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

                  • If you have the relevant knowledge, it is easy to tell the difference between man made items and other products of nature

                    Like

                    Comment by Jonathan — November 1, 2018 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  2. This universe is infinitely better designed to produce black holes than life capable planets. For every life capable planet it’s been estimated that there are millions, perhaps tens of millions, of black holes.

    So, if the intention was black hole production, then great, job well done!

    Liked by 3 people

    Comment by john zande — October 30, 2018 @ 9:38 am | Reply

    • The existence of black holes doesn’t negate the evidence that life appears to be intentional.
      And for all we know, black holes serve some purpose in sustaining life.

      Like

      Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 9:43 am | Reply

      • What evidence?

        Liked by 3 people

        Comment by john zande — October 30, 2018 @ 10:06 am | Reply

        • I’ve got a computer sitting on my desk that is too complicated to have been assembled by unguided processes.
          I’ve got a computer between my ears that is vastly more complex.

          Like

          Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 10:09 am | Reply

          • Right, and both just popped into existence in their current state of complexity. It’s a miracle!

            Liked by 3 people

            Comment by john zande — October 30, 2018 @ 10:14 am | Reply

            • They were both designed.

              Like

              Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 10:19 am | Reply

              • It might make the uneducated ponder, but the argument is easily dismantled. Read the Blind Watchmaker by Dawkins. But more simply just because something is made and engineered, doesn’t mean that everything is made and engineered. It’s like natural selection is proven, but we can also do unnatural selection and genetically modify organisms. The iterative process for which random mutations occur explain how this instruction book of DNA was written. No Gods need apply.

                Liked by 4 people

                Comment by jim- — October 30, 2018 @ 11:00 am | Reply

                • Artificial selection, aka selective breeding used the same mechanisms as does natural evolution. It just takes less time because of the decisions made along the way. Given more time naturalistic “decisions” function exactly the same as the artificial ones of horse, dog, and plant breeders.

                  On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 11:00 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Liked by 5 people

                  Comment by Steve Ruis — October 30, 2018 @ 11:12 am | Reply

                  • I really like the Russian arctic fox experiment. They bred solely for temperament and got a completely different dog in under ten years. Really a great example of how quickly things actually can change when moved upon.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    Comment by jim- — October 30, 2018 @ 11:25 am | Reply

                    • Basically they got a dog, starting with a fox. Yeah, pretty amazing. So much for the Biblical “kinds.”

                      On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 11:25 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Liked by 3 people

                      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 30, 2018 @ 11:35 am

                • It not “the uneducated people” who suggest a watch comes to exist via “iterative process for which random mutations occur”.

                  Like

                  Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 11:34 am | Reply

              • Yes, that’s certainly what a Creationist would say.

                Liked by 1 person

                Comment by john zande — October 30, 2018 @ 11:33 am | Reply

      • What were the intensions behind the myriad species already died off, leaving but a few fossil remains. Why were they created, only to be killed off?

        On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 9:43 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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        Liked by 2 people

        Comment by Steve Ruis — October 30, 2018 @ 11:09 am | Reply

    • Or maybe empty space. There is more of that than anything else!

      On Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 9:38 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Liked by 3 people

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 30, 2018 @ 11:08 am | Reply

  3. Design does next to nothing. Trust me folks, I was a machinist. The designer would draw up plans for a part, then send the plans to the shop and one of us machinists would make the part. Most of the good machinists, myself included before my back gave out, could have done the design work and let our designer go find other work. The thing is, he was a nice guy and we kept him. Design produces nothing useful. Those who make, assemble, and produce, that is where the making of things is. All this ‘intelligent design’ is just religion with a new name. Creationists have nothing useful to say, same old story for nearly 2,000 years. Man, that reminds me of the history of the USMC; In the beginning was the word. Ten seconds later, it was changed. Also, as we said during my enlistment, nearly 200 years of tradition, unmarred by a single instant of progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Walter Kronkat — October 30, 2018 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  4. This has been fun so far!

    I’m wondering if any of you atheists can tell me what attributes you look for in order to determine whether or not something is designed. Anyone?

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — October 30, 2018 @ 1:34 pm | Reply

  5. Let’s try this another way.
    How do you know whether or not something is designed? What criterion do you use to determine, for example, that a sculpture differs from a natural rock formation?

    Like

    Comment by John Branyan — October 31, 2018 @ 9:07 am | Reply

    • You are the design proponent. It is for you to state these principles. The ID “movement” has failed miserably to define “intelligent design” from the get go. How can it be taken seriously if they cannot even define their primary principle?

      On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 9:07 AM Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 31, 2018 @ 9:42 am | Reply

  6. Ahhh, the entertaining Teleological Argument. I have only one question (though I can ask a plethora of many more) to Teleological advocates…

    Please explain in vast detail the paradox of “designed patterns” in weather forecasting that consistently lead to 100% accurate predictions (design) every single day, week, month, year, decade, et al. Or better yet, tornado touch-downs or directions/path tornadoes take.

    And should I raise or mention the circus of “prophecy fulfillments”? LOL

    Great stuff Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Professor Taboo — October 31, 2018 @ 10:41 am | Reply

  7. “God and Scripture Cannot, will not contradict himself”?
    What a foolish thing to say or write!
    (1)The Bible contradicts itself in many, many ways that others have noticed and listed.
    (2) There are lots and lots of supposedly holy writings from many religions — and they all contradict each other!!

    Like

    Comment by Guy brandenburg — October 31, 2018 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  8. […] designers often use ridiculous metaphors to prove a need for god. This conversation happened on Steve Ruis if you want to wade through […]

    Like

    Pingback by Sandcastles In Real Time—Geologic Time vs Intelligent Design – TheCommonAtheist — October 31, 2018 @ 9:59 pm | Reply


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