Three Ways of Knowing

I must admit an amount of frustration lately.  This frustration has stemmed from, not only the differences in worldviews from non-believers, but in the complete inability to communicate on the same level with them.  Even though we are talking about the same topic, it sometimes seems that we aren’t even in the same universe.  Although I’m sure some of this can be chalked up to a certain inability of mine to accurately and legibly enumerate myself, that can’t be the whole explanation.

But that’s it, isn’t it?  We AREN’T in the same universe!  My worldview is guided by an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God who, for a reason I’ll never comprehend, loves me and communicates with me.  To an un-believer, especially an athiest, such a sentence as I just uttered is pure self-deluding hogwash.  Only cold hard facts can be truly known and any spiritual revelation is just that (or a bad piece of meat from the night before), and should not be applied to anything outside of ourselves. 

If we want to really think about where this difference comes from, the question becomes a question of epistemology (how we know things).

A Lecture on Epistemology

I try to keep up with the articles on Answers in Genesis that they post.  I skim through the topics and if it’s of interest to me I’ll read it or mark it to be read later (and man am I behind!). The posting of this article, entitled, “Great Scott Eugenie!”, was exactly what I had been pondering in regards to the reason it was so hard to communicate with unbelievers.

The writer of the article, Peter Galling, had attended a lecture by Eugenie Scott at Miami University.  Some of you may recognize Scott from “Expelled:  No Intelligence Allowed”.  Her lecture was called, “Science and Religion as Ways of Knowing.”  Galling was quite extensive in his critique of Scott’s lecture.  I, however, will focus in a bit more.

Scott’s “Three Ways of Knowing”

At the beginning of her lecture, Scott categorized three ways to knowledge.  They are:

  1. Personal state or insight—a.k.a. intuition or internal knowledge;
  2. Authority—which, according to Scott, we have evolutionarily adapted into following. Scott also identified revelation as a subset of authority.
  3. Science—a “limited way of knowing” that, she said, can only explain the natural world using natural processes.

Scott treats the authority quite fairly by saying that even though we may take a physicists word for it (since we may not be physicists ourselves) we could, if we felt so inclined, learn and discover the evidence for the physicists position.  We could verify the physicists conclusions.  This is in contrast to “revealed” authority, or revelation, because one cannot put themselves in God’s shoes and independly verify His veracity in the Scriptures.

Inferential Explanation vs. Direct Observation

At one point, Eugenie made a comparison between direct observation and inferential explanation.  In short, she said that Creationists prefer direct observation so much that we reject inferential explanation. 

In truth, Creationists find that inferential explanation is valid most of the time.  However, just as it seems foolish to reject all inferential explanation, it’s foolish to say that inferential explanation is just as valid as direct observation.  It is also disengeous to compare the inferential explanation of a crime scene, where we have observable knowledge of the physics involved and of crime scenes in general, to the inferential explanation of molecules-to-man evolution.  But that is a topic for another time.

Scott admits there is an alternative explanation to any inferrence into the past.  Aliens, or some outside designer with unclear purposes, could have done it.  To answer this, Scott says, “But that’s not a very probable explanation because some things are more probable than others.” 

The Question of Authority

Wait, why?  Apparently, according to Scott, a possible designer is less probable because it just is prima facie (without scientific evidence).  What if we had evidence for extraterrestrials?  What if we had past experience of a mischevious alien race that liked to go around doing intergalactic pranks?

Even Scott admits that the question of God is not a scientific one.  So how can science show a designer to be “less probable”?  And that’s the point, Scott’s position on the science of evolution is necessarily affected by her already decided upon position on God.  If God didn’t create the world, as she assumes He didn’t, then what else is there to except but evolution?

Creationists believe that the evidence, personal revelation, and logical inference proves that God exists.  Not only does God exists, but He wants to, and did, communicate with us.  Why are atheists like Scott so incredulous that we find the question of a designer more than just “probable”?  Wouldn’t it be more logical to trust the direct observation of the Designer who was THERE at the beginning?

What Science Takes on Faith

The point is, one’s belief about God, which is outside the bounds of science, informs that person on what they believe about science and especially the origin of life.  “Specifically, while creationists do value inferential explanation, we value the authority of an infallible, direct observer over inferential explanations that start out by arbitrarily decreeing that a designer is “less probable” (ruling out supernatural explanations” (Galling). 

An atheist would respond, “I see how your religious beliefs (which fall into Scott’s categories of authority and personal states of being) override actual science. But those religious beliefs are taken on faith, whereas science is verifiable. That’s why I only accept scientific facts.”  This is the main reason why we are on completely different levels when we discuss with one another.  To show how erronoeus the atheistic thinking is when it comes to scientific “facts”, I will respond to this argument in relation to Scott’s lecture.

On one of her slides, Scott showed the assumptions of science:

  1. There is an objective reality outside of the individual.
  2. The universe operates according to regularities.
  3. Human beings can understand these regularities.

As Scott admits, these assumptions are outside the perview of science.  That is, there can be no scientific evidence to verify the validity of a belief in these assumptions.  Remember Scott’s “Three Ways of Knowing”? 

So, my question to Scott is, “What area of knowledge gives you grounds for choosing your ‘scientific’ assumptions over any other assumptions (such as assuming the Bible is true)?”  Science can’t verify those assumptions, so your belief in them must come from one of the other two “ways of knowing”, personal insight or authority.  What authority or personal insight gives you the knowledge to assume these scientific assumptions instead assuming the Word of God to be true?  At the heart of science are philosophical axioms that can’t be proven scientifically. So on what grounds should someone accept those axioms instead of biblical truth?

I can’t put it any better than Peter Galling did, so I won’t attemp to:

So, either Scott accepts science on authority (she has faith in someone or something that tells her the scientific assumptions are better than other assumptions) or she accepts science based on a personal state (such as her own personal emotions/experience that aren’t transferable to someone else). She has attacked both authority and personal states of being as the domain of religions, pointing out that they lack the verifiability of science, yet this is where she must lay the foundation of science!

 Why the Atheist Is Deluding Themselves

What do we say, then, of science as a way of knowing?  Scott reveals that

  • Science can’t produce factual certainty (it can only disprove hypthotheses).
  • Science is based on untestable philosophical assumptions.
  • That’s the point.  Science, empiricism, and factual certainty are impossible with unscientific, philosophical assumptions, which many times includes excluding the supernatural at the outset.  This is why those atheists that claim to “believe only in scientific facts” are deluding themselves.  Not only this, but they attempt to hold Christians to this empirical self-delusion, demanding that only scientific evidence matters while being willfully ignorant of the assumptions inherent in science.

    Is science, therefore, rejected as a way of knowing?  Of course not.  Can science be taken absent of it’s naturalistic assumptions?  Not rationally. 

    I’d like to ask an open question to anyone who reads this.  Since the assumptions needed for science are known by either personal or authoritative revelation, what makes them the correct assumptions?  That is, why are the unscientific philosophical beliefs of atheists considered more correct than the philosophical beliefs of Christians?  And this question is more important than the first:  How do you know this?

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    23 Comments on “Three Ways of Knowing”

    1. Joel Says:

      Good article. Thanks.

      If Scott admits to an internal knowledge, she must therefore admit the possibilty – no, the likelyhood, that this internal knowledge has an “Author”, which we may call “God”. If she demands verification, then my own knowledge of God by intuition IS verification, if the premise is true that intuition is a real way of knowing.

    2. Eric Says:

      “I’d like to ask an open question to anyone who reads this. Since the assumptions needed for science are known by either personal or authoritative revelation, what makes them the correct assumptions?”

      It doesn’t.

      Here are just a few of the traits that science does have, and that religion doesn’t —

      1) peer review
      2) repeatable tests of the assumptions
      3) malleability

      “My worldview is guided by an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator God who, for a reason I’ll never comprehend, loves me and communicates with me. ”

      And that is why your world view is fundamentally flawed.

      You don’t have to accept anything that diametrically opposes your Iron Age view and understanding of the world around you. You believe dinosaurs walked alongside man. You believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. You believe that a man was born to a virgin, died and later rose from the dead. You believe so many preposterous things without even the faintest shred of evidence, all because they are claims of a single book that is the foundation of a religion you were born into merely out of chance.

      God creating the Universe isn’t the only alternative to abiogenesis (some argue that evolution is lumped in with abiogensis and others argue against it). Our Universe could be the science fair project of some kid belonging to a superior alien race. Is that what I believe. No… it has just as much “evidence” as the Biblical creation myth or any of the other thousands of creation myths from centuries ago.

      Science is about discovering and explaining the world around us in terms that we can understand. Some scientists say there is a limit to our comprehension. You say that your god is outside the scope of science, but you have no proof for that? The supernatural becomes natural once we discover it and understand it through science. At one period in time, natural disasters were thought to be supernatural. Through science (meteorology) we now have natural explanations. If you rely solely on the teachings and world-views of an ancient text, you’re missing out on all the scientific discoveries and knowledge that we have amassed over the past 3000 years. It’s actually quite sad that you’re so narrow minded and subject to the blinders imposed by your religion.

      Finally, I’m not sure how you could assume that a creator god is outside the realm of science? You say that you communicate with god. I assume he answers your prayers (at least some of the time?). To do so, he must have to exert some sort of control over our natural world. How is that outside the realm of science? Put simply, why wouldn’t we be able to detect and explain that change? Could you test the effectiveness of prayer on a third-party (using the constraints of a double-blind scientific test)? Could prayer grow back an amputated limb?

      In order for your god to exist he must be a part of the natural world and thus be detectable by science (maybe not at our current level of understanding). Take for example the story of Moses and the burning bush. Let’s say Moses had a temperature gauge on hand. Could he have detected a raise in the temperature of the air if he held it up close to the burning bush? If so then god does not exist outside science. If not, then Moses was probably hallucinating in the hot desert son. That probably explains the voices… 🙂

    3. Eric Kemp Says:

      Joel

      Exactly! Thank you very much!

      Eric

    4. Eric Kemp Says:

      Eric

      I asked: ““I’d like to ask an open question to anyone who reads this. Since the assumptions needed for science are known by either personal or authoritative revelation, what makes them the correct assumptions?”

      You responded: “It doesn’t.”

      Then why do you hold to them?

      “Here are just a few of the traits that science does have, and that religion doesn’t –

      1) peer review
      2) repeatable tests of the assumptions
      3) malleability”

      Whoa, whoa. Since when were we talking about science vs. religion? We are talking about “ways of knowing”. The unscientific assumptions that I gave in my article, these are the assumptions that make it possible for you to be an atheist btw, can ONLY be known by the same methods that religion is known by; personal and authoritative revelation.

      Attempting to argue that the scientific method proves “religion” (whatever you mean by that) wrong ignores that the scientific method is based upon unscientific, metaphysical assumptions that I’ve already given. My question is; what makes THOSE assumptions better than the assumption of an all-powerful creator God? How did you decide this?

      “You believe so many preposterous things without even the faintest shred of evidence, all because they are claims of a single book that is the foundation of a religion you were born into merely out of chance.”

      The point is that you believe MANY things without evidence as well. Re-read the article and my argument, because you obviously haven’t yet, or you don’t understand it.

      “Our Universe could be the science fair project of some kid belonging to a superior alien race. Is that what I believe. No… it has just as much “evidence” as the Biblical creation myth or any of the other thousands of creation myths from centuries ago.”

      Right, and just as much evidence as abiogenesis. The question then becomes, what metaphysical position allows us to better explain the world around us?

      “You say that your god is outside the scope of science, but you have no proof for that? ”

      God is a metaphysical position. God cannot be disproven or proven by science. It’s just a fact, think about it. You’re stuck in this view that science can prove anything given enough time. Again, re-read my article about which assumptions science MUST take on faith, things that are outside the perview of science, and in fact are things science MUST assume to even function.

      “If you rely solely on the teachings and world-views of an ancient text, you’re missing out on all the scientific discoveries and knowledge that we have amassed over the past 3000 years.”

      Wait, are you suggesting that one day science will have the answers to everything? I just want to hear you say it.

      “To do so, he must have to exert some sort of control over our natural world. How is that outside the realm of science? Put simply, why wouldn’t we be able to detect and explain that change? Could you test the effectiveness of prayer on a third-party (using the constraints of a double-blind scientific test)? Could prayer grow back an amputated limb?”

      You are operating under the assumptions of materialism and naturalism. That the only things that truly exist are those things made of matter. This is an unscientific, philosophical assumption. How do you know this is true? Did science tell you that only matter exists? Is that possible for science to do?

      Eric, in general, you are completely blind to your own unscientific, philosophical assumptions. You continue to make statements of “fact” and “argument” standing fully upon those assumptions while, at the same time, pretending you aren’t standing on anything. Please, rethink the assumptions that you must make to say that “we should be able to detect prayer” and “the supernatural becomes the natural once we can explain it”. If you still don’t understand after reflection, I would be glad to explain it to you.

    5. Eric Says:

      “God cannot be disproven or proven by science. It’s just a fact, think about it.”

      I don’t agree with that at all. Whether it’s you that said it or Mrs Scott.

      God could be proven by science. Simple science. Really simple science. Observation is science. Seeing with your eyes is science. Hearing with your ears is science. There are plenty of very simple scientific ways that science could prove the existence of your particular god. Much like science could prove that the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot exists (or existed at one point).

      This is all science that a 3 year old could perform. It wouldn’t take an Albert Einstein.

      Why are you so certain that your particular god is outside the realm of science? I would guess that you believe in the story of Jesus (son of God and also 1/3 God) and the miracles he performed. Could we use science to run tests on Jesus to see if in fact his genes were not what we would expect from any other human? Maybe test his genes against Joseph’s to make sure Mary was fudging the truth about the “virgin birth”? How about using science to study a leper before and after Jesus healed him of leprosy? Wouldn’t it be a fascinating use of science to study Jesus before and after his resurrection from the dead in an effort to learn and apply the knowledge gained towards prolonging our own lives or reanimating our loved ones?

      Definition of “science” — the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding.

      I never said that given time, science will explain everything. In fact I adamantly stated that a number of scientists believe that there are things we will never know for certain about our universe. Those are one group of opinions. If you believe in an Earth greater than 6,000 years then you would understand that our current capacity for understanding (due to science, technology and the development of our brains over time) is very immature in the grand scheme of things. You are 100 percent correct when you state that science doesn’t have an answer for everything in our Universe. No scientist would dispute you on that. The difference is that they wouldn’t make something up without A SHRED OF FACTUAL SUPPORT (i.e. religion) just to have that answer.

      Why wouldn’t we be able to detect prayer? It’s pretty cut and dry in my mind. Either prayer works or it doesn’t. I don’t see any other sides to that story. Unless you’re in agreement with me that prayer could not grow back an amputated limb on a human being? It would be pretty easy to setup an experiment that supported that hypothesis. Gather 1,000 people in a room and have them pray to your god and ask them to spontaneously regenerate the leg of an innocent child who lost his leg while playing near the railroad tracks. Or is there another miracle that you’d like to test?

    6. Ivan Says:

      Eric K,

      Your reasoning does not stand as clarified thought in its first reading. You attempt to make scientific “assumptions” the weak link in the scientific chain! From this faulty thought process, you make weak attempts to discredit science on basic terms.

      Without assumptions there would be no science! All scientific theories start with assumptions… including Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Or do you now believe that you have out thought him as well?

      No scientific theory is “factually certain”! Oh my human!! No theory is absolute! To postulate other wise it ignorance of a very specific kind!

      Any way you attempt to dress it… your practiced apologist’s rhetoric, blatantly shows a deep seated denial of true reasoning capabilities, and an unforgivable lack of scientific knowledge.

      Your tunnel vision is the 800 lb gorilla in the room!

      Please embrace rationality and scientific investigation as the right direction to move in the pursuit of true knowledge. If you don’t understand after actual open minded research and study of the scientific method, I would be glad to explain it to you…

    7. Eric Says:

      Speaking about ways of knowing…

      How do you “know” that the God of the Bible is the creator of the Universe?

      1. Personal state or insight—

      Have you seen god? Has god spoken to you? Did he do it in the presence of one or more other human witnesses? Did you get it on recorded tape or on film? How do you know your brain wasn’t remembering a false memory, misinterpreting the stimuli around you, or outright concocting visual/auditor hallucinations?

      2. Authority—

      In what way is the Bible “authoritative”? Is the Bible more or less authoritative than the Veda (Hindu holy book inspired by the gods) and on what basis do you make that claim? They both claim to be written by man and inspired by god(s).

      3. Science—a “limited way of knowing” that, she said, can only explain the natural world using natural processes.

      What scientific evidence supports the writings in the bible? Is the Earth 6,000 years old? Was there light before the Sun was created? Were there day/night before the Sun was created? Have we found evidence for a world wide flood? What does the fossil record say about all the different living organisms being created at the same point in time?

      Could I ask you a personal question? What is in it for you? Why Christianity? Does it make you a better a person? Is it comforting? I can understand those two arguments (although I do have many questions about them). I identify with many of the Buddhist philosophies, because they are realistic ideals that I make an effort to incorporate into my life. I am tolerant of your religious beliefs (I’m not making the assertion that you can NOT believe what you want), but I am fascinated by them and how you attempt to reconcile them with all of the contrary evidence or lack of supporting evidence. Why we believe what we believe… to me… is fascinating stuff! 🙂

    8. Eric Kemp Says:

      Eric

      “God could be proven by science. Simple science. Really simple science. Observation is science.”

      There is a myriad of problems with this position. I will do my best to explain them to you.
      1. Science assumes a few things in order to function
      A. Matter exists
      B. Nature is uniform
      C. Natural constants are measureable
      D. Humans can understand these constants
      These are unscentific, philosophical assumptions that science must take on faith. Why? Because A. science could never have any evidence that matter exists, any test to try to find out if matter is actually real would only beg the question and be circular. Science could also never B. know if matter is uniform (acts the same way all the time in all places) because it would have to test the entirety of nature (the entire universe) every second for eternity. Science but assume that B is true or it’s a useless practice. C. must also be assumed because we must assume there isn’t some hidden constant that we can’t detect with the limited senses and measuring techniques we have and D we must assume that are brains are really able to comprehend what’s actually going on and that our brain’s aren’t so limited that we’ll never be able to understand, making science pointless.

      2. God is outside of these assumptions (the letters correspond with the letters above)
      A. God is not material, therefore He cannot be testing using material means
      B. God is outside of nature. Although He is obviously able to affect nature (since He created it), He is not bound to it.
      C. God is outside and inexplanable by natural constants. He is also not bound by them like nature must be for science to function.
      D. God is not fully comprehensible. That is, although we may be able to understand certain things about God, we surely will not be able to comprehend how He functions. His workings are completely outside of our capability to understand, science cannot therefore measure them.

      If you still don’t agree with me, then you’ve got a problem, because any secular scientist and philosopher would agree with me. This is one of those things that just is. Either you understand it, or you don’t, but that has no bearing on the truth of it.

      Now, that ISN’T to say that there can’t be natural, scientific evidence for God. I, of course, believe there can be and IS. But God Himself, as an entity, is outside the perview of science. He is a metaphysical, philosophical position that helps us explain what we see around us, including the assumptions made by science (although He’s a bit more than just that for Christians).

      “How about using science to study a leper before and after Jesus healed him of leprosy?”

      No one ever said that God couldn’t affect the natural world (uh, God created nature). And if science existed back then, you could probably do just that. But would that really prove God? Let’s be honest. If I came to you and told you that this dude just healed a leper, and brought the leper to you, wouldn’t you just discount my claim because such a thing is “impossible”? And even if you did believe me, how would you verify my claim? Based on a previous comment you made, wouldn’t you assume that there was some “natural” explanation, even if we didn’t know it yet? Would you really believe in God if I brought someone to you that claimed to be “healed” (even if tested before and after)?

      “Wouldn’t it be a fascinating use of science to study Jesus before and after his resurrection from the dead in an effort to learn and apply the knowledge gained towards prolonging our own lives or reanimating our loved ones?”

      See, right there. You assume there is a natural, repeatable explanation for how Jesus was resurrected.

      “You are 100 percent correct when you state that science doesn’t have an answer for everything in our Universe.”

      My question wasn’t wether or not we know it now. But wether or not science is ABLE TO know everything. So please answer the question.

      “The difference is that they wouldn’t make something up without A SHRED OF FACTUAL SUPPORT (i.e. religion) just to have that answer.”

      I just repeated the above assumptions that ALL scientists must make in order to do science without a shred of factual support. You believe that God doesn’t exist without a shred of factual support, you also believe that life created itself without a shred of factual support (an argument I made in my previous article that you haven not formed an argument against). We all have philosophical assumptions, you are just in denial.

      “Gather 1,000 people in a room and have them pray to your god and ask them to spontaneously regenerate the leg of an innocent child who lost his leg while playing near the railroad tracks. Or is there another miracle that you’d like to test?”

      Are you saying that if 1,000 people prayed for the same thing that God MUST act on that request? That God is forced to act by the will of people? How do you know this is true? No really, I want you to answer that.

    9. Eric Kemp Says:

      Ivan

      “You attempt to make scientific “assumptions” the weak link in the scientific chain! From this faulty thought process, you make weak attempts to discredit science on basic terms.”

      That’s not what I’m attempting to do at all and I apologize if it came off like that. I’m merely saying that we need to recognize that science must make these assumptions to function. They aren’t bad assumptions, in fact, they’ve worked out well for us so far. However, it IS bad when those like Eugenie Scott put her unscientific assumptions over the unscientific assumptions of Christians with no reason to do so other than she prefers it that way.

      “No scientific theory is “factually certain”! Oh my human!! No theory is absolute! To postulate other wise it ignorance of a very specific kind!”

      I completely agree with this. I just wish more atheists would recognize this.

      “Please embrace rationality and scientific investigation as the right direction to move in the pursuit of true knowledge. If you don’t understand after actual open minded research and study of the scientific method, I would be glad to explain it to you…”

      You misunderstand. I’m a scientific minded and trained guy. I have a secular scientific degree and am planning to go on to grad school. The only formal training I’ve recieved is of the scientific type. If you would read the article, you’d see that Creationists in general embrace direct observation AND inferential investigation. All we ask is that the secular scientific community be self reflective about the assumptions they ARE making, and about the scope of inferential investigation.

      For instance, as Scott showed, the assumptions that science must make are outside the perview of science. The belief in a supernatural designer is also outside the perview of science. Yet, the secular scientific community treats their assumptions (of naturalism, empiricism, and uniformitarianism specifically) as literally the ONLY way to go, and if someone doesn’t subscribe to those unscientific assumptions, then they aren’t doing true science. Or have any true knowledge for that matter.

      How do they know that their assumptions are correct? More importantly, what source of knowledge told them the truth of their assumptions? Because it certainly was not science. According to Scott, the only other sources of knowledge are personal experience and authoritative revelation. Why are the personal experiences and revelation of secular scientists greater than those of Christians? Especially when Christians believe their revelation comes from the all-knowing Creator!

    10. Eric Kemp Says:

      Eric

      Based upon our disagreement with the assumptions you, as an atheist, are making, I cannot answer those questions regarding the “ways of knowing”. To do so would jump ahead of our conversation. I would gladly come back to them if we could gain some common ground regarding the assumptions of science.

      I will however, tackle . . .”Could I ask you a personal question? What is in it for you? Why Christianity?”

      To be honest with you, because if I wasn’t a Christian then I’d have to believe that life can come from non-life for no reason and with no cause, that the universe can come from no universe for no reason and no cause, that reason comes from non-reason for no reason, that intelligence comes from non-intelligence for no reason, that there is no purpose to this life besides what I make of it (which is nothing more than self-delusion) because I have no choice but to be annihilated when I die, no free will because my brain is nothing more than chemical interactions that react to my environment, that morality is nothing more than a human construction (more self-delusion), and that love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in my brain meant to force me to propigate the species.

      All those things I must believe if I was to abandon Christianity. Or any other religion for that matter.

      “Does it make you a better a person?”

      No, it does not. But in the Christian worldview, I’m a person with free will, purpose and meaning. Under atheism, you are nothing more than an animal who’s meaningless life is nothing more a breath in the span of the universe. And whatever meaning you create for yourself is just self-delusion.

      “Is it comforting?”

      Sure. But it’s also challenging.

      “I am tolerant of your religious beliefs (I’m not making the assertion that you can NOT believe what you want), but I am fascinated by them and how you attempt to reconcile them with all of the contrary evidence or lack of supporting evidence.”

      But that’s the thing. I DO have evidence and reasons. But, since you’d filter any evidence I give you through your atheistic assumptions, it’s pointless to talk about such evidence before you talk about the assumptions. Honestly, if there was some evidence that contradicted Christianity, that I couldn’t reconcile, I wouldn’t believe. Honestly I wouldn’t.

      “Why we believe what we believe… to me… is fascinating stuff!”

      I agree! That’s why I’m challenging why you believe on faith what you must take on faith!

    11. Zhatt Says:

      Mr. Kemp,

      These scientific assumptions are nothing more than that: assumptions. No one claims that they are the absolute truth, it’s simply what we’ve observed so far and any good scientist would tell you that observations are bias and, more than that, the observation itself can change the observed. If any of these assumptions where shown to be wrong, than science as we know it would have to change, but so far nothing has been contrary to these assumptions. It’s not as if scientists are blumbering along blindly, the scientific community is well aware of this situation.

      It seems you have stuck in your mind that to not believe in a god (aka be atheist) is to claim that that god cannot and must not exist. That it is to claim that life must come from nothing and the universe must come from nothing. Truth is, I don’t know. I don’t know where life came from. I don’t know how the universe started. I’d like to know, but I not going to just take anyone’s word for it whether it be the bible’s or from a man with a PHD. It seems the hardest thing for a religious minded person to do is simply say “I don’t know”. If you go to a university and start debating with professors about abiogenesis or the big bang it’s likely a lot will tell you that’s not their field of research. In the end, no one can know anything at all other than that we’re thinking. I think therefore I am, but how are we to truly know where that thought is coming from?

      Science isn’t out to debate if a god or gods exists or not. Science isn’t some anti-religion. If god is in fact supernatural then it is outside of the scope of science. (I know you’ve said before that god can’t exist if science and/or abiogenesis were to be true, but it only shows the literal reading of the bible to not be true.) All we can say about there being a god or gods is that there’s no evidence for one. I’m not inclined to believe in anything that there’s no reason to, else I might as well believe in psychic penguins on the moon control our thoughts and I know this to be true for the fact that since I just thought of the idea, the penguins must have placed this idea in my head.

      On the other hand, if a supernatural force was in fact affecting the natural world, we would be able to observe measure and test the effects. We would likely be able to at least show that an unexplainable force is affecting the world in unusual ways.

      In short, all that science ever claims is that, based on our observations, X is how the natural universe seems to be. It claims nothing outside of the natural and claims nothing outside of the effects we can observe. And that fits me fine, because why am I to care about something that does not have effect on me?

    12. Eric Kemp Says:

      Zhatt

      “These scientific assumptions are nothing more than that: assumptions. No one claims that they are the absolute truth, it’s simply what we’ve observed so far and any good scientist would tell you that observations are bias and, more than that, the observation itself can change the observed.”

      Well, first, the assumptions have never been observed. That’s the point, they’re assumed. Niether the basic assumptions that Scott put forth nor the more specific ones that I mentioned to Eric, which I call the atheistic assumptions (naturalism, materialism, uniformitarianism). It’s impossible to observe that every phenomena has a natural explanation, it’s impossible to observe that the only things that exist are material, it’s also impossible to observe that current rates of growth and decay have held true for all of time.

      That’s what makes them unscientific assumptions. But you’re right, that’s all they are.

      “If any of these assumptions where shown to be wrong, than science as we know it would have to change, but so far nothing has been contrary to these assumptions.”

      But you’re missing the point. What could show these assumptions to be wrong? These assumptions are outside of science, they cannot be tested by science. Science couldn’t show you that these assumptions are wrong. So, what would? Personal experience and revelation?

      “It’s not as if scientists are blumbering along blindly, the scientific community is well aware of this situation.”

      Uh, really? Then why is every attempt to do science absent of the three atheistic assumptions called “not science”? Look, I’m not saying that scientists are ignorant of these assumptions, but they sure as heck think they’re the only right ones.

      “It seems you have stuck in your mind that to not believe in a god (aka be atheist) is to claim that that god cannot and must not exist. That it is to claim that life must come from nothing and the universe must come from nothing. Truth is, I don’t know.”

      You can define yourself to be whatever you want, but that doesn’t mean you’re consistent with atheism. Atheism is the position that God DOES NOT exist (not that it’s impossible, but that He doesn’t). Atheism must, by default, therefore believe that SOMEHOW (no one said you had to have the specifics) life can form itself with no cause and no reason, and that a universe can come from non-universe with no cause and no reason, etc. You can say to yourself that you don’t know, and that’s a more honest position and I applaud you for it, however that’s not atheism.

      “I don’t know where life came from. I don’t know how the universe started. I’d like to know, but I not going to just take anyone’s word for it whether it be the bible’s or from a man with a PHD.”

      That’s fine but, to be an atheist, you must believe that it happened, wether you know how or not.

      “It seems the hardest thing for a religious minded person to do is simply say “I don’t know”.”

      Please don’t stereotype. There are some things I can know about and others I can’t. What God said He did with the beginning of the universe and the beginning of life is something I CAN know.

      ” I think therefore I am, but how are we to truly know where that thought is coming from?”

      This is interesting coming from an atheist. It seems, and please correct me if I’m wrong, that this is a cop out. Whenever a theist tries to evoke God as an answer, an atheist will mandatorily shout, “Just because we don’t know doesn’t mean Godidit!” But when God is shown to be a viable answer, you say “Who are we to truly know?!” Very convenient. If I’ve misunderstood, let me know.

      “Science isn’t out to debate if a god or gods exists or not.”

      You’re right, it assumes that He doesn’t at the outset.

      “If god is in fact supernatural then it is outside of the scope of science.”

      Obviously, my position is that there is a plethora of evidence within science for God’s existence, however, God Himself cannot be tested by science. So I agree, but with a slight caveat.

      “I know you’ve said before that god can’t exist if science and/or abiogenesis were to be true, but it only shows the literal reading of the bible to not be true.”

      Yikes! God can’t exist if science is true? When have I EVER said anything of the sort? My position is the opposite, science can’t exist with the orderly, law-like universe that God created! You’re right about the other part though, if abiogenesis did happen (and there is no evidence that it did), then that doesn’t itself disprove God. However, it DOES put God in a deistic, incompetent box and makes my belief in Him nothing more than wishful thinking.

      “All we can say about there being a god or gods is that there’s no evidence for one. I’m not inclined to believe in anything that there’s no reason to . . .”

      But that’s the thing, there IS evidence for Him, scientific evidence. I have written several posts about that subject. But most atheists, and the atheistic scientific community in general, can’t see past their absolute assumptions which tell them such evidence is “impossible” (as if they evidence for THAT assumption!).

      “On the other hand, if a supernatural force was in fact affecting the natural world, we would be able to observe measure and test the effects.”

      See, right there, you are so bogged down in your atheistic assumptions that you think that EVERYTHING is explanable by natural means.

      “It claims nothing outside of the natural and claims nothing outside of the effects we can observe. And that fits me fine, because why am I to care about something that does not have effect on me?”

      First of all, it does. Science assumes, a priori, that the supernatural doesn’t exist. And all the assumptions I’ve already given you are all outside of “the natural” because they cannot be tested by science. That’s the point. It assumes certain things that are outside the natural but excludes others (like God and the truth of the Bible) for no scientific reason.

      And secondly, you are again displaying your atheistic assumptions. You claim that nothing but the natural has an affect on you. This is something you can’t know, and science can’t tell you about. This is something you have assumed on your own. How do you know this is true? You really should think about that question.

    13. dwilli58 Says:

      Perhaps, we, who believe, should follow the example of Jesus, Himself? Jesus, once He had spoken the truth, to those who would reject it , “kicked the dust from His sandals” and moved on! Some will not hear nor accept the truth in this age, as the Word of God tells us.

      We can only write and speak what we know as truth. After that, we owe nothing to those who will reject it! Their denial and rejection of God is on them!! In the end, however, “God will draw ALL men to Himself.” This is the promise for those we know who cannot or will not believe now.

      Thanks, Eric K, for your willingness to love, serve and even respond to those who hate God and us for what we believe!

    14. Eric Kemp Says:

      Dwilli

      Thanks for the encouragment. It honestly means alot and is what keeps me going.

      Eric Kemp

    15. Zhatt Says:

      Science assumes, a priori, that the supernatural doesn’t exist.

      I’m sorry, but you’re flat out wrong here. This is the main point I’m trying to make. Science does not claim anything outside of what it can test. We can not test the supernatural. All we can claim is that there is no supernatural in the natural world (which should be obvious). Science simply ignores the supernatural .

      “On the other hand, if a supernatural force was in fact affecting the natural world, we would be able to observe measure and test the effects.”

      See, right there, you are so bogged down in your atheistic assumptions that you think that EVERYTHING is explanable by natural means

      That’s not what I said. What I mean is that if a super natural force affected the natural world in a way we can observe, we would be able to trace the cause back to something unexplainable. If the super natural affected the natural world in a way we couldn’t observe (for example, god rewinds time 20 years and starts over), then, from a humans perspective, nothing has happened. There’s nothing effecting me in any way I can notice.

      You can say to yourself that you don’t know, and that’s a more honest position and I applaud you for it, however that’s not atheism.

      So if I’m not atheist, are you saying I’m theist? Because that’s the opposite of atheist. Maybe a better word to use is “agnostic” as I don’t claim there to be no god, but either way I currently have no reason to suppose one- I have no theism- atheist.

      But that’s the thing, there IS evidence for Him, scientific evidence. I have written several posts about that subject.

      I’m new to your blog and haven’t gone over these arguments yet, but I’ll take a look. I doubt that the evidence reasonably leads to the conclusion of there being a god though. As we’ve been saying, you can’t test the supernatural. The best we can say is that an anomaly has an unknown cause (so far). It’s jumping to conclusions to say that god did it.

    16. Eric Kemp Says:

      This is the main point I’m trying to make. Science does not claim anything outside of what it can test. We can not test the supernatural. All we can claim is that there is no supernatural in the natural world (which should be obvious). Science simply ignores the supernatural.”

      That’s exactly the point, they ignore the supernatural, they pretend it doesn’t exist. Pretend is all they can do because, as you say and as I completely agree, science can’t tell them that the supernatural doesn’t exist. Now, let me elaborate. I’m not saying you can test the supernatural directly, that’s what I’ve been saying this whole time; God cannot be directly tested, He’s outside the bounds of science (along with many other things). However, the scientific community also throws out ANY natural evidence that points to supernatural. To say that there CANNOT be any natural evidence for the supernatural is naturalistic. atheistic bias. There are many individual scientists and groups that believe there can be, and IS, evidence for God within nature and, in fact, nature as a WHOLE screams for a Designer. These men aren’t immediately rejected based on their “bad” science, they are immediately rejected based upon their CONCLUSION which is then used to discredit their science. To say that the secular scientific community has reacted any differently to ID and Creationists is just plain falsehood.

      What I mean is that if a super natural force affected the natural world in a way we can observe, we would be able to trace the cause back to something unexplainable.”

      I agree. And I think that these things exist in the realm of the obvious. However, what naturalists do is make up naturalistic “stories” that explain, quite nicely I might add, how nature “could have” accomplished a certain phenomena (like the formation of life). Sometimes these stories are based in logical inference (with some observational evidence to back them up) and sometimes it’s pure conjecture (like abiogenesis).

      Maybe a better word to use is “agnostic” as I don’t claim there to be no god, but either way I currently have no reason to suppose one- I have no theism- atheist.”

      Like I said, you can define yourself however you like. But atheism is the belief that “there is no God”. Now, if your position is “I will only believe in God if there is evidence, and there CAN BE NO evidence”, then that’s a roundabout way of saying “there is no God” and all of your biases and assumptions are in full force. But if your position is “I’ll believe in God when I see evidence” then that’s a more honest position, but it’s also a more defensible position because it allows you to pay lip service to honesty while being able to ignore that you filter every bit of evidence a theist gives you through atheistic biases.

      I doubt that the evidence reasonably leads to the conclusion of there being a god though. As we’ve been saying, you can’t test the supernatural. The best we can say is that an anomaly has an unknown cause (so far). It’s jumping to conclusions to say that god did it.”

      I completley agree, every human being filters evidence through their assumptions, through their worldview. I don’t expect any atheist/agnostic who doesn’t honestly realize their worldview assumptions to even consider any evidence or argument a theist gives them. However, I’m going to disagree with a Designer being a logical leap when alot of the evidence points to life not being possible without one. “God is in the Rain” is one of my more technical articles (too technical, really), while “The Basic Fine Tuning Argument for God’s Existence” is less technical.

    17. Zhatt Says:

      That’s exactly the point, they ignore the supernatural, they pretend it doesn’t exist. … I’m not saying you can test the supernatural directly, that’s what I’ve been saying this whole time; God cannot be directly tested, He’s outside the bounds of science (along with many other things).

      Well, it’s nice to see we’re reaching some common ground on some issues. But…

      However, the scientific community also throws out ANY natural evidence that points to supernatural. To say that there CANNOT be any natural evidence for the supernatural is naturalistic. atheistic bias

      You cannot say that something is outside of science but then say we’re able to infer it in a scientific way. Whether you test something directly or observe data from the field, in both cases you’re collecting evidence. When it’s said that gods are outside of science, it’s meant that we’re unable to produce any evidence for one in any situation. If there was evidence, then it’s now within the grasp of science. You can’t have it both ways. Anything that can be inferred could potentially be tested is we had enough resources and time. The Large Hadron Collider is an example of this; trying to test some of the theories about the beginning of the universe.

      It’s not a bias to say that there cannot be naturalistic evidence for something supernatural. As I’ve said before, the best that could be done is to have evidence that points to an unknown- an unexplainable. You’d have to presuppose a god’s existence before you started attributing phenomena to it. What evidence do you have to support this presupposition?

      … you can define yourself however you like. But atheism is the belief that “there is no God”. Now, if your position is “I will only believe in God if there is evidence, and there CAN BE NO evidence”, then that’s a roundabout way of saying “there is no God” and all of your biases and assumptions are in full force. But if your position is “I’ll believe in God when I see evidence” then that’s a more honest position, but it’s also a more defensible position because it allows you to pay lip service to honesty while being able to ignore that you filter every bit of evidence a theist gives you through atheistic biases.

      My position would be (using similar wording) that I don’t believe in a god because I see no evidence for one. I would consider the existence of god if I saw some reasonable, verifiable evidence, but I am unaware of any method of collecting said evidence short of gaining a direct, understandable sense of the supernatural itself (example: a direct psychic connection with god).

      every human being filters evidence through their assumptions, through their worldview.

      True, but personally I try to stay aware of my own biases I may have. On many topics of debate I’m able to see both sides of the argument and rarely come to a definite conclusion realizing that a gray-area subject will always remain gray. But when it comes to religion I’ve never seen a good argument on the side of religion that doesn’t include invalid logic or jumping to conclusions.

      … I’m going to disagree with a Designer being a logical leap when alot of the evidence points to life not being possible without one. “God is in the Rain” is one of my more technical articles (too technical, really), while “The Basic Fine Tuning Argument for God’s Existence” is less technical.

      These arguments only point out that there may be some fine tuning, but it’s still jumping to conclusion to say that it was done by an outside, supernatural force. This fine tuning could have been done by a super natural god, it could have been done by distant aliens, it could have been done by a purely natural process or it could have been done by a multitude of other expiations that could be derived from the same evidence. All we can say using your evidence is that the earth and water (the environment) have some fine relationship to life.

      In fact, I see you reasoning as backwards. It’s not that our environment is fine tuned to support life, but life has been fine tuned to live comfortably in its environment. And just barely at that. If the environment were any different, life as we know it wouldn’t exist, but who’s to say life couldn’t exist at all? Who’s to say that a few changes to the environment and history of life wouldn’t have produced a “better” and more fit version of life that would be wondering how it got to be that they existed in such a “fine tuned” environment. You’re probably thinking that this is just more of my secular bias, but just by not introducing a third, outside influence (A presupposed supernatural along with the known natural environment and life) I have a more likely argument by means of Occam’s razor (the explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible). That’s not the only reason I feel a natural argument is sounder, but I don’t have time to go into all the nuances right now. It’s just one of the big reasons scientists look at a natural, local explanation before looking at more outlandish concepts (eg: aliens)

    18. Eric Kemp Says:

      Hey Zhatt

      Semi-sad story. On Saturday, I was in the process of replying to you, in fact, I was almost done. And then, in tabbing back to the reply, I mis-clicked and lost all of it. On Sunday, I literally didn’t have any time to attempt to respond (repeat my lost reply *sniff*). In reading this, I think that the places we disagree cover both threads and condense the argument nicely. If you agree, I’ll just respond to this comment and we can continue. However, if you think there are still some issues left to address on the “abiogenesis” thread, I’ll be glad to do so. Let me know.

      Eric

    19. Zhatt Says:

      That’s OK. That sort of thing happens. Reply to anything you like from that thread on this one- even if just in brief (I mean, it’s your blog so you can do anything you like, but thanks for the courtesy).
      In short my questions to you were:
      Why do you say there’s zero evidence for how stars form?
      How do you think we reached the conclusions we have concerning stars without any evidence what so ever?
      If you’re going to say that we can’t infer anything from the evidence, why do you feel inferring something is somehow a lesser method then “direct observation”? In both cases you’re building a logical argument from data you’ve collected. In both cases the data you’ve collected could be in err. Are you to say that all observational sciences are in vain? Astronomy, geology, sociology and economics should all be forgotten?

      -Zhatt

    20. Eric Kemp Says:

      Zhatt

      “I mean, it’s your blog so you can do anything you like, but thanks for the courtesy”

      If I got onto the blogosphere just to give myself the illusion of control, I’d be a sad individual indeed. My goal here is to be as honest as possible. I’ll answer the questions that won’t be answered by replying to your latest comment.

      “Why do you say there’s zero evidence for how stars form?”

      Firstly, I want to clarify that I’m using star formation as a metaphor for the beginning of the universe and as an example of what modern science does regarding origins.

      Of course, I don’t mean to say that we can’t and don’t currently observe star formation. However, that’s the point, we only observe current star formation. In order to extrapolate the same rates of growth we see today to stars in the past, we must assume the rates are the same. This is called uniformitarianism. Isn’t this what radiometric dating is all about? We’ve been observing the rate of decay of K to Ar for about 50 years. To make any kind of geologic dating conclusions, we must assume the rate of decay of K has been the same for 4.5 billions years. In fact, we must assume uniformitarianism at the outset to conclude 4.5 billion years in the first place!

      Taking it a step further, to describe star formation (especially in regards to the past) in terms of the physical laws and phenomena that guide and allow the process is to beg the question of where those laws of physics came from in the first place. If we’re going to talk about the origins of stars, isn’t it more productive and accurate to talk about the origin of the laws of physics that ALLOW for stars? My position is that only a law-like, orderly universe can account for these laws of physics and that only the Christian worldview can explain an orderly universe.

      My position is easily summarized by answering your second question.

      “How do you think we reached the conclusions we have concerning stars without any evidence what so ever?”

      By taking observed phenomena and applying naturalistic and uniformitarian assumptions to them.

      “If you’re going to say that we can’t infer anything from the evidence, why do you feel inferring something is somehow a lesser method then “direct observation”? In both cases you’re building a logical argument from data you’ve collected. In both cases the data you’ve collected could be in err. Are you to say that all observational sciences are in vain? Astronomy, geology, sociology and economics should all be forgotten?”

      This will be better answered in the reply to your previous comment.

    21. Eric Kemp Says:

      Zhatt

      In reading your reply, we have some very basic disagreements on the scope of science and how we can know things.

      “You cannot say that something is outside of science but then say we’re able to infer it in a scientific way.”

      Sure I can. In fact, this is exactly what you are doing too. I’ll hope to show this throughout the reply.

      “When it’s said that gods are outside of science, it’s meant that we’re unable to produce any evidence for one in any situation.”

      That’s not what I mean at all.

      “Anything that can be inferred could potentially be tested is we had enough resources and time.”

      Whoa! Are you saying that with enough resources and time we could test the beginning of the universe? More importantly, HOW do you know this is true? Did science tell you this, or a personal revelation or authority? No really, that’s an honest question.

      “It’s not a bias to say that there cannot be naturalistic evidence for something supernatural.”

      You are attempting to prove an absolute negative. Isn’t that something that is scientifically impossible? So your belief that there can be no natural evidence for something supernatural could not have come from science. It must have come from personal revelation or authority. Same question: since science didn’t tell you this, how do you know you’re right?

      “As I’ve said before, the best that could be done is to have evidence that points to an unknown- an unexplainable.”

      I don’t think so. I think that the “unknown” part would be the “how”. As in, we’d never be able to scientifically explain how something supernatural takes place. But the what wouldn’t be hard at all. For instance, DNA is most easily and accurately described as a genetic language (code). Every observed phenomena tells us that language comes from intelligence. There are no observed phenomena that tells us that even a guided naturalistic process could create, by itself, a language able to produce and convey information like the nucleotide bases are able to do. Intelligence is not a stretch in explaining the source of genetic information.

      “You’d have to presuppose a god’s existence before you started attributing phenomena to it. What evidence do you have to support this presupposition?”

      You’re right, since God is outside the bounds of science, His existence or non-existence is presupposed when examining scientific evidence. I have scientific evidence that can infer His existence and I have philosophical, logical and metaphysical evidence that can support His existence. However, we cannot even agree that such evidence is POSSIBLE, so discussing specifics is pointless at this juncture.

      “If there was evidence, then it’s now within the grasp of science.”

      I think this is the crux of the matter. What is really in the “grasp of science”? I think you and I have two completely different ideas regarding the scope of science. I’m going to try and explain this the best as I can.

      We’ve established that there are assumptions in both direct observation AND logical inference. But what are they exactly? I think that you and I both agree on the assumptions that go into direct observation, but differ greatly on logical inference. Let’s go over them.

      Direct Observation:
      1. Matter is real
      2. My senses aren’t fooling me
      3. I am able to understand what I’m looking at

      I think we agree on these. Like your hurricane example. I’m not sure if I’m really seeing a hurricane, I don’t know if the hurricane is real and that I can truly understand what a hurricane is. But, we must assume these things to function in modern life so we acknowledge the assumptions and move on.

      You and I make different assumptions with logical inference.

      Non-theist Logical Inference:
      1. The three assumptions inherent in direct observation
      2. Naturalism
      3. Uniformitarianism
      4. Materialism
      5. Empiricism

      Christian Logical Inference:
      1. The three assumptions inherent in direct observation
      2. The Bible is the Word of God

      So it’s not that I can’t know anything by logical inference or that all logical inference is bad. The point is this:
      1. It absolutely takes more assumptions than direct observation.
      2. How do you decide which assumptions, your #2,3,4 and 5 and my #2, are the correct one? All of them are outside the realm of science and therefore must be decided as true or false by personal revelation or authority. What’s your authority that tells you the non-theist assumptions are correct?

      But, the situation is actually worse for the non-theist. The Christian can have a reason for assuming #1, 2 and 3 in direct observation. A benevolent God gave me my senses that won’t trick me, told me that He created reality (making it real) and that I can know something about the world. In fact, this is the reason that science was born in the first place. Science was created by Bible believing YEC’s (Descartes, Newton, Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler, Galileo), many of whom wrote more about theology than they did about science. Why were they able to assume 1, 2 and 3? Because they believed in the benevolent God of the Bible.

      The non-theist, on the other hand, has no reason for believing in 1, 2 and 3. He only assumes them because he must, with no explanation. Remember, the non-theist believes that only matter exists. Nothing material, including his brain and science, can tell him that matter exists, that would be circular reasoning. Nothing can tell him he is not fooled, and nothing can tell him he is truly understanding. He must just simply believe.

      Back to the original question of what is in the “grasp of science”. Isn’t the definition of science only that which can be observed and tested? Isn’t the reason God is not directly scientifically provable is because He cannot be observed or tested? In the same way, any naturalistic position of “there can be no natural evidence for the supernatural” or “only matter exists” or “rates of decay have always stayed the same” cannot be scientifically observed and tested. So these assumptions, just like God, are not within the “grasp of science”.

      A great example of this is your statement:

      “I would consider the existence of god if I saw some reasonable, verifiable evidence, but I am unaware of any method of collecting said evidence short of gaining a direct, understandable sense of the supernatural itself . . .”

      I don’t mean this is any way to be insulting or to get an emotional response from you. Like I said previously, I only want to be as honest as possible. So Zhatt, using the strongest language I dare, you are absolutely deluding yourself into thinking that your naturalistic beliefs are “verifiable” and “reasonable”. That is, you have arbitrarily deemed the God position unverifiable by any method you know of while flat out ignoring that your belief in a natural answer to all things is also unverifiable by any method you know of.

      More specifically, you are fooling yourself into believing that there is some middle ground. There is either a belief in God or a belief that only matter exists and can therefore create itself (or always existed) and that life can create itself. Both are “unverifiable by any method you know of” but you conveniently apply that to a belief in God, but not to your own beliefs.

      In fact, as I alluded to earlier, you must believe that nature is real and verifiable by blind faith with no explanation and no reason for why you believe it, while at the same time telling yourself that God is not a viable belief for you because it would require you to have unverifiable faith.

      “True, but personally I try to stay aware of my own biases I may have.”

      I share this desire. And I hope you keep yours despite me just showing your most basic presuppositions.

      “On many topics of debate I’m able to see both sides of the argument . . .”

      I, for one, have enjoyed this discussion because of your openness and cordial manner and hope that it continues (the conversation that is).

      “This fine tuning could have been done by a super natural god, it could have been done by distant aliens, it could have been done by a purely natural process or it could have been done by a multitude of other expiations that could be derived from the same evidence.”

      Sure, but when the conclusion of a supernatural designer allows us to explain the fine-tuning as well as many other things AND human experience, it becomes more and more viable.

      “It’s not that our environment is fine tuned to support life, but life has been fine tuned to live comfortably in its environment. And just barely at that. If the environment were any different, life as we know it wouldn’t exist, but who’s to say life couldn’t exist at all?”

      Actually, the fine-tuning argument is meaning to say that large mammalian life, the kind of life that is able to be self-reflective and discover that the universe is fine-tuned, wouldn’t be ABLE to exist. To attempt to assert that some other life form might have existed and therefore the universe isn’t fine-tuned is a cop out. You and I are here due to this fine-tuning, why make up scenarios in which we are not here and discuss them? It’s a “what if” proposition that is frankly useless to discussion and is surely not the “most logical” conclusion based on the fact that the universe IS fine-tuned for us.

    22. Zhatt Says:

      Hey Eric,

      You’ve really got me thinking and there’s a lot of things I’d like to cover, so if you grant me the time, I’m going to take a few days to put together a comprehensive reply on my blog instead of just rattling one of on my break.

      -Zhatt

    23. Eric Kemp Says:

      Zhatt

      Absolutely. I would like to think that our conversation deserves a blog post! I look forward to your article, let me know when it’s up.


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