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Tuesday, September 27, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Intelligent Design

From a friend of Ex-C ~

Hi everybody,

The subject of Intelligent Design has come up a lot, so I thought I'd share this with you. I recently got into an argument, or debate with a Christian apologist called Kyle Butt. What happened was this: I read this debate:

which was between Zindler (an atheist) and Morris (a creationist) about whether or not Noah's Flood and Ark were real.

Then I read this article, written by Kyle Butt:

in which Mr. Butt took a few lines out of the debate and twisted them around to blame atheists for being arrogant. Butt said Zindler said he could make a better Universe than God, and that this was arrogance typical of these unholy atheists. Shock horror! What Zindler actually said was, "If I were God I could have done better". I wrote to point this out, and we started debating it. He started off by sending me the following three articles designed to prove the existence of God:

Their basic arguments are:

(First one) God is the only possible explanation for the existence of the Universe

(Second one) The Universe shows evidence of design (because it's so beautiful and complicated and all works together so well), therefore it must have been designed by an entity which we could call God.

(Third one) Theism is the only satisfactory ethical justification for the meaning of life (proceeds to list alternatives and debunk them).

My idea is to poke holes in the logic in all of these. It's the first time I've been in a debate, but if that's the calibre of the material offered (check the articles and I'm sure you'll see what I mean) it shouldn't be too difficult. Some of the points I'm thinking of making are:

* The first article: Just because we don't know where the Universe comes from, does that follow that it was God who made it? And, by the way, if it was designed (how, and from what, and by what method?) how do you know the designer is still alive?

* The second article: The universe is like it is because it's evolved to be that way. Don't go trying to impress us with a lot of nonsense about how fortunate it is that the Earth is just the right distance from the sun to support life. It could have turned out otherwise and, if you look at the some of the trillions of other planets in the Universe, you can see that it did.

* The second article: It also doesn't impress us when you say things like, "Gosh, isn't it amazing that the earth's atmosphere is just right for us to breathe? Surely that CAN'T be a coincidence!" Look, if the earth's atmosphere had been methane then we would have evolved to breathe methane. Or not at all (see argument above)

* The third article: Look, criticise moral and ethical systems all you want. It still doesn't prove God has to exist just because you want him to!

In addition, in response to the articles in general:

* How exactly do you make the leap from a deity to the God of the Bible?

* Why bother looking for evidence of God's existence like Sherlock Holmes examining footprints and match ends? If God IS an all-powerful, all-knowing deity who exists, why not just ask him to part a sea or two for us? (What do you mean it doesn't work that way? Have things changed since the Bible was written?)

* And on that subject: How come God doesn't do miracles any more? Or, to put it another way - how come as the number of scientists has gone up, miracle workers have gone down?

After six months spent reading through, Farrel Till's “The Skeptical Review” and other similar websites, I feel sure I'll have no trouble answering the nonsense in these articles. Yes, I know it sounds arrogant, but really! If you read through them, you'll see that a lot of the time they're preaching to the choir. And a lot of the time they're talking nonsense. For example (from the conclusion of the first article):

"Every material effect must have an adequate antecedent cause. The Universe is here; intelligent life is here; morality is here; love is here. What is their adequate antecedent cause? Since the effect never can precede, or be greater than the cause, it stands to reason that the cause of life must be a living Intelligence that Itself is both moral and loving. When the Bible records, "In the beginning, God..." it makes known to us just such a First Cause."

To be honest, that one sounds more like faith and wishful thinking than logic.

Thanks for reading through all that. If anybody wants to look through the articles and has any ideas about them, feel free to post them.