In Response to ‘agnophilo’ who commented on my ‘Oh – Why Don’t You Use Your Head!!’

I received a comment from ‘agnophilo’ on my recent post Oh – Why Don’t You Use Your Head!! and I would like to respond here in as thoughtful a fashion as possible, and also to avail to my readers the conversation as it sits today. agnophilo’s comments follow, followed by my remarks.

And god game from where exactly? You can’t explain the existence of a microchip by invoking a supercomputer without running into obvious fallacies. Yes nature is wonderful and amazing, but it is not nearly as mysterious as your creationist websites claim. And the intermediate evolutionary forms showing how organs like eyes evolved are often still present in various organisms to this day, like so:

Google eye evolution, lung evolution, heart evolution, etc and do some reading. You will probably find the articles these people are plagiarizing and tacking “so god exists” on the end.

Thank you agnophilo for your comments. I will attempt to respond in a meaningful and thoughtful manner.

You ask where god came from? Good question, and probably as old as mankind. First know that I am a Bible believing Christian.

The Bible does not make an evidential or argumentative case for God’s existence … rather it simply states such existence:

Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Psalm 19:1 – The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

John 1:1-3 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Colossians 1:16 – For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.

And more … If you care to research the matter.

So this is the Biblical and Judeo/Christian world view … that God is a Creator beyond time and space … indeed He created both. As such, His existence will not be proven or disproven by any human endeavors, scientific or otherwise … He just cannot be captured in a test tube or laboratory.  Many have thought, researched  and written on this idea, and I offer up this one for your consideration:
The Infinite Designer And A Finite Universe
The Creator Beyond Time & Space

No, to discover God agnophilo, you must acknowledge and traverse beyond the material world, to a place where materialists and atheists refuse to acknowledge, let alone go. To discover God you must acknowledge that just as a box has an inside and an outside, your thinking must escape from just the inside, from just the materialistic inside of a box. You must search and find the outside of the box. And He can be found … no not in a laboratory, but He can be found. A wise man once challenged me “take what little faith you have … take what little faith  you think you have, even none … take that to God and ask Him to multiply it. And see what happens.”

So now let me ask a question in return … about the origin of the universe and of life – ‘and the universe (i.e. matter) came from where exactly?’  You see, absent God then some other means must explain the existence of our universe and all that is in it. Atheists and materialists ultimately must arrive  at an explanation such as given by Stephen Hawking “ … tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe became the seeds from which galaxies, stars, and ultimately human life emerged.” This is a speculation based on absolutely nothing … a ridiculous proposition by one of the supposed ‘smartest men in the world.’ When compared to Genesis 1, common sense and observation, Hawking’s speculation is laughable, yet is held up as science.

I must be misreading your comment “You can’t explain the existence of a microchip … “ perhaps you can rephrase your thought there. Of course the existence of a microchip can be explained by invoking a supercomputer. Microchips are designed and manufactured with the aide of other computers, super and otherwise. The bigger point to be made here is that both the microchip and the supercomputer are conceived, designed, manufactured, tested,  mass produced and incorporated into all manner of higher order devices by mind … by intelligence … by the creative efforts of human intelligence. This is part of  what is talked about in Genisis1:26 where it is said “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness … “ There is nothing in our common experience, built by mankind, that is not the product of mind – whether it be the discovery of how to create and utilize fire, the first simple machines such as the lever or wheel, or something as sophisticated as the Apollo space program or a musical masterpiece such as Handle’s Messiah or the works of Shakespeare… all the result of mind … of intelligent design. This by the way is what distinguishes the human species from all others in the animal world … creative intellect and not DNA similarity.

Yes nature is wonderful and amazing as you say, and I fully agree, but I take issue with your use of the word mysterious in your characterization of creationist websites. A better choice and one which many of us creationists would use would be wondrous  or even awesome wonder – but not mysterious.

Agnophilo — I have previously seen this video as well as a report A Pessimistic Estimate of the Time Required for an Eye to Evolve (Nilsson & Pelger) on which the video is based –  and others such as the ones by Richard Dawkins here, here and here … and elsewhere as well purporting to document the evolution of the eye. Sorry agnophilo … but they fall well short of the mark.

Why do they fall short? Here are a couple of reasons:

They fall short because they do not answer the challenges of such claims, among them:

Another way these evidentiary claims on the evolution of the eye fall short is the method in which the studies are conducted – I call this the Photoshop effect. In the video presented, the presenter relies heavily on mechanical aides as analogies and evolutionary steps along the way from a simple light detecting surface to the mammalian eye. He also relies on computer graphics to show how evolution “could have” evolved step by step. I emphasize “could have”  because that phrase is potentially far removed from “in fact” evolved. In other words, speculation is substituted for evidence with the intent of claiming fact.

The same is true with at least one of the videos presented by Richard Dawkins. Computer graphics carefully traces the evolution of a simple flat faced eye all the way to your much more complex eye. Again, the Photoshop effect in play here, where what may or may not have actually occurred is substituted with the Photoshop effect of filling in the blanks that are indeed there in the evidence – you might call this the “evolution of the gaps.”

Recently I attended a reunion, and there came a time to make group pictures. In one case, all the participants were there save one, who was briefly absent during the photo shoot. When Bill returned I posed him, alone, in front of the same background as the group photo. Later we added Bill to the group by way of the magic of Photoshop. Bill was not actually there, but yet in the group photo he was indeed there.  The intended benign  deceit succeeded, but the final photo was not technically or scientifically accurate or true. We made it true because we wanted Bill to be in the group photo.  Are scientists and researchers subject to the same temptations?

I’ve watched the Nilsson video several times, and come away with the impression that he is more concerned with the debunking of an alternative design oriented approach to the eye than he is to actually building a solid evidence based Darwinian case. And this seems to me to be the general case in the way design oriented approaches are handled by the main stream neo-Darwinist apologists – demean and destroy the opposition.

The articles I have posted:

seem to go much further in depth into the topics than do the Darwinian articles. They examine the machines and designs themselves, to see just how they work and to find out what benefit can be derived from an understanding of what makes them tick. Now the researchers may or may not be evolutionists, I don’t know. But in any case it seems their main concern is in exploring and understanding the designs and machines they see before them – whether or not they consider them to be apparent and illusorily designs, or the real thing. In other words they seem to be following the evidence wherever it may lead.

Thank for listening.

Don Johnson – January 2014


One response to “In Response to ‘agnophilo’ who commented on my ‘Oh – Why Don’t You Use Your Head!!’

  1. It would be nice if you just responded to me or at least let me know you were writing a blog response so I could weigh in.

    “The Bible does not make an evidential or argumentative case for God’s existence … rather it simply states such existence:”

    So do thousands of other religions state the existence of their respective deities. To paraphrase a famous sentiment, when you figure out why you don’t accept the existence of all those gods you will realize why I don’t accept the existence of yours.

    “So this is the Biblical and Judeo/Christian world view … that God is a Creator beyond time and space … indeed He created both. As such, His existence will not be proven or disproven by any human endeavors, scientific or otherwise …”

    Why believe something we can by definition never substantiate? I would go further than that to say the reason we cannot prove there is a god is that we have no definition of what this being even supposedly is, which makes it a meaningless concept the same way that if I say a blorg exists and I don’t know what a blorg is then the term is just nonsense. The word “god” the more I think of it and try to define it becomes emptier and emptier. The meaning people draw from their concept of god comes not from anything objective, but rather from their own psychological nature – people need to feel loved and if they believe they are loved by god they will find meaning in that, the same way people will find meaning in believing they are loved by aliens or their spouse or their children or a friend or a leprechaun. The need for love is what is meaningful, a god is just a one way to evoke the feeling. The same is true of fear, self-esteem, a sense of safety or whatever else people evoke using the concept of their deity. But the fact that the notion of a god can make you feel good or bad no more makes it real than the fact that people can be scared of global warming makes it real, or anything else. Non-existent things can evoke strong emotions as well as things that are objectively real.

    As far as “thinking outside of the box”, the box being the entire knowable universe, you are asking me to imagine things and then believe them. This is make-pretend and the difference between the fantasies of a mental patient and the beliefs of a sane person are how well those beliefs conform to facts and evidence. I do not wish to spend my life thinking as though an episode of the twilight zone (which is as much of an unverifiable “what if” as this god business) is real just to get off on it. I engage in this only in fiction because when you put down the book or switch off the tv screen you go back to reality, so idle fantasy has no lasting consequences. Religions on the other hand cause wars, genocide, abuse of minorities, and fuel all kinds of hatred and idiocy. What is true matters to me, and it matters in life. And it matters to me more than my own personal happiness, so even in hard times I am not tempted to believe in order to see (which btw you can do with any religion, not just christianity).

    As for the “photoshop effect” I take it you didn’t actually watch the video, which at every stage cuts away to video of actual living species that still have those forms of eyes to this day. Reality is not photoshopped, and by and large scientific illustrations are based on a wealth of empirical evidence. I looked at your article and it is quote-mining darwin the way creationists do, claiming that he said that the eye was “the most serious threat to his theory”. I’ve actually read origin of species cover to cover, what he actually said the reverse, that it was hardly a difficulty. He said that that the eye could have evolved gradually “seems” absurd, then explained in detail how and why it isn’t and how we know it isn’t and what has to be true if it evolved (which creationists always leave out and instead claim that he thought eye evolution was impossible or problematic).

    You say that the guy in the video was not trying to explain evolution so much as attack intelligent design… which is nowhere mentioned or even hinted at in the video.

    Oh, and as far as the supercomputer thing you miss my point. You cannot say that one thing is so complex it must have a designer and then evoke an even more complex thing and say it isn’t designed. Or rather as I said before you can, but not without running into logical fallacies.

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