Understanding creationism, VII:
An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist

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By David MacMillan.

7. The religion of evolution.

The final set of creationist misconceptions about evolution surrounds its supposed religious, moral, and ethical implications. These objections prove difficult to address, simply because they have little or no objective basis and are almost purely philosophical or religious. This section will concentrate mostly on explaining the relationships and connections between these arguments, as systematically refuting them would delve deep into philosophy and theology and is far beyond the scope of a single post.

Many creationists assume as self-evident that evolution precludes the existence of God, not because of any qualities intrinsic to evolution, but because their concept of God is dependent on creationism. Officially, creationists usually teach that the Bible is our only infallible revelation of God’s existence, but in practice the “fact” of special creation is treated as a primary basis for belief in God. The “testimony of nature” is implicitly held up as proof of God’s existence. Every time a particular piece of purportedly creationist evidence is described, the underlying implication is that God’s existence depends on six-day special creation. Thus, to even propose that evolution could be true is automatically a “challenge to the evidence” for God’s existence.

The assumption that “evolutionism” and “secular science” denies God’s existence applies not only to the suggestions that evolution might be possible, but more generally to any challenge to creationist arguments. While some creationists take pains to discard the more outlandish arguments, others will fiercely defend obsolete and ridiculous theories simply because of their perceived apologetics value. This stubbornness is the source of animosity and division between the various creationist movements; each group points to “concessions” and “compromises” the other groups make, because any compromise is considered a tacit admission that maybe the evidence for God isn’t quite as strong as it would otherwise be. Such arguments are all God-of-the-gaps arguments, of course, but this fact goes unnoticed.

Creationists often make this argument more explicit by quoting Romans 1:20, the atheism/agnosticism clobber text:

…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that [men] are without excuse.

To a creationist, this verse means that the testimony of nature is sufficient to establish God’s existence, God’s attributes, and God’s nature even without revelation. Thus, it is claimed, atheists and agnostics have no excuse for unbelief. Embarrassingly, I once hosted a (short-lived) Internet radio show called “Without Excuse” predicated on this idea.

Creationists believe that if common descent is even a remote possibility, then God’s existence is no longer demonstrated by nature. Even the discussion of whether evolution is possible challenges their “testimony of nature”, so it challenges their certainty about the existence of God.

Certainty is a major theme in much creationist theology. A false dichotomy is set up: either you are absolutely certain about God and the Bible and the gospel, or you are doomed to wallow in doubt and probably end up lost. This dichotomy combines personal pride with fear of the unknown. Creationists will typically admit doubt about their own salvation long before they will dream of admitting doubt about special creation. Because their narrative of absolute certainty is something science obviously doesn’t offer (science embraces and depends on doubt and questions), they must preserve it at all costs.

If a person’s primary reason for believing in God is special creation, then it is a tenuous faith at best. The majority of Christians accept that God could have used common descent to bring about life on Earth without any hazard to their faith. More importantly, Romans 1:20 is not a polemic against atheism at all; it is rather a polemic against Roman idol-worship. Reading on in the chapter:

Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. [Romans 1:22-23]

Modern atheistic humanism obviously did not exist in Rome, and this passage did not, in fact, address atheism. It was warning against something else entirely: using the natural world as a basis for religion, making gods patterned on men and birds and animals. Worshiping these sorts of gods, argued the author, effectively replaces the Creator with the creation, reversing the proper order of things. In spreading out of Judea and into Rome, fledgling Christianity sought to overcome the perception that Jesus was nothing more than another regional deity. So they preached a Creator God who was not known based on imagery taken from creation, as with the many gods worshiped in Rome, but through the revelation they had received from Jesus.

Ironically, creationists who define their God’s existence as dependent on the doctrine of special creation are tying their theology to their perceptions of nature, committing the very mistake this passage warns against. Of course, they won’t recognize this irony. They’ll insist that merely admitting the possibility of evolution goes against the Bible. In pursuit of further confirmation of this prejudice, they dream up moral problems with evolution and common descent.

One objection to the idea of God’s using evolution is that it would somehow be inconsistent with God’s nature to use any process depending on “chance”. As we’ve already seen, this objection depends on misconceptions about evolution being a “chance” process. Creationists suppose that “natural processes” are random and chaotic, and are thus somehow “beneath” the ways of a God who they argue must order everything perfectly. A more common, strident objection is that God would not use death or suffering as part of his creative process, therefore excluding evolution. To propose evolution as a possibility is to associate death and suffering with God’s intent for the world, something young-earth creationists argue should be immediately rejected. This view may seem incongruous; after all, creationists have no difficulty believing that God sent a global flood to wipe out nearly every living thing on the planet. But the objection to the process of evolution should be understood as coming from a particular theological doctrine, not a generalized opposition to struggle and suffering. These creationists believe (based on Genesis 1:31 and Romans 5, along with other passages) that physical death could not have existed during the six days during which God completed the creation of the world. Obviously, this objection begs the question whether the six days are literal days: theistic evolutionists already see the six-day creation week as metaphorical.

Moreover, even in periods of church history where a six-day creation week was universally considered historical, the theological significance of Genesis was still primarily spiritual. The assignment of physical theological significance to creation, the fall, the flood, and so forth – the idea that death itself is a physical abnormality resulting directly from a single physical human action in history – is only a very recent and very sectarian doctrine. The Church has historically interpreted the Curse and Original Sin in many different ways, only a handful of which bear any resemblance at all to the YEC dogma.

Insistence on specific physical events as necessary for spiritual or theological models is rampant throughout evangelicalism. Some denominations insist on various spiritual signs like healings or speaking in tongues. Others attach vital significance to the event of baptism or to the verbalization of a particular prayer. Virtually all evangelical denominations insist that the Crucifixion achieved its purpose by meeting some predetermined set of physical conditions for sacrifices.

This practice of assigning essential spiritual significance to particular physical events has been around for a long time. It is the basic pattern of religion: making certain rituals and events and beliefs necessary components of salvation offers a more tangible object of faith, strengthening religious fervor. In the case of creationism, faith in the “scientific evidence” of a young planet and a global flood bolsters faith in the doctrines supposedly defined by those events. Of course, this practice inevitably backfires; when the faithful realize that the “science” is a con, they lose their sole basis for belief in the doctrines and jump ship. Rather than recognizing that they are responsible for creating this problem, creationists and other evangelicals take offense at the doubt and start insisting all the more strongly on the very arguments that are disillusioning their followers.

Additional objections remain. Creationists may argue that without God, we have no reason to trust logic or science. Of course, this claim begs the question as well, as it presupposes that God is the source of logic. And since evolution is not intrinsically atheistic, it’s not really relevant; the antagonism comes from the creationist theology. Finally, we don’t use logic because we have faith that it’s true; we use logic because it provides useful results.

Often, scientists suggest evolutionary explanations for the genesis of certain behaviors or traits. Some creationists erroneously assume that, in consequence, evolution can be used to justify any sort of behavior. This, too, comes from their theology; they believe that all sin and death and suffering arise from a series of physical events in history - the Fall - so they naturally assume that an evolutionary history would give rise to an evolutionary morality. On the contrary, derivations of morality from evolutionary history are idiosyncratic; evolution is a description of what happens, not what ought to happen. Supposed “evolutionary morality” comes from the application of an essentialist philosophy, not from the study of natural history itself.

The final area of philosophical objection to evolution deals with the supposed implications of natural selection: that it supposedly demands “survival of the fittest” and thus leads people to commit selfish or immoral acts. Similarly, other creationists allege that the idea of higher or lower animals will prompt racism or lead us to treat other people “like animals”. Yet this accusation only goes back to the creationist mindset that historical events dictate present moral imperatives - a view which is specific to that particular Christian group. Likewise, there are no higher or lower animals in properly understood evolutionary theory; all extant species are equally modern because they have all adapted to their present modern environments. The notion of treating people differently because they are related to animals comes not from evolutionary ideas, but from the creationist belief that animals and humans are separated by essential physical differences, humans being in the “image of God”. Creationist moral frameworks are so ingrained that they end up being applied illegitimately to the evolutionary model. Such essentialist philosophies are the reason things like eugenics were taught and believed: eugenics originated with the idea that, because survival of the fittest got us here, we ought to continue the process and cull out the weak. Creationists suppose that such ideas are somehow intrinsic to evolutionary theory, when in fact they require broad philosophical leaps that in no way derive from evolution itself.

All of these religious and ethical objections are, of course, problematic at the outset. Even if they were accurate (and they aren’t), they wouldn’t change the truth value of evolutionary theory. They are examples of argumentum ad consequentiam, a logical fallacy in which a proposition is deemed true or false because of its purported implications. Creationists suppose that evolution is accepted because of its philosophical implications and argue against it on the basis that it has immoral implications, but neither of those things are true. Evolution is accepted because it accurately describes reality. No more, no less.

589 Comments

Were you there?

Actually, I repeat Ham’s question because it, along with its purported answer that they have the witness of one who was there, appears contrary to that other common claim of creationists (and of Ham himself), that creation is just obvious, just read Roman 1:20 (really, read the Bible to know that creationism is obvious from nature?).

You need the Bible because supposedly historic science can’t prove anything, but no one has any excuse because you don’t need the Bible to know that the world was created. “The Bible says so.”

Well, when making sense is clearly not the goal nor the result, rather, your aim is merely rubbishing science to make room for your own a prioris, you’re not likely to make sense.

Glen Davidson

A great final installment, David. I’ll just single out one tiny passage for comment:

…the idea that death itself is a physical abnormality resulting directly from a single physical human action in history – is only a very recent and very sectarian doctrine.

This is true, and it also represents what has long struck me as just an abominable view of the deity. They literally believe that because Adam and Eve sinned, God punished everyone. Every future human being, even every other animal on earth, was punished with pain and suffering and death despite bearing no responsibility at all for the sin in question. It’s like imprisoning not only a convicted thief but his children and grandchildren, or executing not only a convicted murderer but a hummingbird and a honeybee two hundred miles away.

The idea that such would be the conduct of a “just” god, even merely a “benevolent” or “rational” god, is – not to mince words – completely insane. And that people would worship and praise such a being is completely terrifying.

Creationists believe that if common descent is even a remote possibility, then God’s existence is no longer demonstrated by nature. Even the discussion of whether evolution is possible challenges their “testimony of nature”, so it challenges their certainty about the existence of God.

The generalized form of this problem is not limited to YECs. It afflicts OECs, non-creationist evangelical, even liberal mainstream sects too. We might call it the clarity problem:

1. If God’s message isn’t perfectly clear, then it would be evil to send people to hell (or let them go to hell) for not understanding it correctly.

2. Also, our God is tri-omni. If the message is unclear, that means he either couldn’t, didn’t know how to, or didn’t want to make it clear. Any of those answers undermines one of the omnis (with the third being basically a restatement of #1 above), so none of them are acceptable.

3. If some interpretation contradicting our sect’s interpretation of scripture is “even a remote possibility,” that means the message isn’t clear.

4. So, no other interpretations can even be remotely possible; all believers-in-other-interpretations must know the truth deep down, and not accept it because they want to live a life of sin (or whatever). Any other possibility runs into one of the problems given above.

***

As I see it, there’s three general responses to the clarity problem. Two substantive but relatively rare, one common but not very intellectually satisfying. The first is to go full-on Calvinist and just say salvation is predestined, predetermined, and not a matter of anyone’s choice or actions at all. How you “interpret the message” is irrelevant because you were saved or hellbound before you ever heard it. The second is to go full-squishy-liberal and say God doesn’t send any ‘honest truth seekers’ to hell at all, regardless of whether they are wrong sect, wrong religion, or even atheist. The liberal christian God gives out A’s for effort, so it’s okay if the message isn’t perfectly clear. The most common and least satisfying response is the punt, the argument from ignorance: “I don’t know how to reconcile lack of clarity with all this theodicy and tri-omni stuff, but I have faith they are reconcilable by God, even if they seem contradictory to me.”

mattdance18 said:

The idea that such [mass murder] would be the conduct of a “just” god, even merely a “benevolent” or “rational” god, is – not to mince words – completely insane.

Absolutely right on the money.

One thing which strikes me is the complaint of the creationist that evolution makes “man” to behave “like an animal”.

While otherwise, we are told that the reason that the human body is so much like bodies of chimps and other apes is that there is a common design to them. The creationists cannot go so far as to deny the common features.

Of course, evolution only says that the reason is that humans and chimps share common ancestry. It means no more for how we should behave than the fact that we are related to Torquemada.

On the other hand, creationists tell us that there is a “common plan”. That the designer used a common plan shows that the designer had common purposes. And doesn’t that mean, if we are going follow the designer’s goals, that creationism says that we ought to behave like apes?

TomS said: And doesn’t that mean, if we are going follow the designer’s goals, that creationism says that we ought to behave like apes?

Being apes, we cannot behave other than ‘like apes’.

If we share common ancestry with creationists, does that mean we should behave like them? :D

I think the relevant section of Romans 1 IS partly a polemic against unbelief/atheism as well as sin/wickedness such as idolatry. Verses 19-20 (New International Version): “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.

ashleyhr said:

I think the relevant section of Romans 1 IS partly a polemic against unbelief/atheism as well as sin/wickedness such as idolatry. Verses 19-20 (New International Version): “Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse”.

I don’t deny that Romans 1:20 can be used as a polemic against atheism; obviously it is used in this fashion quite often. But is that what it originally was? I would say no. I don’t think the author or any of the original readers thought of atheism in connection with this verse.

We may be inclined to see anti-atheism in this verse, but that’s just our modern perspective. As Matt pointed out when he was editing this installment, some varieties of atheism did exist in first-century Rome, but that wasn’t what this verse was about. The whole following discussion provides context: this isn’t saying “See, nature is amazing so it must have been created by God.” This is saying, “See, nature is amazing; the only God that could be big enough to create all of this must transcend nature.”

The verse doesn’t say that God’s existence is “clearly seen” from nature. It says that God’s attributes are clearly seen. The author and the audience of this passage assumed God’s existence as a given. Romans 1 is saying “The creation was see around us is inconsistent with a god that is borrowed from images inside creation; God must be eternal and all-powerful and outside of nature.”

At least, that’s my take on it. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. That’s what my understanding of first-century culture would tend to imply, anyway.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Ray Martinez said:

Creationists, of course, CLAIM that special creation is based on evidence

Oh boy, testable, plausible evidence at last! Don’t keep us in suspense, Ray, by all means tell us what this evidence is!

Unless, of course, it isn’t evidence at all. You know, like Flawd’s claim that we must have been created because we have eyes. You really need to do better than that.

Verse 20 says God created the world in such a way that everyone can come to the conclusion that an invisible Designer exists—that’s why deniers are “without excuse.”

But the bible is fiction, Ray, not fact. What it says doesn’t matter here in reality.

Evolution says verse 20 is not true:

No it doesn’t. It never mentions verse 20.

God did not create the visible to reflect His invisible power; rather, according to evolutionary theory, we descend from previously living animals (= the idols of Romans 1).

Nope, gods did not create anything, and we do indeed descend from previously living animals.

Ray Martinez said:

After reading the 7th installment by Evolutionist David MacMillan, I think it obvious that he has not represented his foes (Creationists or Bible) fairly or accurately.

Who said “Bible” was a foe for me? I’m a Christian.

MacMillan then quotes Romans 1:22,23. In the quotation above MacMillan represents special creation as a belief not based on evidence. Creationists, of course, CLAIM that special creation is based on evidence. So he should have addressed why the explanation of evidence in favor of special creation is wrong…

Try the first six installments. My choice to completely dismantle creationist pseudoscience before addressing the religious objections was entirely intentional.

Concerning his handling of the Romans 1 verses. Verse 20 says God created the world in such a way that everyone can come to the conclusion that an invisible Designer exists—that’s why deniers are “without excuse.” Then MacMillan offers verses 22 and 23 as somehow contradicting or refuting this interpretation—that these verses only speak of Roman idol worship. No, these verses are not limited in their application to ancient idol worship, but any idol worship in any age.

But the verse never says God’s existence is evident from nature. It says God’s attributes are evident from nature. It says, “Given the existence of a creator, we can tell from creation that he must be eternal, omniscient, and transcendent.” A far cry from a polemic against agnosticism. Indeed, I daresay most people (Christian and non-Christian) would agree with this: if there is a creator, he’s not part of the creation, and images of God taken from within nature are clearly false.

Ray very clearly illustrates the classic fundamentalist hermeneutic. The actual intention and meaning of a passage isn’t nearly so important as what he can represent the passage as meaning in his own cultural context. The Bible must always be about Ray, about Ray’s problems are the really truly important ones. This verse had a special meaning – antievolutionism – that never could have ever been unearthed until Ray and his pals came along and explained what it really meant. Ray and his pals really are special people.

And they’re the ones who insist I don’t accept that the Bible “just means what it says”. Amazing.

A quick note: Ray’s claptrap is not, as one might suppose, an example of postmodernism. Rather, postmodernism is the very sort of critical thinking which allows us to identify the fallacies in Ray’s thinking.

Question: Why are there so many versions of the bible in just English alone; not to mention other languages.

Answer: Because hermeneutics, exegesis, etymology, and generalized word-gaming are needed in order to extract the desired rationalizations that prop up thousands of different sectarian dogmas so that each of them can be “The One True Dogma” even though they disagree – often violently – among themselves.

Religion is a game of words to determine who is on top; especially among fundamentalists.

Or, as somebody once put it:

It’s not about good.

It’s not about evil.

It’s about power.

Translating the Bible into English is such a huge task that most charlatans and power-seekers never complete a publishable version. Bible translation takes expert knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. The difficulty of translation weeds out most flakes.

From the Bible Forewards I have read, most translators are motivated by the same reasons that motivated William Tyndale in 1525. He wanted the common people to read the Word of God for themselves in their own language, such that the plow boy out in the field would know as much of the Holy Scriptures as the bishop.

I don’t dispute that King James I of England had some political reasons to commission a new translation. This is recounted in Alistair McGrath’s book from 2002:

In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture

Nevertheless, the King James translators worked on their task diligently, adopting a kind of “code review” for completed passages. They produced a literary masterpiece, an edition that is revered today. (Perhaps revered too much.) They transcended the King’s original intent.

I also know that Archbishop Bancroft made 14 unauthorized changes to the final version after the translators were complete. Those changes probably involved strengthening the role of the wider church at the expense of the local congregations (the Greek word in question was ecclesia).

The KJV would have been better off without those changes. And yet somehow the Bible got out to English-speaking people despite man’s mischief and private agendas. The Good Book inspires people to feed the hungry and care for widows and orphans. The Bible tells us not to feed the trolls, and the majority of Pandas can agree with that. Jesus of Nazareth gave us words that argue strongly against grabbing power, and talk of Christian service instead. All the sectarian dogma and word-gaming has not been able to wipe out those valuable words.

Hear, hear!

Ray Martinez said:

Creationists, of course, CLAIM that special creation is based on evidence revelation.

Fixed it for you Ray.

we don’t use logic because we have faith that it’s true; we use logic because it provides useful results.

This seems to me to be key. The same can be said of Evolution, and of all science. We don’t “have faith” in science. We use the scientific process because it provides useful results.

Period.

Officially, creationists usually teach that the Bible is our only infallible revelation of God’s existence

The “testimony of nature” is implicitly held up as proof of God’s existence.

It has always seemed to me that YEC appears to put these two statements into conflict. After all, wasn’t the later the primary motivation of most “natural philosophy” in western culture? That the work of early scientists (even Darwin) was to investigate the “testimony of nature” in order to understand how God created the world?

The problem came about when the “testimony of nature” attested to a “truth” that was different than what was related by a literal reading of the Bible.

I still don’t understand how a YEC can believe in both the “testimony of nature” and a literal reading of the Bible. It seems to me that the YEC must not believe in a “literal reading” of the “testimony of nature”.

David wrote,

Who said “Bible” was a foe for me? I’m a Christian.

A Christian, or an Agnostic? That’s a separate issue for another time, but there’s enough information on the table by now, to make clear that merely saying “I’m a Christian” isn’t really accurate in your case.

There is an asterisk, an explanation, that needs to be placed there. And the asterisk is tied in to what you believe and don’t believe regarding the Bible’s historical and doctrinal claims. Same for me of course, and really (regardless of one’s label), same for all of us.

Harold recently wrote that he is a “Christian Atheist.” Always worth exploring. (Another asterisk.) Again however, that’s a separate issue for another discussion time. We simply live in a world of asterisks.

FL

From the original post

Creationist moral frameworks are so ingrained that they end up being applied illegitimately to the evolutionary model. Such essentialist philosophies are the reason things like eugenics were taught and believed: eugenics originated with the idea that, because survival of the fittest got us here, we ought to continue the process and cull out the weak

The process of survival of the fittest continues whether we like it or not. The essence of eugenics is that (some) humans get the power to decide who is fit and who is weak: human selection displaces natural selection. Otherwise “fitness” is defined by reproductive success. Being the Alpha Male does not result in the opportunities it might have once done, and childless Olympians and Nobel Laureates are left behind in the evolutionary race by a man who dies young because of genetic defects, but has nontheless managed to father scores of illigitimate children that somebody else will ennsure achieve reproductive success.

FL said:

A Christian, or an Agnostic? That’s a separate issue for another time, but there’s enough information on the table by now, to make clear that merely saying “I’m a Christian” isn’t really accurate in your case.

There is an asterisk, an explanation, that needs to be placed there.

Every self-proclaimed Christian is some other Christian’s “asterisked” believer. That’s the way sectarianism works: he doesn’t believe what you think is the correct form of Christianity, and vice versa.

Personally, I feel no need to asterisk anyone. Doing that is an attempt to sneak in sectarian exceptionalism. When you refer to yourself as Christian and him as Christian*, that’s just a poorly hidden way to send the message “I’m the real thing, his is just a variant offshoot.” I’m not buying it.

classic “No true Scotsman” fallacy that we’ve all seen before.

also by definition - if EVERYONE needs an asterisk, no one does! “*” are for exceptions not the rule

FL is not an arbiter of who is a Christian and who is not.

The message of Christendom is not about believing but about a state of mind.

A savage may well be more of a Christian than FL.

A preoccupation with the Bible reveals an immature mind. The Bible may, at best, be a roadsign, pointing the way. Mistaking the pointer for the goal is nothing but a comfortable headrest. (John 5:39-40)

What good are sweet words on the lips if absent from the heart?

The true religion of the future will be the fulfilment of all the religions of the past-the true religion of humanity, that which, in the struggle of history, remains as the indestructible portion of all the so-called false religions of mankind. There never was a false god, nor was there ever really a false religion, unless you call a child a false man. All religions, so far as I know them, had the same purpose; all were links in a chain which connects heaven and earth, and which is held, and always was held, by one and the same hand. -F. MAX MULLER, in a letter to the Rev. M. K. Schermerhorn, 1883.

FL said:

David wrote,

Who said “Bible” was a foe for me? I’m a Christian.

A Christian, or an Agnostic? That’s a separate issue for another time, but there’s enough information on the table by now, to make clear that merely saying “I’m a Christian” isn’t really accurate in your case.

There is an asterisk, an explanation, that needs to be placed there. And the asterisk is tied in to what you believe and don’t believe regarding the Bible’s historical and doctrinal claims. Same for me of course, and really (regardless of one’s label), same for all of us.

Harold recently wrote that he is a “Christian Atheist.” Always worth exploring. (Another asterisk.) Again however, that’s a separate issue for another discussion time. We simply live in a world of asterisks.

FL

And Floyd gets to declare whose asterisks “accurately” line up with the phrase “I am a Christian” and whose don’t.

There’s more than enough information on the table by now to make clear that Floyd is an incorrigibly arrogant sociopath.

Carl Drews said:

From the Bible Forewards I have read, most translators are motivated by the same reasons that motivated William Tyndale in 1525. He wanted the common people to read the Word of God for themselves in their own language, such that the plow boy out in the field would know as much of the Holy Scriptures as the bishop.

I’ve always thought this is part of the problem. Because while the plow boy in the field might thus be able to read the scriptures as well as the bishop, it doesn’t follow that he will know them or understand them remotely as well.

Don’t get me wrong, Catholicism certainly has its own problems with authoritarianism. I just wonder whether the Reformation made much of an improvement, given that so much of what has come out of it is ill-informed literalistic nonsense.

Henry J said:

Or, as somebody once put it:

It’s not about good.

It’s not about evil.

It’s about power.

Whilst I agree with the sentiments, it was the First Evil that was speaking there.…

David MacMillan said:

Often, scientists suggest evolutionary explanations for the genesis of certain behaviors or traits. Some creationists erroneously assume that, in consequence, evolution can be used to justify any sort of behavior. This, too, comes from their theology; they believe that all sin and death and suffering arise from a series of physical events in history - the Fall - so they naturally assume that an evolutionary history would give rise to an evolutionary morality.

I’ve always seen this as more of an extension of the fundamentalist belief that anybody not subscribing to The Right Religion, especially The Right Version of The Right Religion, is somehow not able to recognize moral acts and will find all kinds of justifications to support their immorality (which they must have, because they aren’t worshipping The Same Thing The Same Way As Me.) Mostly in our familiar Christian circles, this is manifested in non-evolution contexts as “without (our kind of) belief in God, you can’t have a basis for morality and anything goes!” If you don’t have the same view of the same God, you are wandering in darkness (as they see it).

Even non-fundamentalist thinkers sometimes subscribed to a version of this, though without always being particular about WHICH religion people were supposed to follow as long as they followed one of them. The structure and moral guidelines provided by religion was the important part.

The Creationist context for the fundamentalist thinking simply notices that scientists try to peer into human behavior through the lens of evolution and takes that as a search to justify immoral behavior. It goes back to even the earliest objections to human evolution from apes; that it “reduces” humans to “just” an ape, who then have no obligations but to act accordingly.

The most important part of this post and reiterated by Ray Martinez is that when a creationist says he or she bases his or her belief on evidence - it is not scientific evidence. It is that the Bible was revealed by a god called by Christians God to presumably Moses. Nothing else matters. The evidence is solely the Bible and its status as the truth - as the bumper sticker says” The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.”

The whole enterprise of “creation science” is a sham, a lie, an unsubtle ploy to subvert the good status of science for evangelism and apologism.

David also wrote,

The majority of Christians accept that God could have used common descent to bring about life on Earth without any hazard to their faith.

****

“No hazard”, eh? That sounds like a baseless assertion to me, especially in light of former Christians who, by their own public testimony, ran into such hazards. Check out these examples, yes?

British TV interviewer Howard Condor: “And was there a particular point, or something you read, or an experience you had that said, ‘Yes this is it, God does not exist’?”

Evolutionist Richard Dawkins: “Oh well, by far the most important was understanding evolution. “I think the evangelical Christians have really sort of got it right in a way, in seeing evolution as the enemy.

“Whereas the more, what shall we say, sophisticated theologians are quite happy to live with evolution, I think they are deluded.

“I think the evangelicals have got it right, in that there is a deep incompatibility between evolution and Christianity, and I think I realized that about the age of sixteen.”

– 2011 interview, quoted in Ken Ham’s blog via AIG

****

“Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution” (Tellectual Press, March 2013) is co-authored by biblical scholar Robert M. Price and Edwin A. Suominen.

“When we first started on this book, I was a struggling Christian,” Suominen said. “I had accepted the reality of evolution, but could not see a way to resolve the conflict between science and my inherited faith. And now that the last page is written, I know that there isn’t one.”

The book began as a collaboration between Robert M. Price, a biblical scholar and atheist, and Suominen, who was a believing Christian at the start.

Both accepted the reality of evolution, and agreed to research its theological implications and the various ways that Christian writers have tried to smooth over the conflict between science and faith.

–duncancrary.com

****

Regarding this author Edwin Suominen (an electrical enginner and former registered patent agent), Salon Magazine’s Valerie Tarico asked him a most interesting question; it’s very timely for this thread.

Salon: “Out of all of the ways in which believers have tried to reconcile evolutionary biology and the Christian tradition, which seem to you the most robust or credible?”

Suominen: “That’s an insightful and difficult question, because the plausibility of these writers in the realm of theology seems to be inversely proportional to their acceptance of the science.

“You can head in one direction or the other, but you can’t have it both ways, despite their protests that they can.

One of the most eloquent and level-headed about the scientific findings and issues for traditional theology is John F. Haught. Yet his tedious appeals to the “drama” and “aesthetic intensity” of evolution are so far off our credibility meter that it would be difficult to summarize our conclusions without sounding uncharitable.

“Our view of all these sorts of evolutionary apologetics, his included, might be apparent from the title of one of our subheadings, “Shoveling After the Parade.”

Just something to think about. When you travel the evolution road, you DO run into road hazards, it seems.

Later on, I’d like to check out that Bible verse which David called a “clobber text” – the unavoidable, razor-sharp Romans 1:20.

FL

eric said:

…to my way of thinking, special relativity does violate Newton’s laws. You accelerate something in a Newtonian framework, it doesn’t gain mass. You accelerate something in a relativistic one, and it does. Newton did not put “bounds” on his laws. He didn’t limit them to macroscopic objects or slow objects. We now say they work very well within a set of boundary conditions, but those boundary conditions are not something that comes out of Newton’s laws; its not intrinsic to them. When Newton formulated them, he expected them to hold for all things at all times under all circumstances, and they don’t. Some observations violate them.

Perhaps one further caveat will help to clarify things. We don’t typically factor in relativistic effects for any velocities lower than 5-15% of c, simply because it’s negligible. But we know the effects are still there.

What if, instead, the effects weren’t there. What if relativistic effects actually had a physical threshold, where they were literally 0 up until 10% of c and then suddenly kicked in? If that was the case, then it would be more difficult to say that Newtonian mechanics was wrong, because Newtonian mechanics had simply never addressed anything above 10% of c. Sure, perhaps Newton had assumed that things would be the same regardless of speed, and yes, that assumption was wrong, but that assumption wasn’t an essential part of his science.

Or, let’s use something even less ambiguous: chemistry and radioactivity. Chemistry didn’t predict radioactive decay. Chemistry couldn’t predict radioactive decay. But the discovery of radioactive decay didn’t make chemistry wrong; it was just a separate phenomenon outside the scope of chemistry.

The physical laws that did not include miracle terms would become analogous to Newton’s laws; used, but not considered to be the best or most accurate (most representative) model of how the universe works at a fundamental level.

Sure.

However, I don’t think you can take this and say, “Now, see, miracles can’t happen because they contradict science” any more than a chemist could say “Now, see, radioactive decay can’t happen because it contradicts chemistry.”

My question is, what would count as confirming-or-credible evidence? Or, better yet, is there a point at which we could say, “Wow. There’s enough evidence here to suggest that an alien really could have visited. We have no way of knowing for sure, but it’s enough to use as a basis for encouraging greater scrutiny of nearby star systems, even if we know it won’t turn anything up within our lifetimes.”?

Yes, absolutely I think we could reach that point. And while the line between credible/confirming vs. not may be fuzzy and broad, I think a mention of aliens or miracles in an old book doesn’t even come close to that line.

Not just a single mention of a “visitor from the sky”, no.

But I imagine there could be a threshold at which the “mentions” could become more compelling, even without any physical evidence. Suppose we discovered a temple hidden somewhere in a South American coastal jungle with tons and tons of drawings and explanations and descriptions. The story of a god-creature who fell from the sky in a box and worked miracles before dying. Representations of highly complex math, long lists of prime numbers, a star chart seemingly too accurate to have been constructed without modern instruments.

Nothing that, on its own, couldn’t be explained away. It would just ultimately come down to whether the story seemed compelling, believable, realistic.

That’s what it comes down to for me, with Christianity. There’s no smoking gun, no piece of evidence that can’t be explained away. But the whole story, the whole picture seems more believable if the historicity of the Resurrection is placed at the center of it.

mattdance 18 said:

All of this has independent, extra-Biblical corroboration.

cite/quote(s)?

david.starling.macmillan said: What if, instead, the effects weren’t there. What if relativistic effects actually had a physical threshold, where they were literally 0 up until 10% of c and then suddenly kicked in? If that was the case, then it would be more difficult to say that Newtonian mechanics was wrong, because Newtonian mechanics had simply never addressed anything above 10% of c.

The tentative conclusion (made by the entire scientific community, from 1750s through about 1900) that Newton’s mechanics addressed objects at all speeds would have been violated. Just as, if we somehow found out that QM worked everywhere except Alpha Centauri, that would be a violation of how we understand QM today. The fact that the equations don’t mention Alpha Centauri does not mean we are neutral on the matter: we have very clear opinion on it, and the exception violates that opinion. Well, for 150 years science had a very clear opinion on the universality of Newton’s laws, and relativity violated that universality. So, (just as a reminder of the topic), if you posit a nonzero +k(God) component that pops up sometimes, that’s a violation of physical law as we currently understand it, and you haven’t really said anything to convince me otherwise.

I don’t think you can take this and say, “Now, see, miracles can’t happen because they contradict science” any more than a chemist could say “Now, see, radioactive decay can’t happen because it contradicts chemistry.”

I’m not saying miracles can’t happen. I’m saying they violate physical laws as we understand them; that it would take a modification of current physical laws to account for them.

[eric] Yes, absolutely I think we could reach that point. And while the line between credible/confirming vs. not may be fuzzy and broad, I think a mention of aliens or miracles in an old book doesn’t even come close to that line.

Not just a single mention of a “visitor from the sky”, no.

But I imagine there could be a threshold at which the “mentions” could become more compelling, even without any physical evidence. Suppose we discovered a temple hidden somewhere in a South American coastal jungle with tons and tons of drawings and explanations and descriptions. The story of a god-creature who fell from the sky in a box and worked miracles before dying. Representations of highly complex math, long lists of prime numbers, a star chart seemingly too accurate to have been constructed without modern instruments.

I think the key things that would make an alien visitiation story credible are the things I’ve bolded - but those are the exact things missing from the biblical narrative. There is no biblical equivalent of them, no information contained within the bible that we would assess as indicating knowledge, intelligence, or engineering skills beyond what the story’s contemporary humans would have. If Jesus had been quoted saying E=mc^2 or F=ma, you might have a point. But the biblical narrative contains nothing like that, no statements “seemingly too accurate to have been constructed without modern instruments.”

That’s what it comes down to for me, with Christianity. There’s no smoking gun, no piece of evidence that can’t be explained away. But the whole story, the whole picture seems more believable if the historicity of the Resurrection is placed at the center of it.

Well we obviously disagree on this point, but thank you for explaining your position on it.

eric said:

I don’t think you can take this and say, “Now, see, miracles can’t happen because they contradict science” any more than a chemist could say “Now, see, radioactive decay can’t happen because it contradicts chemistry.”

I’m not saying miracles can’t happen. I’m saying they violate physical laws as we understand them; that it would take a modification of current physical laws to account for them.

I think this is what we keep coming back to. Sure, obviously we would have to modify our understanding of physical reality in order to accommodate the possibility of miracles. That’s not in dispute. But this doesn’t imply that science itself has somehow been wrong or mistaken about reality; science simply has not seen any observations which would lead to theory concerning miracles.

We would certainly need to add to our understanding of science if miracles were shown to exist, but there is no body of evidence or theory which would need to be thrown out in order to accomplish this. In that sense, then, it’s a mistake to say that miracles violate established science.

david.starling.macmillan said:

Suppose we discovered a temple hidden somewhere in a South American coastal jungle with tons and tons of drawings and explanations and descriptions. The story of a god-creature who fell from the sky in a box and worked miracles before dying. Representations of highly complex math, long lists of prime numbers, a star chart seemingly too accurate to have been constructed without modern instruments.

Can you cite comparable evidence for the resurrection?

I think you cannot. As far as I know, there is no such evidence. There is nothing but an implausible, fact-free story.

But the whole story, the whole picture seems more believable if the historicity of the Resurrection is placed at the center of it.

The myth of a zombie god is so counterfactual, so evidence-free, that it serves as a paradigmatic example of the genre. There is no reason whatsoever to believe it to be true, and a million reasons to think that it is fiction.

Unless, of course, you beg the question of the “historicity” of the purported event.

eric said:

I’m not saying miracles can’t happen.

What I say is that miracles don’t happen. Ever.

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

Suppose we discovered a temple hidden somewhere in a South American coastal jungle with tons and tons of drawings and explanations and descriptions. The story of a god-creature who fell from the sky in a box and worked miracles before dying. Representations of highly complex math, long lists of prime numbers, a star chart seemingly too accurate to have been constructed without modern instruments.

Can you cite comparable evidence for the resurrection?

All the things I mentioned – math, prime numbers, star charts – are the sort of things we would think are consistent with an alien visitor. It’s the stuff we would try to leave a record of if we were on a mission to another world.

Yet the Gospels do not propose an alien visitor, but an incarnate Creator, which limits the bounds of our analogy. Unless he had an interest in proving his authenticity to 21st-century humanity (which obviously he cannot, as he hadn’t shown up around here lately), math and science facts are hardly the sort of evidence we can expect. The purpose of the analogy is not to muse about a particular type of evidence, but to demonstrate a situation where an event in history leaving no tangible, empirical evidence could still leave enough testimonial evidence to make it a judgment call as to whether a particular Black Swan event happened. Not everything is clear in history; there is a gradient of evidential support between “not at all plausible” and “definitely the most probable explanation”.

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence? Well, that depends entirely on the nature of the creature as described in the claim, doesn’t it?

The myth of a zombie god is so counterfactual, so evidence-free, that it serves as a paradigmatic example of the genre.

Again, stating that it is counterfactual is a specific positive claim. You can’t say “It is counterfactual” and then back away and say “by which I mean you need to prove it to me.”

But I’m more interested in your positive claim that the “zombie god myth” is “a paradigmatic example of the genre”. Perhaps you can defend this claim?

phhht said:

eric said:

I’m not saying miracles can’t happen.

What I say is that miracles don’t happen. Ever.

What you mean is that you’ve never seen a miracle happen, ever, and that you don’t personally believe anyone ever has.

david.starling.macmillan said:

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

Suppose we discovered a temple hidden somewhere in a South American coastal jungle with tons and tons of drawings and explanations and descriptions. The story of a god-creature who fell from the sky in a box and worked miracles before dying. Representations of highly complex math, long lists of prime numbers, a star chart seemingly too accurate to have been constructed without modern instruments.

Can you cite comparable evidence for the resurrection?

All the things I mentioned – math, prime numbers, star charts – are the sort of things we would think are consistent with an alien visitor. It’s the stuff we would try to leave a record of if we were on a mission to another world.

Yet the Gospels do not propose an alien visitor, but an incarnate Creator, which limits the bounds of our analogy. Unless he had an interest in proving his authenticity to 21st-century humanity (which obviously he cannot, as he hadn’t shown up around here lately), math and science facts are hardly the sort of evidence we can expect.

In other words, no, you cannot cite any comparable evidence for the existence of the purported resurrection. Your examples are nothing more than smoke and mirrors, nothing more than an attempt to mislead, to suggest that yes, if cows could fly, we could put Paris in a bottle. There is no relevance at all of your examples to the myth of the resurrection.

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence?

You cannot even ask the question without begging the question of the existence of “an incarnate creator.”

david.starling.macmillan said:

phhht said:

eric said:

I’m not saying miracles can’t happen.

What I say is that miracles don’t happen. Ever.

What you mean is that you’ve never seen a miracle happen, ever, and that you don’t personally believe anyone ever has.

Indeed. I eagerly await correction.

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence?

You cannot even ask the question without begging the question of the existence of “an incarnate creator.”

Actually, no. That’s not question-begging. Not in the slightest. It’s a hypothetical. If a Creator existed and incarnated as the Gospels seem to claim, what testimonies would we have expected to arise concerning this incarnation?

As stated, the answer depends on the nature and character of the creator being claimed.

And I’d like to know if you intend on defending your claims about “paradigmatic examples” of the “zombie god” genre.

david.starling.macmillan said:

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence?

You cannot even ask the question without begging the question of the existence of “an incarnate creator.”

Actually, no. That’s not question-begging. Not in the slightest. It’s a hypothetical.

It’s a counterfactual, in your preferred usage. There are no creator gods.

And I’d like to know if you intend on defending your claims about “paradigmatic examples” of the “zombie god” genre.

I’d like to know if you intend to justify the relevance of your list of evidence for an alien visitor to the resurrection myth.

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence?

You cannot even ask the question without begging the question of the existence of “an incarnate creator.”

Actually, no. That’s not question-begging. Not in the slightest. It’s a hypothetical.

It’s a counterfactual, in your preferred usage. There are no creator gods.

Since you and I do not agree on that point, it’s not a shared counterfactual, only a hypothetical. Note that the existence of the creator is part of the “if” statement.

And I’d like to know if you intend on defending your claims about “paradigmatic examples” of the “zombie god” genre.

I’d like to know if you intend to justify the relevance of your list of evidence for an alien visitor to the resurrection myth.

So…you won’t?

As I explained, my list of evidence was to show an example of how testimonial evidence could provide varying levels of support for a Black Swan claim about history, such that acceptance of that claim came down to a judgment call.

What is the purpose of your positive claim that the Gospels are a “paradigmatic example” of the “zombie god” genre, if you aren’t going to defend it?

david.starling.macmillan said:

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence?

What would we expect a fictional god to leave behind in terms of evidence?

Why, nothing but stories. And indeed, that’s all we’ve got. No star charts, no mathematics. Nothing but stories.

phhht said:

david.starling.macmillan said:

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence?

What would we expect a fictional god to leave behind in terms of evidence?

Why, nothing but stories. And indeed, that’s all we’ve got. No star charts, no mathematics. Nothing but stories.

And there are those detailed plans for the temple, and concerns about skin diseases. Why not, rather, some simple ideas about preventing diseases: Boil your water before using it. The simple treatment for diarrhea. Be sure to get enough vitamin C. Maybe insist on a ritual inoculation with cowpox? Sleep under mosquito netting?

david.starling.macmillan said: Sure, obviously we would have to modify our understanding of physical reality in order to accommodate the possibility of miracles. That’s not in dispute.

I thought it was - I thought that was your whole point. If you want to say that we could possibly be wrong on whether miracles can happen, then yeah, that’s true. But you keep saying that miracles aren’t counterfactual and don’t violate physical laws, and that is our main point of disagreement. They do violate physical laws as we understand them. And while they aren’t counterfactual in the way they use it, they certainly are counterfactual when we appeal to the general scientific community’s standards of counterfactual.

science simply has not seen any observations which would lead to theory concerning miracles.

Untrue. Given that we’ve done many empirical investigations of miracle claims, and they keep turning up charlatans and the self-deluded, leads very clearly to the inductive conclusion that miracle claims are cons or self-delusions.

there is no body of evidence or theory which would need to be thrown out in order to accomplish this. In that sense, then, it’s a mistake to say that miracles violate established science.

I think you’re wrong in this, and I think your statement here contradict the first statement you made (see first quote in this post). The first time God is credibly observed to add energy to a closed system, we would need to throw out (my second meaning) the law of conservation of energy. In your words: we would have to modify our understanding of physical reality. True, the law of conservation of energy would still be useful for a large number of cases (like Newton’s laws), but science would have to throw it out as an accurate description of how the universe really works at a fundamental level.

Now for the record, that’s perfectly okay to do. The issue in dispute (IMO) is that you keep saying miracles are consistent with our current laws of physics - that no modification would be needed - and I keep arguing that they aren’t.

david.starling.macmillan said: Unless he [God] had an interest in proving his authenticity to 21st-century humanity (which obviously he cannot, as he hadn’t shown up around here lately),

What? He clearly could, he just chooses not to. And as countless atheists have asserted before an will continue to assert in the future, this choice not to intervene in an obvious manner is generally inconsistent with the concept of a tri-omni God.

The purpose of the analogy is not to muse about a particular type of evidence, but to demonstrate a situation where an event in history leaving no tangible, empirical evidence could still leave enough testimonial evidence to make it a judgment call as to whether a particular Black Swan event happened.

I do think that good testimonial evidence could be used to support a black swan event. The point I made by bolding part of your description is that the bible lacks the exact sort of testimonial evidence you need to support one. You list a bunch of things A-F, of which E and F are the strongest, most critical things. They are the things which will really link the testimony to a non-contemporary-human source, really nail it down. The uncontestable, even-the-naysayer-must-pay-attention sort of testemonial evidence. Then you talk about what the bible holds, and it’s A-D but not E and F. You are missing precisely the sort of evidence you yourself say would be indicative of an extrahuman source.

What would we expect an incarnate creator to leave behind in terms of testimonial evidence? Well, that depends entirely on the nature of the creature as described in the claim, doesn’t it?

Sure does. We would not expect much evidence of anythnig if God doesn’t care about people believing in him, or in their progress, or their physical prosperity. But if he does care - if you posit a human-loving God - then having him show up and NOT say things like “disease is caused my microscopic critters living on your skin - wash your hands and instruments in alcohol or soap before you perform surgery, and oh by the way here’s how you can make penicillin…” is pretty hard to explain.

TomS said:

phhht said:

What would we expect a fictional god to leave behind in terms of evidence?

Why, nothing but stories. And indeed, that’s all we’ve got. No star charts, no mathematics. Nothing but stories.

And there are those detailed plans for the temple, and concerns about skin diseases. Why not, rather, some simple ideas about preventing diseases: Boil your water before using it. The simple treatment for diarrhea. Be sure to get enough vitamin C. Maybe insist on a ritual inoculation with cowpox? Sleep under mosquito netting?

Which would be an excellent argument against the proposition that the Torah was handed down from Sinai in one piece without edits, interpolations, or interpretations.

eric said:

david.starling.macmillan said: Sure, obviously we would have to modify our understanding of physical reality in order to accommodate the possibility of miracles. That’s not in dispute.

I thought it was - I thought that was your whole point. If you want to say that we could possibly be wrong on whether miracles can happen, then yeah, that’s true. But you keep saying that miracles aren’t counterfactual and don’t violate physical laws, and that is our main point of disagreement.

Let me ask this – do you see a distinction between miracle claims and over-unity claims?

When I think “violation of physics”, I think over-unity. An over-unity claim must assert that all the careful and painstaking experiments rigorously verifying the theoretical basis of the laws of thermodynamics were systematically flawed, and energy can come from nothing via purely natural processes. Over-unity requires us to ignore our observations of thermodynamics and completely change our perception of how energy itself – the ultimate subject of all study in physics – functions.

In contrast, we can say that miracles “violate” physics in the sense that they would require an addendum to physics, but they don’t go against science in the same way as over-unity. Allowing the possibility of miracles doesn’t require us to throw out observation and experiment in the same way that over-unity would. Does that distinction make sense?

science simply has not seen any observations which would lead to theory concerning miracles.

Untrue. Given that we’ve done many empirical investigations of miracle claims, and they keep turning up charlatans and the self-deluded, leads very clearly to the inductive conclusion that miracle claims are cons or self-delusions.

Oh, I’m totally in favor of developing theories concerning the basis of miracle claims. Just like we can develop theories concerning the basis of alien abduction claims without needing to comment on the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence.

The first time God is credibly observed to add energy to a closed system, we would need to throw out (my second meaning) the law of conservation of energy.

Not at all, because if something is added to a system, it ceases to be a closed system.

eric said:

david.starling.macmillan said: Unless he [God] had an interest in proving his authenticity to 21st-century humanity (which obviously he cannot, as he hadn’t shown up around here lately),

What? He clearly could, he just chooses not to.

Sorry, I wasn’t clear – I meant that he obviously cannot have an interest in proving his authenticity to 21st-century humanity, not that he obviously cannot prove his authenticity.

I do think that good testimonial evidence could be used to support a black swan event. You list a bunch of things A-F, of which E and F are the strongest, most critical things. They are the things which will really link the testimony to a non-contemporary-human source, really nail it down. The uncontestable, even-the-naysayer-must-pay-attention sort of testemonial evidence.

But as I said before, you don’t need any single smoking gun. There are plenty of cultures that discovered prime numbers. There were plenty of cultures with highly precise star charts. There were plenty of cultures that independently discovered math. There were plenty that had stories of gods coming down from the heavens. It’s the convergence of all these factors which would make it extraordinary.

And since you can have more or less convergence, you can have an even gradient from “totally implausible” all the way up to “almost absolutely certain”.

The best thing we can do about the universe is to presume it is a closed system, with a door in it. The door is locked, and behind the door we find all our monsters: God and and all the other gods, Intelligent Designers, Bigfoot and all the rest.

Who’s got the key?

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on July 9, 2014 12:00 PM.

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