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The Evidence Is Overwhelming

As many UD readers know, I am a former materialist and militant atheist. At one time in the past I could have given Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens both a run for their money, with equal or surpassing passion and devotion, but with much more knowledge about basic science.

As the evidence mounted that design was an inescapable conclusion — both in the cosmos and in living systems — I was forced by reason to abandon my most cherished beliefs, those being that I am a meaningless product of materialistic processes and random events. (Where is Dawkins on this topic, concerning philosophical child abuse?)

Obviously, this conclusion turned my entire world upside down, and mandated a complete personal reorientation, which is very difficult to do later in life.

At UD we have many intelligent, articulate, scientifically knowledgeable contributors, and the trajectory of accumulating evidence and reason is persistently obvious.

The proposal that the Darwinian mechanism supplies an explanation for all of life is based on 19th-century scientific ignorance, and is simply preposterous based on what is now known. Overwhelming evidence not only points to design in living systems, but to design in the cosmos at its inception, through the fine-tuning of the laws of physics and chemistry that foresaw the design of living systems. Attempts to explain away cosmological design through the invocation of infinite random universes is nearly as infantile and ludicrous as trying to explain the origin of the human mind through random mutation and natural selection.

At some point one must acknowledge obvious truth, no matter how painful it might be. The Good News is, the truth can set you free.

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19 Responses to The Evidence Is Overwhelming

  1. Gil,

    I have quite a different take on seeking and finding.
    Many years ago, I was a cocky Christian boy who believed that he could prove to everyone that there really was a God. (Attending a series of five Sermons from Science while I was in high school certainly did not help with that.)

    As a science student in college, I began stripping away religious beliefs that I could not justify, entirely confident that I would end up with a shining kernel of Absolute Truth. After several years of this, I realized with a shock that I had nothing left.

    Having attached the pejorative “cocky” to myself, I will say that I was also courageous. First, I had the courage actually to test my religious beliefs, rather than cherry-pick “evidence” that supported them, and to let go of those that did not pass. Second, when I ended up with no beliefs, I had the courage to stand at the edge of the Abyss and peer into it, rather than shrink away. It was an awful thing for me at first, but I believe that I am much the better for it now.

    As the evidence mounted that design was an inescapable conclusion — both in the cosmos and in living systems — I was forced by reason to abandon my most cherished beliefs, those being that I am a meaningless product of materialistic processes and random events.

    The result of my honest and fearless search for the Truth was that I was forced to abandon my most cherished beliefs, and furthermore to accept my responsibility to make meaning in the face of absurdity.

    I do not believe that materialism is the great ill of Western civilization. It is scientism. Last year, a “Praise the Lord” episode focused on scientific evidence for God. A creationist pretty well summed things up by saying, “Science is true, and so is the Bible,” or some such. Am I the only one to see this as a disgusting infection of religion by scientism? I’m reminded of a book by a UD commenter, Paul Giem: Scientific Theology. Yech! (And YEC!)

  2. As a former teacher of mine, Werner Erhard, used to say, “The truth will set you free, but first it’s going to piss you off.”

  3. Noesis: You said, “…I was forced to…accept my responsibility to make meaning in the face of absurdity.”

    You might find it interesting that in my spiritual understanding (based primarily on the “Conversations with God” series of books) it is one of the principles that nothing has any intrinsic meaning. It just is. God actually gives us no moral principles; there is no right and wrong in His eyes. Everything has the meaning that we give it, and only that. If you think that is easy when one believes in an unconditionally loving God, you are mistaken. When faced with one of the major decision points in a life (such as do I leave my wife for the woman I have come to love, for instance), there is no moral guidance. We have to decide for ourselves what is the right thing to do, and such a decision can be agonizing.

    The good news is that He forgives all. In fact, there is nothing to forgive, for He has given us perfect freedom, and loves us absolutely no matter what choices we make.

  4. Bruce,

    I actually had the Christian theologians Kierkegaard and Tillich in mind.

  5. Noesis,

    I studied Kierkegaard a little in my philosophy courses in college, but that was a long time ago. I never read anything by Tillich. They were both Christian existentialists, were they not?

  6. Noesis you state;

    ‘I do not believe that materialism is the great ill of Western civilization.’

    Yet in your great ‘search for truth’ as a ‘cocky Christian’ you seemed to have missed the fact that materialism is now known to be NOT TRUE.

    This is the falsification of ‘reductive materialism”:

    The Failure Of Local Realism – Materialism – Alain Aspect – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145

    The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened:

    Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism – November 2010
    Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....alism.html

    This following study adds to Alain Aspect’s work in Quantum Mechanics and solidly refutes the ‘hidden variable’ argument that has been used by materialists to try to get around the Theistic implications of the instantaneous ‘spooky action at a distance’ found in quantum mechanics.

    Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show – July 2009
    Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142824.htm

    This is the falsification of non-reductive materialism:

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy. This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world. Neither is it the case that “nothing” is unstable, as Mr. Hawking and others maintain. Absolute nothing cannot have mathematical relationships predicated on it, not even quantum gravitational ones. Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.,,, the evidence for string theory and its extension, M-theory, is nonexistent; and the idea that conjoining them demonstrates that we live in a multiverse of bubble universes with different laws and constants is a mathematical fantasy. What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale.
    For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    further note especially for you Noesis:

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

  7. bornagain77,

    The Bruce Gordon lecture at metacafe is marvelous!

  8. GilDodgen, yes, Dr. Gordon has a wonderful gift for bringing clarity:

    here is the entire talk

    What Contemporary Physics and Philosophy Tell Us About Nature and God – video – Fr. Spritzer & Dr. Bruce Gordon (Last 25 minutes is the Dr. Gordon talk)
    http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/32512834

    I’m also looking forward to this 900 page book (don’t know the last time I looked forward to reading a 900 page book :).

    The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science [Paperback]
    Ph.D. Bruce L. Gordon Ph.D. and William A. Dembski editors
    http://www.amazon.com/Nature-E.....38;sr=1-11

    Product Description
    The world’s leading authorities in the sciences and humanities—dozens of top scholars, including three Nobel laureates—join a cultural and intellectual battle that leaves no human life untouched. Is the universe self-existent, self-sufficient, and self-organizing, or is it grounded instead in a reality that transcends space, time, matter, and energy?
    Book Description
    The intellectual and cultural battles now raging over theism and atheism, conservatism and secular progressivism, dualism and monism, realism and antirealism, and transcendent reality versus material reality extend even into the scientific disciplines. This stunning new volume captures this titanic clash of worldviews among those who have thought most deeply about the nature of science and of the universe itself.

    Unmatched in its breadth and scope, The Nature of Nature brings together some of the most influential scientists, scholars, and public intellectuals—including three Nobel laureates—across a wide spectrum of disciplines and schools of thought. Here they grapple with a perennial question that has been made all the more pressing by recent advances in the natural sciences:Is the fundamental explanatory principle of the universe, life, and self-conscious awareness to be found in inanimate matter or immaterial mind?The answers found in this book have profound implications for what it means to do science, what it means to be human, and what the future holds for all of us.

  9. ,,,the above book has a due date of Feb. 11, 2011

  10. Bruce David,

    May I ask if you believe in the bible? If so, I don’t see how your view on moral issues is supported by it.

  11. Gil,

    Scientific geniuses are often philosophical cretins. Gordon, in his sneering, reveals himself to be just as philosophically befuddled as the scientists he criticizes.

    If you treat the parameters of physical models of nature as though they are “control knobs,” then you have departed from scientific explanation of the empirically observable Universe as it is and moved into metaphysical speculation that it might have been otherwise.

    A hypothetical universe-generating “process” is not a physical process in the ordinary sense. It is something supernatural. There is no more a “fine-tuning problem” to address in science than there is a “God hypothesis.”

  12. Noesis you state;

    ‘If you treat the parameters of physical models of nature as though they are “control knobs,” then you have departed from scientific explanation of the empirically observable Universe as it is and moved into metaphysical speculation that it might have been otherwise.

    A hypothetical universe-generating “process” is not a physical process in the ordinary sense. It is something supernatural.
    ‘There is no more a “fine-tuning problem” to address in science than there is a “God hypothesis.”’

    So what are you really trying to say Noesis??? If everybody just gets on your denialism wagon then the teleological design elephant in the scientific living room will just magically go? So Noesis lying to myself so as to deny I had a drinking problem ruined my life. So I would much rather look problems squarely in the face nowadays rather than just deny that they exist!

    notes:

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.” Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Here are a few sites that list the finely tuned universal constants:

    Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
    http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

    Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ignun.html

    On and on through each universal constant scientists analyze, they find such unchanging precision from the universe’s creation.

    As a side note to this, it seems even the ‘exotic’ virtual photons, which fleetingly pop into and out of existence, are tied directly to the anthropic principle through the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant for dark energy:

    ELECTROMAGNETIC DARK ENERGY
    Abstract: We introduce a new model for dark energy in the Universe in which a small cosmological constant is generated by ordinary electromagnetic vacuum energy. The corresponding virtual photons exist at all frequencies but switch from a gravitationally active phase at low frequencies to a gravitationally inactive phase at higher frequencies via a Ginzburg–Landau type of phase transition. Only virtual photons in the gravitationally active state contribute to the cosmological constant. A small vacuum energy density, consistent with astronomical observations, is naturally generated in this model. We propose possible laboratory tests for such a scenario based on phase synchronization in superconductors.
    http://www.worldscinet.com/ijm.....11870.html

    Shining new light on dark energy with galaxy clusters – December 2010
    Excerpt: “Each model for dark energy makes a prediction that you should see this many clusters, with this particular mass, this particular distance away from us,” Sehgal said. Sehgal tested these predictions by using data from the most massive galaxy clusters. The results support the standard, vacuum-energy model for dark energy.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....sters.html

    Even the ‘exotic’ virtual particles are found to be necessary for life in the universe:

    Virtual Particles, Anthropic Principle & Special Relativity – Michael Strauss PhD. Particle Physics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674

    Of interest to the unchanging nature of the transcendent universal ‘information’ constants which govern this universe, it should be noted that the four primary forces/constants of the universe (gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces) are said to be ‘mediated at the speed of light’ by mass-less ‘mediator bosons’, yet the speed of light constant is shown to be transcendent of any underlying material basis in the first place.

    GRBs Expand Astronomers’ Toolbox – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: a detailed analysis of the GRB (Gamma Ray Burst) in question demonstrated that photons of all energies arrived at essentially the same time. Consequently, these results falsify any quantum gravity models requiring the simplest form of a frothy space.
    http://www.reasons.org/GRBsExp.....ersToolbox

    I would also like to point out that since time, as we understand it, comes to a complete stop at the speed of light this gives these four fundamental universal constants the characteristic of being timeless, and thus unchanging, as far as the temporal mass of this universe is concerned. In other words, we should not a-prori expect that which is timeless in nature to ever change in value. Yet contrary to what would seem to be so obvious about the a-piori stability of constants we should expect, when scientists measure for variance in the fundamental constants they always end up being ‘surprised’ by the stability they find:

    Latest Test of Physical Constants Affirms Biblical Claim – Hugh Ross – September 2010
    Excerpt: The team’s measurements on two quasars (Q0458- 020 and Q2337-011, at redshifts = 1.561 and 1.361, respectively) indicated that all three fundamental physical constants have varied by no more than two parts per quadrillion per year over the last ten billion years—a measurement fifteen times more precise, and thus more restrictive, than any previous determination. The team’s findings add to the list of fundamental forces in physics demonstrated to be exceptionally constant over the universe’s history. This confirmation testifies of the Bible’s capacity to predict accurately a future scientific discovery far in advance. Among the holy books that undergird the religions of the world, the Bible stands alone in proclaiming that the laws governing the universe are fixed, or constant.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/e.....010-03.pdf

    This following site discusses the many technical problems they had with the paper that recently (2010) tried to postulate variance within the fine structure constant:
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-367471

    Psalm 119:89-91
    Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.

    According to the materialistic philosophy, there are no apparent reasons why the value of each transcendent universal constant could not have been very different than what they actually are. In fact, the presumption of materialism expects a fairly large amount of flexibility in the underlying constants for the universe, since the constants themselves are postulated to ‘emerge’ from some undefined material basis at the Big Bang. As far as the materialistic philosophy is concerned, they ‘just so happen’ to be at the precise unchanging values necessary to enable carbon-based life to exist in this universe. What is completely inexplicable for materialism to explain is that many times the ‘material particles’ themselves are dependent on the transcendent constants being exactly what they are for the ‘material particles’ to exist in the first place, as was demonstrated in the previously referenced ‘Proton to Electron mass ratio’ paper. i.e. How can any transcendent constants arise from any material entity which is dependent on a transcendent constant in the first place?

    All individual constants are of such a high degree of precision as to defy comparison to the most precise man-made machine (1 in 10^22 – gravity wave detector). For example, the cosmological constant (dark energy) is balanced to 1 part in 10^120 and the mass density constant is balanced to 1 part in 10^60.

    Fine Tuning Of Dark Energy and Mass of the Universe – Hugh Ross – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007682

    it turns out even the immense size of the universe is necessary for life:

    Evidence for Belief in God – Rich Deem
    Excerpt: Isn’t the immense size of the universe evidence that humans are really insignificant, contradicting the idea that a God concerned with humanity created the universe? It turns out that the universe could not have been much smaller than it is in order for nuclear fusion to have occurred during the first 3 minutes after the Big Bang. Without this brief period of nucleosynthesis, the early universe would have consisted entirely of hydrogen. Likewise, the universe could not have been much larger than it is, or life would not have been possible. If the universe were just one part in 10^59 larger, the universe would have collapsed before life was possible. Since there are only 10^80 baryons in the universe, this means that an addition of just 10^21 baryons (about the mass of a grain of sand) would have made life impossible. The universe is exactly the size it must be for life to exist at all.
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ntro2.html

  13. Noesis you state;

    ‘If you treat the parameters of physical models of nature as though they are “control knobs,” then you have departed from scientific explanation of the empirically observable Universe as it is and moved into metaphysical speculation that it might have been otherwise.

    A hypothetical universe-generating “process” is not a physical process in the ordinary sense. It is something supernatural.
    ‘There is no more a “fine-tuning problem” to address in science than there is a “God hypothesis.”’

    So what are you really trying to say Noesis??? If everybody just gets on your denialism wagon then the teleological design elephant in the scientific living room will just magically go? So Noesis lying to myself so as to deny I had a drinking problem ruined my life. So I would much rather look problems squarely in the face nowadays rather than just deny that they exist!

    notes:

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.” Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Here are a few sites that list the finely tuned universal constants:

    Fine-Tuning For Life In The Universe
    http://www.reasons.org/fine-tuning-life-universe

    Evidence for the Fine Tuning of the Universe
    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....ignun.html

    On and on through each universal constant scientists analyze, they find such unchanging precision from the universe’s creation.

    As a side note to this, it seems even the ‘exotic’ virtual photons, which fleetingly pop into and out of existence, are tied directly to the anthropic principle through the 1 in 10^120 cosmological constant for dark energy:

    ELECTROMAGNETIC DARK ENERGY
    Abstract: We introduce a new model for dark energy in the Universe in which a small cosmological constant is generated by ordinary electromagnetic vacuum energy. The corresponding virtual photons exist at all frequencies but switch from a gravitationally active phase at low frequencies to a gravitationally inactive phase at higher frequencies via a Ginzburg–Landau type of phase transition. Only virtual photons in the gravitationally active state contribute to the cosmological constant. A small vacuum energy density, consistent with astronomical observations, is naturally generated in this model. We propose possible laboratory tests for such a scenario based on phase synchronization in superconductors.
    http://www.worldscinet.com/ijm.....11870.html

    Shining new light on dark energy with galaxy clusters – December 2010
    Excerpt: “Each model for dark energy makes a prediction that you should see this many clusters, with this particular mass, this particular distance away from us,” Sehgal said. Sehgal tested these predictions by using data from the most massive galaxy clusters. The results support the standard, vacuum-energy model for dark energy.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....sters.html

    Even the ‘exotic’ virtual particles are found to be necessary for life in the universe:

    Virtual Particles, Anthropic Principle & Special Relativity – Michael Strauss PhD. Particle Physics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4554674

    Of interest to the unchanging nature of the transcendent universal ‘information’ constants which govern this universe, it should be noted that the four primary forces/constants of the universe (gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces) are said to be ‘mediated at the speed of light’ by mass-less ‘mediator bosons’, yet the speed of light constant is shown to be transcendent of any underlying material basis in the first place.

    GRBs Expand Astronomers’ Toolbox – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: a detailed analysis of the GRB (Gamma Ray Burst) in question demonstrated that photons of all energies arrived at essentially the same time. Consequently, these results falsify any quantum gravity models requiring the simplest form of a frothy space.
    http://www.reasons.org/GRBsExp.....ersToolbox

  14. Noesis, I keep coming back to this quote of yours:

    ‘The result of my honest and fearless search for the Truth was that I was forced to abandon my most cherished beliefs’

    Excuse me Noesis but so far I haven’t seen any evidence whatsoever from you as to why we should presuppose your atheistic materialism to be true, much less have I seen honest and fearless searching, when presented with falsification of materialism you merely attacked the philosophical foundation of Dr. Gordon, as if you had any philosophical foundation to stand on in the first place!?! And exactly why should your thoughts on the matter be given any credance when you have not taken care to establish a basis to reason from? Namely, please empirically and concretely prove to us exactly why you find your materialistic presupposition to be true over and above the ‘cherished beliefs’ of Theistic beliefs you found indefensible.

  15. bornagain77,

    You don’t have the least idea what to make of me, so you tag me with atheistic materialism. That’s neither bright nor polite.

    Science cannot prove or disprove the “existence” of supernatural entities. Many IDists are quite like extreme atheists in their claims that they speak with scientific authority.

    “Truth is the first casualty of [cultural] war.”

  16. Noesis, don’t mean to offend you, but I can only operate on you have said so far, and you said:

    ‘The result of my honest and fearless search for the Truth was that I was forced to abandon my most cherished beliefs, and furthermore to accept my responsibility to make meaning in the face of absurdity.’

    And yet I find that statement preposterous. So please help me and show me this evidence that has misled you so that I may present the countervailing evidence.

  17. PERFECT! Thanks, Gil!

  18. —Noesis: ‘The result of my honest and fearless search for the Truth was that I was forced to abandon my most cherished beliefs, and furthermore to accept my responsibility to make meaning in the face of absurdity.’

    Whenever atheism confronts reason, atheism will lose–every time. That you have [a] neglected to explain your reasons for abandoning your cherished beliefs and [b] refused to disclose your current beliefs suggests that you would prefer not to have your ideas scrutinized. Under the circumstances, your “honest and fearless search for the truth” might better be characterized as an exercise in wishful thinking. The question you need to ask yourself is this: Why is it that you wish Christianity was not the truth?

    —Many IDists are quite like extreme atheists in their claims that they speak with scientific authority?

    As it is, your statement is incomprehensible because you have failed to define the phrase “speak with scientific authority.” Does it mean a claim to infallible knowledge? Does it mean a claim of expertise? Does it mean having unassailable credentials? Does it mean a consistent and faithful adherence to the scientific method? Does it mean a claim to have arrived at an final irreformable conclusion?

  19. 19

    Sorry for the late comment, but in my eyes the fine tuning of the laws of nature is an argument against ID. It is not really plausible that the laws of nature are fine tuned to produce intelligent life if in the end they are not capable of doing the job.

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